Tuesday, March 24, 2009

# 274: The Dark Side of Debt

Before 1913, only a millionaire could live like a millionaire. When the Federal Reserve was established in 1913, it became easier for those with good-paying jobs to borrow since the Federal Reserve was now backing all banks in America. Then and now, they could live like millionaires without a penny in the bank. At this time they could live almost completely on credit by going into debt for everything possible. As long as they hung on to their jobs, all was peaches and cream.

The main culprits behind the establishment of the Federal Reserve were the wealthiest bankers and businessmen in America. Their aim was not so much to use the Federal Reserve to save our country from another financial disaster like in 1907, which was its main purpose, but to get money (interest) flowing from borrowers into the pockets of financial investors.

The New Testament (NT) is mainly a book of rules and regulations that are given exclusively to Christians so we may learn to live in a way that brings glory to God and Jesus Christ. Also, it teaches us how to live holy lives for our eternal benefit, etc. and thus we become role models for others so they also may have the same benefits.

When we don’t obey these rules, it not only displays our lack of faith and knowledge, but also leaves us prone to the repercussions for our disobedience. Ephesians 2:2: “. . . and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” One reason for ignoring Biblical rules is that some “Christians and clergymen/women” believe that some of the NT teachings are only friendly suggestions that we can take or leave, even though they wouldn’t dare to say it publicly. That is a grave mistake.

Sometimes ignoring a seemingly trivial command can lead to catastrophic consequences. One such teaching is found in Romans 13:8: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . .”

Why would the apostle Paul put down a rule that seems to have nothing to do with the worship of God, except to emphasize our debt to love one another? Because when a person borrows money (debt) for something that is not absolutely necessary, he/she is most often ENGAGING IN AN ALLUSION OF PROSPERITY. The only possible exception to this command is if an immediate medical emergency needed attention.

I can see why living like kings and queens seems quite alluring. But the dark side of living on credit is that the interest one pays monthly is money bet on a dead horse. What those in debt are doing is feeding the mouths and filling the pockets of many who are not their kin. We are talking about any kind of debt. If I were to go in debt, I would do it to feed the mouths of those in desperate need and not the rich bankers.

Buying a house on credit can be financially disastrous and is the riskiest of all types of borrowing. The nasty thing about those pending house payments is that for the first several years, ninety-some% of the house payments goes to interest. Only a small fraction goes toward paying the principal. When one buys a house valued at $100,000.00, after making payments for ten years, the principal may still be fairly close to the original buying price. And if one were “fortunate” enough to pay off a complete 30- year mortgage for that $100,000.00 home, they would have paid double or more than the purchase price. The longer the mortgage, generally, the more profit the banks make. That means those homeowners may have paid over $100,000.00 in interest.

The rebuttal to that argument is: What choice do we have other than renting? Here is an answer not most will agree with: There are three verses in Proverbs that can be an answer when modified a little. Proverbs 21:9 and 21:19, and also 25:24: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Verse 21:18 says: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.” I would change the last part of those verses: Better to live on a corner of the roof or in a desert than pay a mortgage that feeds the faces of people for many years that you will never see.

Here is a little- known tidbit: How did the word “interest,” as the interest one will pay for borrowing whatever, come to be used? Many years ago, when a person or financial institution loaned out money, the money they earned as interest was called usury—in fact, the King James Version of the Bible still uses the word “usury.” Usury implies the lender will be using the borrowers to their advantage. Someone thought the word “usury” was not the best word to describe the money the borrowers had to pay. There must be a better word that doesn’t imply a greedy transaction. They came up with an excellent euphuism: the word “interest.” What they wanted it to mean was that the borrowers had the INTEREST of the lenders, by paying them compensation for loaning the money. That is how the word “interest” came into existence as a term for the percentage owed each month, above and beyond the principal. In short, using the word “interest” means both parties supposedly have each other’s best interests in mind; instead of thinking, they are being used.

What did people do when home mortgages were not easy to obtain? There were many options: live with in-laws, live in a tent, buy a junk house trailer, sponge off of close friends, share a small rental with friends, buy whatever you can with the money you have. Certainly, none of these options would satisfy the vast majority of modern Americans who have been spoiled rotten. I am sure there are many other options that will never satisfy America’s taste to want more than the cash they have on hand. And still, genuine Christians must obey the command that teaches not to leave any outstanding debts unpaid, and for good reasons. Sure!

