A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth


Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

July 29, 2023

A Message To Our Politicans and Citizens: We Need A Biblical Worldview!


I don't know about you, but as we enter into the campaign season for the next Presidential election in 2024, I am weary of the empty promises we hear from the politicians. Our country is in dire straits -- morally, politically, militarily, economically, and culturally. We desperately need to invite God into our situation, and we need a leader that will listen to His counsel, instead of pursuing his own power and wealth. 

Recently, the candidates appeared at the Iowa caucuses, presenting their assurances of getting us back on track and restoring America to "its greatness", however that looks in the context of their political ideologies. It is my opinion that they need to be seeking God's ideas and ideals that will influence their political theories and policies. That's what I want to hear from them! 

And, of course, to appease their Christian audience, the candidates met with a varied group of pastors to speak to them and advise them. Granted, I know that there are still righteous men who seek political office for the Glory of God, and I know there are Pastors that sincerely want to minister to the souls and spirits of men seeking the highest office in the land, but I am praying that EVERY candidate and EVERY Pastor heard the message from Pastor Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Cleveland's Parkside Church. 

In the most straightforward and clear language possible, Pastor Begg explained to all the candidates that what they needed to know [and express to all the people of our nation] is very simple ... they need to communicate and demonstrate a Biblical worldview. That's what the people of this great nation need! I know it may sound trite and clich├ęd, but I want to convey to you the wise words of this Man of God. It applies to all of us.

Pastor Beggs noted that every candidate referred to "the crushing, catastrophic mental health problem that is pervasive in the nation". He thought it was interesting that out of all the topics presented, they all mentioned mental health. But how do we explain the fact that we have so many people in dire straits in so many areas of their lives? Pastor Beggs had an answer .. .When a nation turns its back on the living God, it's not because the people believe in nothing; in fact, they believe in all kinds of things, such as lies that have been hard-wired into the thinking of a number of our generations. And most importantly, there are lies that represent a hostility to a Biblical view of the world -- and it's a hostility towards those that want to live as Christians in a world that doesn't like what Christians believe. 

Pastor Beggs told the candidates that if they wanted to really fix the problems of America, they needed to adopt a Biblical worldview and start from there. They need to govern from a Biblical worldview and its belief system. And if they didn't understand what that means or couldn't identify what a Biblical worldview is, he could tell them in four words ... Good, Bad, New, and Perfect. And then he proceeded to explain the truths and beliefs of what a Biblical worldview endorses.

GOOD. God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created man in His image... God saw everything He had made and it was good; it was perfect. The world is a reflection of God, the Creator, and He has spoken it into existence. There is no one in the world that can ignore He has created the world. He has made it known in His creation, in our consciences, and "set eternity in the hearts of men". (Ecclesiastes). Pastor Beggs told the candidates that they needed to believe in the truth that God's invisible power and His divine authority has been clearly perceived (Romans 1). They need to believe that it is on the basis that we have been created in the image of God that we have morality, truth, and an eternity we will one day inhabit. 

He went on to explain that this is a worldview that is VASTLY different from the generations that have been brought up in our lifetime. They have been told we can't speak with any authority at all about there being a Creator God, who made us and to whom we are accountable. Instead, we are to listen to the scientists and the post-Enlightenment thinkers who want to separate the reality of our living faith from any sense of rationality at all. And they end up with nothing to say!

Stephen Hawking [the theoretical physicist whose theory of exploding black holes drew upon both relativity theory and quantum mechanics] once said that if there is no God and we've evolved by chance through millions of years, then everything that happens, good or bad, must be viewed as random and pitiless indifference. If that is true, then nothing has meaning, and everything is irrelevant. But that is where our society is headed if we don't reclaim a Biblical worldview.

BAD. Here's another truth that Pastor Beggs encouraged the candidates to consider. The world we know today is not the world as God made it. It is the world as man has spoiled it. Men listened to the lie and they doubted God's goodness. They rejected His wisdom and they rebelled against His authority. And what happened? They were banished from His presence. So now do you understand why we feel so separated and divided as a nation? Why there is such anger and animosity among the peoples? As the philosophers question, did we just invent Him as a crutch to get through life? Here's what he urged the candidates to understand ... There's an invisible boundary between us as sinners and God, who is completely holy. We can cross that boundary on our own terms or in our own time. But there is only one way there can be reconciliation, and that is if God chooses to penetrate the boundary from His side and come to meet us. 

Pastor Beggs went on to say that without a Biblical worldview there is a sense of lostness in the world; a desert wasteland that can't be rejuvenated by a few man-made theological proclamations [such as "Revival is coming"!] that try and suggest that things are better than they are. Why do we have that sense of lostness? Why are we so incredibly angry? Why is it that we, mere mortals, have decided we can enforce judgment ourselves? That we can decide who can be listened to? 

How did this happen? The pastor thinks it's partly this ... that having decided there is no God, who is the Judge of all the earth, we will become the one to execute judgment and righteousness. Since our society has no objective reality on the basis on which He might judge, then we're going to have to do it for Him [or for ourselves]. It's not that we've decided to do it by false idols; but that we will do it in His place. That leads to this situation: people are so angry about what we Christians believe, they've just decided to cancel us. "We'll punish you; we'll fix you; we'll do what your God is supposed to do". So, ultimately, how can God look upon us without displeasure, and how can we look upon Him without fear?

NEW. But here is the Good News! Into the "badness" of a world that has rejected Him, God, Himself has come! We have to be bold enough to say this out loud ... Jesus Christ is not a figment of our imagination. He made such an impact upon history -- even though it's trendy to dispense with BC and AD -- we know there was a time before Jesus, and a time after Him. The reason He came was to make all things new. The reason He came was to die for our sins. We have to be able to say to our friends that we're all made in the image of God, without exception! Every child conceived is because of the mindful purpose of God! It doesn't happen simply as a result of sex, because it doesn't happen every time, but when it does -- GOD DID IT! We have to be able to say we are all made in His image; we're all sinful before Him; and we're all in need of a salvation that can only be provided by Lord Jesus. We can be restored by the act of Jesus who died for our sins. 

But here is what a Biblical worldview understands ... to contemplate that Jesus saves us is an offense to man's pride, both intellectually (I'm too clever to believe stuff like that), and morally (I'm a good person. I don't need that). And here's where the good pastor used a sense of humor to talk to the candidate's fleshly minds. He used two Beatles songs to explain that there are two classes of people (and not Republican or Democrat). Those who say, "We Can Work It Out", and those who say, "Help". 

And then he fashioned his message to political candidates to include those who are lost and in need of a Savior. He stated that it's not that our "friends" have considered the evidence of Jesus and found it wanting -- they haven't considered the evidence at all! Belief in Jesus is historical, rational, and universal. It is recorded; you don't have to disengage your mind, and it is for everyone. It's the voice that has gone out to the very ends of the earth, not just a select few. And the application of it is personal. Yet, us Christians are considered to be engaged in superstitious beliefs from a primitive by-gone age, taking our message of mythology and bigotry to the streets.

We will hear, "I thought Jesus made you perfect, but you're not a perfect person at all". My answer is this: He declared me righteous and He's in the process of making me look perfect. And speaking of PERFECT, it's the next word we must consider in our Biblical worldview. John writes that "we are now the children of God. But we do not yet appear what we shall be, for when He appears, we will be like Him". Our leaders and the unbelievers need to understand that there's going to be a new Heaven and a new Earth. We will crumble into dust and the universe will pass away. 

And as for the hot topic of Climate Change, yes, we should take care of what we've got, but to the extremists, we say, "Relax, the Creator has this covered". So, if they believe there is no God, the extremists think there's no one to fix everything except them. That's why they're so anxious! But here's the truth [for the politicians] ... the perfection and longing of the human heart are all met in Jesus. After all, who wants to live in all this conflict, wars, and disharmony? The souls of a country are made up of the souls of individuals. And that was the goal of Woodstock in 1969 -- to change the soul of the country. But it's Jesus that provides the rest for our souls. He says, "Come to Me, take my yoke, learn from Me; I'm gentle and humble".

