Donald Trump And Arrogance

I hear the word arrogant being used to describe Donald Trump. Theoretically, we as responsible voters should be asking ourselves, “Do I want someone who is arrogant to be the President of the United States of America?” But such commentary isn’t so much substantive as it is simple political gamesmanship. It focuses on appearance and style, while in terms of meaningful commentary, is strained, mis-focused and irrelevant.

The first thing that comes to mind is the arrogance of our current sitting President, now serving his second term. This person has not only appeared arrogant to his political foes, but has proved his arrogance time and again, both by statements he has made in the capacity of his office and by actions he has taken in the performance of that office. Obama truly is arrogant. To get an accurate reading of Trump’s supposed arrogance, it should be compared to Obama’s.

Other icons of arrogance are Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. But the fact that they both exemplify arrogance doesn’t seem to be such a newsworthy item. After all, they are Democrats. They supposedly wear the mantle of guardians of the People. And if they go a little bit too far, that’s OK. That’s not arrogance, that’s more like royalty or even sainthood. But a Republican frontrunner? The main guy in an elitist party that hates poor people and only looks to make a profit on the backs of those they oppress — he’s the arrogant one.

If you don’t get this sarcasm, let me clarify: Trump is not so arrogant. Trump exhibits strong leadership, which is so rare nowadays as to be unrecognizable when we see it. Strength in leadership is mistakenly seen as arrogance by people who are used to politically correct politicians who appear inoffensive, are willing to smile and say anything to keep people happily deceived, and yet all the while they are sneaking around stabbing people in the back. When you’re used to that kind of “leadership” you don’t know how to take it when a candidate actually stands for something and pulls no punches.

My dictionary defines arrogant as, “Overly convinced of one’s own importance; overbearingly proud, haughty.” The best leaders must be convinced of their own importance, but not overly so; proud, but not overbearingly proud. But frankly, I don’t think arrogance will be a determining factor in who is elected our next President. The main factor will be whose campaign gins up the most interest; which political machine will create the biggest draw. If you like a candidate, you will focus on their strengths; you see them as good at what they do. If you don’t like a candidate, you call them arrogant. Presidential elections are all about marketing — selling the public on the idea that one candidate offers better solutions than the others. The discussion of arrogance is simply a part of that selling process.

The American public has grown accustomed to pragmatic politicians. These are men and women who have convinced us that the solution to almost every human need is a government program. And because getting that job done is the most important thing, it doesn’t really matter how it’s done. This approach to government has done two things. It has brought us to the brink of financial ruin and it has thrown principles out the window.

Conservatives point to the Constitution as the blueprint of a government structure based on principles — principles that have largely been discarded or ignored by government, in favor of the discretion of our leaders. In essence, that is arrogance — putting personality-based pragmatism ahead of principles to which we should all be held accountable. If Donald Trump has done anything, he has forced a discussion — in both political debate and in media reporting — about the seriousness of illegal immigration. During the last Presidential election, that issue was placed on a back burner and hardly noticed. Trump has done this because he has not backed down one inch from his position after being attacked by almost everyone. That is strength of leadership, whether or not you like him or agree with him.

Illegal immigration is more than a simple political issue. Hopefully more Americans will come to see that in principle, only legal immigration to this nation is acceptable. Another principle I would like to see take hold is that our Constitution was never designed with a dominant central government in mind. With the exception of specifically enumerated powers, the Constitution confers most governing authority to the States and to the People. In principle, we are to be self-governing. The Constitution does not design the federal government to be the huge central government it has become. In principle, our very government defies the Constitution, and those in government have assumed an arrogance the constitution was designed to preclude in those who govern us.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or not, the real threat of arrogance won’t come from him. It will come from the fact that we have stopped discussing political concepts and have opted to discuss personalities instead. What do they look like? How do they act? What do they say? All style. No substance. I’d like to see political ideas really discussed. I’d like the national media to hold debates which include 3rd party candidates confronting the BIG TWO, to hear the principles those people really believe in. But national politics isn’t about ideas. It’s about power and money — the power of big political parties with big war chests. They want voters to be impressed with that power, so they don’t want to risk losing it by actually discussing political concepts.

In light of that power of the status quo, I respect Donald Trump for forcing them all to talk about things they would rather stay silent on.

Posted in Illegal_Immigration, Immigration, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Just For Fun

Things Undone

Perhaps you’ve noticed this. It isn’t rare. I’ve seen it in various places. A single leaf – it may be of a tree or small shrub – waving. It always catches my eye because the leaf seems to be moving by itself. The other leaves around it are still. But this leaf moves in rhythmic jerks, as if it is fluttering in a breeze intended for it alone.

When I was young I imagined an unseen spider of some unique specie tugging at the gossamer thread she had attached to the leaf, in some bizarre habit of luring prey or attracting a mate or perhaps warding off predators.

But I never actually took the time or made the effort to go as close as I could go, to see what I could see, to perhaps discover the mysterious cause of the solitary leaf movement. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was prevented by the fear of a spider. After all, curiosity killed the cat.

Then, as if avoiding a charge of cowardice, I considered alternate explanations to the spider hypothesis. Since we cannot see air currents, it is possible that some unique wind pattern may exist – some very small, lone eddy of air that remains for a time like a coin spinning on a table, only strong enough to affect a single leaf.

For the very reason that the movements of air cannot be seen, it would require technical knowledge and skills beyond my own to come up with an experiment to demonstrate such a theory. So, just as I did not go up close to see the spider, neither did I seek to prove or disprove the “tiny wind” possibility.

As my eyes have not been able to shed light on this mystery, the explanation remains unknown. Inevitably, I turn to supernatural possibilities. Almost embarrassed by its child-like qualities, my mind pictures an unseen spirit-being with nothing better to do than to stand next to some defenseless plant and incessantly flick one of its leaves with its finger.

If I don’t bother to think much about that particular explanation, it is because it seems nothing more than fantasy. It is like reading a bed-time story to children. It takes the cares of the day and sets them aside. It provides comfort and makes me smile. It allows me to close my eyes and go to sleep, so that I will grow up to be a big, strong, healthy man.

Once again, I have not sought to solve this mystery. I have simply said it may be this or it may be that.  Yet, I have left these things undone. It is too easy to justify my complacency. After all, it’s only a single leaf on a single plant in a single garden or in some insignificant woods. I imagine there are more important things. Aren’t there?

Posted in Just a thought | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Pope Said What?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church tradition is given authoritative standing alongside that of holy Scripture. I reject that precept. Since all authority has been given to Christ (Matthew 28:18) and he is called the Word (John 1:1), then the word of God alone is our authority for Biblical faith. Scholarly commentary (which might be viewed as tradition) can aid us in understanding Scripture, but ultimately the interpretation of Scripture is accomplished by the revealing work of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), not ourselves. We are not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Scripture alone is our authority for faith.

The following is from The Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Reference Note: 44 DV 9. Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions)

I have long considered this to be error. And I am content that the Holy Spirit will convict whom he will concerning the truth of God.

However, it will be noted that traditions, whether or not they are considered sacred, have beginnings and endings. As such, they are transient. The authority of church traditions carry their authority for a time, but then are no more. While the word of God stands forever (Luke 21:33). Because of this, we must always examine human traditions to see that they are consistent with the word of God.

For this very reason, I am troubled by a recent statement attributed to the Pope, saying that the Koran and the Bible are the same. See the article and comments at http://theolivebranchreport.com/pope-francis-to-followers-koran-and-holy-bible-are-the-same/

I am troubled by this for two reasons: first, there is no factual basis for the claim that the Bible and the Koran are the same or that Jehovah and Allah are just two names for the same Almighty God. It is no different from saying all religions are the same or that all gods are the same. Such a statement is made in ignorance of what the Bible and Koran teach, and comes from an emotional desire to overlook stark differences in an attempt to establish a “peaceful” relationship between disparate world views. Any such “peace” is false because it is based on a lie.

Secondly, whoever makes such a statement, whether or not it is the Pope, lifts himself above the authority of Scripture and lowers the status of the Holy Bible to the level of the Koran, which is not the inspired word of God.   Whoever places himself in the position of redefining Biblical authority according to church tradition, consensus, political correctness or any other human wisdom is rebelling against God’s sovereignty.

There are several Bible verses that speak to the sufficiency of God’s word, admonishing us to neither add to nor take away from what he has already revealed to us. 1 Corinthians 4:6 sums up this principle, instructing us, “not to go beyond what is written” (meaning what has been written in Scripture). That can only mean God’s word is the final word — not the Pope’s word, not the Church’s word — God’s word.

It’s amazing how many denominations, sects and cults ignore this Biblical principle, adding and taking away from the word of God to their hearts’ content. In every case their rationale is that they have received some special revelation that tells us what the Bible really means, that clarifies some previously misunderstood or distorted doctrine. In principle, this flies in the face of orthodoxy.

2 Timothy 2:2 lays out instructions for the teaching and discipling of believers. It says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

The first part of this verse speaks of “what you heard from me”. This was the gospel message. This verse is not speaking of theological doctrines that required further clarification or interpretation by church officers. Paul had already spoken to Timothy and he knew what that message was and what it meant. He needed no further explanation.

The second element of this verse is that the message Timothy had heard from Paul was not hidden. What Paul preached and taught was given in the presence of many witnesses. It was out in the open, obvious to everyone present. Many witnesses attested to it. They all knew what they had heard from Paul. The gospel of salvation in Christ was no longer the mystery it had been.

For Jesus had said, “For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” — Matthew 13:17. But now the mystery of the ages had been revealed for all to know. That which had been secret was no longer secret, but revealed to all humanity.

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” — 1 Corinthians 2:7

“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” — 1 Corinthians 2:10

“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” — 1 Corinthians 2:13

This “wisdom of God … taught by the Spirit interpreting spiritual truths” is what Paul is referring to by saying “what you heard from me”. The final element of 2 Timothy 2:2 is to entrust this wisdom of God to faithful men so that they in turn could pass it on to others, and so keep the message pure, untainted and constant for all future generations of believers. This is what we mean by orthodoxy.

Fundamental to orthodox Christianity are the tenets that God does not change and his word does not change. James 1:17 refers to God as “the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 tell us, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

Therefore, no man nor church tradition has the standing to take authority over Scripture. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) which means his gospel does not change. In Luke 24:27, speaking of Jesus, it says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”  This testifies to the fact that the Hebrew Bible reveals who Jesus is.

Only the Bible (both Old and New testaments) has revealed Jesus alone as the Savior of the world. Do not forget John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” The term “no one” is exclusive by definition. Yet that’s what Jesus said. The Koran’s so-called “veneration” of Jesus does not reveal who he is or what his gospel is. Only the Bible does that.

But if you are a Muslim, that is not the end of the story. Please know that Jesus personally invites you to become a child of God through faith in him. The gospel is that even though everyone is guilty of sin, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness, redemption and eternal life to anyone who receives him by faith.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” — Romans 3:23

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” — John 1:12

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

His personal offer to you is a standing invitation that he has continued to make throughout the ages:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20

This is not the Jesus of the Koran. This is God, the Son — Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, who is revealed in the Bible. His message is for you personally, and it is a message of hope and life.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:25-26

If you think for a moment that Allah offers this, or that an eternal loving relationship with God is offered in the Koran, you are wrong — dead wrong.

Posted in Allah and the Qur'an, Belief in God, Bible, Islam, The Koran | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Examining Invictus

Invictus

by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

 

This poem, often cited as an example of the power and ‘virtue’ of self-determination, expresses a worldview that is fairly popular in our time. It is a worldview based on the deceptive lie that each individual is his own highest authority. It precludes both accountability to and humility before an all-powerful God. It exalts rebellion against God by elevating pride of self to the utmost praise.

