A Tale Of Two Cities

More years ago than I care to admit, my sister started off her valedictory speech with a quote from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. She of course was using it to refer to the many experiences the class had in its four years of high school, and would now face in life going forward. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. — A Tale of Two Cities

While the title would lead you to think this was a novel about two cities, it was really about two different men. It is that twist that makes this selection of a title for my blog post apropos. In my own version of the twist, I’m going to be talking about two types of people. And the study will also be one of contrasts.

Why I Hate Christmas, Yet Can’t Live Without It.

ChristmasSceneNow that I have your attention, you are probably asking one of several questions. Not the least of which is the contradictory nature of the title itself. How can I both hate Christmas, and not live without it? Maybe you’re asking how someone who has made no attempt to hide the fact that they imperfectly follow Christ hate the day that celebrates His birth? Or maybe you’ve come to the same point and you just haven’t articulated it. No matter how you come to read this, it is my hope that we can get to the point where we cut through the tradition, and the presents, to the giver of the ultimate present of all time.

You see this is the reason I hate Christmas. Not because of what it celebrates, but because of what it has become. Instead of celebrating the birth of a God named baby, it has become a God be damned battle for things. Can anyone remember what they got last year for Christmas? Let alone from whom? And if you can remember, how thankful are you now? Does it still work? Or, have last year’s gifts joined the pile of other toys and must have gadgets gathering dust? Sure that’s not always the case, but I’d venture a guess that what I’ve described isn’t just my experience.

We haven’t even fully addressed the frenzy that is Christmas shopping yet. The day after we proclaim how thankful we are, we are out fighting with one another over the best deals. But wait, not this year, we couldn’t even wait for Thanksgiving Day to be over this year. There just aren’t as many shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we need just one more. What about slowing down just a little so that we can remember the real reason for celebration. God with us. Immanuel. Isn’t that enough?

Seriously, what have we done with the day of Thanksgiving? And what have we done with Christmas? We worship at the altar of materialism, not in humble awe of what God did some 2000 years ago. We take our children to have their picture taken with “Santa”, we don’t even explain who Santa Claus even was, and why the real Santa Claus or St. Nicholas even did what he did. Instead we perpetuate the myth of a man who can fly through the air behind rain deer that can fly as well. We say he knows if we’ve been naughty or good, “so be good for goodness sake.” Is it any wonder that many kids have a hard time with the real person behind Christmas? Namely, Christ?! They get to college and all the professor has to say is that Jesus is just like Santa Claus, and what happens?  The myth we tell them innocently enough evaporated, and now the truth just as easily vanishes. Will they question everything else we tell them too? Will they believe Jesus? Or, will they wonder if Daddy & Mommy are lying about Him too?

As I write this, I know I’m going to be labeled by some, and maybe even my own family as “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” But, the real “Grinch” isn’t me. It is all of us. Because the real Christmas isn’t about “presents under the tree”, or “kissing under the mistletoe”, or “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday cheer.” No, the real story of Christmas is a love story. The story of God’s plan to redeem man. The story of God become man, and born to die.

I’m tired of pretending that perpetuating this myth this is a good idea. That it is harmless fun. Let’s tell the real story of St. Nicholas. It’s a good one. Why not start a different tradition based on reality? So, sure, give gifts, and graciously receive them as a reminder of the greatest gift of all. How can we ever hope to transform culture if we go right along with them buying in to the same myth?

In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I manage a retail store, so we obviously like it when people buy gifts. However, if we only make it if you buy something you can’t afford, because you think you need it, or you can’t do without it, then we really haven’t succeeded. That’s not the kind of memory we want to help you preserve.

Now you know I hate Christmas because of what it has become. I love the part of Christmas that has God leaving glory to be born, and ultimately dying, “that man no more may die.” That is by far the best gift ever. And if that’s the only gift I need, then I don’t have to go fighting through the crowds for the current fad.

MovadoWatch_459x715The beauty is this isn’t a gift to be hoarded, it is a gift to be shared. There’s no line to wait in, and it is never out of stock. You just have to be living, and accept the gift.

Nothing would make this a better Christmas than discovering that somebody reading this accepted God’s gift, and is now following Christ. Not even the $1800.00 Movado watch I saw a commercial for, and not even an iPad Air. In fact, as much as I’d like an iPad Air, and I’d really enjoy it… if it meant you wouldn’t even consider the best gift of all, I’d rather do without it. Everything I own will crumble, but I’ll get to spend an eternity worshiping God with you. Why wouldn’t anyone who believes this give up everything now for this prospect?

… But Wait!! There’s More!!!!

We’ve all heard the line, “But wait, there’s more.”  If not from those “infomercials” where the line is used in this fashion, “Our incredible Sham-wow is only $19.95  plus shipping and handling.  But wait, there’s more.  If you order now we’ll double your order.  Just pay separate shipping and handling.”  Then, there’s just about any Apple product announcement.  Get through an amazing list of new things, and you’re greeted with “But wait, there’s more.”  Our shiny new device comes in a rainbow of colors.  Or, if you thought what we’ve already announced was impossible… this is even more stunning.

This enhanced stunning quality about the more that’s coming is what I want to talk about now.  This comes as a practical result of one of Steve DeWitt’s sermons.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  1 John 3:2 (ESV)

Here’s my paraphrase of this verse.  “Christians are God’s children now, but wait, there’s more.  When he appears, we will be like Him.  We’ll be able to see Him as He is!”  This is the moment all Christians are looking forward to, and everyone else will dread.  Why will you dread this moment if you are not a Christian, you ask?  Well, as Steve DeWitt said in his sermon, God gives everyone what they want in the life to come.  If you didn’t want God, you get an eternity without him.  It’s called hell.  If you’ve been responding to God’s call on your life, and you can’t wait to meet Him, you’ll get what you want, an eternity with Him.  It’s called heaven.

When you get to the end of your life is the wrong time to realize that the phrase “but wait, there’s more” is true then too.  This advent season, my prayer is that you respond to your creator, and seek Him, and then discover that He’s been drawing you to Himself all along.  Knowing how things will be in the end may take the surprise and wonder out of the future, but we’re just skeptical enough to wonder if it all is true.  That’s the mastery of the deceiver at work. Isn’t it about time you found truth for a change?  If you’re in Northwest Indiana and you want more answers, visit www.bethelweb.org.  Otherwise call 1-888-NEED-HIM.

Death, Lies and Falsehood

We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter — Isaiah 28:15

You might be thinking, “Who in their right mind would actually do this, let alone do it on purpose?”  If this didn’t describe what we are doing as a country, I would say nobody would do it.  I can hear the protests already, “we haven’t made a covenant with death.”  Oh, really?  Why don’t we ask the millions of aborted babies whose blood cries out from the ground just like Abel’s did?

Surely we haven’t made an agreement with Sheol.  What is Sheol exactly anyway?  If we go with “the grave”, are you still prepared to say that we haven’t attempted an agFameposterreement whereby we avoid it at all cost?  We’re doing research to cure disease, and people are living longer more productive lives.  We’re increasingly willing to destroy human life, and attempt to create it in the form of cloning.  All because we believe there may be some advance from embryonic stem cell research, that will cure cancer, prevent Alzheimer’s, and allow us to recover from spinal cord injuries.  Why perhaps we’ll experience in reality the song from the 80s.

I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna learn how to fly — Fame 1980

The sad reality is that we make lies our refuge.  Don’t believe me?  We teach that God didn’t actually create everything.  That the theory of evolution is more accurate than God’s account of His creation.  We believe the lie that human influence on the climate is going to cause oceans to rise and overtake the land, unless we stop.

If that isn’t enough, we have taken shelter in the falsehood that government knows better than God.  We believe that  the laws they pass will make us safer, and the programs they put in place will protect us from cradle to grave.

We no longer turn to God unless we experience some disaster beyond our control, and then we blame Him for the destruction, and ask Him why, as if he needs to explain himself to us.

The real question is when will we wake up?  When will we turn to God?  When will we beg for forgiveness?  And the follow-up question is, will we do it before it is too late?

The Wonder Of It All

To say I have a few favorite Christmas hymns would be an understatement!  While we have much to rejoice about, these hymns don’t sugar coat reality.  Here are some that came to mind, followed by why they did.

