THE JOY OF BEING TORMENTED?

cross.pngWhen Jesus spoke, He must have caused lots of confusion. Can you imagine trying to decipher The Beatitudes, this one, for example

Matthew 5:11-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus had yet to die on the cross. He only just begun to teach. He had performed miracles, but just who was He? Nevertheless, His followers soon saw the truth in His words. Christians did suffer for their faith in Jesus and still suffer from insults, persecution, and false accusations.

Here in the United States we are supposed to consider the persecution of Christianity a minor thing. Yet it is not. It is just more subtle.  So we get articles like this:

All this sort of talk is silly.  What is at issue is whether our we can fulfill our Christian obligations, whether the society we live in tries interfere with our duty to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

Consider two examples.

  • Do we want to educate our children in the Christian faith? Is it not obvious our government now hinders us in that effort. Over the decades, government has secularized our schools. They have practically banished the Bible, and they teach religion causes wars, including the Christian religion. Why would the leaders of our government do that? Christianity, which promotes individual rights, is an obstacle to the growth of government power, and some of our leaders crave more power.
  • Do we want the right to speak freely about our faith in public? Once that was commonplace in America, but over the years the mass media, desirous of selling sex and violence, has constantly pushed the envelope of decency. So it is that many corporate executives in the mass media, now dominated by sales people who want to use indecent behavior to mass market goods and services, feel obliged to repress Christians, who teach modesty, abhor gratuitous violence, and promote frugality.

Because sin is popular in all societies, even the United States, anyone who strives to follow the example of Jesus Christ will experience some degree of persecution. There is no point in pretending otherwise. The only issue is whether what we choose to do about it honors Jesus Christ.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER, REVISITED

communicateWHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER? is one of my more popular posts. I believe the dialogue I had in the comments section with Keith DeHavelle largely explains that. Whenever  commented, my readership always increased.

Due to health issues, is now a “retired” blogger — and missed. Fortunately, his wit and wisdom still survives on the Internet and with his family and friends.

Because of the popularity of the expression “speaking truth to power” and its widespread abuse, I hope WHAT IS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER? also has merit because it explains the origin and meaning of the expression. Therefore, when a commenter suggested that I reblog that old post, I could not resist the flattery.

Debbie L

I had an email about you liking a comment and it had your “Truth to Power” post tagged in it, from 2013. I first heard that term when I was working on a government project. I didn’t understand what she meant, so I am glad now I know! And how funny, I just heard that term again when we accidentally had on the news….we are trying to not listen to it! The comments were closed on it, but it’s good and you may want to reblog is since the left are using that tern of late regarding the election…. (from here)

We both communicate and think in words. Each word represents a set of concepts and beliefs. We use words to bring order to our concepts and beliefs. We use phrases, sentences, and paragraphs so we can be more specific and exact about our concepts and beliefs. Then we communicate our concepts and beliefs with those words. Therefore, to communicate properly, we must understand the meaning of words. Otherwise, we will confuse other people about our beliefs. Otherwise, more devious people will use our confusion over words to manipulate and twist our thoughts and beliefs.

From This Last Week

POST ELECTION PRAYER

vote for americaYesterday I did something new.  I worked as an election officer at one of the polls in Prince William County, VA.

The process went smoothly. We checked in voters with laptops that contained the county’s voter registration information. We just insisted (as state law requires) that each voter provide a legal form of ID.  So most people pulled out their VA driver’s license, and we scanned it with a bar code reader.

Of course there were some problems, and I did not see all of them, but what I did see provides examples.  One lady walked to the polls with her two children, one child in a stroller. Unfortunately, she had left her ID at home. So she had to walk back and get it, and she did. Another gentleman wanted to use a driver’s license from Florida. That was not acceptable, particularly since we could not find him registered under that name.  Of course, we also sent a bunch of people who had come to the wrong precinct to the right precinct.

One adult citizen. One vote. One place near home to cast that vote. Not terribly complicated. In fact, we were fairly happy with the system. Over 50 percent of the voters in our precinct voted that day, but we never had a large back up. The morning was rough, but the system permits absentee voting. Therefore, large numbers of commuters make use of it, and we did not experience a heavy surge in the of people returning home in the evening, just steady traffic throughout the rest of the day. The overall result, adding the large numbers who had voted absentee, was a huge turnout in the 75 percent range.

In Virginia, we use paper ballots.  After each voter established his or her credentials, we gave them a ballot in a “privacy folder”. They then went to one of the tables separated into sections by partitions. Those partitions allowed each voter mark his or her ballot in privacy. Then each voter walked up to a scanner, got behind privacy screens, opened their privacy folder again, took out their ballot and fed it into the scanner. The scanner then flashed up the American flag, indicating the vote had been recorded, and it dropped each ballot into a locked box underneath.  That way, if we needed to do a recount, we had hard evidence to work with.

That’s not a perfect system, but it is a fair and credible system. Still, Virginia went for H. Clinton. Why was obvious. We have lots of workers in the area who are dependent upon government spending. We also have lots of immigrants in the area who don’t as yet appreciate the damage unbridled immigration is doing to the cause of freedom.  No country’s cultural traditions can survive both a public education system that denies the special value of that culture and a huge influx of foreigners who don’t even have to learn the local language. Hence, each year our leaders feel less obliged to pay any attention to our Constitution, and our republic is dying almost without a struggle.

So at the end of a long day, when we shut everything down, I looked at the vote in our precinct with considerable disappointment. H. Clinton won. Since I knew the vote had been as fair as Virginia was ever likely to make it — no thanks to the rascals in the top three state offices — I had to accept it. Thus, I went home feeling a bit disgruntled.

When I got home at about 9:30 PM, I got a surprise. My wife watches French TV (That’s another story.). Well, it seems the French had figured out the election was leaning Donald Trump’s way. That lifted my spirits a little bit, but I was still tired. So I went to bed. When I woke up, I enjoyed hearing the good news.

So does the fact Trump won mean America is going to be Great Again? No. Of course not. Making America great again is going to require much prayer, the providence of God, and lots of hard work from all of us.

Let’s start with some of that tradition we need to save, a prayer. Here is an email I got today from Delegate Bob Marshall.

THE MARSHALL MESSAGEDear Friends,

While the presidential election is over, the fundamental public policy divisions, some of which are ethical and spiritual in nature, still remain.

With God’s help, I believe it is possible to bind the wounds of our divided nation so that we can truly be one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.

The Founders of America, in the Declaration of Independence, placed their trust in Divine Providence for the rectitude of their intentions.

With that in mind, I urge you to read and share this prayer taken from the 1928 Anglican Book of Common Prayer.  And thank God for his mercy.

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“For Our Country,” Book of Common Prayer, 1928

ESTABLISHING A TRAJECTORY INTO ETERNITY

voteSince I am into politics, I get emails from the local Republican politicians and Donald Trump’s campaign. They are all screaming vote at the top of their lungs, and they each giving different reasons. Their reason are generally about the here and now, not the hereafter.

After we die, what difference does it make? Remember how Hillary Clinton asked that question.

Of course, H. Clinton wanted to get as far away from that video that she and President Obama used to explain the terrorist attack. And yet there were funerals.

So is this sort of lying why we should not vote for H. Clinton, that we should vote for Donald Trump instead? No.

Why does government exist? Why do each of us exist? We all have our own beliefs, but most of us believe that after this life somehow we will continue on into eternity. Therefore, when we vote we should be considering how our vote helps us and those we love prepare for eternity.

To prepare for eternity, what kind of government do we need? What does our Lord in heaven think about government? The Bible comes at that subject basically from two different directions (Here is a good reference for finding various verses). As this article points out, What does the Bible say about government?, we are to be obedient to the governing authorities, but obedience to God comes first. As 1 Samuel 8, illustrates quite clearly, we also have some responsibility for the type of government we choose to live under. We never want to idolize our government. We always want to put our Lord in Heaven at the forefront of our existence.

We the People empower our leaders. That’s why we get the leadership we deserve. When we choose the wrong kind of leaders, we allow the wrong kind of leaders to help us establish our trajectory into eternity.

If we want the kind of leadership that will help us, our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our countrymen reach heaven in glory, then we need to choose modest and honest men and women to lead us. Big government programs won’t get us to heaven. Absurdly rosy promises from politicians won’t get anyone into heaven. What will get us into heaven is reading and studying our Bibles and practicing what it teaches. Therefore, what need from our government is a government that protects our right to live a good Christian life. What we need from our government is leadership that does not get in the way and block us when we try obey our Lord’s command to spread His Gospel.

Matthew 28:18-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The reason we should not vote for Hillary Clinton is that we cannot count upon her to defend our right to freedom of religion.

As the last article indicates, who we elect to be our president will not solve the problem of religious freedom. If we want to be a free people, we each have to be committed to protecting the God-given rights of our family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen. We also have to pray. Jesus is our Shepherd. Without His help, we are lost.

Nevertheless, Jesus acts through us. We are His hands and feet. So make certain you pray and do your best to vote wisely.