In 1775, the U.S. Congress first called for a national day of prayer, but it was not recognized as a formal celebration until 1952. However, for the first time in 69 years, no prayer service will be conducted at the U.S. Capitol as the use of the “People’s House” for prayer has been denied by President Biden. But barricades, security, and politics in Washington, D.C. cannot stop Americans from observing this day and praying for our nation. On April 17, 1952 a bill initiated by Mr. Conrad Hilton and Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas was passed (Public Law 82-324) that the President of the United States was to set aside an appropriate day each year, other than Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer. Harry Truman signed it into law. Wednesday, May 7, 1988 – Senator Strom Thurmond’s bill to designate a day for the National Day of Prayer passed unanimously in the Senate (later in the House). Thursday, May 8, 1988 – Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 100-307 designating the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer. August 12, 1998 – Bill Clinton signed Public Law 105-225: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. There’s is no law prescribing the National Day of Prayer be be celebrated only by members of one faith. As America has grown as a multicultural, multi-religious nation, it is widely celebrated by more than those in the Christian community. Even though our President and Vice-President do not seem interested in building people in faith in Someone bigger than themselves, we do not need a specific place or time to pray for them and for our nation. So tomorrow, the first Thursday of May is STILL a day for the nation to come together to pray.
Join here with hundreds of thousands tomorrow to pray, and consider making this your daily habit, to recognize there is a Higher Power that can free people from sin, deliver from addictions, preserve the most vulnerable lives, and that even “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;He turns it wherever He will.” (Proverb 21:1)
The Democrat-controlled Senate spends thousands of collective hours conducting an impeachment trial against a citizen who is no longer president. The acquittal is predetermined, as in the first impeachment effort a year ago — and known to be so to the Democratic prosecutors. The constitutionally mandated presiding judge — the chief justice of the Supreme Court — refused to show up. Chief Justice John Roberts apparently believes an impeachment trial of a private citizen is either a waste of time or unconstitutional — or both.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is busy ferreting out purportedly extremist Republican House members. For the first time in memory, one party now removes committee members of the other. Yet for each Republican outlier, there is a corresponding Democratic firebrand member who has either called for violence or voiced anti-Semitic slurs — and yet will not be removed from House committees. So the asymmetrical tit-for-tat continues.
The subtext to this madness is that the Democratic Congress, the new administration, the administrative state, and the political left are obsessed with dismembering the presidential corpse of now citizen Donald Trump. Apparently they fear that one day he will rise from the infernal regions to wreak his revenge. Meanwhile, life in America goes on.
Yet few of our leaders are very worried about the existential crises left unaddressed by their obsessions with the ghost of Trump. Take the debt. It is now nearly $28 trillion, and it is growing by almost $2 trillion a year. No one in Washington talks about reducing the annual budget deficit. Nor do officials find ways to balance the budget. The idea of paying off the monstrous debt remains a fantasy. Instead, our elected representatives argue over whether to borrow another $1 trillion, or more likely $2 trillion, without worry of where it comes from or how it will be repaid.
But money is not completely a construct. We will eventually pay for our profligacy either with steeper taxes, higher inflation, 1970s-like stagflation, or permanent zero interest. Or eventually America will renounce its debt and destroy the credibility of the U.S. government. Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of dollars and countless hours of once-productive labor are diverted to unproductive ideological censorship, career canceling, and indoctrination.
Our allies, such as democratic France, warn America that it is cannibalizing itself — and becoming dangerous to others. Our enemies, such as the totalitarian Chinese, are delighted with our suicidal wokeness. The cost is not just the expense of cleaning up the billions of dollars of destruction from the summer riots, the thousands of memorials and statues destroyed and defaced, and the hundreds of schools and buildings to be renamed.
Far more consequential is the suppression of creative thinking — from humanistic study to scientific research. The Islamic world, as the historian Bernard Lewis once observed, stagnated in the 19th and 20th centuries once radical Islamists began squelching all free inquiry. Humanities and science were perverted from 1932 to 1945 in Germany by the pollution of Nazi racial censors. What was written or advanced in communist Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union is largely discredited, given that commissar hacks determined the rules of publication and research. Something similarly frightening is now occurring in the United States.
