Sunday, September 30, 2018

Luke 6:31-36

Luke 6:31-36


As you want other people to deal with you, you must also deal with them in the same manner: for, if you love those who love you, what grace do you receive in return: for, even sinners love those who love them.  If you only do good to those who do good to you, what grace do you receive in return: for, even sinners do this same thing.  If you only lend to those of whom you expect repayment, what grace do you receive in return: for, even sinners lend to sinners, hoping for repayment of the debt.

But you must love your enemies, do good, lend, hoping for no repayment[1]; then your reward shall be great, you shall also be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

You must therefore be merciful, just as your Father is merciful as well.

Today’s lesson from Luke sounds a great deal like Matthew.  Matthew prefers the word forgive; yet, that which must be forgiven is clearly debt.[2]  Trespasses is not the right idea either; rather side-falls: and which of us has not fallen aside into one ditch or the other?  Of course, debts can be more than money: but we must not forgive all else, while holding our brothers and sisters in slavery to money, as is the common modern practice.

We live in a society where the highest aim is justice.  We must make others accountable for their actions.  This, unless it leads to forgiveness and mercy, is pure, raw, evil.  Accountability and justice are worthless, wicked goals in their own right: for only God can wield loving accountability and justice.

We must become a completely different kind of people, a God-like people if we expect to get to heaven.

The Church must put away all her bitter divisions, to become again the bride she once was at the beginning: pure, forgiving, merciful.  The Church must do again her first works.

As it stands today, many are doing their utmost to turn this once beautiful bride into an ugly slut.  May God have mercy on our souls: for we don’t even realize what we are doing.[3]

[1] Which is to say, make it a gift; don’t lend it at all.  The old adage still applies, “Neither borrower, nor lender be.”

[2] Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 18:23-35

[3] Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60

[4] If you have been blessed or helped by any of these meditations, please repost, share, or use any of them as you wish.  No rights are reserved.  They are designed and intended for your free participation.  They were freely received, and are freely given.  No other permission is required for their use.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

O Heavenly King: The Holy Spirit

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (three times).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

O Heavenly King:
The Holy Spirit

“O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.”

Pretty much any time before 100 AD, and even a long while after, cities were made with walls, which were patrolled by guards or watchmen.  Even in colonial America we would expect to hear the town crier, “It’s 10 o’clock and all’s well.”  Every three or four hours, one watch ended, and a new watch began.  Priests in Israel, Judah, and in The Church, pull such three-hour watches, at least in temple(s) and churches.  If we close our eyes we may picture in our minds an idea of the walls of Jerusalem; there we may envision the priests coming forth on a new watch, bearing swords or spears, singing their hymns as they marched around the walls of Jerusalem, armed both physically and spiritually, looking for every disturbance in the surrounding landscape or inside the city below.

We are all such watchmen, such priests in The Church, so our daily prayers or the prayers of the hours often begin with this prayer, requesting the help of the Holy Spirit: for the very first thing we must do in our duties as watchmen is to be armed with the power of the Spirit.

This is not an invitation to some silly antic, such as the “treeing of Old Scratch”.  The request for the Spirit’s help is always associated with Scripture:[1] so, we will not be surprised to learn that these ancient watch prayers, pray through the Psalms on a regular basis.  The midnight watch is even dedicated to Psalm 119.

“O Heavenly King”, reminds us that the Spirit is The Vicar of Christ on Earth.  We are not denying or even discussing whether the Pope is the vicar of Christ on earth: we are just getting things in their proper order, so this is no place for a theological debate.  The Spirit is The Vicar of Christ on Earth: therefore, if we would keep watch at all, either physically or spiritually, we cannot proceed without the Spirit’s help.  Yet, how many times do we pick up our Bibles, thinking that Bible reading is nothing more than an exercise of the mind; so, we try to begin without the Spirit’s help, and fail: in fact, we crash.  Bible reading is an act of prayer in the power of the Spirit: the mind is virtually worthless without the Spirit.  How often do we try to begin our day without the Spirit?  How frequently during the day, do we neglect to ask the Spirit how to solve problems, how to understand situations, what does the Father want us to do, what has Jesus told us to do, in such and such a situation.  The Spirit is our living powerful key to our indwelling relationship with the Trinity.

He is “the Comforter”, not that we ever seek comfort.  Who are we kidding, if not only ourselves?  Our world is falling to pieces all around us; yet, that internal Voice, reassuring us that God is still in control during the worst of all days, in the midst of our worst nightmares: that Voice is the voice of the Spirit bearing witness with our human spirits that we are the children of God.

He is “the Spirit of truth”.  In a world gone mad with lying, here is the exclusive franchise on truth.  Go to Him! Seek truth with all your might.  Get wisdom here; and with all your getting, get understanding; get it here, and get it now.  God is ready to pour, pour, flood, not dribble, answers into our hearts through “the Spirit of truth”.  This still requires a willingness to do hard praying and hard thinking on our part, a willingness to be led into all truth.  The Spirit gives truth freely; strive to get it.[2]

He is “everywhere and fills all things”.  If the inescapable omnipresence or ubiquity of God is felt anywhere, it is due to the work of the Spirit.  You are never alone.  You cannot be left alone.  You are not only surrounded; you are indwelt.  Do you feel abandoned, deserted, forgotten, forsaken, put on the bench, sidelined, sidetracked, unloved?  Look to the Spirit and Live.  You may have forsaken God; yet, God has not forsaken you, and the Spirit is right here, right now, inside you, to remind you of that fact: because God loves you like no other.

He is the “Treasury of blessings”.  Did you get a raise today?  Thank the Holy Spirit.  Were you awarded a prize, a patent, or other great recognition; did someone throw a party, start a parade, send a card in your honor?  Thank the Holy Spirit.  You didn’t really think that you achieved any of these things without His help, did you?  You didn’t really believe that you deserved these honors, did you?  No, all of these things are gifts from a loving God, delivered by the Spirit.

He is the “Giver of life”.  Are you still breathing?  Praise the Holy Spirit.  Are you in pain, dying, afraid?  The Spirit is beside you after all the doctors, nurses, and even your family have left.  Is your body lifeless?  The Spirit is the One directing angels as they escort your body to the grave, and your spirit into heaven.  Yes, God’s love for you is more powerful than death, reaching far beyond the grave.  This too, is the work of the Spirit.

This is what the Spirit does for us, He “comes and abides in us.” When we fall and sin, He “cleanses us from every impurity”, until at last, when He has perfected His work, we are made truly Christ like.  He also “saves our souls”: for Salvation is more than a one-time act, which is our baptism with the Spirit; Salvation is also an ongoing daily struggle, wherein the Spirit is gradually changing us; and finally, Salvation is our last hope, the hope of going to heaven, the hope of eternal life.

Truly the Spirit is worthy of the title, “Good One.”

The Church is the Body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the One animating this Body, giving it its vitality.

You are a soldier of Christ.  Now go pull your watches in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Do not go into spiritual battle unarmed.

[1] Most especially the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27, 32, 44-45).  It is an absolute disgrace that the Old Testament is no longer read in our churches; nor is it commonly understood among us.  The Holy Spirit’s specific task is to refresh and repeat these lessons from Luke 24, which teach us the true meaning of the Old Testament.

[2] 1 Kings 3:9-11; Job 6:30; Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 3:13; 4:5, 7; 7:7; 15:32; 16:16; 17:16; 18:15; 19:8; Ecclesiastes 8:5; Isaiah 44:19-20; Ezekiel 44:23; Jonah 4:11; Malachi 3:18; Matthew 5:6; 16:3; Luke 1:15, 41, 53, 67; 2:40; 6:21; 12:56; Acts 2:4, 17-18; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9, 52; 10:45; Romans 5:5; 15:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 11:29; 12:10; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 4:6; Ephesians 3:19; 5:18; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:4; Hebrews 4:12; 5:14; 10:22 — there are about 250 verses in the New Testament detailing the work of the Spirit: we are just scratching the service.  Would you be filled with the Holy Spirit, then emulate the behavior of those who were filled with the Spirit in the Bible: they pursued God and His Word, they accepted persecution, suffering, and death; they did not pursue strange tongues, or vain miracles; they faced humiliation and learned to hate their own lives as they took up their crosses to follow Jesus (Joshua 14:8; 22:29; Judges 3:28 (an icon of Jesus); Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 9:27; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21, 29; Mark 2:14-15; 8:34; 10:21; Luke 5:27; 9:23, 59, 61; 18:22; John 1:43; 8:12; 10:27; 12:26; 13:36; 21:19, 22; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 6:11; Revelation 14:4).  Here is the reason that I don’t ask people to follow me: because there are so many charlatans in the world: follow Jesus, in the power of the Spirit.

[3] If you have been blessed or helped by any of these meditations, please repost, share, or use any of them as you wish.  No rights are reserved.  They are designed and intended for your free participation.  They were freely received, and are freely given.  No other permission is required for their use.

Hauzes, Spauzes, and Aufzpringe

Hauzes, Spauzes, and Aufzpringe

You just finished college[i], got married, are planning to start a family: you bought a new house, your first one, and a car.  The car, which cost $20,000 is 100% mortgaged with a 60-month payback at 7% interest.  The tiny house, which cost $150,000 is also 100% mortgaged with a 30-year payback at 3.5% interest.  You still have your $50,000 education debt to cope with.  You and your spouse start your first real jobs.

Five years later the new car is paid off; but, it’s also worn out, with 200,000 miles on the clock: so, you trade into a similar vehicle for $28,000.[ii]  In a few years you will need a second vehicle, if you don’t already have one; and, oh yeah, either you or your spouse will stop work, or work part time, to cope with that soccer thingy.  The short version of this is that you now have $20,000 to $48,000 or more invested in vehicle mortgages.  You will continue this practice year after year for at least the next 30 years, so your “purchase” value in vehicles will amount to around $300,000 overall; your maintenance and fuel costs will run right at $5000 per year, or another $150,000 gross; depending on how quickly you pay down the mortgages, interest will add another $300,000 to $600,000 to the overall vehicle cost.[iii]  And, oh, by the way there is insurance, kid’s cars, driver’s training, accident costs, and more.  As the smoke clears away after 30 years you will have purchased $300,000 worth of vehicles, the vehicle purchase value or sticker sales price.  You will have paid $750,000 to $1,050,000 or more in costs, the vehicle cost value.  You will end up owning a rusty piece of junk that needs to be replaced, maybe it’s worth $5,000, if you’re lucky: this is the vehicle true value.

As a capitalist, the proud owner of a $5,000 lump of rust; reconsider the $300,000 purchase value, the nearly $1,000,000 cost value, and the $5,000 true value and answer some hard-nosed business questions for me.  Was it a good investment?  The bank pocketed $300,000 to $600,000 for doing nothing and taking no risk.  On a ratio of 600/5 or 300/5, who is the real capital owner?  Who took all the risks?

Similarly, the house, over the 30-year mortgage, will cost $150,000 to $300,000 more in interest costs.  This assumes that you miss no payments, never risk foreclosure, or decide that the spouse and two-kids need a bigger, newer house.  Very many people have not been that lucky: these have lost everything.  The house also requires maintenance costs (10% per year), energy costs (you name it), and insurance (a small fortune.  The purchase value was $150,000, the cost value just topped $750,000 to $900,000, the depreciated true value is lucky to be $75,000.  Was it a good investment?  Who is the real capital owner?  Who took all the risks?

This is the point where you decide to drop an additional $50,000 to $100,000 in remodeling to get the curb appeal and market value back up, you hope to around $150,000.

Cheer up, it could have been worse.  You could have rented, introducing another middle man, for at least twice the price ($2,000,000) with less space and quality.  You could have fallen into a floating interest predatory loan which is now running 14%.  You could have been sucked into a second mortgage, which makes your house virtually unsellable.  Even now, after 30 years, you still have a shot at a reverse mortgage which strips you of everything: but, hey, party on dude, until the money runs out.  Your kids will inherit nothing.  Or you could become ill, and be placed in a nursing home, an which point the nursing home will take everything that has not been shifted to others for at least three years, plus all of your social security, and if any additional expenses can be justified, they will also seize any retirement savings you might have.  Or you could establish a living will or trust and watch the lawyers take it all.  In any of these scenarios, your kids will inherit the clothes off your back and the old beat-up furniture: banks, long term care facilities, and lawyers will take everything of value.

This is capitalism in America.  Your best case scenario is the proud ownership of a house worth $75,000, a car worth $5,000, Social Security, and Medicare.  Where did your 401k, IRAs, or other investments go?  They were all eaten by investment fraud, hidden fund fees, government fraud, federal level buyouts, insider trading[iv], Ponzi schemes, market churning[v], and much, much more.

Who took the risks?  You did.  Who holds the capital purse, without risk or work?  The bank does.

[i] Why not high school?  Everybody’s expectation nowadays is a college degree.  Still, a mountain of predatory education debt is no asset, and no necessary preparation for a minimum wage job in retail.  Many kids would be far better off trying to get placement in a skilled trade, working their way up from apprentice to master (skilled trades are going begging, you get paid while you work, you accrue no debt, you should be licensed in four years, by that time you are already miles ahead of the college grad and twice as employable).  Other kids would benefit more by going in the military.  Still others could seek employment in a company that offers on-the-job scholarships for ongoing education.  A college education is by no means necessary, or even a career advantage.  American cannot be rebuilt on the premise of necessary college education.  College education fits some kids; others it does not suit at all.

[ii] Inflation has increased the cost of cars, but not their sizes or capacities.  No worries, you only have two kids, so the compact still works.  You’re not quite a soccer dad/mom yet.

[iii] Notice that the bank does no work and takes no real risk in this investment.  If you think that escape by default is possible; you will learn a very painful lesson, when you discover who wins in court.

[iv] Insider trading is not illegal for members of Congress.
[v] Churning can still be accomplished legally if you have enough money to seize and freeze a commodity market, driving the cost up; then releasing it, driving the cost back down: as when the Koch brothers attempted to corner the silver market around 1980.  Money is made on the bull, and shorting makes money on the bear.  The cycle is simply repeated endlessly.

Churning can also be accomplished by forcing overproduction, driving costs down; followed by the crash of failed producers, driving costs back up again: as with the recent glut taking gas to around $1 per gallon, and now back up above $2 per gallon.  Somebody made a lot of money at public expense, by convincing us that we had to compete with foreign oil imports.  This particular churn put many dependent small businesses out of business.  When the price of oil dropped, many people lost income, thus destroying the customer base for many dependent small businesses.  Is this capitalism, or is this fraud?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Prayer Salutation

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (three times).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.


“† Blessed is our God always, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  ... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.  Through the prayers of our holy Ancestors, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.  Glory to You, our God, glory to You.”

This prayer is a blending of eastern and western prayers.  The purpose of such a blending is to bring eastern and western churches together on the basis of Truth, not on any compromise of Truth.

“† Blessed is our God always, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end,” is a standard opening prayer in the east.  Before Liturgy, the opening prayer is slightly different: “Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.”  In the morning, evening, and opening prayers of the hours, the reference to the Trinity is absent, because the opening prayers are immediately followed with repeated references to the Trinity.

“... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen,” is a standard opening prayer in the west.  The three dots before the prayer continue the sentence, “I baptize you....”

So, both prayers begin with a strong emphasis on the Trinity.

There is another difference, however: the time order and wording differs from east to west; from, “now and ever, and unto the ages of ages,” in the east to, “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end,” in the west.  So, the time order differs from western (was, is, will be) to be eastern (is, was, will be): still, the western wording was retained.  The eastern sequence places the emphasis on what God is doing in our lives, right now: for we do not live in either the past or in the future: it stresses the necessary strong REALITY of Christianity.

The third sentence was changed from “Fathers” to Ancestors (it seemed simpler than praying Fathers and Mothers)[1] to remind us of two things.

First, we must never forget the great debt we have to those who first built The Church as lovers and servants of Christ.  We must always stand on their shoulders.  Those, who are perpetually restarting Christianity as a new religion, are quite mistaken.  The words of our Ancestors (pre 1000) can never be treated lightly or with disrespect.

