Spend Your Time Wisely

Spend Your Time Wisely

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It’s the most precious commodity there is.

When Paul encountered the scholars at Athens, he said they “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). They wasted away their time on human reasoning. God’s truth, to them, was a curiosity. It certainly wasn’t something to be taken seriously. It wasn’t important enough to actually change the way they spent their time!

In Romans 13, Paul admonishes us to awake out of sleep—because we know the time! Time today is much shorter than it was two or three years ago—or two or three months ago. Whether we are alive and remain when Christ returns from heaven, or we die a few years before that, in either case, our salvation is nearer than what we once thought. Because we know the time, Paul says, we must strive to live as Christ lived in these urgent days (verses 12-14).

Because of the time, we must focus on what really matters—and then maintain that focus. Satan understands well that we cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24)—and that a friend of the world cannot be a friend of God (James 4:4). He wants us to get so caught up in the things of this world that we never have time for God. He’s filled this world with a glittering array of alluring, sensually appealing diversions and materialistic things—all of which, if we lack self-control, will devour our time.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes was recorded to teach us not to waste our time on material pleasures, and to teach us that the purpose for our physical existence—which is nothing more than a short span of time—is to build godly character.

Therefore, most of our time (when we are not sleeping or working) should be spent with God in prayer and Bible study and with our families in the home, which is where we best learn how to practically apply the laws of God.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” To spend your time wisely, the very first law to remember is that God must come first in our lives! We must give God the very best time that we have! Seek Him first—seek His righteousness—and then He’ll be involved in how the rest of our time is spent.

To do this, we must organize our time around God. Every day, we need to carefully budget how much time we spend on various activities. Every hour of every day is made up of decisions about what we are going to do with the time that we have left that particular day.

In The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, author Tony Schwartz cites a recent study in which participants were asked to complete just 20 minutes of exercise at any time within the following week. Incredibly, only 29 percent of the people took the time to perform the task.

A second group was challenged to do the same assignment and was given additional instruction about how exercise reduced the risk of heart disease. In that group, 39 percent of the participants found the time to exercise.

But in a third group, in which participants were asked to exercise on a specific day, at a specific time and at a specific location, 91 percent of the people completed the assignment.

Schwartz writes,

By defining precisely when we’re going to undertake a behavior, we reduce the amount of energy we have to expend to get it done. Often, when we make a commitment to a new behavior such as exercising, we fail to recognize that unless we set aside a specific time to do it, it’s unlikely we will. In part, that’s because there is another behavior we’re more accustomed to doing, out of habit, or because there is something easier and more pleasurable we could do. Each time we have to think about whether or not to do an activity—in the face of other temptations and potential distractions—we deplete our limited reservoir of will and discipline. If you have to consciously think for very long about doing something, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing it for very long. …The more challenging the ritual—physically, mentally, or emotionally—the greater the need to be precise in implementing it.

This same principle holds true for our spiritual rituals. The more challenging it is to carve out time for our daily spiritual needs, the more precise we must be in locking it into our schedules.

God created each one of us with the capacity to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes our way. He didn’t intend for us to waste away our lives in frivolous pursuits. He wants us to use every moment we have today to prepare for our future!

The Apostle Paul charged us to use this life to “present our bodies a living sacrifice” unto God (Romans 12:1). In the Old Testament, there were no living sacrifices. They were all dead. To be a living sacrifice, we must first put to death the lusts of the flesh and, by sacrificing the self, keep them dead (see Romans 6). Secondly, we must lay down our lives in the time, energy and effort needed to support God’s work and purpose.

Not only does what we do in this life impact the progress of God’s work, it also prepares us for what we will be doing in God’s Kingdom. We must overcome the way Jesus Christ overcame because we have been called to rule with Christ (Revelation 3:21).

Just like us, Jesus only had 24 hours to work with every day. The Scriptures tell us that it was His custom to rise up a “great while before day” to get in His prayer (Mark 1:35). He studied God’s Word, He trained His disciples, He fulfilled God’s will—always doing those things that pleased the Father.

Now God says to us, You follow those steps—you organize your lives the way Jesus Christ did (1 Peter 2:21). And if you overcome like He did, you’ll rule with Him on His throne when the Kingdom of God is set up on Earth (Revelation 2:26).

God has called each one of us to be world leaders! Maybe you’ve never thought about it quite like that before. But in the World Tomorrow, when Jesus Christ sets up God’s government on this Earth, He will need qualified leaders to assist Him in ruling the nations. (See also Daniel 7 and Luke 19.)

Jesus Christ is offering positions of authority to those who have learned to carefully budget their time in this physical life. How we use—or misuse—our time, will determine how God can use us in His Kingdom (Luke 16:10-11).

Think about it: Eternity is an unlimited amount of time. How could God entrust us with power and authority for all eternity unless we first learn to spend our time wisely in this life?

Europe Refuses to Deal With Anti-Semitism

Europe Refuses to Deal With Anti-Semitism

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Left unchecked, Europe’s anti-Semitism will end disastrously.

Over at the Atlantic earlier this month, Heather Horn reported on Europe’s perception of the Trayvon Martin shooting and the fiery debate it kicked off about race relations in America. The view in Europe, it seems, is that the Martin affair is merely part of America’s “pervasive and enduring problem of … racism.”

Reading Horn’s observations, one gets the impression that more than a few Europeans are staring down their noses, contemptuously regarding America as a deeply racist nation that lags far behind virtuous Europe when it comes to tolerance and multiculturalism. The European perspective, Horn wrote, is that “it’s not just that Trayvon Martin’s death involved racism … but that this racism is uniquely American.”

Truth is, when it comes to intolerance and prejudice, Europe is not one to talk. Remember the recent murder of three French soldiers and four Jews, including three children, in Toulouse, France, an event that even by the numbers alone was more horrible than what occurred in Florida? That attack was carried out by Mohammed Merah, a young Muslim and a radical Islamist with connections to al Qaeda. Although Merah’s attack was obviously anti-Semitic, it was striking, as Joel Braunold wrote, how many analysts and political pundits in “attempting to establish a motive for the murder … somehow omit[ted] anti-Semitism as a possible cause.” Braunold cited the example of Oxford Professor Tariq Ramadan, who wrote that Merah was a man “imbued neither with the values of Islam, or driven by racism and anti-Semitism.”

The narrative from many European media outlets was that Mohammed Merah was simply a confused, angry young man.

In America, the death of a single young man was enough to set off a national debate on racism. Meanwhile, in Europe, the massacre of four Jews by a radical Islamic terrorist wasn’t enough to start a serious and widespread discussion about Europe’s problem with anti-Semitism.

In Europe, dozens of anti-Semitic incidents, including everything from public and private slandering and harassment to destruction of Jewish property and physical beatings, occur every single day. Just this week, a 25-year-old Jewish student leaving his local synagogue in Ukraine had his skull bashed and shattered, most likely by right-wing skinheads who have long threatened Jews in the area.

Where’s the Continent-wide debate about that?

A recent poll performed by the Anti-Defamation League found that since 2009 anti-Semitic attitudes have risen in most European states. While the number has risen by less than 10 percent in most countries, a handful experienced a staggering rise. In Hungary, anti-Semitic attitudes has risen to 63 percent of respondents from 47 percent. In the UK, the rate has increased to 17 percent from 10 percent. In Spain and Poland, the percentage of the population with anti-Semitic attitudes is 53 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

Abraham Foxman, the adl’s national director, said that “the survey is disturbing by the fact that anti-Semitism remains at high levels across the Continent and infects many Europeans at a much higher level than we see here in the United States.” Foxman warned that the numbers for anti-Semitic attitudes are “off the charts” in some states, and “demand a serious response from political, civic and religious leaders.”

But a “serious response” is the last thing we can expect from European leaders. Why? Because anti-Semitic attitudes—routinely made evident in policies and procedure—are pervasive in those who inhabit the offices and corridors of virtually every European government and civic organization. In 2012, this deep-seated, deeply institutionalized animosity for Jews is regularly manifested via open and vehement hostility for Jewish statehood. Slandering and undermining the State of Israel is a “new sort of fashionable and socially acceptable anti-Semitism,” wrote Victor Davis Hanson recently, and it “looms large” around the globe, and especially in Europe.

Under this new expression of anti-Semitism, one can now speak “not of disliking Jews, but only of despising the Jewish state and seeing Palestinians as if they were victims” (ibid). In other words, instead of bluntly expressing animosity for Jews as a race or religion, the renaissance anti-Semite expresses his hostility by criticizing and undermining Jewish statehood. Jerusalem Postcolumnist Caroline Glick has noticed this too. “Anti-Semitism is back in style,” she wrote in January. “Its new justification is not race or religion. It is nationalism. Today’s anti-Semitism is predicated on preferring Palestinian and pan-Arab nationalism to Jewish nationalism.”

For the few willing to explore and discuss Europe’s welling anti-Semitism, the looming question is, where will it end?

To answer this question, it is worth considering a little history. In his book The Last Lion, William Manchester documented the prevalence of anti-Semitism in both Britain and Europe prior to World War ii. “The martyrdom of Jews in the 1940s would strip anti-Semitism of its respectability,” wrote Manchester, “but in the 1930s [in Britain and Europe, not only Germany] it was quite an ordinary thing to see restaurants, hotels, clubs, beaches, and residential neighborhoods barred to people with what were delicately called ‘dietary requirements.’ … Contempt for [Jews] was not considered bad form. They were widely regarded as unlovable, alien, loud-mouthed, ‘flashy’ people who enriched themselves at the expense of Gentiles.”

Harboring anti-Semitic attitudes wasn’t only commonplace in pre-war Europe, it was fashionable!

Europe’s leaders, high society, the intellectual class and the media were all infected with a prejudice against Jews, which in many cases was mirrored by an inexplicable infatuation with Nazism. In British high society, “ladies wore bracelets with swastika charms [and] young men combed their hair slant across their foreheads” (ibid). Even Britain’s short-reigning king, Edward viii, admired the führer and didn’t lift a finger to curb the growing and blatant acts of anti-Semitism occurring in Germany as early as the early 1930s.

The lesson is, unless purged, anti-Semitic attitudes eventually result in anti-Semitic acts.

Some would say it’s ridiculous to think Europe’s anti-Semitism might result in another holocaust. But is it? This is precisely what Arab leaders want, and this ambition underpins the Arab vision for Palestinian statehood. What do Europe’s leaders think will happen to Israel’s 5 million Jews if the Arab goal of creating an Islamist state with Jerusalem as its capital is brought to fruition? Yet this is the outcome Europe is endorsing when it consistently undermines Jewish statehood at the United Nations, in the media, and geopolitically.

In his book, Manchester recalls that in Europe, particularly Germany, during the mid-’30s “motion picture theaters, shops and restaurants were displaying prominent signs reading ‘Juden unerwiinsht’ (‘Jews not welcome’). Day-to-day existence was becoming increasingly difficult for non-Aryans. ‘Fur Juden kein zutritt’ (‘Jews not admitted’) placards hung outside grocery and butchers’ shops; they could not enter dairies to buy milk for their infants, or pharmacies to fill prescriptions, or hotels to find lodging. At every turn they were taunted ….”

Given the opportunity, there are millions of Muslims, not just in the Middle East, but in European cities and suburbs—as well as many, many Jew-hating Europeans—who would enact these measures in a heartbeat. The question is: Would Europe’s leaders, the media and the average European find this repulsive, and confront such anti-Semitic acts with vigor and force?

Looking at the general reaction to the Toulouse massacre—and the dearth of concern and attention given to the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe—it’s unlikely.

Iran Escalates Again, Cuts Oil to Spain

Iran Escalates Again, Cuts Oil to Spain

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Iran’s dispute with Europe appears to be escalating. Iran’s semi-official Mehrs news agency reports that Tehran has cut oil deliveries to Spain.

The move seems designed to inflict maximum damage on Europe at a time when many European economies are struggling under the weight of recession and debt repayment. Press tv reports: “Tehran has cut oil supply to Spain after stopping crude export to Greece as part of its countersanctions, unnamed sources confirmed on Tuesday. Tehran also mulls cutting oil supply to Germany and Italy.”

Greece, Spain and Italy are three nations at the heart of Europe’s financial crisis. Greece is already dependent on bailouts, while Spain and Italy may soon need bailouts of their own. Cutting their cheapest source of oil will only exacerbate their economic problems.

Germany, however, is the main driver behind Europe’s confrontation with Iran. In fact, the European Union, which is dominated by Germany, had already decided to impose a boycott on Iranian oil—Iran just beat it to the punch. Reuters reports that Spain and Italy are scrambling to find alternative sources of oil.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reassured his country yesterday that Iran has enough funds to easily withstand a total oil embargo for two to three years. The European sanctions will be ineffective, he says.

As ZeroHedge’s Tyler Durden asks, “Just how much more Iranian crude are China and India importing despite promises to the contrary, and open warnings from the U.S. not to do so?”

Even though the United States has led the fight against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is increasingly Europe that is feeling the brunt of Iranian retaliation. Iran is an important oil supplier to Europe, but the U.S. does not import Iranian oil and is therefore not directly impacted by Iran’s oil boycott. Similarly, since many American companies stopped directly dealing with Iran years ago, it is European businesses and banks that are being affected by sanctions on Iran today.

A massive confrontation between Europe and Iran is growing more likely by the day. To understand why Iran’s aggressive posture toward Europe will inevitably lead to war, read The King of the South by Gerald Flurry.

Germany May Reintroduce Veterans Day for the First Time Since World War II

Germany May Reintroduce Veterans Day for the First Time Since World War II

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Germany should celebrate an annual veterans day, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere proposed April 4. May 22—the date of the foundation of the Bundeswehr in 1956—would be the day used to honor German soldiers.

“As the war generation dies out, the defense minister believes that the time is ready for Germany to come of age as a nation and commemorate the work done by its modern armed forces,” writes the Times. It writes that, for Germany, the move would “end one of its last postwar taboos.”

Germany’s first overseas mission since World War ii was in 1991. Since then, roughly 300,000 German soldiers have served abroad, with 100 soldiers killed.

The proposals are supported by the German Army and the ruling Christian Democratic Union.

The Times points out that May 22 is also the birthday of Richard Wagner, a favorite composer of the Nazis. But this is almost certainly a coincidence—a Nazi connection could probably be found with any date put forward.

The idea has significant opposition. But it is part of Germany’s return to being a “normal nation.” For years Germany has held back from aggressively and overtly pursuing its self-interest. Its ambitions have been cloaked within the European Union, and its army has only fought as part of groups like nato. But this debate is a sign that that time is over. Watch for the German military to continue to shake off its Nazi past.

What Happens When the World’s Resources Run Out?

What Happens When the World’s Resources Run Out?

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Signs loom that we are nearing a crossroads: Demand for the stuff that fuels modern life is outpacing supply. Things could get ugly, fast.

The complex modern way of life that has increasingly besieged the planet in recent generations is devouring resources far faster than ever in human history. Not just obvious things like oil, coal and natural gas, but also a host of metals, minerals and elements that we use every day.

If industrialized nations started running out of some of these things, massive disruptions would result.

Uh … don’t look now, but we are already starting to run out of them. That’s right—practically all of them.

In his book A Race for What’s Left, author Michael Klare says the world is plunging into “a crisis of resource depletion.” Basic analysis of trends in population growth and resource usage proves that humanity is on an unsustainable course.

History is full of examples, both human and otherwise, of the chilling consequences to a society or population that overruns its resources.

Last year the world population passed 7 billion, and more than 200,000 are added to that number every day. Meanwhile, a burgeoning global middle class is suddenly demanding luxuries that have long been restricted to the Western world: meat in their diet and oil-burning cars, for example. The world’s most populous nation, historically underdeveloped China, has emerged as the world’s leading automobile manufacturer, last year producing more cars than the U.S. and Japan put together. Unsurprisingly, last year, world oil use reached a record high of 87.4 million barrels a day. Appetite for several other commodities is also rising.

Right now, the United States houses less than 5 percent of the world’s people and consumes 20 percent of its resources. What happens when 10 or 20 percent of the world’s people want to live like Americans?

William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel have produced a model for estimating the ecological demands that various standards of living put on the planet, called the Global Footprint Network (gfn). They estimate that the average person on Earth needs 4.4 acres of land and sea to support him. Considering living standards, the average person in China needs 5.4 acres, while the typical American needs nearly 20 acres.

This model has produced the same conclusion that several other sources have, including the United Nations: that for all people to have a standard of living like the average American would take four or five more Earths’ worth of resources.

The reality is, current demand is already rapidly depleting supplies of finite resources such as oil, coal, natural gas, metals, minerals and even water. New discoveries of easily accessed sources are getting more rare, and older sources are declining in output.

Peaking supply and rising demand point to the inevitability of a crunch that, at the very least, would drive prices up to levels that could ruin already fragile economies.

One obvious sign of the approach of this crisis point is the means by which more and more resources are being collected today. Because easily accessible reservoirs of many crucial resources are disappearing, governments and corporations have begun to exploit more difficult-to-reach, expensive, environmentally risky and even dangerous sources. Oil, for example, is being coaxed out of the inhospitable Arctic, or the deep oceans, creating disasters like that in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010. It is coming from tar sands, a costly process that takes an enormous amount of energy to harvest and convert into usable form. Natural gas is being mined through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which produces 80 million gallons of toxic wastewater per well and may have other environmental drawbacks. Rare earths, a group of minerals used in a variety of modern technologies, are in extremely short supply. Because of the environmental dangers of mining them, America shut down its production of them years ago. Meanwhile, China bought up a virtual monopoly on them, and now is able to practically hold to ransom the rest of the world that seeks to use them.

One of the most basic human needs is food, and the looming limits on food production are many. Rising oil and gas prices increase food production costs at every level of the process, including for the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that are used in growing the crops. Phosphorus, crucial for fertilizer, is in limited supply that won’t keep up with rising demand indefinitely. Arable land is becoming scarcer, in part because of soil degradation and erosion from ruinous farming practices. Most of the world’s big fisheries are experiencing dramatic declines in their fish supplies. Adverse weather events like droughts and floods are increasing, which reduce crop yields or even wipe out harvests.

Based on the gfn model, Rees and Wackernagel calculate that if present rates of growth in demand persist, by the 2030s mankind would need two Earths’ worth of resources to supply them. They also estimate that for what humanity consumes in 12 months, it takes the planet 18 months to regenerate. “Humanity is living off its ecological credit card,” Wackernagel said in 2006.

There is no “central planning” to address most of these questions. What is beginning to emerge, then, is an increasingly combative environment in which each country angles to secure its own future by staking its claims at whatever cost it deems necessary.

Africa and Latin America are becoming battlegrounds, particularly for China and European nations, over who will control the commodities locked away there. Several countries, particularly in Asia, anticipating trouble on the horizon, have been snapping up huge tracts of African farmland—not to feed Africans, but to ensure that their own people have enough food in the future. Competition over energy resources is increasingly shaping the way major powers deal with one another, with energy exporters using political leverage against importers that are dependent on them.

Again, history vividly illustrates the kind of consequences such rivalry tends to create: famines, broken economies, societal upheaval, war.

But it is not just history that should raise our concerns. These are exactly the sorts of perilous conditions that biblical prophecy reveals will besiege our world in its final days, the beginning of which we are in right now. Epic clashes within and among populations, many of them over resources, are coming!

You need to read our March 2006 Trumpet article “The Battleground” to understand in detail how these startling events are prophesied to occur.

Presidential Race Reveals Egypt’s Lunge Toward Islamism

Egypt’s next president may be an Islamist extremist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. When Hosni Mubarak was ousted last February, the formerly banned Muslim Brotherhood quickly emerged as Egypt’s best-organized power bloc. To soothe those who were worried about extremism, the Brotherhood promised repeatedly that it would not field a candidate for the presidency. In recent weeks, the Brotherhood has not only broken that promise but has also taken aggressive steps to crush the competition.

The most recent example appeared on Monday, when an Egyptian parliamentary committee approved a new law that prevents former members of the Mubarak regime from running in presidential elections. The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls parliament, designed the law to terminate the presidential bid of former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Suleiman is viewed as an enemy of extreme Islamists, a supporter of military action against Iran’s nuclear program, and a friend of the U.S. and Israel. He stepped forward for Egypt’s presidential race in response to the Brotherhood’s decision to field a candidate, and he was counting on winning the vote of those who fear Islamist rule.

The new law means Suleiman will not even be permitted to run.

This law comes just days after another presidential contender was disqualified because of accusations that his mother is an American citizen. The candidate called the ruling an “elaborate plot” by the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that in reality his mother only has a U.S. Green Card.

Some analysts are alarmed that Egypt is lunging toward Islamism and are afraid of the Brotherhood’s growing power.

Mona Makram Ebeid, Egyptian politician and professor of political science, said, “I think that Egypt today is at a crossroads and I believe that this is the most serious and dangerous period that we going through in all of Egypt’s history, in all of Egypt’s modern history since Muhammad Ali (founder of modern Egypt). Today it is the personality of Egypt that is at stake. We must fight for it to keep a secular, civil, modern democratic state.”

Western champions of the “Arab Spring” did not expect Hosni Mubarak to be replaced by such an extremely Islamist, anti-democratic regime. They assumed that the revolution meant Egypt was bound for democracy—a victory for freedom.

But not everyone was convinced. Shortly after Mubarak was toppled, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said that “many of the Western world’s leaders [saw] what [was] happening in Egypt as good news.” But he warned that such world leaders “fail[ed] to see the strength of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Now, with presidential elections only weeks away, it is clear that Egypt’s revolution was not the democratic triumph many mistook it for—and that post-Mubarak Egypt is racing toward the Islamist camp.