Thursday, July 17, 2008

English is the Language of Prosperity

I have known many people and heard of countless more who live in foreign countries, do not have plans to live in the United States or the United Kingdom, and want to learn English. They do so because they have correctly discerned that speaking English gives them an advantage. It increases one's chances to obtain a well-paying job. It provides an advantage in business involving international trade or any international relations. Perhaps, more importantly, it makes viable the option to study at generally superior American universities. It seems that everyone in the world knows thatEnglish is the language of prosperity. That is, except Americans.

'Liberals' (the Americans most illiberal) don't want to require immigrants to learn English, which by itself sounds harmless enough. However, it no longer sounds harmless if we consider the de facto alternative is to spend millions of your dollars to create instructions, signs, voice prompts, and everything else under the sun in Spanish. In this manner, 'Liberals' do want to discourage immigrants from learning English.

I do not presume to know their motives, but in light of 'Liberal' policies across the board, we may reasonably conclude that, while 'Liberals' want immigration to be unchecked, presuming that such policy will result in more votes for the Democratic Party, 'Liberals' may also reasonably surmise that educated immigrants would be more prosperous and, therefore, more likely to instead vote for truly liberal (in the classical sense) policies, which are better represented by other parties.

Most fascinating to me, and perhaps most telling, these 'Liberals' are discouraging immigrants from learning the language of prosperity.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I AM the Law!

In Mark Dever's The Gospel & Personal Evangelism, he quotes James 2:10:

    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
He adds, "The law of God is the expression of God's own character".

I extrapolate:
The Law of Moses is not a book of laws. It is not a group of individual laws. The Ten Commandments is not ten commandments. The law is one. As God is one, the law is one. To keep the law is to conform to the likeness or identity of God.

To fail at any point of the law is to break the entire one law. To violate any part of the one law is to diverge from the character of God.

If I am slightly idolatrous, I may as well have murdered because I have broken the same law that a murderer breaks and have as severely distorted the image of God in me as a murderer has done so in himself.

It's not difficult to see why this idea produces in me a deep desire for righteousness. Though it seems—it feels—most natural, I am a little surprised that it also produces in me greater love, a softer heart, and a grateful joy toward our Heavenly Father.

Jesus explains it.

    Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

    When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

    Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."

    "Tell me, teacher," he said.

    "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

    Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."

    "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

    Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

    Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

    The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

    Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
    ~Luke 7:36-50

Our perception of forgiveness is greater if we have been forgiven of what we perceive as greater sin. One implication is that we do not love if we perceive that we have nothing for which to be forgiven. Also, the more forgiven we feel, the more we love. Therefore, I love more because I see now that I have broken the whole law AND have been forgiven for having broken all of it.

You see, I have done it all! I have committed all the sins, all the crimes, offended God in every possible way. With even one sin, the entire law is violated. No part of the law remains intact! The law is one, and I have broken it.

God gave his only son into MY law-breaking hands, so that I would murder him and shed his blood. And, so that Jesus' blood—the very blood that I, myself shed—would cleanse me so that I would be as righteous as if I had never sinned, even in the slightest. By Jesus' blood, the law has been restored!

    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. ~Matthew 5:17




What if I were a Christian?

This evening, I imagined a story.
    I lived in a trailer park on a well-known pacific island. My neighbors watched me till a small patch of ground and plant tomatoes in my garden. After the tomatoes had ripened and I had already harvested some, one neighbor, an older fellow with a minor reputation for a stagnant and dissolute lifestyle, boldly, but stealthily, 'harvested' some tomatoes while he believed I was away. Through the screen on one of my windows, I saw him with an armful of tomatoes and reaching to 'harvest' more. I warmly called out, "Hey, why don't you come inside? I'll make us a salad with those."

    He did come in pretending to have done me a favor, and handed the tomatoes to me. I set some aside. I diced the rest and added cucumbers, onion, and vinegar-based dressing to make salad (or sa-LAD). After we ate and chatted, I washed the remaining tomatoes and put them in a container. I gave them to him and said, "I forgive you. Please take these and enjoy them."

Such a silly wandering of the mind has helped me to learn something. I have always wanted to be forgiving and gracious to those who sin against me. I know this is Christ's way. But, I have been an abject failure at this. I see now that I have not loved. Not only do I not love people, but I love what I have. I love the things I perceive as being mine. I cling to my things and let people go. Jesus loved people and let his very life go.

May the Lord give me the faith and the courage to let my life go. May he enable me to find in trespasses an opportunity to testify with love to His glory and power.

I see also that I have depended on myself for my security. I must stand up for myself and protect what is mine. Of course, I alone cannot provide for my own security. Neither is my security dependent on my obedience to Jesus. Only Jesus himself can provide security. Nevermind if my tomatoes are stolen or if my entire momentary, miniscule kingdom falls. I remain a ruler in the Eternal Kingdom of God!