Then Pastor Beggs speaks directly to the political candidates: "If you're really serious about serving this country, you ought to be thinking about three things: Integrity, Bravery, and Humility. INTEGRITY: God is concerned about Truth in all the inward parts of a man or woman.  [I'm sure that not all politicians are greedy, corrupt, or liars. But we're hard-pressed these days to believe any of them -- my opinion]. Integrity is a must among those who would lead this land.

BRAVERY: What kind? The kind that's prepared to take a stand against racial prejudice [from all sides and of any kind]. The kind that is prepared to take on the educational chaos that is represented in the schools of our world. The kind that is prepared to take on the onslaught against the unborn. The truth is that there are two patients, two heartbeats, and two separate blood supplies. The Rights of the Patient [which are plastered on the walls of hospitals all over America] extend to the tiniest of patients, too. There is no freedom in this country if a woman is able to rid herself of her unborn child. You [politicians] need to be brave enough to say, "Jesus came for the margins of society. You need to affirm the immutability of biological sex ... if you were born a man, you will die as a man, no matter what you do to yourself. And you need to be brave enough to wear a T-shirt that says, "Real women aren't men".

HUMILITY: Guess what? Presidents and Prime Ministers aren't really who they think they are. They're important and God established them, but they're not the movers and shakers of the world -- God is the One who does all the moving. The prophets have said it best: "He sits above the earth,  and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers". Of course, we're not real grasshoppers because we are made in the image of God. But we need to remember this [in our humility], "Don't let the rich man boast in his riches, but let him boast in this: that he knows Me, the Living and True God".

If you're a believer, you're in Christ, living in this world as a member of another world. Candidates, it is past time to oppose the lies -- no God, no judgments, no objective truth. It's past time to oppose the lies, but at the same time showing compassion for those who have been deceived by them. It's past time to pray for a massive spiritual awakening. 

Pastor Beggs then concluded his message to the candidates by praying for them. And I would like to add my own admonition to the candidates ... If you will humble yourselves to deliver [and seek] this Biblical worldview to the citizens of this country, then God can use you to turn this country around. We need a President that represents God's heart for the people of this nation in Integrity, Bravery, and Humility. But if you are going to preach your own brand of political lies and promises, then you will deliver this nation and its peoples into bondage to the Enemy of this world. Now is the time for you to take stock of where your heart lies. I will pray for you, and pray that the people of America turn their hearts to the Lord and receive His counsel on where He wants to take this country. Thank you, Pastor Beggs, for a true Biblical worldview and your honesty with these candidates. More like you need to step up for the glory of God.

Colossians 2:8   See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary [material] principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.

 


 

June 14, 2017

"I Will Break The Pride Of Your Power"

     This is the warning that God gave the ancient nation of Israel should they be rebellious and reject His statutes and commandments, and break His covenant.  This would be the penalty if they turned away from Him to follow after leaders who led them to worship pagan idols; and leaders who abandoned God to increase their own wealth and power; or leaders who neglected God's moral laws to serve their own lusts and flesh.
     You know, I've had good reason to take my eyes off the world stage for the last year or so.  And it was never made clearer than what I've witnessed happening in our own nation in the past couple of months.  The leaders of our country seem to have lost all sense of decorum and legitimacy.  There is no respect for the duly elected President of the United States -- and whether you like him or not, the idea that it is entertainment to promote his beheading or assassination should be repugnant to every law-abiding citizen and person of faith.  The fact that this repulsive image is welcomed by both media and politicians should tell you the rate of the decline of our republic.
     History is said to be a great predictor of the future.  And as a Christian, I am appalled at the state of my nation.  But I also see a clear parallel in the history of ancient Israel and Judah.  The success and well-being of a nation and its citizens is greatly impacted by what kind of men are in leadership roles.  Today, our leaders are more focused on secularism, consumerism, and moral relativism than Jesus's teachings and living by the principles established by God.
     What I am seeing in my country today is no different than what the prophet Isaiah saw during Israel's prosperous reign.  He could just as easily have been speaking to us when he warned, "O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths" (Isaiah 3:12). And isn't his admonishment of  “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) just as appropriate for today?
     Leaders make a difference in the continued survival of their nations, and the Bible records that even the nations favored by God lived or died by the influence and actions of their leaders.  Both Israel and Judah had every advantage from being in close relationship with YHWH, yet their leaders ultimately led them to adopt pagan ways, to worship false gods, and to reject God's commandments.  When looking at a rating chart of the Kings of Israel, it is astonishing to see that from Jeroboam to Hoshea, a matter of 207 years, they were all rated as some degree of Bad.
     The Kings of Judah didn't fare much better.  Although Judah existed for 344 years, the reigns of its kings, from Rehoboam to Zedekiah were rated Bad, Devilish, Worst and Wicked; although six kings attempted to reform the nation and return it to God's ways, receiving a rating of Good.  But, ultimately, the nations of Israel and Judah were both taken into captivity -- with the ten tribes of Israel vanishing into history.  The nation of Judah was resurrected by King Cyrus and it is generally accepted that the descendants of that ancient nation are among the inhabitants of the modern nation of Israel.
     As I look upon the utter chaos that seems to be at the heart of governing leaders today, I want to thunder like Jeremiah, and shout at our misguided and hateful Congress. These are the leaders "who try to make My people forget My name… and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness".  Yes, I know that this nation is a melting pot and we are to respect and help all people try to achieve the "American Dream".  But what I'm seeing now is more like a nightmare! And the fact that everything Christian is excoriated, and the ways of God are ridiculed, warns my spirit that this nation will also pay a penalty for its disobedience to the God who so richly blessed it at its founding.
     I confess that I am embarrassed and ashamed of how the leaders of my country are acting.  It's as if all common sense and decency have left our shores.  The Bible makes it very clear that the nations who obey God will be blessed.  I'm afraid that our leaders have been deceived into thinking it is by their own power and abilities that we have become a prosperous nation. I'm afraid they have forgotten the statutes and commandments of our God who judges between the nations, and either raises them up or destroys them.
     I would advise our leaders to read Leviticus, Chapter 26 and hearken to what God says He will do to a nation that walks contrary to Him.  If He was willing to execute His wrath on His beloved nations of Israel and Judah, what makes our leaders think this nation will be immune?  And, yes, Leviticus is an ancient book of the Old Covenant, but for those of us who know the God of Leviticus to be the same God as today, we regard Him with Awe, Reverence, and an expectation of His Righteous Judgment.  There is a definite spirit of Unrighteous Pride in our nation's capitol and I pray that corrupted minds and hearts will be renewed, so that men's pride in their own power will be broken by contrite and repentant hearts, and this land can once again walk erect with our God.  I know the following Scripture is in vogue these days, but it has never been more true. Please seek His face!

UPDATE:  As evidenced by the violence in Alexandria, VA against members of Congress this morning (June 14), this nation is reaping what it has sowed.  Among our many sins, men have become lovers of self, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, fierce, despisers of those that are good, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. May God have mercy on us and hear our prayers for Godly and righteous leaders!

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".   

