Tag Archives: politicans

A Day of Infamy

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office. This day would also include a drive to Taylor (MI) for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan. Typically, the truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ all-news radio. Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York. Governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV. In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths. But this is only the beginning of horrors.

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost. Let me ask you—Where were you when the world stopped turning on the morning of September 11, 2001?

As we watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?” Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this?

Just before midnight & just before retiring 16 years ago tomorrow night, President George W. Bush penned into his journal these words: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

Today—11 September 2017, we are commemorating a day of infamy. Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs.

Let us never forget the price paid by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price. Neither should we forget those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives.
BTW, do you pray? If so, wouldn’t right now be an appropriate time to thank God for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America?

Today, we are also considering a nation in decline. Sadly, the warning signs are everywhere; the caution flag is out. However, the child of God should not be shocked as we review the events of the last sixteen years, especially in light of 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template.

This know also that in the last days, perilous times shall come … For men shall be lovers of their own selves … Covetous … Boasters … Proud … Blasphemers … Disobedient to parents … Unthankful … Unholy …

Without natural affection … Trucebreakers … False accusers … Incontinent (or lacking sexual control) … Fierce (meaning aggressive and violent) … Despisers of those that are good

Traitors … Heady (impulsive and rash in behavior) … High-minded … Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God … Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof …

These also resist the truth … Men of corrupt minds … Reprobate concerning the faith … But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived …

Those of us who know the Word of God and the God of the Word must understand two critical things. First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.

Secondly, as believers, we’re called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful. Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life; neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.

Faithfulness does mean that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause. Faithfulness does mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Again, I ask, do you pray? If so, today is an excellent time to renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. Why not pray that kind of commitment prayer to God, wherever you are today?

Finally, on this sixteenth anniversary of 9—11, I am not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but I am also calling a people to action. At 7:24 pm, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”

While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith—Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, giving God a viable reason to bless America. They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last 16 years, they apparently had no intention of doing so.

However, my question is this—even if Congress will no longer truly embrace the principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you? Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble
themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear
from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!” … how much pressure from without and from within will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance? We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo op.

Has sixteen years laden with disasters not captured our attention? If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will it take? How many Hurricane Katrina’s, Harvey’s, and Irma’s will be enough wake-up call for us? Are we even listening?

God will not force us to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations. However, throughout history the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things—either lead us to repentance or further harden our hearts in further resistance.

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.”

My appeal to you is simple: Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ. With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake. We must be sober and vigilant and, as I stated earlier, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

BTW, do you really pray? If so, then now would be the best time. Here’s my prayer today:

Heavenly Father, I come to you this morning with sober heart, mind, and spirit—sober because of my own sin, because of the sins of our nation, and because I recognize that your spirit will not always strive with us, and because you have given us ample opportunity to repent.

I come into your presence at this very moment realizing that as a nation, we have forgotten you as our God, realizing that you would much prefer that we repent voluntarily of our sin than for us to be judged by your righteousness for it.

As best as we know how, we humble ourselves before you now, praying, seeking your face, and determining to turn from our wickedness. We also come, throwing ourselves upon your mercy—that you will hear our prayer from heaven, that you will forgive our sin, and that you will heal our land.

We pray for those who lead us at every level of government—that your spirit might move mightily upon their minds, that your hand would turn the king’s heart where you desire—that your people might have rest and enjoy peaceable lives, even in a world filled with turmoil, wars, and rumors of wars.

We especially pray for the families of our nation who have an empty seat at their mealtimes because a loved one paid the ultimate price, honorably serving the people of this great nation.

Further, I pray that this date of infamy will lead many to newfound faith in Christ and believers to a renewed commitment to standing firm in their faith, as well as becoming proactive as citizens at the ballot box—voting the principles and precepts that they profess to believe. And, God, we want to live in such a way that our lives give you reason to bless this nation once again, and our prayer will always be God bless America!

In the name of the One who saves to the uttermost, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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To Tell the Truth

Having grown up on a dairy farm in East Tennessee, I recall our first television—black and white, three channels that came in “clear(ly),” along with a few others that could barely be seen or heard because of “snow” and static.  Life was grand simply because we had a television!

Last night Debbie and I returned home from Indianapolis and put away our travel gear, then settled in the family room.  There I twisted a small knob and the fireplace roared to life, grabbed the remote control, and pushed one button.  Several pieces of electronic equipment came to life, including the television hanging on the wall.

Watching the Cowboys and Falcons game, I was struck by the thoughts of how things have changed since childhood.  When it comes to the technological changes, I’m thankful for most, although I don’t know what most of those buttons even do or how to use all of them!

However, not all changes since my childhood have been good.  For example,  serious philosophical changes have taken place as well.  Most parents (in those days it was a father and mother) were in charge in our homes, and when children got confused, thinking they were the ones in charge, a paddle or switch or belt served as a reminder (and it wasn’t child abuse).

When those same children went to school, the teachers (whom parents seemed to know and respect) took the leadership role.  Some of us as students would think periodically that maybe we could be in charge, but a paddle in every classroom (or in the principal’s office, for sure—but that one was often a larger version of the classroom’s)—reminded us of who was truly in charge! (Standing in the corner was for sissies!)

Parenthetically, there seemed to be a strange link between parents and the school.  By the time I returned home, mom knew when I had been “disciplined”!  The problem was this—I received another spanking from mom upon arrival home, and again from dad when he came home from work.  (You would have thought I would have learned more quickly!)  <sigh>

But I digress … back to the old black and white television … There was an NBC show called “Truth or Consequences,” with another, originally a CBS production by Mark Goodman and Bill Todman, called “To Tell the Truth,” hosted by Bud Collyer.  Remember the days when our parents, teachers, and pastors taught us to always tell the truth?

Why?—because truth creates trust.  Like the old commercial for antifreeze, “If you can’t trust Prestone, who can you trust?!”  (I guess there must be another school with different kinds of teachers for politicians these days!  And surely they aren’t all members of Jeremiah Wright’s version of “truth!”)

This leads me, in a roundabout way, to my point.  After months of political advertisements ad nauseam, many Americans are left wondering if there is any truth-telling at all in American politics.  There is not one truth of Democrats and another truth for Republicans!  There is only truth.  When anyone takes a truth and spins it for their own purposes, it is no longer truth but a falsehood—a lie.  And when Americans have difficulty sorting through all the lies (someone said that a half-truth is a whole lie), the result is invariably distrust, which explains the horrible ratings for congress.

However, our nation must not succumb to the feelings of “What’s the use?” or to indifference or ambivalence.  The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!  Every citizen—especially every believer-citizen—should constantly search out the truth.  We must stand with those who are honest, who have proven themselves to be men and women of good character.

Yesterday, my friend Pastor Rick Cochran stressed to his congregation—both before and after I had presented SALUTE! (a one-hour patriotic show of live music, visualizations, and narration)—“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  That was yesterday.

Today, contemplating the current conditions of our country—educationally, ethically, financially, morally, politically, and spiritually—surely each of us yearns for improvements.  Improvement must begin in people.  America needs a revival of old-fashioned patriotism, parenting, and principle-centered thinking.

We must determine individually in our hearts to be people of good character, godly convictions, and great courage.  With that kind of revival, America could turn around beginning with tomorrow’s elections.  Without that kind of repentance and commitment, America will continue travelling a trail destructive to both individuals and nations.

Truth or consequences?  Well, to tell the truth, both truth and falsehood have consequences.  However, the long-term results of truth are always favorable, whereas the falsehood always leads to difficulty and disaster.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in asking God to work mightily in the hearts of Americans during this election process?  Truly, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

A DAY OF INFAMY

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office.  This day would also include a drive to Taylor for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan.  Typically, my truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ-AM 950 all-news radio.  Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

Even as I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York, governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV.  In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths.  But this is only the beginning of horrors. 

Before these details can be understood, American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked at approximately 8:50a.  At 8:51a a flight controller at New York Center notices a problem on United Flight 175 from Boston to LA.  Attempts to establish contact are futile.

At 08:52 F-15s are scrambling from Otis Air National Guard Base.  By 08:56, the transponder for Flight 77 is turned off and primary radar contact is lost.  The aircraft travels undetected for 36 minutes due east toward Washington, D.C. 

At 08:58, United Airlines Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City, where at 09:02 the plane and its passengers crash into the south face of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at a speed of 590 MPH. 

While early news coverage by at least three major networks is focusing on the first plane crash, millions of Americans see the impact of the second plane live.  Parts of the plane leave the building from two sides, falling to the ground up to six blocks away.

By 09:08, the FAA has banned all takeoffs nationwide.  At 09:26 the FAA bans all civilian aircraft regardless of destination—a national groundstop is in effect. 

But at 09:28, hijackers storm the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, commandeering the flight.  Meanwhile, at 09:37 American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon.  All 64 crew and passengers onboard are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel. 

At 09:42, Ben Stiley of the FAA grounds all air traffic over the United States and diverts incoming international traffic to alternate destinations.  US airspace is shut down.  All aircraft in flight are ordered to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a few civilian heroes on Flight 93 begin a passenger revolt at 09:57, less than two minutes before the South Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse—56 minutes and 2 seconds after the impact of United Flight 175. 

At 10:03, United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed into the rural terrain of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

Back in Washington, D.C., the west side of the Pentagon collapses, followed by the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 10:28.  This collapse is also viewed on live television. 

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost.  As country singer Alan Jackson asked in song, “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?  

As some of us watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”  Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?”  Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this? 

            By the time President George W. Bush retired just before midnight ten years ago, he had penned into his journal these words:  “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

            And today, September 11, 2011, we are commemorating a day of infamy.  Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid …

… by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs  

… by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price

… by those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow-man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives

… by the thousands of nameless men and women around the globe who, in the first few hours of multiple tragedies were scrambling to make intelligent and fast decisions to avert further disaster

BTW, do you pray?  If so, join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America.   

Today, we should also consider that, sadly, our nation is in decline.  The warning signs are everywhere.  The caution flags are waving.  The child of God should not be shocked as we review events of the last decade, while using 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template for understanding. 

Those who know God and His Word must understand two critical things: 

First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.  Second, as believers, we are called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful.

Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life, and neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.  Faithfulness means that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause.  It mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, we should determine on this occasion, that we will renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not pray–right now– that kind of commitment prayer to God?   

            Finally, on this tenth anniversary of 9—11, we are not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but we should also be calling our nation to repentance. 

At 7:24p, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”  While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith– Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, thereby giving God a viable reason to bless America.  They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last decade, they apparently have no intention of doing so. 

My question is this—even if Congress will not truly embrace the biblical principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you?  Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

            (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!”  How much pressure will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance?  We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo-op.  

Has a decade laden with disasters not captured our attention?  If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will?  Hurricane Katrina wasn’t enough wake-up call?  When Irene came knocking recently, were we listening?  Do current crime statistics and news reports of violence not arrest our attention?  Will prolonged unemployment rates not help us to consider our ways?

God will not force us to make decisions to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations—but often throughout history, the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things:  lead us to repentance or to further harden our hearts in defiant resistance. 

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.” 

            My appeal to you is simple:  Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ.  With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.   

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake.  We must be sober and vigilant, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

 Let us pray and serve to that end.

To Tell the Truth

Ions of time ago, way back in the dark ages before time began … in the 1950s, there was a television show called To Tell the Truth, produced by Goodson-Todman Productions.  The show, featuring a host and panel of four celebrities who must discern which one of three other people–(one truth-teller and two impostors) was actually telling the truth.   The show aired in one form or another for six decades. 

I sometimes wonder if the odds at finding the truth weren’t better on that television show than they are in real life today.  It seems there is an epidemic of lying in America these days! 

The latest, and most obvious, case is the conviction of Casey Anthony in an Orange County, Florida court, where Judge Belvin Perry sentenced her to four, consecutive one-year prison terms for lying to law enforcement during the course of their investigation.

In Detroit (MI), a major news item continues to be the jail time being served by Detroit’s former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who amongst other things lied in court, perjuring himself, and is serving time currently in a federal prison.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is in federal court in Washington on charges that he lied to Congress in 2008 concerning his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

If these charges of perjury weren’t so serious, it would be laughable that any American citizen would ever be hauled into court for lying to Congress.  Are there actually politicians (as opposed to statesmen) inside the Beltway that know the difference anymore between telling the truth and lying? 

I have an idea!  Let’s haul all of Washington, D.C. into Judge Belvin Perry’s courtroom and let him sentence them one year for each count of congressional and presidential lies!  Do you think there are enough beds in American prisons to hold them all? 

Since childhood, I’ve wondered why anyone would have to swear on a Bible in a courtroom to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  Shouldn’t everyone tell the truth, every time, to everyone, everywhere? 

Now, don’t get me wrong—it isn’t like I haven’t told a few lies in my own lifetime.  To say or imply otherwise would be … well … lying!  But when one steps into the witness stand in a court of law, or when one takes an oath of office such as mayor, representative, or president, the citizenry of this nation should be able to expect those officials to tell the truth. 

Perhaps it’s time for Americans to demand more truth and less political spin (lies) from our elected officials.  If it’s reasonable to expect advertisers, and baseball pitchers, and lenders, and ordinary citizens to tell the truth about missing children, products, and steroid use, then it is certainly reasonable to expect that our elected officials do the same.

But, that’s just my opinion!  But then again, I’m tired of watching a great city like Detroit reduced to ruins while the politicians who have ridden it to the ground live “high on the hog” at taxpayer expense.  I’m wearied, watching Washington bankrupt America while pretending to have our best interest at heart. 

Maybe reality is like the old not-so-funny joke:  How do you know if a politician is lying?  (His lips are moving.)  Or that other sarcastic comment, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps the words to an old song could help us to improve the conditions and the culture in which we live—It’s time to pray to the God who watches o’er us … It’s time to seek His help without delay … It’s time for all America to pray.  Amen?

Cheers!

Happy 235th Birthday, America!

Of all the holidays associated with our country, the Fourth of July is my favorite, but this year I “come to the party” with mixed feelings.  While I love my country, celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, and recognize that throughout the world millions of people yearn to enjoy these same freedoms, my heart is grieved by the imminent danger our nation is facing. 

The peril to which I refer is not necessarily some grave danger from without, (although there is clear and present danger without), but rather the growing, not-so-subtle dangers from within our own ranks, especially inside the Beltway in our nation’s capital, though not limited to that by any means.

My concern is the void of common sense.  As I listen to and read the news coming from Washington, state capitals, and the courtrooms across the country, I wonder if there is any common sense left anymore.  Across America is the same basic concern—Washington/government has gone astray.

My concern is the lack of fiscal responsibility.  If it isn’t bad enough that our national debt is climbing rapidly past $14,462,000,000, (that’s $129.500 per taxpayer and $46,400 per citizen), the very people who have made the decisions for this federal spending rampage continue making irresponsible financial decisions.  To add insult to injury, they blame each other.  FACT:  The 535 men and women who have been making these decisions, collectively, are irresponsible in their spending of taxpayer dollars—and yet they want to raise the limit on the credit card (national debt ceiling)!

Here’s an announcement for governments throughout the land—stop living on credit and make the hard choices necessary to live within your means.  My two-year-old  granddaughter doesn’t have $46,400 to pay the bill! Oh, by the way—that’s just common sense, but that’s seems to be in short supply and a fresh supply of that can’t be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing!

My concern is the growing moral depravity.  America’s violation of morality takes on many forms these days, with violations from the White House to the outhouse.  The commentary is truly sad when our (former) president, who can’t define “is,” set an example for the young people and children of America on what not to be.  Tradition has it that George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.  Apparently modern politicians can’t tell the truth!  Only well-read and thinking Americans can tell the difference.

With New York’s senate joining five other states to declare same-sex marriage to be “legal,” Andrew Cuomo seemed to fall all over himself to find a pen to sign it into law before midnight.  Mayor Bloomberg, really misspoke when he stated, “The Republicans who stood up today for those principles I think will long be remembered for their courage, foresight and wisdom.”  Mayor, I have news for you—those Republicans were cowards for not standing for proper moral principles, they exhibited anything but foresight, and there was not a shred of wisdom in going against nature and nature’s God.

My concern is the ignorance of history.  To suggest an ignorance of history alone is a bit misleading.  Let’s bring to the table for discussion the fact that American history is being revised to the point that, if and when the subject is given attention in the national educational system, it barely resembles the sequence of events that actually transpired.  Sometimes what is being omitted is more important than what is presented—especially when the omission includes the very principles that permeated the values of our founding fathers. 

My concern is the dereliction of duty.  Witnessing the flood of illegal immigrants streaming across our borders—specifically, our southern borders—the federal government, charged with the responsibility to secure those borders, not only fails to do so, but attacks and threatens the states most affected by the failures of the feds!  We’re not talking “Oops, we forgot to lock the door” here, folks.  We’re talking about a real, known problem that is sucking the resources out of hard-working Americans’ pockets to care for illegals.  It isn’t that America doesn’t care—we do care—we have cared, for 235 years, but there is a right way and a wrong way to become a legal part of the American family. 

Finally, my concern is the rejection of God.  Since before our beginning—read the Mayflower Compact)—God has been a part of this nation.  Our forefathers sought God’s guidance and wisdom in making decisions.  God was acknowledged, credited for blessing this nation, and His name as well as His Word were a part of almost everything that was built or written.    

This is where knowing American history and the Holy Scriptures accurately will destroy the rationale that is being thrust upon us by a liberal politico, media corps, and the likes of the ACLU.  The entire world knows that America is in trouble economically, morally, politically, and socially.  However, too few Americans have explored why this is the case.  It may have little to do with political parties, but it has much to do with the violations of biblical principles—principles once embraced by this great nation.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps after reading the following passage and reflecting on it, you will pray for America—to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, to repent, and to once again enjoy the forgiveness and favor of The Almighty.

(2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV/NLT) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (NLT) For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 

Truly, let us pray!

AMERICAN TROOPS & WASHINGTON

Five years ago today, my oldest son USMC Captain Justin D Peterson, deployed to Iraq, where six months later he was killed while returning from a mission.  This time of year will always be special in my mind, and I traditionally use “milestone moments” for introspection.  Justin’s deployment with a small border transition team is one of those times, in part because it is surrounded with other important family events.

 For example, Justin’s only daughter, Caitlin, was born on 6 April 2006, only hours before his deployment, which had already been pushed back allowing him to be present for her birth.  How could I ever forget that day, since Justin and Patty had been gracious enough to let me stay with them in the birthing suite at Huron Valley Hospital until I had to race to catch my flight to Great Britain?  Forty minutes after saying goodbye to Justin, who had left Patty long enough to walk my wife Debbie and me to the car, he called to say, “Well, Dad, Caitlin’s here!”

Patty and Caitlin Peterson

However, today as I reflect, I am not only recalling tender moments like the one that I have just described, but also realizing the quagmire in which America has sunk, especially relative to those brave men and women in uniform who hazard their lives to keep us safe, and to the families whose fathers or mothers make additional sacrifices in our stead.

As I write today, the “highest leaders” in our land are embroiled in a budgetary stalemate inside the Beltway, and in what has become their standard modus operandi, they play their political games on the backs of and at the expense of the very people they are charged constitutionally with leading. 

Not only does the “establishment” (which includes both Democrats and Republicans) continually operate in such a manner that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be laden with an unsustainable debt, they also are quite cautious to take steps to protect their own interests, salaries, and eternal benefits!  It’s time that every elected official at every level of government, especially Washington, D.C., throws himself or herself into a new caution—a caution to truly protect the populous whom they are to represent—even if it means throwing themselves on their own swords, as it were.

The latest political ploy—a government shutdown—appears to have little meaning to Washington.  Oh, I know—they trot themselves in front of cameras at every opportunity and talk—spewing a rhetoric that has worn terribly thin with the grassroots who pay not only their absorbent salary and benefit packages while they (in particular the Obama administration) are now threatening the meager paychecks of our troops and their families. 

Let me be clear—this gets personal, especially when I watch my five-year-old granddaughter blowing out her birthday candles, and I fight back the tears, realizing that this little girl will never know her daddy, other than the pictures and stories that others tell her.  Her mother and brothers are now being threatened with a cash flow shutdown by the very president that swore to uphold the constitution with a genuine concern for the people of this nation—including little girls whose daddies go off to fight for freedom!  

Maybe it would be a great idea for America to stop paying the people that we have elected to represent us in the House, Senate, and the White House until they establish a sustainable budget for each fiscal year.  And when they vote on bills for which they do not appropriate adequate funds, reduce their take-home pay by that same amount—in other words; let the fiscal irresponsibility be borne by the fiscally irresponsible people who fail at doing their jobs. 

Oh, and while we’re at it, why not scrap the special health care and retirement programs they all enjoy at this time and run them through the VA hospitals and Social Security?

Yes, as I reflect today, I’m very proud of my son Justin and his contribution to America.  However, I am ashamed of those men and women in Washington who, under a guise of caring about this great nation, are continually making choices and casting votes that are undermining this country and violating the very principles that lead to God’s blessings and the prosperity of our nation. 

And, just in case I have been too vague, that means that I am ashamed of much of what Barack Hussein Obama has done and is doing as my president.  The same is true for my Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in praying that somehow, by His miraculous working, God would so speak to the hearts and minds of those we have elected, that once again common sense, honesty, and truth would begin to prevail inside the Beltway, in state capitols, and in local municipalities? 

(Ezekiel 22:30 KJV) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

How desperately we should pray that, as God continually looks for such men and women today, He will find such a person—in Washington, in Michigan, and in my house!

Semper fi, troops!

Does Anyone in Get It Anymore?

I have not used the blog to share political opinions, but today will be an exception–an exception which I am considering to make on a monthly basis.  Earlier today, my eye caught an Internet headline that announced “Tea Party Derails GOP Dream.”  I immediately swiveled in my office chair, grabbed a pen and paper, and wrote that down.  Here’s why …

Isn’t the GOP, assuming that means the “leaders” of the Republican Party, supposed to be leading the entire party?  And as a representative form of government, that would also assume a connection between the leaders and those being lead?  My thinking is this–the established GOP appears to be as out of step with America’s grassroots as those they criticize, and that is being reflected because of the grassroots uprising identified as the Tea Party!  Whose dream is this anyway–yours, mine, or ours?  Which leads me to ask, “Does anyone in Washington, D.C. get it?

In Delaware’s close race, the voters chose Christine O’Donnell over Michael Castle.  New Yorkers elected Carl Paladino as their candidate over Rick A. Lazio.  And the word I heard is that the GOP refuses to back those who were elected by the voters.  I guess that identifies whose dream we’re talking about, doesn’t it?  Apparently, it is no longer about the people’s dream, but rather than “establishment’s” dream. 

Uh … does anyone besides me see a tremendous disconnect here?  Isn’t that the same philosophy that is being exercised by the Democrats as they ram through Congress legislation that grassroots America opposes?  And, by the way, one of America’s most memorable speeches (“I Have A Dream,” and spoken from Washington, D.C.) is etched in the minds of Americans because the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. resonated with the dream of many from grassroots America.

The GOP politicos who refuse to back the candidates whom the people elect are being dishonest with America, to my way of thinking–which is as insane as bringing Roger Clemens up on charges for lying to Congress, perhaps the largest collection of “creative-truth-tellers” in the country!  (Don’t misunderstand!  If an individual lies under oath, that should be dealt with–but then again, why is it necessary to be “under oath” in order to tell the truth?)  These men and women seem to promise “the moon” while on the campaign trail, but too many hours inside the Beltway and they forget the promises!  How many times have we heard, “No new taxes!” only to uncover all kinds of hidden taxes?  And don’t even get me started on gun control!

No!  No!  This isn’t really about politics and the media and party affiliation.  Folks, it’s about character (or more appropriately, the lack of it)!  America is clearly fed up with the political sleight of hand that takes place in our nation’s capitol.  And the actions of our current president and congress over the last two years has been no small part of raising the ire of the citizenry.  But how can a populace be so gullible to elect someone who promises such “hope” along with the “change”? 

Clearly, a lack of discernment!  These are times when every American citizen needs discernment.  However, a low-level of character on the part of any nation will not produce discernment.  Good discernment and good character must go hand in hand.  For example, any able-bodied man or woman who refuses to work for a living (a minimum wage job if necessary) and provide for him or herself and the family that is their responsibility will invariably exhibit an entitlement mentality.  I remember a day in America when hard-working Americans were too proud to accept “welfare,” let alone go seeking for all of it they could get.  Many “Americans” have become welfare addicts.  However, people of good character will do right–by themselves and by those around them.

I’m not convinced so much anymore that Washington even understands what “right” is, and if they perchance do, lack the character to simply do what is right.  Let me see if I can help …

RIGHT would be for the federal government to fulfill its responsibility to secure our borders, rather than suing border states who struggle with the negative results of the fed’s dereliction of duty.

RIGHT would be to be honest with mortgage applicants and tell them, “We’re sorry.  Your income will not service this level of debt,” rather than creating federal mechanisms that allow people to “own” homes they cannot afford.

RIGHT would be to acknowledge that “tolerance” is a two-way street in this world and if America is going to allow the Saudis to fund the building of mosques here, then Baptists can also build churches in Saudi Arabia. 

RIGHT would be to say to the nations that American tax dollars have helped to defend and to rebuild in the past, that it’s time they paid their own way and defended themselves for a change.

RIGHT would be to come back to the Second Amendment and allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against those who have little if any regard for the laws of the land, rather than the nonsense that is slowly choking our freedoms.  Come on, it’s laughable to think that the deranged individual heading toward the “gun-free zone” will see the sign by the driveway and say to him or herself, “Oh, I can’t go in there with my weapons,” then head back home to deposit them safely there–with ammo in the basement, weapons in the attic, and trigger guards on everything!

RIGHT would be for married politicians to be faithful to their spouses, rather than the unprecedented adultery that gives fodder to a media that thrives on the very things of which we should be ashamed!

I’m reminded of an old “chapel saying” of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., who died during my freshman year at the university which bore his name:  “Do right!  If the stars fall, do right!”  Where are the men and women of godly character today who are willing to simply do right?!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, knowing that I’ve only scratched the surface of a cesspool of corruption, every one of us who knows the name of God should be calling on Him passionately.  However, it is not enough to pray “God bless America.”  He is a God of principles and precepts, set in motion from eternity past.  One of those is the law of sowing and reaping.  We must give God a reason to bless this nation once again, which will require that we as citizens, and especially Christian-citizens, repent of our wickedness, seek again God Himself, turn from the behaviors that have lowered the character level of a once-great nation, and determine that even if the stars fall, to do what is right.

Oh, and if you haven’t bought my book Leave a Well in the Valley, go to www.dalepeterson.org (my very out-of-date website) and buy a copy now.  I promise, it isn’t political, but it will be encouraging to anyone going through a tough time in life!

Cheers!

Don’t Forget to Remember

On Monday, 31 May 2010, many American’s will celebrate a national holiday, forgetting the true meaning or purpose of the day itself.  However, throughout this great nation, thousands upon thousands of families will remember—in fact, it’s impossible for us to forget, because buried in a cemetery somewhere is a casket that holds the remains of a loved one who paid the supreme sacrifice that we might be free. 

"On behalf of ... a grateful nation," my daughter-in-law Patty

However, this day of remembrance must never be limited to a few moments of emotional energies spent merely missing  our friends and loved ones whose lives were cut short during their military service for our country.  We surely must contemplate a bigger picture and the grander scheme of the future looming before us.

For example, we must remember the principles and precepts that lead to the birth of this great nation.  As I write this, I’m seated in my hotel room in Enfield (CT).  In just a few hours, I will address an eternity-bound audience, reminding them, not only of America’s Fallen, but of the price that has been paid from the inception of America—as early as the 1620s.  The founders and the fallen so strongly believed in equality, self-governance, and the rule of law, that they were willing to pledge the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor—risking it all, sacrificing everything for freedom.  In so doing, they kept their honor.

America is a nation at-risk because we’re sluggish in remembering the critical ingredients that have made America great.  Few Americans will reflect any more than I on the people who have fallen—those for whom we have set aside this special day.  But we must remind ourselves that this American holiday is not only about remembering the personalities, but also the principles.

Here in Enfield (CT), two local high schools have scheduled graduation ceremonies in a local church facility that best accommodates  these events—parking, seating, staging, restrooms, etc.  However, the ACLU has filed suit, seeking an injunction, preventing the use of a church facility, with their usual insanity, crying “Separation of church and state!”  Somewhere along their educational track, they must have overlooked a few lessons from history class.

The first public school in America—the Boston Latin School—located only a few hours from Enfield (CT) in Boston (MA), was founded by Reverend John Cotton on April 23, 1635.  Five of the fifty-six signers of the American Constitution attended this school.  Can you imagine?  But the ACLU wasn’t around in those days to protest, threaten, intimidate, and file frivolously insane lawsuits, trying to protect young America’s students from religious symbols and the New England Primer and the Hornbook. 

But the insanity of this distorted thinking by a relative handful in America can only be exceeded by the insanity of good American citizens continually tolerating it!

Perhaps the great need of America today is not another “bailout” from Washington, D.C. but a revival of old-fashioned patriotism—a patriotic fervor built on critical personal ingredients, such as …

Great character.  The good character of leaders past will not suffice for today.  They have all run their leg of the relay race of life.  The baton has been placed into our hands, and we must boldly rise to the occasion, becoming internally what the Good Book instructs us to be, enabling us to do what people of good, godly character should do.

Great conviction.  It is high time that people who profess to know God determine to live like we actually know Him.  Like David of old, facing the giant Goliath against all odds, we must ask ourselves, “Is there not a cause?”  William Bradford thought so, but today’s history revisionists choke on his Mayflower Compact of 1620.  Barbara Fritchie thought there was a cause when she withstood Stonewall Jackson with those famous words, “Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag,” she said!

Where are the men and women of modern America who are willing to stand, and having done all, stand?  Conviction is the bottom line of all my thinking.  It is what I have concluded as vitally important—important enough for which to live and die. 

Great courage.  Without character, we become dishonest and self-centered—which unfortunately and increasingly describes our country, including many of our “leaders.”  Without conviction, we lose our bearings—our moral compass.  Again, regrettably, this describes our nation—adrift morally.  And without courage, we fail to act on that which we profess to be and to believe.

In two short decades, America has gone from a nation with a president who could courageously say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” to one who apologizes for America to every rouge nation wherever he travels!  That makes those of us with good character, conviction, and courage rather nauseous!

As we approach this Memorial Day 2010, let’s concentrate on and honor our forefathers and the fighting men and women of this nation for their courage, their vision, and their sacrifices.  Let’s remember how precious our rights and freedoms!  Veterans, we honor your service, your courage, and your countless sacrifices at sea, in the air, and on distant fields of battle.  May God continue to bless the great nation, as we give Him reason for doing so.

BTW, do you pray?  America is in desperate need of the prayers of men, women, boys and girls who are on speaking terms with God to plead for the future of the nation we love.  May each of us be found faithful at our post in prayer!

Stabilizing the Foundations

            We live in a great nation, don’t we?  I mean from sea to shining sea, America is a great land in almost every possible way.  Although being Americans makes us better than no one, the fact that we are so blessed by Almighty God augments our responsibilities within the world community.

            Further, living under such great freedom and protection that our nation provides, we as believers also enjoy the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ—the truth that always sets men free.  But we must never forget that these freedoms were handed to us by our fore-fathers. From the earliest arrivals aboard the Mayflower in 1620, they came with a vision, a dream, and a commitment to the Heavenly Father, whom they readily identified and named in their daily prayers for guidance, protection, and sustenance.

            While our president may not know or understand the history of this great nation, I do—and let me take a few moments to remind you from the pages of our rich history, lest any of you might buy into some of what comes from the Oval Office these days—statements like “America is not a Christian nation and never has been.”

1620 Mayflower Compact – “In the name of God … having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith … do solemnly and mutually in the presence of God covenant and combine ourselves together … “

1643 Constitution of the New England Confederation – “Whereas we all come into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace.”

1681 William Penn stated – “Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.

1752 Liberty Bell – inscribed with this verse from Leviticus 25:10 – “Proclaim liberty through all the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”

1772 Samuel Adams – boldly proclaimed, “The rights of the Colonists as Christians … may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of the Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

1776 Declaration of Independence – “ … the laws of Nature and Nature’s God … that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …

1789 George Washington – in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation said, “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection, aid, and favors … “

1820 Daniel Webster said – “more than all, a government and a country were to commence, with the very first foundations laid under Divine light of the Christian religion … Who would wish that his country’s existence had otherwise begun?  Let us not forget the religious character of our origin.”

1863 Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – “ … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

             But something has dramatically changed—something perhaps less visible than an industrial revolution—but something infinitely more damning to our nation than anything we can imagine.  America has forgotten God!  And for the many who have not totally forgotten God, there is often an unprecedented ambivalence and indifference toward His Word and His principles for successful living.

            (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

            Our national dereliction of duty God-ward has brought us to the precipice of ethical, moral, and spiritual collapse!  We have become a nation of politicians without principles and devoid of character—we have to look no further than Detroit, Michigan or inside the Washington beltway to find that confirmation!  Washington, D.C. has become a collective cesspool of dishonesty, graft, greed, and a thousand other characteristics devoid of Godly character!  But American did not begin that way.

            As the character level of America continues to drop, we have become a nation of pleasure-seekers without conviction, businesses without morality, and sciences without humanity.  We have grown fat with knowledge, while starving good character and integrity.  And even our churches are losing our passion for evangelism, while offering a vain worship without sacrifice.

            But, ladies and gentlemen, there are three timeless truths on which I base my eternal hope, as I look past the tragic political events that each day brings, and I would remind you of these three:

  • God is still on His throne—and nothing will dislodge Him
  • God distinguishes between those who are righteous and those who are wicked
  • God is holy and will certainly judge all wickedness

            What then is the great and pressing need of our day as we look at America?  If we listen to the political strategists and Washington’s rhetoric, we need more Democrats or we need more Republicans in office.  If we listen to the social engineers, we need to liberate ourselves and our children from the moralist constraints put on us by previous, prudish generations. If we listen to the secularist educators, the need is for more government money to be thrown into the black hole of humanistic education—an educational system that is increasingly void of God.

(Rom 1:28 KJV)  And even as they did not want to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

            The great reality is that people need the Lord!  The hope of America is not in electing different politicians, neither is it in shutting down abortion clinics, noble though that may be.  While putting the pornographer out of business and shutting down strip clubs is to be applauded, that isn’t the solution!  Joining the ranks of tree-huggers and hypocritical eco-freaks like Al Gore is wasted time and resources! 

            The solution is exactly what it has always been and where it has always been—In God We Trust!

(2 Chron 7:14 KJV)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal our land.

            The combined repetitive prophecies of Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh will not turn America around—economically, morally, or spiritually. 

But if the people who know God will draw close to Him, honor and obey Him—will let their lights so shine before men—will determine to be salt with savor—we might be able to rescue perhaps the greatest nation in human history before she plunges headlong over the cliff from which there will be no return.

My pastor Dr. John Marine of the North Auburn Hills Baptist Church asked this question a few Sundays ago:  “Which side are you on?”  Are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution?

(1 Cor 3:11 KJV)  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(2 Tim 2:19 KJV) Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Absentee Birthdays

It was as though Providence handed me a few minutes of sunshine in the midst of a rather dreary, rainy day here in Michigan.  Just for the twenty minutes that I visited the Great Lakes National Cemetery, it was like God tore a hole in the clouds so that He could watch to see what I might do or if I would share with Him the thoughts of my heart and mind.

I’ve only been there a few times … Memorial Days and Veterans Days … but for some reason unknown even to me, I felt compelled to drive out to the northern edge of Holly, Michigan, and spend a few minutes to respect and reflect on this 30th September.  Today, my oldest son Justin would have celebrated his 34th birthday had his life not been cut short by a freak accident in the sands of Anbar Province.

But standing there, reflecting, by that simple grave marker, I realized once again that my brief visits there are not so much about Justin … not so much about me … as they are about life.  You see, I can stand there, looking at the dates etched into that stone, and reflect on what once was … Or, I meditate as I pause there, considering the last three lines … “Loving husband, devoted father, brother & son,” and wonder what might have been …  Or, as what is normally the thought process for me, after considering those types of very personal things, I look around me at the sea of grave markers, and realize that a lot of dads and moms, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters will experience “absentee birthdays” each year.

To say to my friends and family, “I miss my boy” is an understatement of my heart.  But the great reality that we who still dwell in the land of the living must grapple is this – life goes on … and so must we.  We must look to the future, plan toward the future, anticipate with great expectation in the future.  And, BTW, a great future for you and me will not be ushered in by the politicians at any level of government, but when a citizenry of great character lives out the principles on which the United States of America was founded.

America’s men and women in uniform have been laying down their lives for a quarter of a millennium now … but we’ve become a nation, I fear, that has well-nigh lost sight of principle, and has become obsessed with an insatiable appetite for “prosperity,” a prosperity that is increasingly elusive … considering the current financial climate in America.  And as I considered the price paid by our veterans alone, I can only pray that the Lord would help me to do my part as a citizen, as a Christian, as a minister, to help bring our nation back from the brink of bankruptcy … not a financial bankruptcy, but a moral and spiritual bankruptcy.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you not use this moment to pause and ask the God of Glory to guide our national process through the leaders at all levels of government?  Coming into the November elections, we’re hearing a lot about change … from both parties.  It would be an awesome change if truth, rather than a distortion and pretense of truth, should come to prevail inside the beltway!

And while you’re praying, if you would, pray for the entire Dale Peterson clan over the next couple of weeks as we pass through the anniversary of Justin’s birth (30 September), death (01 October), and funeral (09 October).  Pray, too, for the many families around the country who also come to those emotionally-charged mile-markers along the road of their family life … those absentee birthdays.  We’d be grateful. 

Cheers!