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CLARITY – 4-18-18 Death Still Certain…Taxes? Not So Much

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-18-18

 

Death Still Certain…Taxes?

Not So Much

 

What’s Happening:  “Today the IRS promises to have everything up and running…well, at least by Thursday..9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days…the IRS (probably the most hated of the federal agencies) assures U.S. taxpayers. The problem was with (only...allegedly) their e-file system…a computer glitch or overload? https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2016/02/03/irs-computer-problems/79792890/. ‘The IRS is still assessing the scope of the outage.’’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Is this good news or bad news?”

 

Biblical Response:  “Probably just news. There will likely be no difference unless you are like the majority of taxpayers…reluctant procrastinators. Of course, we do have the fairest system around…we get security, highways, a court system, etc…. Still, I have a few questions…like how come if I owe the IRS, I am charged interest; but if they owe me, how come they pay no interest? Just asking.”

 

“Christians? We should pay our taxes (Mk. 12:16-17). A careful reading of that scripture doesn’t, however,  get us off the hook with God UNLESS we make Him the recipient of our very selves. Taxes and the first death are certain (Rev. 20:6). After that? Well, that’s up to you.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to see our tax system as the worst on planet earth…except for all the others; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-17-18 The Search for ET

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-17-18

 

The Search for ET

 

What’s Happening:  “NASA will launch (next Monday) its next ambitious exoplanet telescope satellite, actually designated a Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) at 6:32pm from Cape Canaveral. It will analyze the effects of transits made by planets as they go in front of light coming from stars ‘nearby’ (in galactic terms). Since the first planet outside our solar system was discovered in 1992, there have been well in excess of 2,000 such potential incubators of life discovered (https://www.yahoo.com/news/nasa-launch-next-big-step-164204518.html).  Previous attempts at planet-hunting have only looked at postage stamp portions of our universe (10 degrees by 10 degrees). TESS will examine all 360 by 360 degrees.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “So maybe ET does really exist…”

 

Biblical Response:  “Sorry to disappoint. Even if ET, though really a fictional character in a movie by the same name (1982),  were a colloquialism for all creatures extra-terrestrial, the possibility of life being discovered on a distant world is less than remote (read: impossible). For the scientifically inclined, it defies Mendel’s Law. For the biblically inclined…we know better (read the article in ETHOS, pgs. 331-335).”

 

“Christians? Do we believe in the pursuit of scientific advancement, or exploring the universe? Absolutely! Christians will, if history is a good predictor, enjoy the benefits of both…however, as a discoverer of things our Creator created or of laws He set in motion. Life didn’t evolve…at least not carbon-based life. Things have a tendency to devolve, not evolve. We’ve got an explanation for that, too (Rom. 5:12; 8;20-23).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to look at the universe through  a biblical perspective and have the right paradigm for our discoveries; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-16-18 Orban’s Orbit

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-16-18

 

Orban’s Orbit

 

What’s Happening:  “When Prime Minister of Hungary Victor Orban won re-election last week (in a landslide that likely yeilded him a ⅔ majority in their Parliament), it was a repudiation of ‘The United States of Europe’ concept in favor of an anti-immigration ‘Europe of sovereign nations’ ideal, an endorsing of his far-right Fidesz party (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-election-orban/hungarys-orban-to-seek-eu-of-strong-nations-after-landslide-re-election-idUSKBN1HH12A). ‘“The Hungarian people have defined the most important issues: these are the questions of immigration and national sovereignty,’ said Orban.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “And what happens in Hungary matters to me how?”

 

Biblical Response:  “Living in myopic America may make most contemplate personal navels, but the increasing interconnectedness of our world in the 21st century means that every butterfly wing’s flap has its consequence.  In other words, what happens in Hungary may be uninteresting to some, but it does make a difference. Likely, what has happened in Hungary’s election is a reflection of Trumpism…a sweeping away of the old guard to make room for the new. Brexit, the election of Macron (of France), an exit by the U.S. from the pact on Climate Change, and now the election of Orban should be seen as examples of this. I’m not saying it’s altogether a good thing…or a bad thing…it’s just a thing.”

 

“Christians? Baron John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) was the first to say it, but ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Whether it’s Trump, Macron or Orban, power is only checked by power.  ‘We the people’ must make our voice heard (Matt. 18:20).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to make our voice heard but not stridently…softly, but insistently; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-13-18 A Higher Loyalty

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-13-18

 

A Higher Loyalty

 

What’s Happening:  “Although former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, is not due to be released until next week, reviews and quotes are already beginning to appear. Comey tries to explain his actions, conversations he’s had with Obama, Trump and the Hillary Campaign, etc. Who knows what the truth really is? (https://www.yahoo.com/news/whats-james-comeys-book-235458827.html). Comey writes, ‘We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Will we ever really know the truth?”

 

Biblical Response:  “We may already know the truth…but do we know we know the truth?…probably not. Or the question might be raised, ‘Whose truth?’ If you ask Trump, it’s one thing. If you ask Hillary, it’s another. If you ask Comey, it’s still another. (and honestly, they’ve believed their own hype for so long, maybe they can’t even recognize the absolute truth). ”

 

“Christians? Sure, we know there’s ‘A Higher Loyalty.’ God is the higher loyalty and He knows the absolute truth (Jn. 8:32). What is ‘absolute truth?’”

 

“Let me illustrate it this way: There is an argument that ensues between two guys. Both are watching a roofer put on shingles a quarter of a mile away. As he strikes the nail there is a delay in the report of the sound. One guy says to the other, ‘Bet you can’t tell me when he’s striking the nail.’ The other guy argues, turning around, he can even do it without looking.

 

“‘Now’… ‘and now’…timing his ‘now’ with the blows as he hears them. The other guy smiles. ‘You have it all wrong because light travels faster than sound. You think he’s hitting the nail when you hear it, but I can see when the blows really occur.’”

 

“Another guy, who’s been standing nearby pipes up, ‘You’re both wrong. The event actually occurs even sooner than the light reveals.’”

 

“‘Yeah,’ the second guy admits, ‘But you’d have to be in the hammer and in the nail to know that.’”

 

“‘Exactly!’ He exclaims.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us not get too bogged down or deceived by the difference in the perspectives of various witnesses to ‘truth.’ Your absolute truth is all we trust;  in Jesus’ Name, amen.”   © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-12-18 Family First

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-12-18

 

Family First

 

What’s Happening:  “When Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan,  announced yesterday that he would not seek reelection…that he was resigning after his term was up, Democrats cheered, no doubt, but those sounds were probably drowned out by cheering from his family. Although Democrats are calling it ‘fleeing a sinking ship,’ he said he doesn’t want to be known by his kids as a ‘weekend Dad’ (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43729218). ‘You all know that I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly,’ Ryan said. ‘But I have given this job everything. I have no regrets whatsoever for having accepted this responsibility. But the truth is, it’s easy for it to take over everything in your life, and you can’t just let that happen.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “You mean I have Nancy Pelosi to look forward to?!”

 

Biblical Response:  “Let’s hope not…even if the Democrats win the 23 seats necessary to flip the House (and nearly 30 Republicans have resigned – some term-limited by their state), they still have to elect a Speaker and it’s not clear that Pelosi would win. Also, as far as legislative progress is concerned, there are over two dozen Senators up for reelection and 24 of them are Democrats. ”

 

“Christians? Although we might hate to see a young (48) clean-cut conservative Republican go, we can sympathize with him. Family must come first (Gal. 6:10), but it’s hard to lose a calm voice amidst so much shouting…SUCH DRAMA! ”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help our leaders to navigate their mixed priorities successfully;  in Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-11-18 Free…Sort Of

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-11-18

 

Free…Sort Of

 

What’s Happening:  “Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, faced off 44 Senators who grilled him yesterday in 5 hours for the selling of personal data by Cambridge Analytica. Although he often spoke agreeing on the need for proper regulation (even agreeing to submit a list of proposed regulations), his main response was that he was sorry that Facebook had been so slow and he promised to do better. Facebook’s “free” service is paid for by advertisers (http://www.wired.co.uk/article/mark-zuckerberg-testimony-highlights-facebook-congress). In responding to Senator Hatch’s question if Facebook would always be a free service, he said, ‘Senator, yes. There will always be a version of Facebook that is free. It is our mission to try to help connect everyone around the world and to bring the world closer together.’

