November 2011

ALWAYS a Proper Order..&#46Managing your time

Work, school, homemaking, balancing a budget, supporting and encouraging my marriage…the list goes on and on! What to do first? Do you tell your husband “hold that thought” so you can tend to the children? Do you tell God you will have to talk to Him later, as soon as you finish talking with your daughter? The essence of smart time management rests on the understanding that there is ALWAYS a proper order when it comes to prioritizing demands on our time.

Corinthians 14:40 “let all things be done decently and in order”. Order helps to establish calm in our lives. It is imperative for our spiritual health and our mental sanity that we put all things in proper order. That proper order is to always place God first, and all else can follow. We are told in Mat 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

During the construction of the tabernacle, God gave specific instructions for the exact order in which things were to be done. He did not give them vague guidance, “just make sure you complete everything”. No, there is always a proper order in which things should be done! Exodus 40:1-5: “ then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying … you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting…you shall bring in the table and arrange the things that are to be set in order on it… you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.  And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle…

Order does not only mean we pray and study first thing in the morning and then check it off our list. You must not say to yourself, “ I am done, I did it first, now I can move on”. God has to be first in ALL that we do. Throughout the day when having a conversation, make sure that conversation is pleasing to God. When you are asked to complete a task, make sure your attitude is pleasing to God. Mothers, make sure you are leading your children daily with Godly love AND Godly discipline.

Let’s learn from the story of when Christ visited the home of Mary and Martha. Luke 10:41: “And Jesus answered and said to her Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things. But one is needed and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her.” Mary was placing listening to Christ before the serving of the people. That was RIGHT order. God always wants us to have Him, and only Him first in our lives.

A Busy Mom

French Lifestyles, German Money

All debts come due. Ultimately, nations and individuals reap what they sow…this is the law of reality (Galatians 6:7). It applies in our personal financial lives and it applies to entire countries.

The financial union of the Euro zone has just received their “notice of delinquency” letter from reality. The turmoil we see currently playing out at both the political and financial levels is a stark reminder that credit is a tool of growth not a crutch for greed. The bottom line of this turmoil in the Euro zone is a war of competing philosophies. The “Southern” European view of a life consisting of an all inclusive resort of enjoyment, free of the grip of worry or toil versus the “Northern” European view of practicality, frugality and moderation.

Headlines are filled with reports of the financial struggles of countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy yet the true battle lies in the political and philosophical battle between France and Germany for control of Europe. France wants the credit card in the name of Paris with a billing address of Berlin.

Germany yearns for rules to govern the currency of the Euro; France desires rules also but rules without consequences for breaking those rules. I would proffer that there exists absolutely no agreement in Germany of letting decision-making regarding the Euro currency fall into the hands of France and its wayward cousins in Southern Europe. The crux of the question is who will lead Europe? Will France use history to shame Germany (WW I & WW II) or leverage Germany’s export driven economy of which France is the largest buyer of German goods to continue to live beyond its means by way of Germany’s purse strings. Or will Germany accomplish its historical aims without ever firing a shot?

A common currency without a common culture and world view is a temporary papering over of truths in the name of purposeful ignorance in order to live a material lifestyle a people desires yet can ill afford. A mere look at the mottos of each nation is quite instructive as France defines its motto as “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” while Germany lives under the auspice of “Unity, Justice and Freedom”. The timeless idiom of the Golden Rule applies here one would believe, though with a slightly different spin. He who has the gold makes the rules.

Germany possesses “gold,” unity and a cultural desire for justice, France has debt, fraternity, and a cultural nostalgia for equality. A philosophical battle looms.

Germany favours “more Europe, not less”

Until recently there was much reticence amongst European leaders to broach the subject of greater consolidation in Brussels of finances and power. However, at a Christian Democratic Union party meeting on Monday Chancellor Merkel said that Europe presently faced its “toughest hour since the second world war” and that “a radical change in thinking was needed in Europe to overcome the eurozone debt crisis”, according to the Financial Times. The radical change in thinking Chancellor Merkel was proposing is what she described as “more Europe, not less” – greater European integration.

Until recently Chancellor Merkel didn’t have the domestic political capital to make such proposals – more Europe has always been seen by the German populace as Germany bankrolling the “club-Med” states. However, as the reality of the eurozone crisis has hit the German public, it has become clear that there is no longer a choice: Germany must help its struggling European counterparts, knowing that if one fails the whole European project is at risk. So, now we are starting to see the beginnings of Germany’s quid pro quo.

Chancellor’s Merkel’s proposals (and her party) are numerous. Most notable was the proposal to introduce a new financial transactions tax – the so-called Tobin tax – in the 17-member eurozone. This would be a significant step towards providing Europe with a financial independence from its member states that it has not previously enjoyed. As well as this step towards fiscal union, members of the CDU included a radical political union reform proposal – the direct election by EU voters of future presidents of the European Commission. Also proposed was the consolidation of certain fiscal controls in Brussels – amongst other things the power to impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet agreed budget guidelines.

