Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Prayer of Enos for Our Time



Our studies in Sunday School took us through the Book of Enos this past week.  It’s only a page long; but holds a wealth of information, information which applies to our day, perhaps more so than when it was written.

Enos prayed unto the Lord for a remission of his sins and during the conversation, prayer being more than a casual acknowledgment of the Lord’s hand in our lives; during that conversation Enos poured out his concerns regarding his people as well as those who stood in direct opposition to them.  After carefully reading the text it becomes evident that the people Enos pleads for at first are his own; but that they have become complacent and headed down a troublesome road.

In verse 10 we get a better idea of the dilemma Enos faced as he pleaded for his people to be worthy of blessings while at the same time well aware that those who understand their responsibilities, having decided not to follow the Lord’s way, those people must face the consequences of their actions.

The Lord speaking, "I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads."

In case you haven’t figured it out, ‘this land, and it is a holy land’, refers to the geographical area we now call the United States.  The ancient inhabitants were divided against each other, much as they are today.  There were those who accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ, as Savior of all mankind and did their best to follow His commandments and there were those who opposed them.    

Enos understood that his people could not expect the Lord to defend inappropriate actions; that eventually they would fall, the wicked, non-believers and idolatrous barbarians would destroy them and take over the land. 

Do you see any similarities between colonial America that at one time acknowledged the Lord, comparing them with current day America that’s divided against itself along many lines; socialism, Atheism, communism?   Add to the division other cultures like Islam who would gladly destroy the land of the free and home of the brave; does that make it more clear?

Enos took his case before the Lord with the sinking feeling (foreknowledge) that his people would eventually be lost; but he took it a step further by asking the Lord to enlighten his enemies, that one day they might accept the gospel and become a righteous people worthy of this great land which had been set aside and blessed.  

He didn’t ask the Lord to preserve his enemies in their fallen state; rather his desires were that they become what his own people had rejected, a people who would obey the commandments and seek only that which is right and proper.

So too in our day we can observe so many of our people, people who have been blessed beyond measure with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but rather than acknowledge the Lord’s hand in our nation’s success they’ve become self absorbed to the point of becoming ripe with iniquity, unfit to receive blessings that would ‘preserve us a nation’.

I suppose the ‘Christian thing to do’ would be to pray for those who hate our way of life and ask the Lord to soften their hearts so that after the dust settles and our nation has been crushed (yes, we are headed for self destruction); ask the Lord to show those who have conquered us; have them eventually embrace the gospel and become a people the Lord can bless.  This land can only be blessed for those who follow the Lord, all others are cursed.

Can’t you just see the tears falling from our Savior’s eyes as He considers how many opportunities He’s given us and watched as we rejected His ways in favor of expressing our right to chose, our right to be disobedient, our right to…  Oh, my, therein lies the problem; all of these rights came from God…  When you pervert the meaning of rights to fit desires which are in conflict with the Author of those rights, at that moment the Lord’s blessings are withdrawn.

You can bet the farm Enos saw much more than his own day; he saw ours as well.  He’s pleading with us, as if from the dust, to become a people who are deserving of the Lord’s blessing, deserving of Providence and Divine Intervention so often mentioned by our Founding Fathers as our nation miraculously came to be.  

What will be the outcome?  That answer is easy; the Lord’s side wins, it’s been known since before the world was created.  Pick your side carefully.


 (Image of the ‘headless’ Statue of Liberty was found on Facebook but didn’t give credit as to its origin)
 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Support, Patriotism and Reality



Since the end of WWII America has been on many battlefields; but, regrettably have not made a serious attempt to force our opponents into unconditional surrender.  Instead we’ve learned how to retreat in such a way as to appear more or less victorious; not the same as having beaten your enemies into submission, …now is it?

“My country right or wrong.”   Whoa, can you imagine anyone from Generation X agreeing to that? 

Some of my Facebook friends were circulating a picture of some Vietnam soldiers.  I was unable to force myself to hit the ‘Like’ button, something which caused me to consider ‘why’; ...not because I didn’t support what these brave young men had done in the service of their country or that they hadn’t been valiant and done their jobs.   Something else was gnawing at me; but what?

“Sadly, fewer than 2% of you will like and share this picture of brave Vietnam soldiers. So let's see how many likes and shares they can get.”

No, these men and all those who’ve gone to battle wearing the ‘uniform’ deserve to be recognized; but in the back of my mind there remains an open sore that’s never healed.  The wound was present back in the late 60s, a nagging feeling that our government was being less than honest as to our purpose for being involved in Vietnam, much as we’d been involved over in Korea. 

I don’t claim to be a superior military strategist and in my late teens I’d yet to understand how our media was being used as a propaganda tool to indoctrinate and turn public opinion one way or the other.  That said, I’d figured out that young men had been placed in harm’s way without a clear plan on how to completely and utterly destroy the enemy until they surrendered unconditionally. 

In short, I didn’t trust my government and those in positions of ultimate authority to ‘do the right thing’, to entrust my life with folks who lacked credibility.  Rather than wait to get drafted into the Army, something unlikely since my Draft Number was high, I volunteered for the Army Reserves.  It satisfied my ‘obligation to serve’; but did so on my terms, limiting the circumstances under the supervision of men I was less than sure had my best interests at heart. 

It didn’t appear that our leaders intended to ‘win’ in Vietnam and history has proven that to be true.  Each military conflict since then has been a cookie cutter replication, put on a good show; but don’t be too hard on the enemy, makes us look like bullies.

In the movie, Good Morning Vietnam, there was a line intended to be funny, “If you’re going to clash…Clash!”  Wars are inherently terrible and to be avoided at all cost; but in our day they’re classified as ‘conflicts’, to be resolved and so we use surgical strikes directed at only the very worst of our enemies. 

Anyone not specifically targeted is considered ‘collateral damage’, which includes our own soldiers.  In fact we now put our own soldiers on trial for murder if they kill the enemy before that individual has been listed as an official target under current rules of engagement; not making this up folks.

I’m not saying those who’ve died in combat weren’t valiant or in any way demean their efforts; to the contrary; they gave all they had while following orders.  Those who perpetuated the killing fields for personal gain, power and/or money, bear a responsibility for eternity to those who fought and died for the lie of doing so in ‘America’s best interests’. 

We actually have had U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan guarding poppy fields; that right, making sure the opium trade was protected from the effects of war.  Truth be know, the same went on in Vietnam; makes you proud to be an American.

Those who’ve served and returned, with our without obvious physical injuries, have a bitterness, something difficult to define.   It comes under the heading, “You sent me out on some god forsaken battlefield to defend America’s interests; but were less than honest about what those interests are”.  That kind of bitterness sticks in the back of your throat when someone asks you if you support the troops and challenges your patriotism.

I did my part; I’ve shared the image posted on Facebook.  Does that prove I support the troops, that I’m a patriot? 

I’d much rather meet on the streets of Washington with a few million fellow citizens holding torches and pitch forks; challenging our elected representatives, making them accountable for the way our nation has been reduced to a laughing stock in front of the entire world.  A little tar and feathers might be all we need; but don’t rule out a serious citizen’s revolution, that’s a reality of what patriots due when Liberty is threatened. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Considering the Condescension of God?




Easter morning I found myself considering the word Condescension as it applies to mortal men trying to figure out our purpose and relationship with God and His Only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  

I’d purchased chocolate bunnies to go along with the Easter Eggs that my grandchildren colored in the front yard; but that has little if anything to do with the spiritual importance of Easter.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines Condescension:

1. voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
2. patronizing attitude or behavior

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Most often when you hear the word Condescension it holds a negative meaning.  Someone feels they are above your station in life talks to you in a way intended to remind you that they are above you in stature.  Immediately the hair on your back bristles; you recognize the offensive attitude being presented, similar to how We The People react to those we’ve elected as they develop their self appointed elitist state of mind, a station above the lowly peasants.

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But with God, as with His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; Condescension fits the first offered definition.   God the Father, in his eternal nature and love for all His spirit children made it possible for us to return to His presence through His Only Begotten Son who would make an atonement for each and everyone of us.  The Great Plan of Salvation took into account the need for such a Condescension, a necessary decent from His heavenly throne.

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Bruce R. McConkie delivered a devotional talk just before Christmas back in 1969 entitled, Know Ye The Condescension of God?.    While given at Christmas, this wonderful explanation as to our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ could as easily been directed to us at Easter; the two being joined at the hip, so to speak, as to their importance as pertain to individuals going through this probationary state.

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Rather than regurgitate the information Elder McConkie presented I’ll leave it to you to enjoy the audio version as provided in the link.   Easter gives us an opportunity to consider the Condescension of God, to express our gratitude for a gift we are unable to fathom.

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 (The Moral Liberal is down for construction at this time; but will return with improvements in due time)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Missing Holiday



During Sunday School a question was asked, “Of all the holidays during the year, what’s your favorite?”  This being the third week in March several answered, "Easter", while Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July were also in the running.  Then the instructor asked if anyone celebrated this coming Thursday; something I hadn’t considered as a ‘holiday’. 

As Easter weekend comes around perhaps this Thursday should be celebrated; if not as a holiday then surely it falls into the category of important and significant.

It was on a Thursday that Jesus and a few of his chosen disciples retired to the Garden of Gethsemane where the Lord could finish out his mortal ministry.   During those long lonely hours the Lord prayed to his Father and took upon himself the sins of the world, sweating, as it were, drops of blood from every pore.

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.    (Alma 7: 11 – 13)

Those who follow the teachings of Jesus desire to one day worship at His feet in the Kingdom of Heaven, having accepted this wondrous gift, the atonement which makes it possible for our sins to be removed since no unclean thing may enter His presence.  

An odd thought entered my mind, something from an old country western tune, “Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die, Lord I want to go to heaven; but I don’t want to go tonight….”   Yes, they still let me attend Sunday School; but they keep a close eye on me.

How a gift is received is as important as how it was offered.  Are we living our lives in accordance with the gospel, avoiding sin where possible and repenting as needed along the way?   The Lord has already paid for our sins if we will accept the gift.   Or, we can reject His offer and face the music, so to speak; pay the price of sin via the same process which caused even the Lord to sweat great drops of blood.
 
While this Thursday may not be marked on our calendars as a holiday it most certainly should be acknowledged as one of the more important days in the history of mankind, the day the Lord took upon himself our sins.   Perhaps a silent prayer of gratitude is in order.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Growing into our Callings





This morning we were treated to a special Stake Conference presided over by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I should point out that the meeting was held at the Hafer Road building which can accommodate about 900 people, give or take.  A friend of ours got a call letting him know the building was completely full at 8:00 am for a meeting scheduled for 10:00 am. 

The local church leadership had planned for a large turnout by having a secondary location, the Louetta Chapel as an overflow facility where the conference was to receive live broadcast via an internet connection.   Lucy and I are only a few minutes away from the Louetta building and were more than happy to comfortably enjoy the proceedings sitting on the soft cushioned pews instead of the folding metal chairs had we attended at the Hafer building.

We got there early and I was able to help with some of the set up for the broadcast.  The IT specialist showed a couple of us how to assemble a large folding projection screen and position it behind the podium.  

My hearing isn’t all that great so I struggled as the messages were delivered; but I wasn’t alone, for some reason they couldn’t get the volume levels very high…, oh well.   Our Stake Presidency gave talks on basic gospel principles; sure wish they could have made it a little louder…

Elder Oaks didn’t have a prepared message; instead remarking on what each previous speaker had offered and adding his own thoughts along the way; having a General Authority’s insight applied to gospel principles is always gratifying.

At one point he asked how many in attendance had recently been given a new calling; about one fourth present raised their hands.  He then pointed to a young man, perhaps 8 – 10 years old sitting in the third row and had him come to the podium to help with a visual lesson.   Can you imagine how it must have felt to be singled out in front of everyone; but he was up to the task and awkwardly made his way forward.

Upon shaking hands Elder Oaks escorted the young man off to one side of the podium where he could be seen easily by everyone.  Elder Oaks then took off his jacket and placed it on the young man, the size difference was considerable to say the least as the edge of the jacket nearly touched the ground. 

Elder Oaks then explained how many folks feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the challenges of a new church calling; but by applying our efforts along with giving ourselves enough time we’re able to grow into the calling.  

As he spoke I felt tears welling up in the corners of my eyes; Elder Oaks had awakened an old memory, one from when I’d been a new member of the Church.  It was Déjà vu all over again; isn’t that the way Yogi Berra said it?


It was to have been my first opportunity to speak; what used to be referred to as a “Two and a Half Minute Talk”.   I can’t recall what my assigned topic was; only that I felt less than adequate, my being asked to address folks who’d been attending church for many years.  What could I tell them that they hadn’t heard before?

I remember reading scriptures and taking notes all week prior to the assignment; never feeling comfortable with what I’d written down in my notes.   Sunday morning I was up early putting together my thoughts when my two years old daughter came shuffling into the den area of the house wearing one of my police uniform shirts.

The shirt dragged along the floor covering her feet as a huge smile beamed from her innocent face.  Wearing her Dad’s police shirt with the PD’s and badge in place made her happy; didn’t do me any harm either.   Instantly I tossed all the notes taken during the week as inspiration, guided by the Spirit, showed me what I was to talk about later that day.

I knew I had a lot of growing to do as a new member of the Church, much as my daughter wearing that police shirt, there was plenty of room and it wasn’t going to happen over night.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Liberal Media picks GOP candidate, again



You’d think by now Republicans would get tired of letting the liberal media pick their presidential candidate; but they haven’t learned a thing as we go into Super Tuesday.  Old guard Republicans wanted Jeb Bush to continue their spiral towards socialism and what they perceive as a necessary means of getting along with folks on the other side of the aisle, shaking hands with the Devil might be more appropriate.  That’s not going to happen; Jeb’s campaign already tanked and he’s left the scene leaving Trump, Cruz and Rubio to duke it out.


This year the leftist media apparently has gotten behind Donald Trump, at least temporarily, providing him with millions upon millions of dollars in free air time.  According to some analysts, “46 percent of the media coverage over the last month about the GOP candidates was about Trump, as measured by articles that appeared in Google News.”   I say the media has temporarily gotten behind Trump because once the real race for the presidency begins that very same media will throw every thing, including the kitchen sink at Trump as they prepare the way for yet another Democrat candidate to occupy the White House.

“Other Republican candidates have noticed the Trump coverage, and some of them are frustrated by it. 

“It could be the free billion dollars of publicity he has gotten by being on every channel all the time,” said Kentucky senator and GOP 2016 candidate Rand Paul, when asked Tuesday on Fox News about Trump’s surge.” 

The leftist media, and don’t think for a moment NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN or even Fox are not part of a vast propaganda game that sponsors polling data that alters the public’s perception and the eventual outcome of elections.  They’ve propped up weak candidates to run against stronger opponents for years; how do you think we got John McCain?   You really think angry John McCain would have risen to the top of the Republican ticket had it not been for some serious help from the Democrat Party via one of their favorite tools, the news media?

So it’s happening again, only this time around the Democrat Party wants Hillary Clinton, or if she's already on her way to prison, Bernie Sanders running against Donald Trump; or better still, an Independent Party Donald Trump along with Ted Cruz for the GOP to split the vote.  Those who’ve jumped on the Trump band wagon are oblivious to this game of chess; for that is what it really is, a game of high stakes chess with the winner taking all the marbles. 

This time around the marbles include picking the next Supreme Court Justice, total implementation of the United Nation’s Agenda 21, expansion of the war on coal and oil for the purpose of destroying America’s ability to compete on the world market, eradication of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendments as found in the Bill of Rights along with shredding what’s left of our constitution.   

Other than that not much is at stake so don’t give it another thought as you blindly follow the media and pull the lever for Donald Trump; he’s our boy.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Two Americas - which will win

Several years ago presidential hopeful John Edwards used the phrase Two Americas, something he claimed existed due to the ‘haves and have nots’; typical class warfare rhetoric intended to cause envy while at the same time stirring up votes from the ‘oppressed’.  It was a catchy phrase, enough for historians to latch onto it; but in a sense there really are two Americas, just not the way John Edwards portrayed them.

Here’s a glimpse at one of the Americas, and it’s not a pretty sight…

Not long after the body of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reached room temperature, according to Tom Knighton of TPNN dot com,  Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks penned a vile op-ed piece which appeared at Foreign Policy Magazine (by subscription only).

Brooks didn’t hide her contempt for Justice Scalia, which in turn reflects her contempt for anyone who supports our constitutional republican form of government.

“The global legal and judicial communities, however, will mostly be indulging in joyful private choruses of ‘Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.’ Or maybe not so private.” 

{…}

The Georgetown law professor wrote, “Scalia was famously dismissive of foreign and international law, which he considered good enough for, well, foreigners — but not for the great United States. ‘I doubt whether anybody [in the United States] would say, ‘Yes, we want to be governed by the views of foreigners,’’ he scoffed in 2005.”

While reading this it becomes painfully clear that two Americas are battling for supremacy; not the haves and have nots as John Edwards portrayed the division; but instead there are those who would prefer a transformation towards a European socialistic state which values the collective over individual rights.   These are the same folks who would prefer the United Nations dictate policy rather than continue as a sovereign self governing constitutional republic. 

In the other America are those who wish to restore the vision of our Founding Fathers (hope that riles the appropriate leftists); that of a nation set on a course of individual liberty by our Creator with certain inalienable God given rights with a Constitution written in fairly plain language limiting government from infringing on those rights. 

Or…, “as Brooks finished her screed by saying, “Goodbye, Justice Scalia. The Supreme Court will be a quieter, more cosmopolitan place without you. But Jack Bauer’s sure going to miss you,” alluding to the late justice’s informal comments.”

Troubling as it may be to consider Rosa Brooks’s remarks on the recently departed Justice Scalia would be her influence as a university professor, her influence over young malleable minds. 

Our public school system and a goodly number of universities are run by progressives.  Day in and day out the mantra of socialism is spread; … from kindergarten, high school and on through every level of college the indoctrination process never ends.

Is it any wonder we have so many young people confused as to what America stands for?  They’ve been taught a steady diet of half truths and lies about what our Founding Fathers intended for our country.  Instead of recognizing America as Ronald Reagan saw her, "a shining city on a hill", something desirable “whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”, the folks in progressive America detest having our roots in gospel sod which nurtured, fed and prospered this great nation;  and instead teach that it’s a land built on oppression and greed.  

Social Democrats would prefer leaving God out of any discussion as they re-write history to eliminate inalienable God given individual rights.  Needless to say, liberalism’s goal is to destroy the Constitution and the legal contract which holds and limits government when dealing with We The People.

This brings to mind the old Cherokee legend of Two Wolves.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A  fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The same is true regarding the two Americas…which will win?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.