Showing posts from July, 2009

Creative Financing

One of the biggest factors that contributed to the housing boom and bust was the federal government's attempt to make housing "affordable" for everyone. Members of Congress from both political parties have urged federal regulatory agencies to press banks and other lenders to lower mortgage loan requirements, and have passed legislation to that end and to subsidize or guarantee loans made under lowered standards. (p. 30) Banks and other lending institutions have learned by experience that certain standards must be met by borrowers in order to protect themselves against the risks of default. Traditionally, one of these requirements has been a substantial down payment, usually in the neighborhood of 20 percent of the total cost of the home. This down payment protects the lender against loss if the borrower should default. It protects the lender in two ways: (1) It makes it less likely that the buyer will simply walk away from the home and the mortgage (since the buyer wil

How the West Was Lost

I've recently posted an article on the church web site entitled Understanding the Times: How the West Was Lost . This is the first installment in what (Lord willing) will be several articles explaining how the West has lost its once great Christian heritage.

What About Hell?

Describe hell. It’s hot. How’s that for brevity? Believe it or not, a pastor friend of mine once preached a sixteen week series on hell. His people probably felt like they had been there and back again by the time he was done! Actually, the Bible doesn’t tell us a great deal about either heaven or hell. There are some general descriptions, but not a lot of detail. From what is mentioned about hell, however, we can gather that it is a place of unimaginable horror. The most common Biblical image of hell is that of fire. Jesus referred to it as “the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). In the book of Revelation it is called “the lake of fire which burns with brimstone” (NASB, Rev. 19:20; cf. 20:14-15), where sufferers are “tormented day and night forever” (Rev. 20:10; cf. 14:10-11). Jesus told us about a certain wicked man who died and went to hell, and described him as being “in torment” (Lk. 16:23). The man cried out, “I am in anguish in

Creative Genius at Work

Thought you might get a kick out of this one.

What about Suicide?

Is a person who commits suicide beyond the hope of salvation? It all depends upon whether or not the person who commits suicide is a Christian. Let us be very clear at the outset: everyone who dies outside of Christ—regardless of the manner of death (whether suicide, murder, or death by natural causes)—is beyond the hope of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). And the apostle John said, “Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:12b). Likewise, Paul said, “There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). And of course it is only in this life that we have the opportunity to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, because our eternal destiny is fixed at death. In Hebrews we’re told, “It is appointed to man to die once and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). So, if a person departs this life outside of Christ, he has no hope of salva

The Housing Boom

Sowell begins chapter one by chronicling the housing boom , as reflected in the rise of the median sales price for single-family homes by one-third from 2000 to 2005 ($143,600 to $219,600). In some places the rise was even sharper. Over those same years, the median home price in New York rose 79 percent, in Los Angeles 110 percent and in Sand Diego 127 percent. In coastal California, the rise was especially sharp--and so was the later fall. (p. 1) Then he presents the cast of characters that play an important role in the housing market. Obviously there is the local bank from whom the home buyer gets the money to purchase the home. But behind the local bank is a complicated web of other players. (1) The Federal Reserve System that regulates the banks across the country and can take actions that affect interest rates and the money supply. (2) The Federal National Mortgage Association ( Fannie Mae ) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ( Freddie Mac ). These are... two go

The Tenth Commandment

Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of the tenth commandment, which is: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor (Ex. 20:17) To covet, means to have a strong desire for something that doesn’t belong to you. The tenth commandment illustrates what we have said before concerning all the commandments: they not only have to do with our deeds, that is, with our works or our behavior—what we do with the body; but also with our inward desires and affections—what we do with our hearts and minds. The gist of the commandment is that we not be envious or jealous of our neighbor’s good fortune, but guard ourselves against all improper affections for what belongs to him, and that we be content with what we have. How is it with you? Do you have a godly contentment? Or are you constantly looking at what other people have and finding

Sotomayor's Evasions

Joel McDurmon, a colleague of Gary DeMar at American Vision, has some important observations about Sonia Sotomayor's testimony concerning her "wise Latina" comment.

Health Care Canadian Style

President Obama has held up Canada's socialized health care system as a model for the U.S. So what does Canadian style health care look like? Take a peek. (Unfortunately, I am having trouble sizing the embedded video.)

