• November 30, 2008 /  Uncategorized

    During times of national, ecclesiastical, familial and personal stress, it is good for believers, and even better for nonbelievers to sit down and ask, “Is God trying to send me/us a message?”  Now, not all troublesome occurrences are a result of God judging over sins committed.  The lives of Job and Jesus are examples of suffering where the trouble meted out was not due to any personal sin committed.

    But some suffering is due to judgment over sins committed.  We know more about David than every other character in the Bible, excluding Jesus.  Many sins during David’s time received rapid judgement, whether it was Uzzah, the census David commissioned without requiring the payment of the half shekel, his infidelity with Bathseba, etc.

    As a result, David in writing many of the Psalms asks the Lord to withhold judgment over sins committed, and remove his wrath from him.  He also asks the Lord to search him for sin.  David is in some ways closer to God’s heart than most believers today, though with many failings.  And, if we are honest with ourselves, our failings/sins are large as well.  If the Apostle Paul could call himself the chief of sinners, how much more is it true of you and me?

    So, back to the present age.  I am not telling you that the current economic troubles are a judgment from God.  I am saying that we have to consider that as a possibility both individually and corporately.

    Now, it would be too easy for me to turn this into a piece on the sins of the United States as a nation.  I could start with all of the sins stemming from lust, lying, stealing, murder, disrespect for parents/authority, covetousness, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, idolatry, etc.  I’m not going there yet.  Why?

    1 Peter 4:17 (New King James Version)

    For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    Because of our sinful natures, Christians tend to point the finger out, and do not focus on the sins of the church.  We need to focus on ourselves; God is more concerned about the condition of his saints than the condition of unbelievers.

    So, what are the sins of the church at present, and are they big enough for God to be judging us?  The sins of the church are similar to those of the world:

    • Adultery; divorce
    • Laziness to our employers
    • Lying when an honest answer would be tough
    • Covetousness
    • Sabbath-breaking
    • Worshiping God in ways He has not commanded.
    • Putting anything else ahead of God.
    • Disrespect for parents/authority
    • Lack of zeal for God
    • And more…

    If we are honest, all of us Christians can see some failure here.  Much as the unbelievers may be being judged in the current crisis, that Christians are being judged is more clear.  Consider the sermons that you hear.  Do they convict you of sin, or are they on the order of “here is how to improve your life.”  Teaching you how to improve your life by itself is a false gospel.  Preachers telling you to be good is a false gospel.  The true gospel tells us to trust Christ only, and put no confidence in ourselves.

    The Lord is knocking on the door of the Church, and telling us that He has a beef with His saints.  Let us let him in and talk with us, and then let us repent.  The problems of our nation will not disappear before the problems in the Church.

    May the Lord have mercy on His church in this difficult time.

  • November 17, 2008 /  Uncategorized

    Welcome.  My name is David Merkel, and you can read my professional bio over at my site dedicated to finance and economics — The Aleph Blog.  The contact information is the same as well.  This initial post is intended to tell you about the rest of me, and what my intent for The Tav Blog is.

    At age 16, I became a Christian after attending a Bible Study held by students of my HIgh School (Brookfield Central in Brookfield, Wisconsin).  I finally understood what the Bible said about salvation by reading John 3 and Ephesians 2.  What I wanted to learn during years of listening to Catholic Priests preach I learned in about two hours.  When I turned 18, I began going to Elmbrook Church.

    After High School I went to The Johns Hopkins University, and after three years, received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Economy (Economics).  During my last year there, I attended Faith Christian Fellowship.  I went to the University of California at Davis To try to get my Doctorate in Applied Economics, and in the process joined what was going to become Grace Valley Christian Center (warning, do not join).  I met my wife-to-be, Ruth, there and after my dissertation committee fell apart, and I realized that my dissertation would fail unless I fudged it like many graduate students did, I punted and became an actuary.

    After leaving GVCC, my wife and I joined Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento.  Good congregation and pastor, and I learned a lot in a short amount of time.  We would have loved to stay there, but the company that I was working for, Pacific Standard Life, was in the process of failing.  We moved to the Philadelphia area so that I could pursue other actuarial work at AIG.  We joined Broomall Reformed Presbyterian Church.  I learned a lot about faith in Christ while we lived there, and my family grew from two to seven children during that time.

    Finally, when my opportunities at Provident Mutual began to run out, I took my biggest jump to go work for the St. Paul in Baltimore.  We joined Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beltsville, Maryland.  During the intervening years, we adopted our last child, Grace.  The congregation also elected me to be an elder, and so now I serve the church in many ways:

    • At our local congregation.
    • As an elder, helping oversee the work of the Allegheny Presbytery of the RPCNA.
    • Working on the Finance Committee and Trustees of the the RPCNA.

    That’s my wonderful life so far.  A wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.  A wonderful wife, who has homeschooled our children.  Eight children altogether, with two in college.  Great pastors who have taught me.  I am very happy.

    So What of The Tav Blog?

    The Tav Blog fills a void in my thinking.  The Aleph Blog is for business, and so it is apolitical, and mostly mute on many religious and cultural issues.  This is my place to express the things that are near my heart, on the topics of religion, culture, and less importantly, politics.

    I don’t expect many of my readers to agree with me as I write at The Tav Blog, and certainly not agree with everything… I often find myself in the minority on a number of things, but I do my best to serve my Savior.  So, if you will, join me in my musings at The Tav Blog.

    • If you are not a Christian, I will encourage you to become one.
    • If you are a Christian, I will encourage you to become Reformed/Presbyterian, and to consider the cultural decay that infects much of our churches.
    • If you are Reformed, I will encourage you to consider the RPCNA, and to consider the cultural decay that infects much of our churches.
    • Beyond that, I will try to put things in their proper places.  The economy may fall apart, but if we have peace with God, food, clothing, and shelter, we have nothing to complain about.

    Why is this called The Tav Blog?  Well, as Aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew Alphabet, Tav is the last.  This is for my residual musings, which are in the long run more important than what I write about economics and finance.  After all, I am writing about eternity here.

    With that, if you can bear with me, join me as I explore the world that our great God created in 144 hours, somewhat over 6000 years ago.  May God bless you richly.