Dare to Be Square

Dare to Be Square

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A simple formula that adds meaning and purpose to life
From the August 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

How would you like to be 25 percent more effective in everything you do? Everyone’s capable of doing more—producing at a higher level. But how? The formula is actually quite simple. But it’s not easy.

Find a piece of paper and a pen. In the middle of your paper, draw a good-size square. Now let’s consider each side of it.

God designed our physical bodies to function according to definite physical laws. When those physical laws are broken, the penalty is sickness and disease, sluggishness and debility.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we are admonished to glorify God with our bodies. This includes attending to physical health.

Exercise is one important key to living healthy, which is why 1 Timothy 4:8 says bodily exercise is profitable. Added to that, proper diet is huge. We are what we eat. As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Since you are merely food converted into a human body and mind, is it not plain that whatever food you put into your mouth has a very great deal to do with what you are—and with your health, or lack of it” (Plain Truth, December 1967).

God is our Creator. He made us. He knows what our bodies were made to utilize as good, healthful foods and what foods aren’t good for us. He set laws in motion regulating clean and unclean meats. Obey them, like Jesus and the apostles did.

“I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” the Apostle John wrote (3 John 2). Above all things he wished for the brethren to be in good health. Why? Because this is foundational to successful living! Too often, healthful living is not truly appreciated until it’s gone.

So, on your square, next to the line on the left, write “physical stature.”

“Wisdom is the principal thing,” says Proverbs 4:7. But we have to go get it. “No one is going to get far these days unless he thinks for himself. This is going to take time and hard work, but the joy you will discover in knowing one thing well will more than repay you,” William Danforth wrote in his book I Dare You! “Most of us would like to be a Bernard Shaw or a Thomas A. Edison today. But how many would have been willing to be a Shaw or Edison many years ago when they were constantly laboring, studying, training, and devouring all they could find which would fit them for the fame that was to be theirs?”

Characteristics of a sound mind include right mental habits, intellectual curiosity, mental discipline, clear and independent thinking and a love of truth. All of those character attributes—if based on truth—are characteristics of a sound, balanced mind.

Next to the right side of your square, write “wisdom.”

God’s law of love is the way of unselfish concern for the good and welfare of others. God was so concerned about the welfare and future of others that He gave up His only Son! (Romans 5:8). God is a people person! What about you?

God made man in His own likeness and image—to be like Him! Learn to share yourself with others—your spouse, your children, your church congregation, your co-workers. Share your warmth, your love, your plans and your dreams. Give kindness and encouragement to those in distress. Offer sincere praise for those who perform something well.

You can never give away too much love. The beauty of it is, the more you give away, the happier you will be and the more you will grow. The Bible teaches that when we give, it automatically brings blessings into our lives (Acts 20:35).

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” This says everyone can enlarge their circle of friends, and positively impact more lives.

“I dare you to develop that magnetic personality that will lead and inspire others. You can have that personality if you have a great enough desire,” Danforth wrote. “Can you imagine a young man with a sincere and earnest desire to make friends ever turning out a grouch?”

On your square, above the top line, write “favor with man.”

Even with three sides of our square filled in, we are woefully incomplete. What good is vibrant health, discerning wisdom and social magnetism without purpose?

Why are we here? What is man’s purpose in this life? Mr. Armstrong answered these questions, and many more, in his profound work Mystery of the Ages.

Understanding man’s purpose begins with how we relate to God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Psalm 111:10). God tells us to fear Him and to obey His commandments first, and then deep understanding will follow.

Put God to the test by doing (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Danforth wrote, “Physical strength demands exercise. Mental alertness demands study. Winsome personality thrives on service. Religious growth requires action, the actual doing of right things instead of the wrong. We advance only by doing. Say your prayers tonight, but unless tomorrow you can act on them, they are not worth much.”

On the final side of your square, on the bottom—the foundation—write, “favor with God.”

So there you have it—the square life. Jesus Christ perfectly exemplified this balanced lifestyle. As a young man, it says in Luke 2:52, He increased in physical strength, wisdom and stature, “and in favor with God and man.” Christ set a perfect example, but He also said it wouldn’t be easy to follow in His steps (Matthew 7:13-14). Because of the difficulty, most people choose the easy way—a life of poor health, lazy thinking and strained relationships.

Choose the difficult road—answer Danforth’s challenge: “How dare you have within yourself these four-fold capacities and not use them?” “[L]ife is a four-sided affair,” he continued—“your daring program is going to lead you into physical adventures, mental adventures, social adventures, spiritual adventures. You have not one, but four lives to live—a four-fold opportunity to grow. … It is helping you touch life at all angles, absorb strength from all contacts, pour out power on all fronts.

“And here is another interesting thing. The more you pour out, the more you find to pour.”

Go ahead and try it—I dare you.

United Nations Says Ditch the Dollar

United Nations Says Ditch the Dollar

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Is a new global currency soon to be unveiled?

The dollar is unreliable and needs to be replaced as the world’s reserve currency, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in a report released June 29.

“The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is a requisite for a stable reserve currency,” the report, which was supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said.

Instead, the UN wants to replace the dollar with a new global currency managed by the International Monetary Fund. The new currency, called sdrs, or special drawing rights, would be backed by a basket of various currencies and could be manipulated by officials to maintain stability.

According to the UN, this new international currency would help sustain global trade and financial systems and help bring less-developed countries into the world economy.

However, any move toward abandoning the dollar as the world’s reserve currency could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy. Reserve currency status means there is huge, virtually locked-in demand for dollars. This has allowed Americans to run huge deficits and debts, while not having to deal with the stifling consequences of rising interest rates. It also allows the Federal Reserve to print money to stimulate the economy, pay the bills, and stealthily inflate away the national debt.

If the dollar were to lose its reserve currency status, it would be a rude awakening to a nation suddenly forced to deal with decades of overspending.

There is a global trend of nations seeking ways to abandon the dollar reserve system. Germany, France, Russia, Brazil, the UN, and the International Monetary Fund have all expressed misgivings—if not outright criticism—concerning the dollar system and the unfair advantages it gives America.

The problem facing these nations is, what is the alternative?

According to the Bible, two gigantic markets will rule the post-dollar world: one in Europe, focused on Germany, and one in Asia, focused on China and Japan. These two markets will grow to dominate trade, and will do so at America’s expense.

The recent UN report is the latest manifestation of this growing anti-U.S. sentiment.

For more on this trend, read “World Prepares to Dump the Dollar.”

A Flirt With Dictatorships

A Flirt With Dictatorships

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Western liberals say America’s system is broken and the government needs more power. Guess who agrees.

Strange trend: Liberals in America pining for authoritarianism.

Last year the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman, lamenting the political paralysis that was hindering the Obama administration’s legislative agenda, made this remarkable comparison: “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

Last month on Meet the Press, Friedman warmed to his theme: “I have fantasized—don’t get me wrong—but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day,” he said. “You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions … on everything from the economy to environment.”

Confound those Founding Fathers, with all their limited-government, balance-of-powers claptrap. If you want to get something done, autocracy is the way to go.

Similar thinking has poked its head up from the oily waters of the Gulf crisis. In its most extreme expression, earlier this month you had Rosie O’Donnell on the radio suggesting this “solution”: “Seize their [BP’s] assets today. Take over the country, I don’t care. Issue an executive order. Say, ‘BP? Guess what.’ Call it socialism, call it communism, call it anything you want. … Seize the assets—take over BP.”

Of course, she believes, contrary to all evidence, that the government could actually manage this crisis better than a private company. In truth, the American government is already BO—Beyond Overburdened—and the more it tries to do, the worse it gets at everything.

Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating argument to hear: America is supposedly the picture of greatness, using a governing structure many have considered the envy of the world—and it’s plainly broken. We need something leaner, more agile, stronger.

Guess who’s listening—and agreeing? German elites.

“Foreign-policy specialists from Berlin’s establishment are discussing possible advantages of dictatorial forms of government,” reported German-Foreign-Policy.com on June 15. The May-June issue of Germany’s leading journal on global affairs, Internationale Politik, focuses on the question.

In the lead article, Herfried Münkler, a member of the advisory board of Berlin’s Federal College for Security Studies, reveals a theme popping up in the private conversations of the German establishment. They sound a lot like Thomas Friedman: Democracy has them frustrated, for several reasons. Its inertia. Its sluggishness. Its susceptibility to corruption by special interest groups. “The widespread tendency of politicians to talk around things because they fear being punished politically for speaking the truth” (my translation).

These German elites recognize a “state of democratic fatigue with an erosion of democratic institutions.” They call democracy “the system that has grown old.” “[D]emocracy … shows signs of fatigue and symptoms of deficiency,” Münkler wrote; “it needs a revitalization cure.”

What these movers and shakers yearn for, Münkler explains, is “a bit of dictatorship.”

That’s right. The “spreading discomfort with democracy” in Western nations brings with it “a certain seductiveness for a flirt with dictatorships.”

It’s one thing to hear a self-impressed reporter making an eyebrow-raising talking point on a Sunday morning news program. It’s quite another to get a glimpse, via a prestigious German-language policy journal, at what German industrialists and foreign-policy specialists are whispering “out of earshot of the public.” Particularly given German and European history, which has been a repetitious cycle of weak and failed administrations giving way to the rule of dictators. And the fact that Germany now languishes under a weak and failed administration.

Looking at the world today, Internationale Politik notes, the real success stories are autocracies. “The economic boom of autocratic powers such as China and Russia has reignited the competition of systems,” says the issue’s lead editorial. “Have authoritarian systems refurbished their gloss—because they are quicker at making decisions than portly democracies?”

It is not at all difficult to see the failure of the democratic model in today’s world. The particular portly democracy that Tom Friedman would like to see transformed into an Asian autocracy, even if only for a day, is not only failing at home—it is also miserably failing at efforts to export people-power to Iraq and Afghanistan. Elsewhere in that region—Lebanon, the Palestinians, Egypt and Iran among them—elections have awarded the reins of power to ideological extremists.

On every continent, the accouterments of democracy are applied at great expense; they remain, at present, a basic test of a government’s legitimacy. But underneath, the great majority of these regimes bear the hallmarks of authoritarianism—election fraud, oppression of the opposition, state media control. After all, even North Korea (excuse me, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) holds elections every five years.

Now in response—no surprise—we see intellectuals criticizing the notion that the only legitimate government is a popularly elected government. This is hardly a new criticism: Throughout history the elite have tended to sneer at the idea that government should be entrusted to the stupid and mediocre masses.

Herfried Münkler and the InternationalePolitik staff ultimately reject the alternative. They conclude, “Even with all of the contradictions in democracies, with dictatorships, in all their variations, the risks are too high.” But as German-Foreign-Policy.com says, “Whether Münkler’s rejection [of dictatorship] will convince those who, according to his information, are today talking ‘of various dictatorial powers and measures’ remains, for the time being, unknown.”

Well, it would be unknown—that is, without the testimony of history. Germany’s present period of democracy is a historical anomaly. Germans—and not just the elites—have always preferred a strongman government. Democracy has always been imposed from outside. And it has always collapsed and been subsumed by a reversion to totalitarianism. Even today, support for democracy is declining among the populace; in 2006, for example, the German Statistics Office reported that only 38 percent of eastern Germans believed democracy to be good for Germany—down 11 percent from five years before.

But there is even more compelling evidence that Münkler’s article will fail to break the seduction of dictatorships. As the Trumpet has repeatedly written, biblical prophecy is clear that Germany will rise one last time, in our day, to draw the world into global war—under the robust leadership of a strongman. That private yearning for “a flirt with dictatorship” is about to become very public; and as Revelation 17:1-2 show, those elites will get more than a flirt with it.

The ‘Single Greatest Health Threat’ Facing Humankind

The ‘Single Greatest Health Threat’ Facing Humankind

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Are our dying whales trying to send a message?

The Earth’s oceans are in trouble. In short: They are sick and dying. Poisons, trash and overfishing are destroying the Earth’s biggest resource—and the primary source of food for 1 billion people.

“You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species. I suspect this will shorten lives, if it turns out that this is what is going on” (emphasis mine). This is the conclusion of biologist Roger Payne, president of Ocean Alliance, a research and conservation group that just released a shocking report concerning the world’s sperm whale population.

The report released on June 24 found that sperm whales feeding in even the most remote reaches of the oceans have built up incredibly high levels of toxic and heavy metals. The five-year study collected tissue samples from almost 1,000 whales.

The researchers found mercury as high as 16 parts per million in the whales’ surface tissues, but say levels are probably much higher in inner organs. Experts recommend that children and pregnant women avoid eating fish such as shark and swordfish, which typically have levels of only 1 part per million.

The researchers were stunned with the “jaw dropping” results. They even found chromium. “That’s an absolute shocker. Nobody was even looking for it,” said Payne.

High levels of cadmium, aluminum, lead, silver and titanium were also found.

Many of these metals, once accumulated, get stored in the fats of organisms and are not released back into the environment. This is especially problematic for higher food-chain animals, because when they feed, they ingest all the metals taken in by lower organisms (i.e.: the metals absorbed by the algae, which is eaten by the zooplankton, which is eaten by the small fish, which is eaten by the large fish, which is eaten by the shark, which is eaten by the whale). At each level, the heavy metals get more concentrated. And for some toxins, once ingested, they never get expelled.

For sperm whales and other top-level predators, this is becoming a major concern. When the mother whale nurses her calf, she passes on the poisons to the next generation. “What she’s actually doing is dumping her lifetime accumulation of that fat-soluble stuff into her baby,” says Payne, and each generation passes on more to the next.

“I don’t see any future for whale species except extinction,” says Payne. “This is not on anybody’s radar, no government’s radar anywhere, and I think it should be.”

But the astoundingly high levels of the synthetic chemicals found in the whales give an overall report on the health of the oceans—and it is not good. When top predators die out, whole ecosystems get thrown out of whack with unpredictable ramifications for other species. One billion humans rely heavily on the fishing industry for food.

“The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings,” says Payne. “These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They are certainly threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean.”

Sperm whales are not the only whale populations struggling—though, since bans of commercial whale hunting were implemented, some whale populations are increasing again.

In 2008, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reported that one quarter of whales, dolphins and porpoises are still threatened with extinction, with 1 in 10 species endangered to the very highest levels. Blue whales, for example, used to number around 250,000. Today, it is estimated there are only 2,300 alive.

On June 17, marine biologist John Calambokidis reported an autopsy had found “the largest amount of trash ever recorded in a stranded whale in Puget Sound.” The garbage inside the gray whale included sweatpants fabric, a golf ball, plastic bags, duct tape, fishing line and a juice pouch.

In March, it was reported that southern right whales were dying in record numbers along Argentina’s Patagonian coast, resulting in the largest die-off of great whales ever documented. Over 300 whales were found dead; over 80 percent were calves less than 3 months old. At this important spawning ground, it was estimated that one quarter of the year’s calves died in this one event. And no one knows why.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, says whale populations are at a tipping point. A combination of factors threatens the survival of whales. “You need to look at the cumulative impact of vessel strikes, entanglements in fishing nets, pollution, destruction of habitat and acoustic disturbances,” she said in June 2008.

“Their situation is very critical. It could go either way.”

The Earth’s troubled oceans are crying out. To better understand the message they are sending, read “Where Have All the Fish Gone?

Pope Benedict Announces a New Crusade

Pope Benedict Announces a New Crusade

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In the most recent sign that the pope is moving more aggressively against his faith’s twin enemies, secularism and Islam, Benedict has announced the creation of a new Vatican office to oversee Rome’s latest crusade.

“The pope yesterday announced he is to create a new Vatican office to fight secularization and ‘re-evangelize’ the West,” the Australian reports (June 30). With specific reference to Europe, Benedict declared that though Christianity had existed on the Continent for centuries, “‘the process of secularization has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the church.’ The new pontifical council, he said, would ‘promote a renewed evangelization’ in countries where the church has long existed ‘but which are living a progressive secularization of society and a sort of eclipse of the sense of God.’”

Mooted for some months, the new office now becomes an official pontifical council charged with the responsibility to make the re-evangelization of Europe and the Americas a priority. It will strengthen the hand of Roman Catholic elites within those circles most influential in promoting the imperial European vision. At the same time, it will lead to the revival of Rome’s connections in Latin America, thus strengthening the symbiosis between the Latino nations and their Holy Roman heritage.

By the same token, this latest crusade of Benedict’s is bound to clash with the most radical of left-wing influences within President Barack Obama’s cabinet and, in the process, widen the rift between the European Union and the United States.

The most astute observers who possess both a knowledge of history and of Bible prophecy for our times will note that this Bavarian pope’s announcement comes at a time when a number of other phenomena of interest are coalescing within his country of origin:

  • The upgrading of the professionalism and technological capability of Germany’s military forces under Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
  • Germany’s leading role in initiating changes in global financial regulation
  • Germany’s aggressive resistance to the U.S. administration’s failing strategy of coping with the global economic crisis
  • Increasing disruption on the streets in failing EU economies
  • The trend toward discussing dictatorship as a workable option in times of such crisis
  • The seeming inevitability of a change soon in the chancellorship, in addition to the presidency of Germany
  • The rise of nationalism on the Continent
  • For the past two decades, the Trumpet has carried the torch of truth since the death of Herbert Armstrong and the destruction at the very hands of his trusted aides of the global enterprise that he had painstakingly built with the help of Almighty God.

    One of the threads of Mr. Armstrong’s powerful message of prophecy for our times was that the Church of Rome would be Europe’s only hope of uniting its mixture of iron and miry clay together in any semblance of unity so as to fulfill end-time prophecies for our day. This is exactly what the pope’s latest move is all about. It is the beginning of an overt move to bind Europe together with the traditional ideology of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation!

    When you put this latest papal crusade together with the events highlighted above, the result is a dramatic and living demonstration of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation for our day, our moment in time, TODAY!

    If we have become so blinded to history, so inept at reading the signs of impending global disruption, so ignorant of the living prophecies that fill our news headlines daily such that we remain oblivious to what these trends portend, then we as a people certainly deserve the powerful national correction that they will bring upon us.

    We urge you to read our booklets He Was Right and Daniel Unlocks Revelation without delay and begin to capture the vision of the terrifying future immediately ahead, the God-ordained reason for it, and the grand hope of the fulfillment of your incredible human potential that it will usher in!

    Study: Psychotropic Drugs Increase Risk of Birth Defects

    Study: Psychotropic Drugs Increase Risk of Birth Defects

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    It won’t cure your depression, but it could maim your child.

    New research shows that the probability of birth defects is increased by use of psychotropic drugs during pregnancy. During an age of endemic antidepressant usage, the implications are sobering.

    Professors Ebbe Holme Hansen and Lise Aagaard of the University of Copenhagen concluded that between 1998 and 2007 psychotropic drugs were associated with 429 adverse drug reactions in Danish children under the age of 17. More than half of the 429 affected children suffered from serious complications, including severe withdrawal syndrome, and birth deformities.

    The study, published in the open access journal BMC Research Notes on June 25, was based on a total of 4,500 pediatric adverse drug reaction reports submitted during the research period. It found that 42 percent of adverse reactions were the result of psychostimulants, such as Ritalin, 31 percent were associated with antidepressants, such as Prozac, and 24 percent were the consequence of antipsychotics, such as Haldol.

    The researchers believe these findings should jolt medical personnel into rethinking what is a cavalier approach to prescription mood-altering drugs.

    “A range of serious side effects such as birth deformities, low birth weight, premature birth, and development of neonatal withdrawal syndrome were reported in children under 2 years of age, most likely because of the mother’s intake of psychotropic medication during pregnancy,” said Aagaard.

    “Psychotropic medication should not be prescribed in ordinary circumstances, because this type of medication has a long half-life,” she continued.

    The study also found the dosages of these drugs to be problematic.

    “If people take their medicine as prescribed it will be a constantly high dosage, and it could take weeks for one single tablet to exit the body’s system. Three out of four pregnancies are planned, and therefore society must take responsibility for informing women about the serious risks of transferring side effects to their unborn child,” Aagaard said.

    A separate study this month shows that a pregnant woman’s intake of antidepressants leads to a 68 percent increased risk of miscarriage.

    Seeing as the use of antidepressants is increasing in Denmark, the United States and other countries, the findings of the reports showcase a dangerous lack of knowledge regarding the risks of expectant mothers using prescription antidepressants.

    Western culture is hooked on the pharmaceutical promise of a quick fix for personal problems. But depression is only a symptom of a larger ailment, and people are not digging to the true causes of their mental anguish—corrosive interpersonal relationships, imbalanced diets, perverted entertainment, poor work ethic, overall selfish outlook, etc. Changing behavior is considered too difficult. It’s too inconvenient, while swallowing a pill is easy. But mood-altering medications seldom cure anything, and, as evidenced by this bmc report, they can introduce an entirely new set of grave problems.

    For more on this subject, see “Will Pills Solve Our Ills?