Righteousness In, Righteousness Out

Righteousness In, Righteousness Out

azndc/istockphoto

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

In the early days of computer programming, there was a popular phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out”—meaning, if the programming was lousy, the computer’s output would be useless.

The human mind is a million times more sophisticated and powerful than a computer, but the same principle applies: The quality of our mental output depends on what we put into our minds! If we fill our minds with garbage, then that’s what we will return.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). That’s one of the most profound proverbs in the Bible. As we think in our hearts, so are we!

Jesus expounded on this truth in Matthew 15:17-19: “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (New King James Version). We can’t fill our minds with sin and then turn around and act righteously—even though we think we can. Filling our minds with garbage hurts our character—our mannerisms, our personalities, the ways we react and behave.

Jesus also said that every tree is known by the fruit it produces. “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35). What the mouth speaks comes straight from the heart. Evil words and actions spring from an evil heart.

But Jesus also said good things will come from our mouths if we take charge of our lives and control what goes in! Righteousness in, righteousness out, you might say.

Paul taught this in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

People sometimes wonder why they can’t get rid of sinful thoughts. It’s generally because they aren’t diligently working to replace those thoughts with God’s thoughts—whatsoever is true, honest, just, pure and lovely! The mind, like nature, abhors a vacuum. We have to fill our minds with what Paul wrote about in Philippians 4. Then there won’t be room for wrong thoughts.

In 2 Peter 3:1, Peter admonished God’s people to “stir up” their pure minds by studying his epistle. Actively filling our minds with purity and holiness squeezes out impurity, wickedness and vanity.

Peter continued, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (verse 2). To meditate on God and His ways, we must regularly feed on, or study, His inspired Word (see also John 6). Unless we are filling our minds with God’s Word every day, we can’t possibly be “mindful of the words” that the prophets, the apostles and Jesus Christ wrote!

David meditated on God’s Word “day and night” (Psalm 1:2). He didn’t confine his meditation to a simple 20-minute block of contemplative silence or a weekly stroll through the park. For David, meditating on God’s law was a constant process of setting his mind on the things of God. (Note the words “seek” and “set” in Colossians 3:1-2.)

David obeyed God’s instruction in Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night.” As Psalm 119:97 proclaims, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

In the Bible, meditate means to think about—to consider. Whatever fills our minds is the subject of our meditation.

David meditated on God’s law. This didn’t come naturally for King David. He had to work at it. In fact, because it’s so easy to think about the wrong things, David asked God for strength and discipline to fill his mind with the right things. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer,” he prayed (Psalm 19:14).

“Search me, O God,” he asked, “and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

In the spiritual war we wage against Satan and his demon army, the front line of our battlefield is in the mind. This is where we engage in a life-and-death struggle to resist the devil’s powerful broadcast, the spirit of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-2).

2 Corinthians 10:5 adds, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Are we obedient to God in “all things” (2 Corinthians 2:9)—even in our thoughts? Or are we often taken captive by our own wicked, perverse reasoning?

A true Christian’s struggle against sin starts in the mind (James 1:14-15). We have to constantly guard against carnal reasoning and lustful impulses, not allowing those invading thoughts and temptations to gain a foothold in the mind.

Attack those negative thoughts with the corresponding right thoughts, immediately and forcefully! Overcome the evil by replacing it with the good (Romans 12:21). Put righteousness in. Then what comes out will be productive and useful!

What a Real Man Looks Like

What a Real Man Looks Like

PT

More than ever, our sons need a masculine example to look to. Here is the best.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Two hundred years ago, the father’s role was clearly defined. He was at the center of family life. He was the head, the primary caregiver, breadwinner, protector, moral educator and law-enforcer.

Today, assuming the father is even present, you would be hard-pressed to find one who fulfills even two of those responsibilities. The modern father has relinquished his duties and abdicated his God-given role as the loving head of his home. Today, boys grow up not knowing what role to fulfill, if any. Our boys are in trouble!

The only solution is to get back to the wisdom of the Bible.

An excellent definition of godly masculinity is summed up in the way Carl Sandburg described Abraham Lincoln—as a man of steel and velvet. The 16th president was a powerful and persuasive speaker, a man of valor and strength. He was a mighty man of war who faced down forces of evil and preserved the union of the American nation.

And yet, Lincoln was a man of peace. He was merciful, kind, gentle, thoughtful, friendly, patient and humble. He was neither feminine nor domineering. He was a real man—a man of steel and velvet.

