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God’s Wisdom Found In Israel’s Usury Laws: Part 2

In my previous article I wrote about God’s prohibition to Israel against charging interest or usury in Leviticus 25.  It was such an important command that He gave it two more times in Exodus 22 and Deuteronomy 23.  To refresh our minds, please Leviticus 25:35-37 again.   Leviticus 25:35-37 35  Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.   Let’s think further about the results of charging interest, the alternatives to it, and why God made it such a point to prohibit the behavior in Israel. The first thing to realize is that lending with interest can increase the money supply.  It is common for banks to give out bank notes instead of hard currency like gold or silver. I don'

Summer Of 1994

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  The summer of 1994.  Kurt Cobain was dead.  I was in my second year at the University of Texas.  I took a test on rock and roll history the week Cobain had died. I wasn't bothered, but others in my class cried openly.  I finished the Spring semester and decided to stay in town for the summer and find work.  I worked with my friend and roommate who got me a landscaping job. Other than my friend T Jay, I worked alongside felons and illegal immigrants.  The felons told stories about distributing cocaine while working at Tyson chicken.  Skeptical.  Not skeptical.  The illegals all liked Selena, not so much for her music.  I lived just North of campus on Medical Arts Parkway.  It was a flea infested place with a failing AC in the middle of a Texas summer, brutal.  Mid-way through the summer T Jay moved back to my hometown when the felons we worked for decided not to pay us anymore.  After asking them a couple of times for the money they owed us, they left town.  It seemed like what a

My Case Of COVID

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  I hope I waited long enough to write this.  I have already had one bad turn since I was infected with the COVID virus.  But here I go, wanting to start getting this down while I am still feeling the effects. It all started on a Sunday morning.  I woke up with two things on my mind.  And only two.  I had to get up in front of my church and say a few words about why we give thanks to God.  I also had to get on a plane the next morning and spend the week away from home for work.  Everything started normally.  I went up on stage and said a few words, I talked to friends, and I helped pray for a friend who was moving out of town.  This friend had helped us start the church and been through a lot in life.  I put my hand on his shoulder as I prayed.  Like normal. What wasn't normal was how I started to feel sitting at What-A-Burger for lunch after getting my drink.  My lower back and hips ached and my energy level was obviously low.  At that point I knew I had COVID.  That's usually

God’s Wisdom Found In Israel’s Usury Laws: Part 1

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Even before the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave them the system of laws He wanted their new nation to live by.  If you read through the Mosaic Law in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy you notice that most of the laws are about how to worship Yahweh properly, how to treat each other on a personal level, and how to make restitution to victims of crime.  There isn’t much law governing their economy, but the idea in the Leviticus passage below shows up several times. Leviticus 25:35-37 35  Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. This law is about loaning money at interest.  The word usury or usurious means simply, interest.  God isn’t saying the i

The Beast Of Revelation - Part 3

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The Vision Of The Mark Of The Beast Revelation 13 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name . 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six . The idea of the Mark of the Beast has probably captured the imaginations of pop culture even more than the Beast himself.  Nothing has ignited more fear and inspired more art ranging from thought provoking to brain dead.  I found some fun comic book cover art on the subject and interspersed it through the article for your enjoyment.  You can judge where in the provoking-to-brain dead spectrum they fall.  In this article I will first address what this mark means.

The Beast of Revelation - Part 2

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The thesis of the previous article was that the Beast in Revelation is also the 4th beast in Daniel 7, so we can look in both books to learn about the Beast.  The Beast is a specific character in end time events.  But due to the composite nature of his image, we can apply some aspects to human political power more broadly whether they be kings, politburos, or representative governments. To start,  describing kings as beasts communicates something worth noting.  The word beast has a connotation of something that is wild, dangerous, hungry, and aggressive.  The beast images in Daniel and Revelation reinforce this intuition by describing the beasts as conquering, eating, and destroying.  What is true of any beast is emphasized in the image of the Beast Daniel sees. Daniel 7 7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its

The Beast Of Revelation - Part 1

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  If you take a cross section of the book of Revelation in the Bible, you will find that several different subjects come into to play.  Up front there is theology, since it's in the Bible, duh.  Next you start to notice how some of the imagery which is mentioned in other parts of the Bible comes into your microscope's focus.  That leads you to consider history.  As you continue to scan the samples on the glass slides you cut out of Revelation, you notice things like government or politics come into view.  Then you have to adjust the focus some more to think through how that applies to today. The samples of Revelation I plan to focus on describe The Beast.  You know, that character that has inspired so many mediocre B-movies and heavy metal album covers. We have all known high school drop outs who giggled any time they saw the numbers '666' scrawled on a bathroom wall.  But there are some important lessons we can learn from studying who the Beast is and what the Mark Of

Capitalism is Ethical

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A 2017 poll found that Americans under 30 preferred an economic system based on collectivism (socialism, communism, or fascism) to capitalism, 58% to 42%.  There was not an explanation for why poll participants replied the way they did.  However, when you look at today’s economy I can think of a few: Ever increasing cost for health care, higher education, and real estate Slow economic growth and the resulting lack of jobs for new college graduates Stagnant growth in salaries and wages Higher income equality between working class to upper middle class If a capitalistic economy produces the issues in that list, why shouldn’t we look for an alternative?  Can we truly say the US economic system is built with their needs in mind, when it seems like the rich and powerful are taking advantage of the rest of us?  Before I say anything else let me provide common definitions for “socialism” and “capitalism”. Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates tha

How Should We Then Live? Chapter 13: The Alternatives

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  Schaeffer started the book saying that the Roman system of gods and values was not strong enough to hold up underneath the strains of the world.  The reasons why Rome fell may be more complicated.  There were internal and external factors.  There were moral and political factors.  Still, Rome fell.  It is a matter of historical record.  Just like this Roman bridge would if an 18-wheeler drove over it.  At the same time the Christian Church survived and grew in numbers and influence.  The first part of this book gives an explanation of why that happened. Schaeffer ends the book in chapter 13, calling upon Christians to warn the West not to go down the same path as Rome.  Rome had to increasingly use force to maintain order.  Chapters 8-12 explain how Western society is devolving into a Rome-like entity held together by force and administered through arbitrary morals and laws. He warns that pressure is coming on the West in 5 areas.  He then explains there is a choice to go down one of