China

~Turn My Heart Into Christ Heart Please Lord~

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What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes His boss, your mother becomes His mother, your pains become His pains? With one exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn’t change. Your circumstances don’t change. Your schedule isn’t altered. Your problems aren’t solved. Only one change occurs.

What if, for one day and one night, Jesus lives your life with His heart?

Max Lucado

Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ. His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His love directs your behavior.

What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family – would they see something new? Your coworkers – would they sense a difference? What about the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy from Christ’s heart than from yours?

And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better? Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any chance you’d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to traffic delays? (Ouch, that touched a nerve.) Would you still dread what you are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing?

Would you still do what you had planned to do for the next twenty-four hours?

Pause and think about your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus taking over your heart, would anything change?

Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. He wants you to “think and act like Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart.

“You were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God – made to be truly good and holy” (Ephesians 4:23-24).

God wants you to be just like Jesus. He wants you to have a heart like His.

I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. If a sentence or two could capture God’s desire for each of us, it might read like this:

God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

If you think His love for you would be stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. If you think His love would be deeper if your thoughts were, wrong again. Don’t confuse God’s love with the love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love. He loves you right where you are. To quote my wife’s favorite author:

God’s love never ceases. Never. Though we spurn Him. Ignore Him. Reject Him. Despise Him. Disobey Him. He will not change.

Our evil cannot diminish His love. Our goodness cannot increase it. Our faith does not earn it any more than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn’t love us less if we fail or more if we succeed.

When my daughter Parris was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our home. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.

Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.

God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. “Spit out the dirt, honey,” our Father urges. “I’ve got something better for you.” And so He cleanses us of filth: immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don’t enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. “I can eat dirt if I want to!” we pout and proclaim. Which is true – we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer. He wants us to be just like Jesus.

Isn’t that good news? You aren’t stuck with today’s personality. You aren’t condemned to “grumpydom.” You are tweakable. Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life. So what if you were born a bigot? You don’t have to die one.

Where did we get the idea we can’t change? Jesus can change our hearts. He wants us to have a heart like his. Can you imagine a better offer?

The Heart of Christ

The heart of Jesus was pure. The Savior was adored by thousands, yet content to live a simple life. He was cared for by women (Luke 8:1-3) yet never accused of lustful thoughts, scorned by His own creation but willing to forgive them before they even requested His mercy. Peter, who traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, described Him as a “lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19). After spending the same amount of time with Jesus, John concluded, “And in Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

Jesus’ heart was peaceful. The disciples fretted over the need to feed the thousands, but not Jesus. He thanked God for the problem. The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but not Jesus. He slept through it. Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but not Jesus. He lifted His hand to heal. His heart was at peace. When His disciples abandoned Him, did He pout and go home? When Peter denied Him, did Jesus lose His temper? When the soldiers spit in His face, did He breathe fire in theirs? Far from it. He was at peace. He forgave them. He refused to be guided by vengeance.

He also refused to be guided by anything other than His high call. His heart was purposeful. Most lives aim at nothing in particular and achieve it. Jesus aimed at one goal – to save humanity from its sin. He could summarize His life with one sentence: “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Jesus was so focused on His task that he knew when to say, “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4) and when to say, “It is finished” (John 19:30). But he was not so focused on his goal that he was unpleasant.

Quite the contrary. How pleasant were His thoughts! Children couldn’t resist Jesus. He could find beauty in lilies, joy in worship, and possibilities in problems. He would spend days with multitudes of sick people and still feel sorry for them. He spent more than three decades wading through the muck and mire of our sin yet still saw enough beauty in us to die for our mistakes.

But the crowning attribute of Christ was this: His heart was spiritual. His thoughts reflected His intimate relationship with the Father. “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me,” he stated (John 14:11). His first recorded sermon begins with the words, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” (Luke 4:18). He was “led by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1) and “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). He returned from the desert “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).

Jesus took his instructions from God. It was His habit to go to worship (Luke 4:16). It was His practice to memorize scripture (Luke 4:4). Luke says Jesus “often slipped away to be alone so He could pray” (Luke 5:16). His times of prayer guided Him. He once returned from prayer and announced it was time to move to another city (Mark 1:38). Another time of prayer resulted in the selection of the disciples (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus was led by an unseen hand: “The Son does whatever the Father does” (John 5:19). In the same chapter He stated, “I can do nothing alone. I judge only the way I am told” (John 5:30).

The Heart of Humanity

Our hearts seem so far from His. He is pure; we are greedy. He is peaceful; we are hassled. He is purposeful; we are distracted. He is pleasant; we are cranky. He is spiritual; we are earthbound. The distance between our hearts and His seems so immense. How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?

Ready for a surprise? You already do. You already have the heart of Christ. Why are you looking at me that way? Would I kid you? If you are in Christ, you already have the heart of Christ.

One of the supreme yet unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you have given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given Himself to you. He has made your heart His home. It would be hard to say it more succinctly than Paul did: “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

He has moved in and unpacked His bags and is ready to change you “into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Paul explained it with these words: “Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

If I have the mind of Jesus, why do I still think so much like me?

Part of the answer is illustrated in a story about a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century. She was quite wealthy but also quite frugal.

The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.

Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said. “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?”

“Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.”

She’s tapped in to the power but doesn’t use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Don’t we make the same mistake? We, too – with our souls saved but our hearts unchanged – are connected but not altered. Trusting Christ for salvation but resisting transformation. We occasionally flip the switch, but most of the time we settle for shadows.

What would happen if we left the light on? What would happen if we not only flipped the switch but lived in the light? What changes would occur if we set about the task of dwelling in the radiance of Christ?

No doubt about it: God has ambitious plans for us. The same one who saved your soul longs to remake your heart. His plan is nothing short of a total transformation:

He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. – Romans 8:29

You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God.Colossians 3:10

God is willing to change us into the likeness of the Savior.

Shall we accept His offer?

* * *

Your Turn

What about you? Are you willing to let God have His way in changing you from the inside out into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you about gaining a heart like Jesus’! ~ Devotionals Daily-Are you a tabernacle?-click to view…

In the Thick Of It…..

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Jesus' modified miracles

Isaiah 33:2-4

The Message (MSG)
2-4 God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope.
First thing in the morning, be there for us!
When things go bad, help us out!
You spoke in thunder and everyone ran.
You showed up and nations scattered.
Your people, for a change, got in on the loot,
picking the field clean of the enemy spoils.

Does it seem to you that the only stories you hear about miracles occur in remote African villages or obscure Chinese provinces? Do you wonder if God is visibly active only on the mission field? Steven Mosley, author of It Only God Would Answer, believes the reason we hear more stories from missionary ventures than local churches is, “God is most active when we are reaching out most, He stretches out when we stretch out.

I feel so empty this morning because of my mourning after the state of our nation. I woke up pondering why I am so consumed with my position in life rather than my position in Christ. There is so much work to be done in this world. I want desperately to have a connection with the Lord that will provide for the countless lost souls as felons and derelicts of society right here in my community.

“I considered the life of George Mueller. He wrote an entire book of answers to specific prayer request he made while living in complacent Victorian England. Mueller was stretched–he was seeking to meet the needs od two thousand orphans. In remote China, Hudson Taylor was given needed funds or had personal needs met without ever making an appeal to any human being. Taylor was stretched–sharing the Gospel where it had not been preached before. Brother Andrew, ‘God’s Smuggler,’ had an abundance of answered prayers. He, too, was stretched–devoting his life to taking Bibles behind the iron curtain.”

Mosley has concluded, “God is most active in the thick of it.” Are you asking God to help you meet your heart’s desire today, or are you asking Him how you might help Him meet His heart’s desires?

Don’t pray for task suited to your capacity. Pray for capacity suited to your task. I am praying and soliciting your prayers of agreement that God will provide “Second Chance Alliance” the opportunity to grow into a full pledge ministry. My wife and I are consumed with felon reform and human life being recycled for God’s glory to be seen on this earth. We want a building to house and educate the fallen and thought to be forsaken individuals of drug addiction and criminal lifestyles. We want a church to connect then with and a recycling business of plastic, aluminum and glass and electronics to give them work and help our planet to become “Green” again. Please pray with us that this stretching of our faith will produce this vision.

HANDLING ANXIETY IN A TIME OF ECONOMIC CRISIS

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This past week’s release of China’s second quarter GDP growth number – at 7.6% – was viewed as an ominous sign of the future direction of the global economy by some pundits, while others see the Chinese government’s stimulus measures as a hopeful sign that its economic growth will be higher in the second half of the year. It is important to understand that the root cause of the decline in China’s economic growth this year is not the trouble in Europe or funk of the global economy, but rather the unsustainable economic bubbles that have been created by the government, and the collapsing demand that has accompanied it. The central bank’s latest tap dance won’t fix that.

Central banking maneuvering can at best serve to sustain the over-leveraged economy and avoid a systematic short-circuit of debt financing for now. There won’t be much liquidity invested in lending capacity or job creating projects, since there is insufficient demand, so the economic return on credit will deteriorate. If these structural deficiencies aren’t properly addressed by the central government – and soon – the longer term deterioration of the Chinese economy can only continue. The inevitable chain reaction will accelerate, and China will face its economic end game.

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To gauge just how far the health of China’s economy has deteriorated, look no further than how aggressive China’s central bank – the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) – has been acting of late. On 5th July, the Bank cut benchmark interest rates for the second time in less than a month. In December 2011, the PBOC cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points (bp), to 21%, followed by a further 50 bp cut in February and another 50 bp cut in May – to the current 20%. Apart from all the rate cuts, the PBOC also made its biggest injection of funds into the money markets in nearly six months, injecting a net 225 billion yuan (US$34.5 billion) through the reverse-repurchase operations (repo) last week, which followed a combined injection of 291 billion yuan in the previous four weeks.
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Matthew 6:19-34
How many of you still buy and read a daily newspaper?
Most of us keep up with the news one way or the other – either by listening to the radio or watching television news and in-depth reports. Also, increasing numbers of people access the news through the Internet.
It is a pity that it appears that it is bad news that sells newspapers. I wonder if anyone has ever measured the psychological impact of being bombarded with bad news stories from day to day at the expense of the good. How does it affect us and form our world view?

QUESTION How do you handle bad news?
Growing world population will cause a “perfect storm” of food, energy and water shortages by 2030, the UK government chief scientist is warning.
By 2030 the demand for resources will create a crisis with dire consequences, Prof John Beddington predicts.
Demand for food and energy will jump 50% by 2030 and for fresh water by 30%, as the population tops 8.3 billion, he is due to tell a conference in London.
Climate change will exacerbate matters in unpredictable ways, he will add.
“It’s a perfect storm,” Prof Beddington will tell the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference.
This ’Perfect storm’ poses a global threat, says Professor Beddington
“There’s not going to be a complete collapse, but things will start getting really worrying if we don’t tackle these problems.
POINT
This is something our resident scientist Paul Farrant was warning us about in an evening service a few months ago – but with a different timescale.
QUESTION
How do you respond to news like this?
• Some of us will be concerned for the welfare of our sons or daughters or grandchildren.
• Some of us will be concerned about ourselves and the security of our future.
• All of us will to some degree be concerned for the poor who will be effected most by the coming storm and respond appropriately.
• At some time in the future a crisis of one form or another will certainly take place. What kind of a crisis and when and how it will take place remains to be seen.

QUESTION
How would God have us respond to news like this?
READING Matthew 6:19-34
Don’t worry. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. All these things will be yours as well.

THESIS God’s word to us is this:
FOCUS YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE KINGDOM RATHER THAN THE CALAMITY

POINT
It’s amazing counsel. Philosophers, personal trainers, therapists and gurus could not come with anything better.
Nor could they offer anything better. Because all they could offer is a coping strategy – Jesus reveals to us a right way of living that has the backing and substance of truth and spiritual reality behind it.
POINT
Thanks be to God – The Bible offers us a story with a happy ending. The drama of Scripture moves towards an ending in which all things are made new and sin and evil is finally defeated. What is more, the good news is that none need perish in the process – all who put their trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord will be saved.
QUESTION
What does it mean to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness?
It is simply WHAT WE FOCUS OUR LIVES UPON
ILLUSTR
Liz has a digital camera that focuses automatically on the object she want to photograph. But one day it went faulty and the automatic focus mechanism began to drift every time, leaving everything in a blur.

POINT
Our Christian lives can be like this. GOD DIRECTS US TO FOCUS ON THE KINGDOM. But we all too easily drift from focusing on God’s kingdom in our lives, and when we do so everything turns into a blur.
We will always have the tendency to drift. But we CAN ALWAYS REFOCUS and fix the direction of our lives on the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

HOW DO WE DO THIS?

1. THE KINGDOM
John Stott in his commentary on Matthew states that to seek is first to desire = to desire more than anything else to see in everything the Kingdom rule of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is a description of the God’s rule – partially in this present, earthly life, and fully in the future.

Examples
• It is to desire justice for the poor – whether the nations or the poor, powerless and marginalized in society.
• It is to seek to make Jesus Christ known to those who might receive him as Saviour and Lord in a personal response of faith.
• It is to seek each day to ‘take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ’
• It is desire, and to make our goal, the fulfillment of what we pray for: ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
APPLIC/CHALLENGE
• What is the focus of your life this morning?
• Is your concern for your personal well-being greater than our concern for the Kingdom?
• What is first in our list of priorities? The Kingdom or our personal need?

MOTIVE
The better we know ourselves the more aware we may be that our concerns for our wellbeing are often greater than our concerns for the Kingdom.

We may even decide to seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness because our main concern is for our own personal security, well-being and freedom from worry!

APPLICATION
• Are we more concerned with what the Lord might do for us? Or with what we might do for the Lord?
Seeking first the kingdom means to do so with pure motive.

2. HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
Again, John Stott says:
To seek his righteousness refers to our social responsibilities because God hates injustice.

SHARING
Let’s not forget the plural; that there is a community dimension to what Jesus is saying.
POINT
Jesus addressed the people as a community = a group of disciples.
They were expected to share not only with one another but also with the poor. The early church put this into practice.

Jesus was explicit. He gave a list of do’s and don’ts.
19-21 DON’T store up treasure on earth,
DO store up treasure in heaven
22-23 DON’T focus on the things that worry you;
DO focus on God’s priorities instead
24 DON’T be controlled by a drive to be wealthy
DO focus your life on pleasing God first
25-34 DON’T focus on your fears, doubts and issues of
financial security
DO seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness

APPLICATION: Faith states that God will take care of his own interests, and if we make God’s interests our interests then God will take care of us too. But only as we seek to take care of others.
QUESTION
Some committed Christians might today be asking the question, ‘Why is it that we still have material needs that are not being met when we have made it our priority to seek first the Kingdom of God?’
Sometimes it is an issue of faith
ILLUSTRATION
George Muller, by the end of his life, built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans. The entire
time, he depended on God’s response to his prayer of faith to supply the needs of the orphans in his care. Through faith he raised thousands of pounds to meet their needs.

He described faith in these terms: Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God’s Word, this confidence is FAITH.

ii. There is a place for sharing our resources.
ILLUSTRATION
In the early church there were widows in need. Their needs were provided by the church. Also, churches that could assisted other churches in times of famine.
POINT
God promises to meet our NEED as God sees it and we understand it.
The statement ‘My God shall supply all your need’ Phil 4:19 is in the context of Paul telling his readers of how he had learned to be content, whatever his financial circumstances – much of which depended on generous or otherwise his fellow-Christians were to him.
There were times when he had suffered financial hardship and gone hungry. But his needs had always been met.

Application:It can be the most difficult of learning curves to be content with less that we are used to and less than we had hoped for. And at some time in the future it is a learning curve many will go through. But ‘godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN’, and as we focus first on the Kingdom of God, not only shall we enjoy greater contentment but be satisfied with the way God meets our needs.

3. SEEK FIRST
i. It is PERSONAL – Repent and Believe
To seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness involves personal repentance and faith in Christ.
John the Baptist announced ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.
Seeking first the kingdom means first of all surrendering our lives to the King – to Jesus as Saviour and Lord

Application:To seek first the kingdom means to get right with God
[GOSPEL]

ii. It is GLOBAL – Remember the Poor
When we pray ‘ Your kingdom come’ we follow up with the parallel statement ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
To seek first God’s kingdom is to embrace our Lord’s mandate found in Luke 4
Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
[19] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Application:To seek first the kingdom means to remember the poor.
It DOES include the implications of climate change and growing world population and the strains on the earth’s resources and its impact on the poor both now and on into the future.

iii. It is EVANGELISTIC – Be Witnesses
Reading Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. [16] Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Application:There is a mandate on us to preach the gospel to others. Seeking first the kingdom means that we are not going to be complacent about this, but that we will make it our priority to be witnesses for Jesus.

iv. It is FUTURISTIC – Be Prepared
It is astonishing to read the bold statements of Jesus and of Scripture spoken over 2000 years ago in which we find predicted wars, earthquakes, famines, the increase of knowledge, the increase of wickedness, the rise of antichrists, false prophets and imposters claiming to be Christ and the statement:
Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

POINT
Jesus followed up by saying:
Matthew 24:44
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

APPLICATION
To seek first the Kingdom means to be ready for his coming.
CONCL/APPLICATION
In a world where it pays newspaper companies to focus on the bad news;
In a world where, even as Christians, our focus will always tend to drift to the issues that cause us anxiety;
We have God’s word today directing us to focus our thoughts elsewhere and to keep them there:

Do not be anxious. Seek first his kingdom.

Warning Signs That We Should Prepare For The Worst

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I am seriously looking at the affairs of state and even my life in retrospect of the legal system and our government. Major pieces of the story are unfolding before my eyes. Even while on my bed of meditation “My God” is
still on the throne performing His will in the lives of those consecrated to Him. Position yourself first in The Living God and then prepare accordingly.

The warning signs are all around us. All we have to do is open up our eyes and look at them. Almost every single day there are more prominent voices in the financial world telling us that a massive economic crisis is coming and that we need to prepare for the worst. On Wednesday, it was the World Bank itself that issued a very chilling warning. In an absolutely startling report, the World Bank revised GDP growth estimates for 2012 downward very sharply, warned that Europe could be on the verge of a devastating financial crisis, and declared that the rest of the world better “prepare for the worst.” You would expect to hear this kind of thing on The Economic Collapse Blog, but this is not the kind of language that you would normally expect to hear from the stuffed suits at the World Bank. Obviously things have gotten bad enough that nobody is even really trying to deny it anymore. Andrew Burns, the lead author of the report, said that if the sovereign debt crisis gets even worse we could be looking at an economic crisis that could be even worse than the last one: “An escalation of the crisis would spare no-one. Developed- and developing-country growth rates could fall by as much or more than in 2008/09.” Burns also stated that the “importance of contingency planning cannot be stressed enough.” In other words, Burns is saying that it is time to prepare for the worst. So are you ready?

NationalDebt1-1024x765
Our Prosperity Is An Illusion

That being said, I do believe America is in for some tough times ahead. I still believe America is the greatest country on earth, but we’ve had it too good for too long and, as a result, our nation has become sadly complacent with its finances. So much so that I believe we’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Our government is now so massive, and its obligations — both present and future — are so large that, barring a remarkable and sudden change of attitude by our politicians, a systemic economic collapse is inevitable.

The US National Debt is currently more than $16 trillion. Unfortunately, the US currently owes, depending on who you believe, somewhere between $50 and $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities for things like Social Security, Medicare and public employee pensions.

America has been able to run up these huge debts because it broke away from the gold standard in 1971. The gold standard imposed at least a modicum of fiscal responsibility and faith in the US dollar because the world’s central banks were allowed to exchange their greenbacks for the gold sitting in Fort Knox.

But once the gold standard was abandoned, our politicians were freed from the constraints that had previously forced them to be fiscally accountable. Pandora’s box was opened.

Since then, lawmakers have been borrowing an unlimited quantity of freshly-printed money to fund their spending sprees — courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank — thereby eliminating the need to worry about tax hikes.

As you can see by the chart below, government spending — and the inherent money printing that is ultimately required to finance it — is now completely out of control; the National Debt is expected to reach $20 trillion by the end of this decade.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Every new dollar that is printed by the Fed increases the money supply, which in turn reduces the value of the dollars already existence — including the ones in your wallet and retirement account.

As you can see from the chart below, soon after the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1971 — and our politicians began to greatly expand the size and scope of the government — cumulative price increases embarked upon an exponential trajectory. Those price increases are the result of the declining purchasing power of the US dollar. In fact, the buck’s purchasing power has been decimated since 1971; so much so that today you would need $559 to buy something that cost $100 back then.

Inflation-in-the-United-States-Since-18001
Clearly, abandoning the gold standard was a fiscally reckless decision, akin to giving a teenager a credit card without a credit limit. To illustrate, let’s first look at the current impacts of America’s spending addiction:

2012 Federal revenue: $2,468,000,000,000
2012 Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
2012 New debt: $1,352,000,000,000
National debt: $16,350,000,000,000
Interest paid on National Debt in 2012: $220,000,000,000
Proposed 2013 sequestration spending cuts: $ 85,000,000,000
Next, let’s drop a whole bunch of zeros from those figures to make the federal government’s ledger look at least little more like a typical household’s finances:

2012 Household income: $24,680
2012 Household expenditures: $38,200
2012 Credit card debt: $13,520
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $163,500
Annual interest on credit card debt: $2,200
Proposed 2013 spending cuts: $850
The figures reveal a dire situation. A financially responsible individual who found himself in a similar situation would drastically cut his spending while looking for ways to increase revenue.

Our politicians insist that’s exactly what they’re doing but, as you can see from the proposed spending cuts, they’re really just going through the motions, financing the nation’s obligations in the same way any financially irresponsible individual would — by taking on even more debt through the selling of US Treasury bonds.

It’s a practice that’s essentially no different than using a VISA card to pay the MasterCard bill.

The Illusion Is Unraveling

The problem is, using one credit card to pay another credit card bill only works for so long. As long as a debt addict can continue to find lenders who are willing to extend additional credit, the game can continue. But once the pool of lenders dries up, the game is over.

No, I can’t say exactly when this will happen. But it’s coming, folks — and when it does, middle-class America’s way of life will undergo a catastrophic change that will dramatically drop their standard of living forever more.

Until recently, the United States’ profligate spending wasn’t much of an issue. For years, plenty of investors — both foreign and domestic — have willingly parked a portion of their money into the perceived safety of America’s bonds. But over the long march of time, the dollar’s standing has seriously deteriorated and, as a result, foreign nations are becoming increasingly reluctant to buy US Treasury bonds because, thanks to the Fed’s near-zero interest rate policy, the risks are no longer worth the reward.

Normally, depressed demand for bonds results in higher interest rates, but so far the Fed has managed to keep bond demand artificially inflated via their quantitative easing campaigns. And the Fed is keeping US Treasury bond rates as low as possible now because interest payments on the National Debt already consume roughly 10% of annual revenue. If US Treasury bond rates increased to merely 5%, America would be forking over one-third of its annual revenue just to satisfy the interest on its $16.5 trillion National Debt; it would also be increasing its annual deficit by more than $800 billion.

The Beginning of “the End”

Although they won’t admit it, the Fed backed itself into a corner with its reckless easy-money policy. They know that once the money-printing party stops, interest rates will have to rise — and then the bond market will almost certainly crash. If that happens, things are going to get very interesting. For example:

As bond rates rise, mortgage interest rates will naturally follow them upwards. And since higher mortgage rates ultimately result in higher house payments for a given size loan, it follows that home prices will have to drop in order to keep them affordable — and the decline could be devastating.
The cost of borrowing will also go up for everyone else including small businesses, corporations, and state and local governments.
The stock market should fall as higher interest rates hurt economic growth and hurt stocks’ value.
Once interest rates start rising, a vicious cycle can ensue as higher interest rates beget larger deficits, which in turn lead to still higher interest rates. As the debt piles up, and the faith in the US dollar continues to diminish, the US will eventually reach its day of reckoning. The US will then be faced with two very unpleasant choices for solving the crisis: print away the debt or default.

Default would lead to the loss of the US dollar’s standing as the world’s reserve currency which would, among other things, cause the price of imports to skyrocket. Consumers’ purchasing power would plummet, and the government would be forced to severely cut back on its spending since it would no longer be able to finance its deficits. However, this is politically untenable.

So the more-likely alternative is that the Fed will simply print away the debt. That would result in hyperinflation as the last vestiges of the dollar’s utility as a reliable store-of-wealth all but disappeared.

What Will Economic Collapse Look Like?

While I don’t expect a Zombie Apocalypse resulting from either scenario, temporary supply disruptions caused by market uncertainties will be inevitable — and that will lead to empty supermarket shelves, fuel shortages and, possibly, utility failures that will almost certainly result in civil unrest and increased crime in more densely populated areas.

The good news is a new (hopefully gold-backed) currency will be issued and society will slowly recover. Eventually. I’m hoping it will take no more than six months before the supply chain recovers enough to eliminate most shortages.

Thankfully, tangible assets won’t go up in smoke after the economy resets; your home, automobile, and other possessions will be unaffected.

More good news: Any long-term debt you hold in old US dollars will essentially be wiped out because you should be able to retire it with worthless currency. It’s why I no longer bother trying to pay down my mortgage early.

Even so, things will never be the same for most people.

Although it’s anybody’s guess, I believe Americans will be lucky if their post-collapse standard-of-living will be equivalent to half of what it is now; worst case, one-third. That isn’t so bad if you earn $1 million per year but, if my assumption is correct, and you earn $60,000 annually, then your post-collapse standard-of-living will be between $20,000 and $30,000 today.

The ensuing economic collapse won’t be the end of the world, but it’s going to be a wild ride. Next, I’ll share some tips on how to survive an economic collapse, and get out relatively unharmed.

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A Chinese Firm Plans to Buy the Largest U.S. Pork Producer. Should You Be Worried?

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farmer2_dees

On December 8, the House of Representatives passed the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act which is the vehicle for Fiscal Year 2011 continuing appropriations and food safety legislation. This legislation puts the federal government and the World Trade Organization in control the nation’s food supply from growing your own food to selling or trading it among neighbors or friends to roadside stands to large processing plants that import or export food. This bill establishes a “Surveillance System” that can spy on farmers, gives the government authority to collect fees and requires reports from those growing food. This is essentially a food IRS putting the government between citizens and their ability to survive.

Sold as a mandate to protect the food supply from contamination, the bill contains in it the language which passed the Senate on November 30 by a 73-25 margin. It will be sent back to the Senate for approval because all appropriations bills must originate in the House. This is a lame duck tyrannical power grab by the very people Americans voted out of office on November 2. These people at the very least should be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors and tried for their insidious attempt to exercise federal and international control over the food supply of this nation. It is written as a measure of protection for the people, but language is open to absolute federal and international authority over the food supply.

Many wonder how Americans could be forced to take the mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13:16-17,

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

This legislation sets the stage for the Revelation prophecy to be carried out legally in the United States. There will now be a system established that could incentivize turning in you neighbor for growing food, allows international authority over your land, and provides a fee system that can increase food costs at will.
chinesepork
The CEO of Smithfield Foods says, ‘There will be no impact on how we do business.’

News that the largest pork processor in China, Shuanghui International, would be purchasing American-based Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion ricocheted among the food and business communities this morning.

According to The Washington Post, it “represents not only the biggest such takeover of an American company by a Chinese firm, but the first of a major U.S. consumer brand.” It also provides Smithfield, the world’s largest hog producer, with a very desirable entryway into China’s vast, pork-hungry market.

The steady stream of news about tainted food scandals in China, which range from melamine in milk to more recent examples, like 16,000 dead pigs being dumped in Chinese river, has some worried unsafe practices will be adopted stateside. Indeed, concerns about Shuanghui are valid. The New York Times reports that Shuanghui was “at the center of a meat scandal after some of its farms were found to have fed a chemical [Clenbuterol] harmful to humans to livestock.”

Smithfield CEO Larry Pope dismisses such food-safety concerns, emphasizing this deal is about American-raised pork products being exported to China—not the other way around.

“There will be no impact on how we do business in America and around the world,” Pope said in a conference call. “This is America exporting to the world.”

The company provided the same reassurance to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has worked closely with Smithfield and its customers—including McDonald’s, Burger King, Costco, and Johnsonville Sausage (which announced its commitment this morning) to eliminate the use of gestation crates in hog production. Smithfield brings 15.8 million hogs to market each year.

“Smithfield has notified HSUS that their gestation crate policy—which is worldwide—is intact,” Josh Balk, director of corporate policy and supply chain strategy at HSUS, tells TakePart.

“As bad as the pork industry is in the U.S. for animal welfare, it’s even worse in China. Our hope is that Smithfield, which has the most progressive animal welfare policy of any of the large-scale producers, will translate into an increase of animal welfare within China,” he says.

Animal welfare, of course, is only one element of large-scale animal production. Continued use of low-dose antibiotics and controversial drugs like ractopamine administered through the animal feed have been on the radar of consumers, environmental groups and foreign governments that may prohibit certain drugs used in hog production. China and Russia both ban the use of ractopamine, which is used to promote lean muscle, though it is not prohibited here in the U.S. As recently as two weeks ago, Smithfield announced they would raise half their hogs on feed free of ractopamine.

Rising feed costs also continue to impact Smithfield’s bottom line. At the Fortune Brainstorm Green event earlier this month, Smithfield’s Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Dennis Treacy said the company is concerned with the U.S.’s ethanol policy; corn makes up 70 to 80 percent of Smithfield hogs’ diets.

“We’re losing money on our hog operations at times, depending on the price of corn. Before ethanol, corn was $2-3 a bushel. Then it went to $8. Now it’s just below $6. But even at $6, it’s doubled and has a dramatic impact on us, which is why we’re looking more closely at sorghum and wheat,” said Treacy.

Even with these important hurdles, the move by the Chinese company makes sense.

“With China’s enormous population and appetite, it imports a dramatic amount of food from the U.S., partly because of food-safety concerns,” he said.
Here is a comment from a upset consumer:

This article is ridiculous. Smithfield is the corporation with unsafe practices. Screw China, SMITHFEILD is horrible. They use drugs they aren’t supposed to, practices they shouldn’t, and pay off congress to write bills that allow them to do things the American public is shocked by, in those rare cases they actually find out. You should do more research, and make this article about Smithfield and not their by out. Do the US a favor and use this moment to shine a light on what’s really happening in its own backyard when it comes to animal cruelty, chemical and antibiotic use, wasting life by killing millions of live chickens because they’re the wrong sex or grinding up the remains of animals and putting it into the feed of its friends to gain profitably fatter animals. Not to mention genetically modified foods that are soaked in deadly poisons and then fed to these animals, which are then fed to us. Please! Do more research and do another article! I’ll find what I can again and post it to you to help you start your search.

And yet another reply to this ad:

I’m sorry, but I’m not shooting the messenger, I suggested they write another article in order to let people know what is happening. This article is pushing what Smithfield wants – for people to believe that they are the good guys and that people should trust them. This doesn’t warn people about the cancer that these chemicals are giving people, or the inhumane practices of animal husbandry, or the fact that they are lining the pockets of congresspersons in order to have laws written that protect their business practices over the safety of the American people. It’s just passing on the statement’s made by Smithfield without any take on it whatsoever, which is the exact same thing as passing on Smithfield’s messages and pandering for them. You say people will know soon enough – well anyone reading this article, on this page, now knows a whole lot more. And just for more information for you, and others to look into: It doesn’t mean vegetarianism for people who do not feel that’s right for their health or lives. There are many other options. Local farmers all around the US are working hard to move their business into the standards we hope to become law one day. Buying All Natural meat is a start, and buying meat that’s Organic is the goal, though hard to find. Animals that have been husbanded properly (fresh air, open space, and real human care) that have been fed organic feed, it’s happening all over, you just have to expect to pay more and search a little. Your local farmer’s market is start, and places like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, etc. Also, looking for grocers and restaurants that obtain their products from the Niman Ranch, which is a company comprised of smaller farmers living up to these standards that use the company Niman Ranch to get their natural and organic products out to retailers easier. And you seem to think that saying what’s being used is the same thing as warning people, to which I would like to ask if you see a difference between these two things: “Amy, I just wanted to let you know there’s a guy headed your way.” and, “Amy, look out! That guy is coming after you full speed with a lead pipe in his hand!!!!”


With all the prophesies unfolding in our span of time I am convinced that our redemption draws nigh. Food, water contaminations, droughts and plagues and wars. Before you read on, please note this important point. In Matthew 24, Jesus speaks of wars, earthquakes and such things, but says these are just the “beginning of sorrows” and “the end is not yet”. Now that word “sorrows” in the original language meant “birth pangs”, the pain in childbirth. Now birth pangs speak of frequency and intensity. And as a woman gets nearer the birth, the “pangs” become more frequent and intense. This is true also for the signs of the end times. These signs began not long after Jesus’ day, and as Jesus quoted, the end would not yet be, because this was just the beginning of sorrows. But throughout history we have seen the “pangs” (signs) become more frequent and intense, culminating in the day we live in now where the pangs are so frequent and intense that we must be right at the time of “delivery”, when Jesus is about to return. So don’t let anyone fool you into believing that the signs today are just the beginning of sorrows and the end is not yet.

“The beginning of sorrows” started nearly 2000 years ago with the persecution of the early church and the destruction of Jerusalem. We are living at the end of time.
End Time Sign – MASS ANIMAL DEATHS
dead-fish
Hosea 4:3 …’Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.’

This one has become a fairly recent phenomenon. During the last few years we have seen fish, birds and other animals die in huge numbers. Since 2010, millions of fish have been turning up dead in lakes, rivers and the sea, with this deadly red tide partly to blame. Also, Birds have been dropping out of the sky in huge numbers. And we are seeing other unusual animal deaths all around the world. Including Bees and Bats dying in their millions.

Speaking of the mass fish deaths in America, Mark Flammang, a fisheries biologist said … “It’s something I’ve never seen in my career, and I’ve been here for more than 17 years.” (source)

The Honey Bee crisis deepens as evidence shows there has been a dramatic increase in die offs .. up to 50 percent of Bees are dying now, creating worry over food supply. (source)

The book of Hosea not only applied to the nation of Israel. It also applies to our day and contains prophecies concerning the state of the world we live in today. So is this text from Hosea fulfilled in our day? Is it a sign of the end times? Yes!

Many wonder how Americans could be forced to take the mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13:16-17,

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

This legislation sets the stage for the Revelation prophecy to be carried out legally in the United States. There will now be a system established that could incentivize turning in you neighbor for growing food, allows international authority over your land, and provides a fee system that can increase food costs at will.

Revelation 14:9-11 says,

“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”

No matter how hungry you are remember the promise of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:31 and 33,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink?, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?…But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Face Your Fears

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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

Sewer pipe miracle baby leaves China hospital; No charges for mother

Local media reports on Wednesday said the mother had become pregnant after a one-night stand. Unable to afford an abortion and with her partner unwilling to acknowledge it was his child, the mother took to hiding the pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes and tying strips of cloth around her stomach.

The woman who alerted authorities to the sounds of a baby stuck in a sewer pipe has admitted that she is the mother. Police are treating the case as an attempted homicide.

She then secretly gave birth to the boy in a fourth-floor public bathroom of the building where she lived, only to reportedly have the baby slip from her hands after delivery. The boy dropped into the open, squat-style toilet and slid down into the narrow 4-inch in diameter sewer pipe.

Not wanting her child, but unwilling to leave him to die in the drain, she reportedly notified a neighbor of sounds coming from the pipes, who then called police to investigate.

Firefighters were then called to gently cut the child free from the pipe using pliers and handsaws.

The mother has been subjected to near universal condemnation on Chinese social media.

The Associated Press reported that the mother had told police that she had initially refused to step forward because she had been frightened about the incident, but eventually had a change of heart and told officials she was in fact the mother.

No matter where we live or where we are from, sin is prevalent and will try to destroy us any way we allow it too. Praise God for His presence in that situation and not Buddha, but The Living God.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, “The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Israel loved to make excuses for their idolatry. They lived according to their own desires and forgot the God of Heaven, Jehovah, for days without number. Every time they would fall away, God would have to bring judgment upon them to return them to His laws.

Like we of today, the Children of Israel looked for someone else to blame for their own sin. In their search for self-justification they came up with a really cute and logical proverb that went like this: “The fathers may eat the sour grapes but the children’s teeth will be set on edge.” This meant that whatever the fathers of each successive generation did may not affect them but it would surely affect their children and grandchildren. This was Israel’s way of blaming their forefathers and even God, for the sin that they committed and the judgments they had to face. In using this proverb they absolved themselves from the penalty for their own sin and place it upon the head of their ancestors.

Just listen to any psychologist or psychiatrist and they will attempt to persuade you that criminals commit crimes largely as a result of their past environment. The blame for sin is never placed squarely on the shoulders of those who commit acts of violence or other crimes. It is always the fault of someone or something else. Perhaps it was your father, mother, aunt, uncle or some other adult who wronged you as a child and destroyed your self esteem. Perhaps it’s the peer pressure from school friends or co-workers that caused you to fall. After all, the man who loses his job as a postal worker because he was lazy and had a bad attitude, is somewhat justified in walking in and killing his former co-workers because it wasn’t his fault that he was fired, it’s their fault for being better employees than he was. I know that sounds warped but that’s the prevalent thinking of our day. The criminal has rights while the victim is looked upon as just a coincidence in the act of the crime and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices. In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.” In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J.Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime andHuman Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six.

Christians don’t act much different than those who are worldly when it comes to facing up to their sin. We love to play the blame game too. I hear people say things like, “My former Pastor didn’t teach me right”; “The church that used to attend didn’t have a good training program or Bible study class”; I was never taught that doing or saying things like that were wrong”; and I have heard other things come from the lips of Christians as well because we don’t want to admit that we have sinned and that it is us who are at fault and in need of repentance.

It’s not my fault the church isn’t growing; it’s the preacher’s fault. It’s not my fault that the rumor was spread so quickly; they shouldn’t have assumed that I would keep a secret that important in the first place. It’s not my fault that we lost a family in our church; if they had been closer to Jesus they wouldn’t have left because I said or did what I did. It isn’t my fault that they had so many skeletons in their closet that they were ashamed of.

John Killinger tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun–until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked his eye. Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. ’You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it!

Folks we can lay the blame wherever we want, but God spoke plainly to Ezekiel that “the soul that sins will be one who dies and not those who lived in the past. They will answer for their own sin and so will you. We cannot lay the blame for what we do at the feet of another person. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” It isn’t the fault of anyone else when we sin. It’s our own fault. Until we realize that fact, there can be no forgiveness of sin and when we face the Great White Throne Judgment we will have no excuse.

We can’t blame the church, the preacher or the Sunday School teacher or Sabbath School Administrator for not being good enough because we are commanded by God to study and make ourselves knowledgeable in the Word of God. We can’t blame the priest, mom and dad, or anyone else for not teaching us right, for the Word of God says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear of our Holy God and remembering that our eternal soul’s destiny hangs in the balance.

Especially now, in these New Testament times, we have no excuse for sin and we cannot lay the blame for our “sour grapes” on anyone else. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, and the Blood of Jesus Christ to wash us, cleanse us and teach us to walk uprightly before God.

Listen to the words of God to the Prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:29-34, “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

God has taken away our excuses for sin. He has taken away our excuses for not living a holy, sanctified life. God has removed the skin of our reason for not obeying his voice and revealed the lie that is stuffed inside. We stand on our own now and we cannot blame another for the sin we commit.

God has given us everything we need to be saved. He has provided a way out of our death penalty if we will only confess that we are wrong in the first place and face up to our own guilt.

We will all live or die based upon what we do with the gospel and death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking What about each of you? Has life dealt you a handful of sour grapes? Do you feel that life has been unfair? Don’t think that you are alone. All of us have felt that way from time to time.

It would be great if we could only release ourselves from the guilt of sin by placing the blame on someone or something else, but we can’t. Each of us must face up the fact that its “My Fault”. I am the one who chose to sin. No one made me do it. The Devil didn’t make me do it either. He may have brought the temptation to me, but it was my own desire and my own decision to yield to that temptation.

Only when we face up to our own “sour grapes” and confess that we are the ones at fault and no one else, can we find true repentance and forgiveness for sin.