Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Turner Turns (1) Credit Creation

The London School of Economics makes its public lectures available on MP3. Some interesting lectures are available. I have just listened to a talk given by Adair Turner at the London School of Economics called Creating Money – For What Purpose.

Adair Turner was the Chairman of the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority when the financial crisis broke in September 2008, and played a leading role in the redesign of the global banking and shadow banking regulation. He is now a Senior Fellow of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Apart from his accent, Adair Turner is an excellent communicator. This talk is a easy-to-understand summary of the latest thinking of economists about Monetary Policy. There is a basic flaw in this thinking, but it is good to understand how economists and central bankers are responding to the Global Economic Crisis. The comments are a summary of more detailed talks given at Frankfurt and Stockholm.

Credit creation by Banks
Turner began his talk by explaining the role of banks. He says,

Banks do not intermediate already existing money. The create money and credit ex nihilo de novo. When a bank makes a loan, it puts the loan on the asset side of its balance sheet. At the same time, it puts the money in the borrowers account. At that point, they have created money and credit. There may be constraints on how much due to the need for reserves at the central bank or to maintain equity.

The critical thing that created the credit is maturity transformation. If the tenor of the deposit and the loan was the same, nothing has happened. If both are instantaneous, nothing is achieved. If the borrower has a loan for a year that is available now, maturity transformation has occurred and money is created.
This is very different from the standard textbook explanation of money creation. It is good to get this clarified.

Turner says that the benefit of private credit creation is that is disciplined by the market, which allows credit to be allocated efficiently.

Orthodoxy says that if the interest rate is set to equal the natural rate of interest, the right amount of credit will be produced.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Felix Holt

I have just read Felix Holt: The Radical by George Eliot. I had not read any of her novels before. I chose this one because it is free on Kindle, whereas you have to pay a few dollars for some of her better known titles. I noted that one reviewer said it was her best novel. I cannot comment on that, but the others must be really good if they are better than this one.

Eliot describes and election in England just after the 1932 Reform Act was passed. I remember studying that period during school history. She really brings the election event to life.

The book tells the story of a woman who dreamt of a life of privilege, but once she got it, found it was empty. It describes two men who wanted to change the world. One, who was born in privilege, assumed that he knew what the world needed, but discovered that he did not know who he was. The other chose to serve the poor and suffering. He found peace, love and blessing.

This book points to the Kingdom of God.

George Eliot writes really well. Here is one little example.

Mr Johnson’s character was not much more exceptional than his double chin.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Anzac Day

I do not like war. I hate the terrible death and suffering. I also dislike the political propaganda that tries to turn something dreadful and awful into something to be celebrated. I particularly dislike the way that the media try to make war appear to be noble and good.

Yesterday was ANZAC day. 25 April was the first day of the Gallipoli campaign at the beginning of the First World War. I dislike the way that this day been captured by the military, and has changed from a day of grieving for lost family and friends into a celebration of the glories of war. Truth suffers in the process. Nothing is said about the folly of war. The disasters and evils that always accompany it are masqueraded as heroism and sacrifice.

Most wars are stupid, but the first World War was particularly stupid. It started when an Austrian archduke was shot by a Serbian in Sarajevo. Most Europeans could not tell an archduke from an archdeacon and no one cared about the Serbs or Sarajevo, but their political leaders decided they would have a jolly good old war anyway.

The politicians and kings started a stupid war and millions of ordinary young men paid full price for it. When the war finally ground to a halt five years later, nothing had been achieved, but 20 million people had died and another 20 million carried serious injuries.

The politicians and leaders never apologized for their mistake. Instead they turned the dead and injured into heroes. This distracted attention from their stupid decisions and made people feel better about an event that was really a terrible disaster. Calling the soldiers heroes makes it seem that what they had done was worthwhile.

I know that many were heroes, but the line between heroism and stupidity is a fine one. No doubt some were cowards. I presume that most just kept their heads down and avoided trouble. The hero story is not totally true, but it fulfils a political purpose.

The Gallipoli campaign was one of those stupid battles thought up by a politician in London that was never going to work in practice. The Australian and New Zealand troops ended up on stuck on a narrow beach in Turkey. The Turkish soldiers at the top of the cliffs were armed with machine guns and fighting to defend their homes and families. They were never going to lose.

Several months later, the Australian and New Zealand troops withdrew having achieved nothing for a terrible price. One hundred thousand people were dead and another two hundred thousand were injured. The most embarrassing aspect of the fiasco was that white Christian people were supposed to be superior to the Turkish Moslems.

The loss of so many young men was a terrible sacrifice, but sacrifice for what. We say now that they died for their country, but that is not true, either. The people of New Zealand had no interest in what happened in Sarajevo. Most did not know it even existed. The first time New Zealanders heard of it was when the Winter Olympics were held there.

The New Zealand soldiers went to defend the British Empire. When the British Empire called, the young men of New Zealand left their families and marched off to war without hesitation, on an imperialistic adventure. The thought of fighting for an empire is not very nice, so dying for your country sounds much better.

We can honour the bravery of the soldiers.
We can honour loyalty to their mates.
We should not honour their blind obedience to the arrogant and foolish political leaders told them to go and fight a stupid war.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Being Church

The Kindle Countdown deal on my book Being Church Where We Live finishes in a few hours.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Imperial Delusions

Bill Bonner is a “literary economist”. I admire his ability as a writer. He has some sensible things to say about economics too.

I have just started reading a complimentary copy of his book, The New Empire of Debt, written with his mate Addison Wiggin. This is what he says about empires.

At the peak, the imperial people come to believe that their system is superior, that their values are universal and that their way of life will inevitably dominate the entire world (New Empire p.10).
I have seen some great examples coming out of the Whitehouse recently.

Joe Carney condemning the planned presidential election in Syria.
A presidential referendum is a parody of democracy. It would nave not credibility or legitimacy inside Syria or outside Syria.
What about the presidential election being run in Afghanistan under the guns of 60,000 US troops. Is it legitimate, because two warlords from the northern alliance are standing.

Joe Biden sent to Ukraine to scare the Russians.
No nation should stoke instability in its neighbouring country. We call on Russia to stop supporting men hiding behind mask in unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in Eastern Ukraine.
Has he forgotten that neocon Victoria Nulands spend $5 billion dollars trying to change the government in Ukraine, then selected the new president. What is the CIA doing all over the world, not to mention Blackwater (Xe).

John Kerry on Ukraine.
You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext in order to assert your interests.
Has he forgotten about Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Looking from the outside these comments seem like a joke, but inside the empire they make sense.
Things that are evil when you do them, are good when we do them.
Here is another imperial delusion
Imperial people believe that their society is so superior, that the rest of the world longs to be just like them, or is inevitably drawn to become like them whether they like it or not.
Bill Bonner gives an example.
The invasion of Iraq was based on the same sort of thinking: that even the grubby desert tribes want to be just like us. All we had to do was get the get the dictator off their banks and the men would start building shopping malls and the women would all start dressing like Britney Spears (New Empire p.10).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NATO

NATO is back in the news, pushing military forces up to the border of Ukraine. It is a strange beast that is not well understood.

NATO was established in 1949 by a treaty between the United States and the nations of Western Europe to defend against the power of the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet system, NATO should have been redundant, but it has been kept on as a way for the United States to project power while pretending to be something else. The US invasion of Afghanistan was branded as a NATO action to give it a cloak of respectability.

The reality is that NATO is a toothless tiger, because most of the nations of Europe have disarmed and do not have serious military power. When NATO supported the rebellion in Libya, the European nations ran out of weapons in a few days. The United States had to do all the heavy lifting. The European powers are militarily weak, so the most that they can do in most situations is to impose economic sanctions against people and companies.

In Revelation 13, John saw a beast coming out of the sea. This Beast looked like a lamb but was really a dragon (Rev 13:11), ie it seemed to be on Jesus side, but shifted over to the other side. I have suggested that this terrible beast could be the United States.

According to John, this Beast sets up an image of itself (Rev 13:14-15). This image of the Beast could be NATO. It behaves in the same way as the United States, and is really a mask for American power. NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Daniel saw a powerful empire called the King of the North (Dan 11). NATO is linked to the King of the North.

The image of the beast does not use military power, but relies on police power to destroy all opposition.

…cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed (Rev 13:15).
This beast also relies on economic sanctions to achieve its objectives.
It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a badge of servitude… so that they could not buy or sell unless they had it (Rev 13:16-17).
The NATO countries claim to target sanctions against the rich and powerful, but it is usually the poor who suffer most.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Zealand Economy

Jesse Colombo has written an article in Forbes magazine warning that the New Zealand economy is in a bubble that will end in disaster. This grated a bit because the popular view among economists is that New Zealand is a rock star economy that is leading the pack. Politicians quickly jumped in to label Jesse Colombo as a doomster, who does not understand what is happening here.  However, he picked the subprime collapse, so he must be given some credibility.

I have some sympathy with Jesse Colombo’s view. The New Zealand economy is currently strong. The unemployment rate is 6%. The Treasury is forecasting real growth of 2.5% for the next couple of years.

Two things have helped the NZ Economy.

  1. The Christchurch earthquake brought billions of insurance dollars into the country. Thousands of houses have to be rebuilt over the next two years. Many more need to be repaired. A huge number of commercial buildings are being rebuilt with insurance money. This is a huge boost to the economy.

  2. International prices for dairy products are at record levels. This has really helped the New Zealand economy.

Despite this good news, there are two big worries about the economy.
  1. As Jesse Colombo has pointed out, house prices are grossly overvalued. They have doubled in the last ten years. In Auckland , which is our the largest city, young people are paying more than half a million dollars for a do-up or an old dunger just to get into the market. Banks have been supporting the boom by providing mortgages for 95 percent and sometimes 100 percent of the purchase price. (The central bank last year introduced limits on loan to value ratios in attempt to cool the market). The central bank has kept interest rates very low for the last few years, but they are now beginning to rise. Household debt is very high, so many people are vulnerable to a decline in house prices or a big increase in interest rates.

  2. The New Zealand economy is very dependent on the dairy industry. When I was growing up on a farm, the sheep industry was larger than the dairy industry. Over the last twenty years, a huge number of farms have converted to dairying. This has required an enormous capital investment, but returns have been very good, and farm prices have sky rocketed. Most of our milk products are exported to China. So we really have all our eggs in one basket. Last year, a faulty test that recorded botulism in milk powder stopped exports to China for a few days, until the error was corrected. Some categories of milk powder still do not have access to the Chinese market.

The New Zealand is very vulnerable to a biosecurity crisis that effects our exports to China. It would also be severely hurt by a collapse in residential real estate. So like most rock stars, New Zealand could easily fall off the edge.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Proving the Resurrection

Last night I listened to a television preacher giving seven reasons why the resurrection is true. It was good, but I wish that we lived as if Jesus is risen. The power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at the right hand of the Father is the same incomparable great power that is at work in us through the Spirit (Eph 1:19-20). If the Holy Spirit were free to do his stuff, we would not need any proofs of the resurrection. The world would see that Jesus is risen.

On Saturday, I heard a secular radio interviewer talking to a Christian author. After talking about his books, she turned to his Christian faith. Instead of being abrasive, as she would usually be with a Christian, she just said, “Help me with the resurrection!” It seemed like she would like to believe the resurrection, but the evidence is just not there. For a scientific mind, it is just too hard to believe. The Christian author did not seem to know what to say, so he parried with a question, “What is your problem with the resurrection?”

Actually, the resurrection is our problem. If the body of Christ was moving in the power of the Spirit and living as Jesus lived, healing the sick, casting out demons, cleansing lepers and raising the dead, it would be easy to believe that Jesus is risen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Deflation

According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph, the Swedish Riskbank is worried about deflation.

Sweden has become the first country in northern Europe to slide into serious deflation, prompting a blistering attack on the Riksbank’s monetary policies by the world’s leading deflation expert.

Swedish consumer prices fell 0.4pc in March from a year earlier, catching the authorities by surprise and leading to calls for immediate action to avert a Japanese-style trap.
Lars Svensson, the Riksbank’s former deputy governor, explained that this falling prices are a problem, because they cause debt burdens to ratchet up in real terms. Swedish household debt is 170pc of disposable income

This is a bit rich. Creeping inflation has hurt savers for years, slowly wiping out the value of their hard earned savings. Now a 0.4 percent fall in pirces hurts bgorrowers, and the central banks get worried. It is clear whose side they are on.

Central banks have been rewarding borrowers and punishing savers forever. This contributed to weak risk assessments which contributed to the Global Financial Crisis.

Central Banks fear deflation. The most common argument is that if prices are falling people will stop buying and wait till prices get lower. This does not make sense. Technology prices have been falling for years, but people have not stopped buying.

Chis Casey explains the flaws in this fear in his article called Deflating the Deflation Myth.
In addition, the American economic experience during the nineteenth century is even more telling. Twice, while experiencing sustained and significant economic growth, the American economy “endured” deflationary periods of 50 percent.

This during a period of “sustained and significant economic growth”. But just think of all those poor consumers, having to make the best of constantly falling everyday low prices.
Deflation benefits consumers, because it increases their ability to buy things, without an increase in wages. The inflation of the last few decades has robbed consumers of reduction in prices that should have come through technology gains. These have been captured by people in debt.

Central banks believe deflation leads to depressions. Casey quotes a study completed by several Federal Reserve economists who found:
... the only episode in which we find evidence of a link between deflation and depression is the Great Depression (1929-34). We find virtually no evidence of such a link in any other period. ... What is striking is that nearly 90% of the episodes with deflation did not have depression. In a broad historical context, beyond the Great Depression, the notion that deflation and depression are linked virtually disappears.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Royal

The royal tour of New Zealand has ended. Not Lorde. The prince and princess, William and Kate. William is the second in line to the British throne. However, he will never be a real king, because this is not just a figurehead role, with no real power. The Queen is trotted out for ceremonial occasion to add a bit of pomp and circumstance to compensate for the dull weather, but she has no governing authority.

The British queen has no authority in New Zealand either. The head of state is the Governor General. He is selected by the cabinet, and the queen pretends to appoint him, but this is a fa├žade.

Many people think that this process produces better results than the circus that produces the American and French presidents. They could be right, but this is all irrelevant to me, because I have only one King, and he is Jesus.

The royal tour was a well-oiled PR machine. Everywhere that William and Kate went there were huge adulating crowds. People decided that they were wonderful people after a brief glance from behind the barricades.

I find this tendency quite disturbing. Human nature seems to have a deep-seated need to exalt one person to a place of honour and privilege above them. I can why it is easy for a clever demagogue to gain political power by tapping into this vein.

When the same thing happened to Jesus he did not trust the crowds.

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself (John 6:14-15).
No politician or royal would behave this way, but Jesus is the true king.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meandering Power

Robert W Merry has some interesting comments on the lack of strategic direction in American foreign policy. American presidents are blundering into situations they do not understand and making the world unsafe.

Saner heads would have understood just how dangerous this kind of activity can be. And so some questions intrude: Did anyone in the State Department inform President Obama that this was going on? If anyone had, would the president or his informant have understood the potentially incendiary nature of such diplomatic intrusiveness? Or was the president simply left in the dark, as Pfaff has suggested, while his minions engaged in activity destined to create an unnecessary crisis in U.S.-Russian relations and possibly unleash destabilizing ethnic tensions in a crucial corner of the world?

For historical perspective, it’s worth noting that we look back now with a certain disdain upon the heads of state grappling with events leading to World War I. Those events ended a century of relative stability and peace in Europe, and the men who let that grand epoch pass are seen in history as hapless, out of touch, even stupid. In fact, they weren’t stupid, but they were out of touch and that rendered them hapless in the face of events they didn’t understand.

President Obama and those around him aren’t stupid either, but they don’t seem to understand the nature of our time and the challenges posed by a fading era. They seem incapable of grappling with the kinds of broad historical questions posed by William Pfaff.

But the problem doesn’t reside only with the current administration. There seems to be a zeitgeist in play that retards the ability of our leaders and intellectuals to grasp the transformative nature of our time and hence the havoc besetting the globe. Pfaff is equally hard on George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, particularly regarding what he calls “the Muslim conflagration.” He writes: “Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan—in all of them, a President Bush, or President Obama, together with his accomplices, has passed their way, sowing annihilation."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kingdom Come

When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, he taught them how to pray in the Kingdom of God.

Your will be done in the earthly realms,
as it is done in the spiritual realms (Matt 6:10).
In the spiritual realms, the angels rush to do the Father’s will (Ps 103:20). The kingdom comes on earth when people rush to do his bidding in the same way as the angels in the spiritual realms. When the Holy Spirit prompts and people follow his guidance, the kingdom will come.

Paul said the same thing in a different way when he explained that God’s goal for history is for there to be unity between the spiritual and physical realms.
He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (Eph 1:9-10).
When the times are fulfilled, things in both the spiritual and the physical realms will come into unity by being submitted to Jesus. His kingdom will have come when all authority in heaven and on earth has been brought back under him.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Home is in Heaven?

Many Christians believe their true home is in heaven and they cannot wait to get there. However, this is not completely true. Our current home is on the earth. Paul had dual citizenship. He was a Jewish citizen and a Roman citizen. He had rights in both places. We are dual citizens as well. We are citizens of both earth and heaven, having rights in both places. We should not become so focussed on life after death that we forget our role on earth. Earth belongs to God. We are his stewards. He needs us to exercise authority on earth.

We are already seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father in the spiritual realms (Eph 2:6). That is our home now, and understanding that should transform our life on earth now. It would be sad if we were so focussed on life after death, that we failed to understand that we live in the spiritual realms now. Our home is in heaven, but not in the way we usually think.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hersh on Syria

I found this article about Syria called Red Line and Rat Line by Seymour Hersh really interesting. I understand that the media in the US have shut it down. But I guess their readers do not want the truth.

I could never understand why stories about gas attacks always came at out times when the Syrian government forces were having success on the ground. It did not make sense. Nor could I understand why Obama pulled back from his red line, when he had been so keen on it. This article makes sense of these events.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Noah

Many Christians are getting wound up about the movie Noah. I have not seen it yet, so I will not comment on the movie. However, I presume that part of the problem is that most Christians are only familiar with Noah as a sweet children’s story about boats and rainbows. Very few Christians understand that Noah was a key player in God’s strategy to recapture the authority that had been stolen by the spiritual powers of evil. Noah’s life was a messy one, because he was caught up in massive spiritual struggle, at a time when the Holy Spirit was not able to come and live in those who were called by God. The rainbow covenant was a huge step forward in God’s strategy, and still is, but few of his people understand it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Great Brain Robbery

Very few Christians believe that the church will establish the Kingdom of God in this age. Most believe that the gospel will be successful at times and that some churches will grow very large, but they do not expect that the Kingdom of God to come in their time. The possibility never occurs to them. For many Christians, the next big thing is the second coming. They do not mind if the situation in the world gets worse and worse, because they see it as a sign that the coming of Jesus is getting closer. Therefore, they do not really want to see the Kingdom coming closer.

The popular belief that Jesus will return to establish the Kingdom of God is Satan’s greatest lie. He has used it successfully to cripple the church and rob us of our inheritance. He has fooled us into believing that we do not have to the Kingdom, because Jesus will do it for us when he returns. Unfortunately, although this idea is popular, it is not true. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to receive the kingdom from the church, so that he can hand it back to the Father (1 Cor 15:24,25).

Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God incessantly. His gospel was a gospel of the kingdom. It was not a gospel of Kingdom at the end of age. It was a gospel of the Kingdom of God at hand, now. He commissioned the church to bring in the kingdom, now.

This seems strange to us. Jesus' view of the Kingdom is different from the view of most Christians. The reason is that many Christians have unwittingly accepted a lie from Satan. He has fooled us into believing that Jesus will establish the Kingdom when he returns. He has fooled us into believing that we don't have to do it, because Jesus will do it for us. The problem with this is that he has robbed us of our inheritance. The Kingdom of God is our inheritance.

When we read the Scriptures, we tend to shift the passages that promise victory to after the Second Coming. The Scriptures that promise hard times are assigned to the current age. This is part of the lie that Satan has sold us. The reality is that most of the passages about victory are meant for this age. We have been robbed of these promises of hope.

A corporate mental stronghold is a false idea that takes hold in a culture so that it is wisely accepted. The belief that Jesus will build the Kingdom of God when he returns is a corporate mental stronghold that has bound up the Church.

Jesus' view of the Kingdom is very different. His gospel was a gospel of the Kingdom now, not a gospel of Kingdom at the end of age. His was a gospel of the Kingdom of God at hand, so he commissioned the church to establish the Kingdom, now.

The Bible is clear about the result of the battle.

  • Jesus won.
  • Satan lost.
We should not be acting if he has won?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Wheat and Weeds

God does not physically separate out Christian institutions from non-Christian ones. Most institutions carry on with the same role. The only difference is in the way that authority is exercised within them. This is why Jesus said that we cannot see the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20,21). The Kingdom of God is not visible, because there is not a set of Christian institutions and a separate set of non-Christian ones.

There will often be no visible difference between a Christian business and a non-Christian one. For example, a Christian joinery workshop will look the same as any other one. The staff will use the same equipment and have the same set of skills. They will often do the same tasks and produce similar products. The big difference is in the hearts of the owners and manager and the way that they exercise authority. The difference should be evident in the way they do business.

The parable of the wheat and weeds illustrates this point (Matt 13:24-43). The owner allows the wheat and the weeds to grow up together. Some Christians interpret this parable to mean that the Kingdom is never victorious, but they do not understand how crops grow. Wheat and weeds cannot grow together equally. One will always grow faster and choke out the other. If the weeds choke the wheat, the crop would not be worth harvesting. This can happen and many farmers have ploughed their "choked out" crops back into the soil.

A good crop of wheat will grow faster than the weeds, choking them out. The parable describes a good harvest, so this is what has happened. The wheat has grown better than the weeds, so they are choked out. They are so few and weak that they can be picked out one and a time and burned.

If good increases, evil must decrease. Jesus is describing a time in the parable when good becomes so powerful that evil is forced out of the world. There are a few weeds left, but they are so feeble that they have no impact. T They are choked out by the good wheat of the Kingdom of God.

In the parable of the mustard seed, the birds come and shelter in the branches. This is because the mustard tree becomes so strong and brings peace, that even those who oppose it (the birds) see its benefits and try to get some of them. The Government of God brings such blessing that even those who hate God enjoy its benefits, even while they still hate its King.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Guns or Angels

I find it hard to understand the obsession that Americans Christians have with guns. The nation seems to be under a strange corporate mental and spiritual stronghold.

I have never owned a gun. I have never fired a gun. In my 65 years, I have never been in a situation where I have needed a gun. If I had stayed on the farm I grew up on, I would have needed a gun to kill sick animals or old dogs, and to get rid of pests like rabbits, but not for killing people. But I moved to the city, where I do not need one.

The police on the streets of New Zealand do not carry guns. Yet it is safer here than in the United States.

Plenty of people here own guns. They use them for hunting and various forms of competition, but they do not seem to be an obsession.

If this nation is attacked, we will defend ourselves. The risk is not very high at the moment. The greatest risk to peace seems to be cowboys like George and Obama wandering round the world with their six guns looking for someone to shoot.

An invasion by an invading army is not the worst thing that can happen for Christians. If a Christian is killed, they go straight to glory, which is good. The church can survive a persecuting invader. The church grew rapidly under the ruthless Roman government. The fastest growth of the church ever was in China under a harsh communist government.

Persecution is not nice, but it does not stop the Holy Spirit from working. Jesus confirmed this when he said,

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28).
The modern world has this the wrong way round. We fear those who can kill our bodies, but do not rear those in can destroy our soul and body. American Christians are passionate about their guns and marines, but they are strangely ignorant about spiritual protection.

The greatest threat to New Zealand is not an invading army. It is the spiritual forces of evil that are seeking to make their home here. We have cast off restraint, which has left evil unrestrained and constrained God’s ability to protect us. As our culture become more and more secular, they have more and more and freedom to inflict their evil on us. Strong spiritual protection will be absolutely critical in the next season.

The same is true in the United States. A great host of evil spirits are making their home there. They are experts on political and military empire. They are skilled in death and destruction. Guns will be useless against them. If American Christians could see into the spiritual realms, like Elisha’s servant, they would be shocked at the forces arrayed against them. They would stop worrying about guns, and be seeking to learn about protection from the spiritual forces of evil.

As society becomes more secular, the need for Christians to be spiritually alert increases. Unfortunately, we have compromised with the secular world view, and are unprepared for a season when the spiritual warfare will be extremely intense.

Many American Christians are more familiar with their guns than they are with angels. When under attack, whether physical or spiritual, I would sooner have and angel close by than a gun.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Bloodlands (3) Where Next

The situation in the world has now changed. There are very few Jews in Poland and Ukraine. The largest Jewish populations are in Israel and the United States. The forces of evil that created the Bloodlands are now working in these two places. They are experts on killing and death and they are experts on using dictatorial political power. (Recent events in Ukraine show that a few of them are still working there too).

The nation of Israel have no spiritual protection. Worse still, they have no ability to see into the spiritual realms, so they do not know what they are up against. They think the worst threats are military. They do not understand that the greatest threat comes from the spiritual forces of evil, working amongst them to stir up dictatorial political power and killing and destruction. By relying on military and political power for their protection, they are unwittingly working with the spiritual forces that are trying to destroy them.

Most Christians are not helping, because they too are stuck in physical seeing and thinking. They are praying for the military and political power of Israel. This is exactly want the spiritual forces that they cannot see want, because it empowers them. Very few Christians are praying for the spiritual protection of Israel, though that is what is really needed.

I presume that the same spiritual forces are at work in the United States, using all the authority that the old covenant gives them. We can expect to see these spirits, which are experts in using military and political power to cause destruction and death, going to work. May be they are already achieving more than we realise.