Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 31st

Here is a post I did on October 31, 2014 . . . 

My family will always have good memories related to festivities on October 31.  As a child, our community always held a fall festival on Halloween night.  My gang of friends would hit the pavement after the games and go door-to-door through the neighborhood trick-or-treating.  Yes, that was way back in the day when it was safe to send your kids loose without an adult.  My own children talk all year long about what costume they will choose that year on the 31st of October.  They have donned an assortment of outfits, including Snoopy, Boba Fett, Dorothy, cowboys and cowgirl, Batgirl, scarecrow, and a host of others. 

This year, for the first time, we decided to pick a theme together.  We chose to dress up as characters from the Batman legacy.  Stay tuned, Bat-friends, at the same Bat-site, for pictures.

This week, we have already had our family devotion about shining Christ's light in our lives and not becoming imitators of darkness.  When we carve our pumpkins today we will talk some about what Christ does to change a life from the inside out.  I will remind my children of the spiritual significance of this day as tied to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.  And, this weekend we will talk a little as a family about the theme of All Saints Day and the value of remembering Christians in the great cloud of witnesses.

Strong opinions abound in the Christian community about what to do with Halloween.  The following are related articles I have appreciated through the years . . .

Redeeming Halloween by Jack Hayford

Is Halloween a Witch's Brew? by Harold Myra

Bump in the Night by Charles Colson

Four Reasons You Should Go Trick-or-Treating Tonight by Ed Stetzer

An Open Letter About Halloween by Jim Daly

Monday, October 29, 2018

Christians, It's OK to Demand Closed Borders - It's Biblical

"Christians, listen up: It’s quite OK to advocate for tough border controls.

It’s quite OK to look at this caravan of thousands of people now walking from points south toward America’s borders — people carting come-heck-or-high-water attitudes and intents to cross — and say to them, 'hey, you’re not a citizen, you don’t have the right to come to this country.' You don’t have the right to demand the U.S. government open border doors.

Go ahead, good Christians. Think it. Say it. God won’t be angry."

Read the entire article by Cheryl Chumley here.

Picture used by permission from Pixabay.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fighting for the Future of Religious Liberty

"I recently had the privilege of attending an extraordinary meeting of evangelical Christians invited to the White House by President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.

In just two years, his administration has accomplished more than any other president in decades to defend religious freedom, turn the tide of the Supreme Court and protect ordinary Americans who have been under siege for practicing our Christian beliefs. Not only did we have the opportunity to hear personally from the president, but he took time to hear our concerns and join us in prayer.

'America is a nation of believers,' President Trump told us. 'We know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. And we know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.' "

Read Franklin Graham's entire article here at DECISION magazine.

Also, read his comments on facebook last week about the upcoming midterm elections.

What is a Disciple?

It is often wise, as Maria Von Trapp sang to us,  to start at the very beginning, 'cause that's a very good place to start.  So, if we are going to produce disciples, we need to understand, WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?

Lorne Sanny, former president of the Navigators disciple-making ministry, defines a disciple as someone who has three qualities: he is personally identified with Jesus Christ, she is consistently obedient to God's Word, and he is bearing fruit of two types.  First, there is Christian character.  Then he bears the fruit of leading others to Christ and helping them become mature disciples. 

Jesus Christ issued a simple call - it was the simple call of Jesus.  He walked up to ordinary fishermen and said, "Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).  Or, I will show you how to fish for people.  The Message says, "Come with Me.  I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you.  I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass."  Then it says, "They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed." 

Are we asking questions, or are we dropping our nets and following?  Our mandate is none other than this first, clear call of the Lord.  It is the simple call of Jesus: Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men and women.

Read the entire article, What is a Disciple?, here.

God and Donald Trump Book Review

Stephen Strang’s book, God and Donald Trump, kept my attention from the first to last page. The author, an award-winning journalist and CEO of Charisma Media, looks at the 2016 election of Donald Trump through the lens of many evangelical Christians. The record-breaking election included the highest ever turnout of evangelical Christian voters in a presidential election. Similarly to the election of Ronald Reagan, evangelical voters comprised a significant block of Trump voters.

The book looks at issues related to what made Trump appealing to Christians. After eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, which included the most leftist political agenda in our nation’s history – and what some argue as the most corrupt one - the fear of Hillary Clinton’s sealing the change Obama promised motivated evangelical Christians to try and stop the tide of the left. 

Donald Trump’s “get ‘er done” attitude, his plain-spokenness, his economic savvy coupled with common sense, the emphasis on family, his taking on the Left and leftist media, and his promise to protect religious liberty and appoint conservative judges to the federal courts and the Supreme Court resonated with many Christians. The Obama administration saw the rise of many left-wing judges and the most hostile presidential administration to conservative, evangelical Christians in our history.

Also, evangelical Christian leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas, and James Dobson of Family Talk exhorted Christians to vote for Donald Trump because the platform adopted by the Republican Party consistently reflected values in keeping with the Bible.

Strang includes the transcript of his own interview with Trump. The author attempts to show the man behind the red tie, including his roots, his family, and his evolving faith and relationship with Christianity.

The well-documented book includes quotes from a variety of sources.

Strang tackled head-on the reality of Trump being an unlikely candidate to win the support of Christians. One of the most telling parts of the book is Strang’s comparison of Donald Trump to a George Patton, Abraham Lincoln, or Winston Churchill:

None of these men were conventional Christians, and they had many detractors in the clergy, yet each played a pivotal role in history. They stood strong against the enemies of freedom and helped safeguard our way of life and our Christian heritage.

Patton was no choirboy, but he was a strong-willed and powerful man who trusted in the authority and compassion of a powerful God. Donald Trump, with his swagger, cocky self-assurance, and ruthless determination, may well be the George Patton of our age and the one man who could stand up to the leftist insurgents who have done so much damage to the republic over the last fifty years. His language and behavior may be disagreeable, but he possesses an undeniable passion to make America great again, and the people have responded to his message.

The Bible character of Samson was an unlikely choice for God to use as His tool. The unethical, sensual brute delivered the Israelites from the Philistines. Many evangelicals believe Donald Trump was a Samson-like tool to protect our nation from falling off the cliff in the disaster of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Gordon Robertson, CEO of The Christian Broadcasting Network , says, “If you woke up the day after the 2016 election wondering ‘What just happened?’ then this is the book for you.”

Governor Mike Huckabee writes in his forward, "Knowing who to vote for doesn't come easy for the Christian, and this past election was no different. Since his election I'm encouraged by the way Trump has surrounded himself with a number of evangelical Christians."

And Alveda King says, "This must-read book reaches far beyond politics into the redeeming frequencies that America surely needs."

Strang comes from a Pentecostal-charismatic evangelical tradition.

Read my 2016 article, Why a Southern Baptist Pastor Will Vote for the Unvirtuous Donald Trump here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

An Up Close and Personal God

As we seek the Lord for His plan in our lives, we have to be careful to not just listen to the recommendations of others, follow the tradition of our church or denomination, or follow some man-made rules.

We can seek the Lord for His individual plan for our lives, families, churches, and organizations. 

Pastor Jim Cymbala, who ministers at The Brooklyn Tabernacle with his wife Carol, shares an awesome word about the partnership of the Bible and the Holy Spirit in the life of today's believers: An Up Close and Personal God. Wonderful music and invitation.

The same God who told Moses to pick up a snake by the tail, instructed Peter to run against his religious tradition and eat unclean animals, and provided food for Elijah via the delivery service of another unclean animal - a raven - may just surprise us today.

Religious people like to create structures, traditions, and rules. Jesus invites us into the adventure of walking with Him and being led by His Spirit. Believers and churches today need to be led by the Holy Spirit - not just by people, tradition, or intellect. His plans, His mind, and His ability surpass ours.

Listen to Jim Cymbala challenge the church in this message from June 17, 2018.  

How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time

The following is one of my favorite old Adrian Rogers articles about the daily quiet time . . . 

Oh how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

"Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. Ten thousand 'don'ts' will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Himself Who makes you like Him. But you need to spend time with Him. I want to give you five factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.

The Proper Period

You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. But some time is better than no time, so if you can't start at thirty minutes, begin with ten. It should be your very best time. Don't give the Lord your leftovers. And don't try to find time - make time, and make it a priority. Also find time early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, '… in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.' You don't take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day."

Picture used by permission from Pixabay

Praying for Our Nation

We live in troublesome times marked by fear and confusion. Dennis Prager writes in his article, America's Second Civil War, "Americans are more divided morally, ideologically and politically today than they were during the Civil War." 

The Bible reminds us that sometimes the battle for people, families, and societies is not merely natural.  There are spiritual forces at work.  And spiritual forces require spiritual engagement.

Many folks share deep concerns about the future of our nation.  Nowhere has the divide been more obvious in recent years than the hearings for potential Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  

Dr. James Dobson writes, "If you are AWOL in this battle, you and everything you stand for might slip away." 

Though my influence is relatively small, I want to be able to say to the Lord one day that during this time in our nation's history, I did my part to "stand in the gap on behalf of the land."

Once in the ministry of Jesus, when his disciples were unable to solve a dilemma, he reminded them, "This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting."

A Person Like You or Me

A man named Elijah, one who feared the Lord, lived in troublesome times.  He had no confidence in the political leaders of his nation, a godless couple named Ahab and Jezebel.  The king and queen led the nation into all sorts of idolatry, eventually persecuting and killing many of the prophets of the one true God.  That God, Jehovah, spoke to this man Elijah, a Tishbite.

God told Elijah that as punishment for the sins of the nation, He was sending a drought.  It would not rain until God allowed it.  Elijah announced this punishment to king Ahab.  Then, God hid his prophet for three and a half years (1 Kings 17) during the drought.  Killing Elijah would not have stopped the drought, but godless people sometimes like to attack God's messengers.

After three and a half years, the Lord and Elijah had a huge confrontation with the priests of Baal, priests under the domination of Queen Jezebel.  God showed up in a big way, confirming that he is God and Baal is false.

Then, God revealed to Elijah that it was about to rain.  Before rain came, Elijah began interceding - praying to God to send the rain.  Some people remark that the position he took in 1 Kings 18:42 was one of a Jewish woman in labor.  Elijah knew God was going to send rain, but the prophet assumed the position of a praying intercessor.  He became an agent through which God could birth a miracle and bring rain.

After seven times of prayer, Elijah's servant saw a small raincloud coming.  Soon, heavy rain poured.

Years later, the apostle James comments on this account: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5:16-18).

James reminds us of a few potent truths . . .

1.  Elijah's prayer life included the potential to stop rain and produce rain for 3 1/2 years as he partnered with God.

2.  Elijah was a man just like us - not any more or less.

3.  The prayers today of godly people full of faith, the Holy Spirit, and the fear of the Lord can accomplish much.

Wow.  The prayers of one man affected the course of the entire nation.

Again and again in Scripture, God worked through the prayers of one man or woman to bring real change.

Might God use the prayers of one righteous person today to affect the course of our nation? 

Might God use the prayers of one family, church, or small group to alter our future?

Fasting and Prayer

In years past, some Presidents and political leaders understood that we are truly one nation under God.  During times of deep national crisis, leaders called our nation to a day or season of fasting and prayer.  They understood that some problems faced by the country were too grand for human ingenuity to solve.  They needed God.  They needed His help.

John Adams, second President of the United States, understood this truth.  When faced with the threat of a national crisis from a foreign power, he called for a day of fasting and prayer for May 9, 1798 . . .

As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist . . . .

See a long list here of days of fasting and prayer issued by our government leaders in times past.  You can also read the proclamations at the same site.

According to the Bible, when peoples and countries face deep crises, they should fast and pray.  They should turn aside from what they normally do, stop eating for a designated time, and cry out to God.  Fasting is one spiritual discipline through which we humble ourselves before Him and ask for His help.


21 Days of Prayer for America

The Bible says that God hears the remnant.  He hears the few that still fear, love, and serve Him.  God promised Abraham that if He found ten righteous people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he would spare them from judgment.  Why?  Because God hears His remnant.  He acts on behalf of His remnant.

The prayers of one man brought the rain after three and a half years of drought.  And he was a man just like you and me.

The stained-glass window in the
Congressional Prayer Room
at the U.S. Capital depicts
George Washington in prayer.
Let's fast and pray for America.  And pray for the Lord to raise up godly, wise leadership.  

We can begin fasting and praying for America.  Begin setting aside some meals and spending that time in God's presence, praying to Him, on your knees, with an open Bible, pouring your heart out to God.

Why not focus on praying for America for twenty-one days?  Click here, where I share a guide for praying during those 21 days.  The prayers are based on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, the armor of God in Ephesians 6, and Daniel’s prayers in Daniel 9-10.

These battles cannot be fought with politics, military, or medical doctors alone.  We need God's help. We need God's help again.

Because, as the second President of the United States understood, "the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God." 

Again, click here to view a PDF of the 21-day prayer guide.

If fasting is new to you, check out this article from CRU about fasting and prayer.

Quote of the Day

"President Donald J. Trump has kept his promises to Christians, that he would protect religious freedoms and appoint conservative judges to the federal courts and to the Supreme Court. And he has kept the promises he made to our country to create jobs, strengthen the military, lower taxes, and strengthen our borders. But for him to continue fulfilling the promises he made to the American people, he has to have a House and Senate that will work with him to bring positive change, regardless of party. The midterm elections are just 17 days away, and it is one of the most important in our lifetime. Pray before you vote, and don’t let the media that is trying to divide our country, influence you. Look at the facts, do your research, pray, and vote."

- Rev. Franklin Graham

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Men Trying to Be Sexually Pure

Recently,  in light of the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh hearing, I've seen several memes floating around showing how many messages women receive in our sexually-charged culture aimed at telling them to be modest and not lead on men.

Some of them seem to imply that all of the weight is on the women.

As a man, I have tried during my adult life to live a life that pleased the Lord and honored him, including in the way I relate to the opposite sex. Keeping one's self under control is a discipline, particularly in a society that flaunts sex on magazine covers, television ads, and almost everywhere you turn.

As a boy, I learned the Royal Ambassador Pledge, which includes the statement, "As a Royal Ambassador I will do my best . . . to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body."

While a college student, I read in a Christian magazine about a young man asking a 40-something year-old if he ever struggled with lust. The implication was that the young man thought since the older man was married and enjoyed sex with his wife, the struggle with lust was over. The 40-something year old replied, "Son, I did not know what lust was until my 40's."

Certainly sexual temptation knows no age-limits. 

A Lifestyle to Adopt

For moms raising sons they hope to be godly, self-controlled young men, and for Christian men who seek to live a life above reproach, here is a reminder of some of the responsibility men bear in the path of purity . . .

  • Turn our gaze from magazine ads and covers, internet pop-ups, television ads, and the 100+ other forms of sexually charged items in our culture.
  • When I walk down a hall or narrow path near women, I often put my hands in my pockets or press my hands against my pants so as not to in any way accidentally touch a woman inappropriately.
  • Start every day before getting out of bed submitting myself - including my body - to the Lord for His glory and use.
  • Pray the Lord's Prayer at the start of every day - not by rote but by meaning. And seek to walk in the Spirit and live a life bathed in conversational prayer daily.

  • When a situation is appropriate to hug a women (other than my wife), I make sure and move towards a side hug so as to not press my body in any way against her breasts.
  • When out in public, when I see a woman dressed immodestly, I discipline myself to look away and not keep looking at her body.
  • Refrain from flirting with women, even casually.
  • Never discuss sexual matters with another woman (unless in a strict counseling setting - and even then only with another person present).

  • Refrain from seeking emotional "strokes" from women other than my wife. Don't try and be a hero or "Prince Charming" to anyone other than my wife and daughter.
  • I refrain from meeting a woman other than my wife or family member in public - at a restaurant, for example (some of the same folks who criticize President Trump for his immorality criticize Vice President Pence for his practices like this one aimed at moral purity.)
  • Choose to not watch television shows, videos, or movies with much sexual situations and scantly-clad women.
  • Refrain from watching movies with nudity.

  • Turn the station when music comes on of a sensual nature (a lot of today's country music has turned from love to lust songs).
  • When sex is satisfying at home, enjoy!
  • When sex is sparse at home, practice self-control and self-discipline and learn to be content when my wants are not met.
  • Discipline myself to meditate on and memorize Scripture from the Bible. Keep a steady supply of biblical sermons and devotions on my phone and in my car to listen to at times when driving - for the purpose of renewing my mind.

  • Abstain from indulging in internet pornography, which is always a few clicks away.
  • Treat women with respect and dignity. That includes opening doors for them, saying "thank you," and asking about their lives.
  • Choose to dress in a way that shows self-respect and modesty.
  • Never engage in sexual jokes - not even with other men.
  • Keep internet filters on my devices.

  • Never engage in bragging about sexual activity with anyone (other than your spouse!)
  • If I am feeling especially tempted sexually in some way, ask a godly man to pray for me.
  • Discipline my thought life to only think about my wife sexually. 
  • Keep a short account with God. When I realize I have lusted or harbored inappropriate thoughts or desires, repent of them immediately, asking God to cleanse me and fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit.
  • Speak to women graciously, humbly, and respectfully. Serve and honor them when appropriate.

  • Do not indulge mental fantasies with the culture's entertainment.
  • Choose to take every thought captive and keep my mind set on the good things of Philippians 4:8.
  • Live counter to a culture that embraces "free-sex."
  • For single men, the list could probably double. For starters, choosing to abstain from having sex until marriage, though our single culture today embraces hooking up and having sex just for the physical pleasure.

  • Act like a man! Not just like a boy.
  • Speak often of my wife and children to other people.
  • As a pastor, for years I refused to counsel a woman alone in my office with a closed door.
  • When counseling a woman, I intentionally insert my wife and children's names into the conversation several times, just as a subtle reminder, "I belong to them."

This list is just the beginning. I'm sure other godly men could add more.

With the excess imbalance of the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh hearing, where it appears a person can be accused with zero evidence by one person dating back decades, men will likely have to add many more items to this list seeking to guard themselves and their reputations.

Let's remember that staying sexually pure, above reproach, and pleasing to God depends on both men and women doing their part.

"God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin." 
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Pictures used by permission from Pixabay

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Kavanaugh Effect and the Election

Excellent commentary by Newt Gingrich.

“I do not remember any political event that has so galvanized Americans.

First, the sheer viciousness of the smears, lies, and character assassination galvanized Republicans who had been relatively passive about the election. Now they are deeply angry about the Democrats’ dishonesty and nastiness. They were especially offended by the Left’s behavior since Kavanaugh has two young daughters who had to endure such personal lies about their father. The Republican base’s energy is dramatically higher than it was two weeks ago.

If 'Remember the Alamo' was a rallying cry for Texans, 'Remember Kavanaugh' has become a rallying cry for Republicans.

Second, 2018 has become the year when the mask came off the Democratic Party. On issue after issue, Democrats have become radical advocates of radical policies — policies that they are willing to use radical, coercive actions to force on the American people. Their support for open borders, sanctuary cities, government-run healthcare, higher taxes, bigger government, and endless resistance, investigations, and threats of impeachment have all seemed radical. Their intensely hostile description of their opponents — deplorables, people who consort with evil, people who should be kicked, confronted, driven out of restaurants and stores — these all seem a radical break with the American system. Watching Democratic activists scratch at the Supreme Court doors seems out of control. The behavior of these radical activists is becoming a definer of the Democratic Party — reinforced by incumbent Senate Democrats who are using similar language and tactics in the Senate hearing room. For many Americans the mask is off, and the Democrats have become a frighteningly dangerous party.”

Read the entire article at Gingrich Productions here.

Dangerous Implications

"As I sit down to write my monthly letter this morning, many important topics are running through my mind. Only one, however, rises to the top. Powerful social movements and passions are 'blowing in the wind,' and most of them have dangerous implications for the institution of the family, religious liberty, our children and unborn babies, and the country at large. The Ship of State, on which we all are passengers, is steaming into uncharted waters, and the midterm elections occurring on November 6 will determine its course for decades to come. That's why my letter this month conveys a single urgent message. Christians must go to the polls next month and let their voices be heard! Turnout will determine the outcome. What will you do about it? Will you sit out this election? God help us if you and I fail to fulfill our moral responsibility.

Sean Hannity, commentator with Fox Cable News, said this November election is more important than any midterm in our lifetime.1 Everything is on the line, and a wholly new interpretation of the Constitution looms before us. Socialism would replace freedom and free enterprise.

I believe Hannity is right. Looking back, I am convinced that Abraham Lincoln's second term in 1864 was the most consequential presidential election ever. Lincoln ran on a promise to finish the Civil War and preserve the unity of our nation. Opposing him was General George McClellan, who wanted to end the war and leave the country divided. The editors of many newspapers supported McClellan and predicted his victory. If the General had prevailed, America would likely be two separate and competing nations today. Instead of a statue of McClellan standing in our nation's Capitol, an inspirational monument depicts a seated Abraham Lincoln. It commemorates what this man did to preserve our nation and abolish slavery. That is why we honor him today."

Read James Dobson's entire October newsletter here.

Why Honor My Pastor? - Remembering Clergy Appreciation Month

I wrote the following post several years ago but always re-post it in October. It has been one of my Top 10 most-viewed blog articles through the years. . . .

Dick Lincoln once said, "Church at its best is as good as it gets, and church at its worst is as bad as it gets."  No one understands this reality more than pastors and their families.

Every October I consider writing a post about Pastor Appreciation Month.  However, being a pastor, it seems awkward.  John MacArthur said it well when teaching his church about honoring pastor-elders, "I feel a little bit awkward up here telling you that you need to honor elders of which I am one. Obviously I could be accused of a conflict of interests and I could also be accused of having a self-serving motive. So I want to put in an immediate disclaimer on any of those things. I'm trying to teach you the Word of God."

I will bite the bullet this year and write a post with the hope of eventually providing encouragement to some man of God out there serving his church.  Hopefully, persons from other congregations will read it and the article will spur them on toward love and good deeds toward their pastors.

Worthy of Double Honor

Through the years we have tried to teach our children to honor certain people.  We have explained that to honor someone means "to treat them special."  The Webster Dictionary defines honor as "high estimation, respect, consideration."

One of those persons I believe deserving honor are pastors of congregations.  Michael Miller shares great insights in his article The Importance of Honoring Your Minister.

Jesus said in John 13:20, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives [or welcomes] whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” 

Click here to read my entire article, "Why Honor My Pastor?"

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The USA: A Graceless Place?

President Gerald Ford announced on September 8, 1974, his plan to issue a full, free, and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. Dick Cheney writes, He described his actions as a way to ‘shut and seal’ the matter of Watergate and to mitigate the suffering of Richard Nixon and his family.[i] 

Ford’s grace and courage helped a country and family move forward.

The words of the song, America the Beautiful, asks the Almighty to “shed his grace on thee.”

Grace is undeserved kindness. The act of grace results in goodwill to an unworthy recipient. I’m afraid the United States of America is fast becoming a graceless place.

Lacking Forgiveness

We lack forgiveness today. To forgive means to set free – to not seek repayment or restitution. For the religious person it means, “I will not take responsibility for punishing the wrongdoer. I will leave room for God.”

Marriages, families, companies, schools, and countries work best with an atmosphere of grace coupled with an attitude of forgiveness.

Sadly, a vengeful spirit exists. A person can benefit society for years. Yet when one wrong act or statement surfaces from sometimes years earlier, the bandwagon loads up to vilify and reject the individual.

Regardless of Roseanne Barr’s highly successful career, including bringing the highest-watched sitcom of 2018 to television, one foolish tweet evoked an immediate firestorm. ABC cut her off and canceled the show.  Forget that she brought laughter and temporary happiness to millions of people. One wrong tweet and boom. (Click here to see why Roseanne wanted a black grandchild on the show.)

Comedian and author Torry Martin recently shared on facebook, "How is it that Don Lemon ,Maxine Waters, CNN,MSNBC and a slew of liberal left wing media and political personalities say such purposely, hateful, divisive and intentionally RACIST things and go unpunished by their networks BUT Roseanne makes one Tweet about Valerie Jarrett and ABC immediately cancels her tv show, she goes on an apology tour to every media outlet that would have her all to no avail and then lost her entire career ? Yes, Roseanne’s comment by the way was indeed in very poor taste but comparing her one comment which was accused of being racist to the slew of hate-filled extremely racist comments made repeatedly by the left for the last week against Kanye West is like comparing a faucet that dripped o a full blown firehose and yet it all goes without any sort of apology or correction for those media personalities? The double standard hypocrisy of the left has never been more obvious in my opinion."

And Joy Behar of The View mocks Christians who believe Jesus talks to them – a belief held my many evangelicals – as mentally sick. 

Imagine the hysteria a few years ago if Sean Hannity or Newt Gingrich acted to President Obama the way the liberal media acts toward Donald Trump. Or if Jon Voight or Mike Pence said transgender people experience mental illness.

Double Standard

Why the double standard? It is normal behavior for someone with leftist ideology to say anything they want about a conservative. But if a conservative makes a foul statement or disagrees with left-wing values, the leftist media goes berserk.

Showing grace to those with whom you disagree ideologically is not a leftist value. Just ask Communist Russia or Nazi Germany.

Recent weeks revealed Rep. Maxine Waters encouraged violence to members of President Trumps cabinet. Sen. Cory Booker told people to get up in the face of Congressmen with whom you disagree. Sen. Rand Paul's wife released a letter to Sen. Booker after her husband has been attacked and affronted physically recently. The recent fiasco of the Kavanaugh hearing showed the Left unwilling to tolerate an opposing viewpoint.

And Hillary trumpets to the Left to not be civil with Republicans until the Democrats take control.

My parents told me life was not fair. In a rights-driven society, they instilled in me a valuable lesson. When I face ideologies different from my own, cruel circumstances, or unjust treatment, wisdom often responds by simply dealing with it quietly and quickly moving forward.

When a person like Bill Cosby repeatedly raped women, it is wise and good to bring legal ramifications. However, as my mother recently shared, “When someone made a bad choice in life decades ago and since then lived a wholesome, productive life, I don’t think bringing it up publicly and ruining their family, career, and reputation solves anything. Some things need to be dealt with privately and left in the past.”

Sometimes empowerment comes by leaving matters in God's hands instead of seeking revenge.

The #MeToo movement sheds light on areas of national life needing improvement. Hopefully, awareness of sexual harassment motivates men and women to control our lusts and treat people with heightened dignity. Both sexes should understand that sexual choices matter. Consequences follow actions. 

However, with any swing of the pendulum comes imbalance.

In the 1950’s, Senator Joseph McCarthy led a clamorous campaign against supposed Communists in our country. A vindictive spirit emerged, resulting in the blacklisting and firing of many of the accused, though no credible evidence surfaced.

I’ve served in numerous leadership positions for three decades. How frightening to think one person who disliked me could emerge from the shadows and fabricate any lie about my character. Given the present temperature of our culture, solid evidence or multiple witnesses would not be required.  The accusation would suffice to make me guilty in the eyes of many people.

Before God will shed His grace on our country, perhaps we need to shed grace on each other, thus crowning our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

Images used by permission from Pixabay.

Image of Barr used by permission - attributed to By Stand-Up Sucks, LLC [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons