Daniel, Government, God and You

Daniel, Government, God and You

The book of Daniel in the Bible contains many examples of how a follower of God should comport himself in the midst of a culture or nation that is at odds with God’s values.  Here are a few lessons we can learn.

Don’t Compromise

Of course there’s the familiar story of the three young Hebrew men, who were also government officials. When they were commanded to bow to a statue of the king, they refused to do so, even though it would result in a fiery furnace, from which they were miraculously rescued. 

Speak Truth Always

And then there’s the story of Daniel who, as one of the highest government officials in the land, was asked to interpret a dream for the king. Recall that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed the king’s haughty and prideful spirit and predicted his downfall. Although there was tremendous risk on the part of Daniel in rebuking the king, Daniel did not falter in speaking truth to power, and Daniel challenged King Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways (which the king ignored).  

God’s Laws Trump Man’s

Several years later, various government officials sought to persecute Daniel, who reported directly to the king. Daniel was equivalent to the Prime Minister of the nation. The only way these scoundrels could achieve Daniel’s demise was to attack his religion directly. Note what they concluded:

“Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”  (Daniel 6:5)

And so they made sure that laws were passed that would be in direct violation to the religious values by which they knew Daniel lived. Sound familiar?

So they outlawed prayer, to any god except the king. 

But notice how Daniel responded:

“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10

Daniel not only ignored the law, but he did so publicly, with his window open so that there would be no doubt about whom Daniel would obey.  You’ll recall that the rest of this story involved a lions den, God’s miraculous deliverance, the defeat and death of Daniel’s adversaries, and a proclamation from the king affirming Daniel’s God as the one true living and eternal God. 

So, you may say, “Yeah, I know all those stories but what do they have to do with me?”

And I say, “A lot!”

The book of Daniel is not just full of a lot of cute bed time stories. Rather it is a book with deep, powerful truths, with principles that apply to the very era in which we a living. 

Anti-Christian Bias

Our culture and government is no longer friendly to Biblical values. In fact, whether it’s a school board, or a city, state or federal government, or agency, the antagonism and animosity towards Christians and the values taught by Jesus are under vicious attack… and it will only grow worse. 

If you are a government official or employee who claims to follow Jesus, you have been or will be called to make a choice, when man’s laws and regulations conflict with God’s laws and values. (Remember Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses?)

But most of you are private citizens so you may say, “I’m exempt” from having to make such a choice. But don’t be deceived. Your day is coming… or is already here. 

If you own a business, and attempt to abide by biblical values, there is a bullseye on you and your business.  (Remember the cake maker, photographer and florist who were singled out and attacked for their Biblical beliefs?)

If you’re not a business owner, you have been (or will be) confronted with a myriad of choices, whether it’s your kids’ education, how your tax dollars are used, your selection of political candidates that may not affirm biblical values, and a host of other choices. (Remember the coach who was recently attacked for his decision to pray with his team?)

But first, will you and I even recognize it when we are confronted with these choices?  And secondly, will we cave under pressure, or will we follow the examples from Daniel?

In the final moments of the life of Joshua, we see this great warrior for God and hero of our faith presenting his nation and fellow citizens with this choice:

“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Who will you and I choose?  The god of our culture or our government?  Or the God of the Ages, whose values and truths never change?

If You Reject Hillary & Trump Here are Some Options

If You Reject Hillary & Trump Here are Some Options

reject-hillary-trump-options-final

In my post earlier this week, I attempted to make the case for what happens when one votes for the lesser evil and how that ultimately results in a continued race to the bottom of the barrel.  If this year’s election proves anything, it should affirm that truth, with a couple of candidates who may be amongst the most depraved and immoral ones in our nation’s history. 

In the same article, I also attempted to lay the groundwork for why the Bible affirms that when confronted with evil, of any kind or in any setting, the Christian is called to reject it, have no fellowship with it, and to even expose it.  I often hear the response, “well, we’re not electing a pastor in chief” to which I respond, “ok, but where in scripture does it limit our rejection of evil to simply when we are selecting a pastor?

That said, if you’re reading this post, then I assume you may either 1) be curious about more of my rants and ramblings,  2) you truly are interested in exploring your options because you find both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton unfit to serve as President of the United States, or 3) you want to see just how crazy I am.

Consider these statistics about the feelings of Americans:

  • 57% of Americans believe a 3rd Party is needed (up from 46% in 2012) and 51% of Republicans agree, according to Gallup.
  • 33% of Americans believe Hillary Clinton would be a good/great President while 25% believe the same about Donald Trump.  Gallup
  • Trust in political leaders is at an all time low, with just 42% of Americans having a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust.  Gallup

Given these numbers, it’s highly likely that we will see a record number of voters either stay home, vote only the down ballot, or vote third party or independent.  

So in the chart at the bottom of this post, I have attempted to layout just a few of the other “credible” alternatives that are available for those interested.   While I started with a larger slate, as I continued my research I narrowed it greatly.  I have presented the positions on key issues from these final candidates primarily from their websites and/or platforms.  But in a case or two I have gone to the internet to quote their positions from interviews they have given.  If you want to see the more than 400 Presidential candidates, you can find them here.  

Wasting Your Vote

I am told by some that voting for a candidate other than the Republican or Democrat means you just wasted your vote.  There are several responses to that perspective but first, if you follow that logic, then voting for any loser was a wasted vote.  So if my vote for a candidate who did not win is a waste, then it must stand to reason if you vote for Trump and he loses then your vote is a waste as well.  Furthermore, under that line of reasoning, if you voted for Romney four years ago, or even your local dog catcher (if he lost), you wasted your vote as well.  That hardly makes sense. 

I would never assert your vote is a waste, regardless of who you voted for.  I may disagree, but it’s rather presumptuous of me to assert that your vote, cast from your personal values and beliefs, is a waste.  That’s the height of mocking and belittling someone’s deeply held convictions and a very arrogant attitude to assert that someone else must vote as you believe.  In fact, it may border on the kind of elections that Saddam Hussein would have expected you to participate in.  Vote as he demands or else!

But let me move to a different angle.  While as Americans we are conditioned to win, voting should not be about just winning.  Fundamentally it should be about expressing your values.  Where those values can align with a candidate and actually win, that is the best outcome for you and your values.  But when one wholeheartedly sacrifices those values, particularly when those values are deep, fundamental and non-negotiable, one’s character is diminished, and ultimately the character of the nation devolves.  Many of our founding fathers spoke about voting and I think their views are worth being reminded of.  I’ve included a few below:

Founding Fathers on Voting

Noah Webster

In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate.  Look to his character. When a citizen gives his suffrage [vote] to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.”

Samuel Adams

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.

Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.

John Witherspoon

Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. . . .And the people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.

James Garfield

Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . If the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

Frederick Douglass

I have one great political idea. .  .  That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

What’s at Stake

I am fully aware of what is at stake in this election.  As someone who has been on the front lines of the battle for our Constitutional Republic politically and culturally for the last decade, I can recite very succinctly the threats that are posed to you, me and our nation.  The loss of religious liberty.  The loss of the second amendment.  The loss of free speech.  The further encroachment on civil liberties and property rights. The increasing attack on Life and Marriage.  The further opening of our borders and national sovereignty.  Increasing terrorism.  And more and more.  

Yes, our nation hangs in the balance.  But as bad as that is, or perhaps because it is so bad, I must turn to God and His Word for instruction and direction.  And if one is willing to study, search and dig, it’s not only amazing, but encouraging to find how much is in the Word of God that speaks to the very issues we are facing.  Truthfully, doing so will give you peace in the midst of this Cat 4 storm we appear to be in.

One story in the Old Testament stands out in particular, that is no doubt familiar to you.  Recall the three Hebrew young men, millennials perhaps, living in the Babylonian empire as captives.  They were faced with a dire choice.  That choice was not on par with losing their right to bear arms, or their freedom of speech, or even simply religious liberty.  It was actually much, much worse.  They were threatened with the loss of their very lives in a fiery furnace if they refused to obey the king.  And yet, read their response:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

While these exemplary young men knew their God could save them, they also understood He might not.  But they trusted Him with their lives nonetheless.  And God delivered them.

So this is the question I ponder:  Is it to much for me to do something lesser and trust God with my nation? 

Biblical References

Let me close with some references from the ultimate source for me, God’s Word.  For right or wrong, my default is to seek God’s views on all matters of life. Given that He created it all, and we are navigating through His world, I subscribe to the notion that one should look to the owners manual for instruction.  For me, that owners manual is the Bible.  As you read the passages below, I encourage you to continue to seek God in prayer, asking Him to make your decision clear.  He promises to do so, if we will ask, and when He does, you will gain a supernatural peace.

“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…”  Exodus 18:21

“And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”  Daniel 2:21

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, have a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  2 Peter 3:1-5

“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”  I Thessalonians 5:21-22

“And why not say, Let us do evil that good may come?”  Romans 3:8

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  I Corinthians 10:31

“The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Proverbs 29:25

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

My Vote

I have had a number of readers ask me about who I plan to vote for so I will share that openly.  While I am in agreement with many of the positions for each of the candidates below, I have some non-negotiable values as well.  And given those non-negotiables, two of the candidates disqualified themselves for me.  So the individual I plan to cast my vote for, barring any other “new information” that might come to light, is Darrell Castle with the Constitution Party.  The Party’s website is extensive with a strong and very detailed description of their views on all of the salient issues of our day.  And while there are a couple I may not agree with wholeheartedly, on the fundamentals for me, the Constitution Party is solid.  (In Tennessee where I live I will have to write-in the name Darrell Castle as may be the case in your state as well.)

Finally, consider the down ballot as you go to the polls, regardless of your Presidential pick.  At the end of the day, the many lesser positions can have a profound impact on our lives as well, particularly in your local community.  So I encourage you to apply the same standard to those other choices as you diligently and prayerfully make your selections.

As indicated in my previous article, I welcome your thoughts, critiques, and feedback. This continues to be a learning and growth process for me so your perspective is always valued and respected.

Mark

NOTE:  Chart below works best on computer or to view on your phone click here.

The Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on the Titanic – Part 2: Our Response

The Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on the Titanic – Part 2: Our Response

Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on Titanic - Part 2

Last week I shared a fictional story about an entrepreneur on the Titanic and how, despite the overwhelming success this businesswoman was having, when the mega-ship struck the iceberg, her wildly profitable business meant very little as the ship succumbed to its watery fate.  Sadly, hundreds of lives were lost as the ship’s captain failed to heed the many warning signs that were provided to him.

Similarly, our nation is barreling down on its own iceberg and like the Titanic’s crew, those we have entrusted to guide the American ship are negligently steering us towards a direct hit.  Just as the passengers on board the Titanic, all too many Americans are either oblivious, careless, or are in disbelief about the coming disaster.  

In my post last week, I highlighted just a few warning signs that point to an upcoming catastrophe:   

$150 trillion in debt

a collapsing political system

extreme societal polarization and division

rampant corruption in Washington and our state houses

greed has infected our populace

unrest and violence is growing

ethics and morals have all but disintegrated

religion has little influence in our society

terrorism is rising

For those of us who see the catastrophic iceberg front and center, is there a way to avoid its destruction?  And if not, what should we be doing to prepare our lifeboat for that coming reality?

As a follower of Christ, I seek to approach life through the prism of the spiritual.  I cannot separate what is going on in America and our world from God.  So it’s through that paradigm that I seek solutions.  But I realize that everyone does not share that same view.  So my thoughts that follow will be broken into two categories:   General & Spiritual.  

While this is not an exhaustive list of suggestions, it is provided in the hopes that it will spur you and I to take action to prepare for the potential that our “captains” will not or cannot take the corrective measures that are necessary.

General Preparation

I believe our Federal Government is gone.  It has grown so large, so corrupt, and so far beyond the scope of its duties as outlined in the Constitution, that it is lost, but for a miracle from God Himself.  The potential that the Courts, Congress, the President and the multitude of behemoth federal agencies can be reformed is irreconcilable with reality.  So we must turn our attention closer to home, to our state and local governments, our families, neighbors, friends and local alliances and groups.  At the end of the day, this is where we will find the relationships that will sustain us and our communities and will be what we will look to, as the federal beast either dies in one calamitous event, or it simply become unable to meet the strain and stress of the mounting obligations it has created for itself.

State & Local:  Our local officials are still accessible, unlike our Federal “representatives.”  We can drive to the state capitol and sit down with them.  We can interact with them when they are in our communities.  We can attend a local county commission or city council meeting.  We can rally our networks to support initiatives that are good or oppose legislation that is harmful.  And because we can still do this, we can still have a voice in our government.  If you have not engaged in this manner, I strongly encourage you to do so.  We’ve all heard the age-old adage: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  For too long, good men have done little in Washington and so we have lost our country at the federal level.  But we can still affect our local reality.  So be one of the good guys, step forward, engage, and make a difference, while you still can.

Hamilton County SheriffMeet your Sheriff:  If there is one position in your local elected government that is likely the most important of all, it is your County Sheriff.  Many have argued that the power of the sheriff within the boundaries of his jurisdiction is greater than that of the President of the United States.  That may come as a surprise to many, and some will certainly dispute it, but there is no doubt that your sheriff has immense power, for good or bad.  So it is crucial that you get to know him, influence him, and support him when he upholds the Constitution and Liberty, which he has sworn to protect.  Likewise, you should correct him when he veers off course.  The federal government is already tilting to the side of tyranny and as it continues in that direction, the role each county sheriff will play in protecting the unalienable rights and liberties of his constituents will be crucial.  But the time to prepare for that day is not later, but now.

Local Groups:  Engage in local groups and organizations that share your values.  Become an active participant.  Whether it’s a local liberty group, political group, religious organization, farm group, prepper group, or some other civic organization, it’s critical that you establish networks with those you trust and value.  The time to develop relationships is before the stuff hits the fan.  Afterwards it will be too late.

Educate & Inform:  With the power of the internet, the world is at your fingertips.  The ability to get unfiltered information from sources other than the biased Main Stream Media (MSM) has never been better.  But your education is up to you.  Turn off the tube and set aside some time each week to become informed on topics of interest to you.  And then begin to share that information with others in a collaborative manner.  

Prepping:  While some view the concept of prepping as a tin-hat mentality, truthfully, we all prep to one degree or another.  If you doubt me, just wait until the next time a snow storm is forecasted in my home state of TN, or a hurricane or some other severe weather is predicted in your state.  Notice how quickly the food shelves are left bare at the local grocery store.  But there are smart and foolish ways to prep.  I would strongly encourage you to go to my friends at Patriot Post to access their Disaster Preparedness Page for an extensive list of guides and resources.  Not prepping for some kind of emergency is, in my view, foolish given the threatening clouds that we can all see all around us.

Survival eBook:  My good friend, Dr. Omar Hamada, a former Special Forces US Army Flight Surgeon and Diving Medical Officer, has written an eBook entitled “The Ultimate Survival Pack.”  In his eBook Dr. Hamada highlights 60 essential tools you must have in a crisis.  You can download the book here:  Free eBook 

Personal Health:  It’s really sad but our personal health seems to mirror our nation’s health.  We have a nation that is sick financially, politically, morally, and spiritually and I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that the same applies to many of our citizens.  But you can defy the norm.  There are multiple opportunities and programs you can work with to improve your health, including a company I am affiliated with, Hope 80/20.  If things go south in our nation, those who are healthy will be in a much better position to weather the uncertainties we could be facing.

Spiritual Preparation

Because I believe that all of life’s significant struggles can ultimately be traced back to a spiritual cause, I believe we must actually start with the underlying spiritual flaws we see in ourselves, our communities and our nation.  So again, while this is not an exhaustive list, it is one that I believe includes some of the critical issues we must address as Christians in our nation.  

Local Church:  Become actively engaged in your local church.  Seek out those within your church who, like you, believe that there is serious trouble ahead for our nation in general, and Christians specifically.  As religious liberty is under attack at an ever increasing rate, it is critical that followers of Christ not be surprised.  Rather, we should fully expect this since Jesus foretold that these times would come.  Meet with your pastor to engage him in dialogue about your thoughts and concerns.  Determine whether he shares your concerns and if so, encourage him to devote some future messages to the “last days” and what that means for members of the church.

Read this bookImplosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges in Time? by Joel Rosenberg.  Joel, a NY Times Best Selling author, has written a masterpiece about the threats our nation faces, the potential repercussions that we may face if we do hit the “iceberg” and what Christians should be doing in the event the worst happens.

Prayer:  Pray for our nation, our elected officials and our fellow citizens.  If you are a believer, then you understand the power of prayer.  Our nation faced similar threats at least two other times in our nation’s history, in the 1700’s and again in the 1800’s, but God was merciful in answering the earnest prayers of believers and He sent the First and Second Great Awakenings.  These two movements resulted in millions of Americans turning to God and there is no doubt that these spiritual awakenings “saved” our nation.  It could happen again, but it will not without prayer.  So begin praying not only individually but join with other believers in small groups and earnestly seek God.  Whether a third awakening occurs or not, we know that the Effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Develop Plans:  Enlist others, who share a similar biblical worldview, to join with you in developing plans for mutual caring and collaboration should the worst occur.  The plans should not only include our families and friends, but should also take into account the potential that many of your neighbors might be caught without their own lifeboat, physically and spiritually.  There is never a better time to share the love of God than in a person’s time of crisis. 

God’s Word:  Spend more and more time in God’s Word.  We know that the Bible has the answers for life. There are dozens of examples in scripture of believers who faced insurmountable odds, and life threatening circumstances.  Yet, with God’s strength they stood and persevered.  While such biblical scenarios are incomprehensible to us, as we enjoy the relative peace and security we have come to expect, the world can turn upside down in an instant.  Studying God’s Word will not prevent catastrophic events, but it can prepare us if those events occur.

DeltaAs I close, it’s possible that you might be thinking I’ve gone over the edge and lost my mind.  Who in their right mind would believe that America, the most powerful nation in the world, could ever lose such status?  Yet, just this week, we saw Delta Airlines, one of the world’s largest carriers, be brought to its knees, as a simple power failure in Atlanta grounded hundreds of flights for multiple days. While lives were not lost, the completely unexpected occurred and the lives of millions were significantly impacted.  Now, let your mind wander, for just a moment, to the vast number of other potential destructive scenarios that could occur, and one can realistically see how that iceberg could in fact be staring us down.

So I close this 2 part series in the same way I opened it, and I trust you will begin to take the necessary precautions that you deem appropriate.  If I can help in any way, whether individually or in your group or organization, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”  Proverbs 27:12 NLT  

 

Mark

To Judge or Not to Judge?

To Judge or Not to Judge?

To Judge or Not to Judge

 

In this day in time, there’s hardly a week that passes where some major moral issue isn’t being debated in the court of public opinion.  Whether it’s via the courts, primetime TV or social media, it seems more and more of the values that many of us and our parents and grandparents grew up with are now on trial and under full attack.  From marriage and abortion, to homosexuality and transgender facilities, the standards that have been in place for generations are now being undermined in an ever more intense manner.

At the same time as these cultural and political battles are taking place, there is an effort by the same elite to stamp out all dissent, whether via political correctness, so-called tolerance, or even through courts, legislation and government regulation. One other popular method that those attacking our most fundamental values are fond to employ is by using the Bible itself to silence Christians.  In particular, those who frequently despise the Holy Book, are all too eager to use select passages to either advance their agenda or hush poorly informed Christians, who may not dust their Bible off that often. 

A passage that is continuously misquoted, perhaps more than any other in the Bible, is in Matthew 7 where we read, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  And so it would seem that with one short verse, the entire Christian argument on any of today’s difficult issues is silenced.  As the passage goes on to say, “why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

No one wants to be a hypocrite, even though, if we are honest with ourselves, there are areas in our lives where we all say one thing and sadly live another.  So doesn’t this passage clearly say we must remove the plank out of our eye before we can remove the speck out of someone else’s eye?  So how can we ever speak out or “judge” any matters of any importance that involve our “brothers” or even our friends or neighbors?  

The truth is that if you and I are the judge and it’s our own law, then we clearly cannot judge others.  If the standard by which we evaluate others and their actions is a subjective, personal standard, then who are we to tell someone else what is right or wrong?  In fact, if the standard is my own, and thus subjective, then you likely have your own as well.  And so then there is no objective, absolute standard, and thus no right or wrong.

But there are in fact absolutes, contrary to today’s prevailing philosophy.  We all know this both inherently and because we have experienced these absolutes.  The law and even nature are both quick to remind us of them.  Break the speed limit, and blue lights will remind you of certain absolutes.  Leave a few dollars off your tax return, and the nation’s favorite governmental agency will send you a bill with interest and penalties for forgetting that income.  Strike someone with malice, and a man in a black robe may sentence you to years behind bars.  Walk off a building, and you’ll quickly learn that nature itself attests to absolutes.  So it’s clear we live accountable to absolutes all the time, whether we like them or not.  

But back to the “judge not” passage.  The Bible is a book of history, prophecy, morality and spirituality, but it is ultimately God’s message to mankind.  The Bible instructs mankind on matters of morality and from those precepts, man is then able to discern right and wrong.  He is not the judge, as God established the law.  Man is simply one who discerns right from wrong, good from evil, based on God’s absolute standard.  So God judges.  Man discerns.

When you or I speak out on a moral issue that is delineated in Scripture, the judgment being made is not merely our own, but it is one based on a moral standard that supersedes our own.  In this case, it is God’s.  The Bible is clear in its admonition to reject evil, embrace good and expose darkness, as these passages clearly illustrate:

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”  Isaiah 5:20

Depart from evil and do good.”  Psalm 37:27

Putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.”  Ephesians 4:25

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21

Finally, we are called in John 7:24 (just a few verses after the “judge not” passage) to actually “judge with righteous judgment.”  This passage clearly suggests that when “judging” is done righteously, meaning according to God’s perfect standard, then that judgment is not only appropriate but it is commanded.

So the next time you hear someone misquote Matthew 7:1 by telling you to stop judging, consider that they are doing so out of either ignorance, or worse, they seek to simply silence you.  But now you know better.

Dream Big: Reversing Obama’s Fundamental Transformation

Dream Big: Reversing Obama’s Fundamental Transformation

Dream Big- Obama Fundamental Transformation

We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America” were ominous words uttered by Barack Obama just five days before his election in 2008.  And seven years later we see that Obama’s goal has greatly been achieved, due to his undying commitment to his ideals.  Tragically though, his agenda has been enabled by the unwillingness of his Republican opponents to stand on their professed ideals.  But that’s a whole separate story and not the subject of my thoughts today.

But what if you and I could reverse Obama’s fundamental transformation of our nation?  What if the damage and lawlessness perpetrated by this two-term President could be undone?  Would that be a Patriot’s dream come true?  

Over the next few minutes let’s dare to dream together about the first day after the Obama presidency, January 20, 2017.  On that day we will dare to dream big, that our new Commander in Chief will take five decisive acts to begin the process of unravelling Obama’s radical transformation, as follows:

Act 1:  Rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive order from Obama

Throughout the seven years of the Obama administration’s lawlessness, we have seen an unprecedented attack on our Constitution by the Executive branch.  During his tenure, Obama has boasted that he can circumvent Congress via his “pen and phone.”  And he has done just that.  But most recently his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, promisedWe’ll do audacious executive action over the course of the rest of the year, I’m confident of that.”  So in addition to the last seven years, we can expect an even greater willingness by Obama to take bold risks, showing an impudent lack of respect for our Constitution, our Congress and the People themselves.

But in act one of our dream, on January 20, 2017, every one of Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional executive orders will be rescinded by our new President. Reversed. Gone. Period.

Act 2:  Instruct Department of Justice to commence investigation into Planned Parenthood 

In 2014 Planned Parenthood aborted and murdered over 330,000 babies.  But as evil as this is, in 2015 our nation witnessed even more shocking and horrific truths about Planned Parenthood as a result of a number of undercover videos.  These videos exposed the heinous activities of this organization including the illegal sale of body parts from aborted babies.  The graphic and disturbing footage included conversations with executives and staffers from Planned Parenthood and their affiliates.  Much of the nation’s media and many of our political leaders have largely ignored or defended these immoral and deeply disturbing acts by Planned Parenthood. 

But on January 20th of next year, in our dream, we will finally see an investigation into Planned Parenthood to determine what laws have been broken and who should be held responsible for these reprehensible actions.

Act 3:  Direct the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service to put an end to the persecution of religious liberty

The first guarantee listed in the first Amendment to our nation’s Constitution is that of religious freedom:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Yet, over the course of the last 7 years, we have seen an unprecedented attack on this most fundamental freedom by the Obama Administration via his Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.  In case after case, we have seen these two agencies highly politicized in a manner that has consistently sought to restrain and restrict the right of American citizens to exercise their faith, both publicly as well as privately.  

But in our dream, once again on January 20th of the new year, we will see the assault by these two agencies halted and religious freedom will once again be affirmed and respected by our President, his administration and our government’s agencies.

Act 4:  Cancel the Iran deal

For years now, Iran has been the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism.  And while Iran, one of America’s most troubling adversaries for four decades, consistently chants “death to America” and pledges its commitment to the utter destruction of Israel, President Obama pursued and consummated a dangerous nuclear deal with this rogue nation.  Obama’s deal lifted sanctions from Iran, provided them with $150 billion that had been frozen, and is providing Iran with access to advanced technologies that will likely assist them in ultimately developing their own nuclear arsenal.  Imagine for a brief moment a nuclear Iran as they threaten to annihilate Israel and develop ballistic missiles capable of launching nuclear warheads.  But this nightmare scenario will be averted in our dream on January 20th as the entire Iran deal is cancelled, and the agreement is ripped to shreds by our new President.

Act 5:  Move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

As one of America’s greatest allies, Israel stands as a beacon of democracy in the middle east, sharing many of our nation’s values.  However, for decades now, our nation’s Presidents, both Republican and Democrat, have failed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Given the constant threats that Israel has faced from terrorists and many of its neighbors, previous Presidents have lacked the political strength to relocate the embassy.  However, as the region and many nations around the world continue to ramp up their antagonism of Israel, including boycotting the tiny Jewish nation, moving our embassy to Jerusalem would be a strong sign of support for Israel.  Recalling the role that President Truman played in 1948 in recognizing Israel’s rebirth, there might be no better way to consummate our dream on January 20, 2017 than to see our nation move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

While we have been dreaming throughout this article, there’s a way in which our dream’s five acts could come actually true.  You see, Senator Ted Cruz has committed that on day one of a Cruz Presidency, he would in fact take these five decisive steps..  So while our dream today is just that, a dream, there is a way in which we can turn it into reality as follows:

  1. If your state has not yet held its primary/caucus, then be sure to vote for Ted Cruz.
  2. Go to tedcruz.org and sign up for regular updates.
  3. While you’re there, consider contributing to the Cruz campaign, even if it’s just $10 or more.
  4. Keep Ted, Heidi and their entire team in your prayers.

Finally, encourage others to dream with you, and let’s do our part to turn our dream into reality on January 20, 2017 with a Ted Cruz Presidency!

Mark

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for Hillary — Why I will never vote for Donald

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for Hillary — Why I will never vote for Donald

Trump-Clinton

As I’ve begun to share with folks that if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee I will NOT vote for him, the standard response I hear is: “if you don’t vote for Trump you are voting for Hillary!” The intent with such a statement is to either 1) shame or coerce me into voting for Trump or 2) demand that I fall in line with the party nominee.

I find it ironic though that as Republicans have grown increasingly upset over their party and its unwillingness to live by its own principles, many are now embracing a man whose track record is the antithesis of the foundational values of the Republican party.

Contrary to the shallow argument that “a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary,” one should consider this truth: A vote for Trump is actually a vote for Hillary. You might find your head swimming after that last statement so hang on and let me explain.

I contend that a person’s track record will always reveal the truth of who that person is and it will predict how that individual will act in the future. In the case of a politician, his words should be carefully examined and compared, with great skepticism, against his actual record. So when it comes to Donald Trump, let’s see if my theory holds any truth: that a vote for the Donald is in fact a vote for Hillary. Below are more than 30 examples where both Trump and Hillary are identical in their views on a number of key issues:

Of course there are areas in which their records diverge but when one considers the myriad of consistencies in the positions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the only conclusion I can come to is that Trump is no conservative. But even worse, the man is a faux Republican. If ever there was a RINO (Republican In Name Only), Trump is such a candidate, but on steroids. Truthfully, Trump is simply a liberal democrat who has deceptively embraced the Republican label, with nothing to justify his conversion.

Over the years I’ve heard the following statement made about those professing to be Christians:  “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you as one?”  Perhaps though we should modify that statement slightly and apply it to Mr. Trump as follows:  “If Donald Trump were put on trial for being a Republican, would there be enough evidence to convict him as one?  Or would the evidence suggest he is something else, say a liberal progressive Democrat?” Follow the evidence and you’ll have the answer.

There’s a verse of Scripture that states, “By their fruits you will know them.” In the case of Donald Trump, his fruit of over 50 years is well known and if we are willing to objectively examine it, there can be no question as to his liberal bona fides. But will Americans care? We shall know soon enough… but it may be too late.

Mark