Secondly, we must never forget the great debt we have to our own personal ethnic ancestors.  We may think of some of their pagan behavior as somewhat laughable; yet, they also are the children of the Father, their Creator.  We love them, without embracing their pagan errors; we remember how frequently we err, and we lift all of them up to God.  May their memory be eternal: for we are not so wise as to judge their eternal estate, especially before Christ and the Spirit came fully into the world in 33 AD.

So, we honor Father and Mother, as well as father and mother; Christ is the eternal judge of all eternal matters.  Our business is to hope and pray always for the best; and to lift up all those who have fallen aside: they are wounded and need spiritual “medical-like” attention: we are the Great Physician’s medical staff and helpers.

[1]  Genesis 2:24; 28:2; 37:10; Exodus 20:12; 21:15, 17; Leviticus 19:3; 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16; 21:18-21; 27:16; Joshua 2:13; Judges 14:2-16; Ruth 2:11; 1 Samuel 22:3; 2 Samuel 19:37; 1 Kings 19:20; 22:52; Psalm 27:10; Proverbs 1:8; 4:3; 6:20; 10:1; 15:20; 19:16; 20:20; 23:22, 25; 28:24; 30:11, 17; Micah 7:6; Matthew 10:35, 37; 12:50; 15:4-6; 19:5, 19, 29; Mark 7:10-12; 10:7, 19, 29; Luke 2:48-51; 12:53; 14:26; 18:20; Ephesians 5:31; 6:2; 1 Timothy 1:9 — the hardest thing in the task of selecting these supporting texts, was choosing which texts to leave out: for there are many more, relevant texts on the subject.  Nevertheless, these should be sufficient to convince any reader that the points being made are directly from the Bible.  Just searching for these texts and reading them, fairly broke my heart and drove me to the brink of tears.

[2]  If you have been blessed or helped by any of these meditations, please repost, share, or use any of them as you wish.  No rights are reserved.  They are designed and intended for your free participation.  They were freely received, and are freely given.  No other permission is required for their use.

Chicken Feed and other Scratch

Chicken Feed and other Scratch

In 1966, highway US 45, running between Rantoul and Chicago, used to be lined with egg ranches; I believe that some of them are still there: they appeared to be independent and prosperous.

A similar sight may be observed along the border between Oklahoma and Arkansas as you drive from Fort Smith south toward Broken Bow, Idabel, and the Piney Woods along US 59/259/270/271.  The difference is that few of these chicken ranches are prosperous, and many are for sale.  Here’s your big chance to become a capitalist and own your own ranch.[i]

Some of these chicken ranchers actually own their own land free and clear.  Still an eighth to a quarter section (80 to 160 acres) is only worth about $80,000 to $160,000 depending on how much water you have rights-to, and other factors.  Still, that area gets a lot of rainfall compared to Guymon, Elk City, or Altus.

The next big step to capitalistic paradise is to own all your chicken barns, grain bins, and other construction free and clear.  If you get that far you might have half a chance of survival.  At least you can honestly consider yourself a capitalist, for all that such a claim is worth.

I do not for one minute believe that very many of these chicken ranchers are not already leveraged from the tip of their roof tops to the bottom of their wells on every square foot of land and every square inch of barn.  These folks can in no way be considered capitalists: they don’t own anything.

Such chicken ranches function on the open floor plan; not on cages.  The floor consists of dirt and hay.  The hay retains the ammonia from the chicken waste.  The ammonia suppresses coccidiosis and reduces the need for antibiotics in the feed.  Chicks are beaked to keep them from pecking each other to death.  Edible chicken production from the chick is reached in eight to twelve weeks.  Egg production takes much longer.

These things are not the core of the business problem.  The core of the business problem is that the “independent” chicken ranchers are under iron-clad contracts with the chicken producer monopoly.  The chicken producer, by contract, provides all feed, provides the supply of all new baby chicks, receives all egg and finished adult poultry production; operates the slaughter/butchering facility; controls packaging, delivery, and marketing; and determines all prices.  From A to Z the chicken rancher is the indentured slave of the chicken producer monopoly, whether he/she owns land and buildings of not.

Incidentally, the organization of hog production has been following similar lines.

Now, how on earth can such a master/slave relationship be considered free enterprise, be considered capitalism, be considered ownership.  The chicken producer monopoly literally owns the chicken rancher lock, stock, and barrel… well, maybe the chicken rancher owns his own lock.

The whole point of this discussion is to show that, what at first glance appears to be a glowing example of American freedom and capitalism: is, in fact nothing of the sort.  Leverage to the chicken producer monopoly and thence to the bank removes every possibility of capitalism’s existence.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Lord's Prayer Literally

Lord’s Prayer:A Fresh Application

The Lord’s Prayer, literally rendered.

The Lord’s Prayer Proper:

†Our Father in the heavens,
Sanctified![1] it was, Your Name; Came! she has, Your Kingdom; Born! it was, Your Will: as in heaven, also on the earth.  Our bread, the Epiousion[2], Gave! us, You did, today.  Forgave! us, You have, our debts; as we [must] also forgive our debtors.  Even though You did not[3] lead us into peril; even so, delivered! us, You have, from the evil.[4]
For if you have forgiven men their trespasses, then your heavenly Father will forgive you.  Yet if you have not forgiven men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.[5]

Liturgical response to the Lord’s Prayer:[6]

[Because Yours is the Kingdom, Power, and Glory, (of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now and ever and) unto the ages (of ages).  Amen.] — The standard response of The Church.
[We Thank You, Father Ἀββᾶ! Jesus! Holy Ghost!] — My personal response.
[Lord have mercy?] — Another appropriate response.

The Focal Point of the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is clearly about forgiveness.  The same Lord; the Lord Whose Name was decreed Pure; the Lord Whose Kingdom has arrived; the Lord whose sovereign will was birthed; the Lord Who intends to convert earth into the likeness of heaven, as the Heavenly City of His purity, kingdom, and will descends upon us and overwhelms us.  The same Lord, Who has fed us heavenly manna, throughout the dismal darkness of our earthly lives; this same Lord, has now freely forgiven us all things.

We need not look far for further elaboration.  The book of Matthew is all about what it means to forgive.  Both Matthew 18 and Matthew 25 provide explicit examples.  Doubtless we could find many other verses illustrating what it means to forgive.

The Application

I owe no man anything, and no man owes me.  Every day I meticulously search my heart and mind to discover and forgive the slightest offense, the least debt.  There is nothing left to forgive.  Yet the genius of the Lord’s Prayer does not rest on these sorts of things.

I now stand debt free, forgiven by the King of Kings.  Absolved, of all financial burdens, and all ethical and moral demands; free, even from sin and death.  Moreover, as God has led me in the way, He has helped me to pay back each of these earthly entanglements, He has showed me how to seek forgiveness among men, He has dimmed the voice of temptation and sin in my life.  Even so, that roaring voice flairs up every once in a while to remind me what it cost to put away our sin.

Yet, I am far from being alone in finding such wonderful forgiveness: for I am a baptized Christian, a member of the body of Christ, and I have faded from importance; we remain, we are the City of God.  There is no I left remaining in body.  Not that I have become a meaningless nothing in a vast sea of spirituality.  Far from it; rather I have been made a contributing and partnering member of Life Himself.  We has outshined I: for my accomplishments are now of infinitely greater value as part of the body, the team, than they ever were in the service of selfish ambition.

Not only that, but we have been made into a hospital, where we, banded and operating together, work to heal ourselves and others as we continue to struggle with sin in this earthly life.

Where, then, is there any space left for further application?  Hasn’t everything been accomplished?  No!  Yet one small thing is lacking.

We overthink things, missing the obvious.  If God has seen fit that others have told me about the freedom bringing forgiveness of Christ; then the obvious application is that I should tell still others about this freedom bringing forgiveness of Christ.  Yes, there is a Kingdom, not far away, where anyone and everyone is forgiven.  You are welcome to come there.  You are invited to join this hospital surgical team as well.

But isn’t this the same application that Jesus made in Matthew 28?

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.  Therefore, as you are coming and going, make disciples in every nation: baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.  Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Forgiveness is most complete and effective, when we spread it around, when we share it.  The only sin that cannot be forgiven is not believing the God who freely offers forgiveness for every debt and trespass; thus becoming a hard-hearted, obstinate person who refuses to forgive, nursing every grudge, clinging to each slight, and licking wounds as if they were great treasures, rather than millstones around our necks, which is what they really are.  Have you heard about God’s great forgiveness today?

[1] Today, we consider both hallowed and sanctified to be archaic meaningless terms; we prefer the word consecrated, to set apart for special use or purpose.  You, on the other hand, must seek out the words which are most meaningful and relevant to you: you must not rest in your quest until you have discovered words that express significant meaning for you.  You must come to understand, about what you are praying: otherwise, there is no point to prayer.

[2] The Epiousion is Jesus Himself.  This is what He teaches in John 6 and several other places.  That which is beyond (mere) substance, that which is more than bodily food, is the true Manna of God, the hidden Manna, which is elsewhere called angel’s bread or food, the bread of heaven, the Eucharist.  It is that which compels us and empowers us to Christlikeness.

[3] The verb is subjunctive, “could not have”: it is a theological impossibility.

[4] None of the verbs are future tenses; these are not prayer requests or petitions as is commonly supposed.  There is one verb in the present tense; all the rest are past tenses; these all express gratitude or thanksgiving for what God has already accomplished in eternity.  The pronouncement comes in time, because man can only understand time.  We need not ask for any of these things.  God is way ahead of us in meeting our true needs.  We need to be more observant and appreciative of all that God has done thus far in time.  Otherwise, we have only one thing to do besides being thankful: we need to become a forgiving people (Matthew Chapters 18 and 25).

The verbs are also marked with exclamation points, indicating that they are in the imperative mood, the common mood for prayer.  However, there is no English language imperative that is not in the second person, present tense.  We believe that emphatic, excited, or exclamatory better capture the Greek sense.  We simply do not command that God do our bidding, so if we use the imperative for prayer, it should invariably be accompanied by the word please, as is the usual case in Hebrew.  None of these verbs is second person, or accompanied by please, most are past tense: hence, the imperative nuance is simply inappropriate.

[5] Because such forgiveness is impossible among men, we continually cry out for God’s mercy, so that He would complete our forgiveness, and elevate it to His Divine level.  It is God like forgiveness to which we aspire.

[6] These liturgical responses are usually inserted between the Lord’s Prayer and its pointed explanation.

[7] If you have been blessed or helped by any of these meditations, please repost, share, or use any of them as you wish.  No rights are reserved.  They are designed and intended for your free participation.  They were freely received, and are freely given.  No other permission is required for their use.



We surge ahead to the modern era.  Some will say, none of this applies to me; it’s all archaic and outmoded: gee, I thought we were smarter than that.  Yes, J&L, as well as CF&I, and countless others are all toast: how can they possibly affect me.

Let’s take a more understandable small business example, a dentist.

We will conveniently ignore the fact that many modern dentists are following the path of the small farmer.  Small farms are rare today, most farming is done by large corporations.  The farmer is no longer an independent capitalist, no longer a sole-proprietor, no longer on duty for 24 x 7; instead, he reports to work like any other employee: as with other business, the money is spun off through leveraging, and usury.  It seems as if a new dental corporation emerges every day: Gentle, Depot, Aspen, and more.  The private dentist will not be able to long compete with this juggernaut.  In spite of all the facts to the contrary, let’s suppose that dentistry is still a viable business entity: you graduate, hang out your shingle, and start making money.

Suppose that you graduated with your DDS last May.  After eight grueling years of study, during which you made no income, you are now saddled with $20,000 in undergraduate debt, and $300,000 of dental school debt.[i]  Your dental school placement offices conduct demography studies for the broad area, and a promising potential site has been identified in a small town without local dental services.  You assemble and submit your business plans to banks, building contractors, equipment manufacturers, and a host of others.  You acquire all your local and state licenses.  Much of this preparatory work was laid out while you were still in school.  So, by June you are ready to open your doors to your first paying customer.  You are also $400,000 deeper in debt;[ii] that’s $720,00 gross, three quarters of a million dollars.  This says nothing of the fact that you also want to buy a house, marry, and raise a family… another $250,000 conservatively.  That’s right, at square one, you’re already in hock for a cool million bucks in round numbers.