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “As long as I don’t have to start paying to show who I had lunch with…”

 

Biblical Response:  “According to Zuckerberg, probably not…though you might have to be willing to surrender information on your buying habits. As economist Milton Friedman popularized, ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ That’s why Facebook is free. It might have been Zuckerberg’s youthful desire to ‘connect everyone’ that first motivated him as a student at Harvard, but now he has 2 billion users across the planet and algorithms that tell his advertisers their likely buying habits…and that’s worth a lot of money. Will their be abuse? In this world of hackers and AI (Artificial Intelligence)…of course. Will the public be safeguarded? If Zuckerberg wants his company to continue to exist. ”

 

“Christians? Hopefully, we are not so naive as to believe that Zuckerberg (or anyone) has only altruistic and pure motives (Rom. 3:23). We should be open to businesses making a reasonable profit (after all, competition in a free market economy usually takes care of that), but we also must realize that Milton Friedman was right (Gal. 6:7).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, give our Senators the persistence and wisdom to look out for our interests;  in Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-10-18 Cohen Raid “Disgraceful”

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-10-18

 

Cohen Raid “Disgraceful”

 

What’s Happening:  “The FBI raided several (four warrants were issued) offices of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, late yesterday  amid Trump’s cabinet-level discussions on the U.S.’s reaction to Syria’s alleged chemical attack. He termed the raid “disgraceful” and a “witch hunt” that he said may have started as soon as he got nominated for President in 2016 (https://www.axios.com/trump-blasts-fbi-raid-on-michael-cohen-as-disgraceful-situation-1523312632-f2fe7944-7b87-415a-b904-c6afd0cc9600.html). The President said, ‘They continue to just go forward and here we are talking about Syria, we’re talking about a lot of serious things … and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. Actually it’s much more than that. You could say right after I won the nomination it started.’

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I sure hope he’s not too upset over the raid to make decisions as Commander in Chief.”

 

Biblical Response:  “Probably not…a President is elected because he’s capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Seriously, has there ever been a time when Trump has only faced ONE crisis? He regularly juggles the ambitions of: Iran, Russia, China, North Korea (to say nothing of the border wall, Turkey, ISIS, trade deals, etc.). I’m sure what he might term a witch hunt and Syria can just be taken in stride. ”

 

“Christians? We have to be careful not to conflate the challenges we face. If we come home from the office and take our frustrations with things over which we have no control (our boss, the price of our competitor’s products, etc.) on those  things over which we think we do have some control (our spouse, the kids, the dog), we may just be giving in to anger…which is by itself, not a problem. However when it leads to sin (Eph. 4:26), not so much.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, we need You to manage the emotions of our leaders and give them the courage of their convictions;  in Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-9-18 Peace at What Price?

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-9-18

 

Peace at What Price?

 

What’s Happening:  “A successful missile attack, likely taken by Israel, resulted in Russian and Syrian accusations of first France, then the U.S. (both have drawn a red line in the event of Syrian use of chemical weapons) for the sarin  gas attack that killed at least 40 in rebel-held East Ghouta. Several countries have called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council (https://apnews.com/d965ed6a364f46fd9888acb9001de501). The Syrian government, of course, denied the claims of using chemical weapons saying,  ‘The army, which is advancing rapidly and with determination, does not need to use any kind of chemical agents.’”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “There is no excuse, if true, for using chemical weapons!”

 

Biblical Response:  “If true?! Children coughing up blood is not enough proof?! I will agree that there is no excuse or reason…except the blatant ignoring of international conventions… for the use of chemical weapons. Assad has never let world opinion govern his actions and the Russians (as evidenced by their recent attempted murder in the U.K. by a nerve agent) are a bad influence as an ally. ”

 

“Christians? While we are not for war and all its collateral damage, as Solomon wisely said, there is ‘a time for war’ (Eccl. 3:8). Some people do not listen to reason (OR follow convention). Those people must be spoken to in a language they do understand. When any dictator deems it too expensive (powerwise) to take an action he will desist…and not until. Let us pray that God will speak to Assad and Putin before we have to…then again, maybe we’ll be His mouthpiece.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, let peace prevail, but not peace at any price; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-7-18 Draining Camelot

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-7-18

 

Draining Camelot

 

What’s Happening:  “The release of the new film (Chappaquiddick)by director John Curran is getting rave reviews and dredges up an old Camelot story many have forgotten, never knew, or were just too young…but it’s still a thorn in the Democrats’ side (https://decider.com/2018/04/06/chappaquiddick-true-story-behind-the-movie/).  It might be good to read this short article before you see the movie…though there are no surprises in this “Swamp 2.0” treatise.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “There must be something to the ‘Kennedy curse.’”

 

Biblical Response:  “No more than the curse that comes with all pride… Sure,  Joseph Kennedy, Jr. (the elder brother of JFK) was killed when his bomber blew up in 1944, President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, and five other Kennedy’s before and since have met their Maker by strange means (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9271425/Timeline-the-Kennedy-Curse.html), but that’s to be expected when your pride and wealth puts a target on your back.”

 

“Christians? We know all about curses and wealth (or we should – Gen. 3:14; Rom. 8:17). Again, the Superheroes mantra: “With great power comes great responsibility.” We are happy to wield the influence, but forget that integrity is the reasonable expectation of the ruled (Tit. 2:7).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to remember that integrity is impossible within a flawed system…that it is only a new nature (Your Nature) that is capable of that; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 4-6-18 No Mystery to Me

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 4-6-18

 

No Mystery to Me

 

What’s Happening:  “The YouTube shooter is a perpetrator seeking a motive – not that there aren’t plenty willing to assign one. Nasim Najafi Aghdam was from Iran…seems obvious, doesn’t it? Islamic terrorism…except for one thing…she’s not a Muslim. Some have suggested (without offering proof) that she was an illegal immigrant or a robot or a transgender woman or a woman out to prove women are capable of gun violence, too…anything that fits their narrative (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/04/05/the-youtube-shooter-fits-the-most-important-narrative-of-all/?utm_term=.b55b6b1a1667). Could it be that she was just an evil person? Of course, you’d have to admit first that evil exists…and that doesn’t fit the narrative, either.”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What are you saying? That good and evil exist?!”

 

Biblical Response:  “YES! And you should be scared…very scared! Actually, I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the bad news: evil exists and it is powerful. Now, the good news: God also exists, He’s good, and He’s more powerful! I don’t know what was going through Nasim’s mind. Sure, she was demented, No one commits such a heinous act when they are in their right mind. But what was her primary motivation? Vengeance against a company that she perceived had done her wrong? Perhaps. (One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t the gun that made her do it – or a car, a truck, or a nerve agent? Those are only means…what was her motive?) Could it be that she was being influenced more by the bad news than the good news?”

 

“Christians? We all want to point the finger at something…an ideology, at some means, or at society in general. But there’s a mirror in front of us (James 1:23). It’s called the Word of God. That which tells us of a standard by which all actions are to be judged, recommends a course of action we seldom take…that of looking at the other fingers pointed back at us, We may not have pulled the trigger, or have steered the wheel, or released the gas…but we all have a responsibility of overcoming evil with good (Rom. 12:1).”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, we need Your help in getting the Good News out to others…and in overcoming evil with good; in  Jesus’ Name, amen.” © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent