America, Look Up

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



A Magical Land of Free Abortions

babyinwomb  A few years ago, I visited with a family at the hospital. As we discussed their loved one’s serious condition, at one point, lilting chimes played a sweet lullaby over the public address system. We paused our conversation, and one noted,

“Ohhh, how sweet.  A baby was born.”

For a brief moment, the burden of a loved one recovering from a serious injury was interrupted by the welcomed announcement of a baby’s birth. For whatever reason, my mind transported back 2000 years to the Judean hills just outside Bethlehem.

The Bible records in Luke 2, the most important birth announcement in world history.  Instead of chimes and a soothing lullaby, an angelic choir shattered the silent night with a glorious choral arrangement. The shepherds quaked in fear as the angels announced the Messiah’s arrival.  After the multitude of heavenly beings disappeared into the heavenly realms, the shepherds followed the angel’s instructions, and hurried to find a

“babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

They found the newborn and his adolescent parents huddled together in a musty, dank, smelly stable. Undeterred or confused by this little one’s lowly beginnings, the shepherds left holy ground, serving as the first evangelists to point people to Christ.

A beautiful song to be sung at Christmas time is “A Baby Changes Everything.”  The song shares the point of view of both Mary and Joseph and their handling of a newborn child. Adding a newborn to the household is a game changer. My wife and I have six children and every time we’ve brought a baby home, the household routine takes a back seat to the infant’s schedule…or lack thereof. But would we have it any other way? Absolutely not! However, there are those who believe the disruption isn’t worth it and opt out of a perfectly viable pregnancy via abortion.

The abortion giant Planned Parenthood has garnered much attention in recent years in regards to their handling of the remains of aborted babies. Undercover investigative journalists uncovered unethical practices at several differing clinics across America. It seems that this entity would strive to keep its nose clean to allow the outrage of Conservatives to cool. However, a a social media post confirms that the abortion leader feels little remorse about their deviant practices. Someone from Planned Parenthood actually tweeted the following:

“Imagine ‘life in a magical land where abortions and birth control are free and plentiful’ This place exists.”

I’m guessing the place is hell.

In actuality, we should imagine a land where every life conceived is given every opportunity to enter the world and be cherished and loved. Instead, many view the fetus as a burden or compare the unborn child to a tumor or clump of cells, disregarding that God considers the child a masterpiece of His own design.

I can imagine a magical land where abortions and birth control are free and plentiful. In fact, we’re living in that Country now. Okay, so abortions might not be free, but aren’t they plentiful? Does 700,000 abortions per year sound like a paltry sum? Should we strive for more? Maybe Planned Parenthood could host a telethon in the same vein as the MDA televised specials of old.  Every time another baby dies, they add a number to the electronic tally board. Let’s shoot for the moon! And birth control? Most pills cost a mere pittance and there’s still the option of a truck stop bathroom and a few quarters.  And for those who really are desperate for free abortions, let me warn you, free doesn’t mean cheap. It’s costing the collective soul of the United States of America.

This Christmas season, let’s cherish life and celebrate the greatest gift of all. We all should drop to our knees and thank God Mary didn’t visit a Planned Parenthood.

Book Review: The Very First Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain

Mike and Jan Berenstain hit a home run with the Berenstain Bears “The Very First Christmas.”  This was the first time I chose to read and review a children’s book, but with six kids, who could ask for a better critic.

As soon as I ripped open the envelope, both of my little girls grabbed for the book.  My seven year old and 2 year old are ardent fans of the Berenstain Bears.  I happened to arrive home in time for the youngest one’s nap, so we cuddled up together and I read the book.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the book’s content.  I’ve noted in other Berenstain stories that the books teach a moral lesson, but I didn’t expect this book to be so Biblical in nature.  In a culture where some wage war on Christmas, booting nativities from the public square, “The Very First Christmas” teaches the true meaning of Christmas in a manner making any Christian parent proud to read it to their children.

I was especially impressed that the authors didn’t lump the Wisemen with the Shepherds at the manger scene.  In “The Very First Christmas” the Wisemen deliver their precious gifts to Jesus at the house where he and his family lived.

I would recommend this book to any parent wanting to share the true meaning of Christmas!

Barry Did You Know?

Barry did you know that your policies would wreck a mighty nation?

Barry did you know that your policies would stymie job creation?

Did you know that your policies would strengthen the resolve,

Of the nations born to hate us, those who claim that Allah’s God.


Barry did you know that your policies would stir up racial tension?

Barry did you know that your policies serve as a Marxist vision?

Did you know that your policies would be championed from abroad?

By a Com-mu-nist dictator, who would give a friendly nod…

Oh, Barry did you know?


Some will vote illegally, the dead will vote again.

There will be Code Pink. the dumb will speak the praises of Iran.


Barry did you know that your policies would cause a mass migration?

Barry did you know that your policies are illegal immigration?

Did you know that your policies are conniving and a scam,

This sleeping Country’s waking, and it’s time for you to scram,

Oh, Barry did you know?

How the VA Stole Christmas

This past Sunday I filled the pulpit as my Pastor wrapped up a week of vacation.  I chose to deliver a message built around the visit of the Magi.  I titled the sermon, “How the Grinch Almost Stole Christmas,” the Grinch of course being King Herod.   One of the points presented was Herod’s hostility to the new King.  I compared his hostility to the animosity against Christmas in America today.

A few days ago, I read a story written by Fox News and Commentary Radio Personality, Todd Starnes.  He reported about VA hospitals around the Country refusing gifts, carols, and cards if these wishes used the phrases “Merry Christmas,” “God Bless You,” or included Scriptural references.   At one hospital, a school wished to sing carols, but before the kids visited the patients, the VA sent a list of “government approved” songs, 12 in number.  Frosty the snowman made the cut, and knowing the current Administration, probably “Barry Did You Know.”  Any references to the sacred and spiritual meaning of Christmas wound up on the banned list.  I shared this news with our Congregation and unexpectedly, I found myself choking back tears.

Yes, over the last couple of years God’s certainly tenderized my heart, but I didn’t expect the tears on Sunday morning.  Sitting in the congregation, my dad sat teary-eyed as well.  My grief stems not from a sadness for myself, but for the future of my children.  For an instant, I imagined the school children of Grace Academy in Prosper, TX, hunched over their desks, meticulously drawing Christmas cards to cheer men and women recovering from wounds suffered while defending our Country.  I pictured them drawing Christmas Trees, Stars, and Stables, each buckling down to give their very best.  I also envisioned the disappointment on their faces as they discovered any cards wishing America’s brave warriors a “Merry Christmas” or an appreciated “God Bless You” would not be shared.  How does a teacher who instructs about the Constitution explain that political correctness now trumps the First Amendment?

It’s quite possible future soldiers attend this school, but when they become old enough to enlist, why should they place their lives on the line for a Country stripping away the Constitutional rights their fighting to protect?

Two thousand years ago, King Herod failed at eliminating Christmas.  Today, once again it’s the Government actively working to erase any public vestiges of Christmas, and without the Grace and Mercy of God, the America we’ve grown to love, celebrations and all, could become nothing more than an ancient memory.  But there’s good news.

Ban Christmas.  Outlaw Christmas.  Bow at the white round base of Frosty the Snowman.  No one can take away the spirit of Christmas nor the reason we celebrate.

And that’s the birth of Christ.

So, the VA didn’t nor can it steal Christmas but instead it swiped away encouragement and cheer.  And what do I say to that?

Bah, humbug.”

*Update:  I contacted the Grace Academy School.  This was the school that made Christmas cards for soldiers, but the VA refused to allow the Students to pass them out if they referenced “Christmas” or had Scripture.  I think it would be awesome if we sent the school thank-you cards for attempting to make our military wounded’s Christmas brighter.  I received the response below from the school along with mailing information.

Mr. Ridenour, Thank you so much for your kind words. The entire 6th-9th grade students were responsible for making the cards (52 students). Thank you notes would be such a blessing to these students to show them that they are supported in their efforts of standing up for what is right. You may send them directly to the school,

ATTN: Mrs. Chapman, Math and she will ensure that they are shared with the students.  Grace Academy of North Texas 4255 E. Prosper Trail, Prosper, TX  75078

Trading for Ugly

A few years ago, a news report surfaced about a young man making extra money for college selling ugly Christmas sweaters.  Who doesn’t need to make a little extra, right?  I decided one way to help pay down the mounting debt from my son’s medical bills would be use my day off from Church to visit area thrift stores and Goodwill’s and stock up on gaudy sweaters to auction off on eBay.  I accumulated quite a trove of the ugly apparel and started listing them.  Several sold.  However, three plastic grocery bags of sweaters failed to make the cut in purchasers’ eyes, so I brought them to church and offered them to the teenagers.  They took a few off my hands, but many others occupy a table in my cluttered office.

On Sunday afternoon, I received a text from a former youth group member searching for an ugly sweater.  She asked how much my ugly sweaters sold for on eBay.  I responded with, “Don’t worry about the price, I think we can make a trade.”

A few hours later she picked up the atrocious sweater and attended a party holding an ugly sweater contest.

What did I trade for?  Babysitting!

I traded something ugly for something wonderful.

After she gladly accepted the deal, a thought struck me.  When Jesus entered this world, he traded a perfect home for an environment ravaged by heartache and pain.  When He obediently took upon Himself the cross of Calvary, He traded His righteousness for our sin so we might have the righteousness of Christ.

Jesus modeled trading something ugly for something wonderful.  So, on December 25th, if after tearing into a wrapped box an ugly sweater or another stomach churning item of clothing greets your eyes, let that gift be a reminder: Jesus took your “ugly” upon Himself to forge something beautiful….a brand new you.

By the way…she won the sweater contest.

We made a good trade.

Praise God, Mary Didn’t Visit Planned Parenthood

A couple of years ago, as I browsed my inbox emails, one subject heading particularly caught my eye.

“Tis the Season to give abortions” heralded one message.

I clicked on it.  In stunned silence, I discovered that some Planned Parenthoods offer clients the option of purchasing gift certificates for their services.  Purchasers can gift an abortion to a loved one, though the facilities claim the certificates can be redeemed on any of their birth control methods.

Am I wrong, or is this an incredibly sick stocking stuffer?

Can you imagine a Christmas card with a Planned Parenthood gift card tucked inside.  The inscription might read,

“Mary kept hers, but you don’t have to….Merry Christmas!”

A few years ago, Betty Cockrum, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana touted the gift certificates as a beneficial option. obtained the following comments from a PPI press release:

“Why not buy a loved one a gift this holiday season that they really need?”  Cockrum asked.  “The gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first.”

Everyone?  Everyone but the baby….

Another Planned Parenthood in New York gave additional advice before Thanksgiving.  The New York City affiliate published an article entitled, “Talking Turkey: 8 Easy Steps for Discussing Reproductive Health and Justice at the Holiday Table.”  The steps included methods on how to handle pro-life relatives.  One paragraph reads:

The holidays are upon us!  Going home or getting together with relatives for the holidays is always a stressful time, but if your family members are the type who regularly protest outside the local Planned Parenthood, you know that this holiday is going to be a doozy.”

One question asks, “What should one say to Cousin Charlie when he asks if abortion ends a life?”

According to the Planned Parenthood guide on dealing with those annoying pro-life relatives, the answer should be,

“Well Charlie, the decision about whether or not you’re ready to become a parent is a very important one, and that’s why I think everybody should have a chance to become a parent only when they’re ready.”


Now, the good news.  Two thousand years ago, a young teenage couple journeyed to Bethlehem, paying taxes being the least of their worries.  Mary shouldered the responsibility of giving birth to the Son of God.  Can you imagine the ridicule and finger pointing?

“Sure Mary, the Holy Spirit did it…”

Possibly Mary no longer enjoyed a simple trip to the supermarket or a leisurely evening stroll; Wagging tongues and judging eyes kept her home.  I wonder what her parents thought.  Did they believe Mary’s story?  And what about Joseph?  If not for his Godly character, a stoning awaited his unmarried and pregnant fiancé.  Though the obligation weighed heavily on this young couple, they remained faithful to God’s special call upon their lives.

This Christmas Season, we once again celebrate our Messiah’s birth and the Life that He brings.  Thankfully, Mary considered the infant growing inside her womb to be of greater importance than the exhausting and ridiculously selfish mantra,

“My Body.  My Choice.”

On Christmas Day, herald the birth that changed the world forever.  Thanks be to God, Mary didn’t visit Planned Parenthood.

A Serenading God

A couple of years ago, my wife explained a snippet of my musical past to my three-year old daughter.  “Your Daddy used to sing in a barbershop quartet, during Christmastime at Silver Dollar City,” my wife shared.  This sparked a thought in my little girl’s mind,  “Let’s go listen to Daddy sing at Church.  After a few minutes of negotiations, my wife convinced Aliyah to call Daddy at Church.  Then she added, “He can sing over the phone.”

My daughter consented.

On that morning, as every weekday morning, a handful of men arrived at 8:30 at the Church and drank coffee with the staff.  As I chatted at this daily ritual, the phone in my pocket buzzed.  I glanced at the caller ID and slipped away from the table.  My wife disclosed the earlier conversation with Aliyah.  I stepped out into the bitter cold.  Moments later I broke into, “The Christmas Song”….Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose….After crooning a few lines, I went back inside.  Aliyah handed the phone back to my wife, but my private concert wasn’t over.  “She wants to hear Jingle Bells,” my wife announced.

I stepped back out into the cold.

Yes, another little girl with her father wrapped around her little finger.

As I later thought about the impromptu serenade, I remembered one of my favorite Scriptures from the Bible.  Zephaniah 3:17 shares:

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The One who breathed the universe into existence…the One who named and tracks each individual star…the One who orchestrates the rising and setting sun…the Maestro who conducts the changing of the seasons…that same One, loves His children enough to sing songs over them.  Not songs of gloom, doom, and judgment, but musical selections of joy.  Gill’s Exposition on the Bible shares the following commentary:

“He will joy over thee with singing; there is a pleonasm of joy in Christ’s heart towards His people, and so a redundancy in His expression of it; He rejoices with joy, and joys with singing; which shows how delighted He is with His people, as they are His chosen, redeemed, and called ones; as they have His own righteousness upon them, and His own grace in them; they are His “Hephzibah,” in whom He delights; His “Beulah,” to whom He is married; and it is His love of complacency and delight, which is the source of all grace and glory He bestows upon them…”

Simply put, God bursts into song to express His love to us.

A beautiful gift for any season….

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