While Chancellor Merkel is reportedly for “more Europe not less”, the same cannot be said for Britain’s Prime-Minister David Cameron. He too views this crisis as an opportunity for reform of Europe and is said to support closer union within the 17-member eurozone that Britain is not a part of. He realizes that he doesn’t have a choice – Britain needs a strong eurozone as much as Germany. But in respect of the 27-member European Union which Britain forms a part of, his reform proposals stress deregulation and repatriation of power from Brussels to member states – apparently contradictory aims.

But while Britain remains a chicane in the road for Germany, it is unlikely to be a roadblock. As Prime Minister Cameron remarked this week at the London Lord Mayor’s banquet, if Britain wants to keep its seat at the EU negotiating table, it will risk becoming further removed from the Brussels power-base if the core eurozone group consolidates leaving it in the second-tier group of EU members. But if it doesn’t agree to German reforms, Germany may not be prepared to loosen the purse strings for its fellow eurozone members. Britain may not have much choice but to agree or leave the EU, and Prime Minister Cameron has made clear for now that leaving the EU is not an option.

Eye on Europe

THANKSGIVING - SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Recently a relative sent me pictures taken from America’s national archives of life during the depression years of the 1930’s and 40’s. They were pictures from across America of our distressed citizens going about their lives during tough times. Many of the pictures portrayed people in ordinary settings that demonstrated their social activities, their work, and their family life. I noticed it was rare to see someone smiling. The quality of life was in most instances very grim in comparison to what we enjoy today. I could relate to some of what I saw. I was born in 1946 and things weren’t so great when I was a child either. I see similar pictures of my very early life with family around me. No one was smiling much then either. But things soon began to change.

I have read stories about some of my ancestors. They came to America in the early 1600’s, arriving in a boat from Holland. They were not wealthy by any means, and their first home in the new world was most likely in a root cellar, dug into the ground. That sounds so foreign to how we live, but those people were willing to put themselves through great deprivation and hardship to attain the wonderful opportunities they hoped were waiting for them. It is my understanding they found what they were looking for, and they became a reasonably successful family.

America, unlike most nations, was founded by people like my ancestors who were not only looking for opportunity but were also fleeing oppression and religious persecution. The nation was given stability by those wise enough to establish her laws upon Biblical principles, and was given strength by God’s favor. Many of our citizens who have served this country are quick to recognize that today. Though she was not perfect, America excelled because she acknowledged God’s protection – our national motto clearly states, “In God we trust.” And many still proudly proclaim “One nation under God” as they recite their national Pledge of Allegiance. Many proclaim this, but too many are forgetting their humble beginnings as they allow a different spirit of greed, perverseness, and rebellion to sweep over our land.

With Thanksgiving coming along in just a few days, maybe it’s time we give thought to how much living in America has done for us. This is a land designed to have long arms that can embrace the many who are seeking a better life. Aren’t we all living proof of her generosity, no matter how we arrived on her shores? I say that, believing America was planned by our creator to give comfort and blessings to those He knew would be longing for freedom and opportunity and who would be willing to work hard for it. The nation has shed vast quantities of blood in order to secure those privileges for all her citizens.

Thanksgiving is a time set aside by our own people to turn inward and reflect upon the blessings we have received. It’s a pause we need in our busy lives that begs the question – To whom and for what are we thankful? We should all try to answer that, and as we do, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at those pictures I mentioned earlier. They are amazing and also very sobering. You can find them at http://extras.denverpost.com/archive/captured.asp. I hope you will take a moment to look at them. It just might change your outlook for the coming year.

Israel Cyber Attacks Iran

Iranian security has uncovered evidence of the Duqu computer virus — found to be infecting computers at Iranian nuclear sites. The virus is called, “Son of Stuxnet” by cyber experts. Duqu appears, based on its code, to have been written by the same authors as the Stuxnet virus that was used to cripple an Iranian nuclear-fuel processing plant.

Both virus’ are widely believed to be the work of Israel and the United States. Experts who looked at the program were awed at its ability to penetrate Iran’s highly protected security system without the malware being detected.

Duqu secretly penetrates computer systems.  The virus then creates “hidden” weaknesses that can be exploited to destroy the networks at any time its creators believe is best. The Duqu Trojan Horse records every keystroke used on a system, allowing it to learn passwords to systems inside the network, making future penetration much easier.

Israel and Iran have been at war for some time.  Iran uses proxy terrorists to strike civilians.  Israel uses assassination and sophisticated cyber-war tactics to attack Iran.

The question is:  Will the war escalate to include aircraft strikes and troop clashes.

The Bible tells us that there is a spirit war going on in a parallel world that we do not see.  After Daniel had been fasting to seek greater understanding, God sent an angel to speak with him (Daniel 10:10–12). The angel gave Daniel an explanation about why it had taken him so long to answer Daniel’s prayers. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia” (vv. 13–14).

Later, this same angel relates further details of the unseen spiritual world. “Then he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince’” (vv. 20–21).  Michael is the prince watching over Israel (Daniel 12:1).

Clearly, this passage is speaking of spirit wars. It is describing the struggle that goes on behind world affairs in the spirit world. That Prince of Persia (Iran) exists today.  Satan is stubborn in his pursuit to stir up trouble against Israel.

Steven LeBlanc

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