Unemployment: EU vs. Germany

Unemployment: EU vs. Germany

Domique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

EU unemployment skyrockets while Germany’s reaches record lows. Why is this so?

By now it’s patently obvious to all. The eurozone has helped power Germany’s export economy to new heights, knocking its unemployment rate into record low territory, while driving the rest of Europe largely into recession.

How did this happen?

George Friedman of Stratfor sums it up thus (January 31; emphasis added throughout):

About 40 percent of German gross domestic product comes from exports, much of them to the European Union. For all their discussion of fiscal prudence and care, the Germans have an interest in facilitating consumption and demand for their exports across Europe. Without these exports, Germany would plunge into depression. Therefore, the Germans have used the institutions and practices of the European Union to maintain demand for their products.

Early on in the creation of the eurozone, a few voices were heard predicting this outcome. Voices belonging to such as EU whistle-blower Bernard Connolly, British political economist Rodney Atkinson and the late Christopher Story, a British intelligence and economics analyst. Their warnings of the implementation of the eurozone leading to financial catastrophe for Europe to Germany’s sole gain went unheeded.

Now the prescience of those warnings is evident in the results of today’s euro crisis.

George Friedman states: “Through the currency union, Germany has enabled other eurozone states to access credit at rates their economies didn’t merit in their own right. In this sense, Germany encouraged demand for its exports by facilitating irresponsible lending practices across Europe. The degree to which German actions encouraged such imprudent practices … is not fully realized” (ibid).

As a result, we see today that even as Germany’s unemployment rate is publicized at an official record low of 5.5 percent, the unemployment rate in the rest of the EU as a bloc was 9.9 percent in December, with 23.8 million people out of work.

So, what are opinion shapers in Germany saying about this situation? In a dramatic warping of reality, with little mind to Germany’s true history, much less to that of the creation of the eurozone, the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: “Germany has the strongest economy by far in the EU, and its lead is growing. It is also the most populous country, which isn’t insignificant in democratic terms. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the German government is making use of this clout; that’s legitimate. … Germany bears a major burden in having to overcome a crisis that others got themselves into” (January 31).

Commentary by the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung showed a similar warped understanding of the situation in Greece in particular. It claimed that “The Germans led Greece before, and … the massacres of Distomo and Kefalonia have nothing to do with today’s euro crisis …” (January 31).

In reality, the massacres at Distomo and Kefalonia have everything to do with today’s euro crisis! Any real student of German history should know that it was those of such ilk as the elite Nazi cadre who approved the perpetration of those war crimes—including Kurt Waldheim—who went underground toward the end of World War ii to ensure the exact outcome of the creation of today’s European Union—a Europe dominated by Germany! Read the “Red House Report” and be educated on that history! (This intelligence report is reprinted in full in our free booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.)

Not only that. Perhaps Greece, for one, would not be in its present crisis had it not been for the failure of the German government to pay full reparations for the slaughterous Nazi occupation of Greece during World War ii.

Commenting on Germany’s history of failure to pay reparations for the effects of its warring actions against other nations, German Prof. Albrecht Ritschl of the London School of Economics stated in an interview with Spiegel Online: “With the exception of compensation paid out to forced laborers, Germany did not pay any reparations after 1990—and neither did it pay off the loans and occupation costs it pressed out of the countries it had occupied during World War ii. Not to the Greeks, either.”

Ritschl further commented that he believes Germany’s economic success has only been possible “through waiving extensive debt payments and stopping reparations to its World War ii victims.”

In Greece, he says, “No one … has forgotten that Germany owes its economic prosperity to the grace of other nations.”

To further explore the example of Greece in particular, during an interview with Stern magazine yet another German academic, Norman Paech, professor of international law at Hamburg University, said “that the German government was liable for compensation to the victims of the Nazi atrocities in Greece. … Paech said that Germany must ‘reconcile itself with the idea’ that a recent Greek supreme court ruling recognizing the competence of Greek courts to rule on demands for compensation over the Nazi atrocities ‘will have substantial consequences’ as some 10,000 such lawsuits were outstanding, and the total compensation involved was tens of billions of deutsche marks” (Athens News Agency, April 27, 2000).