It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the Earth
To touch their harps of gold
Peace on the Earth, goodwill to men
From heaven’s all gracious king
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing

Still through the cloven skies
They come
With peaceful wings unfurl
And still
Their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing

O ye
Beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now
For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing

For lo the days are hastening on
By prophets seen of old
When with the ever circling years
Shall come the time foretold
When the new heaven and earth
Shall own the prince of peace
Their King
And the whole world
Send back the song
Which now the angels sing

————————————————————

While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night,
Behold throughout the heavens,
There shone a holy light:

Refrain:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth:

Refrain

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God send us salvation,
That blessed Christmas morn:

Refrain

When I am a seeker,
I seek both night and day;
I seek the Lord to help me,
And He shows me the way:

Refrain

He made me a watchman
Upon the city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

Refrain

————————————————————

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Refrain:
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Refrain

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Refrain

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Refrain

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies

Refrain

————————————————————

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain:
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Refrain

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Refrain

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Refrain

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Refrain

————————————————————

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest,
The sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is a wonder that’s only begun.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

————————————————————

As I sat to write this, I clearly had “The Wonder of it All” on my mind.  But I also had the tragedy our nation faced when evil made it evident why Jesus needed to be born.  The lines of the first Christmas hymn I quoted are evidence that this display of evil is not new.

O ye Beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now
For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing

That life is a crushing load of toil and pain is as old as time.  But neither the song nor the story stop there!  There is hope.  That hope is that God loved me and you enough to send His son Jesus to be born of a virgin, live a sinless perfect life, and ultimately to die though undeserved, so that we no longer have to.

Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Why do we need this “Second Birth”?  Our first birth was marred by a curse and sin.  And as a result we need to be reconciled to God.  That’s what God provided for when He sent Jesus, who saves from sin, and allows God to justly forgive us, because Jesus took the punishment that he didn’t deserve instead of us.  And did I ever deserve death!

With all of this evil, from mall shootings, and school shootings, and arson, we are asking questions.  When we experience the little pain it causes each of us, and when we think about the anguish the families and communities directly impacted felt, how can we not long for the day when this “heaven sent Prince of Peace” will reign?  Unfortunately, we are looking for him in all of the wrong places.  Our government will not save us.  More laws will not save us.  Keeping guns away from unstable people will not save us.  Shoot, we can’t even save ourselves.  We are outraged by these events because we know good and evil.  But we are powerless to do the good, at least if we are honest.  We each have the ability to do the things we know we should not do.  And as a society, we have explained away the fear of God.  So what is left?  Why, evil of course.  God says Christians are the only thing restraining evil in this world, and we are not doing a very good job.  God calls Christians to be salt and light, and we’re too afraid of what you may think of us, to speak out about what this world, and our country really need.

Salt in a wound hurts, but brings about healing.  Shedding light on evil exposes it for what it is, and also serves to disinfect.  What Christians starting with me need to do is repent.  I have not been nearly the witness, nor as forceful and loving as I should have been.  I’m the worst sinner there is trying to pass myself off as a humble flawed follower of Jesus.  But don’t let that stop you from having the only relationship that matters.  A saving relationship with the One who died to set you free, and restore your relationship with the God who made you.

If you accept this gift, you will have accepted the biggest gift of all.  If that doesn’t inspire “The Wonder of it All”, then nothing will.  This Christmas, my prayer is that God will use the tragedy our country faced to bring you, and many others to the Savior who is Christ the Lord.

Defy God At Your Own Peril

There is more meaning to my title than the obvious.  Yes, we each defy God at our own peril.  I’m also calling into question President Obama’s presuming to speak for our country, and defying God at OUR own peril.  It is bad enough if he chooses to defy God personally, but because of his position, as I mentioned, he speaks for our entire country.  If President Obama is willing to defy God when it comes to the definition of marriage, what else is he willing to defy God about, that we are not aware of?  Oh, sure we know about abortion too.  Do you see a trend?

I will remain silent no longer.  I will not sit idly by and allow this pronouncement by the President of the United States to go unchecked.  I, like Paul claiming the rights of a Roman citizen, am claiming the rights of being a citizen of the United States of America.  I am speaking out to all who will listen.  President Obama does not speak for me, nor does he honor God, or the institution of marriage.

Here is why this is so significant.  God designed marriage when he created Eve for Adam.  And God used the model of marriage to define Christ’s relationship to the church.  By redefining marriage, what is really being attempted is to redefine God. God cannot be redefined by his created beings, although we sure try.

President Obama cites the “Golden Rule”, as part of his decision making process on this issue.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  The only problem is Jesus himself when the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to him, dealt graciously with her.

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  – John 8:10-11

The “Golden Rule” cannot be used as a justification for breaking another law of God.  The woman wasn’t condemned, but she was told to “leave” her “life of sin.”  So it is that I don’t condemn a person who practices homosexuality, but for their own sake, they should leave their life of sin.  The same can be said for each one of us, if we are honest.

Here is yet another problem with the “Golden Rule”.  If I apply it with the fear of God and my faith, then what I want is different.  Allow me to explain.  If I’m doing something in my life that God would call sin, and somebody sees that in my life, I would want them to come and confront me.  So it stands to reason then, applying the “Golden Rule” for me would mean drawing attention to the sin in a friend’s life, so that they can turn from it, since that is what I would hope a friend would do for me.

God calls adultery, and homosexual behavior sin, not me.  I can call both of these behaviors lawful, and acceptable, but that doesn’t change what God thinks.  Just like our nation can say it is lawful to abort the life of an unborn child.  It doesn’t change the fact that God calls it murder.

Let me be perfectly clear.  President Barak H. Obama, you are defying God, the righteous judge.  History is replete with the devastating results when leaders defy God.  The sad thing is, those leaders may think they are getting away with it.  But, they are not, and will have to give account to God for leading even a secular nation like ours astray.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galations 6:7

Please join me in thinking what God must think each time he hears President Obama conclude a speech with “May God Bless the United States of America.”  Hypocrites.  I pray that President Obama repents, while he still can, or he may hear words he never thought he’d hear from the only one who can save his soul from hell.  “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Stop Spending, Start Saving!

Unless you choose to put your head in the sand, it should be clear that we have created a problem of immense proportions.  Many of us, as individuals are in debt beyond what we can bear.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, we are in debt as a country beyond human comprehension.  Many, who see this problem compound it by trumpetting this debt as foreign debt.  While large chunks of it are, United States citizens either directly or through various mutual and other funds own a huge amount of that debt.  So I will acknowledge that is isn’t all foreign, or as big a problem with foreign influence as some will attempt to scare people with.

Let me be emphatically clear, however; that there are natural laws in place which no government on earth, powerful as it may be, can forever circumvent.

That natural law is that the borrower is servant to the lender.  Our Federal Government seems to forget that.  Oh, I know, we’ve eliminated slavery and forced labor here in the United States.  We’re the “land of the free, and home of the brave” after all.  Really?  No, not really!  Not until the United States owes less than it could pay off if it decided to do so, would it truly be free.  Until then, the United States is servant to its lenders.  And we, as citizens of this country, are not truly free either.  Our rugged individualism is eroding, and we are accepting dependence, if not outright reliance, on a growing, wasteful and inefficient government.

If you think that we can continue on this course without consequence, then you have not considered reality.  Do you think it isn’t possible to have a revolution in this country?  That we are too civilized?  Do you really think that the United States can afford another foreign war?  Or, a war within?  Where does war fit into this equation, you may ask?  Well, if China is not paid on the debt they own, would you put it past them to attack us?  Their military strength is growing.  Their population alone dwarfs the United States, so they could afford stunning human casualties.  To those who say our Federal Government would never default on it’s debt, may I remind you that the Federal Government forced the debt holders of General Motors to accept pennies on the dollar for their loans.  Is it any wonder that people and investors are hesitant to loan money, when the government seems willing to step in and force immense losses?  What’s to prevent our government from saying $14 trillion dollars of debt is really only $14 million dollars of debt, causing everyone who holds the debt to lose money?  If you say that can’t happen, then you haven’t looked at quantitative easing.  That’s just a fancy way of saying “printing money”.  If you print enough money, you can make $14 trillion dollars the equivalent of $14 million dollars today.

It is in this context that I share this article from Newsmax.com:

Democrats Play Chicken as Boehner Digs in on Budget

Thursday, 31 Mar 2011 01:27 PM

By David A. Patten and Matthew Belvedere

Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, budget. . .“Between Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Howard Dean, they let the cat out of the bag, and that’s that the Democrats’ political plan is to shut down government because they think they will benefit from doing that. Now we know that, if the government shuts down it’s not the tea party’s fault, it’s the Democrats’ fault, because they’ve made a decision they’re not interested in compromise. They just want to see the government shut down,” Backmann tells Newsmax. . . .

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Please click the link above and read the entire article.  Newsmax copyright policy limits a quote to 75 words or less, and we try to follow the rules around here.

One quote in particular caught my eye.

Boehner said he is glad that activists remain involved. But he cautioned that Republicans control just “one-half of one-third of the government here in Washington, we can’t impose our will on another body, we can’t impose our will on the Senate.” – Newsmax.com as above.

 

While this is true, “we the people” need to remind our elected officials that they derive their power from the consent of the governed, not from the position that they hold.

So, getting to the point of this post, let me address what it is that we need to do.  We need to stop spending at all levels.  We need to learn to make do with what we already have.  We need to learn to spend within our means, not outside of it just to keep up appearances.  Then, once all of that is under control, we need to start saving.  Now, if you’re like me, and I suspect you are, you are thinking that means more cuts in spending.  That’s right.  You have to cut spending even more to be able to afford to save.  Why go through this pain?  Why is it important to start saving, and not just be satisfied that debt is being paid down?  I’m glad you asked.  Saving not only forces you to spend less, it makes you wait for a major purchase.  It doesn’t mean you never make the purchase, it just means you have to wait.  Saving means that your entire outlook changes.  Instead of paying for things later, you pay for them before you buy them.

I’m going to interject a personal example here.  Almost 9 months ago now I purchased an iPad.  In the past, I would have gotten it right away if I wanted it.  I would have made all sorts of rationalizations about how I really needed it, when in reality, I just wanted the latest cool thing from Apple.  In this case, I waited for some time, partially because I really wanted to have an iPad with a camera.  However, there was another more important reason.  I actually assessed how I used my then current MacBook.   I realized that it spent most of its time tethered to an external monitor.  In other words it was essentially an iMac.  Upon further thinking, I realized that when I was using the MacBook as a laptop, I was primarily surfing the web, or checking e-mail.  Those are two things that the iPad is perfect for.  So, as a pragmatic step to get me to the point where I could replace my MacBook with an iMac, I went with an iPad.  Going this route put off a $2,000 purchase by at least a year, and only cost $800, a savings of $1,200.  Well, the reality is the savings is actually much higher.  I’ve shaved weight off of what I carry between home and the office each day.  Once we started thinking like this, we actually figured that we could rearrange  our existing iMac computers to put off a new purchase even longer.  That’s te good part about a Mac.  The only reason you feel the need for a new one, is if you make the mistake of using a new one and you see that faster is possible.  Otherwise, these things run circles around PCs.  My apologies to my friends who still think PCs are better, I know how hard it can be to admit there could be something better!

As you might be able to gather from my personal example, we didn’t stop spending altogether.  We simply didn’t go and get everything I wanted.  We figured out how to get more productivity out of what we already had, and how to extend the life of what we already had.  Some would even say if we wanted to save money, we should buy PCs instead.  At the risk of going down a rabbit trail, the cost savings on hardware is real.  However, after supporting Windows based PCs for over 20 years, and dealing with sudden an unexplained inability to find network printers, and other devices, sapping hours of productivity, it is refreshing to now deal with the occasional lost file.  Lost, not because it’s gone, but rather it was used on a different computer.  If it’s just a file, I can connect to every single Mac we own securely over our Virtual Private Network (VPN), and mount those hard drives on my own Mac, and search.  Or, if I don’t want to mount drives, I can log in to those Macs remotely and control the remote machine.  It works every time, unlike my Windows experience.  See, I told you it was a rabbit trail.

Before this becomes so long it takes two sittings to read, let me tie all of this together.  I started by talking about our personal, and then national debt problem.  We need to take responsibility for our own debt first, and then tackle the debt on a national basis.  That would be ideal.  However, we do not have that luxury.  We need to tackle both simultaneously.  If, our Federal government drops the ball and doesn’t reign in spending, then it will become even more important that we address our own debt issues.  Just as the Federal government wants to kick the can to the next generation and the next, we too want to put off paying for things today.  Part of us hopes we can pay off our debt with inflated dollars.  The only problem is that in so many other places our inflated dollars are buying less and less.  This is why we must demand the painful fiscal medicine, even though it will not taste good, feel good, or be enjoyable.  We must demand it or we will die a slow and painful death from 14 trillion microscopic paper cuts.