Let me tell you my story: I got married when I was 18 years old and still wet behind the ears. My new wife and I rented a downstairs apartment from my parents for about $20.00 a month—that was the average price for rentals in that dilapidated part of town. After a few years, I followed my in-laws to another state and lived with them in a 35-foot mobile home for a short while until we saved up enough money to buy a building lot for next to nothing. This was in the 1950s. Then we saved up more money to build a foundation. This house was very small. We saved up a little more money to do some framing. We saved up more money and bought windows and a front door. We moved into an almost unlivable house, according to standards of the time, even though it did us well, and in a little over a year the house was completely finished. We did not borrow a cent. Three years later, we sold it for $7,000.00, made some profit, and built an average- sized house with the money we made from the sale. We lived in that home for a few years and sold it for $16,000.00.

That was over fifty years ago. Since then, I have built many houses and never borrowed from any bank. In fact, I started a house-building business and never borrowed. Now I am an old man living on a small pension. I have never borrowed money for any reason. Everything I bought was with cash. Can that be done nowadays? Yes, for Christians who are aware of the potential dangers of going in debt.

You see, borrowed money feels like free money, but in its stead is money that will make borrowers into slaves, of sorts, to their taskmasters (lenders). They have to pay if they have it or not, or have whatever repossessed. Isn’t that what is happening in America today?

This tells me that a nearly secluded verse in the NT teaches us (American Christians) not to go into debt, because it can have an overpowering consequence. A good example is the potential downfall of a powerful and “rich” debtor nation--$13 trillion in debt and counting. That doesn’t sound rich to me. We are deeper in debt than all the countries in the world combined.

The problem we have created for the majority of the 20th century going into the 21st is that we thought we could defy Scriptural teaching and never pay the fiddler (God’s wrath). Well, it is catching up with us and at breakneck speed.

President Obama and the Federal Reserve believe we can solve our economic problems by going into debt. He is putting us in debt to help those who are in debt. It is very shortsighted when we borrow money to help people who borrowed more than they could afford, never thinking what would happen if a debilitating sickness or disaster occurred like being unemployed. I am not an economist, but something smells very fishy with American-type borrowing.

Even though I like Obama, it looks like he is making a serious mistake. Evidently, President Obama must not be aware of the dark side of debt. Does he realize what effect global warming will have on America in a few years? No one knows exactly how it will affect our climate, but one thing is for sure: It will not be pretty. When that potential hot weather and lack of rain is the norm, this present recession will feel like a birthday party in comparison.

There is little doubt that Obama’s economic stimulus package, along with loaning the banks over a trillion dollars, will help put the unemployed back to work, but with no thought of the debilitating stress it will cause to future generations.

At that time, the possible lack of employment will mean less revenue taken in by the IRS. When or if there is not enough money coming in to pay even the interest on that humongous debt, this country would be in the identical shape as those homeowners who made risky and possibly dishonest decisions. The only thing is that the consequence would be of a much greater magnitude—the end of America as we now know it. The countries that loaned us those trillions may take whatever they please as collateral.

The reason I give this negative view—even though the word “negative” is not a strong enough word—is because who knows what the future will bring? It is like counting one’s chickens before they hatch. I hope and pray this will not happen. Regardless of how much hope and prayer there is, they cannot stop global warming. That means Obama’s up beat (Pollyanna-ish, optimistic, fool-hearted) demeanor will not and cannot alter the pending disaster on the world, especially in a sophisticated nation like America.

Concerning auto loans, a new motor vehicle is not necessary every year or two. Put your pride aside. Fix up your present one. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. If you must buy a new vehicle, save up the money first, then buy it. Another thing: Almost any automobile, etc. will lose value very quickly; this fact almost everyone knows. When financing the vehicle, by the time the last payment is made, it will be worth only pennies on the dollar of the original price. Sounds to me like a foolish venture. That is the way it is in America.

Don’t forget that there are others means of transportation where we don’t have to go into hock: Take public transportation, get a ride with a friend, carpool, ride a bike or walk. This may sound strange to many people for two reasons. As I already have said, we are spoiled, and the other reason is that we are lazy. We all were born with a tendency to be lazy. Therefore, mark this on your thinker: Laziness is the easiest addiction to get hooked on, and possibly the most difficult to break clean of. That is the best reason we must never give in to it.

Now the stupidest investment of all—if one can call it that—is paying high interest on a credit card. The average money owed on all credit cards in America is a staggering $10,000.00; that to me is unbelievable. If you must, file for bankruptcy or jump off a bridge. Just kidding. I heard that the average interest on all credit cards is between 15% to 20%. It is no wonder that the amount of money we save in the bank is for the first time in the negative numbers. Just think how much money we could put in the bank each week if we didn’t have to pay out on the dark side of debt. It sounds to me like we Americans are a little on the stupid side.

Here is a subject not many have ever thought about: subconscious stress. Let me tell you about a checker working in a nationwide grocery chain. I am guessing she is about 55 years old. She is a very nice lady. I often chat with her whenever she has the time. For several weeks, she was walking with a limp. I asked what it was. She said she has a little pain in her knee. I didn’t think much of it. Then a few days later, as she was behind the counter, she could hardly move from the cash register to put the groceries into the bags. I asked her, “Why don’t you take a short leave of absence?” Her answer was, “and then who is going to pay my mortgage?” This poor lady was not only in physical pain, but also in a constant state of subconscious stress. This is not an isolated incident.

That silent killer, even though many are not aware of it, is tormenting nearly everyone subconsciously because of their unpaid debts. Then you wonder why there is so much sickness in America nowadays. I believe stress is the number-one killer, especially in America. And there are no statistics to prove it. Stress is normal on occasions to outwit a pursuing lion, but when that lion is chasing you all day long, a slow, sickening death is pending.

In ending, this short post may not do much good for those Christians who are in debt over their heads already, but it is Godly advice for the future. For now, they must just grin and bear it. Just remember this: I believe it is better to live on the corner of a hot tin roof with a few possessions than to feed those legitimate crooks so they can live a super easy life as you live with pain while struggling just to get by.

I believe the main actions that set off this financial and economic predicament—I call it a debt crisis—is our pride and naïveté of Spiritual matters, along with the poorly controlled, unethical practices (fraud) inspired by greed of the large financial institutions.

Friday, March 13, 2009

# 273: What Should We Look For?

It was said that there are several hundred different Christian religions in America alone. That is hard to believe. And even if that isn’t true, still there are many. Of these religions, most claim their belief system is true to the New Testament (NT).

What should a person do when deciding what the true belief system is and which ones are false? When a person desires to find the one closest to the NT (genuine Christianity), there are several things to look for. This post will give specific details to give you a better chance of deciding which one, most likely, will be the right choice.

The true Christian religion is spiritual from the start to the end. That implies that engaging in secular activities is not a part of the spiritual world--although we live in a secular world, it is prudent to do the necessary things, and if possible no more. I am not saying we should neglect certain important duties that are our responsibility, but that we should not engage in activities that do not further the cause of Christ or enchant and enrich our spiritual experience. This last sentence says a mouthful.

There are many churches that promote activities that have nothing to do with promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore are not spiritual. Some of these activities are decent and enjoyable to get involved in, but that secular participation displays signs which identify those churches as straying from the truth. Since the Christian religion is a spiritual experience, only activities which have something to do with Biblical teachings are spiritual.

Clearly, every person who claims to be a genuine Christian has been empowered with the Holy Spirit of God. That Spirit will lead us in holy ways that are not desired by the secular world. In several places in Scripture, receiving the Holy Spirit is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit; in other places, it is not.

How do we know for certain that we possess that Spirit, since there are many who claim to be indwelled with the Spirit of Christ but live lives in which it would be impossible to tell they are Christians? Answer: anyone who lives that way and does not conform with faith in Christ, love for God and others, holiness that separates us from the norm, and obedience to the Spirit’s prompting that complies with the NT, may not have God’s Holy Spirit. The spirit they have may be the spirit of the world, which is totally normal for the worldly, but not for us who have been blessed with the Spirit of God.

An even better way to be assured is if we get unique thoughts, which are the work of the Spirit that display His presence and are not conducive to our sinful human nature. When we continually obey the Spirit’s prompting, while putting aside thoughts and actions that benefit only ourselves, it is pretty good evidence to the fact that the Holy Spirit is living in us and will remain in us. It is the spirit’s presence in our lives that makes us spiritual entities/beings.

One possible exception would be when individuals are new to the faith and are sincere in a desire to be and do all that is required. Those people will receive power to live as directed when the Holy Spirit takes over their lives.

There are seven verses in the NT that use the word “mature,” which seems to indicate that when people hear about the Christian faith (the Word) and are interested, yet giving up many of life’s riches and pleasures may not sit right with them; therefore, they do not mature. These may be the ones without the Spirit. One thing is for sure: the Christian life cannot be lived as required without the indwelling Spirit. The Apostle Paul confirms this spiritual fact in Romans 8:6, which I have refereed to many times. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” By the way, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit with an uppercase S, and the Spirit of Christ, are one and the same.

Here is an interesting NT verse: Matthew 19:20: ”At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” When we are challenged to answer certain difficult questions, and we are lost for words (we don’t know the answer), this above verse may come into play. This has happened to me. I call this a small miracle; our mouths start uttering words that are not our own. Even though we will be shocked, we try not to show it. Lo and behold, our answer may be new to us, but it is according to Scripture, and has silenced our questionnaire. If and when this does happen to us, it is good confirmation to believe we are empowered with the Spirit of God. To believe these phenomena (small miracles) can really happen to ordinary Christians, it has to happen first and then we will believe it.

All human beings were born with the capacity to become spiritual beings. In fact, those who don’t take advantage of this precious gift of the Holy Spirit of God will never reach their full potential. What I mean is that regardless of what we aspire to be or to have will never completely satisfy us as long as we are still only doing and having things that are of this world. When the Holy Spirit enters a person, that person is on his/her way to start living a full and completely satisfying life. We were created for that specific purpose.

Actually, there is nothing we can do that is spiritual in nature without God’s Holy Spirit living in us. When the Spirit enters our lives, these are the most important events and the only thing that will empower us to live in a way that pleases God. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t religious people who are preaching and seem to be living holy lives that don’t possess the Holy Spirit. It is a shame to say that they are in the majority. They are the ones this blog has been exposing as frauds. It breaks my heart for the people who are hooked on (and honestly believe) their pleasant, ear-tickling gospel as the truth.

Again, it is the Spirit of God that provides the power to make genuine Christianity the vibrant religion that it is or should be. Of course, along with that, what is needed is to have humans like others and myself that are willing to obey the Spirit’s prompting to live holy lives.

Did anyone ever think what Christianity would be like, if after Christ’s resurrection, He did not go to heaven after being with His disciples for 40 days, but would continually remain with us and never age? To make certain that no one would start teaching false doctrines by ignoring many hard-edged parts of Scripture that don’t sit well with them? Of course, that would be next to impossible; the reason is that without aging and eventual death, He would not be totally human anymore. And we need a human as our role model, one who has been tempted in every way and yet without sin.

In His place, God left us humans (genuine active disciples) to do that work for Him. Then why have false doctrines plagued almost every segment of the Christian world? I would guess that not many churches want to go against the flow. This blog has been going against the natural flow of life for almost four years telling it like it is, regardless of what the clergy and other die-hard orthodox “Christians” say. This goes to show that the truth is not always pleasant to hear and abide by. Nowhere in the complete NT does it say or even imply that the Christian life would be like a walk in the park. 1st Peter 4:18: “And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Stay away from them; with all their sweet words of comfort, acceptance, etc., they will lead you straight to hell.

Another false assumption we must look out for is when a church does not require anything from its parishioners except to attend church regularly, go to mid-week study group, tithe 10% weekly and be good all week long. That is all that a majority of large denominations ask of us once we become Christians. That activity could be part of the Christian life, but by itself it is worthless in the sight of God. Christianity is a complete life change empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a spiritual life as taught by the NT.

Be suspicious of all churches that don’t emphasize studying the NT every day. I don’t mean just by reading a passage or two, but studying it as if it is a matter of life and death, which it is-- for you, you’re family and possibly others.

Don’t take any church’s word as to what is in our Holy Book; they mostly likely will leave out extremely important sections. Those sections are the ones that can make Christ’s work on the cross, valid in our lives. Those verses stress obedience to all that is commanded in the NT. Even though obedience will save no one, it is the main evidence that our belief is real. No obedience, no Salvation. If I were to count all the verses in the NT that mention the words obedience, obey, disobey, disobedient, disobeying, disobeyed, disobeys, obedience, obedient and obeying, there would be well over a hundred. How often has anyone heard the word obedience stressed and even enforced from the pulpit as to its importance in God’s plan of Salvation? Think about it!

Another thing to watch out for is the mega churches. The main reason they got so large in the first place is that they give their parishioners what they desire. They are lavished with whatever their worldly hearts desire. If they were to preach even a small part of what this blog teaches, they would cease to exist. A good example of mega churches is one of the largest churches in America, the one where Joel Osteen is pastor. He and others like him are a disgrace to real Christianity. Those who attend mega churches don’t know what is taught in the NT, even though they always have their Bibles in hand when they are attending church services.

If you forget or ignore everything in this post, please for your eternal sake, study the NT; then everyone will understand what pastors like Olsteen do not preach. As I have said many times in this blog: living the life of a genuine Christian will be the most difficult and challenging life in existence. The reason is because the teachings of Jesus Christ are totally contrary to what our sinful nature desires and what the world enjoys. This could be the reason why Christ said, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14. Also, Matthew 7:13: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a FEW find it.”

Let me end with this sobering thought: if it sounds good and pleasing to the ear, run--don’t walk--away from that church and all that it teaches.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

# 272: Modern Idolatry

Webster’s Dictionary defines idolatry as: 1, worship of idols; 2, excessive devotion to or reverence for some person or thing.

Idol: an image of a god, used as an object or instrument of worship.

In Bible days, the word ‘idol’ usually meant a statue of some creature that was carved out of wood or stone or molded out of metal. Heathens would present their request to these idols in hope that their desires would materialize. These types of idols could not see, hear or talk. And yet, to this day, there are several eastern religions that worship idols in this fashion. This type of worship, although prevalent, is beyond my understanding.

But, when the word ‘idolatry’ is defined in a modern sense as stated above in number 2, I can understand that type of idolatry. That is what we have in the world nowadays. What is the root reason for intelligent human beings to act and live in that fashion? I am certain there are several reasons, but I think there must be something missing in their lives; they want to become like the one(s) they are idolizing. Good example: “American Idol.”

In conjunction with that thought, I, for the first time, watched the prelude (the red-carpet event) of the Academy Awards on TV last night, which is Hollywood’s biggest night. I watched it only to get some information for this post. One of the announcers said there are or will be over a billion people worldwide watching this event, along with a 15% increase in viewers this year. Looks like we are heading downhill. Also, the announcer said that 36 million households in America were watching; that is a staggering number.

Viewers of movies tend to forget that they are engaging in a make-believe world. Why would anyone continually what to fill his or her live with pretend stories (fairytales) when there is so much beneficial reality going on at all times?

As of the latest survey, about 90% of people in America believe in God. Of that number, I don’t know how many claim to be Christians, but according to Holy Scripture, no Christian should be watching that kind of trash. I am certain many reading this section will think I am out of my mind to say that.

The point I am making is how many of those nominated for the best of whatever are being idolized by millions of people in America and the world. Remember: if you didn’t know it already, America and many of the people living here are the role models (idols) of the world. Then we have the audacity to call America a Christian country. Sure!

I even heard one of Hollywood’s royalties say, “I idolize him,” whoever he was. After that, I was listening to them talking about the Oscars. I believe those 12-inch statues are the most desired, if not coveted, idols in America. Then as I watched the female nominees come on center stage to get interviewed, I think they all--except one--were having a contest of how much of their breasts they could show off without displaying their nipples. We become like those we gaze at. In this case I mean the female gender.

Since about 90% of the people in America believe in God, I am certain a large portion of them who claim to be “Christians” were watching the Academy Awards. What right do they have to fill their lives with such worthless trash? Regardless of why they enjoy that kind of stuff, watching that event alone unequivocally says, “If that’s what Christians are allowed to watch, Christianity is a pagan religion.”

Then there is the worship of physical things: things in which people give excessive devotion or admiration, be what it may. I don’t believe those people would call it idolatry, and by those I mean the ones who give excessive admiration to certain precious things/objects they are proud of. Regardless, in a Christian’s point of view, it is idolatry. The reason is because they, without knowing it, value that/those object(s) as more important than God.

There is a verse in the New Testament (NT) that sheds light on what one form of idolatry really is. Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature . . .and greed which is idolatry.” Therefore, since greed is associated with idolatry, we American Christians may be in big trouble. Then, the NT teaches in Luke 12:15: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.”

As I have already mentioned several times in this blog, we don’t use the word ‘greed’ anymore; in its place we have a myriad of friendly euphemisms that make our greed look acceptable and even admirable.

In America, we are taught right from day one to reach for the top of the ladder of success. When it is put this way, it is easy to see how greed and idolatry are associated.

We who claim to be genuine Christians must check our lives to see what or whom we may be idolizing. If and when we find something or someone, we should honestly ask ourselves, why are we doing this? Then answer that question without using a favorable or acceptable euphemism or other excuses. Of course, if we just call ourselves Christians but are not, we will not accept idolatry as sinful.

Idolatry of any form displays inner emptiness of anything of real value. I am certain many will deny that charge. I can understand why anyone without much of anything of spiritual value would need to idolize or worship things or people. It gives them a false sense of reality and worth. This type of idolatrous living is of epidemic proportions in America and possibly in most industrialized/civilized nations.

Anyone who is a genuine Christian will idolize Jesus Christ and the perfect life He lived, and no one else; He is our only role model. There is not much more to be said on this subject, except we are so used to giving accolades and honor to movie stars, athletes and the like, and it is called normal in a heathen country like America--my birthplace, although I am a citizen of another world, and am earnestly looking forward to living there.

When I use the word ‘heathen’, I am including many “Christian” denominations that have strayed so far from the truth, that if and when the truth was evident, they still would not believe it. The clergy is eager to go with the flow of the world, since they, most likely, are worldly also. That is a cruel indictment, but if I keep silent, their blood will be on my hands.

The less Godly wealth we have inwardly, the more we would subscribe to anything--if even for a short while--that makes us feel happy, content and fulfilled. The result of that type of action turns out to be no more than a mirage. To have inward wealth, one must get past the allurements the physical world offers and go to the One who promises wealth of the soul; only a genuine faith in God through Jesus Christ can give that sort of satisfying reality, which leads to eternal life.

Is it fair to say that the most desired idols in America are wealth and prosperity? That is the connection wealth has with greed. The more we get, the more we want. The only thing is that wealth can never truly satisfy the inward person. Another thing is that wealth is so uncertain, as is evident by what is happening in the economic and financial sector at this time. How many people have lost much, if not everything? Having money, ”The American dream” or what is wrongfully called “the good life” as an idol and being greedy may seem satisfying, but it has unknown pitfalls (becoming God’s enemy) along with a tendency to be fleeting. 1st Timothy 6:17: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, . . .”

Another two idols the majority of Americans have are entertainment and enjoying the pleasures of life. Luke 8:14: “. . . but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” 1st Timothy 5:6: “But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” That goes for men also. James 4:3-4: “. . . that you spend what you get for your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Luke 12:19-20: “And I’ll say to myself, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. God said to him, you fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” There are several more verses that also warn about the deadly harm that indulging in pleasures can do to anyone’s relationship with God. The pleasures of life become their idol.

If the NT is correct about idolatry, and it is, then you can see why I call this country of mine a mostly pagan nation. There are times I feel like Lot when he lived in Sodom, and I am certain others do also. I don’t believe many “Christians” understand what holiness is about in America. To be holy, from God’s perspective, means to separate oneself from the secular and the ordinary.

In conclusion, can we change our idolatrous ways? The time will come when it may be too late, and disaster will be upon us. This is not my prediction. Read the 18th chapter of Revelation. See if the United States of America is or isn’t living as it predicts. 1st John5:21: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

If anyone does not agree with the above prediction, please leave me a comment and show me where I am wrong. I would appreciate it.