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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Government Spending Reduces Productivity

From: The Desk of Brian M. Riedl

Most government spending has historically reduced productivity and long-term economic growth due to:

1. Taxes. Most government spending is financed by taxes, and high tax rates reduce incentives to work, save, and invest-resulting in a less motivated workforce as well as less business investment in new capital and technology. Few government expenditures raise productivity enough to offset the productivity lost due to taxes;

2. Incentives. Social spending often reduces in­centives for productivity by subsidizing leisure and unemployment. Combined with taxes, it is clear that taxing Peter to subsidize Paul reduces both of their incentives to be productive, since productivity no longer determines one’s income;

3. Displacement. Every dollar spent by politicians means one dollar less to be allocated based on market forces within the more productive pri­vate sector. For example, rather than allowing the market to allocate investments, politicians seize that money and earmark it for favored organizations with little regard for improve­ments to economic efficiency; and

4. Inefficiencies. Government provision of housing, education, and postal operations are often much less efficient than the private sector. Government also distorts existing health care and education markets by promoting third-party payers, resulting in over-consumption and insensitivity to prices and outcomes. Another example of inefficiency is when politicians earmark highway money for wasteful pork projects rather than expanding highway capacity where it is most needed.

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The Holy Spirit Speaks To Us

The Spirit shows us His suitableness to our needs as sinners; points us to Calvary, and whispers in our ears the cheering truth, that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins. (David Harsha, “The Savior’s Ascension”)

Whatever Happened To The Oldsmobile?

Oldsmobile Aurora

Oldsmobile Aurora

Last night the House passed the UAW bailout bill 237-170, with 1 voting present and 26 not voting. 32 Republicans in the House voted yes.

Quoting Gary North:

On April 29, 2004, the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan.

The Olds Cutlass had been the #1 selling card in America in the mid-1970’s. In the 80’s, Olds did well. But in the 90’s, it became a stodgy, nothing-special vehicle, stuck in between Pontiac (youth) and Buick (successful middle age). I knew it was not long for this world when an ad agency introduced this slogan: “This is not you father’s Oldsmobile!” This immediately popped into my head: “Is it my grandfather’s?”

Do you miss the Oldsmobile? Have you given it much thought?

Fast forward to today. Imagine a TV film clip of President- elect Obama. “Oldsmobile is the backbone of American manufacture.”

You would think he has gone nuts. Who cares about Oldsmobile? It’s gone. Forgotten. Unlamented.

Obama said this on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”: “The auto industry is the backbone of American manufacture.”

That sounded plausible, until we recognize the context: a proposal to bail out GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Not under discussion is a bailout of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, and other automobile companies that produce cars in the United States.

This is a proposed bailout of the equivalent of Oldsmobile. It is a bailout of firms that could not meet the test of the competitive marketplace. Ford is the best of the bunch, and its share price says, “Oldsmobile!” It was over $35 in 1999, $6 in 2003, $17 in early 2004, and then down, down, down. It is under $3 today. This is Detroit iron’s “giant.” This is its showcase.

The Big three automakers are not the backbone of the American manufacture. Rather, they are located just below the backbone.

Obama continued: “It is a huge employer across many states. I don’t think it’s an option to allow it simply to collapse.”

Not an option? Really? So, is this a one-time infusion of money? They won’t be back for more in 2009? 2010? 2011?

Not only is it an option, it is an inevitability. This is your father’s Big 3. You will pay to keep them on the road. You will pay indefinitely.

With GM going through money at $2 billion a month, with Chrysler near bankruptcy, and with Ford promising profits no sooner than 2011, they will be back for billions more before the swallows return to Capistrano.

Continue reading. . . .

Thomas Jefferson: Morality Is Necessary For Society

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

“The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.” (US President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence)

Joe the Plumber Did Not Like McCain’s Ideas Either

Joe (“the plumber”) Wurzelbacher quickly became disillusioned after he hit joeplumbergic2glvt01the campaign trail with John McCain. He even went so far as to say he felt “dirty.” Once “Joe the plumber” had a chance to get close to McCain, he did not like the answers he got when he asked questions. FOX News reports:

“When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen,” Wurzelbacher told [Glenn] Beck. “I asked him some pretty direct questions. Some of the answers . . . they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

Wurzelbacher said he stayed on the trail with McCain “honestly, because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more.”

Wurzelbacher, however, offered kind words regarding McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin.

“Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal,” he said.

Read more at FOX News here. . . .

It seems to be a truth in politics that the closer you get to candidates – the less you like them. Considering personalities, Bush Senior is often reported as the most likeable President. It is said of him that the closer you got – the more you liked him. Wurzelbacher, however, was not talking about John McCain’s personality. He was talking about McCain’s ideas on policies which would have an effect on the future of America.

This is exactly what he was doing when he spoke out on Obama’s tax plan. I wonder if some Republican bureaucrat is searching online for some dirt on Joe on the taxpayers time right now?

Let’s face the facts. Most real conservatives did not like McCain’s ideas. He is a war hero, but not a conservative statesman. His vision for America’s future was not radically distinguishable from Obama’s message. If the Republican party is to win back the Presidency, the Senate, and the House – the party must make it possible for real conservatives to win the nomination process. The disillusionment of “Joe the plumber” is representative of what conservatives are now feeling around this country.

Make Sure The Cause Is God’s

John Newton

John Newton

Quoting John Newton:

“This leads me, in the last place, to consider your own concern in your present undertaking. It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defenses were seasonable and expedient they appear to be so in our own day, when errors abound on all sides and every truth of the gospel is either directly denied or grossly misrepresented. And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry, contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which are at most but of a secondary value. This shows, that if the service is honorable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made? Your aim, I doubt not, is good; but you have need to watch and pray for you will find Satan at your right hand to resist you; he will try to debase your views; and though you set out in defense of the cause of God, if you are not continually looking to the Lord to keep you, it may become your own cause, and awaken in you those tempers which are inconsistent with true peace of mind, and will surely obstruct communion with God.” (Works, Vol 1, Banner of Truth, 1985, p. 269f.)

The Christmas Gift We Really Need

gift-box-holidayFrom: The Desk of John Piper

If someone gave me a guaranteed superduper mousetrap for Christmas last year I would have felt very little appreciation. We never had any mice in our old house. If someone gave me a guaranteed-to-catch-’em mousetrap this Christmas, I’d really feel appreciation because now we have got mice and I can’t catch them all. If you offer me a quick ride after service to the emergency room at Metropolitan Medical Center, I’ll think you are strange unless I see the gash in my arm or feel the severe pain in my abdomen. Then I would love you for the offer. If a police car screeches to a stop beside me on my way home from church some night and a man hollers for me to get in, I’ll think he is putting me on unless I see the armed gang lurking ahead around the corner.

And so it is in all of life: we do not appreciate gifts that meet no needs or satisfy no desires. We do not value or love an offer for help unless we know we are sick or endangered by some enemy. Vast numbers of people look upon Jesus and the Christmas story of His coming as a useless mousetrap, a crazy trip to the emergency room, a bothersome pickup by the police, because they don’t know that they have a terminal illness called unforgiven sin, and they don’t believe in the fearful enemy, Satan. For them, the “horn of salvation” is a useless toy. For me, it is my only hope of recovery from this deadly disease of sin that infects my soul and my only protection from Satan, the most dangerous external enemy.

For there is a real and deadly disease. “All have sinned and come short of God’s glory “(Romans 3:23). “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And there is a real and powerful enemy. “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “He is the god of this world and blinds the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). So there is a deadly disease and an awesome enemy. And every one of us will die from this disease and be devoured by that enemy if there is no horn of salvation for us.

But,

blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us … And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins. (Luke 1:67-79)

These two things make Christmas good news of great joy to all who believe. 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Hebrews 9:26, “Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Fear and guilt, the two great spoilers of life, have been taken away because Satan has been disarmed and sin has been forgiven. Hebrews 2:14 and 15 say, “Christ took on a human nature that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” And through that same death He paid the debt for our sin so that if we turn and follow Him in faith we are freed from all our guilt. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who has visited and redeemed His people by raising up a horn of salvation for us … that we, being delivered from our enemies, might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Sermon, “Jesus is the Horn of Salvation”)

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