December 12, 2016

Gladly Set Apart

     It has been interesting, from a social perspective, to see how those Americans who backed the losing political candidate for President have responded.  Mind you, this post is not meant to disparage political views or positions. We live in a country where everyone has an equal vote and no matter who you voted for, you have a right to your opinions. And let's face it, over the last 16 years in our political history, not everyone has been happy.  In fact, after each election, there has been approximately one-half of the country who have not been happy with the results.
     I am writing this post because of what I have observed among friends whom I like and respect; people who are successful in business, and caring and generous people.  But their dissatisfaction with our new President-Elect has turned them into people that I hardly recognize.  They are angry, and seem to be willing to color anyone who doesn't agree with them with a broad brush of negative attributes.  These are the same people who accepted you and your differences in a spirit of harmony and mutual respect -- as long as they perceived their social and political persuasions carried the dominant position.  
     That wouldn't bother me so much -- knowing that political dominance is never permanent, and the pendulum always swings back the other way -- except that the hostility and ire has now transitioned into a vocal criticism of my Christian beliefs.
     A recent conversation started off innocently enough... comparing favorite Christmas movies of our youth. (Mine, by the way is It's A Wonderful Life -- you can't beat it for a good old-fashioned dose of sentimentality and a message of the importance of every man's life).  The conversation then evolved into the whole phenomenon of "ugly Christmas sweaters".  And one of our friends commented that one of the tackiest sweaters he had seen was a picture of Jesus, with "Birthday Boy" written underneath.
     I agreed with the tastelessness of such a display and then opened the proverbial can of worms by remarking that our Lord's birthday is not even on December 25th. You could feel the tension in the room amp up. Thus began a discussion that went something like this...
     "Well, you know that no one knows when he was born, right?"
     I replied, "I agree, there is no exact historical document that states when His birthday is, but when the Bible says at His Birth, "there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night", it can be proven that this would not have happened in late December, because it is winter then, and the fields would be full of snow.  The shepherds would have brought their flocks in from the fields.  It is more likely that Jesus was born in the fall, perhaps September or early October, when the shepherds remained in the fields with the flocks".
     This seemed to agitate our friends even more.  "You can't really go by what the Bible says; it is just a book of allegorical stories.  These are the same stories that have been told by other ancient peoples since the beginning of time.  The Bible has no supremacy in these stories".
     By this time, I can sense that this conversation is growing more heated and I understood one thing clearly.  People who have rejected the truth of Jesus and the Bible will not be convinced by someone like me; someone who they clearly think is delusional and intellectually inferior.  They need concrete academic and scientific proof, and belief based on the absence of data, or without evidence -- in other words, FAITH -- is something they cannot logically conceive. But I wanted to make my position very clear.... "It comes down to if you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, or not.  I happen to believe it is."  And with that, my husband wisely steered the conversation to safer subjects.
     But, as often happens, I think of things I wish I had said long after the encounter.  I should have pointed out that perhaps the reason so many of the ancient texts, such as the Sumerian, Annunaki, and Ugaritic texts, mimic the stories in the Bible, is perhaps because YHWH, the Most High God, tried to  reveal Himself to those peoples, but they rejected Him.  And it wasn't until Abraham answered His call, that a people were worthy to be set apart as His chosen. A good argument, but I know that those who refuse to hear His voice will not be swayed by any explanation I present.  Only the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts and turn them from their stubborn ways.
     But it saddens me. As I said, I really like these people, and I have known they were unbelievers since our friendship began.  Our expressions of faith were always well-received and never an impediment. But I'm afraid the dynamics have changed with this new political season, and those of us with Faith are now inextricably tied to their dissatisfaction with the political climate. That's OK.  If it sets me apart from those who put their faith in men and politics, then I'm happy with that designation.  And if it gives me more opportunity to be a vocal defender of my faith, then so be it.  I'm thrilled to talk about my God and His Word!
     In the end, this shouldn't surprise me -- or you, if you are experiencing the same kind of reaction. Our Lord told us we would be hated because of His Name. And, as His followers, we must endure and stand for Him, being promised our reward of salvation for all of eternity.  I can handle being sneered at and despised; I won't be discouraged nor deviate from my path. I just wish my friends could share my peace and my joy. And I would love for them to come along on this exhilarating journey!

Romans 13:11   "Do this, knowing that this is a critical time. It is already the hour for you to awaken from your sleep [of spiritual complacency]; for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed [in Christ]".

December 2, 2016

Ruling The Tribes of Israel: Democracy or Representative Republic?

   
     In this season of political malcontents, we are seeing a deliberate attempt to disqualify our Presidential election results.  We hear complaints that the voice of the multitudes should be the deciding factor, since Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.  "We are a Democracy, and democratic rules should apply", they scream. Others are shouting, "No, we are a representative republic!"  Which is it?
     Here's what everyone needs to understand:  Terminology is very important. A common definition of “republic” is, to quote the American Heritage Dictionary, “A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them” — we are that. A common definition of “democracy” is, “Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives” — we are that, too.
     The United States is not a direct democracy, in the sense of a country in which laws (and other government decisions) are made predominantly by majority vote. But we are a representative democracy, which is a form of democracy. But we are also a constitutional democracy, in which courts restrain, in some measure, the democratic will. And the United States is therefore also a constitutional republic. Indeed, the United States might be labeled a constitutional federal representative democracy.
     Our problem in understanding our form of government is inherently a problem in education.  I'm afraid our schools do not teach the truth about the founding of our form of government, and they certainly do not teach the Biblical foundation upon which our government was structured.  That's right! We can look to the Bible to see how God structured governing rules for the Tribes of Israel. And then we can decide if that was the model our Founding Fathers had in mind.
    The republican form of government, as we know it, is representative (not democratic) so that a selected group of leaders make national decisions. Those leaders may be selected by popular consent, but decisions about specific laws are not voted on by everyone. Thus, in a republic, it is not a single king or ruler who decides policy, nor is it a vote of every man, rather it is the vote of representatives of the people who make decisions for the nation.
     And we can see that model in God's revealed plan for human government through the Hebrew republic founded under Moses and Joshua in the Old Testament. For instance, when Joshua presided over the division of Israel (described in Joshua 18:4-5), where seven tribes had yet to receive their tribal lands, the people were to select three men from each tribe. But Joshua was to “send them”, words which seem to indicate a consecration, a sending, as the men went forth to represent their respective tribes. The governmental work of dividing up the land was not done by Joshua alone, and it was not done by democratic vote. It was accomplished through representatives under the authority of an executive (Joshua) and the election of the people. This is an example of their republic in action.
      There are many other references to the chiefs of the people, or of the princes, and how they interacted on behalf of the people. All of these were a model for American thought during our founding period, helping to keep us from the despotism of a too strong central authority, or from the mob-rule of a democracy.
     Ancient Israel also provided the original example of ‘We the People’ through their covenantal oaths at the outset of their national experiment. Though they were twelve tribes, God treated them as a single nation traveling together in a single cause in a united land.  We the People, is a term used to describe that uniting of individual free states under a Godly, covenantal structure.
     We the People who established the nation or exercised its highest powers. Those pagan nations were never able to maintain an advantageous combination of representative government with an executive head. The citizens forever found themselves caught between the oppressions of violent, lawless monarchs or the tyranny of anarchy.
     I'm pretty sure that when our Founding Fathers were writing the Constitution, they did not have the Roman or Greek Empires in mind.  In those governments it was not
     No, it was the Hebrew republic that defined and gave an example for a righteous civil government. Just read the opening lines of our Constitution:  We the People, of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Can you see the example that the Hebrew covenant with their God and their fellow tribesmen provided?
     During the founding era of our nation the broadly accepted law commentary was Blackstone’s.  These were Commentaries on the Laws of England, an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765–1769.  Sir Blackstone assumed everywhere in his commentary that the law of Moses was entirely valid and still the only right basis for any nation. God’s law was assumed as the foundation for common law rulings. It was the law of the people and the law of our land in the early years. As we became more atheistic and godless we traded God’s law, the law of the Hebrew republic, for man-made statute law. Now we are oppressed by an unending myriad of statutes that bind us hand and foot while they wind their way through Washington.
     So, it's time to stop the rants and tirades, demanding that we need to abide by our "democratic" principles of government.  That is not the basis for our form of government. We must recognize that God's precepts for government, civil authority, justice, and liberty are the foundation of this nation.  And as I view the ridiculous demands for endless recounts and demolishing the Electoral College, I would remind all that the Hebrew republic was united under a single system of unchanging law. We would do well to look to God's model for government, trusting it, and remaining in it. Nations come and go, but God's form of government never changes.  Let us not veer from His path.

Thank you to Don Schanzenbach for his article, "Biblical Plan for Representative Government".

Deuteronomy 16:18-20  "You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

November 14, 2016

What Now? How Do We Move Forward?

     It has been nearly a week since our national election and there seems to be a concerted effort to continuously promote division amongst our populace.  It's as if a powerful "force" is determined to create rivalry, bitterness, and hostility between us.  We can point to outside agitators, but we know who that "force" really is, don't we?  And I believe that the animosity we are seeing here in our nation, on earth, is mirroring the hostilities that are occurring in heaven between God and His host, and Satan and his followers.
     So, how are we to react, and what are our responsibilities?  I think I can sum it up by sharing an interesting experience I enjoyed this past weekend.  I have told you that my husband is an artist and part of our business is to exhibit his art at various shows and events.  He is primarily a Western artist, but every once in awhile, he is inspired to paint a different subject matter.
      As to be expected, there is always a cross-section of people who enjoy the arts.  They are not classified by political ideology, race or ethnicity, or whether they share religious beliefs or not.  In fact, we try to receive all people on an identical footing, with the idea that we are disciples of Christ, wherever we find ourselves.
"Yeshua" - My husband's comment on the painting:
"The emotion and impact of the Crucifixion is
stunning and heart-rending. The cut limestone
background and weathered Mexican wood
of the sideboard it rests upon only accentuate
the emotion of this piece.  Dramatic lighting
and the carved stone of the figure of Messiah
are poignant and touch my spirit". 
 
     That being said, it has been suggested to us, by one of the venues in which we exhibit, that presenting faith-based paintings is probably not a good idea because the public isn't interested in seeing them.  Of course, that doesn't deter my husband, who will not deny the glorification of our Lord because someone doesn't accept Him, or it makes them uncomfortable.  And, often, they are the first paintings to sell, because they strike an emotional chord in someone who loves Him as much as we do.
     Another artist who attended our opening was a photographer who had the same experience.  Likewise, she was advised not to enter a moving photograph in a contest because it featured an image of an open Bible through the window of an old church, with the panes casting a shadow of the cross across the wooden floor.  That photograph was very emotional and she received several orders for it.
     I relate all this to illustrate how easily the Enemy tries to convince us that our message of Christ is unwanted, unwelcome, and uninspiring.  And I believe that is the message that is being encouraged in the wake of this contentious election.  But, I believe just the opposite is true!  Right now, our nation needs the hope that Jesus inspires in those of us who are His disciples.  And it's taken me a bit to get to my point, but here it is .... Now is the time for us to live out what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And exactly what does that mean and how do we do it?
     First of all, a careful study in Strong's Concordance tells me that to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow His teachings.  That means more than to be His student or pupil, but to be an upholder, a defender, and a true believer in Jesus.  In other words, it is our faith accompanied by action; to be an imitator of Christ within our spheres of influence.
      Very simply put, we need to show our nation -- and the world -- that we have faith in Jesus's message; that we live and love according to His holy principles; and above all, to show them what a life abiding in Christ looks like.  We are not nasty, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist haters.  In fact, we are honorable and moral people who will accept you even if you don't accept us.  We won't hate you for your sins, because we know what it is to be a sinner.  By exhibiting what it's like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we hope to show you Someone greater to believe in than yourself or the shiny temptations of the world.
     Don't get me wrong, we would love nothing more than to create a curiosity in others about the peace we find in the midst of all this discord and disharmony.  We want to share our testimony and tell you how we've been able to endure the difficulties and struggles in our lives; how and why we don't covet money, or prestige, or possessions.  We want to share the Source of why we are moved to paint, or photograph, or write about the One who defines our life.  Yes, I will admit that I want to teach you about Him, so that you might love Him as much as I do.  But I want to do that by showing you what it's like to serve others, to put others first, and to seek  Him above all things worldly.
     Those are attitudes that have been missing in our national discourse, and no elected official is going to be able to legislate Discipleship.  True discipleship comes from being a committed follower of Jesus, imitating Him in how we treat others, and adhering to His commandment to be the Light of the world.  There will be those who will respond to us, and those who will reject us.  We mustn't concern ourselves with the job of convincing people to accept us.  We must live our lives as examples of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit convict those He will.  So, in the intense and impassioned days ahead, do not lose your focus, nor turn aside from your responsibility as a Disciple of Christ.  Let not the world discourage you nor dissuade you from your purpose… because they will certainly try.  Just remember that we are equipped to carry on as His witnesses ... and our nation needs our example.

John 15:8    "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples."
   
   

September 23, 2016

Taking Another Look At "The Veils" Of Our Existence

     Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a post titled The Veils Of Our Existence.  It was based on a theory proposed by the late Don Harkin, former Editor of The Idaho Observer.  Mr. Harkin suggested the existence of a world system of Power-Elites that the masses don't comprehend because these Power-Elites have cleverly developed a virtual pasture so green that few people seldom, if ever, bother to look up from where they are grazing to notice that they are being led over the cliff.
     Three-and-a-half years ago, my level of understanding of these "veils" did not include the spiritual battle that was being waged at each stage.  I still think each of these stages exists and is valid, and in order to progress to a higher understanding of just how we are to maneuver through this existence called life, we must be able to pierce each successive veil and move to the next level.  It is part of our human journey on this earth... only now, I see this journey with the added benefit of spiritual eyes. So I would like to revisit this interesting speculation, and add a new spiritual perspective to Mr. Harkins' conjecture.  I'm interested to know how many of you have grown in your understanding, as well.
       The First Veil = Politics. There are over 7 billion+ people on the planet.  Most of them will live and die without seriously thinking about anything other than what it takes to live and breathe for one more day.  That means that 90% of all humanity will live behind this first veil and never pierce it.  That leaves 10% of us who will vote, be active in our societies and have an opinion.  Our opinions are often shaped by government officials, MSM or other "experts" who claim to be voices of authority.  But of those with an opinion, 90% will never really think for themselves and will adopt the opinion of others, while 10% will pierce the second veil and move forward in their thinking.
     My New Perspective:  All this remains true, but now I see that there are spiritual forces behind those involved in the government, Mainstream Media, and "experts", or voices of authority.  Of those of us within the 10% who form their own opinion, how many understand that politics is not the answer -- that our power will not come from our affiliation with whomever wins elections, but from Jesus Christ?  And what small percentage of that 10% realizes that our time on this earth should not be spent supporting man-made power structures, but using our power from Christ to "do the things He has done, only greater"? (John 14:12).
     The Second Veil = History.  There will be 10% of us who will explore the world of history, the relationship between man and government, which will lead to the meaning of self-government through constitutional and common law.  Ninety percent of this group will live and die without going on to pierce the third veil.
     My New Perspective:  The Constitution is no longer my route to real freedom.  Man's laws and self-government will only get me so far.  My true freedom lies in letting Jesus heal my spiritual wounds, and recognizing that I don't have to suffer the "fiery darts" of the Enemy.  The history that consumes me now are the experiences of those -- both from the ancient world, and the modern -- who have learned what it means to transcend the tyranny and oppression from the spiritual realm to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  That is true freedom.
     The Third Veil = Resources of the World.  Of the group that pierces this veil, 10% of us will come to realize that the masses are controlled by extremely wealthy and powerful families whose old world assets have been manipulated to become the foundation upon which the world's economy is currently indebted.  (Think Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, the Royal Monarchs).  But sadly, 90% of this group will never pierce the fourth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, the masses are controlled by these extremely wealthy and powerful families; and behind them are the spiritual forces of wickedness and evil.  I believe that they have sold their souls for earthly wealth and power that will prove false when the Day of Judgment comes.
 The Fourth Veil = The Illuminati, Freemasonry and other secret societies.  There are 10% of us that recognize these societies use symbols and perform ceremonies that transfer mysterious knowledge that is used to keep us ordinary people in political, economic and spiritual bondage to the oldest bloodlines on earth.  This has been seen frequently at Super Bowl halftime shows (Beyonce flashing "the Rockefeller" sign; Madonna sporting symbols of the occult) and during the Grammy's (Nikki Minaj's ode to "Roman", the demon whom she says possesses her).  Just check out the Youtube videos for each of these demonstrations!  But once again, 90% of those who have reached this level of understanding will never pierce the fifth veil.
     My New Perspective:  Boy, has my understanding of this grown in the last few years!  The Lord has shown me just how much devastation has been sown on families steeped in these secret societies.  The oaths and curses taken during secret ritual ceremonies have resulted in great oppression among many Christians, who don't even know these secret societies have permeated their families or their Churches!  And the evidence that these societies have infiltrated our entertainment industry is overwhelming.  I am literally seeing the signs and symbols everywhere I look throughout our culture.  Sadly, I believe that our country is steeped in the occult mysticism associated with these groups, and they are influencing every area of our lives.
     The Fifth Veil = Technological advances by these Secret Societies. I may lose some of you at this point, but I urge you to do your own research and study the Bible in depth.  There are hints of the knowledge behind this fifth veil, but you have to be willing to connect the dots.  There are 10% who make it this far in their understanding who learn that the secret societies are so far advanced technologically that they are able to do things that were considered science fiction just decades ago.  The inventions of Ray Kurzweil and his prediction of "man's singularity with computers" is an example of such advanced technology.  But what's interesting is that this technology is actually ancient, and compares to what Nimrod was trying to accomplish at the Tower of Babel; namely to become like God.    Are we getting dangerously close to that concept again?  Nearly 90% will never get beyond this understanding to the sixth veil.
     My New Perspective:  To say that technology has surpassed science fiction is putting it mildly.  Human-animal hybrids are being created in Great Britain, and a surgeon plans to reanimate human corpses.  Books are being written that tell us immortality is accessible to everyone, outside of any religious worldview.  Inventors and artists openly admit that they are "channeling" spiritual sources of knowledge.  All this is being downloaded from entities in the spiritual realm to control and deceive the human race.  We better understand who we're dealing with.
       The Sixth Veil = Aliens and Monsters may be real.  It is going to take a huge leap for the 10% who get to this level of understanding.  But if you study your Bible closely, you will see mention of fallen angels mating with earthly women to give birth to Nephalim (Giants) (Genesis 6:4 and 2 Samuel 21:20, for example).  There are many modern-day Biblical scholars who are prepared to say that the minotaurs of old and the UFO and alien sightings of today are evidence of these fallen angels.
     My New Perspective:  My how far we've come in these last three-and-a-half years!  The growth of the remnant of the Church who understands the truth of Genesis 6 has been astounding!  I know that there are "spiritual monsters" and they are called demons.  I have encountered them in deliverance sessions, and seen them stare out of the eyes of people who had no idea they were being oppressed by them.  Savage and brutal and bizarre attacks upon people are increasing and are evidence that the Enemy is bringing the spiritual battle to our physical world.  Although, yes, these demons are real, we should have no fear because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
     If you have made it this far and can conceive of the concepts behind the sixth veil, then perhaps you can see that what waits for us behind The Seventh Veil = Peace of the Lord.  It's hard to imagine, but I can foresee a small group of people whose soul is so evolved that they can exist on this earth, yet be unafraid of the evil that abounds in this realm.  The only way I can describe it is to have such peace from God that you are unafraid of death.
     My New Perspective:  Actually, my perspective has moved in a new direction on this veil.  It's not such a small group that sees the evil ascending on the earth from the second heaven, or spiritual realm.  These last few years has seen an amazing growth in this knowledge within the Body of Christ.  It's as if the Holy Spirit has done a massive data dump upon Christians!  We not only know that and discern this spiritual warfare, but we also have been given the knowledge that we have the Authority of Jesus to fight [in this war] through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  And that's where our Peace comes from... knowing that we can rebuke the devil and he will flee; knowing that the Lord is our banner in this fight and goes before us; and we know that Jesus will not only never leave us nor forsake us, but He who began a good work in us will complete it.  That is called Peace!
     That brings us to Harkins' Eighth veil, which can only be the pure energy, authority and life force that is God.  We can only hope to tap into that Power, and I think the closest we can come to that is to seek a personal, intimate relationship with the One True God, the Ruler of the Universe and abide in Him.
     My New Perspective:  Yes, a personal, intimate relationship is necessary to tap into that Power, but it is incumbent upon each of us to know that it is available to us.  We are not to be mindless robots, sitting idly by waiting for God to win this war all by Himself.  We are created in His image, exhorted to imitate Christ, and called to an inheritance in Christ.  He dwells in us!  That energy, authority and life force are not to be squandered, but used to gain ground in defeating the Enemy in our lives!
     So, as you can see, with each veil of understanding that is pierced, the number of people "who see" gets exponentially smaller.  When I first wrote this blog post over three years ago, I saw mainly through "worldly" eyes.  I was focused on "the low information voter", and the gullible citizens who I saw as useful idiots and tools of the state.  I actually thought my vote really mattered and changing the politics of the nation would solve the world's problems.  I didn't see the spiritual component.
     I can honestly say that I believe I am at that Eighth veil, and I so grateful to my Lord and the Holy Spirit for helping me to see through the murkiness of the veils and how they obscured my vision of God's Truth.  I see that my existence here on earth is more than just this physical realm, and my victory in this life depends on my readiness to work with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do battle with the spiritual realm.  I now truly know that I do not battle against flesh and blood, but have the Authority and Power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to free myself of spiritual bondage.
     I will admit that it's a long road to progress through these veils, and if you are just beginning to awaken to their reality, then I hope you can see that living, breathing and thinking are just the beginning to greater understanding.  And there is nothing to fear... we know that victory is ours in the next life.  Until then, it an honor to stand for our Lord and represent Him to all we come in contact with, and to help others to push through the veils.  As we teach them the meaning of each obstruction, and show them how to move to the next stage, it will be one less obstacle between them and God.  That is a goal worthy of effort by every Christian.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17      "Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

May 9, 2016

Even Mother's Day Has Become Politicized!

     Have you ever wondered why every important (and sometimes trivial or insignificant) topic in our national discourse becomes a matter for political debate?  How is it that our society has suddenly become obsessed with politicizing everything?  For the sake of our discussion, can we agree that by "politicizing" something we mean that we either attack or cast doubt on inappropriate facts ... or assign invalid evidence ... in order to achieve the targeted outcome for a specific agenda?
     A little less complicated way of saying it is that instead of discussing an issue independent of political opinions, or based on its own merit, we tend to tie that issue's significance to an ideological viewpoint.  And in order to win people to our side of the issue, it has become a kind of game of total warfare in which the other side must be obliterated.  Take something as benign as Mother's Day, for instance.
     You might be interested to know that History.com reports that celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.  But the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.
     As you can see, that tradition has evolved into a more secular observance here in America where children present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation for the sacrifices they made to care for those children.  Mother's Day became an official national holiday in America in 1914.  So how could this seemingly harmless holiday become politicized, you might ask.  After all, we all have mother's, right?  And how can we disagree over a day set aside to celebrate someone as identifiable as, well ... mothers?!
     Over 100 years ago,  Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 8, 1914 (38 Stat. 770), and designated the second Sunday in May each year as "Mother's Day".  Congress also requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.  Every year since then, each President has made an official "declaration" of the day.  If you want to see politicization in action, simply note the gradual change of tone and substance in the last few Presidential proclamations on Mother's Day, as noted in a World Net Daily article: 

     2014:  "For over a century, Americans have come together to celebrate our first friends and mentors, our inspirations and constant sources of strength. Our mothers are breadwinners, community leaders, and pillars of family. They pioneer scientific discoveries, serve with valor in our Armed Forces, and represent our Nation in the loftiest halls of Government. Whether biological, adoptive, or foster, they play a singular role in our lives. Because they so often put everything above themselves, on Mother's Day, we put our moms first...".
     2015:  "Each May, Americans dedicate a day to honor the remarkable women who strive and sacrifice all year to ensure ours is a Nation where all things are possible. Whether married or single, LGBT or straight, biological, adoptive, or foster, mothers are the bedrocks of our lives and the foundation of our society...".
     2016:  "On Mother’s Day, we celebrate those who are first to welcome us into the world.  Performing the most important work there is, mothers – biological, foster, or adoptive – are our first role models and earliest motivators. They balance enormous responsibilities and shape who we become as adults, their lessons guiding us through life... Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, mothers have always moved our nation forward and remained steadfast in their pursuit of a better and brighter future for their children...".
     Whoa, wait a minute!  I can definitely see the move towards our cultural acceptance of LGBT families in 2015, but did you catch the reference to gender identity in 2016?  Rather, did you catch the implication that regardless of gender identity, anyone can be identified as a mother?  Even the liberal-leaning dictionary app on my Mac computer identifies "mother" as "a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth."  And I even have to disagree with that definition.  I do not believe that you have to give birth to a child to be that child's mother.  To be a mother is a function of the God-given character traits of a woman; a genetically-determined characteristic to nurture and train a child.  I'm sorry, but because a man wishes to "identify" as a woman, does not make him a mother.  I know that may sound like a ridiculous proposition to you, but I promise you that it is a very real consideration to those who subscribe to the transgender movement.  And if you re-read the politicized Presidential proclamation you will find that as outlandish as my statement might sound, that is exactly what is being asserted ... that a man may self-identify as a mother.
     As you can see, those who have cultural or political agendas they wish to force on the populace will take every opportunity to make an argument personal, and present the opposite side as cold-hearted and unbending.  "By any means necessary" is the motto of those who wish to push everything from alternative sexual lifestyles to climate change to redistribution of wealth.  All's fair in love and war, after all -- and politics isn't about love.  Politics is a game, and you must play to win, and not give a damn how you achieve the victory.  Attack your opponent, and make it personal; cast doubt on the opposition's belief system; and connect the dots to your agenda and the desired outcome.  That's politicization in a nutshell, and Mother's Day just became the latest victim.

Titus 1:7-9   "For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it." 


     

April 1, 2016

Millennials: Please Take My Advice...

     I remember what it was like ... to be young and idealistic and wanting my generation to make a difference in American politics.  And I would submit to you that every generation since our Founding has felt the same way.  When we're young, we all think that we can do it better than the previous generation, and in this current political season, we see the Millennials taking their stand and hoping to make a significant impact on the future.
     So that we are all in agreement, Millennials are generally defined as being between the ages of 18 and 35.  For this discussion, I want to concentrate on the younger end of that spectrum; particularly those who think that Bernie Sanders is the answer to what ails this nation.
     Remember that Senator Sanders is the only candidate for President calling for a "political revolution". (I guess "Hope and Change" was too mild a cause for him).  The youth in college are well aware of the debilitating debt that will be waiting for them at the end of their matriculation, in the form of astronomical college loans.  And those who have been in the workforce for awhile are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck.  It's natural that they would cleave to a candidate that promised them he will lift the burden off their backs.
     I mean, who wouldn't want free public colleges and universities?  Medicare for all?  Improvements to our infrastructure?  Three months of paid family leave on the birth of a child?  And a $15 minimum wage?  But here's the thing ... It's simply not practical!  What's more, all those benefits are going to cost money!  How do these young people think a President Sanders would pay for all these government programs?  We all know that money doesn't grow on trees, right?  The only answer is that government becomes our provider, and logic tells us that bigger government providing more services will cost more to run; and how does Sanders propose these services will be paid for?
     Well, he says that the free public education will be paid for with a “financial transaction tax” of only a fraction-of-a-percent on "speculative investments", or those investments with a high degree of risk.  Does that make sense to you?  Does that sound like it would be a big revenue maker?  I'm sure he somehow equates it to "taxing the rich", which would strike a chord with every millennial who has ever taken an economics class from a liberal professor.
     As far as the Medicare-for-all promise, this would be paid for with progressive income tax increases, mostly at upper levels.  (Another "taxing the rich" plan).  Elimination of premiums and co-pays would result in a savings of approximately $5,000 per family.  Again, where will all that money come from to support such a program?
     Bernie says that improving our infrastructure will be largely funded by requiring corporations to pay taxes they already owe, but have deferred.  And he mistakenly thinks this will create millions of jobs, driving up wages across the economy.  He obviously has never run a business! And his paid family leave benefit would ostensibly be paid for with a $1.61 weekly tax withholding from every worker's paycheck.  At least that's how I understand it.  So, does that mean every American worker would be subsidizing all new parents, with the distinct possibility that they would never take advantage of the benefit themselves?  Isn't that collectivism?  And, as with all of Bernie's plans, this one doesn't seem to be too carefully thought out.
     This is evident in his promise of a $15 minimum wage, which he says will enable people working full-time to escape poverty, reduce reliance on public assistance programs, and boost local economies as people have more income to spend.  Think about it, Bernie!  By "taxing the rich" to pay for all your social programs, infrastructure and higher minimum wages, have you ever thought that there aren't enough rich people to pay for all your promises?  Or have you thought about the fact that many of those businesses that will be taxed are small to medium businesses and simply can't absorb the extra tax burden?  Or that the minimum wage jobs will likely disappear because the cost of doing business will be too high to keep the doors of the local burger joint open; or that hospitals and nursing homes will have to lay off those minimum wage workers to continue to provide services; or that small businesses that deal in manual labor, like auto mechanic shops, or farms will be unable to hire as many workers.
     If the people Bernie Sanders intends to tax to pay for these entitlement programs cannot afford to stay in business, doesn't that mean more people out of work, more on public assistance programs, and less money being spent in local economies -- exactly the opposite of what he is promising?
     So, Millennials, please take a piece of my advice, and face reality.  You are not the only group of young voters who have been infused with youthful idealism and swayed by the promise of utopia.  Like those who came before you and followed the visions of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Ronald Reagan, you recognize that America needs to take a different path than the one we've been on.  And right now, you're thinking that means the dissolution of capitalism and a drastic move towards socialism.
     But here's what you need to grasp:  Really, it's as simple as Economics 101.  THERE IS NO MONEY!  You will be paying for these programs yourselves in the form of higher taxes, and the services will be of less value! We don't have a balanced budget, and we can't keep spiraling into debt!  This new world order and global world economy that is being touted in your universities will not bear under the weight of the crushing debt that Bernie Sanders and a Socialist United States will bring to your future.  I hate to burst your bubble, but nothing is free.  And all the cost of these programs will be set squarely on your shoulders.
     As a nation, we all need to come to the realization that we've been spoiled.  And it's time we tell ourselves what our parents and our government haven't done for a very long time ... "We can't afford it."

2 Thessalonians 3:7-8    "For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you."


March 14, 2016

Rules For Radicals Still In Play

     If you have taken any amount of time to stay informed about American politics, then you are most likely familiar with Saul Alinksy and his Rules for Radicals.  The book is a primer for "the have-nots" in order to empower them to gain social, political, legal and economic equality by challenging the current agencies that promoted their inequality. In short, Alinsky was a believer in the classic Marxist theory which states that Communism is the final stage of the evolution of human socioeconomic relations. In the Marxist model, the feudal state is overthrown by the rise of the bourgeoisie, ushering in the capitalist epoch. Capitalism is then overthrown by the rise of the proletariat, which ushers in not communism, but the Socialist state. Each previous step is the necessary precondition for the next.  And we now have a Presidential candidate, in Bernie Sanders, who is a professed Socialist, and the younger generation is eating it up!
     So, can you see Alinsky's theory being set in motion in our recent history?  Think back to the 1960s and specifically, the 1968 Democratic Convention for President.  Also, it has been effectively argued that the political statesmen of this era have, throughout their careers, drawn inspiration from Alinsky and his call for "fundamental change".  John Fund of the National Review presents an informed argument that both President Obama and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were avid students of Alinsky and his methods.
     His siren call, so to speak, to idealistic and impressionable students was "social justice".  And his approach to obtaining that goal, in the words of the Washington Post, would come to rely on   “generating conflict to mobilize the dispossessed.”  All you have to do is convince any useful group of followers that they are somehow dispossessed or deprived or cheated.  That's where outside agitators and community organizers become valuable tools of the Alinsky method of disruption.
     Alinsky also argued for moral relativism in fighting the establishment: “In war the end justifies almost any means. . . . The practical revolutionary will understand [that] in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind.” You can see that the absence of any universal moral truths will lead to whatever action is necessary to gain a personally desired outcome.
     Alinsky liked to boast that those who have the knowledge of his tactics can often achieve preemptive surrender of local officials, businesses, and political power bases.  He also touted the success of his tactics of intimidation.  His most oft-quoted rule is “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. . . . One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”
      We have seen that tactic used most effectively by this Administrative, in creating racial and social division; and in the ongoing political and legal battles that former Secretary of State Clinton is now undergoing.  MoveOn.org has been a model student of Alinsky tactics, and we have seen them administered in the recent riots and protests in Ferguson, Cleveland, St. Louis and Chicago.
     And now the rules for radicals are evident in the protests beginning to surround the current political season.  Just this past weekend, a rally for Donald Trump was cancelled, due to the threat of violent protestors.  But the sad fact of the matter is that I'm not sure how many of the protestors actually know the specifics of why they are protesting.  This generation of Facebook and SnapChat aficionados have become useful tools of agitators who will feed into this generation's desire to participate in drama of any sort.  So when the status quo, or their entitlement, is threatened in any way by a Donald Trump, they are easily convinced they are being deprived of what is rightfully theirs.  That's where the "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" tactic becomes most beneficial.   And when a young person doesn't really know what they stand for, or can't articulate it, they become manageable tools for suggestion and manipulation.
     Nothing has changed in the Alinsky methods in the 45 years since he wrote his influential Rules and dedicated it to "Lucifer".  His followers have stuck to his proven tactics ... to incite constant struggle and agitation so that the oppressive “system” would eventually be brought to its knees.  The sad fact, as D.L. Adams articulates in his excellent article, Saul Alinsky and the Rise of Amorality in American Politics, is that Alinsky was a nihilist.  That characteristic is defined as "the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless; there is found nothing to approve of in the established social order", therefore it is best to destroy it.  No wonder he dedicated his book to Lucifer; he's the perfect model of "the Destroyer".
     But perhaps the saddest element of all this chaos is that in the midst of the promises "to take back", to "fundamentally change", and the "virtue of the struggle", there are no real solutions proffered.  It's all about the perceived righteousness of the struggle.  In fact, as Adams suggests,  “Struggle” itself is the purpose and goal of the Alinsky way.
"All life is warfare, and it's the continuing fight against the status quo that revitalizes society, stimulates new values and gives man renewed hope of eventual progress. The struggle itself is the victory." (Alinsky interview)
     And what is left lying in the ashes of that victory?  Society is further divided; there are severe cracks in our moral foundation; and Alinskyites have to keep coming up with a new "struggle" to keep themselves relevant and maintain their power.  Saul Alinsky promised his followers Utopia, and all we've reaped is continued disillusionment and disparagement.  But isn't that exactly what Lucifer has been offering us since the Garden?  It's time we quit listening to the promises of a long-dead radical and turn to the hope that individual responsibility and accountability offer.  Morality and ethics may have no value for the "radical" who wants to overturn the institutions of society and save the world, but they are gifts to us from a God who truly desires the best for us.  Isn't it time we start following His rules?  
   
Galatians 5:10    "I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty."




March 2, 2016

Confusion, Compromise, and Chaos

     We are in the midst of an aggressive and strife-filled political season.  I think we all agree that there are many issues that will effect the future of not only this nation, but the world.  And the varying views by candidates of both parties deserve careful consideration.
     We have received an earful on the subjects of immigration, the Supreme Court, our economy, national security, etc.  An underlying, yet no less significant topic is the conflict between Christianity and the Islamic faith, as evidenced in the angry and bitter disagreement over fundamental issues of faith.  Whether we realize it or not, these differences foretell a national struggle that is becoming increasingly inevitable.
     It is also starting to become an issue between leading candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and could very well become a focal point of this Presidential election.  At the heart of this issue is the question, Can a faithful Muslim be expected to be a good American citizen?  
      There are those who will point out that this question has been asked of every new ethnic group who gained a foothold in the American experience ... from the Irish, to the freed slaves, to the Japanese, to Mexicans; the Muslims are just the latest minority to be assimilated into the melting pot that is America.  But is it really that simple?  Because I don't recall a radicalized faith among those other diverse groups that called for the annihilation of Christians, or "infidels".
     I guess you could argue that it depends on how fundamental any particular citizen is in his Islamic faith.  I know that there are many Muslims who will say, "I believe in Jesus (Isa). The Koran says he was a true teacher, a great prophet, and a good man."  In fact, there are many non-Christians who would say the same thing.  But I would like to ask them all (both Muslim and secularists), "How can you say He was a true teacher, yet deny what He taught when He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  And how can you believe that He was a great prophet, yet deny the prophecy He gave about His own death and resurrection?  And I imagine that it might be a tad difficult to believe that He was a good man, and the Son of God, both at the same time.  So, how would a faithful Muslim be able to follow the laws of a nation that are based on the principles taught by Jesus -- a teacher, prophet, and man with whom you disagree on His identity as the One True God; on his resurrection; and on His Deity.  Isn't their a fundamental conflict according to the tenets of your faith?
     In that vein, I would sincerely like someone of the Islamic faith to explain how they reconcile the principles and directives of their faith with compliance to the laws and culture of this nation.  Because I know that the First Pillar of Islam is to sincerely recite the Muslim profession of faith ... "There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is his prophet." This is the basis for a Muslim's allegiance to Islam, which has social, political, intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual ramifications -- just as it does for Christians.
     Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if the mullah at your mosque preaches against allegiance to this country; or calls for destruction and devastation against this nation?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if you believe the Bible is corrupt, and the Constitution is based on its principles?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if spiritually, you bow down to a different god?  Can you be a faithful Muslim and a good American if you follow the Hadith, a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad that, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran?  What do you do when the Hadith is in conflict with American laws?  Which takes priority in your life, and is there really room for compromise?
     Ah, that word compromise .... It seems that the Enemy has found a way to work that into something as incompatible as Islam and Christianity.  And I will let the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who graduated from Brown University, earned master's degrees from two seminaries, and received her Ph.D. in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, tell you how she believes you can have it all.
     "In the fall of 2005, a Muslim leader gave a talk at St. Mark's Cathedral where I worked. I was moved by his prayer. During the spring of 2006, another Muslim leader taught a chanted prayer to God at a cathedral's inter-faith class."  She began reciting the prayer daily. She began to study Islam intensely and in March of 2006, she became a Muslim by reciting the shahada -- "There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is his prophet." [The First Pillar of Islam].
     She said, "Coming to Islam was like coming into a family with whom I'd been estranged. We have not only the same God, but the same ancestor with Abraham... I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."
     And here we encounter another of the Enemy's lies .... inclusion.  But why should we be surprised by this tactic?  Even the Vatican's Catechism states, "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."  If you have picked yourself up off the floor, then consider how the Vatican justifies this position.  They write, "...  Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church... This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church [my emphasis]: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."
     Do you see inclusion here?  According to the Catholic Catechism, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc. will be saved despite their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Savior!  Is it any wonder that there is so much confusion and compromise?  Sadly, there are a number of theologians who find no error in the Rev. Redding's position.  They say it is all "a matter of interpretation" ... she just has a somewhat different definition of what it means to be a Christian.  Really?!?  So, the natural conclusion to that supposition is that a home-grown radical Islamist just has a different interpretation of what it means to be an American, right?
     Other theologians see Rev. Redding as "a bridge" between the faiths, something they say is desperately needed.  But I would ask you to recall the fate of the Old Testament nation of Israel every time it tried to build a bridge with nations who followed after other gods.  One of the most pronounced examples in the Bible is the reign of King Jehoshaphat.  He was certainly a godly man. He sought the Lord and walked in His commandments. He took great pride in the ways of the Lord and removed idols from the land. He sent out teachers to instruct the people in God’s law. When a prophet rebuked him for his wrongful alliance with Ahab, unlike his father, Jehoshaphat accepted it and went on to institute further religious reforms. In chapter 20 we see his heart as the nation is threatened by a vast army, and he calls the people to prayer and fasting. Jehoshaphat’s prayer before the assembly reveals his humble trust in the Lord.
     But King Jehoshaphat was not exempt from the temptation to compromise with the world.  As Bible.org points out, during his alliance with Ahab, he allowed Ahab to finagle getting his daughter married to Jehoshaphat’s son. The next thing we hear is Jehoshaphat promising the godless Ahab, “I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle”! Incredible! It’s as if a boxer has trained for the big fight and his opponent invites him out for dinner and slips poison into his coffee.
     As Christians, we must be on guard against becoming entangled in wrong relationships -- wrong political relationships, wrong social/cultural relationships, and wrong spiritual relationships.  Yes, we are to love our fellow man, but "love" that compromises Biblical truth will lead to unhealthy alliances.  We can have mutual respect and treat others with humility and kindness, but never abandon God's Truth, as we know it and practice it.  And seeking "politically correctness" in a spirit of compromise will only result in concessions to our Biblical principles and a lowering of God's standards of obedience.
     I began this blog post talking about the divisive issues that face this nation on the eve of a very important election, and what I discern is a growing conflict between faiths that is prophesied in the Bible.  We are living in a time of great confusion, compromise, and chaos.  I believe it is important, now more than ever, to fix our attention on God; to come into submission to Him -- in our personal lives, in our public lives, and in the ways we relate to this godless culture, without being conformed to it, or transformed by it.  God wants unity among the peoples of the world, but that unity must be centered on faith in Christ.  If unity comes at the sake of His Truth, then destruction will be inescapable.

Ephesians 2:2   "In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—"


   

February 12, 2016

Your Local Elections Matter!

     It was a packed house.  The line was out the door and it was standing room only.  The people had come to hear and to be heard.  And unlike past years, I wanted to be a part of it.  The occasion was a Meet The Candidates forum for local elections, and in three of our most important offices.  Men running for District Judge, District Attorney and County Sheriff came to present their qualifications and why they deserved our vote.
     Before you dismiss this post as uninteresting and boring, let me tell you why I wanted to share my experience.  As do many of you, I believe this year's election cycle is the most important one in my lifetime, and if all the dire predictions and prophecies we are hearing turn out to be true, it may very well be the last election we ever participate in.  So, this subject matters!
     You could feel the anticipation in that room, and I wondered how many people felt the same as I did ... knowing that these particular offices will profoundly affect our lives in the near future.  I might have been inclined to dismiss the candidates for District Judge, until one of them pointed out that District Judges have more power over our lives than any other elected office.  They have the ability, by law, to take your property, send you to jail, take your children away from you, grant you a divorce,  and have jurisdiction over many other civil matters in a citizen's life.  How they view the law, and your rights, will have far-reaching consequences if this country slides further towards government tyranny.  Just ask the ranchers in Texas's 13th District, who are fighting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over property rights.  The question of property rights is destined to become a hot-button issue, as the UN is getting increasingly involved in this area.
     The office of District Attorney was the second of the anticipated forums, and the candidates ran the gamut in personality and positions.  They were allowed to each speak for three minutes and then answer a few selected pre-written questions from the audience.  The first candidate came off as an egotistical, hotshot lawyer who wanted everyone to know that he would be hardline against any offenders of the law... "if you break the law, I will prosecute you" ... period.  The second candidate just seemed to be the lackey for the current DA in our county, who is leaving the office (amid rumors of injustice surrounding some of his practices) ... so he suffered from the guilty-by-association factor. The third candidate was so laid-back and low key that I wondered how much energy he really had for the job, because the duties of a District Attorney will have a sweeping effect on the lives of the citizens of our county.  The DA prosecutes felony criminal cases, works with law enforcement in investigating criminal cases, presents cases to the grand jury, represents victims of violence in our county.  With the increase in drug trafficking and illegal aliens streaming into Texas from our southern border, we need to know that our District Attorney has the safety of our citizens at heart.
      I was all ready to vote in the straw poll for the hotshot lawyer-type over the sycophant or the too-relaxed lawyer until it came to how they answered one question.... A District Attorney in Houston recently filed felony charges against the filmmakers involved in the Planned Parenthood films because they forged fake California drivers licenses, which is tampering with a governmental record. Would you have charged them with a felony?  Both the hotshot lawyer and the lackey both smugly announced, "If you do something illegal, I'm prosecuting you ... period."  Then the third candidate calmly and succinctly announced, "No, I would not have charged them with a felony.  You have to have some common sense in administering the law, and it was obvious that what they were trying to do outweighed the infraction."  I know for a fact, that I wasn't the only one who changed my vote after that answer!  Then I realized why I suddenly liked this guy ... he was like Peter Falk as Columbo.  He might look harmless and innocuous, but he's the guy you want on the job!
      Lastly, came the most important race in my mind ... the election of our next County Sheriff.  Those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning may recall a post I wrote about Sheriff Richard Mack.  He was the County Sheriff who defied the Clinton Administration and the Federal Government in regards to requiring sheriffs to conduct lengthy background checks on every potential purchaser of a handgun in their county.  Sheriff Mack fought that law all the way to the Supreme Court ... and won!
     I heard him speak nearly four years ago and what he said has made a lasting impact on me.  He said that our county sheriff's are among the most important elected officials in our lives; they are bound by their oath to the Constitution (that each took upon taking office) to stand between us and an over-reaching federal government.  In the intervening years since I heard him speak that is becoming increasingly clear.  So, I wrote my question down on a 3 x 5 card and turned it in ... As our County Sheriff, how would you protect us, the people, from the tyranny of the federal government?  Only one candidate answered to my satisfaction.  He exclaimed, "Boy, am I glad that question was asked!"  And then he proceeded to quote the 10th Amendment and how he would uphold it to his utmost.  One other candidate nonchalantly hinted that he agreed with Candidate #1, but seemed to indicate that he had the popular vote and the election in the bag.  But I liked the guy with fire in his belly; the candidate who seemed to be the grassroots candidate, and would be a "sheriff of, and for, the people", so to speak.
     After the forum finished, and this Candidate came in a distant second to the popular guy, I noticed that many in the crowd approached my selection for Sheriff, and were drawn to his enthusiasm for the office.  I told him I was the one who had asked the question on the 10th Amendment and I liked his answer.  He gripped my hand with determination, stared me boldly in the eye, and declared, "I will stand for you!"  And that is why my friend (and neighbor) and I are going to try to set up a meeting to introduce him to as many people in our sphere of influence that we can.
     It's time to get involved in local elections!  Yes, this nation is being rightfully and deservedly judged by our God.  We know that and see it clearly.  But, the Bible also tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
     So, for those of my fellow Christians who think these elections don't matter, I submit to you that they do.  And it is very clear to me what our obligations are ... We pray and intercede on behalf of those who would have authority over us, and then we vote.  So, I hope you will take the time to go to your Town Hall meetings or your Candidate Forums and listen to what they have to say.  Are they Godly men?  Do they still believe in the Constitution?  We have a duty and a precious right to vote.  Let's pray and take it seriously.

Deuteronomy 1:13   "Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads."