Five-Fold Today

Total loyalty - You are My Treasure - It's Time to Put Jobs First - The Message Is Clear - Obama's War - Purification And Holiness - The Pending Collapse Of The U.S.A.

December 7, 2009

Total loyalty

Amy Williams

Jesus was the ultimate radical – He showed us how to be by the way He lived and the things He said. Radical means “from the root’ (from radix, Latin for root). A true radical is prepared to change everything - root, branch and all - and live for what really matters. As a church we must always keep true to our roots of the call to radical commitment.

“...Therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.’ (Luke 14:33)

Are we becoming a church that is neither hot nor cold, like the church at Laodicea where the Lord is about to spit them from His mouth?

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!’ (Revelation 3:15)

In our church covenant we promise to be loyal to the church, to put her above our highest joy and to be committed to the meetings and events of the church. We will only know the full honour of God upon us as we live in loyalty and agreement together. What will become of our church in the future? We must not be held back by people who aren´t passionate enough about this cause to give their all for it.

God calls us to remain a radical people – to keep our unity and covenant commitment strong. He is fighting for us, preparing the ground.

You are My Treasure

Ian Ross

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God...His treasured possession.
-- Deuteronomy 7:6

I am the Father that protects and keeps you every day. Nothing that has happened to you has escaped My attention. My love and My faithfulness are constantly with you, and I will never leave your side.

I am calling on you to release your burdens to Me, for I am able. I will provide for you in the summer and in the winter and you will fear no harm, not even when the enemy comes in like a flood. You are My treasure, and I will not abandon you. Have faith in My love, and I will keep you to the end.

It's Time to Put Jobs First

By Richard Trumka

We've got a jobs crisis in this country, and we need to fix it—now!

This fact shouldn't come as a surprise—in fact, a look around our nation makes it painfully obvious. The "official" unemployment rate is 10.2 percent--that's one in every 10 workers without a job—but that doesn't include the millions who have been unemployed and discouraged in the long term, and the millions more who are barely getting by with part-time work.

While millions go without work, some people are talking about "recovery"—as though numbers on Wall Street or profits at the big banks are the same as the real economy for working families. Wrong. We're still in crisis--and if we don't create jobs now, we will slide even further.

We have to put America to work—at good jobs that support families. We've tried out the everything-must-go, trickle-down, bubble economy for the past decade, and it's been a disaster. If we're really going to have a recovery--not just a recovery on Wall Street or for the big banks, but for real people—we absolutely must create new jobs.

Last summer at an event in Ohio, I met a young woman who is facing this crisis head-on. Lacey, who is not yet 20 years old, wants to become a teacher. But after her dad's factory closed and he was laid off, she had to put off her hopes of attending college to help her parents keep a roof over their heads. Lacey took a job in a school cafeteria--until the state budget got cut, and she got laid off, too. After months in which she and her father were both searching for jobs, Lacey said she felt lucky to find a part-time, fast-food job that pays half of what the cafeteria paid. Lacey has more unemployed friends than friends with jobs, and, like a third of workers her age, she's still living with her parents. Here's what Lacey said to me that day:

    I wanted to be a teacher to help children get the education they need to get ahead. But now I feel like I'm just going backward myself. I'm really scared for the kids my age. We want to work. We need jobs.

We owe Lacey our support. We owe Lacey and millions like her a future to be hopeful about—not one to be feared. Lacey and her generation could find their future permanently stunted, their potential never fully met. That's unacceptable. We can't afford to let that happen.

The recovery package passed by Congress this year was a major accomplishment, and it saved our country a million jobs, but it only takes us part of the way toward repairing the damage done to our economy. We need serious, active investment in job creation. Our economy has lost more than 8 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007--that's a big hole to fill.

What does our jobs agenda look like? It's based on five key points that will give working families the help they need now and set us on a better course in the long term. Congress and the Obama administration must take these steps to turn around our dangerous slide.

   1. We must extend the lifeline for jobless workers. The families who have been hit by this economic crisis are at risk of losing unemployment benefits, food assistance and health care benefits at the end of the year. We need to act now to prevent the human suffering and economic damage that would result.

   2. Rebuild America's schools, roads and energy systems. We must put people to work to fix our nation's broken-down school buildings and invest in transportation, green technology, energy efficiency and more.

   3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services. State and local governments and school districts have a178 billion budget shortfall this year alone—while the recession creates greater need for their services. States and communities must get help to maintain critical frontline services, prevent massive job cuts and avoid deep damage to education just when our children need it most.

   4. Fund jobs in our communities. While workers go without jobs, important work is left undone in our communities. These are not replacements for existing public jobs. They must pay competitive wages and should target distressed communities.

   5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street. The bank bailout helped Wall Street, not Main Street. We should put some of the billions of dollars in leftover Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to work creating jobs by enabling community banks to lend money to small- and medium-size businesses. If small businesses can get credit, they will create jobs. The administration can act on this immediately.

Families like Lacey's are hurting, and they need support. Millions are losing not only their jobs but also their homes, their health care and their hope. We can't afford to do nothing—America's working families are demanding action now and we intend to fight for them. We'll work with businesses, government and community organizations to make a jobs agenda a reality. We'll call out and fight back against those who would block progress, and we'll work hard to support leaders who do the right thing.

We need jobs now.

Richard Trumka is the president of the AFL-CIO.

The Message Is Clear

Carrie Schmid

Let go of the hurt and the pain. Run into My arms and I will sustain you. I will shelter you from the storm. Yes, I will bring you through it under My protection. Going through the storms will make you stronger, but you must seek Me.

Seek Me with all your heart and soul. I know this is hard for you to do, but it is a must. I am right here beside you. All you need to do is reach out and take hold of My hand.

I am so proud of you for the steps that you've all ready taken, but it is time for you to be taken further. Examine yourself--are you an accurate reflection of Me? I love you and I want what's best for you. Do not hold back. Come to Me daily. I will help you. I will guide you. I know it will be scary for you. but when you do this you will be free. Your breakthrough is coming. This is My promise to you. I love you. I am forever faithful.

Obama's War

Jim Hightower

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to war we go! Pound the drums loudly, stand with your country proudly!

Wait, wait, wait — hold it right there. Cut the music, slow the rush, and let's all ponder what Barack Obama, Roberts Gates, Stanley McChrystal and Co. are getting us into ... and whether we really want to go there. After all, just because the White House and the Pentagon brass are waving the flag and insisting that a major escalation of America's military mission in Afghanistan is a "necessity" doesn't mean it is ... or that We the People must accept it.

Remember the wisdom of Mark Twain about war-whooping generals and politicians: "Loyalty to the country, always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

How many more dead and mangled American soldiers does the government's "new" Afghan policy deserve? How many more tens of billions of dollars should we let them siphon from our public treasury to fuel their war policy? How much more of our country's good name will they squander on what is essentially a civil war?

We've been lied to for nearly a decade about "success" in Iraq and Afghanistan — why do the hawks deserve our trust that this time will be different?

Their rationales for escalation are hardly confidence boosters. The goal, we're told, is to defeat the al-Qaida terrorist network that threatens our national security. Yes, but al-Qaida is not in Afghanistan! Nor is it one network. It has metastasized, with strongholds now in Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Yemen and Somalia, plus even having enclaves in England and France.

Well, claims Obama himself, we must protect the democratic process in Afghanistan. Does he think we have suckerwrappers around our heads? America's chosen leader over there is President Hamid Karzai — a preening incompetent who was "elected" this year only through flagrant fraud and whose government is controlled by warlords, rife with corruption and opposed by the great majority of Afghans.

During the election campaign from July through October, 195 Americans were killed and more than 1,000 wounded to protect this guy's "democratic process." Why should even one more American die for Karzai?

Finally, Washington's war establishment asserts that adding some 30,000 more troops will let us greatly expand and train the Afghan army and police force during the next couple of years so they can secure their own country and we can leave.

Mission accomplished!

Nearly every independent military analyst, however, says this assertion is not just fantasy, it's delusional — it'll take at least 10 years to raise Afghanistan's largely illiterate and corrupt security forces to a level of barely adequate, costing us taxpayers more than $4 billion a year to train and support them.

Obama has been taken over by the military industrial hawks and national security theorists who play war games with other people's lives and money. I had hoped Obama might be a more forceful leader who would reject the same old interventionist mindset of those who profit from permanent war. But his newly announced Afghan policy shows he is not that leader.

So, we must look elsewhere, starting with ourselves. The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open. Obama is wrong on his policy — deadly wrong — and those of you who see this have both a moral and patriotic duty to reach out to others to inform, organize and mobilize our grassroots objections, taking common sense to high places.

Also, look to leaders in Congress who are standing up against Obama's war and finally beginning to reassert the legislative branch's constitutional responsibility to oversee and direct military policy. For example, Rep. Jim McGovern is pushing for a specific, congressionally mandated exit strategy; Rep. Barbara Lee wants to use Congress' control of the public purse strings to stop Obama's escalation; and Rep. David Obey is calling for a war tax on the richest Americans to put any escalation on-budget, rather than on a credit card for China to finance and future generations to pay.

This is no time to be deferential to executive authority. Stand up. Speak out. It's our country, not theirs. We are America — ultimately, we have the power and the responsibility.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at


Purification And Holiness

Wendy Graham

Now are any of you under oppression or warfare? The key is to stay in the Lord's presence and pray always in the Spirit with thanksgiving. If you err in your judgment to the side of your soul, the enemy will move quickly to condemn you so he can draw you into a continuing vortex of defeat. He seeks to make you feel overcome in your efforts and to cast guilt upon you. If you know that your response in any given trial is less than what the Lord would desire for you, then draw nigh onto the Lord in repentance and acknowledge His sovereignty in it. Allow the Lord to bring you into all understanding in His Spirit of love and forgiveness. Know that defeat in any trial only comes as a result of being tapped into your emotions in the midst of it, instead of seeing who you are in the Lord. The enemy seeks overtime in causing you to stumble, but know that the Lord always exhorts you and holds you in the palm of His hand.

Choose to keep a heart free of offense and surrender onto the Lord in all trials. We can not control the actions or words of other people, but we can choose to show God's love right in the midst of the adversity. Stand on the Rock of Christ, remain in His word and receive all His promises. Seek His presence in all circumstances, favorable or not.

Know that trials will come in this season and they will not always present themselves as testing from the enemy. God will send His testing also. He allows this season of purification in order to bring about His holiness. These things must come for exhortation and so that you are able to serve Him in His higher purpose. As His plan comes into form, the body of Christ will undergo the process of holiness by the fire of purification. In that, understand that God only permits what is necessary to accomplish His holiness in you, and will not allow more than you can bear. God only permits what is necessary for this purging. Know that He will never forsake you in any trial, but that His plan is to use you in much greater things for His good purpose.

The key in this season is to listen for the Lord's voice and keep only onto Him. Know that in due time, the process will be complete and this season will become one of perfection in you as He burns off the dross and reveals the purity of your heart in Him.

Stand firm. For His love cuts through bone and marrow...and these arrows of love are the very sharpest ones that He keeps polished in His quiver!!

The Pending Collapse Of The U.S.A.

By Timothy V. Gatto

The truth that most people realize but can´t openly talk about is that America has seen better days and that the system of capitalism has long outlived its usefulness. The last part of that sentence, that capitalism has outlived its usefulness, is thoroughly the fault of the capitalists themselves.

For many years now, transnational corporations have sent much of America´s manufacturing overseas in order to take advantage of low cost workers. About the only manufacturing this country does on a large scale is earth moving equipment (Caterpillar) and military equipment. Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon, General Electric and firms like that are the major remnants of a once thriving industrial base that made America. Detroit is still trying to hang in there, but shortfalls in sales have left it up to the workers in these plants to take it on the chin as their pay and benefits get cut.

The Dow is trying to make a comeback but the way I see it, much of the rise of “blue-chip’ stocks is really more wishful thinking than serious thought. The stocks being sold on the backs of some of these companies are being bought on speculation that the market will go higher based on the rise of the GDP. The question that I would like to ask, is how far can the GDP go when 70% of the GDP is based on consumer spending? Where is consumer spending going to come from when realistically over 16% of the people in America aren´t working?

In an essay, written by Richard Heinberg entitled “Should We Prop-up a Dying Economy’ (19 October 2009), he argues that the economists and the people who follow physical science disagree sharply about where this economy is going. Peak Oil, whether it is present now or just years away, will mean that the economy will contract. The economists state that growth can happen in any environment, yet it is apparent that when oil prices spiked in 2008, the auto industry and the airline industry almost went belly-up. Shrinkage of energy means shrinkage in the economy, we have all been under the notion that we can borrow against a growing economy. The facts are that if the economy does not grow, there will be very little in the growth of capital to repay debts that are leveraged at an average of an average of 350% of debt to GDP ratio. Where will new capital come from?

As the price of petroleum becomes higher, imported goods will become more expensive. When our government fails to repay our foreign creditors, or pays them back in hyper-inflated dollars, there will be no credit issued to this country. This can be a significant problem because we currently use 25% of the world´s oil supply and we buy that oil on credit. He says;

We have entered a new economic era in which the former rules no longer
apply. Low interest rates and government spending no longer translate to
incentives for borrowing and job production. Cheap energy won't appear
just because there is demand for it. Substitutes for essential resources
will in most cases not be found. Over all, the economy will continue to
shrink in fits and starts until it can be maintained by the energy and
material resources that Earth can supply on ongoing basis.

That is frightening to say the least. I believe that what our government should be doing is to listen to the scientists and stop listening to the economists.  We have already borrowed almost 24 BILLION dollars, that is $80,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. We are robbing our future to pay for an economy that is unsustainable.  Without economic growth, the banks, the investment houses and the insurance companies are bound to fail anyway. We might as well let them fail and get on with the business of restoring a sustainable economy.

In a talk called “The Five Stages of Collapse’, by  Dmitry Orlov, a former Russian that watched the collapse of the Soviet Union, they are;

The Five Stages of Collapse:

1. Stage one: Financial Collapse

2. Commercial Collapse

3. Political Collapse

4. Social Collapse

5. Cultural Collapse

This isn´t the warning of a horror show, but unless we start to prepare for a full or partial collapse, it could be worse than it has to be. He envisions a breakdown of society gradually replaced by stronger knit communities that must depend on each other for basic needs or it could be a complete breakdown of utter anarchy.

Meanwhile the Eagle sits on its perch, fighting wars in foreign lands while spending billions of American dollars doing it. The average American will see no benefit or harm whether we win or lose against the Taliban in Afghanistan. What we will have done however, is strap Americans with more debt and more use of precious resources. The American eagle is getting a little bit wobbly on its perch and it wouldn´t surprise me to see all American soldiers taken from all overseas assignments and brought back to this country just to deal with the economic collapse, and because we can no longer afford to keep them overseas.

We need to start thinking about where we live and how we will survive an economic collapse. When the federal government can no longer function, what will we do to replace it? How are individuals to survive when essential goods and services become extinct? This isn´t a future scenario that will happen twenty or thirty years from now, no! We are already experiencing it.  

We can continue to live our daily lives watching TV and the advertisements that lull us into a false sense of security that everything is well, or we can start making provisions to deal with the calamity that lies ahead. We can provision staples, use alternative energy sources to heat our homes or assist us in heating them, and we can start talking with each other and get to know the neighbor that lives across the street that you have never talked to.

I´m really not an alarmist, but I see the merit of what so many scientists are predicting. Not only will Peak Oil stop economic growth, but climate change according to a UN report will bring desertification to 70% of the planet by 2025. Maybe petroleum peaking out is in reality what may save our planet. Maybe a return to simpler ways to live and work will stop the CO2 emissions, but I don´t think so. Third world countries are surpassing the industrialized countries in carbon emissions by burning coal.  What I would like to know is who is really minding this nation´s business? What is the Federal government doing when scientific fact is thrown in their face? While Obama listens to Timothy Geitner and Ben Bernanke and other Goldman Sacks alumni, a company that produces nothing and makes money by buying low and selling high with government funds, where are the people that see what´s happening? If I can understand the ramifications of what is happening in front of my face, what about the President of the United States? Is he really ignorant or does he just not wish to deal with it? I´m curious; maybe someone in the executive branch can give us answers. It would be in everyone´s best interest to have people starting to deal with reality instead of putting their head in the sand. Maybe the American eagle should be replaced with the ostrich.

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