The first stanza declares, “my unconquerable soul”. So, where did this unconquerable soul come from? Who made it? None of that matters to the speaker. He simply finds himself in time and space and has the hubris to think of himself as a self-made man. He credits his soul as unconquerable, and takes the credit for himself.

He is surrounded by darkness. Why is that? Christians believe they are surrounded by light. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Yet the speaker is woefully unaware of this reality.

On the opposite side from life, this poem describes the world as a ‘night’, “black as the Pit from pole to pole”. The speaker does not see himself in light at all, nor does he acknowledge that light even exists or that he has the option of seeking light. He gives credit to “whatever gods may be” for the fact that in this world of darkness, he has only himself to depend on. This is the essence of agnostic noncommittal: giving lip service to the possibility of some undefined greater causal factor than the self, without any obligation to define what that may mean in the real world.

The tenor of this poem is one of self-dependent defiance. The second stanza speaks of “the fell clutch of circumstance” without any regard to cause and effect, or the principle that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, or the wisdom in learning that every act, decision and choice we make in life has consequences. It presents “circumstance” as a disembodied force randomly brutalizing its victims. The speaker of the poem has been wounded by “bludgeonings of chance”. To him, there is no reason for his suffering, and the only thing he takes away from his suffering is the pride of having stubbornly survived.

Surviving circumstances ignores the virtues of setting standards, goals, ethics, purpose or sharing anything with anyone. No relationship, no interaction other than that which is vaguely implied by “circumstance”, no loyalty to any group or any other social context is mentioned. Rather, it ennobles the survival of a lone warrior, not for any principle he has defended or for any foes he has vanquished – just that he has survived. It also ignores the future, for there is no promise of reward beyond a wounded, bloodied state.

The third stanza underscores the hopelessness of the speaker. His life now is characterized as wrath and tears, something we would normally hope to get beyond. For hope is what carries us through our struggles – hope for something better. This poem has no hope: “Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade”. Instead, of hope, the speaker defiantly tries to shake off despair by telling himself he is not afraid.

As honest as such a claim must be, it comes more from bravado than from a justified reason not to fear. The writer’s bravery was genuine, but in this poem, it is truncated from any context. His reason for being brave is not explained. It therefore gives his sentiment a two-dimensional feel. Why is he not afraid? Surely a reason must exist, but he does not provide one.

Nothing from the text gives a substantial reason for the speaker’s point of view, other than what might just be a passing mood. An existence described as “the menace of the years” without any anticipated reprieve — just “the Horror of the shade” — could only produce emptiness and despair. But despite this, the speaker is unafraid.

And yet, the final stanza admits that some authority, whether a person, group, nation or code, has made charges of wrongdoing, for which punishment is due (“How charged with punishments the scroll”). However, the speaker denies any accountability to such charges. His denial isn’t based on reason or hope, but on a sort of stubborn madness, which leads him to his ultimate delusion: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

If this were not a delusion, as master, he might give himself a better fate — a fate that involved getting out of the black pit he finds himself in and bringing himself into a place of light. As captain, he might marshal his forces and destroy the Horror, so that it would be no more. But these possibilities are not mentioned, nor are they even implied. The only “victory” of the speaker is that he refuses to bow his head, his control, his self.

While hyperbole is understandable in the context of poetic expression, it makes a poor justification for what is essentially the main point of this poem. The reality is that no one is the master of their fate nor the captain of their soul. Thinking it is so does not make it so. Yes, there are those who take responsibility for their lives, those who create their own opportunities, those who do not blame others for their lack of success. But eventually, everyone answers to some higher authority.

Anyone who claims to be the master of their fate, the captain of their soul is simply denying reality. If they believe that delusion, they are deceived. If they are trying to put on a strong front, they are lying. Ultimately, this means they deny the existence of a God to whom they will be held accountable.

Invictus places Self upon a pedestal. It is a godless credo that speaks of a type of human inspiration that rebels against the authority and standard of the Creator. In a word, it is pride — the very thing that leads to sin and separation from God.

Posted in Belief in God, Literature | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Walking By Faith

Can you see the future that is being built even now in the present?

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8

From Matthew 1:5&6, in the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, we read,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

King David is a well-known and important Old Testament figure because God promised to establish his kingdom forever:

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. – 2 Samuel 7:15

More than three centuries after the death of David, Ezekiel prophesied,

My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. – Ezekiel 37:24

This Messianic prophecy identifies the Messiah as a descendent of David, the significance of which is seen in phrases spoken at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem:

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! – Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew legally establishes him as the heir to the throne of David. It also honors forever the names of every individual who played a part in contributing to his family line. David is honored, of course, as is his father, Jesse and his grandfather, Obed. But while the emphasis in Biblical genealogies focuses primarily on fathers, special recognition is given to Obed’s mother, Ruth. Why is that?

Ruth was a Moabitess, of which Deuteronomy 23:3 says,

No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD.

Pretty strong words, directed at a group of obscene idolaters who had caused Israel to sin (See Numbers 25:1-18).

But Ruth had turned away from her Moabite gods. When her mother-in-law Naomi left Moab to return to Israel, she told Ruth, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15). But Ruth said, “…Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16b). This was a total repudiation of her Moabite identity and choosing instead to be Naomi’s daughter.

As a result of Ruth’s faithfulness and devotion to Naomi, Boaz chose to be the kinsman-redeemer and treat Ruth just as if she had been Naomi’s son’s Jewish widow, which led to the birth of Obed. This turn of events was significant enough to be recorded in Scripture, and Ruth’s name was significant enough to be given special attention in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

But while Naomi was still going through the heart-ache of losing her husband and both of her sons, she could not see the wonderful thing God was doing. She wasn’t aware of God’s directing hand bringing about something good. She was only aware of her personal losses. And she blamed God for what she was suffering.

In Ruth 1:20-21 Naomi said, “…the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty…the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me”.

Aren’t we all tempted to feel that way at times? Matthew 5:45 reminds us,

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

But for this very reason, God has given us promises:

I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

As much as we want to see God’s purposes realized, our walk with the Lord is not one of sight, but of faith. God’s purpose and plan will surely come about, but in his time, according to his sovereign will. So, we must remember that when we suffer, whether in body, in mind or in any of the many ways we suffer, that God is in control. We would do well to remember the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Sometimes all we know is that we are struggling against one problem or another. And at those times we need to remember that above it all, God is working out his glorious plan. High above our storm a bright and beautiful light is shining.

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:4- 7

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“God, Satan And Evil In The World”

From the Michael Savage Newsletter of May 26, 2015:

After a conversation with a caller about God, Satan and the evil in the world, Dr. Savage shared his personal religious views with his audience.

What is God waiting for?” Savage wondered.

Is He watching the world burn before He does anything?

If you want to bring up God and Satan, let’s go for it.

I’ve thought about it my whole life.

How does God permit a school bus full of Christian children to go off a cliff and all the children on the bus die?

Where was God?

How did God stand by while Jewish children were being tortured to death in front of their mothers and then thrown into an oven?

Where was God then?

I actually believe that God has no effect on a moment-by-moment basis or a person-by-person basis.

If I did, then I’d have to stop believing in God.

If I were to believe that God controlled everything on earth, then I’d have to believe that God is evil.

I believe God is not omnipotent. He is omnipresent.

That’s what saved me from atheism.

 

Savage’s “belief” in God is not really belief at all. It is a theory built upon, resting upon and supported by the foundation of his own intellectual prowess. His theory places God into a conceptual package that he is then able to manipulate. Rather than humbling himself to worship the perfect and infinite Creator, he gives his own understanding preeminence over God. He worships his own thought processes, because they have created “God” according to his expectations.

Man has been doing this ever since the Fall – the falling of Man from innocence into sin after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But prior to that loss of fellowship with God, Adam and Eve knew God. They walked and talked with him in Genesis 3. They didn’t need a belief system to relate to God.

God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for if they did, they would die. The liar Satan, of whom Jesus said was the father of lies (John 8:44) suggested to Eve that it was God who had lied:

You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:4-5

What makes Satan the king of liars is that he always sweetens his lies with a bit of truth tossed in, so that the unwary will swallow it whole. In Genesis 3:22 we read,

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

So, part of what Satan said was true. They had become like God in knowing good and evil. God cast them out of the garden so that they would not eat of the tree of life, thus they died as a result of their sin. Ever since then, humans have had the sinful propensity to place their own knowledge and understanding above the authority of God because in our own eyes we think of ourselves like God, knowing good and evil. “The fact of the matter” is that sin causes all humanity to be spiritually dead. When we sinned, we died a spiritual death.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! – Psalm 119:25

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

In his newsletter, Savage asks, “What is God waiting for?”, “Where was God?” He answers his own dilemma by concluding God is omnipresent but not omnipotent. This “belief” is based on his reasoning that if God was indeed all-powerful, he would have to be evil, since he allows horrible things to happen to innocent people. Such a conclusion is nothing more than a rationalization that allows one’s mind to feel secure in the lofty perch of an ego-centric worldview.

Doubters have posed this question forever: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But if this is a genuine question, then why do they reject the answer? The truth is that the answer can be found in the Bible, and scholars over the centuries have written volumes about it. It’s a question that has been answered, and answered well. The book of Job is an excellent study of the juxtaposition of human suffering and God’s sovereignty.

The issue with Savage and other doubters isn’t theological. It is their own lack of willingness to be held accountable to God’s authority. They readily reject any theological explanation that threatens the supremacy of their own thinking. Their self-vaunting pride restrains God at arm’s length. But Scripture teaches us to be humble before God:

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. – Psalm 25:9

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. – Proverbs 16:19

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. – James 4:10

Job’s story begins by describing him as blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil. Despite this, God allowed Satan to inflict grievous loss and suffering on him. Job considered his circumstances cruel and unjust because he had done nothing to deserve such anguish. He felt justified in demanding that God give him his “day in court” and recognize his “rights”.

Long story short, Job repented of his self-righteous pride, humbled himself before the LORD and worshipped him.

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. – Job 42:2

Translation: God is omnipotent. God’s omnipotence is not subject to our understanding or approval. He isn’t limited by any requirement or held to any standard other than his own. For he said to Moses,

I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. – Romans 9:15

God is God. We are not. This was the point when God said of Job, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2; 42:3). Human thinking is not capable of judging God. We understand neither his intentions nor his methods because they are beyond our capacity. We are finite. He is infinite.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

This is why believing in God is not a matter of intellectual understanding. Believing in God is a matter of putting your trust in the Almighty, the omnipotent Creator, our heavenly Father. He is beyond our comprehension, but not beyond being known. Just as a child can know his father yet not understand him, so too, we can know our heavenly Father and yet not be able to understand him.

The greater realization is that despite the fact that we are unable to understand God, he does completely understand us. He made us, he knows us inside and out, he knows our circumstances and he knows how we choose to live. He understands everything about us – intimately. Yet He still wants to restore a personal relationship with us.

Once we have that relationship and are children of God, we have the promise that regardless of what happens to us, our lives are in him, not in ourselves:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

We are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20); we are dead to sin but alive in Christ (Romans 6:11).

He doesn’t need us to understand him. He wants us to know him. He is not far off; he is not unknowable. In fact, Jesus preached “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). And he said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:7).  Read all of chapter 14.

Believing isn’t about what you think. It’s about what you are willing to put your trust in. Faith isn’t figuring something out, it’s acting on what you trust. If you can only trust or act on things you are able to understand, then your concept of God is pretty small and limited.

Yet, God is neither small nor limited. God is infinite, perfect and sovereign. He is not subject to any of our human limitations. The most astounding thing we can understand about God is that despite our sinfulness, he loves us so much that he maintains his offer to redeem us from death.

God offers to save us. The name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation.” That is why the angel told Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:20

God offers to draw us to himself. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:44

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

God offers to forgive us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

God offers to adopt us into his family. “But to all who did receive him [Jesus Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15

Jesus is calling,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. – Revelation 3:20

And for those who open the door and receive Christ, he will lift you up and exalt you with himself.

[He] “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6

Michael Savage, along with all the other human beings on the planet (more than seven and a quarter billion souls), is created with free will. He is free to hold any opinion he wants. But when we speak of “God, Satan and the evil in the world” there is only one truth, and that is not subject to opinion. God has revealed that truth to us in the Bible, in order that everyone may know it. It is not hidden. It does not require us to figure out what we should “believe” in.

What makes it difficult for many people today is that their world views structure their thinking around false assumptions that prevent them from discovering or even recognizing the truth. The paths and roadways of their minds will never lead to the truth – only to entertaining or comforting fantasies.

Savage is satisfied with his world view, but his concept of God is nothing more than an intellectual exercise. It fails to comprehend the depth of the spiritual realities of “God, Satan and evil in the world”. World views are like religions. People “believe” in them. But all world views are not equal. Don’t let your world view prevent you from knowing God. It’s not just about the knowledge of good and evil. It’s about the choice we make between life and death.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. – 1 Corinthians 2:14

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Belief in God, Bible, Faith and Reason | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

If My People…

Many of us are familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14,

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Solomon had just completed the construction and dedication of the temple. God used the occasion to reaffirm his covenant with Israel, reminding them that there will be consequences for their response to his covenant commands – blessings for their obedience and curses for their disobedience.

A description of these blessings and curses is detailed in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy. But be forewarned: the curses are very unsettling to read. God fully explained them to Israel through Moses, before they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 11:26-28 he said,

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.

Ancient Israel’s history was characterized by cycles of sin. As long as Israel honored God and did as he commanded, their nation was blessed with abundance, peace and prominence among their neighboring nations. But repeatedly, they would get used to those blessings, take them for granted, forget to teach their children about God as the source of their blessings and begin to live in rebellion to his commands, even accepting the worship of false gods.

When this happened, God removed his blessings from them, and allowed them to suffer from famine, disease, warfare, poverty and all the curses he had told them about through Moses. But whenever they returned to God, changed their ways and began living in righteous obedience to his commands, he again would heal them of their curses and bless them with new blessings.

Sadly, even Solomon’s reign ended in disaster, leaving the once great nation splintered, weakened, and subjected to foreign conquest and the forced relocation of the people. The cycles of sin just wouldn’t stop.

Finally, when the survival of Israel as God’s people was at a low ebb, Christ came. But what did he do? Did he kick the Roman conquerors out of the Land? No. Did he reestablish the Kingdom of David? Not in an earthly sense, but from the throne of David, he established the kingdom of God, with a new covenant.

The Messiah first came to save his people, the Jews. And that was good news. But very soon, he made the same offer of salvation to all people. In John 10:16 Jesus said it this way,

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Those “other sheep” are the gentiles, and I’m one of those guys. But notice something very important: Jesus says, “there will be one flock, one shepherd.” That means the people of God, the people he refers to when he says, “my people who are called by my name”, consist of all – Jew or gentile – who have received Messiah (the Word) and believe in his name, as stated in John 1:12:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

God’s children are God’s Kingdom. That is why in Matthew 18:3 he said,

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

That’s what being born again is all about. As a child of God, you are one of God’s people. So when God refers to his people, if he is living in you, he’s talking about you. That means God’s promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not just for ancient Israel. It’s for all Christians today.

God’s People Are To Be Holy

Romans 8:9 tells us,

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

If we who belong to him have the Spirit of Christ, then we are to be a holy people. A consistent principle throughout both the old covenant and the new covenant is that God’s people are called to be holy. Leviticus 11:44 says,

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 quotes that very passage, saying,

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Holy means to be separated and set apart for God. From 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 we read,

…As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord…

Them” refers to idol worshippers, false religions.

America: Founded For The Furtherance Of Christianity

From the outset of the founding of the United States of America – from the first pilgrims, to the colonies, to the adoption of our constitution – this nation began as a haven for Christians, with governments and institutions designed to foster, teach and spread the Christian religion in a free, predominantly Christian society. This fact has been clearly documented in many sources.

Today, secularized attitudes try hard to hide the Christian roots of our history. Nevertheless, the reality of our Christian foundations is very discoverable. Two sources I often cite are: lessons 9 and 10 of The Truth Project, by Focus on the Family, and One Nation Under God, Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America, by Dr. David C. Gibbs, Jr.

Princeton’s founding statement of 1747 included, “Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” Noah Webster (1758-1843) said, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed.” Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) wrote, “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other.”

Ignorance abounds on this issue today. America was never designed to be so secular as to exclude the influence of Biblical religions. Equally, America was never designed to be a theocracy. Christians who want to enjoy the God-given right of the free exercise of religion don’t want anyone else to suffer under religious oppression. In the spirit of 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 our founders separated themselves from the oppression of official State religions in Europe because they wanted the freedom to worship as they chose, not as governments told them to. That separation of church and state meant to keep the government out of religious affairs, not to keep religious values out of government.

Accordingly, the Constitution was designed so that non-Christians are equally free to enjoy religious freedom. However, that freedom does not warrant the restructuring of moral norms, as is currently happening in the courts as a result of utilitarianism and positivism (relativistic philosophies of law). By using law to force moral change on society, the original purpose of America’s foundation – to create a safe haven for the free expression of the Christian religion – is thwarted.

Christianity, the Bible and the God of the Bible are being denied as authoritative sources for moral standards. Rather, the government and law is assuming the authority to set moral standards for society. When that happens, we are no longer a free country because Christians, other Bible believers and traditionalists will not be allowed the free exercise of their religion. They will be forced to accede to a State-mandated morality, which is tyranny, pure and simple.

The Free Exercise Of Religion Requires Moral Restraint.

The legal argument for gay marriage is perverted and unholy. There is nothing “equal” about homosexuals “marrying” one another. God has established marriage between a man and a woman. Homosexuals want to throw out God’s definition of marriage and redefine it to include them. In order to accomplish that, they disregard the fact that God calls homosexuality an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). Denying God’s absolute authority to call sin sin, they redefine homosexuality as an acceptable, “alternate” lifestyle.

Since God is holy, to treat his word so cavalierly is an assault on his holiness. And because we too are called to be holy, if the Supreme Court of our nation decides that the Constitution permits a powerful central government to stand in opposition to the will of holy God and force all its citizens to comply with immoral laws, then Christians must make a choice: either quietly go along with everyone else who is ignoring God, or be separate from them and be holy in all our conduct.

And how, exactly, do we do that? Will pastors be forced to perform wedding ceremonies for gays under fear of losing their positions? Will para-church ministries be forced to hire and work with people who do not share their values or beliefs? Will Christian business owners be forced to do business with and even hire individuals who flagrantly disregard Biblical morals?

These questions are not hypothetical. These kinds of situations are already happening. Christians right now are being denied their freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of association by their own State and federal governments. Here in California, State law illegally requires churches and other religious organizations to pay for abortion coverage in their insurance policies, in violation of the federal Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment.

Yet many Christians don’t say anything, for fear of losing their job or being sued. They cower behind the silent witness of “nice” masks. How will God react to this kind of go-along to get-along attitude? Some have said that America will reap God’s judgement and that we will suffer greatly for the sins of our nation. But even prior to God’s total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he told Abraham that if he found just ten righteous men in Sodom, he would spare the city (Genesis 18:32). So, if there remains only a remnant of righteous persons in America, we may escape total destruction.

Some Christians comfort themselves with the hope of a pre-tribulation rapture. But surely there is something more important than escaping tribulation. There are so many verses that give us hope, not the least of which is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). In anticipation of heavenly rewards (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23; Philippians 3:14, etc), shouldn’t God’s people be content to abide in Christ, regardless of what happens?

If God finds us not living as he commanded, even if he spares us from destruction, he will withhold his rewards and blessings from us. As in the days of the old covenant, there are blessings for the good that we do and curses for the evil that we do. Even Moses was denied the reward of entering the promised land because he “did not believe in me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people” (Numbers 20:12).

God is still holy, and he still calls his people to be holy. What reward or blessing will God withhold from us if we, as the people of God allow unholiness to be the law of the land? As you pray for the Supreme Court to do the right thing, remember also to pray for God’s people. We, too, must do the right thing. The issue of what the body of Christ does has far greater implications than the issue of Man-made laws.

As Dr. Laura used to say, “Now go do the right thing”.

Posted in Change, Jurisprudence, Righteousness in government, U.S. Constitution | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Death To America

Got your attention?  Death to America isn’t something I wish.  It’s something I have heard others say and it’s something we see happening before our very eyes.  Just as when any organism dies, we are witnessing the breakdown and failure of life-giving systems and life-sustaining functions.

Replacing the unifying voice of We The People is a cacophony of selfish, nagging groups, each vying for attention to get what they want.  But as a nation, our vigor has been declining and the force of our will is subsiding.  We are tired, discouraged, as if a spirit of apathy has descended onto the hearts of Americans.

At base is the question of what is right and what is wrong.  Relativist world views seem to dominate our culture. We are constantly told we should embrace all cultures (except for the traditions of Western Civilization that gave birth to this nation).  We no longer have one American culture.  And that is part of the death of America.

My church home study group is currently going through Focus on the Family’s video series, The Truth Project http://www.thetruthproject.org. hosted by Dr. Del Tackett.  It identifies six “social spheres” that are part of God’s design: Man’s relationship to God, the family, labor, the community, the church and the state.  Lessons 9 and 10 of the 12 lesson series cover the state (government).  The introduction to Lesson 9 reads,

The government can exert a tremendous power for good in the affairs of mankind.  But it also has the potential to become the most horrendously abusive of all the social spheres.

In this tour, we explore this dual nature of the divinely instituted state.  When and why does something meant for good become so bad?  And how should Christians respond?

It is precisely this question (How should we respond?) that many Americans seem to be dodging.  “What can I do?” they say.  And then they proceed to withdraw, stay silent and do nothing.  But if the truth really matters, the best thing we can do is talk to one another, say what’s on our minds, be confident of our convictions, and thereby impact those around us.

News programs tend to make us think in national terms, but the reality of the state begins at the community level.  Simply put, the community is the people working and living around us.  Each Christian has the ability to impact his community, merely by being a Christian and intentionally interacting with others in his community. The character of America shouldn’t be defined by a ruling class, but by “We The People”.

A vital organ of America’s body politic is our Constitution.  That document enumerates the powers of the federal government, reserving all other powers to the States and to the People (Article X).  This is called self-governance, which places responsibility directly on the shoulders of all citizens.  And it is this responsibility that brings to mind Luke 12:48:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

This principle has to do with our responsibility to the LORD as his servants — a concept that has become foreign to a growing number of Americans. The fact that the state is a social sphere of God’s design, in which we are to be under his authority, makes it imperative that we be responsible before God for all our civic duties.

Freedom means ruling ourselves.  Liberty isn’t just doing what you please.  It means you accept the responsibilities of civil rule under the authority of God and in compliance to his precepts.

In the context of American government, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1) takes on a different meaning for its citizens than for the subjects of a monarchy. We are responsible to hold our authorities responsible. See Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission, by Timothy and Chuck Baldwin http://romans13truth.com.

With that in mind, please watch this 38 minute video of Publius Huldah addressing the issue of Islam and Shariah law: https://vimeo.com/63431881.  The sad fact is that the only reason we face the incursion of Muslim values and Muslim law in America is because we have created a vacuum by denying the God of the Bible, the morality of the Bible and a system of law and government derived from the Bible.

How do you respond to the death of America?  Do you consider it a done deal?  Have you decided it’s better to swim with the current, despite the fact that it’s taking you away from where you know the LORD wants you to go?

Our God is a God of new life and rebirth.  He not only conquered sin by dying on the cross.  He conquered death by rising from the grave.  I don’t believe the LORD wants American Christians to accept Death to America.  Don’t forget his promise:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

 

 

 

Posted in American Culture, Christian philosophy, Constitution | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is My Country

After the 2012 elections I wrote a post entitled, “Who Cares?”, lamenting the fact that in California 9 and a half million voters didn’t even care enough to cast a ballot. I ended the article by quoting the lyrics to This Is My Country, written in 1940 by Don Raye and Al Jacobs. I learned this song in elementary school. It was the theme song of a television program my class was allowed to watch in someone’s home near the school. Our school didn’t have its own TV in those days.

This program was my first exposure to how American government was designed to work, the history of the founding of our nation and what rights and responsibilities American citizenship entailed. I was only in the 1st or 2nd grade at the time, but it instilled in me the sure conviction that America isn’t just any old country. It’s my country and I share in both the duties and the benefits of ownership.

Here again is the song that inspired me then, and continues to remind me of both the responsibilities and blessings of being an American:

This Is My Country 

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

What difference if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love for all of these.
I only know I swell with pride and deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory Paint the breeze.

With hand upon my heart I thank the Lord
for this, my native land.
For all I love is here within her gates.
My soul is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine, my own United States!

This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice.
I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

[I was unable to find the version from the television program.  If you have never heard the song before, you can hear Tennessee Ernie Ford’s rendition at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zqoR3yWu2k or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s rendition at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ruXC9-MdN4.  Please note, I am in no way endorsing the Mormon religion.]

These days this kind of patriotic song might be criticized for being too corny, too saccharine, out-of-date, or limited in appeal to the “bigoted religious right”. But when it was broadcast (I believe it was 1952) it had broad support and was generally received with enthusiasm. Our armed forces were fighting and dying in Korea and the end of World War Two was a recent memory.

America is my country, and I love my country because it is mine. It isn’t simply because I live here. It’s because our founders gave us a nation built on the premise that the people are sovereign. The government consists of the people – of, by and for the people. And I am a part of that people. My county is much more than a “homeland”.

The noble experiment that is known as the United States of America is not like any other nation on Earth. America is unfettered promise, abundant opportunity, inspiration to greatness, overflowing blessings and the liberty to dream, to hope and to try.

But many Americans do not share my feelings of ownership of our country. They have been taught to feel hatred, shame and guilt for ills perceived by secular world views that do not grasp the universal implications of freedom in Christ. Rather than thinking in terms of how the application of Biblical principles can sustain a free people by acknowledging the authority of God, they have turned to the transience of human “wisdom”.

Godless wisdom is not based on principles, but on circumstances. Therefore secular thinking sees equality different from the Christian world view that established America. The equality taught in the Bible is equality “under God”. That not only means each person has the free will to obey or rebel against God, but also it means everyone is equally bound to God’s standards and authority. Under God morals are absolute and sin does not hold equality with righteousness. Yet that is exactly the secular view, which sees moral virtue as relative and circumstantial.

I love America because the freedom given to me in the form of American heritage is the freedom to promulgate Christianity and inculcate the Christian religion in its people, however we choose. Not only were the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as explained in the Federalist Papers, born of thinkers with a Biblical world view, but “they drew from a tradition that had been in existence for a century and a half, beginning with the Mayflower Compact and continuing with a number of even more highly developed Puritan covenants” (p. 36, One Nation Under God, Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America, Gibbs & Newcombe).

That tradition was carried forward not only in the founding documents of the colonies, but in education.  From the New England Primer to the founding of the earliest major Universities, the purpose of education was to further the cause of Christian professions.  The Professions were seen as ways to develop the profession (affirmation) of the Christian faith through the application of faith into work.

There is so much ignorance today regarding this issue. We may not be a Christian nation now, but that’s because our society and culture has been increasingly turning its back on God. But America was designed with Christian liberty in mind. Separation of church and state meant to keep the government out of the business of religion, not to keep religion out of the business of government. Most people don’t seem to understand that. The primary purpose for freedom of religion (meaning the Christian religion) was to make sure there was no official state religion supported by taxation.

Such was the practice in Europe and in some States early on. But our founders were careful to avoid letting that happen at the national level. Nevertheless, Biblical education and an understanding of the gospel was commonly accepted and encouraged because America’s government was designed by men with a well-developed Christian world view. And that design was intended for a (Biblically) moral citizenry.

Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.George Washington 

Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness. – Samuel Adams

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.John Adams

Contrary to the rabid criticisms of some atheists, a government designed to afford religious liberty to Christians is not the same as a theocracy. Christians don’t demand that everyone become a Christian. On the contrary, Christian tolerance accepts the fact that faith is a product of the will. Therefore the best setting for Christianity to prosper is one in which the free will of everyone is respected. That means non-Christians are free to practice their faith however they see fit, as long as Christians also remain free to exercise their faith.

Hatred and intolerance of Christianity has become so politically correct and the rewriting of our history has so distorted the underpinnings of our government that any public mention of God is now considered offensive. That is not freedom of religion, nor is it a matter of the separation of church and state. It is godlessness, pure and simple, and is contrary to the values and vision of the founders of this nation.

This is my country. But the godless people who live here are trying to take it from me, aided and abetted by the secular world views which have even been adopted by professing Christians. Also helping in this theft of a nation are all those citizens who do not vote. When only half of registered voters actually vote, it means a minority of the population is electing our representatives.

And that’s been the case for a long time. Gradually, popular understanding of the Constitution has degraded into a twisted mutant of what it was designed to be. Our elected officials take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, but time has proven that to be meaningless lip service. They really don’t represent us at all. They do whatever they want.

They are abusing my country and what it stands for, choosing licentiousness over liberty with restraint. They don’t love my country. They are doing their best to ruin it. Nor do they love the God this nation was founded to honor. They are trying to legislate God out of politics, out of government, out of the public lives of the people. And half the population doesn’t even care enough to vote.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 records,

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

If the American people were God’s people, wouldn’t we would pray for our country? Wouldn’t we turn from our evil ways? If we did, wouldn’t he answer our prayers? Since this is my country, I’d like to ask God’s people to pray for America. She needs our prayers. Please pray. You know who you are.

And if you’re on the fence, consider Jesus Christ. He died for your sins so that you can be forgiven and be right with him. And he rose from the grave so that you can have eternal life when you accept him as your Lord and Savior. Just pray to receive him and ask his forgiveness. Let him take the lead in your life from here on out. He will make you a new creature, a citizen of heaven.

And when we pray, remember our home in God’s heaven is even better than the blessings of freedom we have in America. Our dual citizenship not only means enjoying the blessings, but requires us to do the right thing.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

This is my country, but it also belongs to you.  Will you vote in 2016?.  

Posted in American Culture, Christian Attitudes, Vote | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Truth, Greatness And Netanyahu

Greatness in statesmanship is a rare commodity. Not every generation is blessed to know a truly great statesman. Those who have never seen greatness in a leader have no idea of how to identify or measure greatness in their own generation without having learned history sufficiently well to see their present leaders in the context of world events.

Having an accurate historical perspective requires stepping away from agendas and partisan tactics. You have to have the big picture in mind. You have to be strong on fundamentals. You have to be focused on the truth. As obvious as that may sound, that perspective and those conditions are almost as rare as greatness itself.

Because great leaders take stands on great issues, where the substance of morality and truth are central to their cause, they have bitter and vociferous enemies who take every opportunity to malign them, mischaracterize them, and obfuscate the cause for which they stand.

On Tuesday May 3, 2015 a truly great statesman spoke before a joint session of the U.S. Congress: Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. As is the case with all great men, his enemies do all they can to oppose him, criticize him and confuse public opinion. But all it takes to recognize his greatness is to listen to what he says. The only people who fail to recognize his honesty and good judgement are those whose petty agendas are threatened by doing what is right.

I am a patriotic American. But I do not trust or believe what my own State Department says. I do not trust or believe anything the Obama administration says. I do not trust them because for the past six years they have proven themselves to be corrosive to constitutional government, destructive to domestic tranquility and have put forth unprincipled, undependable and un-American foreign relations.

Part of this abysmal record stems from the globalist perspective that has metastasized throughout both the Democrat and Republican parties and is destroying our constitutional government and our national sovereignty. But even more telling has been our national departure from the traditional Biblical world view to more secular world views. The historical significance of Israel, as presented in the Bible, has increasingly become lost to a generation that does not revere the God of the Bible, but rather scorns the Biblical world view.

Essentially, the political forces aligned against Israel are godless. It’s not simply a matter of having a political disagreement with Israel or Prime Minister Netanyahu. It’s a matter of deep enmity between those godless geopolitical forces and the national sovereignty of the world’s only Jewish state.

Netanyahu pointedly compared our founding document which, calls for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” with Iran’s founding document, which calls for the world-wide spread of Jihad. Ignorant statements have been made about Jihad. It is not a noble struggle for the betterment of mankind. Jihad is holy war. And holy war is what we see happening in Syria and Iraq today: innocents being slaughtered in the most heinous of ways. Jihad is Islamic terrorism.

I believe Benjamin Netanyahu. I trust him. He stands against the scourge of Jihad and for the freedom not only of Israel but of all the peoples of the world. And judging by the reception his speech received, I would say most of our Congress are willing to stand with him, too. But not Obama. Not Pelosi. Not the other small-minded, godless enemies of truth.

These days Christians often quote Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)

Who are the “we” of that sentence? It refers to all believers, collectively the church. So, yes, Christians (the church) are not to wage war against people. However, nations do in fact wage wars against people. And you won’t find any Bible passages that prohibit nations from the right and proper use of their military forces. What you do find is Jesus’ instruction to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, which means if our country goes to war, Christians are to support it.

If our federal government was still operating according to the Constitution, the act of going to war would be preceded by Congress making a formal declaration of war. If such a declaration were to be based on our national defense, or in accordance with a legitimate treaty, then there should be no moral dilemma for Christians not to support that war effort.

Let me make this very clear. The Holy War is something being done TO us by religious fanatics. Our fighting to protect freedom is self preservation, self defense, not a “Crusade”. The only Crusade is the Jihad of the militant Islamicists, who do so out of religious conviction, evidenced in what they call themselves: The Islamic State; The Islamic Republic, etc. Theirs is a religious war. Ours is a non-sectarian defense of peaceful and humane civilization. Nations are not defending against the Jihad of Muslims for religious reasons. And Christians who join in this protection of life are not fighting a “holy war”.

During World War Two, Winston Churchill provided great leadership for what we called “the Free World”. Even then, Churchill had many detractors. But his wisdom sustained freedom-loving people and proved true in the end. We now live in a time when we are less free and more dependent on government. Now, instead of seeing nations invading nations, we are seeing multi-national Islamic extremists wiping out civilian populations and wielding power through terror.

Surrounded and threatened by this most barbaric form of war stands the tiny nation of Israel, a nation targeted for destruction by her terrorist-supporting neighbors. By the grace of Almighty God, the nation of Israel has been given a great leader — a leader who is facing and meeting the challenges of our time. Would that the United States of America had such a leader. Every believer needs to be on their knees before the LORD, asking that he raise up godly leaders for our time — leaders who stand for truth and do not fall for lies.

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