“Some men have a very small Savior, for they are not willing to receive Him fully, and let Him do great and mighty things for them.” -D. L. Moody
It was J. C. Ryle that said:
“Look at the history of the church of Christ after the days of the apostles. How soon formalism ate out the life and vitality of the primitive Christians. Look at the Middle Ages, as they are called. Formalism so covered the face of Christendom that the Gospel laid there as one does when they are dead. Look, lastly, at the history of the protestant churches in the last three centuries. How few are the places where religion is a living thing! How many are the countries where Protestantism is nothing more than form! There is no getting past these things.”
I am here addressing the formal believers who deny "the gospel,” which was preached “unto you” by “the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven" (1 Peter 1:12).
These deny the giftings of the Holy Ghost.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” -1 Corinthians 12:4-12
These formal believers would have you rest Scripture in having you believe them in that which counters the Word of God in their feigned and dissimulated state (Romans 12:9), rather than in God and His Word, which is immutable and infallible.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” -1 Corinthians 4:20
These formal believers that just do not believe, would suggest to you that what the Lord has done in the past is now a work from the past. The Word of God in all of its promises is now nothing but a memory of better days! That in some way He was willing to do in the Old and New Testament what He is now unwilling to do today. This all coming to you from formal believers in Christ that just do not believe!
“Those that teach that the day of miracles is past, teach the most disastrous lie ever told… Such lies are responsible for the prevalent lack of faith in God and have robbed Christianity of the power to demonstrate itself.” -John G. Lake
Formalist: One who regards appearances only, or observes the forms of worship, without possessing the life and spirit of religion; a hypocrite. -Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
A formalist is one who plays the part and claims to have the answers that the world has great need of, and yet they are found to be false witnesses.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” -1 Corinthians 14:14-17
What would you think if I brought a freezing man a painting of a fire which cannot bring him any warmth? You would say that was cruel, and I would agree. What would you think if I brought a painting of a large banquet dinner to a starving man? Again, you would say that that is cruel, and again, I would agree wholeheartedly. Is that not what those who claim to be Christians do when they begin to denounce and counter the Word of God in all of its promises?
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20
You see formal believers that just do not believe seem to promise much, but deliver nothing but feeble paintings. The reason being is that these formal believers cannot deliver what they do not have.
Jesus tells us to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
Many of those who call themselves believers in Jesus Christ are found to be more like unbelievers. They have the shell and the form only. They have the head, but not the heart when it comes to what Jesus said that He would bestow upon those who do believe.
As a matter of fact, these formal believers that just do not believe like to set themselves next to Jesus claiming to be His, and then go on to deny to the world what Jesus promised to do for them.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” -Matthew 23:15
These formal believers that just do not believe omit the obvious when it comes to what is right in front of their faces
“And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” -Mark 16:20
Apparently, these do not understand,
“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” -2 Timothy 2:6
These Pharisaical hypocrites, dead in the formality of their sins, profess their Christianity in word only as if they were just like Jesus, all the while denying Him.
“He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore, greatly err.” -Mark 12:27
For many of these said formal believers that just do not believe, they are more likely to denounce the Word of God in favor of their false professions and lack of spiritual life by blaming the Holy Ghost for not bearing witness to their lies.
Again, they are more like unbelievers than they are believers. They are more like anti-Christs who are, in fact, succumbers to this world, the flesh and the devil (1 John 2:15-18) in giving defeat a praise report than victory in Christ.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” -1 John 5:12
Maybe these formal believers that just do not believe have forgotten that “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“For I am the LORD, I change not;” -Malachi 3:6
They have forgotten that He is faithful to a thousand generations.
“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” -Deuteronomy 7:9
It is not the Lord that has changed, it is man that has disobeyed and played the hypocrite by having one foot in the world and one foot in the Church (2 Corinthians 6:17; James 1:7-9, 4:4).
“The church will have a convincing testimony and will become a power in the world when it is separated from the world; but as long as it is hand in glove with the world, it cannot have power.” -D. L. Moody
These formal believers that just do not believe fail to deny themselves (Galatians 2:20) and take up their cross. Instead, they deny Christ (Matthew 10:33) and give heed to the commandments of man, which nullify the commandments of God (Mark 7:13) and union with the Father (1 John 2:23).
By keeping our eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), we receive the end of our faith (1 Peter 1:9).
