Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Depth Perception: Two Views of the Cross

This is the the time of year when Jews and Christians remember their deliverance from slavery, which for followers of Jesus means freedom from sin which enslaves all mankind.

I was studying the crucifixion accounts and noticed an apparent contradiction. The verses in Luke 23 give a moving account of two criminals who are crucified with Christ, one on his left and one on his right. One of them is insulting Jesus like the Jewish leaders and the Roman soldiers overseeing his execution. To them, and even to the disciples of Christ this appears to be the end of Jesus’ life and the end of a Messianic delusion.

The other criminal has a different attitude. He sees the righteous and unjust suffering of Christ and comes to his defense, even to the point of Spirit-inspired faith in Jesus. This man in the depth of his suffering understands something that has evaded Jewish scholars and even those who followed him for years, that his kingdom is not earthly but heavenly. Deep calls unto deep, and this man truly understands as no one else at the time, the deep deep love of Jesus. True repentance is never too late and never rejected by God, and Christ gives the promise of a home with him in his eternal kingdom.

Now here is where I gained my own depth perception. The crucixion accounts in Matthew and Mark simply say that both criminals were hurling insults at Christ, condemning him as a false Messiah. After prayerful consideration I realized that this was not a contradiction at all, but a powerful story of conviction and repentance. Two criminals went to Golgotha with Christ; two criminals saw him crucified even as they were hung on their own crosses. Both followed the crowd as they insulted the sacrificial Lamb of God. But as he hung there dying, one criminal saw the righteousness of God, his justice and mercy on public display for all time, even as it crossed the ultimate injustice of man. One criminal contemplated his own sinfulness and his fast approaching encounter with eternity, and allowed Christ into his heart.

Those are indeed the two roads we all must choose between when we encounter Christ. Accept or reject him - where those roads cross is the decision point that determines our eternal destiny. If you find someone at that crossroads remind them that it’s never too late to follow the One who bore our sin.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Save the Date - November 8

Don't know what to do on November 8? I have some thoughts and recommendations.

If you've seen my blog in the past you might have noticed I have not been particularly complimentary of the major party nominees for the office of US President. I still think both parties could have done better with their nominees. However, there are some really significant reasons to support (gulp) Donald Trump this year.

Yes, that's right, I'm going to turn out with all my deplorable friends on November 8 and vote for Donald Trump. Here's why...

No Serious Third-Party Choices

I probably would not throw away my vote on a candidate that had no possibility of winning, especially if my second choice candidate needed my vote, as Mr. Trump does (well maybe not in Texas, but you get my point.) In my opinion Libertarian Gary Johnson is just not up to the job, and even if he were he does not share my worldview. His agenda seems to be mainly focused on marijuana, if you can call that "focus". The Green Party candidate seems like a nice smart lady but her politics are way too far left of the foul line.


Whaaat...experience? Hillary Clinton has far more experience in government than Donald Trump, I will grant you that. Mr. Trump's experience with government is mostly related to being the subject of government regulators and bureaucrats. However the value of his long experience as an entrepreneur favorably compares with that of President Obama's experience as a "community organizer" and first-term mostly-absent Senator when he entered the White House.

Mrs. Clinton's experience proves only that she has an agenda that is not pro-America but rather pro-Clinton. Any major party candidate will bring a team of experienced advisers and consultants from the ranks of their party, along with the established departments of government and military leaders to help them hit the ground running. What really affects the ultimate course of the country is not experience but the president's worldview and agenda.


Both candidates come with an agenda. Mrs. Clinton comes with a progressive agenda, which means she wants to undo practically everything that the greatest generation of America stood for, a strong America that could hold back the tide of evil despotic regimes and set a moral standard for the world to envy and emulate. Mrs. Clinton's history indicates she will chart a course similar to the Obama agenda, trading America's sovereignty and strength for globalism and compromise with organizations like the U.N. or the World Court. On the home front she will press even further toward anti-Christian and anti-family values, led by her friends and mentors on the progressive left. Her agenda on the economic side includes the typical FDR-era government make-work programs.

As far as I can tell, Mr. Trump's agenda (beyond the obvious quest for power and a place in the history books) is to restore America's preeminent place in the world, which has been unilaterally surrendered by the Obama administration. I believe he sincerely wants to help get Americans back to work in the private sector, even if some of his proposals are a bit off-the-wall. I believe he would take a practical approach to deregulation and tax reforms that could help our economy grow.


Most people would give Mrs. Clinton the upper hand for being more composed and thoughtful than Mr. Trump. Thus, in spite of her high untrustworthy ratings, she is considered the "safer choice". I can't deny that there is some risk in a Trump presidency, but let me offer this perspective.  Mr. Trump has the proven ability to lead large organizations and make decisions that affect thousands of people's lives and livelihoods. He has also proven his ability to raise responsible hard-working children against all odds for someone in his income bracket. In spite of this Mr. Trump is universally hated by most of the media elites in America and around the world. If elected he would have a tremendous challenge getting anything controversial done without severe criticism and calls for impeachment or resignation from the left, and possibly even members of his own party. This makes it highly unlikely that he could do much damage to the integrity of the presidency.

Mrs. Clinton on the other hand has carte blanche from the media all around the world. She also has the "woman card" that she will use if needed (e.g. "the first female president" and so forth.) She also has a federal court system that was stacked by her husband and President Obama to support her. One or two Supreme Court appointments will make her practically immune to any legal attacks or publicity campaigns, which could quickly be silenced by her executive powers. As she has proven repeatedly, she is willing to put her own interests above those of the country, and like her husband is she capable of successfully thwarting any attempts to uncover the incriminating truth.

The Supreme Choice

By far the largest and most important factor to consider is the precarious state of the Supreme Court. The constitution literally hangs in the balances of this election. Hillary Clinton appointees will consistently rule against private gun ownership and self-defense rights, against first amendment rights of religion and speech (except for Muslims of course), and against any other rights that stand in her way. Clinton appointees will consistently rule in favor of the progressive left agenda. This will affect the moral fabric of our nation so profoundly that I believe we may never recover. Maybe we have already passed the point of no return, but if voting has any ability to change the course of history, my vote will be cast in favor of a stronger United States and against socialism and one-world government.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deplorable Politics

I found the recent comments of the Democratic presidential nominee, lumping millions of people into a "basket of deplorables", to be extremely troubling. Her explanation and "apology" was even more troubling.

Certainly racism and xenophobia are deplorable attitudes, but Clinton's comments went beyond that to call millions of people themselves deplorable. That is the closest thing to hate speech I have ever heard from a presidential candidate. And this was not just a slip of the tongue or momentary lapse in judgement - she had obviously used that term repeatedly and was comfortable including it in a public forum, albeit one that was friendly to her agenda.

The terms "sexist", "homophobic" and "Islamophobic" are even more troubling, especially in the context of her highly-publicized speech, because they are highly subjective terms depending on the perception of the audience. I suspect many of those agreeing with her sentiment would consider those with traditional views of marriage and concerns about the rise of Islamic radicalism to be in that "basket".

Mrs. Clinton tried to minimize the political damage by suggesting that it was a mistake to say "half of Trump supporters are in that basket". The number is irrelevant; what is troubling is the idea that anyone could be lumped into this category of "deplorables", as if they could just be carted away and society would be better off without them.

How long does it take to turn a "basket of deplorables" 

The elitist attitude that certain groups of people are "deplorable", combined with a consensus that certain difficulties are caused by these "deplorables" soon results in attacks, social stigmas, and sometimes acts of genocide. Thank God this has not happened in America, but the direction of politics in this country is certainly pointing down this dark path, arguably on both sides of the aisle.

Can this country be healed of its deep divisions? I'm pretty certain the answer will not be found in politics, though politics can certainly make it worse. No, the answer can only come from God, through the love that only the presence of Christ can impart in our hearts toward one another.

We should each ask the question, am I infected with hatred toward others based on their political views? Can I forgive my brother, even as I need forgiveness daily myself? God have mercy on us and revive our spirits to call on the Name of Jesus for deliverance!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Dream and a Song

Saturday morning I awakened early with some anxiety. After dawn I finally got back to sleep. That is usually when I have the most vivid dreams.

Saturday I dreamed that I was back in my college town, and my parents were there to visit me. We were staying in a motel room, and my parents were young like they were when I was in college. I remember at one point in the dream realizing that my father was there (he passed away about eight years ago now), and I hugged him like I never hugged him before. I could feel his soft brown hair on the back of his neck whisking across my face. I didn't want to let go, but soon realized I was waking up and the dream was fleeting away.

There was a song drifting through my mind as I awakened, and tears in my eyes. The song stayed with me through the day, cycling over and over again. I can't remember the tune now, but if you're my age you may identify with my emotions.

I'm so very glad you're here.
I'll be so sorry when you're gone.

That's it, just those simple words. Life is so short and family is so valuable. If you still have parents in this world they're a treasure. If you have kids, let them treasure you while they can. My parents were a gift I did not deserve, but a gift I will never forget, and for which I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Misconception of Mrs. Clinton

I would like to comment on a misconception regarding Hillary Clinton. The recently concluded FBI investigation found evidence that she and her colleagues "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." Mrs. Clinton said that this was a mistake in judgment she made for the sake of convenience while running the State Department.

The misconception is that Mrs. Clinton is careless and naive concerning her handling of government secrets. Nothing could be further from the truth. "Reckless disregard for the security of the nation" might be a more accurate description of her conduct. Both she and her husband are extremely intelligent and careful people regarding legal matters, and she took extraordinary measures to keep her communications outside of government purview. Remember that she had months of stalling before turning over the servers that had "somehow been wiped" and had "hard drive failures", so basically the FBI was dealing with only the information she allowed them to see.

The Clintons are Masters of Misdirection. In this case, the misdirection was the embarrassing but not quite incriminating revelation that she compromised top-secret government communications by using personal email servers. That was an enticing bone to throw to the investigators, but it also threw them off the trail of the more important case involving the use of her position in government to solicit donations from foreign sources that would create dangerous conflicts of interest as a top-level cabinet officer and possible future president of the U.S.

Before the more important investigation could occur, the press and the public will lose interest, partly because it is a more complicated story, partly because the real cover-up has been much more effective in this case, and partly because the public and the media will simply become "fatigued" by the constant investigations.

These are the active ingredients in the slick legal coating that covers the Clinton family. Just as the salacious Lewinsky scandal misdirected the media from the story of abuse of executive power to focus on the naughty details of Bill Clinton's personal life, even so the email scandal has been used to change the narrative from corrupt and dangerous liaisons with foreign officials to a so-called careless handling of government emails.

Please understand that if elected, these donations will affect Mrs. Clinton's decisions regarding energy policy and our handling of terrorism and national defense, among a host of other important national issues. And with one pending Supreme Court appointment and possibly two others arising during the next presidential term, along with her husband's earlier federal court appointments, the Clinton family will have complete legal cover for their future actions in the White House.

This next election is NOT about whether we should have the "first female president in American history", or even about electing someone with a better presidential resume. This is about protecting the integrity of our federal government and the future of the republic for which it stands. Our children deserve to inherit a functional democracy as our founders intended, not one that is rigged and corrupted by a family of professional lawyers who know how to dance around the edges of the law.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Do I Love God - Unconditionally?

I was directed to the last chapter of the Gospel of John today by my Biblehub reading plan. I find that the more I read the Bible, the more the Word of God speaks to me.

Today Jesus asks the question of Peter - Do you love Me more than these? The word love here comes from the Greek word Agapao - in this context, Do you prefer to be with me and respect my wishes above all others, even your closest friends? I have always understood this kind of love to be unconditional, the way God loves us, putting our spiritual welfare above the cost of His very own life, even when we are in rebellion against Him. It struck me as odd today to apply that Godly love from us toward God.

Jesus asks Peter again - Do you love Me (really)? Again the Greek word for unconditional love is used, and again Peter answers the same - Yes Lord, you know that I love you (affectionately). Perhaps Peter is unwilling to commit to unconditional love, or perhaps Peter wants to emphasize that he has a special affection for the Lord.

Regardless, Jesus asks Peter a third time - Do you love me (affectionately)? This time Jesus asks Peter the same question with a different word for love (Phileo), and this time Peter is deeply grieved. He recalls that he denied the Lord three times, and this third question brings that painful memory into bold relief. Lord, you know everything; you KNOW that I love you (with all my heart).

Peter recalls how his love for Jesus was conditioned on his mistaken concept of His coming kingdom. He was probably disappointed that this man in whom he had placed his complete confidence did not establish an earthly kingdom and destroy the enemies of the Jewish people. He was disillusioned because his King had apparently been defeated and Peter was next in line to be led to the cross. Peter was ready to FIGHT, but not to lay down his life in a sacrificial act of mercy. And Peter knew that the Lord Jesus could read his mind, could understand his confusion and fear, but could also understand his sincere desire to follow Him.

Of course, the gifts and calling of the Lord are irrevocable, and as promised Jesus accepted Peter's repentance and made him the first pastor of His flock on earth.

Seeing this chapter again made me think - do I love God unconditionally? What if I feel like God has somehow let me down, or is somehow different than my expectations? Will I continue to love Him when things don't work out as I hoped and prayed? I hear people question God in the midst of personal crises, but I hope for better things in my own life. Pray with me if you wish:

I need to know you Lord, and I need to trust you enough to love you even when I don't understand. Please enlarge my faith dear Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus and for His kingdom's sake!

Friday, May 6, 2016

How Corporate Leftists Are Defeating Democracy in America

Activist corporate chiefs like Marc Benioff of are using the economic power of their corporations to overrule the will of voters across America. This is a new and very dangerous trend that must be understood and resisted.

Case in point, a recent law in Georgia (HB 757) was passed by the Georgia legislature and was well on its way to becoming law, when Mr. Benioff threatened to pull his business out of the state if the governor did not veto the bill. Money talks, and the bill was vetoed. This bill would have protected religious institutions from being forced to perform ceremonies that violate their sincerely held beliefs. I read the bill closely and can say without hesitation that this bill did not discriminate against any person on the basis of their sexual orientation, nor did it allow such discrimination. The bill simply prevented the state or local governments from penalizing religious organizations for refusing to provide services that are in violation of their beliefs and teachings.

So, can you understand that pastors in America will be forced to perform gay weddings against their conscience or face penalty of law? Of course the intent of these activists is not to have these services performed by those who object, but rather to shut down the religious organizations and people of faith who stand in their way.

Is this really America the land of the free? Well it had better be the home of the brave now, because those freedoms are being taken away, not by a majority of voters, but by leftist CEOs from San Francisco, New York and Boston. Is this DEMOCRACY? It reeks of plutocracy and hypocrisy from those who profess to be advocates for democratic policies.

If you want to understand more, please please please read this Wall Street Journal article (

My dear friends, corruption is not only coming down from Washington, but seeping into state governments from the most powerful corporations in America. Votes are important, but understanding where the influences are really coming from should help you decide how to more effectively resist these anti-democratic forces. Corporate boards are elected by shareholders, and if you are a shareholder you can speak up about this inappropriate use of company resources.

I leave you with this question: Who should control lawmakers in your state on matters of conscience, the voters of your state, or a San Francisco billionaire and his cronies?

Religious Freedom Restoration Act
State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts
Free Exercise Protection Act of Georgia