WHO DO WE TRUST, GOD OR MAN?

Those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to place their trust in the promises of God, not in the promises of man. Our government leaders pretend to listen to us but pursue their own goals. Only God our Creator loves us enough to be worthy of our praise.

  • Colossians 3:2 (NKJV): “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
  • Psalm 118:8 (NKJV): “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”

POST-ELECTION FOLLIES

NOW THAT THE 2020 presidential election is over and the fractious aftermath has begun, those of us who confess our faith in Jesus Christ are called to lead our country as Christ wants us to.

Are we doing that?

From what I see, Satan has infiltrated the church and is sowing lies and discord. Take a look at the divisions within Christendom between those who support the  Trump-Pence Administration and those who support the Biden-Harris team.

Those of us who support the former President and Vice President are still being labeled “deplorable,” “racists,” “fascists,” and “haters,” even by those within the church who claim the mantel of Christ. 

Even the innocuous cry to ensure accountability in the election process sets the “religious left” off. Their calls for “unity” sound good but are really a cover for stifling dissent. Unity around one set of ideas is not unity, it’s conformity.

INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC

WE’VE SEEN THE INFLAMMATORY rhetoric of a false prophet, Beth Moore, who has shown more distain toward Christian conservatives than she has toward those openly living in sin and proclaiming their “pride” in so doing. 

Then people who claim the mantel of Christ use her false testimony against fellow Christians and promote their hostility toward us through the secular media.

Didn’t the apostle Paul show his disgust with Christians who dragged fellow Christians into pagan-run courts because they refused to settle differences in a peaceful and brotherly manner? (See 1 Corinthians 6).

How is it, then, that so many of our fellow Christians, who worship each week beside us, use the tools of anti-Christian pagans to denigrate fellow believers? 

Should we assume that those who make those charges are not true followers of Christ but merely the tares among the wheat?

DESCENT OF DARK AGES

AT THE OTHER END OF THE DIVIDE are confessing Christians who told us the world would end, or at least civilization would cease, if Trump-Pence lost the election. They said the Dark Ages would descend  upon us once again. 

They pointed to policy proscriptions the Democrats offer that include, but are not limited to: 

  • government-run health care, 
  • government-imposed redistribution of wealth,
  • increased welfare benefits, 
  • expanded abortion “rights”,
  • porous borders, 
  • same-sex marriage,
  • citizenship for illegal residents, 
  • voting rights for convicted felons, 
  • lowering the voting age to 16, 
  • ending America’s reliance on fossil-fuel energy, 
  • forcing employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing measures, 
  • placing stricter limitations on religious liberty, and
  • opposing Israel’s sovereignty.

They also noted Democrats said they might, among other measures:

  • eliminate the Senate filibuster,
  • add three or four Supreme Court justices (all leftist activists),
  • extend statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to ensure four more Democrat senators, and
  • expand “ballot harvesting” to ensure a sufficient number of Democrat ballots are provided to overturn any election at the national or state level won by Republicans.

Regardless of which administration is in power, God remains sovereign, and He will chart our course. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom and lead by example.

DEPEND ON GOD

This is a gift, and only those who have placed their trust in Him for salvation can appreciate it. Those who are not “in Christ” cannot appreciate the gift, don’t recognize it as a gift, and, sadly, may not even want it.

How else are we to get through the days, weeks, months, and years ahead when the multitude around us are heading in the wrong direction, rejecting the voice of God, and pursuing their own ends. 

We can rest assured that God’s promises are good because He is faithful. May our hearts join together in song:

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

Standing on the promises of Christ my King

Through eternal ages let his praises ring

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

Standing, standing

Standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing, standing

I’m standing on the promises of God.

O LORD GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, our King, our Righteousness, our salvation, we rest secure in Your promises to love us, protect us, and care for us, especially when we encounter troubled times. We pray for strengthened hearts that will proclaim Your glorious name and willing hearts that will live out Your commands. May we be Your hands and feet, O LORD, going about Your will. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN

TIME TO CANCEL ‘CANCEL CULTURE’

Our country is under assault from within, as the left-wing mob mindset gains ascendancy, shutting down dissenting viewpoints, especially those of political conservatives and Bible-based Christians. The evil is twofold: shutting down opposing voices while advancing an anger-based, hate-filled agenda. God’s Words will never pass away, regardless of the mob’s intent.

  • MATTHEW 5:44 (NKJV): “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
  • MATTHEW 24:35 (ESV): “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

 FREE SPEECH NULLIFIED

 “CANCEL CULTURE,” WHICH USED TO BE seen by many as just another overreach by the political left that could be disregarded, has become a cancerous blot on our country and its continued life as a republic. 

To be blunt, “cancel culture” is a fascistic impulse leaching from the radical left into mainstream liberalism with the aim of silencing all opposition. 

Opposition means “divergent viewpoint.”

It means, “If you don’t agree with me, shut up! Go away.” 

More than that is the mind-reading that interprets someone’s motives. If you disagree with a leftist, which is possible, then your motives are seen as malevolent regardless of what you say or how gently you say it.

There is no dialogue here. There is no room for equivocation. If you disagree with the leftist position on anything, you are immediately judged not only to be wrong but to be divisive and to harbor malignant motives.

You need to be “cancelled” or “deplatformed.” 

There is no room in that mindset for honest dialogue. They may threaten you physically for even voicing an opinion and then, if you respond with more respect than their comment warrants, they’ll claim you “bashed” them. 

Snowflakes? 

BIG TECH INFLUENCE

NOWHERE IS CANCEL CULTURE more prevalent than in the social media world controlled by Big Tech.   

Yes, the Big Tech operatives arrogate to themselves the right to censor divergent thoughts, but now even fellow users — called “Friends” — want to exercise that right.

They will block you or silence you or unfriend you — all legitimate responses, even if immature — but their bullying tactics are leading many conservatives to censure themselves.

They’re dropping from FaceBook and Twitter like passengers from a drowning ship. 

Who needs to cancel their voices if they willingly do so themselves?

How sad that the growing cancer of leftism wants to circle the wagons to protect themselves from divergent voices, to hunker down with like-minded weaklings, and to threaten dire consequences for anyone they don’t like. 

(The penalties are more severe for a minority, who has wandered off the plantation by not understanding their “class interest.”)

SERIOUS BUSINESS

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND something fundamental here. This is serious business. Please, everyone,  take notice.

Slightly more than 150 years ago, our country at the time fought a War Between the States (Civil War) over many issues: slavery, economic power, states’ rights, and probably various turf conflicts that only historians are aware of now.

The dividing lines in most states were decided geographically. Perhaps in Maryland, a border state, was the divide more local.

Today, while there are geographic divisions in our country, the dividing lines are ideological. People see the world differently. 

If you took 12 issues of current importance and listed opinions into two columns, A and B, you very likely would find that anyone who placed himself in Column A on one item would be in Column A for the  other 11, as well. The same with Column B. 

That means whatever animosity was kindled with the first dispute was rekindled with the second one and ignited by the third item. That gets topped by the fourth item, and so on.

IS THIS HEALTHY?

WHO SEES THIS AS HEALTHY?

Some would say, “Don’t bother to tell me your divergent viewpoint. You won’t change my mind.”

Okay, why not?

Will you change my mind?

You could, but not if we don’t talk.

What if none of us, not any one of us — you or me or the other guy or gal — has a corner on absolute truth? 

What if we all could learn something from listening to someone else?

“Nope,” cancel culture says, “don’t talk to me. I’ll shut you down.”

Shameful.

PRAYER

ALMIGHTY AND GRACIOUS FATHER, we come into Your courts with thanksgiving and your gates with praise. Lord, we can do nothing without Your influence in our lives. You promised that all who believe in You will have life abundantly, will know the truth, and that truth will set us free. O Lord, we claim that truth and believe it with our whole hearts. Now, Lord, inspire our hearts to proclaim the goodness of Your love and the truth of Your design for us. Strengthen us, O Lord, through the trials and persecutions of the angry mob. Weaken their voice, O Lord, and strengthen ours. In Jesus’ name we lift this prayer. AMEN

POST-INAUGURATION DAY–A PERSPECTIVE

For those of us who believe the Trump-Pence Administration based its policies on conservative political principles and Christian moral principles, the advent of the Biden-Harris years feels like a dead weight. The Bible tells us our hope is in the Lord, not in man, and Jesus Christ will prevail. Our earthly lives will worsen as the time grows short for His return. The Lord tells us that those who persevere will be blessed with life.

  • PSALM 118:8 (ESV): “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
  • JEREMIAH 17:7 (NKJV): “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”

THE DARK FIRST DAY 

TODAY IS DAY ONE of the new Biden-Harris Administration, and already we are seeing evidence of the deepening divide within our country. More ominously, we are seeing a deeper divide within the body of Christ.

 The four-year reign of Trump-Pence has ended, and each man — and scores of top-level government officials — will begin the next phase of their lives, but we should take a moment to reflect on a few of their key accomplishments:

  • Full support for the lives of pre-born children
  • Support for male-female marriage as designed by God
  • Lowest ever unemployment rate among minority racial groups
  • Development of energy independence and exporter of energy
  • Transfer of US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, its capital city
  • Signing of peace treaties between Israel and Arab countries
  • Support for alternative schools and school choice to give parents the opportunity to send their children to schools that will educate
  • Forcing NATO countries to pay their share of mutual defense costs
  • Securing our southern border to halt the trade of illegal drugs and inpouring of illegal residents
  • Rebuilding our depleted military
  • Pulling back troops from long-term foreign engagements
  • Fully transparent administration with unrivaled press opportunities 
  • Oversaw development of potential life-saving vaccines in “warp speed” to combat the ravages of Covid.

Perhaps the sweetest of all was a return to wishing our friends and acquaintances “Merry Christmas” instead of the vapid “Happy Holidays.”

According to the Biden-Harris game plan, all of those measures are now under assault.

Apart from the disgraceful platform this duo brings to power is the legitimacy they will bring to ending any form of, or attempt to, dialogue in a civil manner among competing interests in any public forum. 

ALREADY THERE ARE CRIES TO:

  • Silence the voices of those who supported the Trump-Pence Administration in any way, 
  • Boycott private companies that hire anyone who worked in the administration or who voiced support for the administration in social media, 
  • Censure elected representatives in Congress those who raised legitimate concerns over the mishandling of mail-in ballots during the election,
  • Imprison those who are “science deniers,” i.e., anyone who disbelieves the political left’s views on energy consumption, energy production, climate change, efficacy of lock-downs and mask mandates,
  • Label as “racists” anyone (white people only) who do not bend to the accepted meme that American institutions are fundamentally and systematically biased against minority races,
  • Name white men (both a racist and a sexist claim) as the “problem” with American society, even though it was through white men that the “idea of America” was formed, established, and defended over the years.

A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE

A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE between the way the political left and the political right view their policy differences, and each other as fellow  Americans, is also coming into sharp focus. 

In 2017, political columnist Charles Krauthammer opined the divide this way: “Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”

The proposition easily can be put to the test. Simply talk to one another. 

The liberal will quickly move to an emotional argument around feeling, while the conservative will gravitate to a rational argument. That does not automatically make one side “right” and the other “wrong,” only that their methodology differs.

The liberal will make sweeping denunciations without support and offer policy proscriptions rift with error. Here’s an example: Biden-Harris want to stop development of the XL Pipeline from Canada, despite the fact that construction brings with it harmonious relations with our largest trading partner, thousands of high-paid union jobs, and a ready energy supply. By halting construction on unfounded environmental concerns, the liberals jeopardize all three points.

Rational? Not really. Placing displaced workers on food stamps and Medicaid may increase their dependence on federal government, but it does nothing to strengthen our country.

Try to make that point and see how quickly the liberal will engage in name-calling and attempts to make you “go away” and “shut up.”

Once a conservative voices a perspective different from the liberal’s, the liberal will begin the personal assault: “You’re racist, you’re fascist, you’re a science denier, you’re homophobic, you’re (whatever can be inserted here).”

That’s it. That’s their argument. They’ll boycott your business, slam you, embarrass you, assault you in restaurants, shout at you, and demand you give obeisance to whatever their particular grievance is at the moment. If you won’t salute “Black Lives Matter,” they see that as license to spit in your food and upend your table.

They can spend an entire year excusing left-wing violence in major US cities, treating the mayhem as “mostly peaceful” and necessary, yet go unhinged when a few people of mixed intent storm the Capitol while the President is speaking to his supporters at another location.

Again, try to point out the hypocrisy of their position, and they’ll threaten your children. 

You think that’s an exaggeration? Try having a discussion with a liberal and see how quickly they pivot from their argument to a personal attack. It’s what they do.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

WHAT ARE WE to make of all this? What are we to do in light of the changing of the guard at the White House?

Whatever solution one posits emanates from one’s core values. Those who believe that “might makes right” may try violence, force, or verbal assault. That would be a very harmful response, and we should all condemn those instincts.

Those whose values are secular conservative will engage the argument around economic and political issues, writing letters to their congressmen/women, engaging in debate forums, encouraging people to register to vote and turn-out when the day arrives, and patiently enduring until the next election. 

We can commend those instincts, but for those of us who are social conservatives, we find that approach shallow and missing an important  component.

Social conservatives — often dubbed the “religious right” — draw their values from the inerrant and infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible, comprised of 66 books, authored over a 1,600-year period in three languages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic) by 44 authors inspired by the Holy Spirit into creating a unified whole in which the Creator of the universe reveals Himself to mankind.

For us, it’s the foundational values of society that are most compelling. Yes, we can weigh in on energy policies and corporate tax rates and educational goals, but it’s the family unit — mother, father, children — that is the centerpiece of a sound society, and we believe those values are now under attack, fueled by liberal ideology and backed by government power.

God has designed us as either male or female and created marriage as an institution to bring us together into a whole. Look at it this way: God fashioned Adam in His image and gave Adam human characteristics patterned after God’s — we have thought, emotions, wills — although not to God’s extent.

When God created Eve, He took some of the characteristics He had given Adam and gave them to Eve, leaving Adam with a portion of the whole while giving Eve a portion of the whole. 

For Adam and Eve to be unified, as God is, they would need to come together as husband and wife in marriage.

That is foundational. There is no political or economic issue that rivals in importance the structure of the family.

When the very foundation of a structure is threatened, so, too, is the integrity of the structure.

That is where we are now. 

POSTSCRIPT

 O LORD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we give thanks for Your great mercy, Your patience, Your kindness. We also know You are just and call us to separate from the world’s values, which are self-centered, vicious, and destructive. We ask that You mold us into the men and women you intended in creation, and that we call on Your name so we can be healed. O Lord, we repent of our evil. Forgive us, Lord, and take us under Your wing. In Jesus’ holy and matchless name we pray. AMEN

WHY DO WE DISOBEY GOD?

Most people we know probably consider themselves to be “good” people and, because they’re good, assume they’ll go to Heaven some day. The Bible, however, says most people are not good people and that Heaven is reserved for those who realize their sin and repent of it. What’s more, those “good” people probably are not aware of their flagrant and repeated violation of God’s laws, among them, the Ten Commandments.

  • Genesis 2:16-17 (CSB): “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.‘”
  • Psalm 79:9 (NASB): “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.”
  • Exodus 20:2-3 (NKJV): “I am the LORD your God … You shall have no other gods before Me.”

GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS

Here’s a test you can try with a friend who’s a casual Christian. One of those CEO Christians who makes it to church at Christmas, Easter, and occasional other moments. It’s just a series of five questions. Try it and see what happens!

First, ask if they’ve heard of The Ten Commandments.

They’ll likely say, “Yes, of course.”

Then ask if they can name them.

They’ll probably get four or five right, maybe six, but unless they’ve prepped for the quiz, they’ll probably end right there.

Third, ask if they’ve ever broken one of them. They’ll probably say, “Sure, hasn’t everyone?” as a deflection, then you can ask, “Which one?”

Most likely, your friend will admit to having told a lie occasionally. You know, one of the “little” commandments, nothing big like murder or adultery.

Here’s the fifth question. Ask what punishment they received for breaking the commandment. 

They might stare at you like you’ve lost your mind, so maybe ask, “Did you expect any punishment?” Or even ask, “Did you think you deserved any punishment?”

CRIME WITHOUT PUNISHMENT

THE POINT OF THE EXERCISE is to show that while God has given His people, created in His image, clear commandments to follow, we tend to break them repeatedly, often with no thought of any consequences.

Look at Adam and Eve. God told Adam, directly and clearly, not to eat the fruit from one particular tree in the Garden, and Adam relayed that message to Eve. They were told if they disobeyed, they would die.

That’s a severe punishment in anyone’s book, and yet they still disobeyed God and ate from the tree. Yes, Eve was deceived, and Adam disobeyed, but they both knew God’s commandment and the certainty of God’s response.

Because of Adam’s sin, we all are born with sinful natures, yet while we are given a clear picture of God’s response to sin — banishment from the Garden, decay and death of our bodies, hardship in providing food and giving birth, and marital discord — we still disobey God and consider it “unfair” when we’re punished for it.

Yet God, in His mercy, also offers us forgiveness when we repent of, or turn from, our sin.

THE PSALMIST’S LAMENT

THE PSALMIST sings our lament when he cries out to God to save us from the penalty of our sin and forgive us “for Your name’s sake.” (Psalm 143:11)

It pains me to admit that I am part of that same disobedient process. When I disobey God, I tend to rationalize my actions to show I was “right” in what I did. 

You could be just as skilled as I am in providing rationale for your own disobedience. We’re good at it, and we don’t believe we should be punished.

Just as I repeatedly violate God’s law, I am convicted of my sin, and I repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. Then, I’m reminded that I should be as gracious toward others and just as forgiving when they violate “my” laws.

God has told us He will forgive us, He will not forsake us, and He will do all that He has promised us for His glory and His holy name.

We serve a glorious and merciful God. Let us give praises to the One who saves, to the One who removes us from the penalty of our disobedience.

PRAYER

O LOVING AND MERCIFUL FATHER, we are deeply grieved by our sinful hearts and our love of evil. We suffer from the penalty of our disobedience and praise You for Your willingness to forgive us when we repent. Lord, hear our cries for help. Strengthen our hearts to be obedient to Your will. We ask this in the name of Your obedient Son, Jesus the Christ, the Holy One of God. AMEN