I’ve just finished watching the main Polish news programme of the day, the evening “Wiadomosci” programme on TVP1, which had as its closing story information about how in Poznan there has been a blitz on people who have dogs and haven’t paid their dog tax. Dog tax is a local tax in Poland, some municipalities charge it and some don’t, and there is a degree of freedom as to how much can be charged, and in Poznan that amount is 55 PLN/year, which is about $16 a year. This is more than I can remember from the UK, but dog tax was abolished there many years ago. During my childhood the amount was a good deal less than that, but maybe comparable if you account for inflation.
The question asked, and answered, in the news broadcast, was how the authorities knew where these dog owners were in order to charge them and take them to court for their missing payments of dog tax. The answer is, some time ago the municipality had a free chipping exercise for dogs whereby owners were given a free ID chip so that their dog could be returned to them in the event of loss. This you can have from any vet, by the way, but then it is a paid service. Not thinking that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and taking this inexplicable magnanimity on the part of the City at face value, Poznan citizens queued up and took part in the action and had their free ID chips with their addresses and telephone numbers, which of course were all put in a big database and reported to the City. The news report didn’t go into detail as to whether these people had signed anything which allowed that to happen or whether it was simply an abuse of privacy and a breach of the Data Protection Law, but when has that ever bothered government anyhow? It’s the little man with his business that has to worry about that, and not the governing elites.
Anyway, the next thing they said is that a number of Polish cities which did not have dog tax before are about to introduce it, citing Krakow as an example. They then also featured a few seconds of a disgruntled dog owner saying how he found it unfair that taxes apply to dogs but not to cats, guinea pigs, or aquarium fishes. I am sure he was about to use the word “”racism” had they only given him time to do it. Continue reading “Fish and chips…?”→
Accepting predestination and the sovereignty of God on the one hand is
not a reason not to act as though you can change things on the other. Fatalism is never commanded in the Bible.
Job worked hard all his life to get into the situation he was, but
nevertheless when he lost everything, he said “the Lord giveth, the
Lord taketh away”. When he had his losses restored I would assume he
also worked and tried to make the best of what he had, even though he
would have acknowledged that it was a gift. He didn’t just sit back.
That’s why I’m not in favour of just sitting back and accepting the Anti-Christ, the beast, the Whore of Babylon, the False Prophet, just
because these entities are prophesied in Scripture. We are to reject
the mark of the Beast, and not acquiesce in that mark being put on our
flesh. We are the sheep of another Shepherd, and our brandmark is
written on the fleshy tables of the heart.
The devil will always say, “you cannot change it, because even your God
has prophesied it. Go along with my plans uncomplainingly. If you
challenge what false prophets and wicked people are doing, it looks as
if you are complaining against the sovereignty of God” But this is not
the case, as the Word shows what believers are to do in such cases. We
should not be amazed and put to a crisis of our faith over it, but we
should act in whatever way we can to resist it. That issue of what
happens to faith is the true lesson of the Book of Job. As you can see
from the dialogue at the start happening in the halls of eternity
between God and Lucifer. Lucifer claims that Job only believes because
he has had the charmed life. His faith is of no value because he never
had any reason to doubt it. This is a central reason why God allows
Satan a lease over Job’s life for a season. The test of faith is
In this day and age people’s faith is tested by godlessness in the
media, in the fact that the so-called scientific consensus is so-clled
rationalist, which means that basically society considered as an
acceptable credo only that which can be emoirically proven, and hand in
hand with that puts faith in a very low position – except for when
psychologists state that individuals can get some purely carnal benefit
from it. These days for a person to know God means they have to put
their faith against the sniggerings of know-all atheists from all
quarters. But in Job’s day people were not up against the so-called
rationalists and their fairy tales about evolution and billions of
years and a creator-free origin. People basically knew there was a God,
in that there were no serious voices in society voicing any other
possibility, and so the inner certainty of his existence was not a
difficult thing as today.
And yet God has always used faith as the basis for differentiating this
on his side from those who are not. Works were only ever acceptable as
the fruit of faith, but only faith ever pleased God. It is written that
“without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to
God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek Him”. So what do we have here with Job? Is the devil
right that Job’s faith is cheap? Or will he make a statement of faith
even after his comforts are stripped from him with all the severity
that the cleansing and trying fuller’s fire of God can muster?
Well, what says the tortured, inmpoverished Job with the rotting flesh,
the dead family?
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the
latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this
body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and
mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed
within me.”-Job 19:25-27.
There we have it. This man, who has been blasted beyond measure, utters
with faith as strong as knowledge, a prophesy of Christ, and of the
Resurrection. And this testimony has gone down as among the most
beautiful words of history, a sentence of incredible value – worth more
than all his possessions.
He was not tried for ever because he did not need to be. After he was
shown to be of faithful integrity and the devil shown up to be a
speculating, fraudulent accuser, everything went back to the way it had
God was able to bring everything back to normal again.
And of course much more than “normal”.
Just as God is able to wipe every tear from your eye, and will do so one day, if He finds faith in you.