Monday, February 25, 2013

A quote by C. S. Lewis

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.-C. S. Lewis

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Real Enemy

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

In the book Sir Knight of the Splendid Way, a sort of Pilgrim's Progress, the knight, Sir Constance, on his way to City Splendid, finds himself fighting against his greatest enemy, the Black Knight, inside of castle Joyous. Finally after a long and bloody sword fight in the great hall, with members of both sides watching, the great enemy, the Black Knight, falls to the ground, about to slay him, Sir Constance takes of his foe’s helmet, and looks into his own face.

As the gun is not the cause of death, but rather the depravity of man, so is the body not the cause of lust, but rather the sin in the heart of the one who gazes. Anger is not something directly caused by circumstance, but rather by our own sinfulness. If most causes for anger were examined, the idea of becoming angry over such a thing would be so ludicrous as to be laughed at.
Sin is found in the heart of mankind. The grape is not evil, nor is money, intoxication with one or the making of the other an idol is. The internet is not the problem, what it is used for is. The enemy is ultimately ourselves. We cannot reform the world without first being ourselves cleansed. We cannot battle the enemy until we have first brought ourselves under subjection through the power of Christ.
First Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Lighthouse

We all love the classic picture of the lighthouse at night, waves crashing at its base, the thundering surf pounding the rocks beneath it, while from its tower a light shines forth across the water. At sea, a weary and battered crew fight the waves, and the light from that lighthouse shows them the way, not only to avoid the rocks, but also to find the harbor.

How few things are more like unto Christ, than a lighthouse? How mad the sailor must be, that would willingly reject that light. And yet all men, in their natural state, reject the lighthouse, and attempt the find their own way through the sea. If they were allowed to go on, they would join the others that had trod that path before them, from Cain to John Doe. None that has ever rejected the lighthouse has survived the rocks or found the harbor; the point that must be doubled is too treacherous. And yet no man ever, having received the effectual calling, and setting sail to the port to which the lighthouse directs the way, has ever been rejected, nor been left to drift.

Do we not serve a great God, master of the waves, the sea, and all that in them is?

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 18, 2013


“The enemy are active and industrious, we must be so too if we expect success.
Stonewall Jackson.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Bible or the Axe: A story of dependence upon God in while under persecution in Africa

I first met William O. Levi in October of last year. From South Sudan, he was beaten by Muslims multiple times, captured by soldiers and had to escape from the back of a truck while on his way to be executed. He was tortured, and accused of being an operative for the resistance. His book The Bible or the Axe recounts the amazing details of his life, and his passion to now return to the Southern Sudan to help the people there, not only to rebuild their worn torn nation economically, but also spiritually.

"The soldiers twisted the long strips of wire between my fingers, as I watched with dull detachment. I didn't have the energy to be horrified or outraged as they swung the loose ends of the cable around a beam in the ceiling. With a jarring snap, one of the soldiers pulled the cable taut. My arms shot upward, pulling my body up by my fingers. Intense nausea swept over me as my fingers dislocated from the unnatural weight it was suddenly forced to bear.

As I dangled from cable strangled fingers, the guards again began to whip me. Once again the soldiers insisted that the pain would stop as soon I would recite the Shahada, (become a Muslim). Again I refused.

Eventually Mr. Levi was able to escape his country and flee to Turkey, from there he went to France and finally to America. Where he was granted amnesty.

When he was going to be baptized, his grand father laid an axe and a Bible in front of him. He told him to choose his weapon. He took the Bible.

When Mr. Levi eventually arrived in America, instead of being bitter against his captors he forgave them, took the Bible as his weapon, and started Operation Nehemiah, a non-profit organization that is helping to rebuild the nation of Southern Sudan, not only by bringing them food, water, and relief, but also through the gospel.

The Scriptures say that a man hath no greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. This is not only dying, many men can die for others, it is living for others that that is difficult. I thank God Mr. Levi has done this.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, February 15, 2013

Useful Actions

James 1:23-24  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Thoughts and words are nothing without action. One can speak and not act, one can dream and not do. Although intention is as a bow, it can do nothing without arrows of action. Those that do not practice what they preach are more loathsome than those that preach their sin.

If you would call others to submit their lives to the law of God, you must first be certain your own actions are in accordance with His teachings. We are ambassadors for Christ, so our conduct must be that which represents Christ.

Mahatma Gandhi was once asked why he rejected Christ, he replied "I don't reject Christ...It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ. If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today." Although Gandhi certainly exaggerated about all of India being Christians, what he did not exaggerate about was that many Christians are unlike Christ.

Christianity is a word based religion, but it must not end in words, it must have action. The great commission is a call to action. A call to Holiness, a call to spread the gospel of Christ across the globe. The gospel is not only about salvation, it is about changing your life so completely and utterly that there is nothing you can do but praise Him for his goodness.

"Preach the Gospel at all times; and when necessary use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Useful Thoughts

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. If you would speak and act wisely, you must not let your thoughts wander. What is on the inside will, at last, come out. Your thoughts do not think themselves, you must decide to think them. What you think determines what you do.(I do not speak here of Providence).

A murderer thinks on murder, a wise man thinks on wisdom. Do not misunderstand, some thoughts can be hidden for a long time. One can act respectful to one's parents, yet if you think disrespectful thoughts, and harbor them, than you are not a respectful child, but are rather a child who acts respectful. I believe I have said it before on this blog, you must decide; do you want to look good, or do you want to be good?

Think of your mind as a fountain of water, from which the river of your actions flow. Without Christ this fountain is filthy and vile. However, after Christ has made you whole, there is no reason to continually pollute it with the filth of the world. If the fountain is dirty the river will be so as well. If you have not yet been purified, then run to Christ. If you are already clean, guard your heart.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Useful Speech

If you would have others listen when you speak, only speak when you have something wise and pointed to say.

Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

Those that babble all the time, it would seem, from the above verse, are just as bad as those that, at most times speak wisely, and only sometimes jest coarsely or talk foolishly. We should always attempt to, as Titus 2 tells us, be sober minded, "In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity."

Richard Henry Dana, in his book Two Years Before the Mast, tells us of a well respected man on his crew, who always spoke wisely. One evening however, this man got himself  just a little drunk, and Dana says no one ever listened to him again.

To finish this short passage; never think that your conduct is not being noticed, for "even a child is known by his doings." You are not too young to be wise. I recall reading of Josephus that, when he was only fourteen, learned men would come to him for advice.

Philippians 1:27 a "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:"

May the Lord be with you,
Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A story of complete dependence upon God

I found the following poem in Arthur W. Pink's Sovereignty of God. Written by a woman named Jeanne Guyon. Although I do not agree with some of the theology Mrs. Guyon held to during her life, I cannot but admire the spirit with which she was able to, "after ten years of lying in a dungeon lit only by a candle at meal times," pen these words. May her spirit infect us all. 

A little bird am I,
Shut from the fields of air;
Yet in my cage I sit and sing,
To whom who placed me there,
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleases Thee.

Nought have I else to do,
I sing the whole day long;
And he whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song;
He caught my wondering wing
But still He bends to hear me sing.

My cage confines me round;
Abroad I cannot fly;
But though my wing is tightly bound,
My heart's at liberty,
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul,

Ah! it is good to soar,
These bolts and bars above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose Providence I love;
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Charity and its Fruits

I recently had the privilege of reading a pamphlet of excerpts from Jonathan Edwards' book Charity and its Fruits. I would suggest reading it. A powerful book, it exposes the sins of anger for what they are, not causes found in other people, but in ourselves.

Edwards gives four points upon anger.
  • Consider your own failings
  • It destroys you
  • It unfits you for duty to God
  • It unfits you to live in society

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Monetary Inflation: How it works

A long time ago, when gold was still the main currency of most western countries, if a man did not wish to carry a great deal of heavy metal about him he would go to the bankers and give it to them, and they would give him a receipt that was as good as gold, with which he could pay either for goods or anything else. However, bankers soon began to notice that when they gave  this receipt, the receipt became currency, people traded a paper that said it was payable for an ounce of gold, for things that were worth an ounce of gold. However, few people came out to collect the gold, rather, they paid with paper, and the paper slowly began to replace the money. However, paper was still worth the gold, it had to be. Gold, you understand, was a precious metal, paper was neither precious nor rare.
If, in a town, there are five dollars and three sticks of gum, the gum owners might place the price at one dollar. However, if the local market is suddenly flooded by five hundred new dollars, the price of the gum will most likely go up, possibly to one hundred dollars. That is why you cannot get a meal in a restaurant any more for fifty cents.
As long as all the paper had to be backed by gold, there was limit to how much could be printed, because there was limit to how much gold there was. However, as we moved away from the gold standard, more money could be printed, thus prices had to rise. It was monetary inflation, and it is still going on.
In the country of Germany, after World War I, because of the amount of war debt and post war debt Germany had incurred, the government had to print millions upon millions of new marks, (the German money unit) just to pay the debts. Thus the mark became so devalued that it was worth more as fire starter than to buy fire wood.
The German hyperinflation got so bad, that they began printing one hundred trillion mark notes.

Children making blocks out of stacks of marks.
In a country where the money is devalued, there will always be inflation. With the paper being nothing but paper, meaning nothing without the official stamp of approval from the government, it is much too tempting to continue to print on and on, to borrow on and on, devaluing your currency, and causing prices to skyrocket. Unfortunately this is what has happened in our country, and although we do not yet have runaway inflation at this time, such a thing as the German money crisis could be in our future if our current system is not checked.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, February 8, 2013

The ant and the child

“The life of an ant, and that of my child, should be granted equal consideration.” — Michael Fox, former Humane Society of the United States vice president.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, he made man, and gave him a command, to dress and keep His creation. Man is made to keep creation, not to worship it. However, men such as Erasmus and Charles Darwin, in the seventeen eighteen hundreds, brought a new theology to the table. Well, actually this theology was not new, it had been around for a long time, however, the old idea had been given a new wrapping. According to these "scientists" nature was now our mother, and, if their system was taken logically, all forms of life should be granted equal consideration as all are from the same biochemical solution. The only thing that separates us from the rat is a few evolutions of mother nature's great wheel of fortune. We have no right, under this system, to think we are better than the monkeys because we happen to walk on the ground rather than hang from trees.
 According to this theory, we must not go whaling, we must not go fishing, we must not kill animals. To take this idea to its final, logical conclusion is that it is better for man to die, for he can only live at the expense of the planet, and that is, after all, not fair to the poor flies who have just as much right to live as he does. Thus, nature becomes God, it created itself, and should be left alone.
However, this is diametrically opposed to what we read in Scripture, that man is to bring the works of the Creator under his control, that he is to harness the beautiful gift of this planet that God has given us, and that we are to do it all for His glory.
A child and an ant are not in the same category, one is created in the image of God, the other is a brute, non reasoning thing. We are not to waste or use irresponsibly the gifts of God, but we should have no shame or guilt in using them. That is one of the main reasons for man's existence, to glorify God through dominion.

Romans 1:20-23 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dear Readers

As you may have noticed, it has been some time since I have written a book review. Unfortunately I have had very little time to write those recently. If any of you read any good books that you would like to share, please email me with your review and I will post it. All reviews subject to editing.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 4, 2013

A request for prayer

My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of you that know my family, know that my mother has had over the last two years, five miscarriages one after another. Before that time she had had seven healthy children in a row without complications. My mother is now pregnant again, and I ask you to pray for her and the child, that my mother will have no health consequences and that the pregnancy will be carried to fruition.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Sunday, February 3, 2013

One Hundred Years: The Sixteenth Amendment

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the day the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed by a vote of forty two state ratifications, four rejections, and two abstainers. (Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states.)
The text of the amendment runs The Congress Shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Basically,this allowed the income tax. Laws had been passed before this instating an income tax, however this time, it was in the constitution. The supreme court could not strike it down as it had the part of the 1894 tax act which allowed an income tax of 2% on incomes over $4,000. There were also two such acts at the time of the civil war which had an income tax of 3% in one case for revenues over $800, and in another of 3-5%.
The man who first called for the amendment was William H. Taft, (known for his trust busting), in 1909, although it took four years to ratify.
However, this idea is not of a free American basis. In the 1848 Communist Manifesto, plank 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax is what this particular part of the manifesto says needs to be instituted. And it was. Again communism was made law. However, this time, communism was not unconstitutional law, it was the constitution.
The communists wanted to create a of wealth through social programs, and, although the sixteenth amendment's income tax was not a social program, it did redistribute wealth. The income tax had a lower rate for those underneath a certain income, and for those of a very low income, no tax at all. Although we all want to see the poor rise from poverty, we do not want to see the rich fall to meet them.
The idea of the redistribution of wealth comes from the idea that the amount of actual wealth is stagnant, so that if one person gains another must lose. However, this evinces a faulty view of free market values. Two people can trade and gain on both ends of the bargain, such as when one person values his labor less than fifty dollars and another values a trench, which will take labor to dig, more than fifty dollars. He makes fifty dollars for his labor, and the other man now has a trench.
Another way for one person to acquire more wealth without others losing any would be through the introduction of more assets into society, such as a man bringing in two horses he has caught, or another bringing in lumber from a tree he has cut down. The man with five hundred gold pieces does not need to redistribute his wealth to make the other two rich, the others can either trade with each other or with him, he will gain wood and dogs, they will gain coin, perhaps to buy at that man's store a net to catch more horses, which will in turn make them richer, as the more horses they catch the more their wealth will increase. The man with the five hundred coin can breed the horses into a rare breed, and thus he is not the loser, neither is the man who traded with him, if he also has ingenuity.
It is the one hundredth anniversary of this amendment, and perhaps, after one hundred years of trying it their way, and seeing the results, perhaps we could go back to free-market capitalism.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Humorous Historical Happening

The following is found in a footnote in Sir Walter Scott's book Quintin Durward. (page 422).

"But the acute ready witted expedient  to escape instant death, has no reference to the history of this philosopher. The same, or nearly the same story, is told of Tiberius, (a Roman emperor), who demanded of a soothsayer, Thrasullus, if he knew the day of his own death, and received for an answer, it would take place just three days before that of the emperor. On this reply, instead of being thrown over the rocks into the sea, as had been the tyrants first intention, he was taken great care of for the rest of his life."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Armed yet peaceful: the nation of Switzerland

In the country of Switzerland, we have an amazing example of a peaceful yet armed citizenry. Not even trusting their executives too greatly, they have no chief head of state, and although there is a president of the ruling council of seven, he is only the chairman, with no additional power.
In Switzerland the average male citizen, at the age of nineteen, is ordered by law to serve in the military. He undergoes around twenty-one weeks of training. (Military is optional for women.) The soldiers keep their guns in their houses, and the country of Switzerland does not involve itself in other people's war. Their system of being armed and peaceful seems to have worked, as they have not mobilized the military since 1939.
Recently there has been a great deal of pressure on the leaders of our nation, because of the multiple, tragic shootings in various places around the U.S., to reinstate the assault weapon bans. In the Newtown hearings one of the testifiers said “I can assure you there is absolutely no reason civilians need to have or should have access to high powered assault weapons or mega-magazines.” I assure you there are reasons.
Checks were put upon the government of this nation to keep it from overstepping its bounds, however, the most effective check upon a government's tendencies to become tyrannical is an armed populace. Make yourselves unarmed sheep, and the wolves will eat you. Be peaceful yet armed, and the tyrants will keep their distance.
The founding fathers of this nation had no illusion about man’s innate depravity, and that, just as we do not trust a scientist with weapons of mass destruction without proper safety measures, so we must never trust governments with our lives, our liberties, and our property, without proper safeguards.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”(James Madison, Federals 51.)
There are times, as the Declaration of Independence said, when governments become tyrannical, and when they become tyrannical, it is at that time when that government must cease to exist. If a father has gone mad, and seeks to kill his children, then they must restrain him. So to a government trampling madly over a people’s rights must be restrained. However, an unarmed populace will find it nearly impossible to fight an armed tyrannical government. Not because we are rabid dogs looking to overthrow our government, but because we are  a peaceful citizenry, who will do others no harm unless we ourselves our attacked.
I will end with the words of economist Lord Acton “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Perhaps we should take the Swiss' advice on how to keep this from happening: being armed yet peaceful.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott
Note: For more on this topic I would suggest the book Target Switzerland:Swiss Armed Neutrality In World War II. By Stephen P. Halbrook