“That ye be not slothful, but followers (Imitators) of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” -Hebrews 6:12
These formal believers that just do not believe attempt to bring the rest of the world to their own level of unbelief, as if to suggest that they are the standard! (Abandoned to their sins - 1 John 3:4).
“Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” -Matthew 15:14
Scripture tells us:
“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." -1 Thessalonians 1:5
Yet, the formal believers, who have a “form of godliness,” are well enough to leave off and deny the very Christ that bought them (Acts 20:28). Scripture tells us to turn away from them.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” -2 Timothy 3:5
The good news is God will not deny Himself!
“If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” -2 Timothy 2:13
As we turn the bend during the second semester of the school year we begin to face challenges. For many of us the material seems insurmountable….maybe we perceive it as such, or maybe teachers realize they are falling short and rush to get all the information in before the school year ends.
Either way, students feel stressed, overwhelmed and many times unable to catch up. So what do you do when you find the material to be TMTH (too much to handle)?
Firstly, realize that you don’t have to learn everything. Remember, the professor can’t test on EVERYTHING. So don’t go at a packet, slide deck or book with the attitude that you have to know everything. Find the Titles, the main point in the paragraph that follows, and any supporting info that seems to buttress the main point. Careful with your use of highlighting if you’re tired and burning out because you’ll start to highlight everything. Which brings us to….
Two heads are better than one. Sometimes three…but more than that may be distracting. What you thought was important in class or on a sheet of information can be confirmed or denied by another student. Moreover everyone has strengths and weaknesses so find one who can compliment you and help you discern what’s important to know.
Rather than guessing, take 15 minutes to meet with the teacher to get an idea of what they find imperative to learn/know for the test. But don’t go into their office asking “will this be on the test?” I would be direct, honest, but humble by asking:
Now, many times the professor will oblige. But if not, you need to indirectly determine what he/she is going to test. This brings us to…..
How was the material given?
If your professor brushed over it quickly in class, it could mean they don’t find it crucial enough to test or ….they don’t completely understand the material themselves. Most likely this will not be tested. However, if he/she brushed over it because it was given in a previous lecture, then its open game.
Demonstrations of the brush over include:
Are they big on testing if you paid attention in class or knowing the information that’s necessary to succeed? Are they a jerk and will pick the most esoteric piece of content from a 1000 word slide or will they focus on main points? Get an idea on what makes them tick.
For some institutions the exam is to test competency. These are the most clear-cut, fair tests and to me, make the most sense. If, for example, in medical school one is studying poor lung function and what a spirometer discerns, the inventor and history of the tool will most likely not be tested. Keep in mind, your professor has bosses and they have bosses, so your competency reflects on them.
For other institutions it may be at the professor’s discretion. So you need to feel out each teacher and see what they’re all about. If they are big on class attendance and will weight the test towards those who showed up, expect questions on content that was highlighted in class. And if they are big on seeing if you paid attention, you will be tested on something they impressed upon you sometime during lecture. So during the lecture watch for the following:
So after you’ve done your “homework,” how do you tackle your studies?
Your time is divisible so grab a calculator and aliquot into equal periods. Make sure you have extra sessions included for breaks and catch up sessions. Or you can use a calendar that is already compartmentalized on which to create your timetable.
Clean your desk!
A nice clean, crisp desk with plenty of pens and highlighters helps energize one more than cluttered paper. Moreover have a second work space you can go to when you get sick of working at your desk.
Now this is easier said than done. Some will put their hardest classes on their study calendar first, some the easiest. There are pros and cons to both. What I suggest is alternating difficult and easy subjects. You need the start of your day and initial power hours knocking out the difficult material, but then the easier classes will boost your confidence and sometimes energy. So one option could be:
Take real breaks!
You should design two types of breaks: Short and Long.
Your short break should be no shorter than 10 minutes. During the break you must do the following:
Your long break should be no shorter than 45 minutes. During these breaks you can:
If you’re “going through the motions” of studying and feel “burnt” you won’t be absorbing the material and subsequently you’ll be wasting precious hours. You must identify burnout by looking for the following:
When studying you’re classwork it’s difficult to avoid the boredom and stress, but the following may help:
Remember, we’ve all been there and school is supposed to be challenging. Stay on course and get help if you need such as a tutor. We all make it to the finish line….even if we’re a little bruised up when we get there.
Americans have been so “Hollywoodized” that they think that the devil is going to come to them with a rack of horns on his head and a pitchfork in hand to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Scripture teaches us the opposite.
Those that were approved of the Lord, those who were warning the people to flee from the wrath to come, and those who were proclaiming God’s truth were carpenters, fisherman, tax collectors, foolish (1 Corinthians 1:27), and unlearned men (Acts 4:13), weak, as well as men dressed in the attire of camel’s hair, leather belts, eating locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:7).
In contrast, those that were highly esteemed (Luke 16:15) and approved of among men (Are you listening, America?), Jesus was damning
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” -Matthew 23:27
“Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” -Luke 11:52
And I ask, how many in the American Church and American politics fit the physical and mental characteristics of those whom God was damning?
Yet, Jesus charged them saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).
Jesus also said, “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21:31).
And as I was writing out this Holy Ghost download (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:36) that I was receiving, I immediately began to realize that this is happening because people that profess to be Christians do not even know the Scriptures (John 7:17), which, in fact, is a lack of Christianity (1 John 2:4). They think that because someone claims to be a Christian, then it must be so. Remember, no one rebuked the religious hypocrites more than Jesus (Matthew 23).
Eighty-six percent of Americans call themselves Christians, and 78% of those who are representatives in government capacity call themselves Christians. No wonder why America is falling to the curses (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). These professed Christians are following and honoring men in office rather than honoring the Christ they claim to serve (Matthew 15:8)!
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” -Jeremiah 17:5
These hypocrites have exchanged the King that has bought them with His own blood (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 John 2:2) for a fallen and reprobate man that sells them out (Luke 22:48).
Instead of man submitting to the Lawgiver, they slavishly serve the lawbreakers (Isaiah 14:12-15).
Instead of them serving out of love the One that cannot and will not lie (Numbers 23:19), they submit to those who lie on a daily basis.
Instead of man submitting to the immutable God (Hebrews 6:18), they submit to fallen man and every wind of his made up doctrine, the sleight of men and their cunning craftiness as they continuously deceive.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” -Ephesians 4:14
On the other hand...
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD (And magnifies His government), and whose hope the LORD is.” -Jeremiah 17:7
Friends, no matter who the president is (Romans 13:3-4) remember, he has no title of nobility (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8, US Constitution).
Jesus will always be the King (Isaiah 9:6).
Another way of saying this is either Jesus is your King, or your man made king will be your god (Exodus 20:3).
On April 18, 1775, John Adams and John Hancock were at the home of Rev. Jonas Clarke, a Lexington pastor and militia leader. That same night Paul Revere arrived to warn them of the approaching Redcoats. The next morning, British Major Pitcairn shouted to an assembled regiment of Minutemen: "Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England."
The immediate response of Rev. Jonas Clarke or one of his company was:
"We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus."
First of all, I’m not a fan of the Tucker Carlson Show; however, because of my job, I have to watch it on occasion. His show is typical conservative talking points without much depth and a whole lot of disingenuous propaganda. That being said, in the past few days I’ve read much about Carlson’s “meltdown” during his pre-recorded unaired interview with Dutch Historian Rutger Bregman. Imagine my disappointment when I found out the meltdown wasn’t much more than Carlson calling his guest a “moron” and telling him to go “f**k himself.”Before I spout my two cents, let me give you some context on just who the guest in question, Rutger Bregman, is.
According to wikipedia:
“Rutger C. Bregman (born 1988) is a Dutch historian and author. He has published four books on history, philosophy and economics, including Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World, which has been translated into twenty languages. The Dutch edition of Utopia for Realists" became a national bestseller and sparked a basic income movement that soon made international headlines." His work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian and the BBC. He has been described by The Guardian as the "Dutch wunderkind of new ideas” and by TED Talks as "one of Europe's most prominent young thinkers." His TED Talk, "Poverty Isn't a Lack of Character; It's a Lack of Cash," was chosen by TED curator Chris Anderson as one of the top ten of 2017.”
Okay, fair enough. He seems to be well educated and knows his stuff. But he, very recently, shot to viral fame when, in January he attended Davos and … well, told them off.
So … what exactly is Davos (besides being a town in the Swiss Alps)?
Well, basically Davos is the common name for a yearly gathering of an international organization called the World Economic Forum. Thousands of business, political and charity figures attend the week long event. It can, though does not always, lead to significant consequences for global affairs.
So, Bregman goes to Davos and basically says,
“This is my first time at Davos, and I find it quite a bewildering experience to be honest.
I mean 1,500 private jets have flown in here to hear Sir David Attenborough speak about, you know, how we're wrecking the planet. And, I mean, I hear people talking the language or participation and justice and equality and transparency, but then, I mean, almost no one raises the real issue of tax avoidance right? And of the rich just not paying their fair share. I mean, it feels like I'm at a firefighters conference and no one's allowed to speak about water, right?”
Damn! I mean, he’s not wrong because as we all know, hypocrisy knows no bounds. Especially in the day and age where Netflix and Amazon pay zero $$ in taxes. I mean, two gazillion dollar corporations pay - zero dollars in taxes. That is sickening.
Anyway. Bregman’s full speech can be found here, he’s actually the first speaker so you won’t have to wait long. Okay, so now you’re all caught up.
What about the Tucker Carlson meltdown?
So, after the Davos speech in Jan, Carlson invites Bregman to pre-record an interview for the Tucker Carlson show to be aired at a later date. Bregman agrees. The interview happens.
And the interview starts out benign enough, you know? I mean, Carlson seems genuinely happy to have Bregman on the show and gushes about the shellacking the Bregman gave the rich folks at Davos. It’s quite clear that Carlson is happy to have Bregman on the show - to talk about tax avoidance.
Things go south quickly. Carlson wants Bregman to keep talking about tax evasion but Bregman clearly had no intention of letting Carlson lead the conversation. So Bregman just rolls over Carlson and says, “raise taxes on the rich” and to Carlson directly, “you’re a millionaire funded by billionaires, that’s what you are!”
This all may be true but Carlson gets flustered and angry that Bregman keeps pushing the “raise taxes on the rich.” As you may or may not know, Carlson is rich. And it is NOT a Fox talking point to say, “raise taxes on the rich.” Which, to be honest, I think is kind of odd. I mean, the vast majority of Fox viewers are not rich. Far from it. You would think they would be fine with the idea of raising taxes on the rich. But, I guess not. I guess Bregman is correct when he points out to Carlson that he’s part of the problem, not the solution. The interview was never aired but Bregman had a feeling that would happen and so he had some folk record the video feed (on their end) which is how it made the light of day.
Anyway, Carlson gets angry and finally calls Bregman a moron and tells him to “f**k off,” which, as far as I am concerned is nothing to write home about. I mean, he said, the “f” word? Why is this considered a melt down?
If you watch the entire “meltdown” video it is true that Carlson becomes so flustered that he just can’t think of how to respond and so reverts to juvenile taunts like, “tiny brain” and “moron.” This might be proof that Carlson is not really the intellectual giant he believes himself to be, but I would hardly call it a meltdown.
Anyway. Tucker Carlson got his ass handed to him by the same guy who stood up in front of a bunch of rich folks at Devos and … handed them their asses. Should anyone be surprised?
I guess, I wasn’t. It still wasn’t a meltdown, though.
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays of the year, with consumers spending more than $20 billion a year buying cards, chocolates, flowers, and teddy bears. But what no one admits to is it is one of the most anxiety producing and miserable holidays of the year.
When you’re single the last thing you need to be reminded of is just that….you’re single. Valentine’s Day inundates us with the “normalcy” of being in a relationship such that anyone who’s single feels there’s something wrong with them. Single people feel forced to shut off the TV, avoid shopping, avoid others and remain indoors for the week surrounding Feb. 14th.
If you’re married, and have been so for some time, Valentine’s Day reminds you of how much you are lacking in sex and romance. But worse yet, you are now compelled to do something for Valentine’s Day. No credit for spontaneity. No credit for being romantic, since the whole world seems to be celebrating Valentines. And… it’s all pain, no gain. If you mess up, and your gift or celebration is not very romantic, you’re in the dog house. And if you forget about the holiday all together…Whoa Nelly…..
When one thinks of candy they think of chocolate, lollipops, vibrant colors…..Valentine’s heart candy is the worst candy out there. They’re pale, hard, practically crack your teeth, not very tasty and force you to read them before you eat.
Don’t give me anymore work to do. You could be pretty high maintenance. And what if I’m not ready to commit?
Valentine’s Day gifts are made to be publicized. And even if you gave your sweetheart the gift in private, it will be posted on social media or broadcast at work the next day. In fact, not sending the gift to their work could be a major faux pas.
If you’re single, use this holiday to celebrate the friendships you have. Make it a singles night out and celebrate your freedom. Or make a friend feel special by sending a “friend” valentine. These could include:
Since the gift of spontaneity has already been hijacked by this holiday, do something creative and unpredictable. Candlelight dinner, a poem, luxury bath, weekend trip, something sappy…..but do it right and you’ll get bonus points.
Here’s the silver lining. Most Valentine’s Day gifts/gestures do not have to cost a lot. Valentine’s Day is about the heart and showing one how much you care. So a note, poem, song, personalized song list, or even a cute little doodle can go along way.
We make the mistake of thinking men want what we want. Let’s take cologne for that matter….men don’t want to smell like perfume or “parfume”y….they like smelling like men. Forcing them to use toilet water is not cool.
Another common gift given to men is a shaving set. Does the average man like shaving, let alone every day? Top that off with wasting an opportunity for them to get a cool gift with one that includes shaving products??? Cruel, just cruel.
For men, many prefer steak for dinner, time alone in their man cave, or sex. I think that’s about it. Pretty easy.
So hope this helps you get through Valentine’s Day anxiety free and worry free.
And remember…. its only one day…just one day…. and will all be over Feb. 15th.
Blackface mania has consumed voters in Virginia and is seeping into other states. Are their closeted politicians in Louisiana who are perusing their old yearbooks and scrapbooks to see if there are any blackface photos lurking in their past? Actually, no, since blackface parodies have been part of the Louisiana mode de vie for a number of years.
If you have been down the bayou at your fishing camp and have not stayed current on the national news, there are daily reports concerning the Governor and the Attorney General in Virginia who have admitted wearing blackface in their younger years. Both are democrats, and most of the other democratic elected officials are calling for the two office holders to step down. It’s right down chaotic in Virginia now, since you have the governor and the attorney general admitting blackface, the lieutenant governor is accused of sexual assault, and the next in line Speaker of the House who got his job by having his name picked out of a bowl. They really have it all together in what has been called the most progressive state in the South. If there is a confederacy of dunces, it’s Virginia, not the Bayou State.
The Virginia governor now is backtracking and says that’s not really him in the blackface photo taken back in 1984. Not much of a memory, but other than that, he seems like a decent guy. In his race for governor, he was endorsed by every black legislator in the state. For years, the white Democratic governor has belonged to a predominantly black church with a black pastor. As a physician before becoming governor, he served in a volunteer capacity as the medical director of a children’s hospice, and as an Army doctor, he treated Gulf War casualties for eight years. By any reasonable measure, he seems to have made a longtime commitment to racial justice and public service. But it’s all about that blackface, isn’t it?
When l was serving as Secretary of State in the 1980s, Louisiana legislators, at the end of their legislative sessions at the state capitol, performed a self-parody making fun of their work and themselves. It was called “The Opera” where black legislators wore whiteface and white members wore blackface. No one seemed offended, and one of the most enthusiastic participants was Rev. Avery Alexander, a black civil rights leader and the founder of the Legislative Black Caucus. There was give and take, all in good fun.
Mardi Gras Day is just a few weeks away, and one of largest organizations to march through the city of New Orleans is the Krewe of Zulu. It’s a black krewe that often invites white friends to participate. But there is one requirement. A white participant must wear blackface. A Caucasian friend of mine was invited to ride in Zulu, but he told the group he would not wear black face because he did not want to offend anyone. Sorry the black organization told him. No blackface, no riding in Zulu.
In Baton Rouge this week, a 1993 photo was discovered showing two white police officers in blackface. The officers were involved in an undercover narcotics sting operation to get drugs off the streets. The Baton Rouge mayor was appalled and issued a strong statement condemning the operation. She apparently feels it is better to let drug dealers continue to operate rather than offend anyone.
Here is a short list of entertainers who have worn blackface. Jimmy Kimmel, Dan Aykroyd, Bing Crosby, Billy Crystal, Ted Danson, Robert Downey Jr., Alec Guinness, Sophia Loren, Bob Hope, David Niven, Will Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Gene Wilder, the list goes on and on.
With a wave of political correctness sweeping the country, blackface on any level would be inappropriate. But should someone today be held accountable for something they did without malice 30 or 40 years ago? How far back do we go in one’s past before we forgive poor judgment? Would St. Paul have passed such a test after he admittedly persecuted Jews and followers of Jesus Christ before he became a Christian? Or should such degraded souls be eternally ashamed and be reconciled to make perpetual amends?
Let me submit that America, with all its warts, is a pretty decent country that has been able to adapt, revise, adjust and yes, forgive. It’s time for the overlords of outrage to put their intolerance aside let the nation to move on.
It sounded like it came out of a movie plot. In the early morning hours, federal agents stormed a home to make an arrest. They had to be after some major drug lord or a sought-after terrorist. There were 29 agents all wearing military gear and carrying weapons. High powered assault rifles were involved. Seventeen SUVs and two armored vehicles surrounded the home with lights flashing and sirens blaring. It must be a really dangerous dude.
In a nearby canal, amphibious watercraft charged the home filled with more federal agents. A helicopter hovered in the sky with long range weapons focused on the home. As agents approached the house with battering rams, they demanded that the accused immediately open the door and surrender. The attack on Osama Bid Laden had fewer Navy Seals involved then the number of agents who were sent to arrest this dangerous villain. Was this the seizure of an anti-government leader in Venezuela? Had El Chapo escaped from prison and his capture was about to take place? Had the feds found Bin Laden’s successor? CNN had been tipped off and broadcast the whole attack live. What was going on?
lt was none of these, but merely a longtime Trump friend Roger Stone. He was being arrested for making false statements to a congressional committee. And he was treated like a terrorist? Stone is an American citizen and has lived in south Florida for a number of years. He does not have a current passport. He has known about this investigation for months, and his lawyers said he would be glad to self-surrender if he were charged with a crime. If Stone had documents to hide or destroy, he would have had plenty of time in the months preceding his arrest. He has never been accused of any crimes and has no violent history.
After his arrest, the judge let Stone out on his personal signature without having to put up any property or money. It was obvious that Stone was no threat and should have been allowed to appear on his own. So what gives? Have we been turned into a jackboot democracy?
Here was Stone’s response. “They could simply have called my lawyers and I would have turned my myself in. I’m 66 years old. I don’t own a firearm. I have no previous criminal record. My passport has expired. The special counsel’s office is well aware of the fact that I’m represented. I was frog-marched out the front door barefooted and shackled. It’s an attempt to poison the jury pool. These are Gestapo tactics.”
Some in the press speculated that the special prosecutor and the FBI were sending a message. They sure were. It’s a message of terror, and fear that no citizen can trust their government. It’s a message that your government is not above using police state tactics, and that the justice system responds, not based on evidence, but based on threats. When thugs come into intimidate, it sends a message that you may not be living in a democracy anymore but a banana republic. It sends a message that no, you are no longer considered innocent until proven guilty in a system that operates in such a dictatorial fashion.
The story gets worse. Stone’s indictment accuses him of making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee, but the testimony is classified so Stone is prohibited from seeing what he supposedly lied about. How is he supposed to defend himself if he cannot even read what he supposedly said? What has happened to the supposed constitutional guarantee of being able to confront your accuser and challenging their evidence?
It matters not whether you are a liberal or a staunch conservative, this is not how justice is supposed to operate in America. Many Americans will feel that if it is not happening to them then why should they care. But unfortunately, what happened to Roger Stone could happen to anyone. Are we not a better country than this?
Peace and Justice
Now that we’ve witnessed Super Bowl Dull it’s time to dive back into the important things in life. Like - deciding what the best ad during the Super Bowl was!
Lots of people seem to have their opinions, of course. The folks over at Yahoo News seem to think it was the NFL 100. Which is a delightful ad putting together NFL super stars, old and new. And I like the commercial quite a bit. It’s funny. It’s fast paced. And it’s not too long (because I think this bit could wear itself out if it were say, several minutes long). Of course, it is an ad about football. During a football game. Which is a little silly, but whatever.
The folks over at CBS Sports really like the Bumble Serena Williams spot. It’s a socially aware female empowerment type commercial which goes really well with their brand messaging. For those that don’t know, Bumble is a dating app where women must make the first move / send the first message. Which is designed to cut out a lot of the crazy, toxic things that men send to women (usually, unsolicited). The commercial is well done, just not my favorite.
CNN went with the (perhaps, obvious) Bud Light/ Game of Thrones mash up. Continuing their charming “Dilly, dilly” line up, Bud Light knocks it out of the park with this one. “I don’t have the plague, anymore” is probably my favorite line from a commercial in a while.
There was lots of love for the Hyundai / Jason Bateman commercial, which I thought was pretty clever. There was equal amounts love/shade thrown around for the Change Up the Usual ad for Stella Artois which put together Carrie Bradshaw (SJP from Sex and the City) and “The Dude (Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski). People seem to love it or REALLY HATE it. I kind of liked it.
There was the Michael Bublé / Bubly commercial, which everyone at my Super Bowl party (including me) thought was pretty charming. And even though Donald Trump, Jr hated the Washington Post ad, his opinion is wrong. The Tom Hanks voiced ad is all about the importance of journalists and journalistic integrity and features the two murdered journalist that worked for the paper. It's a pretty powerful ad. Though, I do think the criticism of “The struggling newspaper spent HOW MUCH on the ad?” is fair.
There are, of course, ads that didn't work as well as the advertiser hoped and some flat out stinkers too (but then again, this is all subjective). Including one with a really creepy robot kid and a gross one with chunky milk. But I’m not going to link to them or any of the other ones I hated since that will only give them more traffic.
All that being said, there was only one ad that I thought was exceptional, that one being: Microsoft’s "When everybody plays, we all win" two minute commercial for the XBOX Adaptive Controller. Seriously, you guys, every “I’m not crying, you’re crying!” meme becomes a harsh reality up in my crib when I watch that ad. And, um, it’s possible I’ve watched it several times.
Back in July I wrote about the Adaptive Controller and basically said it’s the greatest gamer thing ever. I still feel that way. And with twenty five million hits on the commercial already since Sunday (on YouTube alone), I have a sneaking suspicion lots of folks feel that way too.
“And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” -John 8:45
It is has been a week of weeks this last week. We left freezing temperatures in Minnesota of -35 degrees to fly to Florida where the temperatures are around 82 degrees, which isn't that bad a tradeoff. First, I preached at the Church that Dr. D. James Kennedy used to pastor and then was off to the Church Rick Wiles pastors, and finally back to Orlando to do more interviews with Mike Spaulding concerning the state of America today.
Mike covered my last column on his show titled: “How Does the deep State Push Their Agenda Forward without America’s Politicians Doing to it For Them? They cannot!”
The article covers the obvious hypocrisies and crimes of this current administration in pushing forth the same global agenda that administrations have advanced in the past by committing crimes against “We the People.”
Among those hypocrisies are publicly playing the pro-life advocate while behind closed doors fully funding Planned Parenthood through the covert $1.3 trillion omnibus bill.
The president plays up to the public that he is in full support of the Second Amendment, and then blatantly attacks it by suggesting after the Parkland shooting that government should first take the guns first and then provide due process. The president goes on to show his hand by banning bump stocks, as well as nominating gun confiscating advocate William Barr for Attorney General of the United States. In Trump's first 500 days of incumbency, 55 illegal and unconstitutional legislative acts have stripped Americans of the right to bear arms under 26 governors in which most were Republicans.
Finally, I highlighted the treasonous acts of this administration concerning that of removing NAFTA and replacing it with something far worse. I wrote that the American people have been diverted in keeping their eyes on the southern border concerning illegal immigrants coming into America, but they fail to hold accountable America’s said representatives who are illegally alluring them into your country in the first place. Point man Donald Trump and rivals Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have you heated up over a wall that was promised, which has yet to be built.
On November 30, 2018, President Trump, along with the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico, signed the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) “Trade Agreement”. “Trade” is in quotes, because the document isn’t about “trade” – it’s about setting up global government. “Agreement” is in quotes because the document is a “treaty” – and that invokes the two-thirds ratification requirement of Art. II, §2, cl. 2, US Constitution.
Kristin Stockheimer wrote at The New American:
Not only is it still alive, it is larger and much worse than NAFTA! The text of the USMCA, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, has portions and chapters of the agreement that are identical to those in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Robert Lighthizer even admitted it is “built on” many TPP aspects. These facets, according to The New American writer Christian Gomez, have the potential to strip the U.S. of its sovereignty:
Much like the TPP Commission, the Free Trade Commission can make changes to the USMCA without the consent of Congress. In fact, the agreement completely undermines Congress’ Constitutional Article I, Section 8 power to regulate trade with foreign nations.