The Perfect Example

One man fulfilled that description far better: Jesus Christ. Artists have portrayed Christ as a skinny, soft-spoken, long-haired, effeminate wimp who died of a broken heart. How deceived this world is!

The Bible says that it is shameful for a man to have long hair and that effeminate men won’t even be in God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 11:14; 6:9).

Jesus was not what you might think. He was a real man. Physically, He was a man of impressive strength and endurance. Before His ministry began at age 30, He worked hard as a carpenter (Mark 6:3) and observed all the physical laws of good health (Hebrews 4:15). During His ministry, He walked from city to city through mountainous terrain—sometimes traveling many miles in one day. Prior to being tempted of the devil, Jesus went without food and water for 40 days—something no frail weakling could ever endure. Before His crucifixion, Jesus was brutally beaten (John 19:1) and then nailed to a stake with iron spikes. Yet, having led such a robust and healthy lifestyle, He lived through what would have easily killed the average man. He survived until a Roman soldier finally thrust a spear into His side.

Artists who paint portraits of Jesus must not have read John 2, where Jesus confronted moneychangers in the temple. When He saw shady transactions going on inside God’s house, Jesus took a handful of ropes and whipped the livestock right out. He kicked over tables and chairs and threw money all over the floor. His deep voice bellowed through the halls: “Get out of God’s house, and take all of your belongings!” This was at the very beginning of His ministry, when few even knew who this man was (read verse 18)—yet these Jews were too fearful to challenge this strapping and righteously indignant young man.

Imagine that same scene with the melancholy, wimpy Jesus from the pictures and movies. Hard to do, isn’t it? The real Jesus was nothing like what most people imagine!

No one knows just what Jesus looked like, but reading the Bible shows that He was a muscular man of perfect health and enduring strength.

Physical fitness is only a fraction of what godly masculinity is all about, though. Jesus was a learned man who took His education seriously as a youngster. When He was a boy, He walked into the temple at Jerusalem and discussed the truth of God with the most educated theologians. Luke 2:47 says that all who heard Him were “astonished at his understanding and answers.” They were amazed by how much this 12-year-old understood! As Jesus grew up, He increased in wisdom and stature (verse 52). His education never ended.

By the time His ministry began, Jesus had developed into perhaps the finest and most persuasive speaker in mankind’s history. Those who heard Him were astounded, and those who hadn’t heard Him traveled a long way so they could. People who knew Him as a child couldn’t believe how eloquently this Jewish carpenter could speak. When He finished speaking, He often tried to withdraw for a quiet moment, yet throngs of people would sometimes track Him down (Luke 4:42).

Jesus also had a commanding presence. His doctrine astonished the masses, because He “taught them as one having authority” (Matthew 7:29). Jewish authorities coveted his popularity. Pilate, who oversaw Christ’s execution, even acknowledged that Jesus was a just man who spoke the truth (Matthew 27:24).

The Other Side of Manliness

Together with steel-like traits of vibrant health, intelligence, decisive leadership, righteous indignation and powerful persuasiveness, Jesus also exhibited many velvet qualities. Above all, He was humble. Publicans and Pharisees criticized Him for spending time with sinners, but He knew that the sick are the ones who need the physician (Luke 5:31-32). The Lord and Master of the disciples instituted an ordinance of humility at His final Passover and washed their feet (John 13:13). He was their Lord and Master, to be sure—but that just meant He was to serve those under Him all the more. He taught that those who serve the most will receive the highest positions in God’s Kingdom. We can see then why Jesus, the most humble servant who ever walked this Earth, qualified to be King in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was also a compassionate man. No matter how busy He was or how crowded the scene, Christ always seemed to make time for the disadvantaged. Christ once left Jericho with a great multitude, and two blind men cried out for Him to have mercy on them. The multitude ridiculed them, but Jesus stopped to help them. “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him” (Matthew 20:34).

This genuine compassion for others even caused Christ to weep on occasion. In the case of Lazarus, Jesus cried because of the people’s lack of faith (John 11:32-43).

The gentleness of Jesus is reflected in how He treated children. In Mark 10, after some adults pressed to have Jesus lay hands on their little ones, His own disciples rebuked the parents. But He rebuked the disciples, saying that we must all become as little children to enter God’s Kingdom; then He took these children up in His arms and blessed them.

