Basic economics

Basic economics lesson for the willfully ignorant:

Joe Biden says he wants to raise taxes on the rich (Those making over $400,000 a year) and corporations — Let me explain why this will cost you more money than it will cost the corporations: Let’s say Walmart makes a Billion Dollars a year, and Joe decides to tax an additional 10% of that, do you really think the powers that be, at Walmart, will say “Wow – what a great thing it is that we make less money” …. Probably not, so what will they do to make up that hundred million dollars? They will raise the prices, but because of the new tax structure they will need to raise the price about 12% to recover that hundred million Biden took, for the government.
Not only will you pay higher prices, but you will also pay additional sales tax because the retail price is higher — So that 10% old Joe took from the corporations, will cost YOU between 12% and 15% depending on where you live. Now, you might say well the rich will pay the higher price too, and you are right, but here is the catch, the average working person spends 98% of his income, while the wealthy spend roughly 60% of their income — Taxing corporations benefits the rich, shifting the tax burden to the middle and lower class, but in a sneaky, roundabout way — Believe me the Liberals know this, they are just hoping that you don’t.
What about taxing people with incomes over $400,000? These are doctors, lawyers, business owners, maybe even the guy that owns the company you are working for. None of these people got up this morning willing to accept less money at the end of the week, so what will they do? …. Raise the prices for their services, layoff employees, freeze wages, cut benefits, cut hours — or more likely a combination of all of the above — again, guess who is paying the tab in the long run — YOU ……. Don’t be fooled by promises of free stuff or more government benefits, there is no such thing as a free lunch — you WILL pay for it all in the end. And if you get politicians involved, there is going to be a massive “administration fee”, meaning you will pay more and get less.
In easy-to-understand terms, you will make less and pay more in this plan, because the burden always comes back to the 99%. Get all your facts together people before you go and vote!!

NEW BELIEVERS IN CHRIST

Sometimes people worry about new believers not changing quickly enough, but I’m more concerned with older converts who have stopped changing.

New believers are still figuring out their newfound faith. Maybe they’re a little rough around the edges. Maybe some profanity slips out from time to time, or they haven’t completely gotten rid of some old vices. You think they have a little growing to do, and that is understandable.

They’re bitter and very critical. Their new form of ministry seems to be tearing other people down. They’re using the passion they once had for evangelism to critique other Christians.

What happened to them? How did they end up in that state?

They’ve stagnated in their walk with Christ. They’re no longer making changes.

When we come to the fourth chapter of Jonah, that is what we see happening. Jonah was a mature believer. He should have known better, but he was having a relapse. In effect, Jonah was a prodigal prophet. And he was angry and bitter toward God.

People can be used in remarkable ways by God, yet they can make big mistakes and commit sins afterward. We see this in the lives of Abraham, Moses, Samson, David, and Simon Peter.

If we don’t get excited when a lost person comes to Jesus, then we need to ask God to change our hearts.

THE WORTH OF GOD’S WORD

2 Timothy 3:14-17

The Bible is the most amazing book ever written because its author is the Lord God. Although it was penned by men, the Holy Spirit inspired every word He wanted them to record. The Scriptures contain the Lord’s revelation of Himself and His plan of redemption. Among the many topics it covers are: the creation of the world; the fall of man; the presence, power, and penalty of sin; the provision of a Savior; the final judgment; and the eternal kingdom. The Bible also answers questions about humanity’s value, wise living, and existence after death. All sections of God’s Word are valuable and interconnected. For example, the Gospels tell about the Messiah, whose coming was predicted in the Old Testament. He is called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and His death is the fulfillment of the sacrificial system in Leviticus. What’s more, the gospel of salvation by grace through faith is first seen in the story of Abraham, whose belief was credited as righteousness (Gen. 15:6).  Scripture was given to us so we might know the Father, be reconciled to Him through His Son, and bring glory to His name. Therefore, we should make it a goal to become familiar His precious Word.

Influential people

You don’t have to be prominent in the world’s eyes to be an influential person. Through your example and testimony, you can help others understand who Jesus Christ is and what it looks like to live for Him.

Scripture includes many examples of righteous men and women who were influential in their generation. One of them was Daniel, who was a godly influence not only on his friends but also on kings. Even as a youth, he was committed to obeying God’s law. Consequently, when Daniel was offered food from the Babylonian king’s table, he requested vegetarian meals instead, to comply with Jewish dietary restrictions. His commitment to the Lord outweighed any fear of reprisal for rejecting the royal provisions. And God protected Daniel by giving him favor with his overseer.

Although most of us won’t have an opportunity to influence global leaders, our example can impact a workplace, neighborhood, home, or future generations. As was true of Daniel, a godly example is rooted in obedience to Scripture because it’s the source of wisdom. In a world that is tossed about by upheaval, fear, and uncertainty, our confidence in the Lord stands out and influences those around us.

President update and Vice President debate

UPDATE ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S HEALTH

Good news from his doctors, who reported Wednesday that he is free of symptoms, he hasn’t had a fever in four days, his vital signs are all stable and normal, and he now has detectable levels of COVID-19 antibodies.

Even so, the second Presidential debate is in question. The Presidential Debate Commission wanted to make it a virtual debate because Biden was threatening to pull out over Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis. Trump says people deserve to see the candidates going head to head, and he won’t waste his time on a virtual debate, so he’ll schedule a rally instead. Stay tuned, I have a feeling this isn’t settled yet. I smell a whiff of “The Art of the Deal” about this story. I expect more goading from Trump about Biden being too fragile to survive the same disease Trump had.

PAUL SPERRY: BIDEN UNDER “ACTIVE FEDERAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION”

Now that President Trump has moved to completely declassify ALL material related to the Russia hoax (that covers a lot of ground) and the “Mid-Year Exam” into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business, it will be interesting to see how fast the un-redacted documents pour out. If the process works as Trump surely intends, it should be like water out of a fire hose.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday that he’d sent nearly 1,000 pages to the Justice Department to aid in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation. Chuck Ross at THE DAILY CALLER filed a report on this.

We don’t yet know what documents these were or how they contribute to Durham’s investigation. So we’ll have to wait, but in the meantime, there’s still quite a bit to process.

Paul Sperry, one of our go-to reporters for breaking “Spygate” news, is reporting that Joe Biden is under federal criminal investigation for his role in the 2016 phony “Russia” probe and also Ukraine. Thursday afternoon, he tweeted: “BREAKING: Joe Biden is the subject of an active federal criminal investigation into his role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, incl the former vice president’s activities in Ukraine. Ukrainian witnesses are cooperating.”

Sperry is not naming his sources, and at this writing, Attorney General Barr has had nothing to say. Typically I wouldn’t pass along an anonymously-sourced story –- after all, I’m not THE NEW YORK TIMES –- but Sperry has proved himself dependable and would not likely tweet this without high confidence. Keep in mind that neither Barr nor anyone speaking for the DOJ would officially confirm an investigation of Biden, especially this close to the election.

Also, Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media has a great piece summarizing what we know to date. The really interesting part is where he speculates about how Russian intelligence might have found out what Hillary was doing to implicate Trump in Russian “collusion.” He goes back to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

A lot happened during June and July of 2016.

We’ve known for a long time that Veselnitskaya was working with Fusion GPS (!) and met with Glenn Simpson both before and after the Trump Tower meeting (!!). Sure smells like a set-up, and this may be what Russian intel sniffed out. As O’Neil says, “It is possible that the Trump Tower was a Clinton set-up, a honeypot operation designed to bolster Clinton’s claim that Trump was in bed with Russia.”

It’s interesting to go back in time and see what was said about this in 2017, especially as it might have related to Hillary and the Rosatom uranium deal. This story is little talked about now, but it will re-emerge in light of new declassified material.

O’Neil explains: “If this was the case, it seems likely that news of this [Veselnitskya] operation could have reached Russian intelligence operatives, and their reports ended up in Brennan’s hands.” In other words, it wasn’t Russian DIS-information about Hillary. It was part of Hillary’s own plan — what the Russians found she was actually doing.

We can go back even earlier, to this piece from 2016, THE DAY AFTER CLINTON BLAMED RUSSIA FOR THE SO-CALLED HACK OF THE DNC. If you have time for a little trip down memory lane, it’s easy to see why Hillary needed a “distraction” from her own messy dealings with Russia.

And now we know that’s just what she came up with, a plan to tie TRUMP to the Russians. At the same time, there’s still no evidence that Russia hacked he DNC, and for all we know it was an inside job. We may never know, but it makes a lot of sense to me that someone at the DNC, maybe a Bernie supporter who chafed under Hillary’s control of the party, would have done this, not Russia. Perhaps Hillary was quite aware that the Russians didn’t do it. Julian Assange has always maintained that they didn’t. Whether they did or not, how conveeeeenient it was for her to say the release of DNC emails on Wikileaks was because Russia hacked them — to help Trump win!

Yes, when it comes to corruption, all roads lead back to Hillary. Sean Davis of THE FEDERALIST spared no words on Tucker Carlson’s Tuesday show when it came to the seriousness of what was done and the need for people to go to prison.

“This wasn’t just some silly game that had no real consequences or implications,” he said. “These people used this to cast doubt on our election. They talk about the integrity of our democracy…After Trump was inaugurated, they went and hijacked the presidency, they tried to cripple it. They put in this completely bogus special counsel based on false pretenses to cripple the administration heading right into the 2018 elections.”

Tucker brought up the most lasting consequence if nobody goes to jail for this: “You want to live in a place where the CIA operates…against the favored party’s political enemies? I can’t imagine anything more third-world.”

That is exactly the world Hillary, Obama and John Brennan gave us, and what we’d surely continue to have under a Biden-Harris presidency.

Finally, J. Peder Zane has a great new piece at RealClearInvestigations that concludes multiple smoking guns “have established beyond any doubt that the vast powers of our government were weaponized and politicized to destroy a candidate and then a President.” But he sounds like many of my frustrated readers when he predicts they’ll get away with their crimes.

THE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE RECAP

Last night was the one and only Vice Presidential debate, and I think it’s safe to say that Mike Pence did to Kamala Harris what Tulsi Gabbard did to her in the primary debates. But before I get into any details, here’s a link to watch the whole debate.

Here’s a write-up of the highpoints.

.* That Trump “called Mexicans rapists and criminals” (he was specifically referring to MS-13 gang members, who are rapists and criminals.)

* That Trump refuses to denounce white supremacists (he’s done it over 20 times; here’s a video of 17 of them).

* That Trump said there were “fine people” among the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville (he said there were fine people on both sides of the debate about removing Confederate monuments but that the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.”) This has been debunked repeatedly, even by liberal outlets; and the only excuse for repeating it now is that you’re either an idiot, a cynical liar or senile. I don’t believe Biden and Harris are idiots or that Sen. Harris is senile.

It was like a greatest hits list of debunked anti-Trumper stories. Judging from those statements, Harris and Biden believe everything they read on Alyssa Milano’s Twitter feed, which isn’t comforting when you think of them having access to the nuclear button.

A real debate moderator would’ve thrown a red flag on statements that are not spin or opinion but verified lies and fake news. I’m thinking of forwarding this list to the next moderators so they have no excuse for not doing their jobs when they inevitably come up again.

Speaking of bald-faced lies, Harris tried to dodge the Court-packing question by claiming that Abraham Lincoln declined to nominate a Justice until after the election. She said, “Honest Abe said, ‘It’s not the right thing to do. The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next President of the United States and then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.’”

That’s patently false. That Court opening occurred in October, 1864, while the Senate was out of session, and back then, it didn’t reconvene until after the election, on December 5. Lincoln nominated Salmon Chase and he was confirmed, all on day one of the next Senate term.

I don’t think anyone will be nicknaming her “Honest Kamala” anytime soon.

Finally, here are the questions I would have asked Sen. Harris: You recently traveled to Wisconsin to sit by the bedside of a man accused of sexual assault who was shot while resisting arrest and tell him you were proud of him. You’ve previously said that women who make rape accusations should be believed (you even said it of Biden’s accuser before becoming his running mate), so should we not believe his accuser? And secondly, when two police officers in your home state of California were shot at point-blank range by a cop-hating criminal, did you fly to their bedsides to tell them you were proud of them?

“RUSSIA” DECLASSIFIED: PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE INFORMATION!

The truth is finally out.

https://www.mikehuckabee.com/2020/10/morning-edition-october-7

Word went out while President Trump was in the hospital that he’d had enough of the Intelligence Community’s hiding of “Russia” documents and that he’d be using his time there to work on declassifying it all. Not surprisingly, he was true to his word.

He has DONE IT.

As he tweeted on Tuesday, “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

Hallelujah.

Though we’ve heard from reputable sources that CIA Director Gina Haspel was holding on with her teeth to all remaining materials that might embarrass the Agency, rest assured that it’s all coming out. Failure to produce these documents — well, Director Haspel, I think that’s called “obstruction of justice.” Hand everything over now. Anyone who tries to slow the process can clean out his or her desk immediately and be escorted out, and they’d better hire themselves a good lawyer. As Devin Nunes said on Sunday, “THIS IS OVER.”

Last week, documents were declassified showing that then-CIA Director John Brennan personally briefed President Obama and other national security officials about information that Russian intel had learned Hillary Clinton was going after Trump with a made-up Russia scandal, tying Trump with Putin and the so-called hacking of DNC emails to detract from her own (real) email scandal. When former FBI Director James Comey was asked last Wednesday under oath about the investigatory lead the FBI got after this briefing, he laughably said “that doesn’t ring any bells with me.”

But now, in the first of what is sure to be a cascade of many document releases, we have Brennan’s own handwritten notes made after the briefing that Comey can’t seem to remember. They were first released by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe with heavy redactions on Tuesday; one may assume from Trump’s tweet that the un-redacted versions will be available right away pursuant to his order.

Investigative reporter Sara Carter has a good analysis of what was going on with Brennan and why he might have supplied those notes. Remember, a smart intel guy is going to think in terms of “CYA.”

Most of the Brennan notes as seen here are still almost totally redacted. This is obviously the way Haspel intends members of Congress (and us) to see them. Trump is saying that will change.

Brooke Singman at FOX News also reported this on Tuesday.

Brennan’s notes reinforce what Ratcliffe included in his letter last week to Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ratcliffe also declassified a CIA memo showing that officials referred the matter to James Comey and Peter Strzok at the FBI for potential investigation. This really should “ring a bell” with Comey.

Right now, we’re still having to deal with redactions, as in Brennan’s largely blacked-out note that says, “We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED], CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.”

Won’t it be nice to know who [REDACTED] is?

One other part of Brennan’s notes that isn’t redacted consists of cryptic notes in the margins: “JC,” “Denis” and “Susan.” Easy guesses are that he was talking about James Comey, Denis McDonough (Obama’s chief of staff) and Susan Rice.

Importantly, since one way Brennan can “C” his “A” is to say that the “dossier” was Russian disinformation, numerous sources have characterized Hillary’s plot as NOT being Russian disinformation. One observation that makes particularly good sense: “This is not Russian disinformation. Even Brennan knew, or he wouldn’t be briefing the President of the United States on it.” Another source said, “…this information has been sought by hundreds of congressional requests for legitimate oversight purposes and was withheld for political spite — and the belief that they’d never get caught.”

Ratcliffe himself said in a statement to FOX News, “To be clear, this is not Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the Intelligence Community. I’ll be briefing Congress on the sensitive sources and methods by which it was obtained in the coming days.”

As reported at NOQ (“News. Opinion. Quotes”) Report, “The President has promised to [eliminate the redactions] and offer complete transparency just in time for the November elections.” Mr. President, please make this happen IMMEDIATELY, as millions of people have already voted early. As I’ve long said, early voting is a bad idea, because voters need and deserve all the information they can get before casting their ballots. Holding information until after an election is in itself a political decision with potentially huge political consequences. We have only 27 days before voting (at least non-fraudulent voting) ends.

Paul Sperry, a longtime source of ours, tweeted, “When all the documents are finally declassified, and all the redactions removed from reports, the nation will see that the FBI and CIA not only knew that the Russia “collusion” allegations against Trump were a political dirty trick, but that they were in on the trick.”

Finally, Sean Hannity, on his TV show Tuesday nightdid a segment on this breaking news featuring Gregg Jarrett, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, who was Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager.

Of course, Jarrett has reported at length about Hillary and the Russia hoax, not to mention Obama’s cover-up. “He [Obama] sat there silently,” Jarrett said Tuesday night, “as our government was thrown into turmoil for the last four years over what he knew, based on the intelligence presented to him by John Brennan, which was phony information conjured up by Hillary Clinton…”

Lewandowski was more focused on the two-tier justice system and who is going to pay for this CRIME, the greatest hoax in political history. He said Trump told him in 2018 (!) that, yes, Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper and Comey DID KNOW it was all a hoax. They attempted to depose a duly-elected President, yet “not one person has been put in jail for this yet.”

The time has come. As David Bossie said Tuesday night, “You don’t have to be Columbo to figure this one out.

Trials

How we respond to trials makes all the difference. 

Like it or not, hardship is part of life. Becoming a Christian doesn’t change that fact (John 16:33). What shifts is our understanding of God’s sovereignty—nothing touches our life unless He permits it. Consider David, for example: God allowed a murderous king to pursue him for years (1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Samuel 23:25), but David responded to adversity with faith and called God his stronghold and refuge (Psalm 59:16).

If we let them, challenges can grow our faith, change our perspective, or deepen our compassion. But no matter what, the Lord is available to help us in our affliction (Psalm 46:1). Either we can turn toward Him for comfort, guidance, and support, or we can get angry and resentful that we’re not being rescued from our valley. 

When affliction strips away every crutch, one has only the Lord to depend upon. Though some people are destroyed by that kind of situation, others are built into undaunted believers.

What if

Like it or not, people are making evaluations about God according to the way we live as followers of Christ. Being a disciple is walking with Jesus in such a way that you get to say to someone else, “Follow my example.”

I know that we mess up sometimes. But that doesn’t excuse us from being examples. The apostle Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” 1 Corinthians 11:1

What if the church were filled with people just like you? What if everyone else in the church were exactly like you? What if everyone in the church read the Bible as faithfully as you do? Would we be a Bible studying church?

What if everyone in the church worshipped God just like you do? Would we be a worshipping church?

What if everyone in the church gave of their finances as faithfully as you do? Would we have a supported church?

What if everyone in the church shared the gospel as often as you do? What would the church be like? What if other believers were just like you?

As believers, we should be living godly lives in such a way that we could say, as the apostle Paul did, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

I know things change. People change, those things are out of our control. One thing never will change is God. He is the same as He was yesterday and today. His love for his people will never change.

Indictment

In a legal arraignment, the document detailing the specific charges against the accused is called the indictment. In a civil court, there is always the possibility that the charges could be dropped if the accused can prove his innocence or cast enough doubt on the charges brought against him.

But sinners are never afforded that luxury in God’s courtroom. The charges against us are irrefutable and inescapable before our omniscient Judge. In that realm, the indictment could hardly be more grim or more imposing. It is a detailed accusation drawn entirely from an infallible source—Scripture. There are thirteen counts in Romans 3:10–17 brought against every person who has ever lived. Every one of them is a direct quotation or paraphrase from the Old Testament:

1. There is none righteous, not even one.

2. There is none who understands.

3. There is none who seeks for God.

4. All have turned aside.

5. Together they have become useless.

6. There is none who does good, there is not even one.

7. Their throat is an open grave.

8. With their tongues they keep deceiving.

9. The poison of asps is under their lips.

10. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

11. Their feet are swift to shed blood.

12. Destruction and misery are in their paths.

13. And the path of peace they have not known.

Verse 18 then summarizes the indictment with one final Old Testament quotation: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

It is a universal indictment of all humanity. Four times in this passage the word none is used. Twice that expression is underscored with the words not even one. The word all is used in verses 9, 12, 19, 22, and 23—five times total in this discussion of the universality of sin. So this is a comprehensive statement. No one escapes the indictment.

The practice of stringing together verses and phrases drawn from diverse biblical sources was very common in rabbinic teaching. This is a didactic device known as charaz (literally, “string of pearls”). Paul draws, from multiple Old Testament sources, several parallel phrases about the universality of sin. And he strings them together like pearls—except that the result is not pretty. The full necklace is a choking indictment against every member of the human race.

This is no mere opinion of Paul’s, nor is it dry theoretical doctrine. He purposely starts with the phrase “As it is written,” in order to highlight the divine authority behind this indictment. He is employing a phrase commonly used in rabbinical discourse to introduce biblical citations. It’s an expression employed many times throughout the New Testament—often by Christ Himself.

Our Lord used it when He was being tempted by Satan. The devil assaulted Jesus with three sinister dares. All three times Christ answered with direct quotations from the Old Testament, saying “It is written . . . It is written again . . . Away with you, Satan! For it is written . . .” (Matthew 4:4710, NKJV, emphasis added). The phrase “it is written” is used more than sixty times in the New Testament. (It is used more than a dozen times in the Old Testament as well.) It is a formal appeal to the highest of all authorities, an implicit recognition that when Scripture speaks, God has spoken.

The Greek expression is a perfect passive indicative—meaning it describes a definitive action with abiding significance. The idea it conveys is, “This stands written as an eternal truth.” The perfect tense is always significant in koine Greek (the language of the New Testament). In this expression, that tense serves to underscore the finality and continuing authority of Scripture as the unchanging and eternal Word of God. What stands written is settled forever in heaven (Psalm 119:89). In Jesus’s words, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18).

So this is God’s definitive, authoritative Word on the hopeless depravity of fallen humanity.

Paul’s indictment comes in three parts. The first deals with character, the second with conversation, and the third with conduct. In other words, the corruption of sin affects our very nature, it is revealed in what we say, and it is manifest in the way we act. And we’ll consider all three of those aspects in the days ahead

Encourage

As we encourage our children to achieve, we must be balanced and affirm who they are, apart from their performance. When we do, they’ll know we appreciate them and that God values them, too. 

Of course, the desire of all Christian parents is for their children to acknowledge dependence on God and to receive Christ as Savior. At the end of the day, our own acceptance and appreciation will help them embrace God’s unconditional love and know that He’s both forgiven their sins and erased all condemnation

Do you forget

I have noticed that as I get older, and I am certainly getting older, more and more I am forgetting things. There have been times I have been looking for my reading glasses and I find they are on my head. That is kind of embarrassing. There are times I am looking for something that I have misplaced, and then forget what I am looking for while I am still looking for that thing.


Then there are other times when I forget where I’ve parked my car. I go into the parking structure and I can’t remember what level I parked on. So I walk around with my little remote control, pressing the button, hoping the alarm will go off. And the sad thing is I see other people doing the same thing. So I guess I am not alone out there. The truth is, I need reminders. Sometimes I will jot little notes to myself. I will even tell someone, “Remind me that I need to do thus and so.” Reminders are helpful.
We also have spiritual reminders. In church, we have Communion, where we are instructed to receive the elements—the bread and the cup—that remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus, as He said in Luke 22:19, Do this in remembrance of me.


Why do I need to be reminded? Because I forget things. And the Bible is a book that is filled with reminders. Not only that, it is a book that is filled with repetition. It tells us the same things over and over again. Why is that? Because we forget things.

We must honor God as a nation or we are doomed

Because government is instituted by God as His “minister … for good” (Rom. 13:3-4), it functions best when leaders honor and obey Him. Throughout Israel’s history, God commended kings who followed His laws and worshipped only Him. The course of the nation was influenced by each king’s beliefs and behavior. Since this principle is still applicable today, righteous leaders have tremendous potential to affect their nation in a positive way. The Lord will guide and support God-fearing leaders who seek His wisdom and direction for their decisions.

As important as rulers are in determining a nation’s future, its citizens also play a vital role, especially in democracies where leaders arise from within the populace. Christians who share their faith and raise children in God’s ways can influence their nation’s values and choice of rulers. When both leaders and citizens align their views with God’s, the helpless are protected, the guilty are punished, and the innocent are vindicated.

Looking at our nation today, you might feel discouraged. But you can make a difference in your circle of influence by living compassionately and sharing the good news of Christ. The more the love and freedom of Jesus is understood, the more our nation can be blessed by its citizens.

Excuses

All excuses are displeasing to the Lord. A willful refusal to obey His Word has a hardening effect on the heart and, over time, can make us less receptive to the stinging conviction of the Holy Spirit. This may seem to make life more pleasant in the short term, since we don’t feel as guilty. But the end results are painful.

The next time you’re tempted to ignore a divine commandment, remember the cost of Israel’s hard-hearted disobedience. Instead of trusting God, they refused to enter the Promised Land. As a result, they missed settling in their own homeland and instead wandered in the desert for 40 years until that generation died. Let’s learn from the Israelites’ mistakes and pray for softened hearts that are open to the Lord’s voice. 

worship

God doesn’t care so much about the length of your prayers. He doesn’t care about the eloquence of your prayers. But He does care about the heart of your prayers.

That is true of worship as well. God is not so interested in your posture, your volume, or even your pitch (though it’s nice to have great pitch). More than anything else, He looks on the heart.

Jesus said, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8 ).

You might say, “Well, if that’s the case, then why pray?”

Here’s the answer: Prayer is not informing God; prayer is inviting God. When I call out to the Lord in prayer and offer my petition, I’m not informing God of something He doesn’t already know. I’m inviting God into my situation, into my challenges, and into my problems.

Right now we need to bring God into our prayers and ask for healing of our nation.

Persecution

Persecution shows itself in many ways. It can be physical, obviously. It’s very dangerous for Christians in some countries today. In fact, Christians are the world’s most persecuted group.

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ live at risk the moment they declare their faith in Jesus Christ. They’re tortured and put to death. Or, their families ostracize them and declare them dead.

Even in the United States, persecution against followers of Jesus Christ seems to be on the rise. If you decide to be a Christian, you can lose friends, jobs, and other things. People may ridicule, marginalize, mock, or even threaten you.

But if no one ever persecutes you, harasses you, mocks you, or challenges you, then maybe you’re not living as a child of God. However, if you’re living your life as you ought to and you’re getting pushback, it’s confirmation that you belong to Him.

Be careful

Today people speak of their hearts as their emotional centers. They might say, “My mind tells me one thing, and my heart tells me another” or “I’m just listening to my heart.”

But be careful, because the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ).

When we talk about the heart as believers, we’re talking not only about the emotional center but about the intellectual center as well.

So, to be “pure in heart” means that we’re pure in our inner core. It means being people of purity.

But is it even possible to be pure today? Just like we easily dismiss the word holy, we also could dismiss the word pure. But “pure in heart” can be translated “single in heart.” It means having a single focus in life. It means that you’re a focused person, focused on your relationship with God.

We’re a people in constant conflict.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV).

This is something that most everyone would applaud. “Yes, blessed are the peacemakers,” we say. “Let’s work for peace. Let’s march for peace.”

However, Jesus wasn’t really talking about world peace here, though we all want world peace.

In context this verse primarily means, “Blessed are those who have seen themselves as they really are: Sinners without a Savior, humble and meek, hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Blessed are those who have a single focus on God and want others to come into the same relationship with Him because they’re bringing the message of the Prince of Peace.”

The Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15 NKJV).

Yet know this: peacemakers are often troublemakers. For example, maybe you’re the only Christian in your family. But then one day you became a Christian and wrecked it all. You ruined everything. Your family was in a dark place, you just turned on the light, and everyone noticed it.

Just hang in there and keep following the Lord. Pretty soon another family member will come to Christ and then another. And before you know it, you’ll be a Christian family because Christ intervened.

A happy or blessed person will be a peacemaker.

Are you spiritually healthy


A lot of people look forward to church on Sunday to worship the Lord and hear the Word of God. And some people just attend church on Sunday because that’s what you do on Sunday. Someone expects it of them.

But when people get involved in Bible study or prayer during the week, it tells me something about them. It tells me they’re hungry for God. They have jobs or are in school, yet they’ve carved out time to hear the Word of God and worship the Lord.

To me that says they are spiritually healthy people.

At the same time, we can do things that can spoil our spiritual appetites, like maybe sitting in front of the television for three hours. There are certain people who, when we hang around them, don’t build us up spiritually. Rather, they tear us down.

We need to recognize there is always more to learn as Christians. There is always a lot that needs to still change in our lives. No matter how much you pray, you can always pray more. No matter how much you love, you can always love more.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” God wants to fill you up to overflowing.

Your Condition

If you want to be a happy person, it starts with knowing that about yourself. Blessed are those who see themselves as they really are, which is spiritually bankrupt.

Everybody wants to be a somebody, or so it seems. So many people want to be a star, to be out in front, and they think that will make them happy.

Here’s another way to translate this: “Happy, or blessed, is the person who sees his or her real spiritual condition.”

And what is your real spiritual condition? You are spiritually destitute. You are spiritually impoverished. You are desperately in need of God.

Jesus also said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV). Here the idea of mourning is being sorry for our sin. It’s mourning over our sin.

We see our condition before God as sinners, but it isn’t a hopeless situation. There is a Savior who died on the cross for me and shed His blood for every sin I’ve ever committed. He’s ready to pardon and forgive us.

The Bible says that “godly sorrow produces repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV). So, we must say, “Lord, I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sin.”

If you’re really sorry for something, you’ll change. The sorrow the Bible talks about is being sorry enough to change your behavior. You see God, His holiness, and the life that He wants you to live. And you see how far you have to go.

Blessed or happy, are those who mourn over that condition.

2nd Coming


John 14:3

Let’s say, for the sake of a point, that we knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Of course, we know this couldn’t be the case because Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour of His return. But, for the sake of a point, let’s say that’s when we knew Jesus was coming for us.

What do you think we’d be doing at 2:45 pm? I think we’d have multiple Bibles opened in front of us. We’d be praying, singing worship songs, and sharing the gospel all at the same time.

Well, we don’t know when Christ will return, but we should live every day as though it were our last day because one day it will be. We should live every day as though it were the day that Christ could come back because one day He will.

The Bible is very clear in pointing out that Jesus Christ is returning, and He’s coming for His people. So, what are we supposed to do in light of this fact?

In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul addressed these words to believers living in the last days (and I believe that’s us): “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

We all get tempted. We all face trials, especially these days. This passage reminds us that we’re not alone in our struggles. Sometimes suffering and hardship can seem random and pointless, but it never is. God has His purposes for allowing these things to happen in our lives

Practice what you preach

I do believe that in order to be a good leader, you must be brave. It can be difficult to go against the grain or to insist on change. If as a leader you are stressing the importance of being on time, it is important that you show up to meetings on time. If you as a leader are stressing the importance of teamwork, it is important that you are modeling a team approach. If you as a leader are trying to hold people accountable for their actions, then it is important that you are also holding yourself accountable. If as a leader you are stressing the importance of loving one another, then you as a leader must exemplify love through words and actions. Jesus was a wonderful example of what it means to be a good leader and he spent his last few years on Earth providing example after example of how we should act if we want to follow him.

Perhaps some of you might be saying, “I am not a leader. No one is following me.” But I would argue that regardless of what our individual situations are at work or home, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to lead by example. By practicing what we believe, we are providing examples of good behavior to anyone who is paying attention. While we do not read about the “Do, Be, Say” approach in the Gospel, I believe throughout his lifetime, Jesus practiced it and I would encourage us as his followers to do the same. Let’s be brave.

Take my yoke upon you

Dee Keith

Matthew 11:29

As a very young boy, I can still remember watching my grandpa work his fields behind his mule and listening to him command “Dolly” to do different things. Rarely was “Dolly” stubborn or attempt to resist the commands of my grandpa. She didn’t fight the reins and harness. She never seemed to indicate that they were a burden or something to throw off. Rather, she was obedient and yielded to her master and to the harness and reins he had slipped over her head. 

The Lord Jesus was the Master Teacher. Jesus was given the popular title of Rabbi, or Teacher, and Mary Magdalene called Him “Rabboni,” which means “my Master” John 20-16. He was indeed Master and Teacher. He was Immanuel, God in the flesh. He could look at something as simple as a fig tree, a sower sowing seed in the field, water, fish or bread and draw truths so divine, so sublime and so simple, that those who heard His analogies were left shaking their heads in amazement and sometimes in confusion by their simplicity. The picture of the yoke was one of those lessons where the Lord Jesus reached into Israel’s everyday culture and elevated a scene so ordinary to a level so spiritual that its meaning was unmistakable to the hearers. 

Perhaps we ought to remind ourselves at this time, that Jesus’ message fell upon ears that were open to every little thing that He said, while other ears were obtuse, or dull, not quick to understand. In the earlier part of the chapter, disciples sent from the imprisoned John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked on the Baptist’s behalf, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (3). The Lord patiently and prudently answered their question in verses 4-19 but rebuked the self-pious Jews that followed. Jesus then rebuked the three Galilean cities because of their disbelief and failure to repent in spite of all they had been privileged to witness.

The prayer of the Lord in verses 25-26 was offered up especially for John the Baptist’s disciples but spoken audibly for all to hear. Jesus then spoke one of the most practical and pertinent messages of His three-year ministry: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” What did Jesus’ thought “Take my yoke upon you” mean to them and what does it mean to us? The scene of a team of oxen coupled together working under the reins of their master was not unfamiliar to these Jewish listeners. It was one they could see daily.

Undoubtedly more than a few had left their cattle and oxen and fields for a few hours so they could come and hear the Rabbi this morning. To their surprise, He spoke on the subject of the yoke and their thoughts would have immediately gone to the subject of service. Cattle are yoked for service. Thus, the Master’s lesson was a call to service with Him. D. L. Moody, the great evangelist and pastor, noted on this passage that “The Eastern yoke is made for two necks. If Christ is with us, we are blessed. There is no room for a third neck (2 Co. 6:14)”.

Very soon after His baptism and forty-days temptation in the wilderness, Jesus walked along the shore of Galilee and saw one team of two brothers, Andrew and Simon called Peter, and said unto them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19). Just a short distance from them was another team of two more brothers, James and John, “and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (Mt. 4:21-22). The message to all believers would become “follow me.” We are to yoke ourselves to the Lord Jesus because it is our reasonable service (Ro. 12:1).

Jesus’ audience understood the simplicity of the thought that being yoked also implied a call to submission. The yoke was one of the most easily understood figures of speech of that time because it illustrated the yoke of submission to an occupation or obligation. The Pharisees and others who were educated enough in their Old Testament history would remember that Jeremiah the prophet wore an ox yoke as a symbol of the nation’s submission to the king of Babylonia. The meaning of submit is to ‘yield, to obey, to bring oneself under the authority of another.’ So, Jesus’ message was “Submit yourself to me,” or “Be obedient to me,” or “Accept the task that I give you.”

Submission isn’t a popular topic because it is a difficult act for most of us. We were born in a sinful, stubborn world where our fallen Adamic natures pushes back in resistance against others and authority. Human will doesn’t want to be under the reins of another. This has become especially vivid in our current time as we watch the anger and violent protests taking place across our nation in every section of our country against all levels of authority. One of the things that is happening (not the only one, just one) is that humanity is attempting to unleash itself from the yoke of governmental authority and racial inferiority.

And even the church has found that it is not immune from such rebellious spirits. However, the Lord Jesus has called on His people to “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” just as He submitted Himself to the Father. Paul captured this point saying, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Php. 2:6-8).

When we accept the yoke of service and submission, Jesus said, “I will give you rest”. It is a call to serenity. The call is to those who are weary from sin to “come unto me, and I will give you rest.” Isaiah said of them, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Is. 48:22). But David, on the other hand, said, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him” (Ps. 37:7). Those who are weary from struggles are to come unto the Lord for rest. “Come unto me,” Jesus to those wearied from toil, “and I will give you rest.” Rest is what the body, soul, and spirit are in search of. When the believer willingly yokes themselves to the Lord Jesus, the outcome of their relationship will be an inner rest and serenity.

The words of the Apostle Paul are appropriate here as they relate to the rest that the Lord Jesus was offering to Israel and us. Paul said, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The only way to find this serenity and rest is to yoke ourselves to the Lord Jesus in submission and service.

Being Watched

This may come as a surprise to you, but Christians are being watched. We’re being watched very carefully all the time, especially by nonbelievers.

And they’re not exactly rooting for us. They kind of like it when we mess up because then they can say, “You see? That’s why I’m not a Christian.”

Yet when a believer goes through difficulty and gives glory to God, it’s a powerful witness to a watching world.

Not only do nonbelievers watch Christians, but younger Christians watch older Christians. They’re wondering, “How does an older believer deal with the onslaught of age or illness or the loss of a spouse? How does an older believer deal with uncertainty and unrest in our culture?”

They look to older believers for inspiration and an example. As they should.

One day those younger believers will be the older believers, and they’ll model the same thing for the next generation.

Do you think Job knew that one day we would study his life? I think he just experienced it all in real time and was honest in the way he reacted, yet here we are still talking about him today.

Therefore, would it you give you a measure of comfort to know that by the way you face your hardships, challenges, and trials, you’re giving hope to others? God uses these things in our lives for His purposes.

Christian's Commentary

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