Voting for Corruption

 

Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them~ Isaiah 1:23 NIV

 I am an ardent fan of all things political.

 The Presidential elections are my favorite; it actually bums me out that they only roll around once every four years. I look forward to the presidential election season the way some women look forward to a fifty-percent off sale on Jimmy Choo shoes.

 I am a registered Independent and although I cheerfully admit to leaning conservative I am attentive to the goings-on on both sides of the political aisle. I will vote for any politician evidence reveals is a decent human being who can pass a drug test, possess a solid ethical compass and has a working knowledge of basic economic principles.

 This election has been a gloomy one for me. It has challenged my love of politics as well as my faith in the intelligence of the American electorate. Somehow the nation I love has succeeded in picking the two most tragic candidates in the history of our Republic. The out-and-out absurdity of these two choices for President baffles me to no end. My unending irritation over the Republican pick has caused me to say precious little about Hilary Clinton.

 Well, no more.

 Recent revelations have made me so insane with righteous outrage that I can no longer hold back my uncensored opinion on the dangers of a Clinton presidency.

 I will begin with the email controversy.

 It is an irrefutable fact that Hillary Clinton set-up a private email server in a bathroom. She committed this criminal act against the counsel of her staff, proving she is either hopelessly dimwitted or has zero interest in keeping classified information out of the hands of foreign governments. For the record, I do not believe that Hilary Clinton is dimwitted. Nor do I believe she was ignorant the law (as she claims), nor do I believe her emails are so desperately dull that no foreign power would ever be intent on reading them, as she stated in an interview with the comedian Jimmy Fallon. Hillary Clinton is an attorney who has worked at the highest levels of government for most of her life. She simply despises accountability, doesn’t care who she hurts and believes herself to be above the law.

 If the email debacle were the only example of flagrant corruption, I might be inclined to let it go, sadly that is not the case. In 1997 the Clintons created the Clinton Foundation, ostensibly for the purpose of raising money for do-gooder causes. In all fairness the foundation has raised a lot of money for various causes, many of them good. Exact numbers are tough to pin down but conservatively speaking millions have been given to help people around the world.

 That is a good thing.

 What is not a good thing is how Ms. Clinton used the foundation while she was Secretary of State. Credible allegations charge she used the foundation to line her own pockets by selling meetings (to the tune of $156 million) to individuals, corporations and foreign countries in exchange for donations to her foundation. Donors include the Prince of Bahrain who pledged $32 million to the Clinton foundation.

 Doubtless these folks were astute enough to get something in return for the money they paid. Naïve people have argued that there is no actual evidence she ever gave anyone a favor in exchange for a cash donation. Sadly, that unlikely scenario makes the whole situation worse rather than better. It means she and her aides were running some sort of a flimflam operation out of the office of the Secretary of State. Trust me: the crown prince was promised SOMETHING in exchange for 32 MILLION DOLLARS. No one in their right mind pays 32 million dollars simply to meet with someone. He had an ulterior motive and if he did not get what he paid for, he’s seriously furious.

 When her email server was exposed, she blamed her own ineptitude (like that is supposed to make any of us feel better), then she blamed her colleagues. When her colleagues declined to be hurled under that particular bus she blamed COLIN POWELL. Seriously, she blamed Colin Powell for her illegal server, that’s like me blaming the mailman for the sloppy condition of my front yard. When four Americans were killed in Libya she blamed an anti-Islamic video that few people had actually viewed for the disaster. When her husband sexually harassed women he worked with she blamed the women.

 I could go on forever.

 Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, was born in Michigan but raised in Saudi Arabia. She is the daughter of Muslim intellectuals who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Muslim faith. Abedin acted as the assistant editor for a radical Muslim publication for ten years. The scholarly journal Ms. Abedin edited openly promotes Sharia law, is anti-women’s rights, anti-Christian, anti-Israel and blamed America for the 9-11 attacks. The woman slated to be the next Whitehouse Chief of Staff has close ties to radical Islam. At the very least this fact proves Hillary Clinton does not have the good sense necessary to make her own staffing decisions.

 Any American who is not troubled by Hillary Clinton’s corruption and poor judgment is at least as dimwitted as she pretends to be.

   This is the most depressing election of my lifetime. A Clinton Presidency may very well be unavoidable. However, that doesn’t mean nothing can be done. Christians everywhere need to pray. It is not too late for God to intervene. He is in the business of miracles and we could certainly use one right now. Christians also need to vote— the congressional election is critical this year. If conservatives lose the house and senate and Clinton wins the Presidency all will truly be lost. The most openly corrupt person in the history of American politics will control everything.

 God help us all.

Getting God Back in America

 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart~ Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

 It’s been a decade of progress and change. Sadly, much of the progress has gone in the wrong direction and the changes have been mostly bad.

 Civility and respect have all but vanished. Policymakers routinely go to war over everything and anything, and yet somehow seem incapable of solving even the most rudimentary of problems. Regard for rule of law and those who enforce the law is rapidly declining. The murder of police officers has doubled in twelve short months.

 To our everlasting shame as a nation, many black citizens feel the need to affirm the obvious fact that their lives really do matter. Just as appalling, some of those same folks become outraged at the notion that all lives really should matter equally.

 Bakers, photographers, florists and other professionals are routinely sued and sometimes even criminally prosecuted simply for declining to participate in ceremonies they don’t wish to celebrate.

 Nearly half (forty percent) of the children born in 2016 will be born to unmarried women. The news that divorce rates have declined in recent years is a blessing; sadly, few experts believe it’s because commitment has made an abrupt comeback. Rather, fewer couples are getting married, opting instead to live together.

 Being born with a particular set of “parts” is now considered entirely irrelevant to the notion of being born male or female. Gender is now entirely relative to how one feels when they wake-up in the morning.

 To Christians, all this “progress” is simply heartbreaking. Most of us never even imagined that such behaviors and attitudes would become so widely accepted. For most of us, our natural response is to long for a time when respect for life, marriage, God and the law were the prevailing standard in our society.

 We want to get God back in America.

 How to accomplish this objective is a matter of vigorous debate.

 Some think that if we simply do stuff the way it used be done those changes will transform our society back into a saner version of itself. Those who long for the good old days believe that if we return prayer and corporal punishment to public schools, kids will be better behaved and more God-fearing. Conversely, some folks sincerely believe that if hymnbooks, dress codes and Sunday school classes were to make a return to the church scene, churches would become as healthy and fruitful as they were when those things were customary.

 Others believe that the right political leader can and will bring God or at least godly values back to America and life will settle back into something that looks and feels a little less scary and hopeless. They believe that if laws change to reflect a more conservative way of thinking, hearts will eventually follow.

 Both views are fatally flawed.

 Changing actions or laws only changes people and institutions if the changes were prompted by inner transformation or, as we used to say, “heart change”. We could have the best laws and leaders in the world and no one will follow either one if their hearts are unrepentant and bent towards evil.

 I would love nothing more than to have a President who would stop actively supporting evil and undercutting virtue. That said, I also recognize that one person can only do so much. Unless of course that person is Jesus Christ and sadly He isn’t running for President this year.

 It’s not what we do or who our human leadership is that transforms our society or determines how much God we have in America.

 You and I decide how much God we have in America.

 The New Testament teaches that God occupies the hearts of people who have come to faith and repentance in Jesus Christ (Acts 7:48). If Christians (myself included) do not feel good about the level of morality, integrity or appropriate behavior we see in our communities or country. It’s time to look inward at our own spiritual lives and attitudes rather than at the world and their wickedness.

 We will never have more God in America (or anywhere else) than we have God in the hearts of individual believers. We get more God inside of our hearts when we live in closer relationship to Him and when we love people unconditionally. We will get more God in America when we ruthlessly eradicate sin from our lives, seek to become more obedient to His instructions, and when we make a daily effort to know Him better through the study of His word.

 When Christians everywhere make those pursuits their number one priority, we will have more God than we can handle in America.

 Powerful political and social change will follow our obedience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God and the Election

Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare~ Jeremiah 29:7 NLT

 Life is filled with disappointments.

 For most of us, our acquaintance with disappointment begins fairly early usually around the same time we discover the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Hopefully, as we mature, the issues that cause us disappointment evolve at least a little. Nevertheless disappointment tends to remain an issue for most of us.

 This reality has been validated by the outcome of the 2016 election.

 As of this week, the fix is clearly in. We know with absolute certainty that barring a federal indictment or a third party miracle candidate either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump will serve as leader of the free world come January 20th, 2017.

 This was not the outcome I wanted or I prayed for. I have made a gloomy sort of peace with the fact that this election will be a choice between the lesser of two evils and I have to choose one or I am in effect choosing the other, and I have chosen my candidate.

 However, I don’t have to like it.

 In my opinion neither is fit for public office. I have never in all my life seen two candidates who are both so terrible in their own unique way. For me, having to choose between the two is almost like being forced to choose which incurable venereal disease I want to have. Both have a consistent track record of flip-flopping, personal corruption, shady deals and less-than-stellar judgment calls.

 Sigh.

 My initial inclination was to purchase a tract of land in a remote section of Wyoming and begin hoarding dehydrated food and drinking water. Eventually I calmed down and began a journey through the five stages of grief. I probably spent more time in denial and anger than is healthy before landing on acceptance, with acceptance came the acknowledgement that God is still firmly in control.

 Then I started thinking.

 I started thinking about God’s purpose in all this and how Christians (including myself) ought to respond to the chaos that has erupted in recent years. After some thought and a lot of prayer I concluded that there are at least three things Christians can do right now to prepare for the future and be light in the increasingly strange times we live in.

 First:

 Pray- Matthew 7:7, 1st Timothy 2:1-3, Matthew 18:18-19

 Pray that spiritual leaders will be discerning and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Pray for truth to take root in our world. Pray for wisdom. Pray for world leaders. Pray for the next President. Pray for people to get saved. Pray our political leaders will become the people we desperately need them to be. Just pray.

 Speak boldly- Acts 4:31

 For too long most of us have equated spiritual boldness with rudeness or disrespect for the values of others. Since no rational human wants to be an impertinent jerk, Christians have become timid and even fearful when it comes to proclaiming truth. It’s time to find some balance and start speaking the truth about sin, life, death, heaven and hell. We should choose our words wisely when we speak (Colossians 4:6). That being said, we need to speak up. Our world is literally perishing due to a lack of spiritual knowledge.

 Get grounded in the word- Psalm 119:105, John 8:32

 We live in an age of deception. We are constantly bombarded with the message that right is wrong and wrong is right. Even some who know better have departed from the truth and begun to assert that all spiritual paths lead to the same place and some prominent teachers and preachers have begun to claim that the God of the Bible goes by many names. None of this is true. Not coincidently, these radical shifts in thinking have taken place as corporate Bible studies are being dropped in many churches. The truth found in the Bible is the only antidote to the deception out there. We should study it.

 God has reminded me over and over again these past weeks that my hope is not in the political process. My hope is in God who calls each one of us to fully face the challenges of our world with hearts full faith.

 The fact that God has ultimate control over the political process is in a sense all the hope we need in this world. We know that no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months, we can rest easy knowing that God, not the next president is ultimately in control of all things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s to Blame?

 

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you~ Hosea 10:12 NIV

 If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time you have probably already recognized two truths. First, I am an enthusiastic follower of all things political and second, I’m less than satisfied with the state of political affairs in our country.

 I have written several blogs detailing my opinions concerning several of the candidates running in the 2016 election. However, my irritation with the current political landscape runs far deeper than the sorry collection of candidates running for office this year.

 Like many in our culture, I have concluded that prevailing “wisdom” and government policies have encouraged and enabled folks to reject the principles of hard work, faith, unity and personal responsibility. For decades now a large share of the population has chosen to actively reject the very values and principles that made America great in the first place. The choice to abandon our founding principles has not been without consequences. America has become a nation fractured by discord and conflict, a country overrun with rabble-rousers, crybabies, and freeloaders.

 Sane people (especially Christians) are naturally panicked by the devolving social and political structures. There are two opposite but equally rational and all too human responses to the cultural and political turmoil. The first is all too common in Christian communities. We withdraw from the greater culture and pretend the darkness and problems don’t actually exist or that they can be fixed through superficial, feel-goody kinds of events or undertakings.

 We turn off the television news, tune into our families and focus in on our local churches and the activities that make us feel secure, happy and like we have at least a little bit of control in this world.

 This approach directly defies the biblical directive to act as salt and light in our sin-weary world. If the last three decades have taught us anything it’s that when we retreat into our holy huddles we preserve and enlighten only each other. It does not take long for the devil to gain a foothold in the social and political realms, and the world devolves rapidly into social and political chaos.

 Another option is to try and outsource our job as salt and light. We work to get the “right” people elected and then demand that those folks legislate political and social changes. The hope is that if the right laws are passed, those laws will eventually change the hearts of people and even if hearts aren’t changed at least questionable behavior is kept in check.

 The political approach has accomplished little in past decades but to alienate unbelievers who have determined that Christians think it’s their business to police the rest of the world’s behavior. Even in the cases where it does work, it’s still a disaster from a spiritual perspective. For the most part all we’ve done is produce a crop of well-behaved heathens who lack the spiritual insight to recognize how lost they truly are.

 Truth be told, the Christian community bares at least partial responsibility for the mess our world is in. It is our God-given duty is to morally preserve and spiritually enlighten whatever culture we find ourselves in. If you’ve turned on the news recently you know that for the most part we have failed to live up to our obligations.

 Roughly two decades ago Churches ceased to pray corporately because prayer meetings are boring and the people in the pews no longer felt like praying. Around the same time many Pastors stopped preaching on the importance of prayer, repentance and doing hard things, even when we don’t feel like it. In its place the Church has focused a lot of energy on helping folks to feel good about bad choices.

 The solutions to the problems we see in our world will not be found in church programs or improved marketing campaigns designed to make Jesus cooler and more user-friendly than He really is. Our problems will only be solved when the people in the Church renew an interest in prayer and repentance and stop looking to worldly people to solve spiritual problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Christians Should Not Vote in This Election

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan~ Proverbs 29:2 ESV

 Our country has come to a place the founding fathers never imagined in their darkest of dreams. Unless the political winds shift quickly, this presidential election will likely be the strangest in our history. Bernie Sanders, self-confessed socialist/communist; and Donald Trump, reality television star/wealthy mogul, will be going toe-to-toe for the most powerful job in the world: President of the United States of America.

 Take a moment and let those words sink in. It’s unlikely either outcome will be pretty and neither can happen without the support of Christians.

 Our first option is the Senator who clearly lacks even a rudimentary understanding of how large economies work. Bernie’s fondest wish is to raise the tax rate on EVERYONE. We are told there is no need to worry because Bernie will reallocate all resources collected in a more “objective” and “equitable” fashion. Under his leadership the same government that is incapable of providing adequate medical care for military veterans (a relatively small percentage of the population) will be deciding who gets how much of pretty much everything.

 The alternative will be Trump, a full-grown adult with the temperament of a toddler. Donald was busy this week. He vowed to sue one of his rivals for producing a negative ad consisting entirely of video clips of his past statements. A day later he called the Pope “disgraceful” and said he was “going down” for criticizing his views on immigration. Trump stated repeatedly this week that he believes spiritual leaders do not have the right to criticize or correct what people believe. If that statement does not scare you, you have literally dismissed all rational thought.

 Many Christians intend to or have already voted for one of these two men. Many believe for whatever reason, that it is wrong to choose not to vote for anyone based on Christian principles. They have decided that Christian values should be consigned entirely to the private sphere of life. Those who support this view inevitably quote Luke 20:25 to justify their belief:

 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s~ Jesus

 Context is key here. Jesus was not telling His followers they should never use biblical standards when considering a political issue or candidate. I suspect Jesus would have thought the idea that anyone should not apply biblical standards to any subject absurd.

 The question at hand in this passage was whether or not Jews were obligated to pay taxes to the Roman government. Period. Jesus was not telling his followers to abandon reason, so they could vote for some yahoo completely lacking in decency or sense just because they promise something the voter wants.

 In Matthew 22:37, Jesus tells his followers to love God with their intellect as well as their emotions. For that reason it is critical that Christians contemplate the character and conduct of a candidate when they consider whom to vote for. Anyone who promises to do a good thing that is not achievable or sustainable from a fiscal perspective is either dangerously ignorant or deliberately dishonest. He’s as bad as Trump who proudly tells the press he could shoot someone on the street and people would and should still follow him. Both should be rejected on the basis of character.

 It is critical we remember God promises that ALL people (Christian and non-Christian) will give account for all their choices, including those made in the voting booth (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13).

 It’s time for Christians to get a firm grip on their feelings and stop wishing for more of the immediate change that helped propel us into this mess. We must accept the fact that the right candidate is not the person who proudly spouts vile, sinful things we sometimes think and shouldn’t. Nor is it the candidate who makes promises he cannot deliver without taking significant resources from the people who actually worked for those resources.

 The right man or woman is the person with enough humility to admit that the problems we have are too big for one person to fix alone. A true leader will be courageous enough to remind us that we all bear some responsibility for the mess we’re in, rather than tell us what our itching ears long to hear (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preserving the Culture in an Election Year-

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out~ Proverbs 18:15 NIV

 I recently celebrated a birthday that puts me squarely into the category of “older” woman. I found this realization a bit disturbing at first. The negatives of aging are all too obvious. Nothing looks as good as it once did or works quite as well as it used to.

 Time feels like it passes more quickly after a certain age. This age-related time warp leads to some peculiar forms of culture shock. I find it more than a little irritating when manufacturers attempt to pass off ugly fashion as “novel” or “new” when it’s really just an uglier version of the stuff we wore back in the day. Furthermore,  I will never get so old as to forget the dismay I felt when I heard my favorite song from high school being played on the “oldie” station.

 Happily, I have also come to realize that there are things about getting older that are not all bad. The awareness that life is short makes it easier to relax and worry less about stupid stuff. Time gives a deeper appreciation and greater tolerance for people, especially those people who stick around through thick and thin. In general I care less about the judgments of others than I once did.

This is all very freeing and freeing is good.

 There are some things about getting older that are neither good nor bad. They are just kind of weird. As you get older life becomes a little bit like the movie Groundhog Day. You’ve seen almost everything. Most things, more than once and over time you just know how most situations are going to end because some stuff always ends badly.

 Over time it becomes clear to anyone who thinks that some endeavors just don’t work well over the long haul. Crime rarely pays; cheaters, thieves and gossips eventually get caught in snares they stupidly set for themselves. Laziness results in poverty, and there are simply some attitudes and behaviors you embrace to your own peril if you want relationships to have even a minimal shot at survival.

 That’s the obvious stuff.

 There are some other more subtle truths about life that you pick up over time. Some of those truths feel counterintuitive, like the fact that it actually pays to suck it up and have regular car maintenance done. Cheap-ing out on oil changes  feels like a good way to save a little money but the “payoff” is always short lived.

 When I was younger I subconsciously believed that if I ignored the things that made me feel afraid or uncomfortable then those things would simply go away. Because current world events were typically unpleasant, the news made me uncomfortable, sometimes even afraid. So I ignored it. I simply tuned out and went on with my little life. Sadly, nothing unpleasant went away while I was busy tuning out. The world just got worse. So I tuned back into the culture only to discover that my Christian brothers and sisters were still mostly tuned out.

 Nothing improves when Christians tune out of the culture and retreat to their holy huddles. Christians are the only preserving influence this world has (Matthew 5:13-16). When Christians step out of the cultural arena, the culture suffers and so does the church. When we stop working to preserve the culture the church does not become more holy. The reverse occurs; when we stop using our influence we lose influence. Then the Church begins to atrophy and loses its ability to know right from wrong. 

 We are officially in an election year. There are Christians who don’t even know who their current leaders are, let alone who’s running. This is beyond disgraceful. It’s time for Christian people to step up and get involved. The future of both the Church and the culture is at stake. It all starts with choosing to obey the command to love God with our minds (Matthew 22:37). I am convinced  good Christians educate themselves on the issues of their day.

 We need to know what candidates have done, not just what they tell us they have done. Our information should come from sources other than the candidate, political ads or the internet. Once we’ve become educated on the issues we need to take what we’ve learned about each candidate and decide who is most fit to lead. Then we need to fight for those men and women. Once we have done all we can do we need to get on our knees and pray for revival and a return to righteousness.