America is a mess. The world is in even greater turmoil. If one is a prognosticator, the outlook for the future is less than favorable.
An honest assessment of our nation would leave any young person discouraged and depressed. Bankrupt is the word that might best describe our current status in these areas and so many more:
As someone who is the father of two millennial young men, I look at the condition of our nation, our communities, and our families, and there is only one place I can go to ascribe blame.
Yes, my generation, and perhaps those before, are accountable for the drastic decline in the bankrupt conditions we are grappling with today. Our focus, our attention, and our priorities shifted little by little, year after year, decade after decade. And this slight change of direction over the years has veered us of course from much that is good, pure, and God-honoring.
It’s possible that many of us in my generation are beginning to see the errors of our ways, and we are seeking to acknowledge before God Almighty, and a searching world, that we have wronged Him. But as we have wronged our Creator, we have inadvertently wronged our posterity.
But, while I may have run my leg of this ongoing relay race poorly, and while I may have even dropped the baton I was carrying, as I pick it up and hand it off to the next generation of millennials, there is only one way that this new generation can run a better race than their forefathers, and have hope for their own future.
That hope is in change. And the hope I am referring to is not in some change in a political message. Or a social justice message. Or an environmental message. Or even in a message of tolerance.
Rather, the hope for this next generation is in God, the One who has never stumbled, never faltered, and never wavered. Consider what the Psalmist had to say about the hope for each new generation, including millennials:
“So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” Psalms 78:7-8
Yes, my generation was, and perhaps still is, stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful. We have refused to give our hearts entirely to God, being lured into many “good” things, but perhaps not the best. But if we are honest, we may have also been lured into many bad things as well.
But lest any of you millennials begin to pile on the criticism of your parents and forefathers, I caution you to consider that the same temptations and struggles that we have experienced will be presented to you as well. A foolish response would conclude that “I can stand; or I will withstand, the temptations that derailed my fathers.”
But God warns, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” A common thread that binds all generations to each other are the frailties, the struggles, and the failures that each of us experiences. We are all infected with a spiritual virus that, if left untreated, will always result in national, cultural, moral, and individual spiritual bankruptcy.
But there is hope by returning to God.
Perhaps that sounds trite, so just what does a life that “returns to God” look like? Does that person put on the attire of a monk or nun, and then retreat to a secluded corner of the earth somewhere? Or is it possible to have a fully engaged, productive, and exciting life, while still returning to God?
Yes, Yes, and Yes again!
Life will never be experienced to its fullest and it will never truly be fulfilling until a person embraces God fully. To embrace God though, it may require you and me to change our behavior, our priorities, and our values. So here’s a quick list of some things that will characterize a person who is embracing God:
Bible — this will become the most important Book in your life and you will seek after it like a thirsty man seeks water. So a life that returns to God will read the Bible, everyday, for the rest of his life. And read it a lot.
Pray — you and I will communicate with God many times daily, sharing our deepest secrets, struggles, needs and victories, just as we would our closest friend.
Repent — as we fail God, falling short of His clear standard, we will promptly acknowledge our sin, and in a spirit of humility and sorrow, repent of our transgressions to God, because of the forgiveness that is offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son.
Return — When we repent, we will return to the top of this list and begin reading and praying again.
Serve — Jesus taught, both in word and deed, that the greatest among us would be a servant. So one of God’s way to the hearts of men is through service. Ask God to soften your heart, seek humility, and then walk through the doors God opens as you begin to live the life of a servant. You will be amazed at the abundant opportunities that are all around you to demonstrate the heart of Jesus via service.
Glorify — man’s chief aim and purpose is to glorify God. That is what you and I were created to do. While this may seem like a vague purpose, if you begin to meditate on just what this means, and find how you can do so via God’s Word, God will begin to quicken your mind to the unlimited ways in which you can glorify the One who has given you the breath of life, and everything else you have. Remember, “whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31
So as you consider the many bankruptcies confronting you and me, “let’s not get tired of doing what is good.” We will all be judged individually, regardless of what an entire nation is doing. The old, godly way is the one that will lead to true fulfillment in life, and it’s the only one that offers peace in the midst of the storms surrounding us.
I pray that you will grab the baton, and run the race, in a way that you will look back and know that God is pleased. In so doing, you will be assured of hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And the eternity ahead, will be one beyond your wildest imaginations!
“This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’” Jeremiah 6:16
“Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young…” Ecclesiastes 12:6
Greed is a character flaw that runs deep within the heart of America and one that we see too often in business, government and individuals. The sin of Greed is a powerful force that can easily infect us individually, and it’s one I have struggled with at times. So we must constantly be on guard against it. But we should also call it out when we see it reflected in our government and its institutions.
In case you missed it, TVA just filed suit against several individuals to gain access to their farmland “for the taking of a temporary right under the power of eminent domain and award of just compensation to the owners and parties of interest.” It has been reported that the owners of the subject land are not interested in selling their land.
TVA’s lust for the property of others is a sin. But an agency or organization does not sin on its own. Rather, sin is committed by individuals. So when we see an organization, agency or government committing insidious acts, we must resist the temptation to blame the entity alone. Rather, we must look to its members, executives or representatives. Never let this truth pass you by.
There are individuals within TVA who are individually responsible for the Greed that is being displayed in their unjust desire to take and to steal what is not theirs. These individuals may hide behind the three letter agency name they represent, but they are personally responsible, and to blame, for the evil acts of the agencies they lead. And yes, taking another individual’s personal property without their consent, otherwise known as stealing, is evil.
There is a second truth that we can learn from TVA’s latest strategy. Do not be deceived into thinking that just because courts might rule that something is “legal” it is then just or right. This includes ruling that a developer, agency or government can take land from an unwilling party.
Declaring something to be “legal” has never set the bar of what is right, nor righteous. Whenever man establishes an arbitrary standard, that standard can always be reversed or revised, thus affirming the truth that man’s laws are fallible.
There is only one standard that is true, right, infallible, and righteous. And God has weighed in on all matters of significance and consequence, including Greed in general, and taking someone else’s property in specific. There are literally countless passages in the Bible that instruct us about this topic, including the ten commandments, moving boundaries, taking the property of the weak, and so many more. To be clear, all of us are “weak” when compared with the multi-billion dollar budgets, holdings, and resources of TVA.
So, when it comes to TVA’s abusive effort to take what is not theirs, using the power of a court, via the threat and cost of a lawsuit, rest assured that evil intentions are at work. But remember that these decisions are not simply some impersonal government agency’s policies at play. Rather, know that it is a man or a woman, or even several men and women, who are willfully conspiring to take what is not theirs to advance their own selfish desires.
In this specific case, I have met some of the individuals responsible for this Greed via TVA. Some are members of local, bible-teaching churches. Yet their faith is at odds with their choices in their workplace. They are doing to their “neighbor” what they would never want done to themselves. In so doing, these men and women are violating a foundational value that they would likely say they embrace. What a sad reality. But they are not to be condemned but rather challenged in a respectful and even prayerful manner. We should all remember that we are all frail and too often struggle with our own shortfalls and character flaws. But we must still share truth regardless.
Just as God judged Ahab and Jezebel for stealing a citizen’s farmland several thousand years ago, I believe He will judge these men and women who are seeking to steal the farmland of several of their local citizens and their families. Since God is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” He does not change with the whims of man, or the rulings of a court. His Truths remain, as does His Justice.
So the good news is this. Sooner or later Justice will prevail, and Greed will be exposed and punished. Of course, most of us like to see justice prevail in the short-term though. So if you agree with these sentiments, please share this article with others. Perhaps God’s Truth, or a groundswell of opposition in our community, will cause the men and women responsible for this latest TVA effort to reverse their course of Greed.
“Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts…” (Isaiah51:7)
“Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute.” Judges11:1
Jephthah was an ancient warrior whose mother was a prostitute. Even though his mother was a woman of the night, Jephthah still grew up with his father and half brothers. His brothers, like so many kids, would jeer and bully Jephthah over his shameful past, eventually chasing him away from home.
Shortly after Jephthah was driven from home by his hateful brothers, he rebelled and hung out with a lot of other low-lifes. Apparently Jephthah was under the mistaken impression that because he had a shameful past, he needed to hang out with other shameful characters. But others saw something in Jephthah that he didn’t even see in himself. The elders of his community approached him about leading their army into battle against their enemies, and in exchange they would make Jephthah their ruler.
Jephthah was likely conflicted and distrusting of the very community that had caused him so many emotional wounds, but he agreed to the offer. And in spite of his shameful past, Jephthah became a national hero by defeating the enemies of Israel.
But if you read the entire story of Jephthah, you find out that there was a reason for his success. It wasn’t simply that Jephthah pulled himself up by his bootstraps, or he became a “self-made” man, or he went to classes on how to overcome low self-esteem. Rather, Jephthah was empowered by the “Spirit of the Lord” and through God’s direct intervention and guidance, Jephthah accomplished great things for God, and others were rescued and blessed. And because Jephthah turned and yielded himself to God, he overcame his shameful past.
You and I may not directly identify with Jephthah’s past, but if we’re honest, we may struggle with our own shameful pasts, some that were thrust upon us, and others that were of our own making.
Like Jephthah, too many choose a life of rebellion. They try to run from their past. They even engage in destructive behaviors, thinking that such activity will soothe or remove the shame they carry. But none of those choices will lead to freedom from the guilt that we chose to carry and embrace. Rather, only through the “Spirit of the Lord” indwelling us, as He did with Jephthah, will we ever truly be free from our guilt and our pasts.
While you and I may never be a national hero, we can chose to embrace the same God that transformed Jephthah’s life, and in so doing, we can be a blessing to others who may be struggling with their own shameful pasts.
“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36
As I peer out the window at the terrain below, jetting over the heartland of America, I cannot help but ponder the future for our nation following the unexpected and historical win by Donald Trump.
We saw so many “firsts” during Election 2016. The first billionaire to win the Presidency. The first woman to ever receive the nomination for President of a major party. The first election where both candidates’ unfavorable ratings were at historical highs. And so many more.
Today I am indeed grateful to God that we are not referring to Hillary Clinton as President-elect. If you believe that God is still intimately engaged in His creation, then you understand that Daniel 2:21 was once again affirmed in this election in which we were all given the privilege and responsibility to participate: “And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raise up kings.”
While I am thankful that Hillary Clinton did not prevail, admittedly I remain a skeptic as to Trump’s veracity, trustworthiness and character. My concerns will either be affirmed or invalidated in the months and years to come. And honestly I pray they are proven wrong. But one thing is certain. As Donald Trump transitions from candidate to President, some very distinct realities will set in.
If you’ve ever flown, as I am doing today, you know that there can be something magical about soaring 30,000 feet above the earth at 600+ mph, seeing the earth below you whiz by. The details of all that lies below is indistinguishable from that altitude. Similarly though, if one is glancing up from the ground into the atmosphere, the specifics of an aircraft is also unknown.
What airline is it? What is its tail number? Is it a Boeing or Airbus? Who is inside? There’s no telling until the plane lands.
But when that silver capsule finally touches down, the answers will become clear. If there are defects in the plane, they will be exposed. And as the passengers disembark, their true identity will be revealed.
Over the last year, the Trump campaign has been like the jet cruising at 30,000 feet. Its flight plan has been purposefully one of generalities with limited substance dealing in poll-tested, populist issues. But to an angry and disgusted populace, the vague flight plan proved wildly popular, with statements like these fueling Trump’s flight:
“I will build a great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words!”
“Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” (Interestingly this statement was removed from Trump’s website 11/09/16, the day after his election. See here.)
“I’m going to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
“We’re going to have a special prosecutor for Hillary. If I were President, Hillary would already be in jail.”
But the Trump campaign is now descending from its year-long high altitude voyage, to the reality of a Trump administration. As the implementation of the billionaire’s vision proceeds, which was strong on emotionally charged rhetoric but soft on specifics, any blemishes in Trump’s policies and flaws in his style and guiding philosophies will quickly be tested and revealed.
Fortunately for Trump, he is landing his Presidency on a “Republican-friendly” runway, given the reality that our new President will be advantaged with a GOP-controlled Senate and House. And while there are many Republicans in Congress who are not fans of Donald, the way in which Trump won will give him the gravitas that many of his predecessors lacked.
So will President-elect Donald Trump touch down in Washington, prepared to govern and deliver specific solutions that are as popular and successful as his campaign rhetoric was in its lacking of those same specifics? Can the reality TV star be accountable to voters to follow through in the drudgery of day to day governing? Will Trump’s decisions over the next four years remain in alignment with the positions he claimed he supported during his campaign? Or will President Trump revert back to the antithetical views and values he embraced during the many decades leading up to his Republican “conversion.” Will the dozens of campaign promises Trump made, many outrageous in nature, be fulfilled? And if not, will his supporters even care?
The answers to these questions will determine whether President Trump’s arrival and tenure in Washington will be a successful and controlled touch down or a disastrous crash landing. For the sake of our nation, our communities and our loved ones, I pray our new President is not only wildly successful, both politically and personally, but that the man who disembarks in Washington is a man of great character and integrity.
“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”Mark 8:36
If you’ve ever played checkers, the card game Old Maid, baseball, or watched a sporting event, there is one basic fact that applies to all these games. In order to win, you must know the rules. If you don’t and your opponent does, you will certainly lose.
If you’re playing checkers, a loss generally means very little. But if you’re a coach in the finals of the AFC Championship, you’d better study the rules and know them well, or it could cost you a trip to the Super Bowl.
Since we were toddlers, we’ve learned that our world turns on rules. Some fair. Others not. But they are rules that must be followed.
April 15 is a day that involves rules that all Americans follow. The IRS, the agency that most Americans love to hate, has a rule book exceeding 70,000 pages long, many that reward the wealthy, special interests and lobbyists. Yet we all abide by the rules. It doesn’t matter that we don’t like them. We play by the IRS’ rules or else…
Of course, if we don’t like our nation’s tax rules, there is a process in place to change them, but complaining about them will accomplish little or nothing.
This 2016 Presidential election cycle is like everything else in life, there are rules that apply. Many of those rules have been in place for years, some even 150+ years. One such rule is the requirement that the Republican nominee must garner a majority of the states’ delegates, or 1,237 delegates.
Like many election cycles, 2016 has been contentious, to say the least. But unlike other cycles, Donald Trump, in tandem with the media, has not only hurled jabs at his opponents but he has, in the midst of the contest, begun to complain about the rules, citing that the system is rigged.
Trump has constantly complained and whined about the Republican party rules, demanding that they be ignored or revised to his benefit. But when was the last time you heard a NFL coach demanding that the rules be changed, in the middle of the Super Bowl, while the game is actually being played?
As I’ve thought about Trump’s droning on and on about the rules, how unfair they are, and his demand that they immediately be ignored or changed for his benefit, I’ve realized that Trump is displaying all of these four classic signs of a whiner:
A person often loses because he fails to prepare or develop a strategy to win. Winning consistently doesn’t just happen by accident. Rather winning is a planned event. No doubt you’ve heard that when someone fails to plan, they plan to fail. Strategy requires many components including brilliance and hard work. A team cannot simply waltz onto the gridiron, proclaim they are the champions, and then expect the trophy. Yet, apparently Trump believes that he can come up with a fancy slogan, sell baseball caps, fill stadiums, tweet 24/7, and then be crowned the Republican nominee. Sorry Donald, if you desire the most powerful position in the world, it requires more than just a glitzy PR campaign and some worn out cliches.
Even if someone were to hand a person a winning strategy, a person or team’s incompetence will lead to failure. We see people fail frequently because they simply don’t know what they are doing. There is no question that Donald Trump is a public relations expert. His ability to whip up a crowd, and play the media like a fiddle, is extraordinary. But his incompetence when it comes to understanding the rules of the game has been extraordinary. Time and time again Donald and his team have dropped the ball or have been beaten in the process of gaining delegates at conventions and caucuses. He’s like a football team who plays their heart out during the first half, runs up a lead, but then fails to show up to play in the second half. Donald’s incompetence has been shocking and reveals some insights into what a Trump Presidency would look like, and it’s not pretty.
“Pride goes before a fall.” This truth is seen over and over in life, sometimes even in our own personal experience. Sadly, arrogance is a trait that is oftentimes exhibited by individuals who have had some degree of success. And there’s no doubt that Donald Trump has experienced extraordinary success by some standards. But achieving success at one point does not automatically guarantee the next win. In fact, when arrogance enters into the equation, failure is soon to follow. And Trump’s attitude regarding the rules is pure arrogance.
Have you ever noticed that many of our nation’s elite assume that the rules don’t apply to them? Whether it’s Congress exempting themselves from laws that the rest of us have to live with or it’s Donald Trump demanding that rules that have applied to dozens of Presidential candidates over the decades be changed or ignored for him, elites believe they are exempt from rules that others must follow. While this borders with arrogance, it is worse because the elitist not only believes he is special, he believes you and I are inferior to him.
One final thought about Trump and the rules. It has been ironic that Trump has never complained about those rules that seem to benefit him such as the scenario where he only garnered 32% of the vote in South Carolina but won 100% of the delegates because of the state’s winner take all rules. Despite this reality, I have yet to hear one of the other Presidential candidates cry “foul” because Trump received three times as many delegates from a percentage standpoint as he did in the popular vote.
So at the end of the day, we see Trump whining about the rules only when his strategy fails or his incompetence shows. And it’s then that his arrogance and elitist disposition surfaces, which should be a huge sign that this man is not ready for prime time or worthy of the Oval Office.
Credit: Trump caricature courtesy of DonkeyHokey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/22868475614/
As a majority of the nation’s voters have yet to vote in the 2016 race for the Republican nomination, we have heard the cry by many that Donald Trump is inevitable, and his victory is a foregone conclusion. At the same time, many who oppose Trump’s candidacy have begun the #NeverTrump effort to announce that should Donald win, they will find another candidate to support. I too have embraced the #NeverTrump effort in affirming my commitment to certain values and principles that are non-negotiable to me. If one is honest and objective, they must also conclude that Trump’s 40+ year track record reveals he has consistently opposed and vigorously funded the defeat of constitutional conservative values.
But regardless of your views on Trump, one thing is certain, the fat lady has not yet sung.
Let’s consider these facts:
To date only 23 states have voted and awarded delegates.
Trump has only garnered 35% of the raw votes, which means that 65% of the voters have either rejected Donald or not affirmed their support for him.
Out of the 1,032 delegates awarded to date, Trump has received 458, representing only 44%. Ted Cruz trails Donald by only 99 delegates with 359. And Rubio has garnered a total of 151 delegates to date. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to win the nomination.
In a recent scientific poll, Marco Rubio’s supporters favor Ted Cruz over Trump by a margin of 3 to 1. But consider that this poll was taken before Carson and Bush dropped out. Thus, were Rubio to drop out after a possible defeat in his home state of Florida, Cruz would be the beneficiary of the lion share of Marco’s supporters. And consider that the poll cited was taken before the continuing surge by Cruz and his solid performance last week in the FoxNews debate.
In the contests over the last week, non-Trump voters have for the most part begun to coalesce behind Cruz. Whether this is a rejection of Rubio’s recent strategy of getting into the muck and mire with Trump or whether voters simply recognize that splitting the anti-Trump vote is a strategy that will widen His lead is uncertain. But it is clear that support for Cruz is growing and voters of all stripes are coalescing behind Ted as the only consistent constitutional conservative. In fact, RINO Senator Lindsay Graham’s recent semi-endorsement of Ted Cruz may indicate that not only has “hell frozen over” but some of Ted’s most ardent critics are now uniting behind Cruz to insure a boisterous and profane celebrity does not ascend to the highest office in the land.
The longer Trump’s fantastic claims are made, with little to no substance to support them, the greater the likelihood is that some who have been wavering in their support will reject the Entertainer in Chief. At some point people grow weary of a brash, boastful, ego-maniac whose track record is diametrically opposed to his grandiose claims.
It’s clear that there is a certain percentage of Trump’s supporters who will continue to support their brazen candidate, who boasted “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” But as time passes and the scrutiny of Trump intensifies, Ted Cruz’ calm, deliberate and superior campaign based on substance will no doubt continue to sway voters who are growing tired and weary of Trump’s gutter tactics and his shallow, void of substance, cliches.
It’s helpful to have facts to back up your views, but at the end of the day, in order to win a battle, a General needs not only a winning strategy, but he needs the troops to deploy that strategy. And that’s where you come in. If you care deeply about your nation; and if you believe the commitment level of our Founders, which led them to pledge their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” shouldn’t be limited to them; then, in order to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” you and I must also be prepared to do more than simply share articles on Facebook (although go ahead and share this one) and debate opinions with our friends and family. At the end of the day, Ted Cruz, the only consistent Constitutional conservative needs You to help deploy his strategy. And here’s how:
Pray for Ted. I have encouraged others to commit to Pray for Ted everyday. Specifically pray for Ted’s health and stamina. Ask God to continue to grant him wisdom and discernment. And pray that Marco Rubio will come to his senses and coalesce behind and with Ted to stand for our Constitution and our founding principles.
Sign up for Ted’s Phone from Home program that is one of the most user-friendly systems to enable you to talk to pre-qualified conservatives who will be going to the polls in the remaining states. Whether you call 10 voters a week or 100, each call is meaningful and require no special training. Within 5 minutes you can be making reaching voters for Ted.
Send Ted a few dollars. Can you spare $10, $25 or $50 to help take back the ground we have lost over the last 7 years under Obama? If so, go to Ted’s website and make a one-time or recurring donation here. If it’s one-time, be sure to uncheck the box that references a recurring contribution.
Finally, will you share this post with others either via your email or on Facebook? Let’s get the word out that the fat lady has yet to sing. And if we all do our part we can in fact see the Constitution trump both Donald and the forces in both parties who have been undermining our founding principles for too many years.
Credit: Trump caricature courtesy of DonkeyHokey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/18058245844/