Caution! Soul Poison Hard at Work!

Caution!
Soul Poison Hard at Work!

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

2 Timothy 3:1-5; James 5:1-6 NKJV

Before you begin, take a long hard look at the graphic above -- recognize it? Of course you do -- who wouldn't recognize the all too familiar dollar sign! It is prominent everywhere and instant recognition takes place wherever it may appear. But this one is a bit different -- it is red in color and dripping something -- could it be blood?

One of many sobering and shocking predictions God has given us as to what to expect by way of human events as history unfolds in what has been termed the "last days" is the fact that greed will be dominant in the many cultures existing on earth prior to the personal and visible return of Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords!

Consider the evidence of humans being "lovers of money" in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" ---

    On January 30, 2006 the Associated Press released a news report which stated that Exxon Mobile Corporation made $10.71 billion dollars in profits for the fourth quarter and a record $36.13 billion in profits for the year in 2005! It was noted that the corporation "benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products." How is it that some of us are not surprised at this? I remember when all of us were grumbling and complaining about rising gasoline and heating oil prices which kept steadily increasing -- and then the very empty and hollow "explanations" offered through the news media, such as the hurricanes being the reason, etc. During those frustrating times I recall having said to more than one person, "Wait until the oil companies release their finance reports -- none of them will be declaring bankruptcy!"

    Natural gas companies have also stated that they just have to have more money and so families, businesses, schools, and churches that heat with natural gas have seen heating expenses break through the roof and beyond -- and this in spite of the fact that gas wells are being drilled all over the place here in sections of central Pennsylvania and presumably in other locales as well! Some who have commented (and also complained about this) declare that it all comes down to something called greed! It's always interesting to see what the CEO's in these outfits are making plus the "bonus" packages they receive!

    Corporate greed has at times been challenged in the realm of its hired labor. There was a time decades ago when companies took great advantage of employees by means of low wages, little or no benefits, and unhealthy working conditions. I remember some older coal miners telling of their younger years when they worked for a company which paid them in what was known as "script" -- it wasn't money and the only way to spend it was at the company store! Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn't all that far off when he sang the popular song, "16 Tons," which included a phrase, "St. Peter, don't call me - 'cause I can't go -- I owe my soul to the company store!" Then came the labor unions and many injustices and unfair wage situations were corrected, but not without much conflict.

    But then the pendulum began over time to swing the other way in some places with labor unions making excessive and unreasonable demands in terms of hourly wages and benefit packages. Part of the blame has to go to union leadership which seemed to feel that if a company was making profits, then all the profits ought to go into the workers' pockets! I remember well the year we moved to Belsano PA which is north of Johnstown by about 22 miles -- it was 1973 and the big name employer in the area was Bethlehem Steel Corp. Bethlehem employed about 11,000 employees at that time -- just about everyone you ran into seemed to work for Bethlehem. The steel workers union had a lot of clout and showed it at contract "negotiations" -- one "victory" was celebrated with a lot of demands being met by the company. One employee bragged on how much they were getting and he was on a 3 month vacation -- yes, you read it right -- one concession by the company was to give employees with so many years service a 3 month vacation every 5 years. Union leadership sure didn't think the implications of that one through. Then things happened -- a devastating flood hit Johnstown in July 1977 and after some recovery Bethlehem Steel cut back to about 7,500 employees. And there was the growing problem of cheap imported steel vs. the more expensive American variety -- well, you have high wages and 3 month vacations to support as you make steel in the good old U.S. of A! So today, Bethlehem Steel does not exist in Johnstown PA! Another incident in Johnstown involving a small local company resulted in the company's closing due to excessive union demands. So there are the occasions when labor unions allow greed to seize and enslave them -- the price at times has been very high -- ask some union people who used to work for a company that was forced to shut down due to unreasonable demands by its employees!

    Scandals have surfaced in business and government as persons with power and influence have manipulated situations to their financial advantage. Billions of dollars are supposed to go to help people directly affected by devastating hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita. Then information comes out about price gouging and individuals and/or companies who are supposed to be involved in relief efforts are exploiting the circumstances at great financial profit -- is there something called greed taking place here? Once in a great while an individual or a business operation may be charged with taking advantage of a situation financially, but that is rare -- and when it does happen, it's a mild slap on the hands as the "justice system" (term used loosely) says to the offender, "You naughty boy (or girl -- remember Martha Stewart?) -- you shouldn't do that!" A number of years ago a fellow (Ivan B.) was wheeling and dealing on Wall Street and got nailed for insider trading. Ivan was found guilty and spent some time in a country club prison. He was then released and for some reason has never applied for food stamps or unemployment! His philosophy is summed up well in a statement he made at the time of the scandal -- "A little greed is a good thing!"

    On February 3, 2006 a news release mentioned an interesting situation involving multiple complaints in which NASA Inspector General Robert W. Cobb has been accused of failing to investigate safety violations and retaliating against whistle-blowers. But there's more -- another complaint which was filed with the Integrity Committee by IG auditor Carroll T. Hassell indicated that someone from a South American country in a 3 day period in late 2002 managed to log into the Marshall Space Center's "secure" computer system, stole space shuttle data valued at $1.9 billion, and shipped it to a third country! The common denominator here? Dare we use the word "greed" when millions if not billions of dollars are flowing all over the place and persons who are in powerful positions of influence seem to think it's like a super buffet -- just reach in and help yourself and get a bunch for your friends while you are in the process -- the money pit has no bottom -- or does it????

    A certain activity taking place as government functions is a thing called lobbying. Selfishness and greed make up the foundation of lobbying as an institution with a very solid corrosive effect on government at the state and federal levels! Persons involved in the lobbying process are the pawns of special interest groups as they attempt to establish connections and put great pressure on elected officials to pass legislation which will be favorable to the group being represented, and somehow this always translates into big bucks without exception!

    Dominating news events recently was the name of Jack Abramoff. Jack began to "cash in" on the Republican victories of the 1994 election, but had been moving about Washington DC years before that. On January 3, 2006 Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy, tax evasion, and mail fraud charges. This plea was part of an agreement to provide testimony in an influence-peddling investigation implicating up to 20 members of Congress! The crime? He and his partner, Mike Scanlon, former aide to Congressman Tom Delay, have been accused of swindling a half-dozen casino-owning Indian tribes out of $80 million over a four-year period!

    There are probably only a few people who feel that ALL lobbying should be outlawed, but the chances of that happening are less than the chance of the proverbial snowball surviving in that very warm place that is mentioned quite frequently in conversation today. A repugnant practice in this is the fact that a number of members of Congress become lobbyists for special interest groups after they retire. Not only are they making big money with all attending "perks" in retirement, but then they pull down some good money from the group for which they lobby -- and with connections having been well secured during the time of holding office, one doesn't have to have a very high IQ to figure out that the "pulling of strings" will result in a cash flow going to somebody and to those special groups whose attitude is, "We don't care about anybody else as long as our puppets in Washington (or name your state capitol) get us what we want!" Yes, you guessed it -- a deadly soul poison called greed is the root cause of this zealous activity.

    And there are always the politicians at all levels who make certain that their financial compensation and luxurious "perk" benefits are always increasing -- already what these people take out of the public coffers is far, far beyond what the average citizen they claim to represent will ever see and experience! By their actions not just on their personal salaries and perks, but in other spending sprees which require tax increases, it will not be long until the average citizen will have to work nearly half a year just to pay all taxes (local, state, federal plus "hidden" ones) before he or she is able to pocket income for personal spending and saving! There was a time when a much larger share of one's earnings was kept for personal use. So who is responsible for this out of control government spending in which the U.S. national debt is now in excess of 8 trillion dollars and still growing? Dare we mention that the word "greed" is a contributing factor here?

    Our culture is being encouraged more and more to capitalize on the spirit of greed which is running rampant. No where is this more in evidence than in an advertising campaign that is nothing less than a blitzkrieg carried out by a number of members of the law profession -- the bunch that gives the minority members, who have a high standard of ethics and honesty, a bad name due to the nature of their advertising! We are bombarded with ads telling us to sue somebody for something -- don't take responsibility for your actions, blame somebody else and sue them for hundreds of thousands if not for millions of dollars! John Edwards, Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 2004 election, became wealthy due to a successful practice involving lawsuits. One of these early on in his career was a multimillion dollar settlement! And lawyers take more than just a tad of the award handed down by a jury whose members must think, "Maybe my day will come and I'll be the plaintiff -- then I'll get some big bucks too!"

    In the area of central Pennsylvania the media is saturated with ads by lawyers and their firms reminding us that we can get lots of money for injuries suffered under all kind of circumstances or health problems brought on by our work environment, etc. One lawyer who does his own ads is very aggressive with a wide variety of solicitations encouraging the public to sue somebody for something and all we need to do is to contact his law firm at one of its location, or call toll-free, or "One click, that quick!" at his web site for a "free" consultation. About the only thing not mentioned in his ads as to the possibilities in suing someone is a hang nail -- but maybe that is just an oversight and eventually it will be added to the long list of items as a basis for suing somebody and bringing in some bucks, after the lawyer and his firm get their "fee" -- by the way, what is the going fee for a law suit these days? Must be a bit hefty in order to pay for all that aggressive ad campaigning plus providing for luxury automobiles and 6 or 7 figure homes in which to live!

Now do you see why the Bible is right on target as it mentions a malignancy of the human soul and that this thing is growing like a tumor out of control? Hear again the words of the apostle Paul who was inspired to write,

"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV)

And how about that ancient prophet by the name of Amos? Resurrect him and turn him loose in our nation today and the only thing he would change in his message would be names and geographical locations! Here is one of his observations that seems so up to date, does it not?

"Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail, saying: "When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade our wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the balances by deceit, that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals; even sell the bad wheat?" The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their works." (Amos 8:4-7)

Much could also be said about those other two very deadly loves which are also contributing to the destruction of our republic -- lovers of self and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God -- but those are issues for another time and place!

Below will be a number of links on subjects that do relate to the ethical, moral, and spiritual crises which our nation is experiencing at the present time. Evidence is overwhelming -- if there is not massive repentance individually and corporately, we are going to experience God's deep displeasure in a way as never before and no one will want to be living within the borders of this republic when it happens

For a number of persons, the question (and objection) they raise is this -- "I'm just one person -- this thing is so big and out of control, what can I do -- what's the use in even trying to do anything to change the situation?" See "What Can I Do?" for some possibilities -- use reverse feature on your web browser to come back here.


A Significant Selah Moment!

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Habakkuk 1:2-2 (NKJV)

Hey! Look at the Number
of Unborn Children Brutally
Mutilated & Murdered in USA

since the USA started "liberating" Iraq
from the brutality of Saddam Hussein!

March 19 2003


Watch this for about 60 to 90 seconds
and see what happens!


For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness....

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

Romans 1:18; Psalm 119:126-128 NKJV

February 3, 2006
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, PA
AND Non-Affiliated registered voter, Cambria Co. PA


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T O P

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