While doing the interview with Mike, a caller called in and questioned what I just highlighted concerning the fruit of Donald Trump's administration and its actions, as if to suggest that it may or may not be true.
I asked, "How many times did Jesus warn you to not be deceived? Over and over, he warned us."
Furthermore, He said that many will come in His name and claim that they are His followers. Be not deceived.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” -Matthew 24:5
I then asked this caller, "When you walk up and see oranges hanging on the branches of a tree, do you deny the fact that it is an orange tree that is bearing the oranges? If you see apples hanging on the branches of a tree, can you deny that it is an apple tree that is bearing apples?"
When I show you the fruit that this administration has been bearing, somehow or another, we are supposed to deny the corrupt fruit that's on its branches?
How do you help a people like this (Matthew 15:14)?
So it is with how we are to judge all men. We judge them by the fruit that they bear. No one that can deny this truth. Yet, many that profess Christ as their Lord, who are truly worshipping Trump, are blatantly denying the lessons that Jesus taught.
So, I asked this caller how it was that Jesus said that we were to judge men? I quoted:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” -Matthew 7:15-20
And that in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
When are Americans going to break the same deceptive cycle that they have put themselves in (2 Peter 2:19)?
How do you put a dollar value on the worth of a public official? How about this idea.
Shouldn’t receiving any salary increase be based on results?
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron will pocket some three and a half million dollars this year, making him one of the highest-paid football coaches in the nation. He received such an enormous salary package based on results. It’s the old adage that you get what you pay for, and with Ed, LSU ended the football season winning 10 games.
Should time and work be the only criteria in paying public employees? Why not pay the governor, the secretary of economic development, the superintendent of education, and a cross section of other public officials that directly affect our lives based on a scale of how well they perform and what results they achieve?
Experimentation with performance pay in the public sector is on the grow. A New York City charter school is promising to pay teachers $125,000 a year, plus bonuses based on classroom and school-wide performance. Sure, this is a lot of money, but those in charge are looking for a significant increase in student performance levels. Bottom line — results.
All of this aside, the heart of our query is about pegging the pay of the governor and his top assistants to performance. I would surmise that most voters in Louisiana would think it’s a good idea, but how do you do it? When you talk about results, it is certainly easier to define in the private sector. Results are measured in the stock price of a publicly traded company or by profit in any other company. The more the company makes, the more its managers can earn.
But can you create an accountability and production index in government? I think you can. This would be a challenge for key economists at Louisiana universities. Develop a formula that would give a “performance index.” Sounds difficult, but why not give it a try? If you take the economic figures below and compare them with other states, Louisiana comes in 48th in the nation.
I suggest starting a Louisiana “misery index.” Go ahead and pay Gov. John Bel Edwards and his brain trust the big bucks. The governor should make $1 million a year. But this amount would be adjusted by the misery index. Right now, the index is high on poor growth and low on performance, so Edwards salary would be close to what he now makes: $125,000. Now this should just be the beginning. As Governor Edwards often tells us, future economic growth in Louisiana is tied to job skills through education. Therefore, we should build into the formula increases in high school math performance, elementary student test results, reduction in the state’s troubling pollution levels, and maybe the number of new movies that are shot in Louisiana each year. Leave out the LSU national football ratings but include the student athlete graduation rates.
Finally, I would factor in consumer confidence. Are the voters getting tangible results? Are they happy with the performance of their top public officials? If you own shares of stock, and have little confidence in your company investment, you simply sell the stock. The average Joe ought to be able to put in his two cents worth as to the value he’s getting out of Louisiana government. Get his opinion through a statewide poll and factor the results in to the performance index.
So to all the statewide officials, I say make your case and ask the salary level you think you are worth. But just like in the private sector, be prepared to defend the bottom line. The proof of course is in the pudding. Be accountable for the results that take place. And if you succeed, reap the benefits.
In ancient Rome, there was a tradition when major projects were built. Whenever a Roman engineer constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible. He stood under the arch.
So pay these pied pipers of change and economic growth the big bucks they say they are worth. But keep them directly under the arch of performance, and let voters know there will be a day of reckoning if this promise of change and results plummet to the ground.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. His column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show, Common Sense, each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Communication Network.