Scholars, journalists, artists, and educators feel they must mouth politically correct platitudes. They constantly hedge their public discourse in fear of career cancellation. They strain to synchronize their research with some approved woke ideology to save their livelihoods. When professors must write “diversity statements” and hire, promote, and fire on the basis of race, the model is not the U.S. Constitution, but something out of contemporary China.
No one pays much attention that our capital is now weaponized with soldiers in camouflage and barbed wire. Not since the Civil War has Washington resembled such a vast police state. Ex-military officers who once warned Trump not to deploy federal troops to ensure the safety of the White House from Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators now are silent about a veritable army deployed in Washington.
President Joe Biden has signaled that all new pipeline construction is over. Fracking on public lands is taboo. The border is to become wide open. Federal immigration law is now effectively nullified. Americans may soon have to be tested for COVID-19 before flying into or out of the country. But illegal immigrants will not be COVID-19-certified when — illegally — they cross the border. Iran is bankrupt, isolated and roundly despised by most of the countries in the Middle East. Now America is doing its best to resuscitate the most radical and anti-American regime in the world — at the expense of our allies in the Arab world, Israel, and America’s own interests. While we are busy devouring each other, China is smiling because once-feared American capitalists have become laughable Keystone Cops.
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An apology to my email followers: the other day I erroneously reposted the blog of January 21. My old brain just seems to slip a cog every now and then, and it is too easy to click buttons on the computer. But once the reposting went to your email there was no way to retract it. This was the blog I intended to send.
Jonathan Cahn leads Hope of the World, a service to Gentiles and Jews examining issues of prophecy and end-time events. While somewhat flamboyant (his website is a little ‘busy’ for my tastes), he is impressive as a Bible teacher in that he does not go beyond what the scripture says; no predictions of dates or even seasons; no announcements of “Look here is the Christ in the inner room!” (Matthew 24:23). And he is very thorough and discreet in his exposition of what the Bible says about the second coming of Jesus.
If you have 35 minutes, you may want to check out his YouTube of the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast for Barack Obama on March 11, 2013. I suspect someone in the president’s staff thought, “Okay, here’s a Jewish rabbi who is also an evangelical Christian; we can kill two birds with one stone and have him speak, appealing to voters from both camps.” Boy, did he get an education! 😄
Joking aside, this is Rabbi Cahn’s recent message to our new president, who we must acknowledge is in the position because of God’s will. I, along with any other Christ-followers, am praying FOR President Biden that he will recognize Father’s voice when He speaks and respond appropriately to the grace of Jesus, winning for himself and our nation a reprieve from the disasters that the current divisions in our county portend.
Abraham Lincoln warned us: Mob rule begets mob rule. On Wednesday, as Congress convened to certify an Electoral College vote of the 2020 presidential election, a mass of people broke into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. They climbed the building, smashed windows, entered offices, and even entered the House and Senate chambers. It was a bizarre scene, to say the least.
Taking selfies and engaging in photo ops from the House speaker’s chair certainly puts a modern twist on this 21st-century reenactment of the Vandals’ sack of Rome in 455 A.D. But it wasn’t just window-smashing and photo ops. The intrusion also turned deadly. A woman was shot and killed.
There will also be questions as to how a group of people, no matter how large, was able to push their way inside the Capitol and stay inside for several hours. So, what’s to be made of all this?
The right to peacefully assemble and protest is an essential one guaranteed by the Constitution. Breaking into and vandalizing federal property — for whatever cause — is not. Regardless of the original message of the protests, those who orchestrated the break-in to federal property deserve condemnation. It’s a violation of the rule of law, not to mention a federal crime.
Certainly, many on both the left and right came out quickly to condemn the violence. It would, however, be a mistake to see what happened in isolation.
Let’s not forget that Washington, D.C. — as with many other cities across the country — had already been beset last year by mobs and waves of violent riots. When rioters lit fires, smashed windows, toppled statues, and physically and verbally assaulted political opponents in the name of Black Lives Matter this summer, the result was that a street was named for the movement in front of the White House.
The violence wasn’t limited to just Washington. Around the country, large swaths of cities were set ablaze as police departments became overwhelmed, and politicians did little to stop it. A lawless “autonomous” zone was created in the middle of downtown Seattle, which led to widespread property damage and several deaths. Many hopped aboard calls to defund the police, rather than defending the police while they were besieged. And more than a few turned down federal aid when it was clear that things had spun out of control.
Portland, Oregon, had the highest spike of violent crime in the entire country — impressive given the nearly unprecedented national surge in violent crime. That is the consequence of rampant lawlessness.
When Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., dared to suggest in an op-ed in the pages of The New York Times that overwhelmed police departments should have the ability to request aid from the military, the Times newsroom rebelled, and he was called an authoritarian. Yet, Cotton aptly called the lawless riots what they were: mob rule.
Mob rule, whether conducted by members of Black Lives Matter or people wearing MAGA hats, is a threat to law and order. Not only that, it’s a threat to liberty, too. It violates the very essence of the Constitution, of the belief that the people ultimately rule. And as Abraham Lincoln warned in his famed 1838 Lyceum Address, mob law when left unchecked begets more mob law. When portions of the population think that violence is the path to victory, where the rules of the system don’t have to be followed, it is only natural for others to think that mob law is the law. Under mobocracy, even those inclined to follow the law may eventually lose faith in the government.
Lincoln warned: Good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed.
Even if we believe that our system has become corrupted, that injustice rather than justice has prevailed, it is still the wiser course to appeal to ballots, protest, and petition rather than violence. The American Revolution, which ultimately ended in war and the overthrow of British rule, was for the most part an orderly affair. Even within a system that did not provide representative government, the Founders appealed to law and negotiation first, second, and third before resorting to violence. And once committed to revolution, they knew there was no going back.
Most Americans understand this. But make no mistake, unlike this summer’s riots — which countless media outlets distorted and misrepresented to excuse and minimize — there will absolutely be efforts to portray every Trump supporter as a violent insurrectionist. And politicians will use that to justify curtailing the God-given rights of citizens who disagree with them.
Many have condemned the intrusion and vandalizing of the Capitol Building, as they should, but we should also not forget the fact that mob rule and lawlessness have destroyed the lives of countless Americans over the past year and has eroded our country’s attachment to the rule of law. This should have always been unacceptable.
Lincoln’s warning in 1838 was ignored, and a generation of Americans paid a terrible price in blood for it. Let us learn from the past instead of tearing it down. Regardless of the corruption of our institutions, the better path forward is to support the rule of law, reform old institutions or build new ones, and plan for the long term of sustaining this federal republic that we would surely like to keep.
January 2 finds us anticipating virus vaccines across the US and a finalization to our November 3rd presidential and vice-presidential elections in just four days. What ever happens, we hope it is finally over! However, based on the last four years, it is unlikely politics will slip away into the background for a couple years the way it used to after elections. Mid-term balloting is “only” two years away when Americans will go back to the polls to choose lawmakers for whichever Senators are coming to the end of their six-year terms, and all the Representatives, who serve two-year terms.
And no one expects a reprieve from presidential hopefuls. Vote for ME in 2024! I’ll give you bigger stimulus checks than the other guy and unite the country around my partisan positions on abortion, immigrant rights, LGBTQ, the environment, what to call people who gender identify, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel and Social Security. Okay, on Social Security almost everyone actually agrees. But otherwise the parties and the national factions are poles apart, whatever the polls say.
So I decided to make an upside down cake to celebrate our upside down world. Variation on a theme, I made a Pineapple Almond Upside Down Cake that actually came out pretty easy to do. Hey, if I can do it, YOU can! 🙂
It is always safest with any recipe to assemble all your ingredients before beginning. It would be a shame to make the caramel for the bottom/top and then find out you did not have cornstarch . . . course, at that point you could always claim you wanted to make caramel! Actually, guess no downside there! 😉
So get together the following for your Ingredients: Topping (which will go in the bottom of the cake pan): 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (salted/unsalted does not matter) Pineapple slices, one 20oz can or enough fresh to cover the bottom of your cake pan Cake Mix: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon corn starch 1/2 cup ground almonds (I like leaving some small chunks for crunch: I just don’t grind too finely.) 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1-3/4 cup sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (soften to room temperature) 1 teaspoon almond extract (If you are afraid of too much almond, you can substitute vanilla extract here.) 4 large eggs 3/4 cup sour cream Pan – 8″ x 11.5″ x 2″
Generously grease the pan with butter. You can use the stick you have for the topping, but make sure you reeeeally cover the corners and the sides up to the rim! This butter greasing will make your cake smoothly come out of the pan when you flip it at the end. Melt the butter at medium heat in a small saucepan and add the brown sugar, stirring until it dissolves. But after the sugar melts, STOP stirring, and let it simmer until the mixture just begins to bubble. Pour the mixture into the pan and level it out. Next add the pineapple slices, arranged in a single layer to cover as much as you can of the caramel mixture. As you can see my slices were not very pretty like the canned ones, but I was using a fresh pineapple and had not planned on the cake when I cut it up.
While making the cake mix, preheat your oven to 325⁰F.
To make the cake batter, whisk all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a large mixing bowl: flour, corn starch, almonds, baking powder and salt. In another mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter and flavoring (almond or vanilla). Use the larger bowl for this, not like I did with a small mixing bowl. Add one egg at a time and beat each one before adding the next. Add about half the dry mixture and mix into the butter mix, followed by half the sour cream. Repeat this step with the remainder of the dry mixture and sour cream. This process it to ensure smooth blending of the batter without overbeating the eggs. Once you have a consistent texture throughout the batter, pour it over the pineapple and caramel; smooth it out so that it is fairly uniform on top.
Bake at 325⁰F for about one hour until a tester (e.g. butter knife) comes out clean. If you have a baking thermometer the center of the cake should reach 205⁰F. If you stop before the tester comes out clean the center of your cake will be mushy; tastes good, but not great presentation. Allow the cake to cool in its pan for five minutes, off any source of heat; i.e. out of the oven and not on a hot rack. Carefully flip the cake smoothly onto a platter. If some of the topping that was on the bottom of the pan sticks to it, start over and butter the pan more generously! 🙂 Not really. Just scoop it out and patch it onto the top of the now Upside Down Cake.
If you use canned pineapple or cut your fresh stuff into pretty rings, you can dress it up with cherries in the center of the rings for decoration. The cake can be served still warm from the oven or cooled. With the fruit on top, I recommend refrigeration after cooling to room temperature unless you are eating it all within 24 hours. Next time I am going to try overbeating the eggs. It is delicious as it is, with the texture of a pound cake, but I think overbeating the eggs before adding the dry mixture will make it lighter.
Bon appétit or maybe “Nanea i kāu pāʻina!“ And to end the year, one of the most spectacular Christmas musical renditions I have ever heard; the caption says it all: It Will Give You Chills!
Well, it’s almost that day of the year when we turn over a new leaf (or snowflake if you’re lucky enough to live far enough north to enjoy the miraculous white powder).
In any case, lots of leaves have been turned over this year that many of us did not expect! Job losses, especially in the service and food sectors, mandates from new czars formerly known as governors, isolation from nursing homes and hospital patients, mistreatment or murder of citizens based on the color of their skin, Marxist style riots dubiously based on claims of racial profiling, conflicts of electoral processes with questions of electoral integrity, a Supreme Court confirmation liberals detested, deaths of dear friends or relatives with the Wuhan Virus (I am NOT racist against Chinese – I MARRIED one! Wuhan was simply where the virus started.) Yes, lots of changes none of us could have predicted.
So now there is another “leaf” to turn over. We pray that things will begin to return to “normal” with the virus vaccine roll-outs from Pfizer and Moderna promising that we may see a flattening of the pandemic curve after a year of spikes and information overload that reported too quickly on social media what would best be left for biologists to work out over a couple years.
The election should be finalized January 6th with Congress certifying the results of the electoral college, and we may have a politician for president who used to be a good compromiser with opponents in the Senate. We’ll see if he is as good at getting compromises from extremists in his own party or in getting concessions from conservatives who think the election was stolen.
Anita and I walked around our neighborhood and enjoyed the Christmas decorations, especially those that acknowledge Jesus’ real purpose in coming to earth. He was uniquely born to die, not as an accident of activity or disease. His express reason for creating a body inside Mary, using her DNA, was so that He could go to the cross and pay a penalty for our sin and selfishness, giving of Himself freely to redeem us into eternal life. So now, though the outward man perishes the inner man can be renewed day by day until we pass from this vaporous short-term existence into the Real Life that Jesus initiated for us by rising from the dead.
Our subdivision, Copperfield, put out Luminaria by providing everyone in our 433 houses with paper bags, sand and tea lights. Though slightly sparse (only five per house), it gave a sense of community to our neighborhood that has been missed this year with no Clubhouse activities and restricted pool use. The display turned out very effectively to show we are all responsible for the light we shine.
Our Christmas tree has so many ornaments collected on our travels that we only use a few of the usual generic bulbs. The tree that went up just before Thanxgiving Day will probably stay up through January. Christmas is not even celebrated in some places until January 7, and Candlemas, the celebration of the traditional view of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple is not until February 1. Besides, the lighted tree with all its memorial embellishments makes the dark wintry nights feel just a little brighter as the days begin to slowly lengthen since the winter solstice is past. A friend in Johnston, Rhode Island used to leave their Christmas tree up all year long, just covering it with a sheet to keep dust off . . . unless someone came to visit; then they would reveal the tree in all its glory whether the month was May or July! Here are a few of our “annual” ornaments.
So now another year ends and another begins, as we count the years. (We have not always counted this way, and even now, other cultures . . . count differently.) Several people have asked me what I do in my days now that I have officially retired. These days, memberships, subscriptions, and a dizzying array of content to watch and listen to abound. In fact, I still have not begun to clean my basement (now my excuse is that it is too cold 🙂 ). Enjoy your time with your family. Stay safe and healthy into the New Year, and we will see what Father has planned for us in 2021.
“The Electoral College on Monday began voting to make President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election official.” (NBC News) “According to an NBC News tally, Biden was leading Trump by 240 votes to 229 as of 4 p.m. ET. Biden will mark the occasion with an address to the country around 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday.”
Finally, after five weeks of “officially” calling the election, a major news network is finally admitting they made a mistake. Well, not in so many words, like “We’ve been lying to you all month.” But NBC News just announced the Electoral College vote which would “make Joe Biden’s 2020 victory official.”
Since the Associated Press called the “official” results on the night of November 3rd, most of the mainstream media echoed this theme, calling Trump’s contesting “baseless, without evidence, a false narrative” and other pejorative terms to make sure we all “knew” that there was “nothing to see here, folks.” In spite of significant irregularities and multiple legal affidavits affirming suspicions of voter fraud and machine tampering (subject to criminal prosecution if lying), the courts, including some judges appointed by Trump, avoided the conflict to stay out of politics.
Whether the outcome of these complaints by the Trumpers would have changed what Democrats expected to happen, it disturbs me that the media continued to pile on that he was “trying to overturn the election,” when what his legal team was trying to do was assert that the election was not over until the legal challenges had been heard.
Unfortunately, inaction is itself a form of action, and only God can assess whether the judges were just afraid of the leftist mobs that would attack if they validated any of the questions, or if they truly believed that Trump’s team had no legal basis for challenging the election processes in the contested states.I am not a lawyer and have not read any of the briefs presented to the courts. In any case, unless Trump “pulls a rabbit out of the hat” (as I have referenced his winning before), and gets Congress to refute the Electoral College, throwing the election into the House of Representatives, then Biden will have prevailed, however dubiously.
Thucydides, about 400 years Before Christ, said in his History of the Peloponnesian War, “In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.” While this is true in any democratic/republican election, it is particularly concerning that this election was SOOO close in the so-called “battle-ground states” that it is very possible there were illegal activities that delivered the election to Biden.
However, as a Christ-follower I must keep in mind that it is my Father who actually determines our leaders per Daniel and Paul in the Bible: “He removes kings [presidents] and sets up kings [presidents].” (Daniel 2:21) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 12:21-31:1) Thus, whether illegal actors or incompetent officials were responsible in human terms for the outcome of this election, I must admit that God has chosen the Biden/Harris ticket for our next president and vice-president.
That does not mean Christ-followers should simply lie down now and let the pro-abortionists, the Green New Deal, and the antisemitism of the BDS congress people bowl us over into submission to ungodly activities. But we must tread carefully and make sure the places we take stands are, in fact, places Jesus would stand. We ARE supposed to be “little Christs,” the derisive term that initially got us called Christians. It may be that some of us will have to take stands as Jesus did before Pilate and the Sanhedrin and allow ourselves to be crucified. Isn’t that what being a “little Christ” means?
So whether you voted for our President-elect or the current President, let your faith grow into Jesus. God did not make a mistake. Now, how will we react to what God is going to do in our nation? How will we participate in what God wants to do for our neighbor?
“A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, whose father was Jewish.
In these troubled times, it is disconcerting that there is so much confusion over the news outlets that are supposed to inform us. Mark Twain once remarked, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” How much more so when a president accuses media of fomenting fake news, and then the media cooperates by declaring an “official” winner in a disputed election, as if the Associated Press or CNN or Fox News had the prerogative to make claims that are the exclusive domain of the Electoral College. Fortunately this will all be over soon as far as the election is concerned. January 20, which is the only certain deadline in the Constitution, is barely over a month away.
But I fear for our Democratic Republic that the troubles that plagued Trump’s summer of 2020 will not go away whether Biden or Trump prevail by January 20, 2021. “Trumpers” will likely not riot en masse in response to a Biden win as some of the pundits are predicting. Conservatives tend to be more conservative than that. Sporadic and short-lived eruptions of fringe-right groups may occur, but even most conservatives will condemn them.
On the other hand, groups of Biden’s supporters are expecting big allowances and favored treatment if he wins. If Biden does not acquiesce, but instead attempts to “reach across the aisle” as he has in the past as a senator, even he will inflame riotous antagonism to his attempts to unify the nation. If Trump pulls a rabbit out of the hat and wins, all hell will break loose with almost civil war arising from the factions that supported Biden. If Biden finally prevails some on the left are calling for a “scorched earth policy” for anyone who even considered supporting Trump.
My encouragement to Christ-followers is to recognize that Father will decide which of the contenders will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021. Daniel said explicitly that “He removes kings [presidents] and sets up kings [presidents].”Paul reaffirmed this perspective to the Romans, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.“
We might ask incredulously, “Really? Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Xi, Putin, Bush, Obama, Trump?” Let’s address this more fully after 2021 has begun, but suffice it to say for now, the Bible is explicit: “There is NO authority except from God.”
In spite of the troubling newsabout Smartmatic, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Dominion Voting Systems, when we think are in control, or they think “they” are in control, there is actually a Sovereign Ruler who can override any of our apparent tricks or decisions. Even that democratic defender of deterrence, the ever-honest-1/164th-Native-American Elizabeth Warren worried about the electronic voting systems as recently as December, 2019. But she and her colleagues did not have to worry. The international intrigue that surround the electronic voting systems will in the end only fulfill Father’s decision.
In the 18th century, Joseph de Maistre said “Democracies get the leaders they deserve.” So it is that Jimmy Carter was our last really honest and Godly president, and he only lasted one term because of his commitment to do what really was best for the nation as a whole, instead of pandering to selfish special interest groups, as each subsequent president has increasingly done.
As long as we constantly look for our own personal advantage, for our own political goals and our own financial security we will miss what God intends for us: lives of peace, security, and blessing, but not blessing to sit back and enjoy, and let the rest of the world go to hell. His blessings are always for the sharing of His Good News with others who are in need.
So while the election winds down to its conclusion, the pandemic keeps us from loved ones at the holidays, and wildfiresburn up California while internationally alarmists warn of even greater so-called “climate-change crises,” remember Who is really in control. And remember His love, even for His enemies, which at one time included you . . . and ME! And follow in His steps.
The Night after Christmas, It Was Still Dark How the story of the shepherds changes our view of suffering. by Jeff Peabody – November 27, 2020 – Good reading in Christianity Today.
The little Palestinian town of Beit Sahour is believed to sit atop the site where “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). Two churches claim to mark the spot of the angelic visitation. But that is just geography. This year I find myself less interested in the where of the fields because I am more concerned with the when — the “at night” Luke briefly mentions. The shepherds’ experience of darkness, both before and after their trip to the manger, holds special relevance for a Christmas arriving in the waning hours of 2020.
It has been a pretty dark year. In the midst of already dire global conditions, the pandemic has plunged the world into what has seemed like an endless metaphorical nighttime. It calls to mind when God brought the plague of darkness on Egypt, describing it to Moses as “darkness that can be felt” (Exodus 10:21). Once again, something palpable seems to have blanketed the world with all the unknowns, fears, and uncertainties nightfall brings. And as with most nights, we are weary.
Merry Christmas, right?
Maybe the sentiment is not as incongruous as it feels. Maybe the season of joy is right at home in these conditions. “Advent always begins in the dark,” writes Fleming Rutledge.
For most of my years as a pastor, it has felt as though I have been shepherding at night, in the dark. No grand visions. No mapped-out growth strategy. I have prayed regularly for the light-up-the-sky kind of illumination realized by the Bethlehem shepherds. Just show me what to do, God, and I will do it. But my eyes have never been able to focus very far ahead.
That blindness became amplified by all that happened this year, like moving from twilight to midnight. Suddenly, I could not see two steps in front of me. Staring into a camera week after week to deliver sermons, I could not even see the flock, let alone the fields. Each new crisis in the world begged for a response I did not have. Big decisions and future planning became increasingly difficult, even as the need for them intensified.
The Old Testament book of Joel recounts a disastrous pestilence that wreaked havoc on God’s people. It brought widespread, horrific destruction. In reflecting on those events, Eugene Peterson observed, “There is a sense in which catastrophe doesn’t introduce anything new into our lives. It simply exposes the moral or spiritual reality that already exists but was hidden beneath an overlay of routine, self-preoccupation, and business as usual.”
The virus we are facing may be novel, but the distress we are experiencing is not. The preexisting darkness has simply grown thicker, making it more difficult to move. But immobility is not always bad. When we cannot go anywhere, we are left with sitting and waiting. And if we are still for any length of time, we are more likely to notice what we would have missed otherwise.
Such as those two little words: “at night.”
That first Christmas night created a watershed between epochs of darkness. There is pre-manger darkness and post-manger darkness. “The shepherds returned,” Luke says, “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20). After everything they saw, they returned to the place they had started. In other words, they went back to that dark night.
All the brilliant, phosphorescent glory that lit up the entire sky did not end their experience of darkness. It was still there, waiting for them on the far side of the manger. And that was to be expected. The angels had not visited the shepherds to bring a miraculous halt to the rotation of the earth. They were not there to banish the night. Glory displayed for one purpose only: to provide the irresistible prompt to seek out Jesus. A flash of light showed the way to a greater light.
This, I have realized, is where I have often gotten hung up. I have been praying for a light that will eradicate the dark altogether and get me out of it. I am looking — aching, at times — for clear, confident revelation that will end my confusion for good. I have been waiting for God to solve life for me. But honestly, that is more escapism than seeking God’s leading. And that is not why he gives us light. He shines his beams of revelation to show us the path to Jesus, the light of the world.
We can learn to reframe our questions from “Lord, when will this darkness be over?” to “What is pointing me toward Christ?” As we do, we may find there is significantly more light in the room than we realized.
The angel’s message began with the reassurance that there was no need to be afraid because God’s rescue plan was in motion. It encompassed everything (offering joy for all people) and missed nothing (down to the details of how Jesus was bundled). God’s grasp of history and his utter command of the situation were fully evident. The birth of Christ happened before the angels arrived, during the unlit hours of the night. The angelic announcement may have shattered the gloom with its brightness, but the miraculous arrival of Jesus occurred much like his resurrection: “while it was still dark” (John 20:1).
God is at work before we see him, absolutely unhindered. Our blindness is not His. “Even the darkness will not be dark to you,” the psalmist says (Psalm 139:12). He is not intimidated by all the unknowns of night that stop us in our tracks.
That first Christmas night created a watershed between epochs of darkness. There is pre-manger darkness and post-manger darkness.
Up until then, no one had ever lived in a world where the Son of God had dwelt among us as a fellow human being. Prior to the Incarnation, God had not fully revealed himself. As the shepherds sat out in those fields, they were living in a world that could see no more than the outlines of God’s redemption plan. The veil had not been torn yet.
But then, as Isaiah predicted, a light dawned on the people sitting in that pre-manger darkness. The birth of Christ changed everything. Suddenly, there was physical evidence of spiritual action. The hopes of endless ages were no longer abstract wishes. They were about to be fulfilled within the lifespan of a real live person.
It was the reality of Jesus — not the light of the angels — that stuck with the shepherds. As glorious as the heavenly choir had looked and sounded out in the field, it paled in comparison to the staggering truth the Christ child embodied. Even as they were filled with wonder, the shepherds were given only the smallest glimpse of what was coming. Their understanding was limited to whatever promise they could imagine from a newborn baby. They did not know he would literally calm storms. They did not see him heal the sick or raise the dead or feed the crowds. They knew nothing of the Cross, let alone the Resurrection. God did not show them the Holy Spirit’s work at Pentecost, the inclusion of the nations, or how the gospel would advance tirelessly around the globe for the next 2,000 years. Yet the shepherds had enough light from that encounter to march back into their dark night rejoicing and praising God.
Sometimes we act as though what we are going through is pre-manger darkness. When God seems silent, when we are bewildered by our inability to figure out a way forward, we make up a greater void than is truly there. Because in truth, a staggering amount of light has been shed on Jesus since the shepherds. History continues to provide both evidence and explanation.
I do not mean to minimize or trivialize anyone’s “dark night of the soul.” When you are in one, it is painful and disorienting, often to the point of despair. But as believers, our darkness is always post-manger. Our darkness is forever against the backdrop of the light of Christ. What has been shown of him cannot be unrevealed. And Jesus never leaves our side through each season of darkness. It is those who love us best who stay with us through our worst. You know love is real when it shows up in the middle of the night.
Someday, morning will come. Night never lasts forever. In the meantime, we have Immanuel, God right here with us. And that means we can return to the dark again and again, rejoicing and praising God for the light we have and the One who loves us enough to remain. We can heed the angel’s call to not be afraid of this present darkness or any other. The one born to us that night is still good news of great joy.
Dershowitz: ‘Biden Is Not the President-Elect’ ByMimi Nguyen Lyof The Epoch Times November 17, 2020
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that Joe Biden is not the president-elect but is entitled to describe himself as such.
“The president-elect doesn’t get named as president-elect until at least he has 270 state certificationof electors, or his opponent concedes. Neither of that has happened as of now,” the high-profile lawyer told NTD News.
He added: “I think that he is entitled to describe himself as the president-elect. At the moment he’s won 305 or so electoral votes and President Trump is entitled to dispute that. That’s freedom of speech. That’s politics. Neither is entitled as a matter of law or constitutionality to say that they are the president-elect.”
Dershowitz, who served on Trump’s legal team during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, said he believes the Trump legal team is seeking to have the election forced into the House of Representatives, by not letting Biden reach the 270 electoral college votes required to secure the presidency. Republicans have a 26-23-1 state delegation majority in the House of Representatives.
One possible way the Trump campaign can legally get electors to not vote is that if the challenges in court haven’t been resolved, some state secretaries of state, many of whom are Republican, may refuse to certify the vote by mid-December, Dershowitz said.
“That will be challenged in court. And that will be a mess, it would create a constitutional crisis of a kind we haven’t had before,” he said.
He noted that Trump’s lawyers are counting on a constitutional provision that moves the election to the House of Representatives if there is no definitive winner in the Electoral College by mid-December.
“I understand why the Trump legal team is trying to have the election thrown into the House of Representatives. That’s their constitutional right. And I can’t condemn them for using every possible legal recourse. That’s what lawyers do.”
“I think that the lawsuits in the end will not bring about a reversal of fortune for Donald Trump,” he later added. “I think that on January 20, Biden will be elected president and inaugurated as President of the United States, but I have no criticism of the Trump team for fighting and battling and trying everything they can legally, ethically, constitutionally, politically, to try to preserve his presidency.”
Trump’s campaign or legal team haven’t publicly described what specific kind of strategy they are employing. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of lawsuits that have been filed by the Trump campaign in several states, according to Dershowitz.
“One I call the kind of wholesale constitutional lawsuits, like in Pennsylvania, where they’re challenging legally, whether all the votes that came in after Election Day have to be discounted, even if they were voted, even if they were submitted before Election Day,” he said. “That’s a constitutional challenge based on Article Two of the Constitution. It’s wholesale and involves many, many thousands of votes. And that has a good chance of succeeding.”
“The other challenges are retail challenges. They are case by case in a few people who shouldn’t have been eligible to vote, voted. Was there fraud? Was there a computer glitch? Those are much harder, because those require actual trials, witnesses’ evidence, and they will take time, and it will be very hard for them to succeed,” he said.
He said he is aware that Trump’s lawyers have spoken about potential computer anomalies that, if they turn out to be true, could trigger a “major disruption and shift.”
“We’ve never had anything like this before, because we’ve never had computers play such a major role in the election … The big challenge is whether or not there were computer malfunctions that turned many, many thousands of votes away from Trump and toward Biden, if that turned out to be true. And again, I haven’t seen the evidence. I’ve just heard the lawyers talk about it. That would change a lot of things.”
“And, of course, the American public would be very upset because they’ve been told by the networks who the winner is already. Remember that the networks don’t declare the winner, legally and constitutionally.”