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America, Look Up

The importance of America returning to Christian principles and Traditional Family Values

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January 2015

A Culture of Deflated Balls


It’s challenging raising kids in today’s culture.  One of the character traits we drill in our children is honesty.  Jesus said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

For those who know Christ, emulating Jesus should be at the top of our “to do” lists.

Decades ago, the culture encouraged honest living as well.  Shows like “Andy Griffith,” “Leave it to Beaver,” and the “Walton’s” taught the importance of living a life of integrity, honesty being a much sought after and respected virtue.  Today, not so much.  One of ABC Family’s most popular shows is “Pretty Little Liars.”  Because of high ratings, it’s been airing for seven seasons.  What has happened to the popularity of truth?

As a child, my parents washed my mouth out with soap when I told a lie.  I learned quickly a strong distaste for Dove Bars and made it a habit to tell the truth.  As a child, I was held accountable.  No differentiation of lies existed.  Little white lies and great big lies fell under the same category, lying.  At a very young age I learned,

“Honesty is the best policy.”

In a recent study, 53% of the people polled shared their mistrust of the President.  Personally, I can’t believe it’s that low.  A few months ago, the President confidently stated “not a smidgen” of corruption existed in his Administration.  For those paying attention, they realized his statement resonated with truth.  Instead of “not a smidgen,” there’s a colossal amount of corruption in his administration.  Though many bash  dishonest politicians, and rightly so, this trait of dishonesty permeates other areas of life as well, with little or no consequence.

A few days ago, sports reporters jumped on the news of the New England Patriots and deflated footballs.  According to NFL rules, footballs must be inflated to a certain level and then checked prior to kick-off by a league official.  Between the official check and the coin toss, someone deflated the footballs.  Lowering the air pressure enables the quarterback to grip the ball with more authority and on cold days makes the ball softer to catch, a perk for the wide receivers.  Would the Patriots have won had the balls been inflated properly?  Absolutely.  The Colts played miserably.  However, one team attempted to get an edge over another through dishonest means.  How’s a Dad supposed to instill honesty and sportsmanship when a cheating team might win the Super Bowl?

There’s only one way.  I must direct them to embrace the teachings of the Word of God.

The word “Christian” literally means, “Little Christ.”  One way to imitate Christ is to be people of our word.  John 8:44 shares plainly,

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

In other words, we’re never more like the devil than when we lie.  That nugget from the Bible strikes a chord with people.  I’ve never met anyone excited about the prospect of relationally favoring the devil and his modus operandi.  Yet, “Pretty Little Liars” ranks highly with its viewers.

Instead of ignoring the importance of truth telling, let’s be people of integrity and of our word.  And let’s remember the oft quoted statement from Bejamin Franklin,

“Honesty is the best policy.”

And by the way, there’s nothing pretty about lying…..

 

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Wicked Deep Roots


Growing up, I brushed my teeth a couple of times a day, but only casually, with speed on my mind, not a thorough scrubbing of each tooth.  Now in my forties, I’m starting to reap my decision to boycott floss.

Yesterday, I found myself in one of my least favorite places, the dentist office, an oral surgeon’s office to be exact.  One of my back teeth lost its filling and the remainder of the tooth could not be saved.  When a friendly dental hygienist called my name, she led me like a lamb to slaughter.  I slunk into the dentist chair, mentally quoting Scriptures on “Fearing Not.”

A few minutes later, the dentist numbed my gums around the rotted tooth and began the process of extracting the offending molar.  With a tool designed for television horror movies, he grabbed onto the tooth and began to pull, twist, and turn.  I heard loud crunching sounds.  I pressed the button on my mp3 player and tried to lose myself in the sounds of Pentatonix Christmas, but to no avail.  He switched to a type of mini-saw that shredded the tooth, sending shards of enamel and tooth around my mouth and onto my paper bib.  At one point he stopped for a moment, long enough for my jaw to briefly relax.  I asked,

“Are we almost done?”

The dentist responded,

“Almost man, but you have wicked long roots.”

He commented he couldn’t tell where my roots ended and the bone to protect my sinuses began.  He said,

“If I drill into that sinus bone, we’ll have a whole other set of issues…”

He continued to chip away bits and pieces of decayed tooth.  I really believe he thought he’d found a new access point to China.  Finally, he stopped and instructed the assistant to take an x-ray.  He strolled in a few moments later and said,

“I think I got it all, but I’m just not sure.  Like I said, you have wicked deep roots.”

Having “wicked deep roots” isn’t so great when facing a tooth extraction.   But “wicked deep roots” in the spiritual realm, now that’s a whole different story.

And Jeremiah 17:7-8 shares the following:

7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

These verses share that those who trust in the Lord resemble trees planted by the water, their roots digging deep into the soil.  Having deep roots in God, aids in facing the storms of life that certainly threaten.  The verses also teach that even when drought comes, the leaves of the trees will grow green, flourish, and the tree will bear fruit.   I believe this suggests when people see our deep rooted faith in God, their hearts will be fertile grounds, ready to hear our testimony and the Gospel message.

In other words, “wicked deep roots” aren’t always bad.  In fact, in the Christian walk, those roots are necessary for standing strong in the faith.

So, dig into the Word, and grow roots.

Oh, and also take care of your teeth.

 

 

 

Who the Heck is Israel Bissell?


Ever heard of Israel Bissell?  No?  Me neither, until yesterday.

Israel Bissell is one of the heroes of the American Revolution who never found his way into history books.  Bissell was a 23 year old dispatch rider who left home in April of 1775 to warn the Colonists about the British invasion.  In fact, Bissell began his obscure ride on the same night Paul Revere rode with the warning,
“The British are coming.  The British are coming.”
Israel Bissell galloped south with his news and according to local legend, he rode to Worcester – normally a day’s ride – in two hours.  Witnesses claim his horse died upon arrival.  He secured another horse and rode through the States of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, spreading the news that farmers were facing off against the Redcoats at Lexington.  He rode 350 miles in less than a week, an accomplishment unheard of in those days.
 
Paul Revere only traveled 20 miles. 
 
So why does Revere get all the accolades?
 
Maybe it’s because Longfellow found it easier to think of words rhyming with “Revere.”
 
Why do I mention Israel Bissell?  No, it’s not to condemn historians for omitting his name from history books.  I share this information to encourage those who at times feel like nobody’s.  God chooses the insignificant to bring about the significant.  Whether it be in the Kingdom of God or politics, it’s the “little” people behind the scenes who often bring about the greatest good.
 
In the Book of Acts, Peter and John found themselves arrested for their faith.  They shared the reason for their allegiance to Christ with the religious leaders, and the Pharisees scratched their heads, wondering how such “unschooled and ordinary men” could present their position so articulately.  Peter and John weren’t seminary graduates; they spent their lives on the Sea of Galilee dragging nets for fish.  After a little more thought, the religious leaders experienced a “light bulb” moment.  They realized these men had been with Jesus.
 
Being with Jesus makes a difference!
 
The hopes of our Country turning around hinges upon a few things:
 
1.  Christians returning to God.  “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”  (II Chronicles 7:14)
 
2.  Being people of prayer.  James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
 
3.  Get off the couch and enter the fray.  Don’t think your voice isn’t important.  Maybe you feel insignificant, but God uses the insignificant to accomplish great things.  
 
You may not be the next Billy Graham, but you might just be the person who leads the future Billy Graham to Christ.  You might not be the next Paul Revere, but
 you might be the next Israel Bissell.
And this world needs Israel Bissells’.
 

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