Archive for the Category » end of the age «

September 12th, 2010 | Author:

If you search the title of this post, you’ll get hundreds of links and a screen full of rhetoric from both sides.  So like Joe Friday in the old Dragnet show, I adopted a “just the facts, ma’am” mentality.  What follows comes from usually reliable sources, with no comment from me … at least for now.

S1619 summary from Open Congress:

A bill to establish the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, to establish the Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities, to establish a comprehensive planning grant program, to establish a sustainability challenge grant program, and for other purposes.

S1619 status from govtrack.us:

This bill was considered in committee which has recommended it be considered by the Senate as a whole. Although it has been placed on a calendar of business, the order in which legislation is considered and voted on is determined by the majority party leadership. Keep in mind that sometimes the text of one bill is incorporated into another bill, and in those cases the original bill, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned. [Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 6:34AM]

complete Sec. 3 Purposes from the text of S1619 from Thomas, Library of Congress:

[Please Note:  Most of the links from Thomas, Library of Congress, appear to "time out."  If the link doesn't work, go to Thomas.gov, select "bill number" search, and enter S1619 in the search box.]

The purposes of this Act are–
(1) to facilitate and improve the coordination of housing, community development, transportation, energy, and environmental policy in the United States;
(2) to coordinate Federal policies and investments to promote sustainable development;
(3) to encourage regional planning for livable communities and the adoption of sustainable development techniques, including transit-oriented development;
(4) to provide a variety of safe, reliable transportation choices, with special emphasis on public transportation and complete streets, in order to reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and dependence on foreign oil;
(5) to provide affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities, and to make the combined costs of housing and transportation more affordable to families;
(6) to support, revitalize, and encourage growth in existing communities, in order to maximize the cost effectiveness of existing infrastructure and preserve undeveloped lands;
(7) to promote economic development and competitiveness by connecting the housing and employment locations of workers, reducing traffic congestion, and providing families with access to essential services;
(8) to preserve the environment and natural resources, including agricultural and rural land and green spaces; and
(9) to support public health and improve quality of life for the residents of and workers in communities by promoting healthy, walkable neighborhoods, access to green space, and the mobility to pursue greater opportunities.

selected Sec. 4 Definitions from the text of S1619 from Thomas, Library of Congress:

(2) CENSUS TRACT- The term `census tract’ means a small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county, delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data.

(4) COMPLETE STREET- The term `complete street’ means a street that enables all travelers, particularly public transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians (including individuals of all ages and individuals with disabilities), and motorists, to use the street safely and efficiently.

(5) COMPREHENSIVE REGIONAL PLAN- The term `comprehensive regional plan’ means a plan that–
(A) identifies land use, transportation, community development, housing, economic development, environmental, energy, and infrastructure needs and goals in a region;
(B) provides strategies for meeting the needs and goals described in subparagraph (A), including strategies for–
(i) providing affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities;
(ii) reducing growth in vehicle miles traveled, in order to reduce traffic congestion and regional greenhouse gas emissions from transportation;
(iii) encouraging economic competitiveness and economic development; and
(iv) increasing the connectivity of the region by increasing public transportation ridership and improving access to transportation alternatives; and
(C) prioritizes projects for funding and implementation.

(13) LOCATION-EFFICIENT- The term `location-efficient’ characterizes development, housing, or neighborhoods that integrate land use, mixed-use housing and commercial development, employment, and transportation–
(A) to enhance mobility;
(B) to encourage transit-oriented development;
(C) to encourage infill development and the use of existing infrastructure; and
(D) to reduce growth in vehicle miles traveled and the transportation costs and energy requirements associated with ownership or rental of a home.

(23) SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT- The term `sustainable development’ means a pattern of resource use designed to create livable communities by–
(A) providing a variety of safe and reliable transportation choices;
(B) providing affordable, energy-efficient, and location-efficient housing choices for people of all income levels, ages, races, and ethnicities;
(C) supporting, revitalizing, and encouraging the growth of communities and maximizing the cost effectiveness of existing infrastructure;
(D) promoting economic development and economic competitiveness;
(E) preserving the environment and natural resources;
(F) protecting agricultural land, rural land, and green spaces; and
(G) supporting public health and improving the quality of life for residents of and workers in a community.

