Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

I've enjoyed Black Friday shopping since 1999. This year I had two extra elves to tag along. When you don't have any one thing you HAVE to have, it can actually be enjoyable!! The only day of the year I like to shop!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Through the Years

"George Washington was first in war, first in peace, and in November 1789, the first president to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving, openly acknowledging God as the source of all 'the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.'

Among the 'favors' were a Declaration of Independence that inspires us to the present day, a remarkable military victory over the most powerful nation in the world, and an ingenious Constitution of checks and balances that places 'we the people' at the center of our government.

For the next fourscore and seven years, most states honored a November date as a day of prayer and fasting, but there was no national celebration. Of the early presidents, only James Madison, in 1814 and 1815, issued proclamations."

Read Lee Edwards' entire article here at The Daily Signal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

15 Favorite Ideas to Create a Meaningful Thanksgiving

Here are some great ideas from FamilyLife:

1. Start Thanksgiving Day by spending some time with God. Read through Psalms that talk about giving thanks to God: Psalm 50:14; 69:30; 95:2; 100:4; 147:7. And then focus on Psalm 9:1, which tells us, "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds." Write down some of the ways that God has worked in your life and your family.

2. List God's blessings. As you approach Thanksgiving, here's one way to cultivate a thankful heart: Spend time listing God's blessings in your life. And don't stop until you've listed at least 10-15. The exercise will force you to think creatively about God's care and provision—even in small things.

Listing God's blessings in your life forces you to focus on Him, and in the process you catch a glimpse of His love, care, and compassion.

Read the entire article here.

Thanksgiving - The Forgotten Holiday

Candy Arrington shares some great ideas for how to remember the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of November . . .

"Sandwiched somewhere between Halloween and Christmas is a Thursday holiday that is slowly becoming more miniscule in the minds of millions of Americans Thanksgiving. If you search hard, you might find one small section of Thanksgiving cards, autumn decorations, and a turkey platter amid the aisles and miles of Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations, and toys.

For some, Thanksgiving is a day to get a list together prior to a day of marathon Christmas shopping. Somehow our perception of Thanksgiving Day has gone askew. We've forgotten the reason for celebration that first Thanksgiving. Gratitude for survival!

Historically we think of Thanksgiving as a time of feasting for the Pilgrims and Indians. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims had been in America less than a year. During those months, over half their original population died from disease or starvation. The Pilgrims hosted the first feast not to try out their latest recipes, but to celebrate life with their Indian friends and give thanks to God for His provision in difficult circumstances."

Read the entire article by Candy Arrington here.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Preparing for Thanksgiving

I love the beauty of the leaves as October turns to November, reminding us that autumn is passing and winter approaching.  And it aggravates me every year when the stores try to sell Christmas to us way-too-early.  The pursuit of the dollar tempts us to overlook one of the year’s most important observations: Thanksgiving.
Here is one holiday that avoids commercialism, brings people together, offers fantastic food, and calls us to forsake our selfishness and instead practice gratitude.  Don’t lose the spirit of Thanksgiving.  Claim it, prepare for it, and practice the art of that holiday.

As we plan for Thanksgiving this month, here are a few ways to intentionally lead your family to be thankful.
Read the entire article, Preparing for Thanksgiving, here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Once in a Century: Reflections on the 2016 Election

“The victory is staggering.  It is not possible to overstate how important this is. It is difficult to assimilate the magnitude of this victory,” stated conservative talk-show host Dennis Prager on his November 9th program.
Peggy Noonan described it as “deeply historic – a rebuke to Barack Obama” during the CBS coverage on election night.

“A modern-day political miracle happening before our eyes,” said Sean Hannity on a telephone interview on the FOX News coverage on the night of November 8.

Cal Thomas said, “This was more than a change election. It was a revolution.”

At our house Tuesday night, we prepared our electoral college print-outs and grabbed our red and blue markers.  We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning.  We began the evening, like most voters, with some fear and hope.  As the night progressed, our hopes became reality.  We clapped with each new red-state announcement: Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin.

As we celebrated, though, many Clinton supporters around the country staggered in disbelief.  We flipped back and forth between CBS and NBC, watching their shock.  The champion they and the liberal mainstream media worked hard to propel to victory was losing.

Stephen Colbert planned his late-night show to be a bawdy celebration of Hillary’s victory.  Surely by 11:30 the queen would conquer.  Instead, reporters described his broadcast as dark, ominous, and nervous.  Guest Mark Halperin, a journalist, said the incredible statement “Outside of the Civil War, World War II and including 9/11, this may be the most cataclysmic event the country’s ever seen.”

His overblown statement illustrates the fact that talent does not equal wisdom.  There are many talented, famous people in America lacking wisdom.

Before Tuesday, many people described it as the most important election of our lifetime.


1.  It was a major defeat for the media and the establishment in American politics. 

Charles Krauthammer said, “She [Clinton] is the poster child for the establishment. . . .  It is an ideological and electoral revolution of the kind we have not seen since Reagan.”

Yes, the people have had enough of Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday night vividly revealed how out-of-touch much of the media is with mainstream American voters.  Dennis Prager, conservative talk-show host, said on Wednesday morning that the media is not believed by one-half of our country:

If she [Hillary] won, then our country would be very troubled.  The end of eight tragic, destructive years of Barack Obama.  If only that, it would be enough, of what Barack Obama has done to this country.  If only a repudiation of the media of utter contempt.  You didn’t even act neutral.  The contempt with which you in the media are held.  Their task is not to be objective during this election but to elect a Democrat.

The victory is staggering.  It is not possible to overstate how important this is.  We may have saved America yesterday.

Once they control the judiciary, Congress becomes meaningless.  It is difficult to assimilate the magnitude of this victory.

Sean Hannity said, “The American people have said that enough is enough.”

Trump overcomes the media establishment, the political establishment, and the globalist establishment.  The Trump voters reacted against the mainstream media, the Hollywood and Miley Cyrus self-proclaimed pundits, the out-of-touch establishment of both parties, and the arrogant elitism of the last eight years. 

Trump heard the working class of America, which has been neglected by politicians since Ronald Reagan thirty years ago.  Perhaps even more than a Republican vs. Democrat election, this was a mainstream America vs. the establishment one.

Todd Starnes wrote, We were mocked by Hollywood and dismissed by academics. We were marginalized by the media – bullied and belittled by sex and gender revolutionaries.

But all that changed on Election Day – when Donald Trump became a champion for the Silent Majority. He gave us a voice.  And now the Silent Majority is silent no more.

We the People have decided that it’s time to drain the swamp.

2.  It was a rejection of Barack Obama’s radical leadership and policies.

Tucker Carlson said it was a "reaction to the people in charge."

Meghan McCain said on election night, “Barack Obama’s legacy has just been dismantled.  He [Trump] is going to sign away every one of Obama’s executive orders.”

Obama is a likeable individual.  He has charm, a sense of humor, and a good-looking family.  He is a skilled orator, and he briefly became the Messiah for liberals wanting change in 2008.  On a personal level, it is hard not to like him.

Election night of ’08, as my wife and I watched his victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.  As Jesse Jackson and Oprah cried, my spirit grieved.  While I wanted to celebrate the first-ever black President in our country, I could not.  I felt as if a dark cloud was moving over America.  I feared what was to come.

I did not protest.  I did not loot.  I did not put out on social media that he should be assassinated.  And I certainly did not retreat to a "safe zone."  I got up the next day, went to work, and tried to trust God.  But I grieved.

For the next eight years, America experienced a Saul Alinsky radical attempting to lead our country.  Obama became the epitome of far-left arrogance and elitism.  He went around the world apologizing for America.  He said that Islam had as much a part of shaping America as Christianity.  His administration would be marked by more corruption than any one in history.  He repeatedly ignored the Constitution, ignored Congress, and ignored the principles that made America great.

On Tuesday night, voters rejected much of the politics and results of the Obama-Clinton era: Obamacare, the Stimulus Plan, the disastrous Iran Deal, countless executive orders, out of control justices, corruption, and the need to bring the Supreme Court back to the United States Constitution. Wow. 

They said it would be a repeat of election night 1980, and boy was it!  The silent majority that Hillary Clinton called the "basket of deplorables" spoke up.

With the Republicans winning the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, they will be able to begin to undo the stamp of Barack Obama.   

Pat Buchanan observed: “Few anticipated Tuesday morning what we would have today: a decapitated Democratic Party, with the Obamas and Clintons gone or going, Joe Biden with them, no national leader rising, and only the power of obstruction, of which the nation has had enough.”

Charles Krauthammer said, “Obama’s legacy is toast.”

And what about the future?  "[A] Donald Trump [administration is] going to be among the most extraordinary, creative, inventive, exciting periods in all of American political history," Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity.

3.  It pulled our country back from the cliff.

Prior to the election, Christian apologist Eric Metaxas aptly warned, “I don't think Trump is going to save America. I think Trump would pull us back five feet from the cliff so that we have bought ourselves a little time to keep the republic. I think if Hillary Clinton is elected, we are not going to have that ability."

Tuesday night we stepped back from the cliff's edge. I am utterly thankful. Trump was certainly not my first choice for Presidential candidate, but I knew Clinton had to be defeated to save the country. I’m thankful that Hillary cannot select our Supreme Court Justices and continue the Obama-Clinton legacy.  I'm so thankful my children and grandchildren won't suffer the consequences of a Hillary Clinton Presidency.

I sat my family down on Wednesday night after the election and told them, “I want you to know that I believe God saved America last night.  I believe He spared us from destruction.”

Cal Thomas correctly writes, The courts may be saved from secular progressives for years to come and the Constitution respected again. That is victory by anyone's definition. An added bonus is that Mr. Trump can use executive orders to immediately reverse President Obama's executive orders, which he used to bypass Congress. An even bigger bonus is that the Clintons have been swept out of politics. Foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation will likely close their checkbooks now that Hillary won't be able to do anything for them.  All the pieces are now in place to yank America back from the brink. This is an opportunity that comes along once in a century.

I wrote a blog article one month ago entitled Why a Southern Baptist Pastor Will Vote for the Unvirtuous Donald Trump.  Viewed almost 20,000 times, it explains why I believe we were about to go over a cliff – and why I believed a vote for Donald Trump was the wise choice.

Our choices were a Jezebel or a Samson. If Hillary won, judgment was coming on the country.  If Trump was put it, then we would have a reprieve to make corrections.  

Tim Wildmon writes, the "presidential results have given us a reprieve for America. We were about to go over the cliff. The knock-out punch was about to be delivered to the America that our Founding Fathers handed to us." 

Tony Perkins echoes those observations, I must have missed the Christians' riots in 2012 when the most pro-abortion, faith-hostile president in history was reelected to a second term. Obviously, what we're seeing are the children of lawlessness, spawned by eight years of a lawless administration. Honestly, if God-fearing, Constitution-respecting voters hadn't intervened on Tuesday to stop Hillary Clinton, we would have continued down this reckless path -- which, as we're seeing, leads to all kinds of chaos.

4.  It was a dynamic answer to lots of prayer.

I never remember in my lifetime Christians praying as fervently for our nation as they have during the past year.  For a long time the church in America was asleep to political activity.  While secular, atheistic progressives meticulously worked to take over our nation, the church largely stayed out of the public square.  I believe the election of Obama, the most pro-abortion, faith-hostile president in history, in 2008, shook the church awake in America. 

The possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming President and being able to cement the “change” machine of Obama scared the church enough to make her pray for her nation like never before.

I have never known as many Christians to add fasting to their praying for our country as we did this past year.

Franklin Graham, who spent the year traveling to every state capital on his Decision America Tour, asking Christians to pray and vote their biblical values, put the following on facebook on November 10:

Did God show up? In watching the news after the election, the secular media keep asking How did this happen?” 'What went wrong?' 'How did we miss this?' Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the United States have been praying. This year they came out to every state capitol to pray for this election and for the future of America. Prayer groups were started. Families prayed. Churches prayed. Then Christians went to the polls, and God showed up.

While the media scratches their heads and tries to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country.”

Graham’s sister, Anne Lotz, shared, "God's people have poured out in prayer for this election a thing that is determined as Mr. Trump said in his acceptance speech the destiny of America.  I see what happened in this election as being a tremendous movement of God in answer to prayer.  So now my challenge now is that God's people would not stop praying," she admonished.

We must not stop praying.  God is giving us a reprieve.  An opportunity to make reforms.  We must not fall back asleep.

"Mr. Trump did not win because of superior political strategy or performance," George Barna explained. "God produced a miracle in response to the prayers and fasting of His people... The challenge is now for the body of Christ to be agents of reconciliation and unity, and to now lead the country toward policies and behaviors that will honor God and His life principles."

I believe that the election of 2016 was a decisive moment in United States history when Providence intervened.  I’ve never witnessed a time in my life when I believed that as much as I did this past week.

As I wrote elsewhere, our hope is not in Donald Trump.  He is not our Messiah nor our hero.  He is far from ideal.  But he led a movement that was able to overturn the Clinton machine and open the door for some wise and God-fearing people to come back to the table.

The evangelical Christian vote turned out - and turned out in support of the Trump-Pence ticket. Now evangelicals need to pray earnestly for President-elect Trump and his team.

5.  It is time for decisive action.

President-elect Trump has an opportunity to act decisively and keep his campaign promises.  This is not a time for meandering.  It is a time for action.   We can undo many of the bad choices of the past eight years.

A Presidential election has not given Republicans control of the Presidency and both parts of Congress since 1928 with the election of Herbert Hoover.

Cal Thomas suggests that Trump has a window to re-write the narrative on American politics: 

Recall what Democrats did when they won the White House, the Senate and House in 2008. They rammed through legislation that reflected their worldview. Trump should do the same, but without triumphalism. He must prove his policies work and can achieve the goals he has set: economic growth, more private-sector jobs, bringing corporations home from overseas with a lower corporate tax rate, and defeating the Islamic State. The only reason to have power is to use power. Democrats understand this. Too often timid Republicans don't. They must now use it, or they will lose it.

Pat Buchanan wisely shares, “Donald Trump said in his campaign that that this is America’s last chance. If we lose this one, he said, we lose the country.  The president-elect should ignore his more cautious counselors and act with the urgency of his declared beliefs.”

Yes, we have an opportunity before us that comes perhaps once in a century.

David Lane writes that "anyone who thinks that Christians won anything other than an election last Tuesday is confused. This stunning 'miracle' offers us an opportunity to restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Biblical-based culture-IF we will stay engaged. This opportunity likely will not come around again in our lifetime. Like a neon sign flashing high in the sky, the Obama Administration serves to remind us that departing from God’s fixed boundaries consistent with His moral character will bring judgment on a nation."

I framed the Electoral College map that my eleven-year old used.  I want to remember election night 2016.  I want to get on my knees and thank God for that night.

Prager wisely said, “The victory is staggering.  It is not possible to overstate how important this is.  We may have saved America yesterday.  It is difficult to assimilate the magnitude of this victory.”

And Todd Starnes of Fox News wrote in his commentary on Wednesday morning,
"Our long national nightmare is over and the Republic has been saved."

May God bless America.

7 Harsh Realities Of Life Millennials Need To Understand

"No matter where you go in life, someone will be there to offend you. Maybe it’s a joke you overheard on vacation, a spat at the office, or a difference of opinion with someone in line at the grocery store. Inevitably, someone will offend you and your values. If you cannot handle that without losing control of your emotions and reverting back to your 'safe space' away from the harmful words of others, then you’re best to just stay put at home."

Read the entire article by Tyler Durden here.

Trump, Hate, and the Narrative

It's time to challenge and change the narrative.

I am tired of hearing some of the news media drawing caricatures of Trump voters.  

Take, for example, this headline from the Huffington Post: A Vote for Trump Was a Hate Crime.  Give me a break.  Maybe that author needs to go back go his "safe space."  

Or Van Jones of CNN responds to the election by saying this is a "white-lash."  Really?  A white-lash?  If a white news commentator made the statement when Barack Obama was elected that this was a "black-lash," he or she would have been crucified by the media and then likely fired.  

I am a white, male, educated (with bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees) voter.  I am a Christ-follower and pastor.  I love my family, love my country, and have deep interest in their well-being.

As Mike Pence says, I identify myself as a Christian, conservative, and a Republican – in that order.  I disagreed with the Never-Trumpers.   I was glad to vote for Donald Trump last Tuesday.

I know many folks who voted for the Trump-Pence ticket.  Out of the Trump-supporters I know personally, I cannot say that one - not one - of them hates blacks, Latinos, or gays - nor wants to suppress women.   I have lived in small towns in the rural South for eighteen years.  In almost two decades in that culture, I can only remember meeting one person whom I think believed in "white supremacy." 

The liberal and sometimes leftist media and many in academia love to use labeling in order to demonize those with whom they disagree.  That is a ploy to get the focus and conversation off of policy and substance and instead onto sweeping generalities fueled by emotion.  It is a way to make your opponent seem less than human and cause you to disregard them as being a thoughtful, thinking human being.

  • Someone who doesn't vote for a woman because they disagree with her policies or question her character is suddenly a suppressor of women who doesn't want society to "break the glass ceiling."  
  • Someone who doesn't vote for a black candidate for similar reasons is suddenly a "racist."  
  • A person who thinks Muslims should be screened coming into our country, knowing that radical Islamic terrorism is a massive reality today, is all of a sudden someone who "hates Muslims."  
  • A Christian who holds to the historic, biblical belief that marriage should be reserved to a relationship between one man and one woman is suddenly a "homophobe" who "hates" gays.
  • And half of the people who support Donald Trump, according to Hillary Clinton, are in the "basket of deplorables." 

This is political rhetoric.  It is propaganda.  And unfortunately, in our day of sound bytes and quick, internet news flashes, rhetoric influences many people.  Thankfully, one lesson from last week's Presidential election is that many Americans simply do not submit to the unbearable smugness of the press.

One of the patterns of modern leftism is that if you don't agree with me, I will vilify you.  If we disagree in theory, policy, or conviction, then we will label you: uneducated, racist, supresser of women, homophobe, Islamaphobe, deplorable, etc.   And if that doesn't work, we will turn to social unrest, protests, and riots.  It is a tactic tied to Marxism, Communism, and the Nazi Regime, and, of course, Saul Alinsky's radicals.
Rick Warren says, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

My voting for Trump, like I expect over 90% of us who voted for him, had nothing to do with liking the odious parts of his persona.  In many ways, I had to “hold my nose” after he received the nomination.   But, I quickly adjusted and began looking for ways to help the Trump Train.  

Most Trump voters, like myself, voted for him because of seven reasons (which I explore in more detail in my article Once in a Century: Reflections on the 2016 Election)

(1) We were weary of the POLICIES of the far-left, personified by Barack Obama (though he is a likeable person, many people disagree with his policies) and Hillary Clinton as politicians,  

(2) We had grave concerns about our nation staying afloat because of economic reasons and foreign policy, 

(3) We had tremendous concern about the Supreme Court in the hands of leftist activists who are not strict constitutionalists, 

(4) We saw the assault on free speech and religious liberty mounting, 

(5) We have had it with the out-of-touch elitism, arrogance (see the mainstream Washington media in response to the election), and corruption of the Obama administration, 

(6) We have had it with the political correctness movement in our country, trumpeted by the megaphones of the media, leftist academia, and Hollywood, and 

(7) We believed that Hillary Clinton was the most corrupt politician to ever run for the office of POTUS and that she does not have the temperament to handle that job. 

Though Trump does not have a stellar record in terms of personal morals, we saw him as a non-politician with the interest of the country first, and we saw him surrounding himself with people of wisdom.  We saw him as an opportunity to have a reprieve and perhaps keep America from going off of the cliff.

Our voting for him (the majority of Trump voters – not a few wackos), contrary to the popular media spin and caricatures, has NOTHING to do with (1) Suppressing women and not wanting a woman to be President, and (2) Hating blacks, Muslims, Latinos, gays, or any other minority group.  

That is simply left-wing hysteria and propaganda. 

Those are caricatures to try and get the eyes off of POLICY.  Hugh Hewitt correctly said that this election was a “rejection election,” or, as Tucker Carlson said, a "reaction to the people in charge."  We are rejecting the POLICIES of a far-left agenda.   

Jon Stewart recently shared in an interview, "There's now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric. . . . There are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that are not afraid of Mexicans and not afraid of Muslims and not afraid of blacks. They're afraid of their insurance premiums. 

In the liberal community you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don't look at Muslims as a monolith. They're individuals, and that's ignorance. But everyone who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country."

A month ago, I wrote a blog article, Why a Southern Baptist Pastor Will Vote for the Unvirtuous Donald Trump.  If anyone thinks the majority of Trump voters voted for him because we hate women (I’ve challenged my daughter before that she could serve on the Supreme Court one day), blacks, etc., take a moment to see why I voted for him.  

I don’t define Democrats, liberals, or Clinton voters by the wackos who are beating up Trump voters in Chicago.  We should not define Trump voters by the wackos there either.  

Also, I don't define Clinton voters by her history of deception, corruption, and psychotic behavior.  We should not define Trump voters by his most inflammatory statements nor past moral failures.  

In the past week, wackos on both sides of the political field have responded wrongly to people with whom they disagree. The mob who beat up and bruised a Trump supporter in Chicago no more characterize Hillary Clinton voters than the Trump supporter who threatened a Latino characterizes supporters of the Trump Train.

The violence, venom, and vileness from some on the left in response to Mr. Trump winning has been stunning.  Democrats, leftists, or liberals are wise to accept their losses, as conservatives had to in '08 and '12, and move forward positively.

Most Trump voters did not vote for hate.  Most Trump voters voted for change – but not Barack’s.