This same kindness is what drew so many women toward Christ—some even wept at His feet. At Jacob’s well, Jesus asked a Samaritan for water. She was taken aback, since other Jews wouldn’t even speak to Samaritans. Christ discerned that this woman was involved in an adulterous relationship; the way He dealt with her evidently prompted her to repent of that wickedness and to support Christ’s work (John 4:28-30).

This is how quickly Jesus forgave people who showed fruits of repentance. Another time, scribes and Pharisees were about to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery. But Jesus intervened to prick everyone’s conscience: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). After everyone left, He told the woman to go and sin no more.

Jesus Christ was the epitome of true masculinity. He wasn’t all steel—lording His authority over people. Neither was He all velvet—weak and effeminate, standing for nothing. He was both steel and velvet: strong, bold, courageous, gentle, patient and meek. This godly form of masculinity drew many men, women and children to Him.

Boys to Men

The Bible tells us much about what kind of man Jesus was—the kind of man all men should become. Little is recorded about His younger years. Yet there is enough for us to know that, as a boy, Jesus obeyed His parents, Joseph and Mary, and developed an intimate relationship with His spiritual Father in heaven (Luke 2:51-52). The mere fact that Christ began His ministry at the relatively young age of 30 reveals what kind of character He had as a boy, a teenager and a young adult.

Jesus Christ’s spiritual Father and His physical parents taught Him how to be a man.

That might sound hopelessly ideal. But we must understand that it is the only real solution to what is happening to our society. This is what is missing from today’s debates over how boys ought to be reared.

Many commentators have their so-called solutions. Some want to soften boys even further and would never tolerate them leading their wives and children as the head of the home. Some think boys ought to be macho, looking down on women, and won’t stand for boys being compassionate, merciful, unselfish and kind. What confusion.

The problems with our boys will never improve until we put God back at the center of family life!

Read Deuteronomy 6 and see how serious God is about parents teaching little boys how to be masculine men—and girls, for that matter, how to be feminine women. God says we ought to diligently teach our children all His ways, when we talk with them, sit with them, walk with them, when we wake up in the morning and when we go to bed at night (verse 7). What an effect it would have on our children, even now in this sinful generation, if parents would accept full responsibility for their children’s upbringing and raise them the way God says to!

European Union—a Superpower?

European Union—a Superpower?

GiorgioMagini/iStockphoto

The EU is filling the superpower gap in the wake of U.S. decline.

It sounds trite to say “We told you so,” but it’s the plain truth.

For over 70 years—57 of those under Herbert Armstrong, and for the last 23 years under Gerald Flurry, we have been absolutely consistent in declaring the Bible prophecies that clearly show a northern power—which we identified decades ago as the European Union under the leadership of Germany and Rome—arriving suddenly on the scene as a global superpower.

Now it’s the stuff of headlines, and still so few really “get it”!

The National Post carried an article a few days ago headlined “Europe: The world’s new superpower.”

Written by Anne Applebaum, who features regularly as a Washington Post columnist, very often on European affairs, the article observes: “‘A decade of war is now ending,’ U.S. President Barack Obama declared Monday. Maybe that’s true in America, but it isn’t true anywhere else. Extremists are still plotting acts of terror. Authoritarian and autocratic regimes are still using violence to preserve their power. The United States can step back from international conflicts, but that won’t make them disappear.”

And, as they say, there’s the rub.

Since the implosion of the ussr 23 years ago, the United States has been generally cast in the role of global policeman. Past administrations generally having made a thorough hash of that golden opportunity, the current U.S. administration has read the public mood and is bringing its troops home from the world’s hot spots and signaling entry into a new grand isolationism.

The moment could hardly be worse.

This world is caught up in a general global disorder of huge proportions. Wherever one looks—be it international relations, economics, finance, social dislocation, morality—the globe teeters on a precipice, overlooking a giant collapse of its systems of government and general social order into absolute chaos, under a constant threat of terrorism.

But wait.

Anne Applebaum has struck on a solution to all this that is entirely consistent with what we have preached and published for the past seven decades: “[T]here is another power that shares America’s economic and political values, that possesses sophisticated military technology and is also very interested in stopping the progress of fanatical movements, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. That power is Europe” (ibid).

Pointing to the current difference between today’s European attitude and that being reflected in Washington, Applebaum continues: “[T]he French are in Mali fighting an international terrorist organization with the potential to inflict damage across North Africa and perhaps beyond. Not long ago, this sort of international terrorist organization used to inspire emergency planning sessions at the Pentagon. Now the French have had trouble getting Washington to pay attention. Some U.S. transport planes recently helped ferry French soldiers to the region but, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro, the Americans at first asked the French to pay for the service—‘a demand without precedent’—before agreeing to help.”

Applebaum has produced an intuitive piece of journalism, showing a firmer grasp on geopolitical realities than most of the mainstream press. Her view is not a fashionable one with her journalistic colleagues, save a few strident voices in the British press. But it is a realist’s view.

Dare we repeat, nature abhors a vacuum, nowhere more so than in the arena of international relations.

The increasing isolationism of America is disturbing the whole global balance of power. Who will reestablish equilibrium in global affairs?

As Applebaum observes: “But what’s the alternative? If America is to enjoy ‘peace in our time’—an expression now deployed by both Barack Obama and Neville Chamberlain—while the rest of the world remains at war, then someone else will fill the vacuum. A glance at the other candidates—China, Russia, perhaps Qatar or another Gulf nation—ought to make us all stop giggling about cheese-eating surrender monkeys and start offering logistical and moral support. Europe may not be the best superpower. But it’s the only one we’ve got.”

It was the combined leadership of President Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul that worked to break the back of Soviet communism and open the way for a new world order, a unipolar order with the U.S. on top.

That era is now dying a painful death, and there’s a dearth of such leaders available to deal with the globe’s present multitudinous problems.

The global power that grew in the wake of the ussr’s collapse—the European Union—is about to show its teeth in the face of spreading Islamist extremist terror, and a dislocated global order. But it needs leadership.

Waiting in the wings for his moment is a leader with the charisma, the power of imperialist conviction, and a spiritual allegiance to Rome, who will soon appear to lead a reorganized European Union to take its place filling the gap of global policeman relinquished by America.

The signs are that European politics are preparing the way for the sudden rise of that leader.

As we have said, watch for the outcome of the elections in Italy in February and in Germany in September for an indication as to the future direction of European politics.

One thing is for sure. The way is already prepared for this leader to take on leadership of the world’s new superpower—the European Union!

Watch the upcoming Key of David television program for further insight into this phenomenon.

How to Prevent Another Sandy Hook Massacre

How to Prevent Another Sandy Hook Massacre

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gun control is a false dilemma, but there is a real solution.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

The unimaginable scene screams for answers: twenty children and six adults lying murdered in an elementary school.

The National Rifle Association demands one solution: Place an armed guard at every American school. Cost: $6.7 billion.

A strong liberal movement demands another solution: Outlaw assault weapons. Cost: A dramatic expansion in government power.

We’ve seen it all too often: A massacre takes place; politicians project indignation; they enact new laws—and little really changes. Last year 32,000 Americans died in front of the barrel of a gun. A little more than half were suicides. Tens of thousands more were shot, but lived.

Many Americans shout for more guns. Many Americans shout for fewer. And a lot of us are looking at this and realizing that the problem is so, so much deeper.

There is a real, practical solution to gun violence—to all violence—but we continue to ignore it while we bicker over this weapons-ban debate.

If America really wants to keep our children—all of them—safe from harm, we need a totally different debate. If we are honest with ourselves, we should realize that the cause of violence goes far deeper than whether people should be able to own guns, or what types of guns those should be.

The real debate shouldn’t be how many bullets we put into a clip—but what we put into our minds. Has anybody noticed our violent entertainment culture? How is there even a market for horror movies? Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3d debuted at number one at the box office in January! It displaced Django Unchained and The Hobbit—two other incredibly violent movies. Why do millions of us want to experience the horror of a person being savaged by a chainsaw in 3d Technicolor and thx sound? Can we have that conversation? Can we talk about the popularity of blood-and-gore-filled video games that millions of children and teenagers play? A youth, or an adult, cannot immerse his mind in this nightmarish filth without being affected. Where is the public outcry and political rage over our violent entertainment industry? Where is that debate?

And why are we ignoring the mental health/psychosis drug debate? So many killers are on prescription drugs. Sandy Hook butcher Adam Lanza was receiving treatment and taking medication for mental health problems. The Aurora, Colorado, killer was seeing a psychiatrist and took Vicodin before he went on his killing spree. Columbine mass-murderer Eric Harris was taking anti-depressant Luvox. The Virginia Tech murderer’s personal possessions included prescription medication for the treatment of psychological problems.

More than one in 10 Americans take anti-depressants. Almost 4 percent of adolescents take these medications. Abilify and Seroquel, two powerful antipsychotics, are the fifth and sixth best-selling prescription drugs in the United States. These are horribly high and condemning numbers. Numerous mental health experts believe that mood-altering drugs are likely a significant factor in school shootings and other gun violence, yet America’s leaders hardly raise an outcry. Why aren’t we discussing whether this drug-injection style of treatment is a failed system? Why aren’t we asking why so many people need mental treatment in the first place?

The biggest scandal of all this, though, is America’s culture of broken families. According to a 1991 study, more than seven in ten prisoners come from broken families. Many others grew up in dysfunctional homes. Today, 40 percent of all American infants are born to single parents. America’s violent cities contain far higher single parenthood rates. In Detroit, 70 percent of all births are to single parents. More Americans were killed in Detroit last year than in Afghanistan.

Do we truly want to do everything we can to give all children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? Then instead of putting an armed guard in every school, let’s work toward ensuring there’s a strong father in every home. Instead of accepting occasional massacres as the price we pay for the luxury of easy divorces and other “freedoms,” let’s demand selfless fathers and mothers as the price for lasting families and safe schools. Instead of focusing on the aftermaths, let’s confront the causes.

The real issue we need to address isn’t gun control, it is character control. The truth is that we need to fix our depraved culture—and there is only one way to do that. America needs to turn to God in deep repentance, and that repentance requiresactual change!

But don’t expect any politician to tell you that. Instead, America will keep doing what it is doing, and keep getting what it is getting: more political task forces on gun violence, another political gunfight, and sadly, more school shootings.

If we really want to keep our children safe from harm, America needs to take a long look in the mirror. It needs to end its collective fetish of constantly making new laws and regulations, and instead actually start keeping the higher laws that mankind was given from the beginning. If we are really honest with ourselves, if we really care about stopping the next Sandy Hook, we have to admit that this is the only way guaranteed to prevent more school shootings. And it is the only way to bring real, lasting, hope-filled change to America.

A Bigger Pastime Than Sports

A Bigger Pastime Than Sports

Roob/iStock

It’s a booming business, and it is bringing our nation down—one click at a time.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Did you know that 12 to 15 percent of all websites are pornographic? Every second, over 28,000 Internet users are looking at pornography. It is becoming so prevalent you almost can’t avoid it.

Thirty years ago, the porn industry in the United States brought in $75 million in revenue. That in itself is shameful. But it has since grown 17,000 percent! Today, it brings in $13.3 billion! $13.3 BILLION! As much as we love our sports, we don’t love them as much as we love pornography! Major League Baseball only makes $7 billion, a little more than half of that. The National Football League generates $9 billion in income. The National Basketball Association generates $5 billion. Pornography is almost triple the nba, and without any of the prime-time advertising, big-time merchandising or the massive arenas.

1 Corinthians 6:18 says we are to flee fornication. But we do just the opposite! This is the most massive sin you can imagine if you understand the Bible.

This isn’t just affecting adults. It is savaging our young people. The average age that children first see porn is 11. Seventy to 80 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds accidently see porn on the Internet. One survey I read about recently said over half of young people deceive their parents about pornography. They are able to get it so easily. Then it preys on their curiosity and pulls them in to a terrible quagmire.

Sex addiction is a lot like heroin addiction. I recently spoke to a minister who was counseling a drug and sex addict. This man was able to kick his addiction to seven drugs—but he couldn’t kick the sex addiction!

That is how addictive this is to adults—just imagine what it is doing to teenagers and to children!

This sin is destroying families, which are the backbone of every nation. We sin against our children and against our people by allowing it to happen.

What is this doing to our nation? It is not difficult to see. Pornography destroys families, which are the strength of any nation, and so it destroys nations.

America spews this filth out into the world. The United States is part of the descendants of Israel. Who are some of the other descendants? Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Jewish nation—all leaders in sins like pornography! Our nations are the only ones that have a history with God. They are supposed to set an example of God’s way of life. Instead, they’re doing the opposite.

Nobody eclipses the U.S. in producing pornography. God says in one prophecy that we are even worse than the nations around us.

Those who want to stop this from going on are helpless. What can they do? They’re not going to solve it by doing nothing, nor are they going to solve it without God empowering them.

Our people, who say they are Christian, hardly even talk about pornography anymore because they lost that war years ago, and they know it. It has taken over! It’s in our entertainment—even our mainstream television, movies, music videos, magazines and just about everything else.

And we let it go on—we must have “freedom of speech.” What an appalling deceit that is! It has nothing to do with freedom! It’s all about slavery! Sex addiction is slavery! You can see in the worst cases what it’s doing to us! Yet we still refuse to obey God.

This is a gigantic sin we are committing, yet we have the gall to say we’re a Christian nation, and to talk about how religious and good we are.

God calls America a “hypocritical nation” (Isaiah 10:6). He is full of wrath because of it.

There is a spiritual dimension to this situation. God is going to punish us for our sins. We have rejected His way of love and obedience to His law, the way of honor and morality and chastity and obedience. As a result, He is allowing a spirit of evil to grow in power and influence in our world.

Read my article on page 26 of this magazine. It explains this invisible evil force at work in our world today. This evil spirit is very active, and he is glutting us with these horrible influences, entrapping us in sins that wreck our families and fill them with hatred and lies and cheating—the opposite of the character of God.

Do you realize what is really inspiring all this family-destroying smut? The Bible tells us: It is Satan the devil. We have turned to the devil’s way, and we are about to see where that leads us. The Bible prophesies that Satan’s violent anger will culminate in the horrific Great Tribulation.

Do you look at this issue the way God does? He wants to free this world from its enslavement to such depravity. He wants to freeyou! When you see the suffering caused by breaking His law, like the suffering caused by pornography, it helps you to realize what a blessing His law is, which teaches us to stay away from that kind of lust (Matthew 5:27-28). If you want more instruction about that, request a free copy of our reprint article “Porn Free.”

Soon Jesus Christ will return in power and put a stop to these sins forever. He will rule, and He will show us how to have the happiness and joy we should be enjoying today—by keeping His law of love. You can do that individually today, if you are willing.

Will China Call America’s Military Bluff?

Will China Call America’s Military Bluff?

JIJI PRESS/AFP/GettyImages

In Beijing’s escalating territorial dispute with Japan, it sees an opportunity to expose the United States as an unreliable ally.

As a territorial dispute between China and Japan intensifies, Beijing is behaving toward the United States in a way that may initially appear counterintuitive. Although China has not openly sought U.S. mediation in the row, its Foreign Ministry has issued statements designed to provoke increased U.S. involvement.

Why would China want to draw the U.S.—the world’s foremost military power—into the conflict?

There is a clear explanation.

‘This Land Is My Land!’

China claims that the Diaoyu islands—called Senkaku in Japan—have been a part of its territory since 1534 or earlier. Japan rejects those claims and says Tokyo has full sovereignty over them. The dispute has simmered for decades, but it greatly intensified in September 2012 when the Japanese government bought the islands from their private Japanese owner.

The purchase infuriated the Chinese, prompting them to make many incursions into the waters and skies around the islands. These moves are designed to challenge Japanese control.

Washington’s Role

As Japan’s longtime ally, the United States is obliged to defend Tokyo in the row. Although Washington doesn’t take an official stance on the sovereignty of the islands, it recognizes Japanese administrative control of them, and acknowledges that they fall under the U.S.’s security and defense agreements with Japan. Since Tokyo has also admitted shortcomings in its defense abilities that leave it unable to effectively counter Chinese activity around the islands, it’s clear that, in the event of a conflict, Japan would depend significantly on U.S. backing.

The U.S. hopes that its pledge to militarily back Tokyo will frighten China, and prevent Beijing from taking more aggressive action in the dispute.

But does America’s pledge actually intimidate China?

‘Peace in Our Time’

In his second inaugural address on January 21, President Obama mentioned “peace in our time,” a phrase made infamous by former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he promised that the world would have peace with Adolf Hitler before World War ii. Perhaps the president didn’t intend to quote Chamberlain, but the phrase encapsulates the naive nature of his foreign affairs.

“A decade of war is now ending,” Mr. Obama also said. And his actions suggest that he believes his words. He pulled the U.S. out of Iraq in his first term, and has mapped out a plan to follow suit in Afghanistan during his second. His decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary screams “anti-interventionist” as loudly as anything could.

Writing for the Financial Times on January 21, Gideon Rachman said: “In foreign affairs, it looks as though Mr. Obama’s biggest goal is to be the president who brought the boys back home. … It is already clear that in the second Obama term, the Pentagon budget will fall—and America will seek to cut back rather than expand its foreign engagements.”

The idea of being drawn into a conflict with China is nearly too unbearable for the current administration to contemplate. And clear understanding of this truth has fueled China’s increasingly provocative rhetoric toward Washington.

Counterintuitive Behavior From Beijing?

On the same day as Mr. Obama’s speech, China’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of bearing “undeniable historical responsibility on the Diaoyu issue.” Why? This angry charge was made in response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying Washington opposed any action that would undermine Japan’s administration of the islands. Clinton’s comments “ignore facts and confuse truth with untruth. China is strongly displeased and firmly opposed to it,” the Chinese statement continued. It was the second time in a matter of days that Beijing had placed some of the blame on Washington for the Sino-Japanese territorial frictions.

Many analysts wonder why China would spout off provocative rhetoric toward the U.S., since logic suggests that China would want to keep the world’s most powerful military far from the conflict. Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly China Post said the Chinese statements about the U.S. “appear to be an attempt to prompt Washington to use its influence to soften the stance of Japan, which has steadfastly refused to hold talks over the islands” (January 22).

Softening Japan’s stance may be one outcome China desires, but Beijing could be banking on another significantly more far-reaching result: to expose the U.S. military as a force that can be countered.

Beijing views the outcome of any potential confrontation a question of will more than of military might. On this front, the U.S. is at an overwhelming disadvantage. Because of this, the threat of U.S. military involvement may not only fail to deter China from increasing its provocations, it may serve as a prime opportunity for Beijing to expose the U.S. as a timid and unreliable ally to Japan.

Stratfor points out that Beijing may view U.S. involvement in the dispute as an “opportunity to reshape regional perceptions of Washington’s military commitment to Asia” (January 21). Since the U.S. is a war-weary power still struggling to extricate itself from over a decade of war in Afghanistan, “Beijing is calculating that Washington will continue to seek to avoid new conflict in Asia” (ibid).

There is a stark dichotomy between the peace-in-our-time U.S. and increasingly confrontational China. When war becomes a question of will, the outcome between these two is already determined.

‘I Will Break the Pride of Your Power’

If the situation plays out as Beijing hopes, China will be able to vividly prove to America’s allies that Beijing can effectively neutralize U.S. military power in Asia. If the U.S.’s Asian allies see that alliances with America are not reliable, their survival instinct will compel them to instead rally behind China.

Such an outcome would have repercussions far beyond Asia. It would confirm what the U.S.’s Middle Eastern enemies have long suspected, and greatly embolden radical Islam. It would also show Europe that the world needs a new superpower—one with a spine—and hasten the EU’s unification to fill this power vacuum.

The U.S., as a military power, is in rapid decline. This sobering deterioration of America’s military resolve was forecast decades ago by Herbert W. Armstrong. Just after the Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961, Mr. Armstrong pinned the blame for America’s loss not on the nation’s military, or even on President Kennedy, but on the American people: “Unless or until the United States as a whole repents and returns to what has become a hollow slogan on its dollars: ‘In God we trust,’ the United States of America has won its last war! … [T]he God America has deserted gave it its most humiliating defeat! What does the Cuban debacle mean? It means, Mr. and Mrs. United States, that the handwriting is on your wall!” (Plain Truth, October 1961).

Mr. Armstrong based this sobering forecast on a biblical prophecy about what God would do with America’s will to use its tremendous power if it rejected God’s law: “I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:19). In the decades since Mr. Armstrong wrote those words, the American people have increasingly rejected God’s law, and the U.S. has thrown varying degrees of its weight behind dozens of military conflicts. Each of the halfhearted efforts has sapped a little more of the nation’s pride in its power.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S.’s diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens—all on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. It was an act of war, and the ultimate insult to the U.S., yet Washington’s bewildering response was to apologize for the production of a video that was not actually related to the attack.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said the U.S.’s flaccid response to that act of war meant the Leviticus 26:19 prophecy had then been fully fulfilled: “It’s no longer God saying, ‘i will break the pride of your power.” It’s now God has broken it! I’ve never seen America in such a low as this!”(Satellite Transmission, October 1, 2012).

The Chinese seem to recognize the U.S.’s shattered will to use its power. And they may well be preparing to put those tatters on display for the whole world. To understand what this broken pride will mean for the U.S. in the years ahead, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy.