The Next American Revolution – The Word and the Spirit Joined – The Wedding of Purity and Power – Trump Is Consolidating Far-Right Power Globally – Honor Thy Planet – Living on a Demobilized Planet – God Gave His All By Sending Jesus
August 8th, 2019The Next American Revolution
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Fifty-one years ago, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became a martyr in the struggle for beloved community and multiethnic democracy, few imagined that he would, within a half century, achieve the status of a founding father on the National Mall. Dr. King had long been a target of J. Edgar Hoover´s FBI and was no longer on speaking terms with President Lyndon Johnson. He had been put out of his own church denomination and was rejected by many civil-rights organizations because he questioned the violence of the war economy in Vietnam. We cannot celebrate him today alongside Lincoln and Jefferson without recognizing how he showed us that America´s experiment in democracy has always required radical struggle to move us toward a more perfect union. Indeed, to honor King´s legacy today is to reread our tradition in the light of his radical witness.
King is most famous for the sermonic flourish of “I have a dream,’ which he added at the last minute to his address at the 1963 March on Washington. But the central argument of his remarks that day was that the United States had not lived up to the ideals that we had written into our founding documents. King was not naive. His appeal to constitutional ideals did not depend on a false belief that the white men who signed their names to those documents had ever been faithful to them. But King understood that what any people puts down on paper can become a basis for public accountability.
A nation founded in revolution must always remain open to reassessment in order to remain true to itself. King and the fusion movement he led forced the institutions of white supremacy to remember, as the Declaration of Independence had said, that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive…it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.’ Any law or custom that does not recognize the equality of all people under the law must be altered, King argued. This wasn´t an attack on government but an insistence that it live up to its expressed commitment “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.’ This wasn´t simply the hopes and dreams of the down-trodden. It was what America claimed to be for all people.
King´s understanding of American history saw clearly that the nation established in revolution had only survived and improved itself through Reconstruction. Whatever his intentions, Abraham Lincoln´s great achievement in the Civil War wasn´t simply the preservation of the Union but also the expansion of democracy to the formerly enslaved. His prayer for a “new birth of freedom’ at Gettysburg had been answered in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and in Reconstruction governments across the South that imagined access to education, health care, and living wages for poor black and white workers. The “Redemption’ movement that overthrew Reconstruction was, on this read, deeply anti-American, just as the resistance to civil rights that King had faced throughout the South was contrary to the fundamental promises of democracy.
This is why King´s colleague in the movement, Fannie Lou Hamer, could speak to the nation with moral authority when she asked at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings?’ The coalition of poor black and white people that had come to be seated had more constitutional right to represent Mississippi than its official all-white delegation, Hamer insisted. She was insisting that America needed a moral revolution of values in order to become what we claim to be.
What King and Hamer named half a century ago, we must find a way to make clear today. The moral and constitutional crisis we face in America is not just about Republicans versus Democrats or liberal versus conservative. It is, instead, about right versus wrong. We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of this nation. And, in a real sense, we face the question of whether America can be.
For half a century, political operatives who paved the way for Trumpism have used Richard Nixon´s Southern strategy to pit black, brown, and white people against one another. They have hijacked our moral narrative to frame narrow cultural differences as the only moral issues in public life. And they have tried to paint the resistance to their consolidation of power as “anti-American.’
We who are the heirs of King and Hamer know that we cannot remain silent while America´s experiment in democracy is trampled by those who pretend to honor its founders.
The direction of the nation must be altered when 140 million live in poverty and low wealth. When systemic racist voter suppression and gerrymandering work in collusion to keep extremists in office despite new demographic progressive majorities. We must expand health care to all, provide just immigration policies, and curb gross militarism. This is why we have relaunched the Poor People´s Campaign of 1968 to honor the work King was doing at the end of his life by insisting that it is still needed today. Our work today echoes the call for radical commitment that Dr. King noted in his last sermon, the day before his death, when he said that in the fight for true democracy, “nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now.’
Black, white, and brown, gay, trans, and straight, as people of faith and people who believe in the moral arc of the universe, we are standing together to say that America´s future depends on yet another revolution—a movement of people committed to reconstructing democracy and guaranteeing equal protection under the law for all people. This is what those who struggled before us fought and died for. We must not be satisfied with anything less. It´s our time now.
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is national president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach.
The Word and the Spirit Joined
The world awaits a move of God that truly brings together the strong, piercing preaching of the word along with miracles and healings. For too long these have been separated into rival camps. Smith Wigglesworth prophesied about a last great Revival- “There will be evidence in the churches of something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and Welsh revivals of former years…”
The Wedding of Purity and Power
by Paul Holdren
The wedding of purity and power is a concept that the Holy Spirit is promoting among believers in these latter days. As stated earlier, in the late 1860s after the Civil War, a wave of the Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind moving across the land bringing a fresh awareness of the requirements of God to live a life pleasing to Him. This was to be accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the 1906 Azusa Street outpouring in the City of Los Angeles, the church began to be reawakened to the powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit. This too was to be accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since the advent of the Azusa Street outpouring, the body of Christ has been divided into the purity and power camps.
For the past 100 years the Body of Christ has gotten as much attention from its wild fires as it has from its Holy Ghost fire. For the power camp the emphasis upon purity was almost anathema. For the purity camp the emphasis upon power was almost anathema. This was because each camp expressed doctrinal positions that were unacceptable to the other. They vehemently rejected each others’ positions. The power camp noticed that purity expressed without power became both legalistic and limiting. The purity camp noticed that power expressed without purity became both carnal and limiting. Only by the wedding of these two beautiful doctrines can the Spirit of God gain full authority and appreciation within the Body of Christ.
In the present time, the Spirit of Christ is calling the Body of Christ to be reunited in a mighty outpouring of His Holy presence – the Spirit’s wedding of purity and power. Each doctrine has something the other needs to hear, a compliment to and completion of God’s design for the wholeness of the church. The power camp needs to know of an exclusive holy love that is expressed out of a pure affection for the Holy ONE. The purity camp needs to know a holy power being expressed out of a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s gifts. The purity camp needs to share the beauty of holiness in the spirit of humility. The power camp needs to share the gifts of power in the spirit of humility. The purity camp needs to exercise the power of Christ in “signs and wonders.” The power camp needs to exercise purity in “laying one’s life down” for another. With a discerning spirit, each can benefit from the other, for these are perilous times in which we live… It is time for a wedding of purity and power.
-From “The Wedding of Purity and Power” by Paul Holdren.
Trump Is Consolidating Far-Right Power Globally
Noam Chomsky to C.J. Polychroniou
It is no easy task to make sense of U.S. foreign policy in the current era. Trump is wildly unpredictable and lacks any semblance of a coherent view of world affairs, appearing to believe that all it takes is “the art of the deal’ to turn “enemies’ into friends. Meanwhile, since Trump´s rise to power, the end of U.S. hegemony has come into sight.
In the exclusive Truthout interview below, renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky — one of the world´s most astute critics of U.S. foreign policy in the postwar era — sheds considerable light on the current state of U.S. foreign policy, including Trump´s relations with the leaders of North Korea, Russia and China, as well as his so-called “Middle East Peace Plan.’
C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, in 2016 Trump called U.S foreign policy “a complete and total disaster,’ claiming that previous administrations in the post-Cold War era were guided by unrealistic expectations that damaged America´s national interests. Since taking office, he has withdrawn the country from a series of international agreements, demanding that countries pay for U.S. protection, and seeking to advance U.S economic interests through tariffs and protectionism. These moves have led many analysts to speak of a new era in U.S. relations with the world. What´s your own take on Trump´s foreign policy?
Noam Chomsky: One of the most appropriate comments I´ve seen on Trump´s foreign policy appeared in an article in The New Republic written by David Roth, the editor of a sports blog: “The spectacle of expert analysts and thought leaders parsing the actions of a man with no expertise or capacity for analysis is the purest acid satire — but less because of how badly that expert analysis has failed than because of how sincerely misplaced it is … there is nothing here to parse, no hidden meanings or tactical elisions or slow-rolled strategic campaign.’
That seems generally accurate. This is a man, after all, who dismisses the information and analyses of his massive intelligence system in favor of what was said this morning on “Fox and Friends,’ where everyone tells him how much they love him. With all due skepticism about the quality of intelligence, this is sheer madness considering the stakes.
And it continues, in ways that are almost surreal. At the recent G20 conference, Trump was asked about Putin´s statement that Western liberalism is obsolete. Trump assumed he must be talking about California: Western liberalism. Putin “may feel that way,’ Trump responded: “He sees what´s going on. And I guess, if you look at what´s happening in Los Angeles, where it´s so sad to look; and what´s happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.’
He was asked why the U.S. alone is refusing to join the G20 in a commitment to address global warming and responded by praising the quality of U.S. air and water, apparently not understanding the distinction.
It´s hard to find a comment on foreign policy that departs from this impressive norm. Efforts to detect some coherent global strategy indeed seem to be a kind of acid satire.
Not that there is no coherent policy. There is one policy that emerges from the chaos — the kind we would expect from an egotistical con man who has one principle: Me! It follows that any treaty or agreement reached by predecessors (particularly the despised Obama) is the worst deal in history, which will be replaced by the Greatest Deal in History negotiated by the most accomplished deal-maker of all time and greatest American president. Similarly, any other action carried out in the past was misguided and harmed America, but will be corrected by the “stable genius’ now in charge of defending America from those who are cheating and assaulting it on all sides.
It makes no difference what the consequences are — terrible, decent, indifferent — as long as the imagery is preserved.
It may be recalled that a president who obtains his picture of the world from “Fox and Friends’ is not an entirely new phenomenon. Forty years ago, a revered predecessor (Ronald Reagan) was learning about the world from movies, and was so mesmerized that he even came to believe that he had taken part in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps (while not leaving California).
All of this tells us something about modern politics. But Trump can´t be compared to Reagan, any more than farce can be compared to tragedy, to paraphrase Marx.
It´s understandable that the farce elicits ridicule, and no doubt some are relishing the coming photo-op of Trump and Boris Johnson upholding Anglo-American civilization. But for the world, it´s dead serious, from the destruction of the environment and the growing threats of terminal nuclear war to a long list of other crimes and horrors.
The most dangerous immediate foreign policy crisis is the conflict with Iran, which has been deemed the official source of all evil. Iran must end its “aggression’ and become a “normal country’ — like Saudi Arabia, which is making rapid progress in Trump´s fantasy world, even “a great job in Saudi Arabia from the standpoint of women,’ he explained at G20.
The charges against Iran resonate through the media echo chamber with little effort to assess the validity of the accusations — which hardly withstand analysis. Whatever one thinks of Iranian international behavior, by the miserable standards of U.S. allies in the region — not to speak of the U.S. itself — it is not much of a competitor in the rogue state derby.
In the real world, the U.S. unilaterally decided to destroy the well-functioning nuclear agreement (JCPOA), with ludicrous charges accepted by virtually no one with the slightest credibility, and to impose extremely harsh sanctions designed to punish the Iranian people and undermine the economy. The [U.S. government] also uses its enormous economic power, including virtual control of the international financial system, to compel others to obey Washington´s dictates. None of this has even minimal legitimacy; the same is true of Cuba and other cases. The world may protest — last November, the UN General Assembly once again condemned the U.S. embargo on Cuba, 189-2 (only the U.S. and Israel voted against the resolution). But in vain. The weird idea of the founders that one might have “decent respect to the opinions of mankind’ has long vanished, and the pained bleatings of the world pass in silence. On Iran as well.
This is not the place to pursue the matter, but there is a good deal more to say about the U.S. specialty of resorting to sanctions (with extraterritorial reach) to punish populations — a form of “American exceptionalism’ that finds its place within what Nick Turse calls “the American system of suffering’ in his harrowing expose of the U.S. assault on the civilian population of South Vietnam. The right to engage in this malicious practice is accepted as normal in the U.S. doctrinal system, with little effort to analyze the actual motives in individual cases, the legitimacy of such policies, or in fact even their legality. Matters of no slight significance.
With regard to Iran, within the government-media doctrinal system, the only question that arises is whether the victim will respond in some way, maybe by “violating’ the agreement that the U.S. has demolished, maybe by some other act. And if it does, it obviously will be deemed to deserve brutal punishment.
In commentary made by U.S. officials and media, Iran “violates’ agreements. The U.S. merely “withdraws’ from them. The stance is reminiscent of a comment by the great anarchist writer and Wobbly activist T-Bone Slim: “Only the poor break laws — the rich evade them.’
Analysts have tried hard to detect some grand strategy behind the U.S. assault on Iran, another exercise in futility. It´s easy enough to detect the goals of the thugs surrounding Trump: for Pompeo and Bolton, the goal is to smash the miscreant — from a safe distance, so that it isn´t costly for us. And damn the consequences. Trump himself seems to see it quite differently. Whether he in fact called off a military strike because of his compassion for 150 possible victims, who knows? The only evidence comes from a source that is not famous for its credibility. But it seems clear that he doesn´t want a war, which would spoil all the fun and games that he is so greatly enjoying, and would harm his electoral prospects. It´s far better to go into the elections facing the cosmic threat of an evil enemy that only the Bold and Courageous Leader is able to confront, not any of those weak-kneed Dems, surely none of those “mere’ women. Reagan grasped the principle as well when he boldly faced the threat of Nicaragua, strapping on his cowboy boots and warning that Nicaraguan troops were only two days´ march from Harlingen, Texas, and declaring a national emergency because of the extraordinary threat to the security and survival of the U.S.
This is not the place to pursue the matter again, but in the background of the Iran conflict are some unmentionable facts. The alleged threat of Iranian nuclear weapons can readily be overcome by adopting the demand of the Arab States, Iran, and in fact virtually the entire world, to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region, a policy to which the U.S. and UK have a unique obligation, and which the U.S. regularly blocks — for reasons that are hardly obscure: If the U.S. were to officially acknowledge the existence of Israel´s nuclear arsenal, the huge flood of aid to Israel would be illegal under U.S. law, and of course, Israel´s weapons of mass destruction cannot be subject to inspection.
What about tariffs? “Tariff man’ tells us that the tariffs are designed to promote U.S. economic interests, but whether he believes it or not, or cares, we have no idea. Political pronouncements can rarely be taken at face value, and Trump is not notorious for his truthfulness and credibility.
There is, to put it charitably, scant evidence for Trump´s boast that his tariffs are forcing China to pour “billions of dollars’ into the Treasury Department. “We never had 10 cents coming into our Treasury’ under past administrations, he explained. “Now we have billions coming in.’ In the real world, the costs of the tariffs are borne by U.S. companies (which may choose to compensate by reducing wages) and consumers, burdened with a highly regressive tax that targets mostly less affluent. In brief, Trump´s tariffs are yet another one of his policies to harm American workers and the poor.
It is, however, true that “billions’ are involved. A study by the New York Fed with Princeton and Columbia Universities estimates that U.S. companies and consumers have paid $3 billion a month in additional taxes because of tariffs on Chinese goods and on aluminum and steel from around the globe, in addition to a $1.4 billion in costs to U.S. companies related to lost efficiency in 2018.
The tariff war against China may lead to some shifting of assembly operations from China to Vietnam and other countries with even lower labor costs, but as for the U.S. economy, more typical is the decision of Apple a few days ago to shift Mac Pro computer assembly from Texas to China.
Trump´s tariff wars seem to relate primarily to domestic policy, crafted with the coming election in view. He has to somehow convince his voting base that he is the one man in the country protecting battered Americans who are suffering from the “carnage’ created by his predecessors — which is real enough for a great many Americans, as illustrated dramatically by the astonishing decline in life expectancy among white working age Americans, attributed to “deaths of despair,’ a phenomenon unknown in developed societies. Trump´s trick is to wave a big club and threaten others with dire consequences unless they stop torturing poor America and agree to “play fair.’ When we take all this apart, a different picture emerges, much as in the case of the ominous threat of Iran. But what matters for the con game is the “alternative reality’ that the conjurers are concocting.
With no little success. It´s a mistake to “mis-underestimate’ Trump (to borrow W. Bush´s neologism). He is a canny demagogue and manipulator, who is managing to maintain the allegiance of the adoring crowds that believe he is standing up for them against the hated elites while also ensuring that the primary Republican constituency of extreme wealth and corporate power are doing just fine, despite some complaints. And they surely are, in fact, making out like bandits with help from Trump and his associates.
It is quite remarkable to see how effectively alternative reality is created. Iran is typical, but the successes are far broader. Consider the charge that “China is killing us,’ stealing our jobs, joined by “Mexican robbers.’ How is China killing us? Did China have a gun to the head of CEO Tim Cook of Apple, ordering him to end the last vestige of production of Apple computers in the U.S.? Or Boeing, or GM, or Microsoft, or any of the others who have shifted production to China? Or were the decisions made by bankers and investors in corporate boardrooms in New York and Chicago? And if the latter, is the solution to wave a fist at China or to change the mode of decision-making in the U.S. — by shifting it to the hands of stakeholders, workers and communities, or at least giving them a substantial role, as democratic theory would suggest? It seems a fairly obvious question. Oddly, it isn´t raised, while the official mantra persists unperturbed.
It´s claimed that China imposes unfair conditions on investors, demanding technology transfer (following the pattern of development of others from England and the U.S. to the East Asian tigers). Perhaps so. If Apple and others don´t like these conditions, they´re free not to invest in China. Worshippers of free enterprise and the market should surely agree.
Another charge is that China is unfairly pursuing an industrial policy that subsidizes favored industries. If so, U.S. political leaders and analysts should be cheering. According to the economic doctrines they profess, China is harming its economy by departing from the optimal free market mode of development, thus contributing to U.S. economic hegemony. What´s the problem?
Somehow, that´s not what we hear. Nor do we hear much about how this is normal policy in Western state capitalist societies, notoriously in the U.S. throughout its history, and dramatically since World War II, the basis for the creation of today´s high-tech economy, and continuing today.
What appears to be a more credible charge is that China is violating the intellectual property rights regime (TRIPS) established in the World Trade Organization. Suppose so. Several questions arise. One is: who gains, who loses? To a large extent, American consumers gain, while Big Pharma, Microsoft, and others granted exorbitant and unprecedented patent rights under TRIPS suffer some reduction in their enormous profits. That leads at once to another question: Is the TRIPS regime legitimate? True, it was established by interstate agreement, but who made those decisions? Did the public have any role, or even know what was happening? Hardly. The misnamed “free trade agreements’ are more properly described as investor-rights agreements, often with little relation to trade in any meaningful sense, and not surprisingly, serving the interests of their designers in the investor class.
Other elements of the “China is killing us’ complaints actually make sense. Concern is often openly expressed that Chinese progress might leave the U.S. behind — for example, that Huawei´s cheaper and superior technology may give them an “unfair advantage’ in establishing 5G networks. Plainly that has to be stopped, U.S. officials argue, along with Chinese economic development generally. Their concerns are reminiscent of the 1980s, when superior Japanese manufacturing techniques were undermining inefficient U.S. enterprises, and the Reagan administration had to intervene to block Japanese imports by “voluntary export restraints’ — where “voluntary’ means “agree or else’ — and other devices to enable backward American management to catch up.
Without proceeding, while there are some detectable strategic objectives, much of what is offered and discussed is concealing something quite different. And there is good reason to agree that the sight of experts seeking to detect some grand strategy behind Trump´s antics is “the purest acid satire.’ But there is a strategy. And it is working quite well.
C.J. Polychroniou: One of Trump´s stated objectives behind his understanding of diplomacy is to “turn enemies into friends.’ Is there any evidence that he is actually pursuing such a diplomatic objective? I have in mind, in particular, the cases of North Korea and Russia.
Noam Chomsky: In this case, the stated objective seems real. It elicits ridicule and bitter condemnation across the mainstream political spectrum. But whatever Trump´s motives may be, the general policy makes some sense.
The Panmunjom Declaration of the two Koreas in April 2018 was a highly significant event. It called for the two Koreas to proceed toward amicable relations and eventual denuclearization “on their own accord,’ without the external interference that has often in the past undermined what seemed to be initiatives with some promise: repeated interference from the U.S., as the historical record shows, facts commonly evaded in reporting. In this Declaration and related agreements, as discussed by Korea specialist Chung-in Moon in the main establishment journal Foreign Affairs, for the first time the two Koreas laid out specific timetables and took concrete and promising steps toward reduction of tensions and disarmament — developments that should be welcomed and supported.
To his credit, Trump has largely adhered to the request of the two Koreas. His recent meeting with Kim at the demilitarized zone, the symbolic border crossing, and possible tentative agreements are steps that with goodwill could have salutary consequences. They might facilitate efforts of the two Koreas to proceed on the difficult path toward accommodation and might offer a way to relieve the sanctions that are blocking badly needed aid to the North and contributing to a major humanitarian crisis there. All of this may infuriate commentators across the spectrum, but if there is a better way to bring peace to the peninsula and to take steps toward denuclearization and reform within the North Korean dictatorship, no one has yet informed us about it.
Putin´s Russia need not be turned into a “friend,’ but cooperative relations with Russia are a prerequisite for survival. Trump´s record on this score is mixed. Mattis´s Nuclear Posture Review (February 2018) poses very severe threats, escalated since by the unbelievable decision to carry forward development of hypersonic weapons. Adversaries are doing likewise. The right approach is diplomacy and negotiations to prevent a suicidal course, but there is not a hint of that. The same is true of the INF Treaty negotiated by Reagan and Gorbachev, which significantly reduced the risks of terminal war. Each side claims that the other is violating the treaty. The right approach is to have neutral analysts investigate the claims and to negotiate an end to such violations as are discovered. The worst approach is to withdraw from the treaty, as the U.S. is doing, with Russia following. The same considerations hold for the other major arms control treaty, New Start. Throughout, it seems that John Bolton, consistent in his malevolence, has succeeded in blocking progress and driving policy in directions that are extremely ominous.
C.J. Polychroniou: What´s your assessment of the Trump administration´s Middle East plan? And how instrumental is Jared Kushner´s role in this?
Noam Chomsky: I presume that Kushner is the main architect, as reported. What has been released so far is fairly straightforward, and consistent with earlier policies of the administration authorizing Israel´s takeover of the Golan Heights and development of Greater Jerusalem, all in violation of Security Council orders (backed at the time by the U.S.). At the same time, the meager U.S. aid to Palestinians has been terminated on the grounds that they do not thank the boss politely enough when he is undermining their most elementary rights.
The Kushner plan carries this forward. Israel is to be granted the fondest wishes of its expansionist leadership. The Palestinians are to be bought off by development funds provided by others (not the U.S.). The essence of the Trump-Kushner “Deal of the Century’ was captured succinctly by Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon, in The New York Times: Palestinians should realize that the game is over and “surrender.’
Then there can be peace, another triumph of the “great negotiator.’
In this case there is an underlying strategic objective: to consolidate the alliance of reactionary states (the oil monarchies, Egypt, Israel) as a base for U.S. power in the region. That is by no means something new, though earlier variants had somewhat different forms and were less visible than today.
These objectives fall within a broader strategy of forming a global reactionary alliance under the U.S. aegis, including the “illiberal democracies’ of Eastern Europe (Hungary´s Orbán, etc.) and Brazil´s grotesque Jair Bolsonaro, who among other virtues, shares with Trump the dedication to undermine prospects for a livable environment by opening up the Amazon — “the lungs of the earth’ — to exploitation by his friends in mining and agribusiness. That´s a natural strategy for today´s Trump-McConnell Republican party, well ensconced to the far right of the international spectrum, even beyond the European “populist’ parties that were not long ago considered a contemptible fringe.
C.J. Polychroniou: Without asking you to play the role of a Cassandra, how do you think history will assess Trump´s stance on climate change, which is by far the biggest global challenge facing the world?
Noam Chomsky: To borrow from Wittgenstein, with a slight tweak, “Whereof one cannot speak politely, thereof one must remain silent.’
C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism´s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout´s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthout and collected by Haymarket Books.
Honor Thy Planet
Rich Wilkerson Sr.
Have You Forgotten This Ancient Biblical Mandate?
The environment, climate change and sustainability have all become political buzzwords. Politicians argue about how we can produce the material goods we have become accustomed to while reducing the negative impact producing those items has on the earth. The problem is that they make little progress, because taking care of God’s creation is not a political issue. It is a biblical and spiritual issue each of us should be taking to heart.
The creation account in Genesis 1 is only 31 verses long, but that chapter should have a profound impact on our lives. In those verses, we not only see each step of creation, but we see God’s joy and satisfaction as each stage is completed. Understanding what God did in creation is something that still challenges humans today. We are constantly discovering new species of plants and animals, both living and extinct. We strive to understand how the ecosystem works, and we are just starting to realize how our lifestyles can impact that fragile system.
Genesis 2 goes into more detail about the garden, and it looks at Adam and Eve’s role in taking care of their surroundings. God expected Adam and Eve and their children to serve and keep the garden He had made. They were His original stewards who were given authority over the earth. Their authority was not just to rule; it was to care for, protect, nourish and honor God by taking care of what He created for their enjoyment and good.
What it means to be a steward has largely been lost in our culture. Most of us only have a superficial understanding of stewardship. A steward manages the resources of his or her master, ensuring that all of the elements work together in harmony. The steward is the ultimate responsible party. But a steward is more than an employee. Every decision is made in the master’s name.
This is the authority God gave Adam and Eve in the garden. He gave them the power to act in His name as they cared for all He created. This is the crown of honor He bestows on you and me (Ps. 8:5). He gives us the authority to care for His creation in His name. The question is: Are we caring for it?
God trusts us to represent Him on this earth, which is both an honor and a burden. He made us stewards of His creation, and we are required to fulfill our duties as stewards as part of our relationship with Him. Unfortunately, many are not fulfilling the duties of that role. Rick Warren said, “We cannot be all that God wants us to be without caring about the earth.”
We cannot properly read the Word of God and not conclude that taking care of creation was a mandate for mankind from the beginning. Nor can we conclude that God does not care about the environment. In fact, there are over a thousand references to the earth and caring for creation in the Bible. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The Hebrew word translated “work” in this verse is abad, which means “to serve.” Adam and his family were placed in the garden to serve God’s creation. The phrase “take care of it” comes from the word shamar, which “indicates a loving, caring, sustaining type of keeping.”
This means the major responsibilities of the humans in the garden were twofold: communion with God (honoring Him through their relationship with Him) and taking care of (honoring) His creation. Those responsibilities were never removed from Adam and Eve’s descendants, even though they lost their place in the garden. Their work became more physical; they no longer had easy access to food; and pain and suffering entered their lives. But they were still called to honor the land and the creatures around them.
Over time, however, humans started to forget their responsibility, turning instead to sin and thus angering God (Gen. 6:5-7). Thankfully, God found one righteous man on the earth, and so He decided to give humanity a second chance.
Noah’s story includes the promise of a covenant between God and all of creation. In Genesis 9:9, God granted a promise of a continued relationship with humanity. But then He went one step further, reminding Noah of his responsibilities and of God’s bond with creation. God said His covenant was “with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth” (Gen. 9:10).
Though God has given us authority over creation—the authority of stewards who serve—we don’t actually own the earth. For that matter, we could make a case that we don’t really own anything at all. God owns all of creation, which is a fact found throughout Scripture.
Psalm 24:1 tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Psalm 104 is full of beautiful imagery showing God’s provision for creation. God states in Job 41:11b, “Everything under heaven belongs to me.” And the apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15–16 that everything was created through Christ and for Him.
Paul speaks further about creation in Romans 1:19–20 (ESV), saying that what can be known about God has been made plain to all humans “because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
God’s glory revealed through creation is woven throughout Scripture. God’s original plan for creation was one of complete harmony, and that harmony will be finally restored one day. The harmony was lost with Adam and Eve’s fall. Prophecies throughout Scripture, however, show that God’s plan is to restore that harmony. Isaiah 11:1-9 speaks of God restoring the interdependence and harmony He intended for all creation.
Some believe that when Jesus returns, the old earth will be destroyed and a new earth created in its place. However, I believe Isaiah 65:17-25 makes it clear that the new earth mentioned in Scripture is not a replacement for the old earth—it is a renewal of the present earth. In Joel 2:18-27, we read of the restoration of all of creation, which is proof of God’s compassion for humanity and for all of creation, revealing how we can be redeemed and restored as well.
The prophecies continue into Revelation. John’s vision includes God dwelling with us in a restored and redeemed creation (Rev. 21:1–5). He will completely remove the curse from the land, restoring it to its original design and us to our place in the garden.
We need to understand that creation is a vital part of God’s mission. When we care for all God has created, we are truly living as He desires. We are living with honor.
Honoring creation is not just about recycling and not littering. It cannot be relegated to participating in a single project each year. Rather, we must act deliberately to protect our world and leave it healthy and flourishing for the next generation.
As the late Billy Graham said, “The growing possibility of our destroying ourselves and the world with our own neglect and excess is tragic and very real.” The only way we can stop the destruction and conserve what we have is if more followers of Jesus take an active role in honoring creation.
Paul de Vries, president of New York Divinity School, said, “However we treat the world, that’s how we are treating Jesus, because He is the cosmic glue.”
This idea adds a whole new dimension to honoring creation. By honoring creation, we are honoring the Lord. If we can reduce the impact of culture on our lives and focus more on honoring the Lord, then honoring creation should become a part of that process.
This is certain: We can no longer ignore the damage being done to our planet. Habitats are disappearing due to deforestation and growing cities. Pollution is dangerous for wildlife and for us. J. Matthew Sleeth, author of Serve God, Save the Planet, said, “A problem exists, one as meaningful and real as a sinking ship with billions of passengers aboard. The earth is our ship, an ark for everything that lives. It is the only vessel available to carry humans through the ocean of space, and it is rapidly becoming unseaworthy.”
A large part of the problem is the increased consumption our culture advocates. More and more resources are used to manufacture goods. As those goods are produced, the factories and transportation of the goods contribute to pollution. Once the products are used and consumed, they contribute to the growing waste problem.
When we honor creation by caring for it, we allow the unbelievers of the world to see God’s handiwork. God’s kindness is what leads us to repentance, and the earth and everything on it are examples of His kindness. How can anyone look at the soaring mountains, hear the heart-shaking crashing of the ocean or hold a giggling baby and not be in awe of God’s handiwork? According to Paul, the ability to see God in everything leaves us without an excuse for our sin (Rom. 1:20). Everywhere we look, we are reminded of God’s compassion and kindness.
We must protect what God has given us to care for. If we are acting in His name, then we must act responsibly, with great love and care. We may have lost access to that wonderful Garden of Eden for now, but each of us is still responsible for honoring God’s creation through our stewardship.
So how do we live an honor lifestyle and become effective stewards for God? First, we need to truly understand what our stewardship is protecting. Taken as a whole, the beauty and complexity of our world is awe-inspiring and overwhelming. So let’s look at just one part. Let’s look at flowers.
If you can, take a moment to go look at a flower. Really study the details—the silky softness of the petals, the small bits of pollen on the stamen, the healthy green of the stem and leaves. Note that each part serves a purpose. The green leaves and stem provide food for the flower. The colorful petals and the nectar attract pollinators that take the pollen from flower to flower, ensuring more flowers for the future. Now think about the various kinds of flowers on the earth. Scientists estimate there are about 400,000 different species. And flowers are only a small portion of the plant and animal life God has created.
The sheer scale of God’s creation is difficult to comprehend. The oceans cover 70.8 percent of the earth and hold 97 percent of the water. The depth of the water averages 2.4 miles, but at its deepest point it is around 6.2 miles. Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is only around 5.5 miles tall. That means if it were rooted in the deepest part of the ocean, it wouldn’t even reach the surface.
Looking at creation as Jesus would have us do is a humbling experience indeed. It brings home the power of our God.
The second step to living an honor lifestyle as stewards of God’s creation is to understand what is holding us back. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and allowed sin to become part of their existence and thus ours. One of those sins is selfishness, which creates an attitude of self-gratification regardless of the consequences. Sin affects every part of our lives. Since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden, humans have started using the earth in new ways. Not once in Scripture do we see God condemning us for our use of the earth, but over time the godly stewardship we are called to has drifted away.
In order to live an honor lifestyle, we must take active steps to care for God’s creation. We need to be mindful of our consumption and the impact we have on our surroundings. We must look around us with an eye to the complex system God built. We must begin to care more for those around us, including the animals, the environment, our communities and our own front yards. Individually, we cannot solve complex issues such as climate change, air pollution or extinction, but we can make a difference as stewards of creation if we just perform one honorable act at a time.
Rich Wilkerson Sr. is the founder of Peacemakers and the senior pastor of Trinity Church in Miami, Florida.
Living on a Demobilized Planet
By Tom Engelhardt
Planet of the Surreal
Turning 75 in the Age of Trump
As I turn 75, there´s no simpler way to put it than this: I´m an old man on a new planet — and, in case it isn´t instantly obvious, that´s not good news on either score.
I still have a memory of being a camp counselor in upstate New York more than half a century ago. I was perhaps 20 years old and in charge of a cabin of — if I remember rightly — nine-year-old campers. In other words, young as they were, they were barely less than half my age. And here´s what I remember most vividly: when asked how old they thought I was, they guessed anything from 30 to 60 or beyond. I found it amusing largely because, I suspect, I couldn´t faintly imagine being 60 years old myself. (My grandmother was then in her late sixties.) My present age would have been off the charts not just for those nine year olds, but for me, too. At that point, I doubt I even knew anyone as old as I am now.
Yet here I am, so many decades later, with grandchildren of my own. And I find myself looking at a world that, had you described it to me in the worst moments of the Vietnam War years when I was regularly in the streets protesting, I would never have believed possible. I probably would have thought you stark raving mad. Here I am in an America not just with all the weirdness of Donald Trump, but with a media that feeds on his every bizarre word, tweet, and act as if nothing else were happening on the face of the Earth. If only.
A Demobilizing World
In those Vietnam years, when a remarkable range of people (even inside the military) were involved in antiwar protests, if you had told me that, in the next century, we would be fighting unending wars from Afghanistan to Somalia and beyond I would have been shocked. If you had added that, though even veterans of those wars largely believe they shouldn´t have been fought, just about no one would be out in the streets protesting, I would have thought you were nuts. Post-Vietnam, how was such a thing possible?
If you had told me that, in those years to come, the American military would be an “all-volunteer’ one, essentially a kind of foreign legion, and that those who chose not to be part of it would endlessly “thank’ the volunteers for their service while otherwise continuing their lives as if nothing were going on, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had also pointed out that economic inequality in America would reach levels that might have staggered denizens of the Gilded Age, that three Americans would possess the same wealth as the bottom half of society, that a CEO would, on average, make at least 361 times the income of a worker, and that for years there would be no genuine protest around any of this, I would have considered it un-American.
If, in those same years, you had assured me that, in our future, thanks to a crucial Supreme Court decision, so much of the money that had gushed up to the wealthiest 1%, or even .01%, of Americans would be funneled back, big time, into what still passed for American democracy, I would have been stunned. That a 1% version of politics would essentially pave the way for a billionaire to enter the White House, and that, until the arrival of Bernie Sanders in 2016, protest over all this would barely be discernable, I certainly wouldn´t have believed you.
In sum, I would have been amazed at the way, whatever the subject, Americans had essentially been demobilized (or perhaps demobilized themselves) in the twenty-first century, somehow convinced that there was nothing to be done that would change anything. There was no antiwar movement in the streets, unions had been largely defanged, and even the supposed “fascist’ in the White House would have no interest in launching a true movement of his own. If anything, his much-discussed “base’ would actually be a set of “fans’ wearing red MAGA hats and waiting to fill stadiums for the Trump Show, the same way you´d wait for a program to come on TV.
And none of this would have staggered me faintly as much as one thing I haven´t even mentioned yet. Had I been told then that, by this century, there would be a striking scientific consensus on how the burning of fossil fuels was heating and changing the planet, almost certainly creating the basis for a future civilizational crisis, what would I have expected? Had I been told that I lived in the country historically most responsible for putting those carbon emissions into the atmosphere and warming the planet egregiously, how would I have reacted? Had I been informed that, facing a crisis of an order never before imagined (except perhaps in religious apocalyptic thinking), humanity would largely demobilize itself, what would I have said? Had I learned then that, in response to this looming crisis, Americans would elect as president a man who denied that global warming was even occurring, a man who was, if anything, focused on increasing its future intensity, what in the world would I have thought? Or how would I have reacted if you had told me that from Brazil to Poland, the Philippines to England, people across the planet were choosing their own Donald Trumps to lead them into that world in crisis?
Where´s the Manhattan Project for Climate Change?
Here, let me leap the almost half-century from that younger self to the aging creature that´s me today and point out that you don´t have to be a scientist anymore to grasp the nature of the new planet we´re on. Here, for instance, is just part of what I — no scientist at all — noticed in the news in the last few weeks. The planet experienced its hottest June on record. The temperature in Anchorage, Alaska, hit 90 degrees for the first time in history, mimicking Miami, Florida, which was itself experiencing record highs. (Consider this a footnote, but in March, Alaska had, on average, temperatures 20 degrees warmer than usual.) According to figures compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), not just that state but every state in the union has been steadily warming, compared to twentieth-century averages, with Rhode Island leading the way. Europe also just experienced a fierce heat wave — they´re coming ever more often — in which one town in southern France hit a record 115 degrees. India´s sixth-largest city, under its own heat emergency, essentially ran out of water. The sea ice in Antarctica has experienced a “precipitous’ fall in recent years that shocked scientists, while a glacier the size of Florida there seems to be destabilizing (bad news for the future rise of global sea levels). As a NOAA study showed, thanks to sea-level rise, flooding in coastal American cities like Charleston, South Carolina, is happening ever more often, even on perfectly sunny days. Meanwhile, the intensity of the rainfall in storms is increasing like the one that dumped a month´s worth of water on Washington, D.C., one recent Monday morning. That one turned “streets into rivers and basements into wading pools,’ even dampening the basement of the White House — and such storms are growing more frequent. Oh yes, and the world´s five hottest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with 2019 more or less a surefire add-on to that list on a planet on which the last 406 consecutive months have been warmer than the twentieth-century average. (By the end of the month of January 2019, that same planet in only 31 days had already set 35 records for heat and only two for cold.) And that´s just to start down a longer list of news about climate change or global warming or, as the Guardian has taken to calling it recently, the “climate emergency’ or “climate breakdown.’
In response to such a world, sometimes — an exaggeration but not too much of one — it seems as if only the children, mainly high-school students inspired by a remarkable 16-year-old Swedish girl with Asperger syndrome, have truly been mobilizing. With their Friday school strikes, they are at least trying to face the oncoming crisis that is increasingly our world. In a way the adults of that same world generally don´t, they seem to grasp that, by not mobilizing to deal with climate change, we are potentially robbing them of their future.
In that sense, of course, I have no future, which is just the normal way of things. Our lives all end and, at 75, I (kind of) understand that I´m ever closer to stepping off this planet of ours. The question for me is what kind of a planet I´ll be leaving behind for those very children (and their future children). I understand, too, that when it comes to climate change, we face the wealthiest, most powerful industry on the planet, the fossil-fuel giants whose CEOs, in their urge to keep the oil, coal, and natural gas flowing forever and a day, will assuredly prove to be the greatest criminals and arsonists in a history that doesn´t lack for great crimes — and that´s no small thing. (In those never-ending wars of ours, of course, we Americans face some of the next most powerful corporate entities on the planet and the money and 1% politics that go with them.)
Still, I can´t help but wonder: Was the Paris climate accord really the best the planet could do (even before Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of it)? I mean, at 75, I think to myself: Where, when it comes to climate change, is an updated version of the Manhattan Project, the massive government research effort that produced (god save us) the atomic bomb? Or the Cold War version of the same that so effectively got Americans onto the moon and back? It was possible to mobilize at a massive level then, why not now? Imagine what might be done in terms of renewable energy or global projects to mitigate climate change if the governments of Planet Earth were somehow to truly face the greatest crisis ever to hit human life?
Imagine being the Chinese government and knowing that, by 2100, parts of one of your most populous regions, the North China Plain, will likely be too hot to be habitable. Grasping that, wouldn´t you start to mobilize your resources in a new way to save your own people´s future rather than building yet more coal-fired power plants and exporting hundreds of them abroad as well? Honestly, from Washington to Beijing, New Delhi to London, the efforts — even the best of them — couldn´t be more pathetic given what´s at stake.
The children are right. We´re effectively robbing them of their future. It´s a shame and a crime. It´s what no parents or grandparents should ever do to their progeny. We know that, as in World War II, mobilization on a grand scale is possible. The United States proved that in 1941 and thereafter.
Perhaps, like most war mobilizations, that worked so effectively because it had a tribal component to it, being against other human beings. We have little enough experience mobilizing not against but with other human beings to face a danger that threatens us all. And yet, in a sense, doesn’t climate change represent another kind of “world war’ situation, though it´s not yet thought of that way?
So why, I continue to wonder, in such a moment of true crisis are we still largely living on such a demobilized world? Why is it increasingly a Trumpian planet of the surreal, not a planet of the all-too-real?
Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He runs TomDispatch.com and is a fellow of the Type Media Center. His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).
© 2019 TomDispatch. All rights reserved.
God Gave His All By Sending Jesus
Jesus gave His all to God by agreeing to come down to earth to fulfill the calling and ministry God had for Him. He gave His all by walking with God and abiding in Him each day here on this earth, being led by God´s Spirit throughout His entire lifetime, one day at a time. God gave His all by sending His only unique Son to earth as a sacrifice for each and every one of us down here so that we might enjoy the privilege and opportunity to fellowship with Him as we live this life He has given us.
God also wants us to give our all to Him. If we´re going to bear fruit for God we´re going to have to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, or our ministries, the gifts he has given us, and follow Jesus, as it says in Luke 9:23. Just as Jesus was led by the Spirit, we need to be led by the Spirit. Just as Jesus was following God, daily, we need to follow Jesus, daily. Just as He was faithful daily, we must be faithful daily.
We won´t take anything with us into heaven if we live for ourselves. If we accept Jesus as our savior we will receive salvation, though. This is explained in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Verse 12 says, “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, or with wood, hay, or straw, each man´s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man´s work. If any man´s work which he has built upon it remains he shall receive a reward. If any man´s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.’ God not only wants us to receive salvation but to bear fruit for Him. John 15:4-5 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I am him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.’ In order to bear fruit for Him, we must abide in Him. To abide means to be in close fellowship with Him and to be in tune with His Holy Spirit. John 10:27 says, “ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ As we fellowship with Him, we will learn to hear His voice as He bids us do this or that. I think we are all learning, hopefully, to do this at this time. We want to be about His business, whatever it is during the day that He wants us to do.
John 12:24-26 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’ (Ephesians 1:3-14).
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you’ (Ephesians 4:30-32). “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins’ (Colossians 1:9-14).
In closing, we know the enemy of our soul is engaged in trying to discourage us in any manner he can. Let the realization of these scriptures burn in your heart with the plan that God has for you in the Body of Christ, His Church. It may be painful smoothing off the rough edges to get to the priceless jewel He is creating in each and every one of us. But, if we will be faithful, the victory has been won, so let´s enjoy the race knowing he walks beside us each step of the way. What a joy, what a promise, what a victory. he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am there shall My servant be also; if anyone serves Me the Father will honor him.’ The Bible says here that in order for us to bear fruit for Him we must die to self. The word ‘hates´ here needs to be explained a little. It comes from the Greek word ‘miseo´ which apparently means choosing or elevating one value over another or loving someone or something less than someone or something else. So I don´t think it means here that we hate our lives but rather we are choosing our lives, and our likes, and all the things that we want to do, over and above what the Holy Spirit is trying to lead us to do during the day. It´s like when you go outside and the birds are singing but you don´t hear them because your mind is so focused on the jobs and the things that you´re doing. But if when you go outside you´re focusing on hearing those birds singing while you´re doing your jobs you´re amazed at what you weren´t able to hear before. It´s the same with listening to the Holy Spirit and hearing His voice. If we´re so focused on all the things that we want to do we aren´t able to hear that still small voice of the Spirit asking us to do such and such a thing, or say something to someone He wants us to speak to. “If anyone serves Me let him follow Me.’ If we wish to serve Him we must learn to follow His leading and to hear His voice.
There´s a scripture made into a song that says, “If you want to be great in God´s kingdom learn to be the servant of all.’ Learn to be the servant of all! Jesus was the servant of all! He came, lived, and died for us that we might all have the glorious opportunity of walking with our Creator, our Heavenly Father. God made this entire universe for us in this specific time in history. Don´t miss out on this opportunity because you are selfish. Everyone is selfish. That is just our nature. But let´s learn to die to self and God will make us truly happy! Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ God is the only one who knows how to make us truly happy. He wants us to be happy and fulfilled but it can only come through knowing and walking with Him! Fulfill the ministry that He has given you! Evie Tornquist wrote a song with a line in it that says, “Live for Jesus, that´s all that matters!’ We are here because God wanted fellowship!
God wants us to be about His business serving others. He wants us to do this during our normal lifetime. Whatever it is that we do during the day we can speak the words that He wants us to speak, to see people in the way that He wants us to see them, and to be about our jobs as His representatives and ambassadors. This can be a daunting task. The good news is He promises to give His Holy Spirit to help us to do it! Luke 11:13 says, “…how much more will your Heavenly Father give of the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him.’ And Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit’. He commands us here to be filled with the Spirit! This makes it all possible! He has given His Spirit to us so that it is God´s own Spirit that is working in us and through us. All things are possible with God and He is inside us working in us. “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13). “…and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. This power is in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He has put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all’ (Ephesians 1:19-23). The very power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is working in us, living and abiding in us, daily, and He wants to work through us by His Holy Spirit. Let´s walk with Him and take Him along with us each and every day on our adventure of life.
God gave His all to and for us. Jesus His Son gave His all by coming to earth and dying on the cross for us. Let us also choose to give our all to God as we daily walk this earthly sod for Him. To quote another Evie Tornquist song called ‘This Life´ she wrote, ‘This life that I´ve been given, is but a moment´s time. This life I have received it, as a gift from Your hand. Let all my days reflect, Your precious, holy name. Everything that I do, let it glorify You, my Savior, and my God!´ May this be the desire of our hearts!
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version)