Monday, November 3, 2008

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for
all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,
it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar
every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day,
the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he
said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks
for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our
taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for
free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could
they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they
subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth
man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner
suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the
same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before And the first four
continued to drink for free. But onc e outside the restaurant, the men
began to compare their savings.
‘I only got a dollar out of the $20′, declared the sixth man. He
pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’
‘Yeah, that’s right’, exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a
dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’
‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he
get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’
‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison.
‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks,
so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to
pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have
enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!And that, boys and girls, journalists and college
professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest
taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much,
attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In
fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is
somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Warped Prosecution Ecourages Abortion

Prosecuted For Not Aborting?


Contributing Editors

First in the front door that Sunday morning, J.C. Gumm found a five-pound surprise as he entered church. “I heard noises like a baby cooing,” Gumm said. Mr. Gumm had arrived early at church on this beautiful September day to play bass guitar in the worship band. “Oh wow, there’s a baby in a towel,” he said to himself. “I was thinking, ‘What’s a baby doing there?’ I was pretty shocked.” It was just like a scene from a movie.

Panic-stricken and afraid, a young woman, aged 22, thinking she read online that it is legal to leave a baby anonymously at a church as a “safe haven,” had left her child. No one knew but her ex-boyfriend that she was pregnant. She had carried the baby girl one-third of a mile to the local Presbyterian Church, and left her near the entrance in hopes of giving her daughter a better life.

A couple of hours earlier, she had secretly given birth, all alone, by herself, outdoors in a yard near the apartment building where she lived with her father. Reading instructions from the Internet, she delivered the baby after three hours of labor, cut the umbilical cord with scissors, and wrapped her in a towel. She threw the placenta in the trash. The woman intended to get warmer clothing for the baby and write a note, but she had accidentally locked herself out of the apartment.

Gumm cradled the baby in his arms until paramedics arrived. “It’s going to be OK,” he reassured the baby. “Help’s on the way.” The baby girl was whisked off to a hospital where nurses nicknamed the baby girl “Autumn Doe” in recognition of the season.

Government prosecutors are now charging the woman with third-degree abandonment of a dependent person, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Although the baby had a slight case of hypothermia (which is common even among newborns in hospitals), she quickly recovered.

The tragedy of this story is, however, if the mother had killed her baby by having an abortion months earlier, she would be safe. Instead, she is being treated as a criminal in Washington State.

Some states allow newborns to be left at churches; in Washington, it is only legal at a fire station or hospital within 72 hours of birth. The mother told police, “I thought I could have sworn I read churches too.” The father, who was in Wisconsin for training with the National Guard, is soon scheduled for deployment to Iraq. He pressed the woman in late February or March to get an abortion. Now his mother will care for the baby until he returns in 10 months.

Although this young woman made an error in judgment by leaving her baby at the church, her intentions were right, and it highlights a problem in the law. She couldn’t deal with the guilt of killing her child legally and she panicked. “I knew that if I were to leave it at the church, it would be taken care of, you know, put into an adoption agency and getting her a family that really wanted it and (could) give it a great life,” she told police. “I cannot take care of a baby and I can’t deal with it. I don’t have a job. I’m not financially ready.” The woman put a lot of effort into walking to the church and finding what she thought was a safe place for the baby.

The woman acted responsibly by calling the police the next day and turning herself in to authorities. She read in the local paper a news release from police detectives saying they “are concerned for the health and safety of the mother and are eager to identify her to ensure that she receives appropriate care.” In reality, it was a trick.

Unfortunately, charging this young woman sends the wrong message. It will cause other mothers to abort their babies. Worse yet, they may put them in the trash where no one will find them. Obviously, this mother thought that leaving her child at a church was within the parameters of the safe-haven law.

She needs help, not punishment. She has already gone through enough. Prosecuting her is neither helpful nor warranted. Sure, prosecutors can make her a criminal, but her baby can live a normal, long life. Aborted children have no such opportunity.

The government is trying to make an example out of her and the message the prosecutor is sending out to women is loud and clear: It is better to abort your baby than face prosecution.

Our Nation's Future

This will still be reality regardless of what happens at the polls in November...

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Challenge

With the authors permission I'm posting a blog entry that has greatly ministered to me as a Torah Observant Believer. I've felt unsettled for a long time now. Much of what I see in real life and online in the entire body of Messiah seems to lean toward extremes, focusing only on Torah, or focusing only on the Apostolic Writings, what many in the body call the New Testament.

There are so many people hungry for true intimacy with God, coming from every denomination and faith tradition. Personally, I've spent the past few years very focused on Torah and learning how to love Him by keeping His commandments. My focus this year is to search, read and study all of scripture now that I have the Torah foundation -- The goal being to truly follow the example of our living Torah, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus, our Messiah. My hope and prayer is that this blog entry blesses you as much as it has me.

Sadducees Among Us?

by J.K. McKee

This evening, many of you will be remembering Simchat Torah, a traditional Jewish observance conducted at the end of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret, whose name means “Joy of the Torah.” It is meant to commemorate the end of the yearly Torah cycle, as the Book of Deuteronomy ends and the Book of Genesis begins. The last letter of Deuteronomy is a lamed, and the first letter of Genesis is a bet, which spells lev or “heart.” I have remembered Simchat Torah for many years, and have often enjoyed it. This year my feelings are a little different…

Please believe me when I say this: I rejoice that many Believers over the past ten years or so have returned to a diligent pattern of weekly Torah examination. The Torah is a part of the living and active Word of God! The Psalmist says, “Those who love your Torah have great peace; nothing makes them stumble” (CJB). The Apostle Paul speaks of the person who says, “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man” (Romans 7:22). It has been a useful practice for the Messianic movement to examine the weekly parashah on a consistent basis.

But however important examining the weekly parashah is, I cannot help but have the following word from Yeshua echo in my mind: “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Messianics have done their best to see Yeshua in the Torah of Moses—but what about the Prophets or the Psalms? When was the last time we examined the weekly Haftarah reading, or something else from the Tanach Scriptures? How many of us only address the weekly parashah at our Messianic congregations and fellowships—and nothing more?

The ancient Sadducees, as attested by history, were a First Century Jewish sect that only accepted the Pentateuch as Scripture. Consequently, the testimony of the Apostolic Writings is that they did not believe in the doctrine of resurrection (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8) because it is not necessarily spelled out in the Torah. One of the most explicit passages referring to the resurrection is Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” Other references may include: Isaiah 26:9; Ezekiel 37:13-14; Hosea 6:1-2. While it can be debated over whether or not there are hints or clues to the doctrine of resurrection in the Torah, it is by no means as direct as it appears in the Prophets.

Many of you have wondered about the progress I have been making on the forthcoming A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic. I am pleased to say that all I have left is to survey Ezekiel, Psalms, Proverbs, and write the Introduction. It has been a great learning experience for me, and has stimulated me to write more “Message of…” articles on specific books of the Tanach, as well as more exegetical papers on intriguing or difficult-to-understand passages. Yet it was very sad to have to write—on too many of the composition sections for books of the Tanach—something along the lines of:

“There is no current Messianic engagement/very little Messianic engagement with Book X…”

As much as I dislike Messianic Believers staying from the Apostolic Scriptures or New Testament, it has become clear to me that as a faith community we stay away from much of the Tanach or Old Testament as well. This Simchat Torah many of you are going to finish the Book of Deuteronomy, and you are going to begin the cycle all over again with Genesis. I would challenge you to do something new.

In the Apostle Paul’s visit to a synagogue at Pisdian Antioch in Acts 13, we see that the order of service was not like many of the Messianic services we see today: “After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, ‘Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it’” (13:15). Here, Paul as the visiting rabbi—after short teaching(ettes) on the Torah and the Prophets—was actually asked to get up and preach a sermon. You heard me right! A sermon. And what did Paul do? He used the opportunity to speak of the Messiah who had come (13:16-43).

Paul was a Pharisee who believed in the resurrection, and unlike the Sadducees accepted the books from Joshua-2 Chronicles (or Malachi) as authoritative Scripture. I know most of you accept those books as inspired of God, as well as the Apostolic Writings as inspired of God. Yet, I am worried that there are a few in our midst who can be classified as semi-Sadducees. They do not deny the resurrection, necessarily, but they certainly do not focus on it (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14). Their relationship with God is actually a relationship with the Torah, and it is not really a relationship with the One who gave it. It is not a relationship with God based on His unfolding plan of salvation history that begins with the Torah—but certainly does not end there. Consider how Scripture builds upon itself and how the five sections of our Bible reveal a unique quality that we should be considering if we are well-rounded Believers:

  • The Torah/Chumash/Pentateuch – Foundation
  • The Prophets – Exhortation
  • The Writings/Wisdom Literature – Motivation
  • The Gospels – Salvation
  • Apostolic Epistles – Application

This past weekend, I wrote an article for Sukkot entitled, “The Message of Deuteronomy.” Please read it if you have not already. The Book of Deuteronomy has a very unique quality to it, which in my opinion makes it second only to the Book of Exodus within the Torah. It warns against sin and should convict people who read it of their sins. But the message that Deuteronomy holds does not end with Deuteronomy. An entire series of Biblical books, specifically those of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel-Kings, all classify as being “Deuteronomic.” Why do we never read these books as Messianic Believers? Is it because everything Moses warns about in Deuteronomy comes true? The Promised Land wasn’t the paradise everyone thought it would be?

My friends, the Holy Scriptures are a great treasure trove of revelation and insight from our Heavenly Father. As important as the Torah has been to many of us in the past few years of rediscovery and learning, let us not forget that it is but the first part of God’s continual plan of salvation. An important part, yes—but not the only part. I encourage all of us to return to a pattern of studying more than just the Torah this coming year, as we are molded into that Messianic force for His holiness and righteousness in the years to come! We do not need any Sadducees among us…

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hypnotism and the 2008 Elections

I believe we have both a right and a responsibility to vote. Some of my friends disagree with me. What we all do agree on is, the world is spinning out of control. I'm away from home, but have my absentee ballot which will be mailed tomorrow. Regardless of your personal position, I'm presenting the link to an article which claims that Barak Obama is using hypnosis as part of his campaign. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. There is an unreasonable worship type response by many to this candidate. I find it bizarre that so many young women want to have his child. That's a bit much, don't you think?

If you want to read or study more about this potential aspect of our upcoming elections, I invite you to visit this link.

At the very least, I encourage you to consider reading or at least skimming the content of this article. We owe it to the future of this wonderful nation to be informed voters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget 9-11

I could not let this day pass by without an entry.

Where were you when war was declared on our country? Do you continue to remember it and pray for the families who lost loved ones? Driving through my neighborhood today, almost no one is displaying our American flag. It's been 7 years. As a nation built on Jewish and Christian foundations, we are a target for the enemy. I will not be politically correct and say, oh, it was just extremists.

The followers of Koran are instructed that we are satan and must be destroyed. I implore you to remember this day, a day that must NEVER leave our minds. My family was not directly affected, but I had friends at the Pentagon that day. Also, A dear friend of our family, a United Pilot himself, lost his best friend, the pilot of United Airlines Flight 93. A young woman my daughters grew up with was a flight attendant for Delta, she was grounded, not knowing what the next few days would bring,

I'm watching videos on You Tube to remind myself and to keep the pictures of the act of war fresh in my mind.

I lived for a year in another country as their guest. With all of America's problems, I am proud to be a citizen of this great nation. We are the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave men and women who choose to defend us. My husband served honorably in the United States Air Force. My father served honorably in WW11. The son's of many of my friends are serving honorably, protecting my right to post this blog entry, as I type in my comfortable and air conditioned home.

There are those who believe this terrorist action this was done intentionally by our own government. I do not believe that. Remember this day as you make you decision in our upcoming presidential election.

I pray that God will continue to bless this nation and have mercy on us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Being Led by HIS Spirit and Civil Responsibility

With the writer's permission, I'm posting a blog entry written by a friend of mine. He states clearly what our responsibility is as Believers in our political process. Please note that this writer focuses on our individual responsibility and privilege to fast and pray as part of our physical citizenship responsiblities.

The writer's blog is found here:

By Mark Huey

Last week, as a Believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I was motivated to write a blog entitled, “A Time to Fight,” for two primary reasons. First, as one who has been honed to view world and national affairs through a spiritual grid, it was patently obvious that a spiritual battle with enormous consequences for the direction of American society is taking place in the Heavenly realm, as it manifests itself in human vessels. Secondly, by the inspirational nudging of one of the speakers, those of us in the trenches of life are being exhorted, at least on some level, to serve a cause greater than self. Consequently, as I pondered these two factors, I encouraged those who read these blogs to enter the fray of spiritual warfare through fasting and prayer. However, I neglected to encourage every American adult over 18 to take their responsibility seriously, as a child of God and citizen of this country, to personally participate in the election process by voting for our leaders.

Over the weekend, as we considered Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) in our weekly reading of the Torah, it dawned on me that many in the American Messianic movement may not understand their voting privilege as citizens to actually be engaged in the selection process for our leaders. Too often over the years, we have heard Messianics state that they will not vote for a variety of ill-perceived reasons. However, in the opening words of Shoftim, Moses clearly instructed the Ancient Israelites entering the Promised Land to appoint or choose impartial and righteous judicial and political leaders over them, so that order would be established and maintained:

“You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20).

If you fast forward to the modern era, it is imperative that in the countries where Believers have the opportunity to choose their leaders, that we exercise good judgment and be involved in the process—especially when it comes to exercising our voting rights. Once again this Fall, the voting citizens of the United States have an obligation to vote for those who will have authority over us. Voting wisely is the absolute least every eligible citizen should do! Even if you are not an American, you need to vote in your own political elections when they take place.

Pondering this exhortation to physically vote, I thought more about the physical and spiritual exercises of fasting and praying—things we can also freely choose to do this Fall as this crucial election approaches.

Considering the Fall calendar immediately ahead of us, we see that the Hebrew months of Elul and Tishri are intended to prepare our hearts so we might be consecrated to celebrate the appointed times. This season of returning to the Lord is critical for our spiritual growth each year. In the spirit of the fasting and praying that many do between the Ten Days of Awe and the Day of Atonement, I was curious as to how the upcoming election debates and Election Day coincided with these commemorations. Interestingly, the debates are actually sprinkled in among the days typically set aside for reflection, consecration, and convocation.

In lieu of recognizing the peril of these times, I coupled those thoughts with the recollection that in the Book of Esther, as the Jewish people were on the verge of extermination, there was a call for three days of fasting and prayer prior to Esther’s audience before the king of Persia:

“‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?’ Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish’” (Esther 4:14-16).

With this Biblical example in mind, given the fact that others might be inspired to physically fast and pray during this season of repentance tempered with consecration, I recommend that those who are so led to fast and pray for God’s will to be done for three days prior to and during the national debates and Election Day.

As noted by the Presidential Election Commission, the scheduled debates and the American national election occur on the following days:

  • Presidential Debate: September 26, Oxford, MS
  • Vice-presidential Debate: October 2, St. Louis, MO
  • Presidential Debate: October 7, Nashville, TN
  • Presidential Debate: October 15, Hempstead, NY
  • Election Day: November 4

Personally, I believe that fasting and praying for these media events and the general election are some ways that Believers can actually serve a cause greater than themselves. After all, when the different candidates are debating, the need to speak coherently and soberly is critical. Praying for clarity of thought and protection from the “father of lies,” for those who have the qualities of leadership that will exude impartiality and justice, is critical.

In the case of Esther’s time, we know that the Lord gave her favor so that the Jews were spared from Haman’s decree of annihilation. While we cannot adamantly state that the three days of fasting and prayer were responsible for God’s mercy being displayed, we do know that it was one way that God’s people physically did something to appeal to His compassion and protection from the wiles of the Devil. The results speak volumes.

During the next two months, if we are led by His Spirit to take the time to fast and pray for God’s continuing mercy on America and that His will be done, we need to implore Him to give wisdom to the electorate to choose righteous leaders that will execute justice equitably as the above Scriptures imply. Obviously, this begins with each of us voting wisely.

On the other hand, whether we fast and pray is up to willing hearts that hear His voice and choose to intercede for “such a time as this!” Moses’ successor, Joshua, put it this way to his generation regarding choosing to serve the Lord rather than self:

“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15).

The time to choose how much you will be involved this Fall is between you and the Lord. Times like this come along infrequently, therefore, choose wisely!