You are organized as a sole-proprietor.  You have no employees: you do all your own prophylaxis, x-ray, and other work.  An answering service handles all phone calls, appointments, and prints out a daily summary to your email.  Dentures, crowns, and other devices are contracted to a big city lab with overnight delivery.

The question is, who is the real owner?  On paper, you, as sole-proprietor, are the only owner.  In fact, your vestiture is 0%, you are leveraged to the roof top and will be for many years.  Who is the real capitalist?  In theory, you are.  In reality: the bank owns the building; the manufacturer owns the specialized equipment, which is, in turn, leveraged to another bank; your house and car are mortgaged.  The bank(s) is/are the true capitalist/owner/proprie-tor(s).  The specialized equipment manufacturer is an intermediate capitalist/owner/proprietor.  The only thing you have capital ownership over is a mountain of debt.

Business goes well for several years.  The bank takes its cut off the top: most of the earnings go to service interest or usury.  Your vestiture grows only very slowly.  The specialized equipment manufacturer takes its cut next.  You are saddled with maintenance, repair, and other operational costs, which easily run 10% of the gross capital value every year.[iii]  Dentistry is a rapidly growing technological field, so you must also bear the cost of new equipment or leverage these as well.  After a decade, you might find yourself vested at 10%... at last, you have become a capital owner.  On the other hand, you are still the enslaved employee of the bank and specialized equipment manufacturer.  The government and insurance companies tell you what services you may perform, what you may charge for them, and pretty much every other aspect of doing business: but, you are a capitalist, an owner, a sole-proprietor of 10% of pretty much nothing… all the hard decisions are made for you by others… you get to lock and unlock the doors, and pay the bills.  The teeter won’t begin to totter until you pass the half way point.  Firm ground will not be attained until you reach 100% and eliminate all leverage.

The demographics of your business is sustained by a small manufacturing plant that employs 200 people.  These, in turn, spend enough money in town to sustain 200 other people’s jobs (including yours); together they support the town budget over and above what the local farm and ranch business supplies.  These are your customers.  This is the whole basis of your success as a dentist.  After a decade, the manufacturing plant can no longer compete, lays off all its employees, and locks its doors.  All your customers, 400 of them, are now out of work; moving away as fast as they can find new jobs: and you are out of business as well.

Who takes all the risk?  Does the bank have any risk?  Not really.  They might have made slightly more money had the mortgages played out their full time limit: but the interest fees collected up-front covered their capital investment a long time ago; they’ve been making gravy ever since; so the bank has no true risk at this level.  Does the specialized equipment manufacturer have any risk?  Not really.  They took a minor hit; but, they scooped up all the equipment; resold it to other dentists; and with sales and other fees, pocketed a tidy profit at your expense.  The building went back to the bank, with little risk, and was soon leased to another venture.  Who took all the risk?  You did.  All those leveraged debts are in your name, and baring bankruptcy, you are obliged to pay them off: so, you must start over.  At best, you recoup a few thousand bucks of equity; really nothing compared to the mountains of debt you still own.

Who is the real capitalist?  The bank is.  Any idea of your own capitalism is delusional.  The risk to the bank, which is sheltered by up-front interest or usury fees, is nil.  The chance that the bank won’t pick up all the chips, and spin them off in new loans is zero.  The bank will make the same amount of money in the long haul; just from another customer; they experienced a minor bump in the road.

Who are the real owners?  The real estate firm and the specialized equipment manufacturer are.  Any concept of personal ownership is a form of psychological denial.  The risks to the real estate firm and the specialized equipment manufacturer are nonexistent.  All the hard assets are recovered in days, and put back into play: it was a bump in the road.  You get to keep your shirt, your diploma, and your debts.

Capitalism or ownership as we think of it, together with its concomitant risks, simply does not exist in a leveraged society.  There is no more risk to the bank, the true capitalist-owner, than there is to the local casino; one person’s luck is soon offset by the losses of another; there is no risk to the casino: for, 10% is taken off the top of every bet.  The only true risk falls on the back of the player, the employee, the hard-working poor person... in this case, you, a young dentist, fresh out of dental school.



[iii] 10% of $1,000,000 is 100,000 a year, one-tenth of a million dollars.