(24) TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT- The term `transit-oriented development’ means high-density, walkable, mixed-use development (including commercial development, affordable housing, and market-rate housing) that is within walking distance of and accessible to 1 or more public transportation facilities.

organizations in support of S1619 from MAPLight.org:

American Institute of Architects
American Public Transportation Association
American Public Works Association
Children’s Defense Fund
Habitat for Humanity
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of Realtors
National Housing Trust
National League of Cities
Policylink
Sierra Club
Trust for America’s Health
U.S. Conference of Mayors
U.S. Green Building Council

public opinion on S1619 from WashingtonWatch.com:

cover page of Agenda 21 from the United Nations:

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

from the UN Agenda 21 preamble:

1.1. Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can – in a global partnership for sustainable development.

from The United Nations Millennium Papers - Issue 2, page 5 [pdf]

Participating in a UN-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizen militias and some members of Congress. This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So, we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth. [or sustainable development or Livable Communities]

from the Bible, New American Standard Version:

But He [Jesus] replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:2-3)

It was also given to him [the beast, the antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Revelation 13:7-8)

Further reading:

S1619 The Livable Communities Act of 2009, Library of Congress

H.R.4690 Livable Communities Act of 2010, Library of Congress; the House companion bill

Agenda 21 Table of Contents, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Agenda 21, The U.N. Plan for Your “Sustainable” Community biblical analysis by Berit Kjos, 1998

UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You political analysis by Scott Strzelczyk and Richard Rothschild at The American Thinker, 2009

The Bible, NASB, Book of Revelation, Chapter 13

The Bible, NASB, Book of Daniel, Chapter 2

The bible, NASB, Book of Daniel, Chapter 7

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June 30th, 2010 | Author:

The Word for Wednesday is a meme for Christian bloggers to share what is on their hearts. If you’d like to join us, just click the WFW tab above for details.

At Bible study last night, we spent some time in that often overlooked little book of Amos.  As is our custom, we then spent some time in prayer.

What follows is a (hopefully) more coherent version of what I was stirred to pray, this verse still in my heart:

Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD,
For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;  (Amos 5:18)

Father, like your people in Zimbabwe who thank you for their dictator, Robert Mugabe, I thank you.

I thank you for 9/11 and the chaos it created in our country.

I thank you for Hurricane Katrina and the frailty of man’s plans that it revealed.

I thank you for the financial crisis and the meaninglessness of money that it exposed.

I thank you for the BP oil spill that has shown us how weak we are.

I thank you that our government has become corrupt from top to bottom.

I thank you that the apostate church in America has been left bereft of your Holy Spirit.

I thank you that the evil in our society is growing more blatant by the day.

I thank you for these, and all the other trials and testings that are befalling our nation, and I pray that they will make us humble.  I pray that many people will turn to You in their hour of need.  I pray that Christians will be prepared – and have the boldness – to speak the truth to all who seek You.

And I pray especially, Lord, for those who have been deceived by a false gospel; for those who believe they know You, but don’t; for those who think that political action leads to heaven; for those who think they will enter Your kingdom because of the good things they have done; for those who long for the day of the Lord, but will find darkness instead of light; and for those who call You ‘Lord’ – that You have never known.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’  (Matthew 7:21-23)

And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out.  (Luke 13:23-28)

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June 09th, 2010 | Author:

Runnin’ late – again! – this week, folks. Leave your link, and I’ll update later in the day.

Not only am I runnin’ late, I’ve run out of time. We’re going camping, and I’ve got one more day to get everything ready, so this week’s post is short and sweet.

It’s one of those passages that just womped me one day and has never really left.  Think of it the next time you’re tempted to tell a little white lie.

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)

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April 28th, 2010 | Author:

All Christian bloggers are invited to participate in the Word for Wednesday meme.  Click the WFW tab above for details. Even if you don’t post, your comments are very welcome.

After a couple weeks of addressing other issues, today I return to my review of  the Olivet Discourse and what it may mean for Americans in 2010.

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:13-14)

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

In the verses just previous to these, Jesus told us that at the end of the age – which we surely are living in – there would be a great falling away, that many false prophets would arise, and that the love of most people would grow cold.  These are the things we must endure in order to be saved.

  • We must find our way through an anti-Christian culture, without falling away ourselves.
  • We must hold to the truth, despite the popular, but erroneous, teachings of many who claim to be Christians.
  • We must love.

Some tall orders, eh?

I could at this point pull various scriptures out of context as reminders that God is faithful (1 Cor 1:9); that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13); and that Jesus promised that no one will snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28-29).

But in this sermon, Jesus did not provide such reassurances and neither will I.  The disciples asked Him what the End of the Age will be like, and Jesus gave them the unvarnished truth.  He didn’t gloss over the difficulties they would have to face.  I believe He was trying to prepare them, to encourage them to take these things seriously, so I will leave it as He did.

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

This gospel.  Some time ago, I noticed that Jesus didn’t say “the gospel.”  If He’d said “the gospel,” we would think he was referring to the good news of His first coming and the salvation He made available to the whole world.  But He said “this gospel,” and I have to believe that in this case, He was referring to all the things He had just said, all the difficult things, all the things that we’d really rather not hear.

In many churches today, you won’t hear “this gospel.”  You won’t hear that Christianity entails suffering and sacrifice.  You won’t hear that it comes at a price.  What you’ll hear instead is how Jesus will make your life better and easier.  I think that the preachers who appeal to the flesh in this fashion are generally not making true converts, but instead are deceiving people who will later become disillusioned and are probably part of the great “falling away” that Jesus warned us about.

But that’s just what I think.  Be sure to check out the other WFW posts in Mr. Linky this week to see what other people think.

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April 07th, 2010 | Author:

If you’d like to participate in the Word for Wednesday meme (and I wish you would!), click the WFW tab above for details.  If not, I still welcome your comments.

[cont'd from The End of the Age 3.31.10]

As I continue my examination of the Olivet Discourse, looking for the words of Jesus that can be applied to the world of today, we come to Matthew 24:10-12:

At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

“Fall away” in this context comes from the Greek skandalizō, G4625, meaning to “scandalize” or to entrap, that is, trip up (figuratively stumble [transitively] or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure): – (make to) offend.

It’s hard for us as Americans to visualize this falling away.  It’s hard to understand that many who now proclaim to be Christians, when pressed by difficult circumstances, will “scandalize” and betray one another and hate one another.  As I wondered what our reaction to this situation should be, I remembered another verse from the Sermon on the Mount, where skandalizō is translated “to stumble.”

If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

While Jesus is trying to prepare us for hard times by telling us what it will be like, I think His solution to the problem is to literally throw out anything, including body parts, that would cause us to sin.  If a TV show leads us into temptation – throw the TV out.  If a friend entices us to tread a wrong path – avoid that person.  Based on Jesus’ advice, nothing we can do is too drastic if it keeps us from sinning.

Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

There are so many false prophets and teachers in the church today, it’s hard to find the real deal.  It’s so bad in my area, that I would be hard-pressed to recommend any church to a newcomer to the faith or to the area.  In today’s passage, Jesus’ doesn’t offer a way to avoid being misled, but in another He promises the only answer I know:

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

If we have not received the Holy Spirit of truth that Jesus’ promised, then I think it will be impossible for our feeble brains to avoid being misled.

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

It’s hard to love criminals.  It’s hard to love those who hurt others, especially when the hurting are close to us.  The more crime and hate we see, the harder it is to love the criminals.  But love we must, or we will be among those whose love has grown cold.

When I come across someone who is hard to even be around, no less love, I remind myself of who I was and what I did before I accepted the forgiveness of Christ.  I remind myself that God loved me even in the worst of my sin.  I didn’t deserve forgiveness any more than the worst person I’ve encountered.  And then I realize that, unless I want to be a hypocrite, I must offer that same love and forgiveness to everyone I meet.

(27)  “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
(28)  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(29)  “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
(30)  “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
(31)  “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
(32)  “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
(33)  “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
(34)  “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
(35)  “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
(36)  “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
(37)  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
(38)  “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:27-38)

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