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

As I mentioned a few posts back, I intend to post some quotes from, and comments, on Thomas Sowell's latest book, The Housing Boom and Bust . One of the things I have appreciated about reading Sowell over the years is that he is not partisan in his assessment of the economic tomfoolery that our politicians are prone to. He subjects the policies of both Republicans and Democrats alike to scrutiny. Truth be told, however, the Democrats' big government approach to everything has hurried our economic collapse along faster than the Republicans' smaller big government. Smaller big government? Yes. The Republican party as a whole (although there are a few exceptions) has the same basic approach to government as the Democratic party - government involvement in education, healthcare, the economy, etc. is necessary, just not on quite as large a scale, and not quite in the same ways, as what the Democrats propose. Back to Sowell. He points out that our current problems did not

The Ninth Commandment

Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of the ninth commandment, which is: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16). The commandment specifically envisions giving false testimony in a court of law—and even more specifically, false testimony against an innocent man, which is designed to lead to his condemnation and punishment. We ought to understand, however, that although the commandment has a very specific focus—protecting the innocent from unjust condemnation—it applies equally to protecting the guilty from just condemnation: lying so as to help a guilty man escape conviction. All false testimony in a court of law is prohibited under the ninth commandment. God is very much concerned about the integrity of the law courts. He is concerned that justice be done, so that the innocent are protected and the guilty are punished appropriately. But there is even more to the commandment. Traditionally, it has been interpreted (and rightly so) as pro

The Eighth Commandment

Let’s examine ourselves this morning in light of the eighth commandment, which is, “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:16). The commandment forbids us to appropriate for ourselves what rightfully belongs to someone else. While the commandment perhaps conjures up images of a masked gunman robbing someone at gunpoint, or a burglar dressed in black breaking and entering into someone’s home by night and making off with his treasures, we should understand that there are many, many other ways in which the commandment can be broken. None of us, I suppose, are too likely to break the commandment in either of these two ways. But what about in other ways? What about honesty in the work place? Do you pilfer items from your employer? We’re told that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost by companies each year because employees steal from their employers, and not just in the obvious way of embezzling funds; but in taking little things, in small amounts, for personal use: postage stamps and enve

The Seventh Commandment

Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of the seventh commandment, which is: “You shall not commit adultery.” Adultery is a violation of the covenant of marriage, either one’s own, or someone else’s, or both. It is one of several different kinds of sexual sin, and its prohibition in the Ten Commandments ought to be understood as a prohibition of every kind of sexual sin: not only adultery, but fornication (which is pre-marital sex), and homosexuality, and every other kind of intimate relation other than between a lawful husband and wife. But the commandment goes further than simply forbidding illicit sexual acts. It forbids everything that leads to or accompanies them. It forbids all immodesty in talk, dress, and behavior. It forbids flirting with anyone other than one’s spouse. It forbids forming emotional attachments with anyone other than one’s own spouse. It forbids fantasizing about being with someone other than one’s own spouse. It forbids lustful thoughts. And of

What About Abortion?

What’s your view on abortion? The whole question hinges upon what it is that is in the womb of a pregnant woman. Is it a living human-being? Or is it something else? And this is not a difficult question to answer…even though the president has said that it’s beyond his pay grade. Of course that which is in the womb of a pregnant woman is a living human being. What else would it be? It’s a living human being at an early stage of development. It’s a child, a baby. It’s not uncommon for those who call themselves pro-choice to refer to the pre-born child by some other term such as “a product of conception,” or “a mass of cells,” or (depending upon the stage of development) an “embryo” or a “fetus.” But these terms are often used simply to obfuscate the issue—to confuse and mystify the subject. We are all “products of conception.” Everyone who has ever lived is a product of conception. Last time I checked, that’s how a human being comes into existence. Likewise, we are all a “mass

Why Did God Seek to Kill Moses?

Why did God seek to kill Moses in Exodus 4? Well, let’s read the passage. This is after God had appeared to Moses and called him to deliver the people of Israel from Egypt. Moses had spent forty years shepherding the flocks of his father-in-law in the land of Midian. Now he is returning to Egypt to deliver Israel from bondage to Pharaoh. And so we read: At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. Now this comes out of the blue. What in the world is going on here? Why did God seek to kill him? Well, as we continue reading we get some clues. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it [some translations say, threw it at Moses’ feet] and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. Remember, this occurred when Moses was on his way from Midian to Egypt to fulfill God’s commission to deliver Is

What About Cremation?

Is it sinful to be cremated? The Bible doesn’t expressly forbid the practice of cremation, but the examples we have in Scripture of the people of God caring for the remains of the dead are decidedly in favor of burial. And of course the burial of our Lord Jesus Christ serves as an example which Christians have generally wished to follow. Normally in Scripture burning the dead was a sign of a person’s having died under God’s curse. It was a punishment inflicted upon the corpse of a particularly egregious offender. We see this punishment commanded, for instance, in the case of Achan (in the book of Joshua). By the command of God, Achan was stoned for his offense of stealing from God, and his body was burned (Josh. 7:15, 25; see also Lev. 20:14; 21:9). A number of cultures, both ancient and modern, have at different times practiced cremation for various reasons—some for practical and others for religious reasons. Burial seems at first to have been the usual custom among the ancient

An Ounce of Prevention?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. So how does this figure in to the debate over government provided health care? Mark Steyn offers this critique of Obama's rationale.

The Housing Boom and Bust

I wish it were in my power to make Thomas Sowell's The Housing Boom and Bust required reading for every politician, or perhaps even more importantly, for every voter. Excerpts and comments coming...