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The Dawning of A New World….

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Let us imagine, if we will, a world where epidemics have come and gone, where mighty science has stepped up and saved the world, one isolated individual at a time, where those who were once called introverts are the survivors and the brave and bold are seen with suspicion and rebellious.

It could be 5 years in the future, it could be 20, it could be 50 years.

But what will our future look like with social distancing, self isolation with world governments bailing out everyone and dancing on the edge of dictatorship? Will business still run on a profit motive with bottom lines being readjusted to make losses acceptable? Will Socialism take over our world, one country and crisis at a time?

Now, more than any other time in recent history, we need to take stock of our cities, towns, communities, provinces and country. Now, more than any other time, we need to look closely at those we choose to elect, at those who act on our behalf in every level of government and get involved.

This last week, the federal Liberals tried to extend their emergency powers to 21 months during this crisis. Thankfully, the opposition parties fought back. For the historians among you, Hitler assumed control during a crisis in Germany and the result was world war II, concentration camps and nuclear warfare research. The conspiracy theorists among us would say that the special interest groups with influence on the Liberal Party would truly be the power!

That is a frightful thought and worthy of another commentary.

We, as people have not changed. We go to bed, we play with our kids, call our friends, go on Facebook and some binge on Netflix or any other streaming service. We cook, clean and live, except we do all this in isolation. Our filter on the world has been dramatically altered and society’s guiding hand is now science not political correctness or a God centred thought process.

Businesses, not deemed essential to public interest, have been ordered closed. However, we can still go to grocery stores, get fuel, buy liquor and probably marijuana and go to pharmacies and medical professionals. Assemblies of more than 25 are banned and an aggressive fine program has been introduced to curb the disobedient.

But in reality when times get tough, people turn to God and prayer. With the closure of churches and increase of online services, the very source of strength and peace has seemingly been thwarted.

While we cannot meet in large gatherings to pray, we can meet God in private while we pray and read His word. Or we can meet with our family and worship together, just like believers for centuries have and do today in many countries. After all, our relationship with God is vitally important. Times like these, test and stretch us individually.

I find it interesting that south of the border, Donald Trump declared a day of prayer for the crisis, yet our leaders have defaulted to medical officers and scientists to rule the day. Some would say that the reward for seeking God and humbling ourselves is protection and blessing, while others would say that the economic progress in the US is the result of investment. It all depends on your perspective. Our economy was already in a tough state after four years of Liberal policies and a spiritually weak leader. We cannot say that the virus is necessarily a punishment, but our response to the crisis nationally and personally speak volumes about our faith and where we put our confidence.

What we do with this time is important and will alter how we recover once this pandemic is over.

Is binging on Friends or the Fast and Furious a good use of our time?

Is scanning Facebook or reading every article on Covid 19 healthy?

Our choices have never been so important because once we walk out of this social distancing, we will have to decide again what is important and how we interact with society.

There will be rejoicing and there will be celebrating worldwide. Festivals, movies, athletic events like football, baseball, hockey and soccer, farmers markets, conventions and restaurants will be booming! Our public parks, recreation facilities and walking-biking paths will be filled capacity. Golf courses will be booked dawn to dusk and then again. Our places of worship will be filled with joyful singing and friends will catch up with each others’ lives.

Yet, behind the joyful façades will be the unspoken and innate concerns that will expose the scars the worldwide crisis has left.

There will still be fear, distrust and the remnants of social distancing.

Financially, months of decreased income will still plague the financially unstable with bill payments, mortgage payments and other expenses that are fundamental to our existence. A question that will remain is where was their financial grace and forgiveness of payments or debts when our country was in difficulty despite government bailouts when they experienced very short-term pain?

Our federal government will be seen with gratitude, but their actions will always be seen with suspicion and distrust.

Just as someone has said, after world war I, North America experienced a decade of growth and debauchery. Given the state of our world today, I find it difficult to imagine a lowering of standards for the sake of distraction and entertainment.

The questions and changes to our lives will be never ending, but in the end.

There will always be constants: our family-spouse, children, grand children and grandparents, work and social friends, hobbies and interests. We will travel and yes Disneyland, World and Europe will reopen.

But, as we enter the new post coronavirus world, we will still have God, the eternal and everlasting who was the same the day before the first case was reported, and the day after an immunization will be announced.

Instead of viewing the world through science and politically correct lenses that changes as we become less discerning and more fearful, we need to view this time through the eyes of God, who tells us that He is in control. Without the hope of the Gospel, we are doomed to a future steadily spiraling to destruction at the hands of our base desires.

Choose wisely, your future depends on it.

Monty Python and Medicine Hat

 

 

Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Drive in Christianity!  Coming soon to a church near you!

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On March 20 more than 60 vehicles gathered on the corner of 39th Street and 30th Avenue at 10:15 a.m. for a unique experience.

It was not a family comedy, nor an adventure film that brought folks out, but rather the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Pastor Ben Elliot of Deer Park Church (formerly the Deer Park Alliance Church) via FM transmission (88.5 FM) for those in the parking lot and nearby neighbourhood.

Four rows of cars filled the lot with anywhere from 1 to 4 people per vehicle for an hour.

“This week I had the privilege of being home and was invited to be part of a province wide conference call with Premier Kenney and Minister Dr. Deena Hinshaw,” said Elliott during his sermon on Sunday.  “I was nervous when I suggested what we were planning for our service and we got the thumbs up from everyone.  He also asked us as faith leaders to pray for government and ministry leaders to make good decisions in this difficult time.”

He added that the church was going to ensure that the maximum number of 15 people was observed with only 4 volunteer parking attendants, 3 musicians and 1 pastor.

More than 60 vehicles attended a drive in church service

“I know it is tempting to get out of your car and chat with your friend but please don’t, be like our youth and chat with them across a window,” said Elliott who is also head of the Red Deer Ministerial Association.  “We want to honor the restrictions while honouring God by gathering together.”

Elliott spoke on cabin fever, an experience citizens across Canada are well familiar with.

“Robert Service wrote about cabin fever in a poem called Pious Pete and we are well familiar with the phenomena,” he said.  “Even King David, in 1 Sam 25 was not immune to the effects of continual exposure to the same people, except he lived in a cave!”

Pastor Ben Elliott reflected on a believers role in this crisis

He noted that the good news is, that even while he was not in the public, David sought God and was corrected by God!  He concluded his message by challenging us to honor God by being agents of peace and his salvation in our families.

Meanwhile, this particular drive-in was one of many services throughout the city and one of many formats.

Churches like Crossroads have live streamed their services for some time to service their growing congregation and others have moved to youtube presentations for viewing anytime.

Unity Baptist Church in north Red Deer has gone to Zoom for their services.

“This morning there was 40 people who logged into the sermon,” said Kent Lindsay, a

Come join our church service!

Unity Baptist congregant.  “It was a great interactive way to experience a service without being there.”

Meanwhile, prayer groups like the Red Deer Catholic Mens Group have moved to Whatapp for communication and alerting members to Zoom sessions with other believers for rosary prayers and other intercessions.

“There are many ways for believers to meet and encourage each other during this time,” said pastor Andrew Rilling of Deer Park Church.  “From live streams to youtube personal phone calls, to our drive in format, Gods people need to encourage each other.  His word is always working and He meets us in our needs.  As a believer and a pastor I am encouraged and know that God is always working among us.”

 

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Crisis Financial Management-From Where Should It Come?

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The news has been filled with Covid 19 stories, and none have been particularly brighter than the aid packages and measures announced by both the provincial and federal governments.

The combination of enhanced EI benefits, GST payments, Child Tax increases and deferment of tax payments and deadlines is superb. Alberta’s contribution of short term $ for workers affected by Covid 19, their announcement of renter assistance legislation (late fees, no evictions) is a good companion piece. Banks and utility companies (read communication, power, gas, water), have also   graciously deferred payments for the foreseeable future in addition to releasing additional credit for both business and personal clients. Student loan payments are frozen for 6 months.

These are all great ideas and measures and the key word here is DEFERRAL, not forgiveness nor cancellation.

During the 2008 banking crisis, governments around the world bailed out big businesses from banking institutions to car companies. In Canada, Chrysler paid their aid package back, but banks, who allegedly received close to $114 Billion dollars according to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report, used public funds to shore up an already financially secure industry.

Now, amidst an international crisis, business entities are merely deferring payments for services and products assuming that the extra hardship that our Canadian work forces will not negatively impact their ability to ‘catch up’ on debt incurred despite bail out packages.

My father, a teacher was on strike for a month in the 1970s, and he told us that he never recovered from even a month without pay!

Imagine an average family with months of bills that may build up and the dollars that will have to be committed to repay balances on credit cards, mortgages, utilities and tax levies! Some may never recover.

Six months from now, will the companies who have promised to work with tenants and customers be so willing to cooperate with hardship?

I think not.

Utility companies charge exorbitant interest rates as do credit cards. Those with ‘weak’ credit, often pay more while those with good ratings are offered lower rates on loans.

Putting a moratorium on penalties is fine, but it will not have the impact that can truly make a difference in the lives of every day, working class individuals. The remedy is short term and does not involve every level of our society.

There is really only ONE solution to the present crisis to ensure that we, as a country can go back to work and pick up where we were before we hit the pause and panic button.

Biblically speaking, a year of jubilee occurred every 50 years and debt was forgiven. It provided a fresh start for everyone and reminded everyone that forgiveness was real and meant not just for a few.

This level of crisis involves participation and sacrifice by every level of our society from banks to government. Sadly, that would never happen today due to our incredibly interlinked international banking systems and ruling families (Rothschilds, Soros) who have built incredible wealth by NOT being compassionate.

However, in addition to the aid solutions already given, the following should occur:

  1. Immediate cancellation of interest on loans, mortgages, credit cards and utility bills until the crisis is over.
  2. Cancelation of foreclosures, evictions and already approved appropriations.
  3. Forgiveness of loan/rent payments by tenants, mortgage holders and credit card holders. Any debt accrued in this time frame is due with NO interest ever. This way, those with rental property or companies will not be penalized and therefore do not need to revert to payees already in hardship.
  4. For any student loan over 10 years old AND hardship by the student, total forgiveness. 100%

This is a partial list, but my point is that the very banks who were bailed out in 2008-10 should give back to the country, and not in the forms of extra debt but rather a real blessing Profits may actually dip, but their history of profits, even during the 2008 bailout (liquidity assistance), their profits were still $27 billion!

Given their proclivity for creating new ways to charge customers, there will be no long-term hardship to these architects of financial power.

We all have to give something for everyone to benefit otherwise, this is one more step on our way to economic dependency on government aid and a step towards socialism!

#RedDeerStrong – Adjusting to isolation? Now’s the time for new habits. Studio Pilates will help make fitness part of your new routine.

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march, 2020

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