Tens of billions! Think of what that would have done for the Greek economy. Germany obviously has a need to keep Greece in enforced penury, rather than face its obligation to pay these reparations.

There’s no doubt the hardworking nature, the thrift and the organizational ability of the German peoples has contributed greatly to their economic success today. Yet, given the true facts—from German economic experts themselves—there can also be no doubt that there is something lacking in the conscience of any German commentator who can imply that Germany’s failure to pay reparations to the nations it occupied and devastated in two world wars has nothing to do with today’s economic crisis in Europe. It has as much to do with German dominance today, and the recessionary condition of much of the European continent, as has the deliberate structuring of a European Monetary Union to favor the German economy to the detriment of the entire eurozone.

Why is Germany’s current employment rate at record high levels, while much of Europe’s population increasingly lacks gainful employment?

Look to the way that the nation’s elites have structured Europe to Germany’s sole advantage—and look to their failure to fulfill their postwar obligations of conscience. Then ask, if Germany is to lead Europe yet again—to take a phrase from Süddeutsche Zeitung, “as the Germans led Europe before”—what will really be the nature of that leadership, and what will be its outcome?

Let history teach the answer.

Planets, Planets Everywhere

Planets, Planets Everywhere

NASA

Our galaxy hosts far more of them than scientists thought.
From the March 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Star Trek had earthlings zipping to planets throughout outer space, regularly encountering other intelligent life—most of which looked suspiciously like human beings wearing prosthetics of various shapes. But outside the world of science fiction, no planets outside those in our own solar system had been discovered.

That was before 1994. Since then, our telescopes have improved and scientists have discovered hundreds of planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Seven hundred and twenty-nine, to be exact, currently fill the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia. And we have really only begun to realize how many really might be out there.

But a groundbreaking study published in Nature in January blows previous estimates out past the stratosphere.

An international team of scientists evaluated 100 million stars 3,000 to 25,000 light-years away, analyzing gravitational microlensing data. This data enables them to detect relatively small (approximately Earth-size) objects, even those that don’t radiate light. The team calculated the number of planets within that statistical sample and extrapolated how many planets the galaxy must hold.

Buckle your seat belt.

“We used to think that the Earth might be unique in our galaxy,” said one of the co-authors of the study, Daniel Kubas, from the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris. “But now it seems that there are literallybillionsof planets with masses similar to Earth orbiting stars in the Milky Way” (emphasis added throughout).

Billions. Just in our galaxy!

“This statistical study tells us that planets around stars are the rule, rather than the exception,” said the project’s lead astronomer, Arnaud Cassan, also from the Paris institute. “From now on, we should see our galaxy populated not only with billions of bright stars, but imagine them surrounded by as many hidden extrasolar worlds.”

Think of it! If you look at the sky on a clear night, you will see several hundred stars—maybe even a few thousand. Look through a telescope and you’ll see many, many more. However many stars your eye takes in, imagine most of them being the center of a solar system!

These scientists estimate a mean of at least 1.6 planets for every star in the Milky Way. In our galaxy of 100 billion stars, that means around 160 billion planets!

“One can point at almost any random star and say there are planets orbiting that star,” said Uffe Grae Jorgensen, another member of the team, from the University of Copenhagen.

But 160 billion is the most conservative estimate the scientists came up with. It only includes planets that orbit between roughly the distance of Venus and Saturn. Another study published last year shows that there could be a huge number of “rogue” planets that drift through space without orbiting any star. There are probably more of these “rogue” planets than “normal” ones, the study found.

If this is the way our galaxy is, it is reasonable to assume that many, many, many of the billions of other galaxies out there have a similar plenitude of planets. If there are 300 sextillion stars in the observable universe, that could mean more than half again as many planets.

Scientists have also found planets orbiting two suns, something they once thought impossible. “Nature must like to form planets because it’s forming them in places that are kind of difficult to do,” said San Diego State University astronomy professor William Welsh, who wrote about the subject in Nature. Scientists thought that the unstable gravity of a two-star system would tear a planet apart. Now the Kepler telescope has found three of them, and Welsh believes there could be millions in our galaxy.

Of course, scientists love to use the word “nature” as if it is a spontaneously imaginative and powerfully creative force. Dr. Welsh speaks as though “nature” has a will and preferences in its initiatives. That’s because the natural world they study is filled with evidence of imagination, creativity, power, will, design and purpose—yet so many of them refuse to believe in God.

“Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20; Revised Standard Version).

There is obviously a Creator. The question is, why did God manufacture so much interstellar real estate? Science does not and cannot answer that. But the Bible can!

Hebrews 2:8 says, “Thou [God] hast put all things in subjection under his [man’s] feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he [God] left nothing that is not put under him.”

“Is it possible God could mean what He says (‘all things’)? Nothing excluded?” the late Herbert W. Armstrong asked as he examined the scriptural evidence in The Incredible Human Potential. “In the first chapter, the Moffatt translation of the Bible renders the Greek word translated ‘all things’ as ‘the universe.’

“In other words, for those willing to believe what God says, He says that He has decreed the entire universe—with all its galaxies, its countless suns and planets—everything—will be put under man’s subjection.”

That’s not just Mr. Armstrong saying that. Your Bible says God has put mankind over the universe!

“But wait a moment!” Mr. Armstrong continued. “Before you disbelieve, read the next words in the same eighth verse: ‘But now we see not yet all things [the endless universe] put under him [man].’” This is talking about a time yet future when man will be given such jurisdiction.

After examining several other relevant passages, Mr. Armstrong concluded, “These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth.”

The implications are tremendous. Why would God have created such an enormous, empty and currently lifeless universe out of physical matter and energy if there will not be more physical beings?

Isaiah 9:7 says, “Of the increase of his [God’s] government and peace there shall be NO END ….” Could God’s government and peace keep expanding if God didn’t populate the universe with more human beings? These scriptures seem to indicate that the planets those scientists have found are in for an awesome future!

In the original Hebrew, the very first verse of the Bible says that God created not only the Earth, but also the heavens—plural. Isaiah 51:16 talks about God planting the heavens. Romans 8 says the creation—everything: suns, planets, moons, stars—was subjected to futility—in hope. And that hope lies with you.

The full biblical revelation on this truth is awesome to study—and becomes all the more so as science continues to pull the curtain back on the magnitude and majesty of the great beyond that lies waiting for us.

Of course, not all of those sextillions of planets are habitable. The conditions required for life to exist must be exceedingly fine-tuned—to a spectacular, even miraculous degree. That’s why some scientists have called Earth a “Goldilocks planet”: In every conceivable respect, conditions on this extraordinary jewel of a home are “just right.”

Deviations in those conditions, however minute, surely render the overwhelming majority of planets inhospitable—if not all. But doesn’t the very existence of all that extraterrestrial territory—just knowing that God put all that out there on purpose—fire your imagination? The fact that scientists are suddenly looking at stars, as a rule, as being “surrounded by hidden extrasolar worlds” is breathtaking.

It’s as if each star is burning on, awaiting the day it will serve as a hearth for a home.

Surely very few if any of those planets can host life at present. But when the time is right, with some tweaks and housekeeping overseen by the omnipotent Creator of those planets, who’s to say a great many more couldn’t?

Will You Go to Heaven When You Die?

Will You Go to Heaven When You Die?

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The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
From the March 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!Why, if the righteous go to heaven, did Jesus say: “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man [Jesus Christ] which is in heaven”? (John 3:13).

If the saved go to heaven when they die, why did Peter say that King David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), “is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. … For David is not ascended into the heavens”? (Acts 2:29, 34).

Yes, why?

What a paradox! Millions today believe the saved go to heaven, yet righteous David didn’t go there!

And if the saved go to heaven when they die, what need is there for a resurrection from the dead? Why a resurrection if they have already “gone to their reward”?

Isn’t it about time these puzzling, yet vitally important, questions were answered?

To Inherit the ‘Kingdom of God’

1. What message did Jesus Christ proclaim during His ministry on Earth? Mark 1:14; Matthew 9:35.

Comment: Christ preached the gospel—the “good news”—of the coming Kingdom of God.

2. Will all the righteous men of old be “in” the Kingdom of God? Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28.

Comment: The promises God made to the fathers included entrance into the Kingdom of God!

3. What did Jesus say Christians should strive to enter? Matthew 6:33; 7:21.

Comment: Notice in Matthew 7:21 that it is the Kingdom “of” heaven—not in heaven! It is the Kingdom of, or owned and ruled by, heaven, in the same sense that the Bank of Morgan was not in Mr. Morgan—but was owned and managed by him.

Matthew uses the term “kingdom of heaven” to express exactly the same idea that Mark, Luke and John express as “kingdom of God.” But the expression “kingdom of heaven” does not mean a kingdom in heaven, any more than it means a kingdom in God! But it does mean a kingdom owned and ruled by God, whose throne and dwelling place is in heaven.

4. What did Jesus say the “meek” shall inherit? Matthew 5:5. But what did He say of the “poor in spirit”? Verse 3.

Comment: Is this a contradiction? Of course not! The “meek” and the “poor in spirit”—in other words, humble Christians—shall inherit the Earth for an everlasting possession, and shall enter the “kingdom of heaven,” which will be on Earth! As is explained in our free booklet Just What Do You Mean Born Again?, the Kingdom of God, which Christ will establish on Earth at His return, is the divine Family of God, which will rule by the government of God!

To enter into—or “inherit”—the divine Kingdom of God is a destiny of such marvelous glory that the human mind cannot really grasp it! We mortals have no concept of what is really in store for those who obey God.

As we read in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” The full extent of the inheritance God has promised true Christians cannot be even remotely imagined by the natural mind of man—but God does reveal it to us “by his Spirit” (verse 10).

5. What does Matthew 6:10 also tell us about God’s Kingdom?

Comment: Christians today are to pray earnestly: “thy kingdom COME”! The word “come” implies it will come to Earth. Christ did not tell us to pray, “Let us go to heaven”! Obviously God’s Kingdom has not come to the Earth yet.

6. Where is the Christian’s inheritance being kept? 1 Peter 1:3-4; Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23.

Comment: These verses do not say, “Great is your reward when you get to heaven.” They do not tell us when or where Christians will receive their inheritance and rewards—only that they are now being “reserved” for them in heaven!

7. When will the righteous inherit the Kingdom of God? Matthew 25:31-34. Is this also when the rewards reserved in heaven will be conferred? Revelation 22:12.

Comment: Clearly, it is when Christ returns that Abraham and his children through Christ will become inheritors of the promises and receive their reward! But notice what else will happen at Christ’s coming.

Importance of the Resurrection

1. Can anyone inherit the divine Kingdom of God while still a mortal flesh-and-blood human being? 1 Corinthians 15:50.

2. What did Paul say must happen to our mortal bodies in order to inherit—to actually become a part of—that spiritual Kingdom? Verses 51, 53. When will our bodies be changed—converted from flesh to spirit? Verse 52. Does that trumpet sound at the Second Coming of Christ? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Is this when Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and others will inherit the promises? Same verses. What did Jesus tell Nicodemus about this change? John 3:6, 8. And if we are “born of the spirit,” can we finally “see”—enter—the divine, spiritual Kingdom of God? Verse 3.

Comment: At Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, all the dead in Christ will be raised with new spirit bodies. Those Christians still alive at His return will be instantly changed into the same kind of spirit bodies—bodies that will then be in the Kingdom or Family of God. Our present flesh is corruptible, subject to death and decay. Spirit beings, however, are eternally new—immortal, incorruptible, never subject to death or decay!

3. Did Jesus declare that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will—in the future—be resurrected? Matthew 22:31-32.

Comment: This text is often twisted and perverted in an attempt to prove that Abraham is not dead—that he went to heaven when he died—just the diametric opposite of what Jesus used this illustration to point out.

God is the God of the living, not the dead. God sometimes speaks of things that are to be as though they have already happened (Romans 4:17). Jesus was speaking of their future resurrection to immortal life! For He plainly said, in context, “As touching the resurrection of the dead ….”

We can now see why Abraham and his children through Christ have not, as yet, inherited the promises. They simply cannot come into their eternal inheritance until they receive eternal life! This, as Paul explained, will happen at the resurrection from the dead!

Without a resurrection, the dead would never live again (1 Corinthians 15:16, 18); therefore, the resurrection of the dead is central to God’s plan. And, unless Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all deceased Christians are resurrected from the dead at Christ’s coming, they cannot inherit the promises!

How different the plain truth of God’s Word is from the ancient religious fables and myths the world embraces today!

Heaven on Earth

After studying the Bible carefully, we see that the plain truth is that heaven is not the “reward of the saved.” Christians do not go to heaven when they die, or when resurrected.

The surprising truth is that heaven is coming to the Earth. The Earth will eventually become the very headquarters from which the Father will rule His vast creation!

Will you dwell on that new Earth? Will you be a part of that glorious world?

When Jesus Christ returns, He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you …” (Matthew 25:34). May God help you to be among those who will inherit the Kingdom of God along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

California Budget Comes Up Short Again

California Budget Comes Up Short Again

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Are adults actually making California’s budget?

It takes about three months before the average person gets the hang of making a budget that balances, says famous personal finance adviser Dave Ramsey. What is California’s problem then?

After so many years of failed budgets, you would think that lawmakers would have figured it out by now. But no, it seems like lawmakers perennially have their heads in the clouds, hoping the economy will magically repair itself and solve their budget problems.

State controller John Chiang says the state will need to come up with an additional $3.3 billion by early March if it wants to avoid sending out ious, or delaying tax refunds again. The rest of the deficit can be covered using creative accounting and other emergency measures, he indicated.

Lawmakers not only underestimated spending, but overestimated tax collections, according to Chiang. They spent $2.6 billion more than planned, and collected $2.6 billion less than hoped.

It is the tax shortfall that is particularly worrisome for California. More than two years after the recession officially ended, tax revenues should be soaring as the recovery takes hold—at least that is what has happened after previous recessions ended. Not so this time. Not only haven’t the jobs returned, tax revenues are under-performing to expectations as well. It just confirms what many people intuitively realize as they struggle to make their mortgage payments and keep up with the increase in the cost of living. This recovery is the worst on record.

Tax collections are usually one of the better indicators of how the economy is really doing—and in California’s case, it is still coming up short.

On a national level, California’s condition is troublesome too, because California typically leads the nation in economic recoveries.

Remember the saying? As California goes, so goes the nation. 2012 may not be a very good year for the nation either.

Shocked. Indignant. Outraged.

Shocked. Indignant. Outraged.

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Who is dictating our moral standards?
From the March 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Why does it seem that the only time the American government expresses shock, dismay and horror, it is over the conduct of its soldiers on the battlefield?

Through the Prophet Isaiah, God calls America a “hypocritical nation.” It’s at times like these it becomes clear why.

Surely you heard of the crude homemade video that emerged in January apparently depicting a Marine sniper team in Afghanistan urinating on the corpses of some Taliban fighters. The press jumped on the incident like it was Abu Ghraib all over again, and the highest leaders in the land came out in fire-breathing condemnation.

“Deplorable … reprehensible,” President Obama said through his spokesman. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” said Leon Panetta, the defense secretary. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “total dismay.” Civilian and military leaders promised the guilty soldiers would be found out and punished to the full.

Why was everyone so upset? Let’s be honest: The biggest reason is that they are deathly afraid of offending Muslims. U.S. leaders continue to hope, against all evidence, that avoiding offense will solve problems.

Their man in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, called the soldiers’ act “simply inhuman.” Is Karzai an authority on moral and ethical conduct? He said he was “deeply disturbed” and that the incident was “condemnable in the strongest possible terms.” But where is his condemnation for Talibani atrocities far worse than this? That means he either sympathizes with the Taliban’s extremism or feels he must pander to it.

Clearly the ones in the driver’s seat—dictating to both Afghan and U.S. leaders about what is an appropriate response—are radical Muslims.

For their part, Taliban leaders in Pakistan called the marines’ conduct “barbaric” and claimed, “No religion that follows a holy text would accept such conduct. This inhuman act reveals their real face to the world.”

Behold: a sermon from the Taliban about what is barbaric and inhuman. They have never condemned the torture, beheading or murder of a single non-Muslim. They have murdered thousands of civilians with roadside bombs. They execute people without trial for crimes like laughing at soldiers. They hang the dead bodies of defectors from lampposts to serve as a public warning. And we are supposed to listen to them condemn these marines?

Are Hamid Karzai or American leaders “deeply disturbed” by the Taliban’s sanction of polygamous “marriage” that allows old men to rape young girls? What about the Taliban commander ordering that an 18-year-old girl who fled her abusive in-laws be punished by having her nose and ears cut off? Who is condemning these acts “in the strongest possible terms”?

The Taliban deliberately assassinate civilians by the hundreds. They exploit children not just as soldiers but as suicide bombers, strapping explosives to them and sending them to their deaths. They consider anyone who is actively trying to rebuild Afghanistan—doctors, teachers, construction workers—worthy of death. The New York Times has reported that insurgents in Afghanistan kill twice as many civilians as they do uniformed government or coalition forces. Where is the outrage against that? Why no indignation over those “deplorable” and “reprehensible” practices?

No one is defending what those soldiers did. But to single them out for such damnation is to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

America’s leaders have allowed their moral standard to be skewed out of all proportion by extremists whose goal is to use every ounce of leverage possible to cripple America.

It is political correctness run amok: dismissing Muslim evils as irrelevant—after all, who are we to judge them?—while viewing Western actions through a distorted but harshly exacting moral lens.

We need a reality check. And that can only come from looking at the one true absolute standard of morality, the one supplied by the Being who defines good and evil.

God sees plenty of acts in America that are deplorable and reprehensible, that He views with total dismay and condemns in the strongest possible terms, and that He promises to punish to the full. But guess what? The action of these soldiers hardly registers on His radar screen.

Does it matter to you what God finds abominable? Instead of concocting our own standards of righteousness and appointing ourselves as judge and jury, how about aligning our thoughts with those of the Author of righteousness?

Forget the Geneva Conventions: God is outraged over our breaking the Ten Commandments. Blacklisting Him and worshiping idols. Urinating on His holy Sabbaths. Enslaving ourselves in greed, materialism, covetousness and debt, such that it sabotages the nation’s future. Glorifying violence. Desecrating the family. Turning our children out to pasture. Mass promoting and celebrating rank sexual immorality. Embracing fornication, cohabitation, adultery, divorce, homosexuality and other perversions.

God is “deeply disturbed” by such things. The fact that 40 percent of pregnancies in New York are aborted. That is an “atrocity.” The existence of an abortion butcher like Dr. Kermit Gosnell. That is “barbaric.” The support he received from state abortion lobbyists and clinic inspectors—and the pass he got from an appallingly liberal national media. That “inhuman act reveals their real face to the world.”

Why aren’t monsters such as that “urgently investigated” and given “the most severe punishment”?

Yes, this is a “hypocritical nation”—smug and self-righteous, praising, pardoning and punishing according to whatever standards it chooses. “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,” Proverbs 30:12 says, “and yet is not washed from their filthiness.”

America wallows in rivers of moral sewage. It’s a little hard to stomach the sanctimonious moralizing about where a few soldiers chose to pee.

A Better Pick-Me-Up Than Coffee

A Better Pick-Me-Up Than Coffee

Dreamstime

Boost your productivity without the nasty side effects!
From the March 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Two black liquids keep America going—oil and coffee. That’s how one university professor recently described our addiction to caffeine. You could argue that coffee runs the entire world. An estimated 400 billion cups of the world’s most popular beverage are consumed every year.

The amount of caffeine many people now consume, particularly in America, has health officials concerned. Gone are the moderate 1950s, when caffeine consumption meant occasionally enjoying a five-ounce coffee after lunch. People today put down three times that amount with just one “medium”-size coffee at Starbucks.

And these days, a double espresso is hardly the only way to get your caffeine fix. Prescription drugs like Ritalin, 5-Hour Energy shots, trendy beverages like Red Bull and Full Throttle, even weight-loss supplements, are all loaded with caffeine. And don’t forget those supersized buckets of soda at the convenience store. If a 64-ounce Mountain Dew won’t do it for you, you can now buy the extra-caffeinated version. Not to be outdone, other companies are introducing all sorts of caffeinated novelties—beer, soap, lip balm; even a caffeine inhaler.

Consumed in moderation, a hot cup of coffee or tea can provide a temporary energy boost and even lift our spirits. But Americans have gone overboard—and our health is suffering for it.

“While every individual has a different tolerance for the drug,” the Washington Times reports, “experts agree that ingesting more than 500 mg a day can result in anxiety, irritability, headaches, sleeplessness, diarrhea and other health problems” (January 17).

The Times links skyrocketing caffeine consumption with the rise of the Internet. “We’re surrounded by round-the-clock entertainment, stimulated at every turn,” it says. There’s just so much to do—so much opportunity for stimulation. So we end up sacrificing the healthiest, most important, longest-lasting energy boost there is: sleep.

“No single behavior … more fundamentally influences our effectiveness in waking life than sleep,” wrote the authors of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. In fact, a growing body of research indicates that sufficient sleep is even more important than diet and exercise in living healthy, energetic lives.

“Lack of sleep makes us more inefficient at work and more dangerous behind the wheel of a car. It undermines the quality of our lives and makes us more vulnerable to illness,” wrote Charles Leadbeater in Dream On: Sleep in the 24/7 Society.

Of course, the law of moderation applies here too. There is such a thing as too much sleep (Proverbs 6:9; 20:13). But the Bible also talks about the “sweet sleep” of one who labors hard during the day (Ecclesiastes 5:12).

God designed the human body to need seven or eight hours of sleep per night. Yet, on average, Americans get in about 6.5. We sacrifice sleep in order to squeeze more in, to have more fun, to “get more done.” But it’s actually making us less productive, and our health is suffering. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on caffeine and sugar to get us going. It’s a vicious cycle.

What can you do to break some of these unhealthy habits, to benefit from the recuperative effects of regular sleep and rest and to experience what it really feels like to be awake?

For one, if you’re like most Americans, you almost certainly need to go to bed earlier. Set a specific bedtime and then stick to it, even if it feels too early. It may take a while for your internal clock to adjust, but unless you set a specific time, you’ll end up going to bed when you feel like it—or after one more television show. This will rob you of the precious rest you need in order to be fully alive tomorrow!

Added to this, set a definite time for turning off all media devices—and make it a good while before bedtime. The earlier the better. If you want to watch a program with your family, plan for it, watch it, then turn it off. Leave the computer at the office if you can. Turn off mobile devices after dinner. Enjoy a family activity, squeeze in a quick workout, pour your heart into Bible study. And then when it’s time for bed, go to bed!

Lastly, cut back on caffeine, sugar and alcohol—particularly late in the day. This will help you sleep longer and deeper during the night. And there will be a big payoff in the morning! You’ll feel refreshed and ready to go. And you’ll be less inclined to go looking for that quick-fix jolt.

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working refers to a successful investment banker who rearranged his daily schedule so he could squeeze in one more hour of sleep each day. He was amazed. “I was more rested, I felt better, I thought more clearly, I got less tired as the day wore on, and I had more energy when I got home. I never would have believed an hour more of sleep could make such a difference” (emphasis added throughout).

There is no substitute for refreshing sleep. “Adequate sleep, we’re convinced, sets the stage for taking more control of every other part of our lives” (ibid). Sufficient sleep is definitely not wasted time. It’s a foundational building block to a more productive, energetic life!

So if you’ve been living out of balance—overdosing on caffeine and sugar and lacking the energy and vitality to really drive yourself in service to God—then take control of your life! Give your mind and body the one, God-ordained energy boost that makes you really live at work, school or play, and results in a longer, more fulfilling life.