And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
— Revelation 6:5–6 KJV
John tells us that the price of grain is one denarius — about ten times its normal price when these words were penned in the first century. At those prices, each worker would barely be able to feed one person — or require that the entire family try to survive on the amount of food that just one person needed to survive.
For those of us who live in the developed world, it’s hard for us to imagine being truly hungry; let alone standing by helplessly as our children or grandchildren go to bed with empty stomachs. Yet, we have witnessed soaring food prices and starvation often in modern times — both in the third world and also in developed nations. We saw it happen repeatedly early in the 20th Century…
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Brian Wise of the US Consumer Coalition describes Operation Choke Point as, “One of the greatest abuses of power that the country has never heard of.” The Wall Street Journal is credited with first informing the public as far back as May 2013 of what has become for many a game changer.
“The Justice Department is targeting banks that service a broad range of what it considers questionable financial ventures, including online payday lenders. The government has issued subpoenas to banks and other companies that handle payments for an array of financial offerings, ramping up an investigation that has been under way for several months, according to Justice Department officials.” “Issuing subpoenas” and “ramping up investigation(s)” hardly seems like “one of the greatest abuses of power”, or does it?
Military strategists concern themselves with a choke point, a narrow passage through which troops need to pass, which slows their progress and increases their vulnerability. Commuters choke at the thought of a lane closure forcing traffic into fewer lanes than the stream of traffic requires. All businesses, regardless of their wares or services, must pass through one specific point – the banks and the payment processors. It is this reality that the Justice Department has quietly turned into a choke point over the past couple of years. What the government describes as an initiative to confront fraudulent activity serves as a way of closing “questionable businesses”.
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In this three-part essay, KI Gold Medallion holder Ray Sarlin reviews the essentials of following Jesus in these turbulent times. Part 1 examined our foundation in Christ and what it means in practical everyday terms. It’s not enough to simply believe in Him, we must strive to take up our own crosses and follow Him. Part 2 discussed God’s Word as the source of all Truth and the complete revelation of the true Jesus and His true teaching. Part 3 focuses on our individual role and duty in an increasingly secular and ungodly culture. What does the Bible say about how we should live in times like these? Taken together, this series is intended to de-mystify modern Christianity for Bible-believing followers of Christ.
Building upon Our Foundations
What is our role and duty in an increasingly secular and ungodly culture?
Okay, we are supposed to “know what to do” and do it… but at what level and to what degree? Should we get politically active and try to bring Jesus Christ back into the public arena? Should we lobby to get politically correct leaders to take the blinkers off regarding Islam? Should we try to get back rights that we as Christians have lost regarding free speech?
What should we do? What can we do?
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Romans 12:1–2 tells us that the way we are “transformed,” the way we learn to live Christ’s Life, is by the renewing of our minds — putting off our own negative and corrupt thinking and putting on God’s Thoughts. As we continue in our series on being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we want to cover two important questions. 1) What is “mind renewal?”and, 2) Why is “mind renewal” so important?
Ephesians 4:22–24 exhorts us to “… put off concerning the former conversation (behavior) the old man (old self), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man (the new self), which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
A “renewed mind,” then, is one that has done two things: It has “put off” any sin (any hurt, doubt, fear, rebellion, self-centeredness, lust, bitterness, etc.), any corrupt thinking, or any barrier that would quench God’s Spirit and has “put on” the Mind of Christ
(2 Corinthians 10:5).
Renewing our minds is not simply “changing” our thoughts, but actually putting off the old, negative thoughts as well as putting on God’s Thoughts. In other words, we can’t just say to God, “Lord, give me Your Thoughts,” and somehow expect Him to “automatically” give us His Mind. We must first put off our own self-centered thinking by confessing, repenting, and then giving it to God. At this point, we can then put on the Mind of Christ.
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