Category Archives: Politics

Discussions about POLITICS and GOVERNMENT. POLITICS and GOVERNMENT at all levels – Federal / State / County / City / and Local. This category is about all things that interest me in POLITICS and GOVERNMENT.

Which Side Are You On?

Yesterday I passed along my thoughts on the two different cultures manifesting themselves in America today. I said that I didn’t have a question, only an observation, but that was not entirely accurate.

I do have a question. The point of the observations, naturally, was to cause you to consider which culture you fit into and whether it is the right choice or not. In other words Which Side Are You On?

The second phrase of the opening sentence of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (see yesterday’s post) reads:

it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,

A Tale of Two Cities, Chapter I. The Period

And if that doesn’t describe today’s America, I don’t know what does. One side of the culture screams about the foolish tweets from President Donald Trump and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes the totally nonsensical statement:

“a wall, in my view, is an immorality” and “the least effective way to protect the border and the most costly.”

Fox News Story

A view not exactly shared by the rest of her party.

But it is crazy, right? One view is shared and the opposing culture hears it as total foolishness but yet the agreeing culture hears it as great wisdom.

One can certainly understand the pain, anguish, and shear lunacy Charles Dickens was attempting to describe in his book A Tale of Two Cities.

But what if I were to tell you I believe this division has happened much earlier in history? Consider the words of John:

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

John 18:37-39

Pilate was completely frustrated with the foolishness of the day. On the one hand he could find no fault with Jesus but on the other there were cries from the people for his crucifixion. In his frustration he asks “What is truth?

It is this very same struggle for truth that is plaguing all of us today. It is the confusion on one side of the culture when #BlackLivesMatter calls out for the destruction of (so called) racially offensive language, monuments, and the erasure of American history itself. And the other side of the culture is confused because these exact same people align themselves with Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the mayor of New York City Bill de Balsio. If these people were actually intellectually honest with themselves and us they would be calling for the abolishment of the Democrat party itself rather than aligning themselves with it.

It was the Democrat party that championed slavery and racism. It was the Republican party that freed them. It was the Democrat party that voted for Jim Crow laws and segregation. It was the Republican party that fought for inclusion and the idea that ALL people are created equal. It is Democrat party members that held positions within the KKK while the Republican party did not. It is the Democrat party that continues to this day to enact laws and policies that disadvantage more people of color while the Republican party has established a record of providing more jobs and opportunity to all of Americans. If #BlackLivesMatter is really so incensed with being reminded of the history of slavery in America, then they should be for the complete abolishment of the Democrat part as well.

There are so many that have fought to bring the light of truth to this history. Alfonzo Rachel for one. Dinesh D’souza for another. People of color who would certainly have no agenda for furthering “white supremacy“. And there are so many others that continue to educate, inform, and offer alternate points of view. But our culture is divided. And people ask what it is divided over. The answer is quite simple and is very plain. We are divided over the TRUTH.

This is why I am passionate about the state of our country today. Not only for the very survival of America, but for the souls of so many people who are lost without TRUTH.

For you see, there is another interesting phrase in Charles Dickens opening to a Tale of Two Cities. As he sums up his setting he notes:

“… we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”

A Tale of Two Cities – Chapter I. The Period

And as another champion of American History, Rush Limbaugh, would say – “for those of you in Rio LInda” Charles Dickens reference to those “going direct the other way” means Hell. And that is the real crux of the problem with Which Side Are You On? Because one side leads to Eternal Life and the other side leads to Eternal Damnation.

As for me, I chose the side of TRUTH. Because there is only one person in all of history that could (and can) credibly claim:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

And that is the person of Jesus Christ. And I believe the TRUTH because only He, the creator of all the universe, can establish TRUTH. The only thing that remains (for both the survival of American history and people’s souls) is to determine which truth you will believe. Which side are YOU on?

A Tale Of Two Cultures

In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote the historical novel A Tale of Two Cities. A story centered around London England and Paris France before/during the French Revolution. It has been referred to as the best selling novel of all time (and certainly must be in the top 10, assuming it is even taught in schools these days) and it opens with the iconic line:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

You can find an online copy of the work here (at Project Gutenberg).

Today I do not have a question, but rather an observation of how little things change and what great opportunities we (as a society, as a Nation, and even as a World) have before us to learn Truth and to apply lessons from history in order to help make all of our lives better.

One might consider the similarities between the events of 1789 in France and what is occurring in the USA today in 2020 (231 years apart) in that both are predicated by social and political unrest that affected (and affects) everyone in the land. In other words, it was a National, social and political upheaval. Oh sure, there were pockets of events, within cities, small towns, and even neighborhoods, but the prevailing mood was not just contained in small areas. It was felt Nationally and was seen around the world.

And before you get too far down the path trying to pick the analogy apart, let me just point out that it is not all that original of an idea. This story from the Daily Signal references a tweet from Senator Lindsey Graham with the same observation.

And No, I did not know of Senator Graham’s tweet when I started authoring this post, but I generally like to do a little due diligence before I post something. And even with Senator Graham’s tweet, I decided to go ahead with the conversation because I believe it is relevant.

And yes, I also realize there are those that are simply going to dismiss the analogy because it is Senator Graham‘s tweet. Because those of you who hold such wisdom have been elected to (what is arguably) the most significant legislative body in the world today. Right? Perhaps you might want to rethink your ability to assimilate and interpret data.

And whether you agree with the analogy or not, there are a couple of very interesting comparisons. You might say that today is “The best of times”. In all of human history we, as a people, have more than has ever been had before. Which is pretty funny when you consider that the #BlackLivesMatter revolution is being fought out of air conditioned homes, run off an abundance of fine food (and I don’t care if we’re talking McDonalds hamburgers here, compared to what the French were eating during their revolution, that is pretty fine dining), enjoying the benefits of social media, and traveling around in air conditioned autos with Dolby stereo systems in them. The French revolutionaries had it much harder I assure you. You might also say that today is “The worst of times” in that there is more political and social upheaval in the country than any of us has known within our lifetimes. Another interesting comparison is that both periods tried (and are trying) to remove perceived ills from the world. When the French tore down the Monarchy, they ended up with a Dictator (in Napoleon) before they got to the desired democracy. Let’s certainly hope that history doesn’t repeat itself there.

But the comparisons of the French Revolution and the state of social and political upheaval in the USA today are not what I want draw your attention to. They are merely illustrative of how history repeats itself and how we can learn valuable lessons if we only open our eyes and our minds and seek wisdom.

What is a little closer to home is the sheer lunacy that is occurring with the #BlackLivesMatter movement ripping down statues of Christopher Columbus, Frederick Douglas, and our founding fathers (stories here, here, here, and here – search for ‘statues torn down’ if you want to read more). The argument for all of this wanton destruction and terror is that they depict ‘white supremacy’. We cannot know the pain that a black person feels when they walk past one of these statues or memorials.

Well guess what? You cannot possibly know the pain that I feel when I visit a WW-II memorial, or an American Civil War battlefield where #WhiteLIvesMatter fought and died just so #BlackLivesMatter could have the privilege today to tear down all the memorials because they are too painful to walk by. But I don’t want to tear any of them down. Rather the contrary. I want my children’s, children’s, children to see them and to understand that freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for with a price.

What my friends over at #BlackLivesMatter might want to consider is the consequences of their actions (and I mean for their children’s children). Take another group, #JewishLivesMatter. Do you think the Jewish people want to erase all remnants of WW-II and the holocaust? Quite the opposite. They build memorials and museums all over the world to remind people of what they went through. Why? Because they don’t want people to deny that it ever happened. They don’t want history swept under the rug. And if you think that #JewishLivesMatter are being a little too paranoid, consider these kooks here, and here, and the fact that it is a prevalent enough theory to warrant a Wikipedia article (here).

And the sheer irony of the matter will be, that one day, when slavery has been erroneously erased from American History, it will be #BlackLivesMatter that will have been the cause and will have brought down the consequences upon themselves.

So before the protesting continues, before more statues and memorials are torn down, before we rewrite any more of history than has already been rewritten, perhaps #BlackLivesMatter might want to take a page out of #JewishLivesMatter playbook and consider:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Deuteronomy 4:9

How Do I Know If You Trust Jesus?

The other day in my last blog post I talked about people at the George Floyd protests carrying No Justice No Peace signs (as those found here) and I mentioned how ridiculous I find that slogan. I also mentioned these people don’t know peace and that peace dependent upon justice is worthless peace. But I left it at that because my previous post was a comparison of the circumstance of George Floyd and those of Jesus Christ and why I found it both ironic and sad that people would jump to champion the cause of George Floyd, but not so many jump to champion the cause of Jesus Christ.

Today I’d like to expound on those comments a little because I don’t want to just make a blanket statement without others understanding that I actually have thought about it, prayed about, studied it, and drawn some conclusions about it that I believe are in line with the Holy Scriptures. That and I really do think it is something for all of us (especially me) to consider.

But the way I’d like to explain those comments is by answering a question that anyone might ask of me. So I’d like to propose that a question one might ask of me is how do I know if you (or the person asking the question) really and truly trusts Jesus Christ? I could have titled today’s post “Do You Have Trust Issues?” but perhaps if I explain it from my perspective it will ring a little truer.

So lets start out with the answer before I get to the logic and explanation. The answer is simple. By observing your level of PEACE with life. However, allow me to explain that by trust I don’t mean the way you trust your bank to keep your money safe. I mean a faith that is unwavering and unshaken. A faith that cannot be moved. The trust I am talking about takes all of your heart, and all of your mind, and all of your soul, and all your strength (Mark 12:30). The trust I am talking about takes place on God’s terms and not on man’s (or our) terms. And likewise, when I say peace I am not talking about the human definition of mutual harmony between countries, friends, and neighbors. The peace I am talking about is inexplicable. We are told it passes all of our understanding. It is literally incomprehensible peace. And it is peace that comes from God (John 16:33). Your level of TRUST in God (the person of Jesus Christ) is directly proportional to the level of PEACE you experience within your life.

So how do I know this? Well first of all allow me to debunk the myth that peace is somehow tied to justice. If I am to assume that those who brandish this slogan mean that we cannot have peace without justice, then clearly they are wrong. Justice is indicative of a moral or righteous code of conduct. And there are injustices all over the world each and every day. How about the injustice of abortion? Something that bothers me greatly. But my peace is not dependent upon it. By point of reference, those that brandish the slogan are usually talking about what they would define as justice not what would necessarily be just within the eyes of God. If by their slogan they mean we cannot have peace without first having their brand of justice, then I submit to you it is a lost cause and we will never have peace. As long as justice is arbitrary and defined by the whims of man then peace will be elusive. We are told that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19) and that we are not to be given over to wrath. So clearly my peace isn’t (or shouldn’t be) tied to whatever justice I find or experience here on earth.

On the other hand if if those that brandish this slogan mean that they will not allow peace without justice, then once again I would submit to you there will be no peace here on earth. How can there be when we’ve tied it to some warped sense of justice? I am almost positive that those that brandish the slogan would have a problem when I tell them that I find those that call for the destruction of Israel, unjust. I am sure they would have a real problem with my views on abortion and how I find that practice unjust. I’m sure they would have a problem when I point out the unjustness of a cake decorator in Colorado (story here) being taken to court for not making an LBGTQ cake because it is contrary to his faith while at the same time they are calling for the tearing down of crosses (an example here) all over America. So whose justice are we talking about before we make peace not war? Certainly not what I (and hundreds of thousands of others) find to be just. Are we to go without peace for the sake of others? Or have these fools mistakenly tied peace to justice because it furthers their world view? (Just to be clear, I’m going with the latter).

So peace is not dependent upon justice, but what is it dependent upon? I would submit to you that peace is dependent upon trust. So how do I know this? Well I believe it is born out in Holy Scripture. Take Psalm 18:2 for example. What is your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your very salvation, if not your peace? Is He not your place of refuge? Where all your needs are met? Where you find tranquility and where you are safe from all terrors? Is He not your PEACE?

And how do you obtain that PEACE? Through TRUST of course. You observe this almost everywhere in life. Missionaries exhibit this behavior every day of their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Missionary friends in seemingly impossible circumstances. And yet totally at peace. They look at you and say “God WILL provide.” And they know this because they trust Him.

I don’t lose my peace because God is my VENGEANCE, God is my FORTRESS, God is my SALVATION, God is my ROCK, God is my EVERYTHING and I TRUST Him. And when my trust wanes, and worry creeps into my life, and it seems like terror is closing in, I cry out to Him to help me in my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

So how do I know if you trust Jesus? I look at the level of peace you exhibit in your life. The more peace, the more trust. And the more trust, the more peace there will be. Try it yourself and see if I’m right.

Are You Marching For George Floyd?

About four weeks ago no one in America (other than family and friends) had heard the name George Floyd. However, suddenly, after one senseless act, not only had the world heard the name of George Floyd, but he had suddenly become some type of martyr, a symbol, a cause to rally around.

Cries of racism, police brutality, and #BlackLivesMatter sprang up all over the news and on city streets everywhere. George Floyd had become a cause. Interestingly enough, where there was no cause the day before.

George Floyd was memorialized, he had a funeral of more than 500 including an appearance by the Rev. Al Sharpton. His family was invited to testify before the U.S. Congress. Rallies sprang up in cities across the nation. There were riots where entire neighborhoods were ravaged. And it continues on today.

Some folks even flew half way across the Pacific ocean in order to ensure they brought the protests to the State of Hawaii. I know because I saw them lining the side of the highway as I drove my wife to a Drs. appointment in town. One of them, a very young lady, probably not even in High School, held a sign that read “No Justice, No Peace“.

I’m not even sure she was wise enough to understand the sheer folly of the sign she was holding. Are we supposed to interpret that as without Justice in the world there can be no Peace? Or that they will not allow peace without justice? These people neither understand justice or peace. And to think that the two are somehow tied together or are dependent upon each other is so ridiculous and juvenile as to be laughable. The real problem is these people cannot experience peace because they’ve tied it to some warped sense of justice they’ve invented in their heads. And prior to four or five weeks ago, they didn’t even know they wanted that justice.

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. My friend, like George Floyd, is a person of color. He is not some white, European, male that (supposedly) holds all the privilege in the world. No, quite the contrary, he is probably part of a smaller minority than George Floyd is.

My friend, like George Floyd, is part of a race of people that has suffered slavery and intolerable injustices. My friends race was enslaved for many hundreds of years and far, far, far, more of them died in slavery than did any African Americans. And they were treated as worse or even more intolerable than any African American slave.

My friends race, unlike George Floyd, had six million of their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles just exterminated, for no cause, during World War II. They were killed for the gold filling in their teeth, their skin was used for lampshades, and their dead bodies were stacked like cordwood.

My friend, like George Floyd, was arrested by a group of European white guys who pretended to be the law of the land, but only because they were part of an occupying force. They came for him in the middle of the night. Carrying swords. And they took him while he was praying in a garden. They never read him his rights, they never told him what he was being charged with, and they never extended him any human dignity.

My friend, unlike George Floyd, was arrested without cause. As-a-matter-of-fact, my friend had not only never broken a law, he had never even committed the smallest sin. He had never lied, never had an evil thought, never stolen. He was totally righteous and without blame.

My friend, unlike George Floyd, was brought before a kangaroo court and was charged with fabricated and false charges. The Chief Justice even said he found no fault in Him (John 19:6).

My friend, unlike George Floyd, was beaten and scourged almost to the point of death. He was crucified. Hung from a cross. And my friend did not get any justice in death. There were no marches in the streets, no calls for justice. The important religious leaders of the day were embarrassed to show up at his funeral. And my friend was buried in a borrowed grave.

My friend is a member of the Jewish race. And you never hear #JewishLivesMatter. Even though there are repeated calls from around the world today to literally exterminate them all. There has never been a race of people that has suffered the injustices to the extent that the Jewish people have. And no one, absolutely no one marches in the street for them.

My friends name is Jesus Christ. And unlike George Floyd, he gave up his life willingly to the Roman guards. Even though he was totally without blame, he did not resist arrest nor did he alter the course of history when they scourged him and hung him on a cross. Even though he could have easily called upon the very Angels of Heaven itself and destroyed the earth (Matthew 26:53).

Oh what a friend I have in Jesus. He gave his life willingly that I (and you) might live. He died unustly that there might be justice. He died that there might be peace like no other peace on earth. Jesus is my Rock that assures me there is Justice in this world. And Jesus is my Savior that brings a Peace that passes all understanding. No matter the marches in the streets, no matter the riots, no matter the sheer lunacy the world sinks into, you cannot take my Peace. For my Peace comes from He who owns all Peace.

Never in the history of all humanity has ANY individual ever been more unjustly treated and made to suffer without cause than the person of Jesus Christ. And never has racism ever reared its ugly head in a more prominent manner than against the Church of the Family of God.

And yet no one marches in the streets. No one picks up the cause. No one wants to hold high the banner of Jesus Christ. And yet if we did, we would find the Justice and the Peace we all are looking for in the world today. Think about it.

Are You Affected by the Global Pandemic?

If you are online today you are obviously aware of the global pandemic. Have you been affected by it in some way, shape, or fashion? It would seem that despite the sickness, loss-of-life, and health impacts to others, the greatest impact has been in economic and social realms.

This impact leads to the question of whether or not there can or should be restitution for the affects on peoples lives. This question has been asked in the news and indeed some governments have moved this question into the legal arena within the courts.

To answer this question we would first need to determine culpability. Was this an “act of god”? Or was it under the control of human intervention and could it have been prevented?

Most people are probably aware that the COVID-19 impact started in Wuhan China. But was it a natural outbreak from animals like bats (as some have suggested) or were humans involved? Today, I’d like to share with you a paper researched and written by a friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Ray Miller, PhD. that addresses this very question. Let me add my own comment to the discussion here. I firmly believe that China is culpable in the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. I do not believe that they did anything maliciously or aggressively. But nation states (all nation states) delve into areas that are dangerous on a global scale when not treated properly. In this case, I believe that China was conducting viral research (for whatever reason, medical, military) and there was an accident that released the virus under research from the lab. And the rest is history. But you can decide for yourself. Here is Dr. Miller’s paper for your consideration:

What is your cause?

Pastor’s are not supposed to have a “cause” other than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was always taught that you preach TO the people not AT the people. Unfortunately, even preaching TO the people (or just being a prophet in your own time) is more often than not interpreted as preaching AT the people. But fortunately we have the Holy Spirit and it is between you and him as to what you do with the Holy Word of God. My calling is simply to expound on the Word of God and leave the rest up to him (and of course you – of which I am included). The Word of God is the Word of God and it stands for all of eternity. I’ve actually had people come up to me in the past and say “give us a word from God”. As if people cannot get their own word from God. It doesn’t exactly work that way. God gives a word (wisdom) to those whom he chooses. Even with the prophets of old (Biblical times) God rarely gave a personal word for an individual to a prophet (unless it was to another prophet).

And don’t believe for a minute that I do not believe in preaching Hell Fire and Brimstone. I do. People need to understand that there is a great destiny in life. And you can either spend that destiny in Heaven or in Hell. But it is not my place to preach AT the people. Even Jesus Christ himself made it clear that God sent his Son into the world to save the world not to condemn the world (John 3:17). Which is why I try to be careful not to care about your sin, but only to point out that there is sin and that I am included. Indeed, I am chief amongst sinners.

But I must confess that indeed I do have a cause. I’m only human (which is just a fact not an excuse) and there are a couple of things that raise my ire more than anything else. And the biggest cause that gets under my skin is ABORTION.

I just do not accept that abortion is a woman’s right to choose. It is not their right to do with their body as they see fit. That fetus is a human life. It is not some forming mass of tissue. It is a life formed by a Holy and Righteous God that has all power and authority over life and death. And the reason we (humanity) fall into this trap is because of my second top cause – the lie of evolution. The lie of evolution has tried to teach us that there is no God and that everything we see and experience is just happenstance without any Devine providence or guidance. And I’m sorry, but that is just a lie. I believe possibly the biggest lie ever told. The lie of evolution allows us to believe that God does not form a life in the womb and that a woman has a choice over her body and the life that it contains. Which simply is not true and I’m sorry, if you believe that a woman has a right to choose you are just wrong.

Abortion is murder. It doesn’t matter what any of us believe. The simple truth (and it is simple) is that there is a God and he does hold all power and authority over all of human life. And when we unjustly take a life, including through abortion, it is by definition murder.

And this bothers me greatly. US President Ronald Regan said that if you could not state for certain when human life begins (and I can, it begins when a Holy and Righteous God forms it in the womb. On day one.) then we owed them the benefit of the doubt. And we should give this cause the respect that it is due. None of us can definitely prove when human life begins. Neither science nor religion nor philosophy can definitively prove the start of human life. Science struggles with the conundrum of human life and denial of God. They can’t explain the miracle of life to begin with let alone Define the exact start of it. Religion obviously defaults to a God creating that life and has no choice but to accept the moment of conception as the definitive start of that human life. Philosophy tries to find a happy medium that fails on both fronts. On all fronts humanity has no choice but to accept human life beginning at conception. And by not doing so we allow for the murder of hundreds of millions of unborn babies worldwide every year.

Rush Limbaugh wrote that his problem with abortion is that it cheapens human life. And this is an excellent argument. Abortion takes a human life created by a Holy God and formed in his perfect image and reduces it to an inconsequential event of less than the miracle it truly is. And this is having severe consequences on our societies worldwide. It is tearing our world apart.

However my reason for carrying abortion as my cause is that it brings evil incarnate into our world. If a Holy God is the author of life, then the undeniable enemy of life is none other than Satan. Life is the gift of God and that makes Satan it’s number one enemy. Satan is the antithesis of life and his hatred would have him destroy it at all cost. And abortion is a huge lie that allows him to further his cause.

And if I’m not being plain spoken here, let me just state that the people that participate in this industry are godless, evil people driven by the forces of darkness to include Satan himself.

And if you think I’m being overly dramatic here, may I bring your attention to this story that recently emerged in the news. An abortion (so called) doctor (the irony of referring to these individuals as medical professionals makes my blood boil) for years stacked up human remains at his home and he wasn’t found out until his death. If this isn’t an atrocity on a par with the actions of the Nazis during WWII, I don’t know what you could use to make an argument for what is.

Planned Parenthood and the (once again so called) doctors that practice under their umbrella are the agents of Satan and they represent evil manifested in our world. An abortionist who collected over 2,000 human remains and kept them at his personal residence is sick, evil, and disturbing on all levels. As an ambassador of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry this doctor shows us to what depths of human depravity we’ve allowed to grip the world. It is horrifying to realize that we have come to accept this culture in our societies and the world.

Obviously my desire is that your cause would be that all would be saved and come to know Jesus Christ as Lord of their life. But if there were one (or two) causes that you had to take up, how about carefully considering the lies of abortion and evolution? I truly believe that if anything could make a dramatic change on our societies and bring the world closer to a Holy God, it would have to be honestly and ethically dealing with the lies of abortion and evolution. With the evil that abortion manifests in the world (as demonstrated by this recent story) I pray you would join me in my cause (and that you would forgive me for having a cause).

What is the status of your unbelief?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There are many things in the world that we believe in.  And there are many things that we do not believe in.  And these beliefs and unbelief’s permeate every one of our lives.  From social, to political, to science, and even our theology.  But have you ever stopped to consider how much easier it is to not believe than it is to believe?

I personally believe that the USA sent men to the moon and that they walked upon its surface.  This is as much a fact for me as the house that I live in or the clothes that I wear.  But there is an entire subculture that does not believe this.  No matter the evidence put before them.

I personally believe the earth is round, like a ball, hanging in space.  But there is a considerable subculture today that believes the earth is flat and not round.

I personally do not believe in Global Warming, Man Made Climate Change, or the data and extrapolations that come from such theories.  But there is a considerable number of people who do find this line of reasoning credible.

I personally do not believe that the current US administration colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election results. But there are many people who do believe this.

I personally believe that abortion is murder and takes the life of a living human spirit.  But there are many that do not believe that and view abortion as an acceptable practice.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world and that on the third day He rose from the dead proving his deity and solidifying His claims.  But there are a vast number of people who do not believe that.

In all of these, my belief is much harder than my unbelief.  It is easy to not believe something. But it is hard to actually believe something.  This is because our nature, our very human nature, is bent towards questioning and a need for proof.  And what I may require as proof is probably different than what you may require as proof.  We all want to be masters of our own destiny.  We want to be the ones in control.  And we all want to be our own judges of what is true and what is not.

Oftentimes we blame our skepticism on lack of faith.  We say that we have a problem with something because we do not have any faith in it.  We lack faith in our political systems.  We lack faith in our in our scientific methods.  We lack faith in our society.  And we certainly lack faith in our theology.

But how much faith does it take to effect changes in these areas in the world around us?  How much faith do we really need to make a difference in the world?

The disciples had this problem when they tried, on their own, to accomplish a task.  That of casting out a demon.  And when they failed, they came to Jesus and he told them that if they had but a very small amount of faith, that of a single mustard seed, they could move mountains.  At least that is what we usually focus on.

What we miss is the reason why they failed.  Jesus told them the reason they failed right up front.  See it there?  He told them the reason they were not successful is because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is a powerful thing in our lives and it will weigh heavy on our beliefs, dragging them down.  And then he told them that if they had a very small amount of faith they could move mountains.

From this we can learn that it is not the size of our faith that hinders us, it is the size of our unbelief that is important.  We are way too busy running around trying to increase our faith when what we should really be doing is working on our unbelief.

As further evidence of this I would submit God’s one requirement for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, that of belief on the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   God did not require us to first have great faith.  That naturally follows once we take care of our unbelief. Rather God requires us to believe.  Belief is where we must start and dealing with our unbelief is a foundational piece of that.

When a troubled father came to Jesus asking for healing for his child, Jesus asked him if he believed (Mark 9:23-24).  The father emphatically proclaimed that he believed and then immediately asked for help with his unbelief.  Jesus had just told him that all things were possible to those that believed, and the father so desperately wanted to believe.  But he knew that there were still doubts that were in his heart and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

I can assure you today that I have great faith that God is upon His throne.  He is in control, whether I believe that or not.  Faith that could move mountains and that I will stand for even though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And yet mountains are not moved, lives are not changed, and there seems to be little difference in the world around me.  Why?  Probably because I’ve been asking God for great faith when I should be asking him to help me with my unbelief.

How about yourself?  Are mountains not moving in your life?  Are you failing to make a difference?  And do you double down on your efforts because of your great faith only to no avail?  Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our unbelief.  Jesus, help me with my unbelief so that the faith you have given me in my life may move mountains for Your glory.

Are You Living on the Other Side of the BUT …?

Three friends of mine, whom I’ve mentioned in the past, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, found themselves facing quite a predicament one afternoon.  They faced a situation where they could do what God had said to do, or they could do what man had said to do.  But they couldn’t do both.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God had commanded them to have no other gods before Him.  They knew they could not bow down to idols or graven images.  They knew the word of the Lord (Exodus 20:1-6).

Unfortunately for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded that they do exactly what the word of the Lord told them not to do (Daniel 3:4-6).  And the King’s commandment carried quite a heavy weight along with it.  Anyone who violated the commandment would be thrown into a burning firey furnace.

And thus their predicament.  If they did what King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded they do, they would end up violating what God had commanded they do.  And if they did what God had commanded they do, they would end up violating what King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded they do.  But they couldn’t do both.  They had to please one and risk angering the other.  They had to make a difficult choice.

Interestingly enough, I believe every person in the world today faces the exact same choice as my three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  We all have an impossible choice to make.  We may either bow down and serve the images of the world, or we may serve God.  But we can’t do both.  We must choose one or the other.

And our choices have consequences attached to them.  Dire ones.  Severe ones.  Serious ones.  Literally as scary and fatal as being thrown into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.  We are talking life threatening endangerment here accompanied with violent pain and torture.

If we examine our choices in light of our three base world views, we begin to unravel what drives us within our lives.

The Atheist has no problem whatsoever bowing down to the King’s idol.  It is a mode of self-preservation.  Which is disingenuous in and of itself.  Because if you are Atheistic in your world view you have no belief in any God.  So why would you be inventing one and serving one?  The Atheist has no reason to be motivated by their own self-preservation to the extent of violating their own personal beliefs, they simply set their World View aside and in the interest of continuing their life journey, they bow down.

The Agnostic is completely indifferent to bowing down to the King’s idol.  The Agnostic most likely wants to hedge their bets.  But in situations like this, they cannot.  The Agnostic lives in real confusion at times.  They would like to please both God and man, just in case one or the other happens to come true and they find themselves facing consequences they cannot deal with.  Unfortunately for the Agnostic, there are some questions in life that require a real choice and a single action.  You must choose one or the other.  You cannot choose both, and you will face consequences for your actions whether you want to or not.  In most cases the Agnostic will join their Atheist friends and bow down to the golden image and worship it in the interest of self-preservation.

For the Theist however, the choice becomes a lot more granular.  Unlike their Atheist and Agnostic neighbors, the Theist actually believes both choices to be solid and real.  The commandments of their God are true and define the core of their beliefs.  The Theist really must stand on the principles of their world view if they are to be true to themselves, and that means they must accept the consequences of violating the commandments of the King.

The Theist, especially Christians, have an out though, right?  After all, the Theist serves a God that can deliver them for any consequences of man.  And yet, 99.999% of all the people in the world today choose to bow down to the King’s idols.  Why?  It makes sense with the Atheists and the Agnostics, but why do the Theists, for the most part, give in and bow down?  Especially when they supposedly believe that their God can save them?

My friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the very small minority in their answer to the King.  Here is what they said:

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  Daniel 3:16-18 KJV

Most Christians familiar with the story of my three friends shout triumphantly and proclaim victory through God’s hands.  Yet the evidence remains, that the majority of people bow down and worship the idols.  Why is that?  Why do Theist Christians so adamantly believe that God can save them yet they go ahead and bow down?

I believe it is because the vast majority of us do not live beyond the BUT.  Do you see it there?  The BUT at the beginning of verse 18.  You see, it is very easy to proclaim that God has the power to save, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to go beyond that.  They were willing to say BUT “if not“.  If God chooses NOT to save us, then we still will not bow down.  Because God is still God.

Here is the bottom line: you cannot truly be free until you are willing to live beyond the BUT.  It is easy to stand and proclaim that God has the power to save, but it is hard to say I trust him even when he chooses not to rescue me from the burning firey furnace.

And God cannot work in your life until you are ready to put your complete trust in Him.  Until you are ready to say to Him “God, I trust you to save me.  But even if You choose not to, I still trust and worship You, and You alone.”

I told someone recently that when I stand before the judgement seat of the Holy God, my only plea is the Blood of the Lamb.  I’ve put my complete faith and trust in Him and I know He has the power to save.  BUT if Jesus looks at me in that day and says “I’ve changed my mind and you are not to be saved.”  Then know this: as I am on my way to the gates of Hell, I will be singing “Praise Him!  Praise Him!  Praise Him.  For He is Just.  He is Holy.  He is Righteous.  And He has given me what I deserve!”

And I know this to be true because when you live on the other side of the BUT … you live a life that accepts whatever decision God makes for you.  Whether it be to save you from the burning firey furnace, or whether He chooses not to.  Either way, He still is God and I will bow down to no other.

What about you?  Are you ready to live on the other side of the BUT and to serve Him, to worship Him, to Praise God no matter what decision He may make for your life?

Is Abortion Murder?

I know I have made my opinion known on the topic of abortion within this blog in past posts, however, some topics are important enough, worth enough, to be revisited again and again.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C.

January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion as a “Constitutional” right in the United States of America.  During those 45 years since that ruling, there have been (conservatively) 60 million abortions in the United States alone.  To put this into perspective, six million people of Jewish decent were murdered by Nazi Germany between 1941 – 1945 during World War II.  If you are generous and allow a full 5 years across WW-II for the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany (in reality, they were slightly more compressed), you would achieve nearly the same rate of 1.33 million deaths per year for both Jewish people killed in the Holocaust and abortions in the U.S. since 1973 (1.20 million/year vs. 1.33 million/year for the Holocaust and Abortions in the U.S. respectively).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – march participants

While both abortions in the U.S. and the Holocaust are (were) state sponsored events (the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 as well as Government funding of Planned Parenthood – using taxpayer dollars – which sponsors abortions), the justifications that each hide behind are quite different (presumably to make one sound less horrifying than it really is).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – Marchers were of all ages, gender, and race.

While the reasoning used by Nazi Germany to justify the murder of millions of Jewish people all across Europe are completely indefensible by any right thinking individual, the subtlety used to justify abortions within the United States are more cunning and deceiving.  Within the abortion argument in the United States we hide behind words like embryo and fetus.  By using these words to describe a phase of human life, we tend to isolate the subject of the abortion and make it sound less human and thus perfectly acceptable to remove and throw away.  We simply state we are terminating the pregnancy (vice acknowledging we are terminating a human life) and having safely justified our actions to ourselves, we move on.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – united in cause.

But the question still remains: Is Abortion Murder?  Just because we have justified it to ourselves does not mean that it is OK.  Nor does it mean that we will not be held accountable for our actions just because we’ve excused ourselves of them.  Have we fooled ourselves into believing that the termination of a pregnancy (vis-à-vis abortion) is OK because we are not actually taking a human life, when in reality, we actually are?

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – pause and think.

I suppose if you are Atheistic in your world view, it doesn’t really matter.  After all, there is no God, no Moral code, and definitely no purpose or meaning to life.  Given the foundation the Atheist builds their world view upon, they really shouldn’t mind killing of any kind.  After all, with no God to answer to, and everything in existence being meaningless, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if abortions were murder or not.  But if you are Atheistic in your world view and you are intellectually honest with yourself, then why do you care how the morals get defined?  There is no more control over which process wins here than there is with stars burning out in the heavens.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – marching together.

If you are Agnostic in your world view you shouldn’t have an opinion unless you are directly affected by the issue.  And even then you should pick your friends carefully.  After all, if you had one influence in your life that favored abortion and another, equal influence, that opposed abortion, it would be pretty confusing for you.  The Agnostic would have to flip a coin in order to decide.

However if you are Theistic in your world view, then you must believe that all life emanates from a God, a Creator.  And if you cannot definitively define the exact moment in time when that God-given, Creator induced life begins, then you had better err on the side of caution and treat all credible instances as human life.

This is essentially what President Ronald Regan said during his time in office.  President Regan argued (from a Theistic point of view, without stating it explicitly) that if one could not determine the point that human life began (we may all agree that the individual cells are life), that you could not act responsibly in terminating that life without being potentially guilty of murder.

So is abortion murder?  Consider that the fetus stage appears human in form.  We have hands, feet, a head, a torso.  A face.  Consider that at the fetus stage that we have a human heartbeat (~6 weeks), at the fetus stage we can measure brain waves/activity (~6 weeks.  Indeed the brain needs to be developed enough at this stage to govern organs such as the heart).  Consider at the fetus stage you can begin to see rudimentary facial expressions.  There are ultra-sounds of a fetus even sucking their thumb.  At the fetus stage you may even determine the biological sex of the child.

Some have argued as to whether or not the child is sentient at the fetus stage.  We know that at the fetus stage the child reacts to stimuli such as pain.  Very early on the child can even react to the voices of its mother and father.

These are what we know, in a rudimentary way, through both science and medicine of today.  Who knows what we will be able to discover or discern in the future?

And of course there is the religious argument.  Christianity teaches that the person (the spirit – that part of you that will endure forever) is known by God (the Creator) before you are even formed in the womb.

Is abortion murder?  How can any reasonable person say that it is not?  And we destroy thousands upon thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.  Isn’t it time that this practice is stopped?

The Way

Psalm 84:5-12 New American Standard Bible

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! …They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
…The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

So…
Psalm 86:11
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

My GPS has changed my life! I’ve put all my maps aside for the most part. “She” always knows where I am and how to get me where I want to go…most of the time. I call her Jennifer.

It has taken much of the stress of travelling away. Having my own personal navigator aboard, assuring me of my next turn and happily re-calculating when I get off course, is a lifesaver.  It has removed the concern of ever being lost. Amazing…how does she do that?  My techie friends tell me it’s not that complicated.  Though I don’t get it, I do trust my way to her.  Though I don’t understand, I believe her commands and go where she directs, confident I’ll ultimately get home.

The application to these verses is obvious. The psalmist tells us that having God’s Way in our heart will always get us “Home”, to HIM and Zion, His dwelling place. It is there that every “good thing” we need for life is found. Everything required for my sufficiency, adequacy and security is there in great supply. He is very happy to deluge us there with His best.

No wonder, the psalmist would ask he Lord to teach him the way to walk and to revere HIM enough to stay on that road to His presence…the ultimate Destination.

Actually, there are only two ways in Life, God’s way or another one. There are many voices calling to divert us from His prescribed path. His word, The Bible, has been God’s GPS for me in this life for some time and is always spot on. My problem is, I too often take “side trips” and get lost in the complexities and troubles waywardness brings.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Knowing his vulnerability and predisposition to waywardness, the psalmist asks his Heavenly Father to search his heart for the entrenched habits and thinking that would upstage God’s way, and requests personal guidance in His eternal, life-giving, sustaining path.  Just think, having your own personal, resident Spiritual navigator with you, always directing and ultimately, to Himself.  It’s true! He wants to plug into your life and take you where you should go.  It brings the confidence He intends us to have in the difficult days we live.

The psalmist’s prayer has become mine every new day.  Wayward as I have been and still can be, I’ve put aside all other “maps” and trust His unfailing direction for everything. For me, that is making all the difference.

My prayer for you is to find His way and stay there. You will never regret it. Make your way “Home” to Him and know the best and most He’s gives.  For me, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m

Heading Home,

Mitch