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If not for God’s providential, merciful, purposeful, intervention in all things, you could be excused for thinking 2008 was a year to regret and forget—speaking economically, politically and spiritually. In 2009, hang on to the fact of God’s constant, and dare I say, mighty, sovereignty. It’ll help get you through until negative trends reverse and sanity is once again seen by Americans as a sensible public trait. Pray.
• What do Bernard Madoff and the Covina, CA Santa Claus killer have in common? The same thing all of us have—a too-human propensity to defy the civilization-enhancing qualities of self-control, self-government, and the Golden Rule. To top it off, many seem in danger of becoming numb to evil. Each needs to consider TV’s role more personally.
• On the death of his son, the 20th president, James Garfield, wrote a letter to a friend and signed it: “In the hope of the Gospel which is so precious in this hour of affliction, I am, affectionately, your brother in Christ.” Prior to his famous assassination, Garfield preached sermons in churches a time or two during his brief term as President.
• Carried Away With Feet of Clay: On learning of chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s statement that “the central object of the German government is the support, defense and propagation of the Christian Gospel,” the decent Garfield over-reacted in his praise for the Prussian ruler. Though many in Germany prior to Bismarck helped open the gates for state socialism and compulsory state “education” (read; mind programming) nobody did more to advance them than did Bismarck. Today in Germany the state is the gospel.
• Detroit’s former mayor, the now retired Kwame Kilpatrick, is spending the holidays in jail for perjury and all-around juvenile behavior. (Some sentence! 120 days.) Even his Democratic state governor pitched in to help force his resignation. Stay tuned for what he’ll be doing on release early in 2009. Kwame is a gift that keeps on giving.
• Even worse for the depressed state of Michigan and its orphan, Detroit, saw the Detroit football Lions going 0 and 16. A new high in professional low-dom.
• How the Mighty Have Fallen. Michigan is batting 3 for 3. First Kilpatrick, then the Lions, and now the humiliated General Motors and Chrysler executives going wobbly (and into the socialism tank) for fear of upsetting the stalwart “banking queen” Barney Frank and a host of other highly skilled, highly talented D.C. overseers. Thoughtful Michigan worker/citizens are torn between bailouts and movingouts—out of state, that is.
• If you’re up to paying attention on presidential inauguration day, pay close attention to the prayer to be offered by the always entertaining Rick Warren. Listen carefully to what the prayer does and doesn’t say. Make notes so that in a few months you can see what comes of it as God commandeers the helm of the good ship Obama.
• Warren G. Harding, 29th president: “I have always believed in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.”
• Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president: “It is a great comfort to trust God – even when His providence is unfavorable.”
• Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president: “I am a firm believer in the divine teachings, perfect example and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
• B. H. Obama, president elect: Although he’s been open, by voice and by vote on his across-the-board approval of abortion (even the partial-birth “procedure”), we still await a full and plain statement about the Christian faith. His beliefs on that question clearly are not “above his pay grade.”
• Find your New Year’s resolution here: “People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith or delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; toward disobedience and call it freedom; toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the non-discipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” D. A. Carson.
• Jeremiah Wright: He’s supposedly retired, but we may still hear more from this devotee of strange ideas and people, e.g., Louis Farrakhan and the Brotherhood of Islam.
• Other Obama conviction positions we await: What will he have to say about one-world Globalism, free-market capitalism, a free press, freedom of religion, of assembly, respect for the United States Constitution and the old “liberation theology” tenets?
• The Who Would Have Thought It Department. The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens comments on the aftermath of 9/11 this way: “For awhile Ground Zero was a symbol of loss, but also of defiance and rebirth. Seven years later the Freedom Tower is no more than a stump and the rest of the site just a pit. The future of Towers Two, Three, and Four is in doubt. The entire project has turned into a 16-acre emblem of national incompetence and frustration.”
• In the Fall of 2006, Foreign Policy magazine commemorated the anniversary of 9/11 with a cover story entitled, “The Day Nothing Much Changed.” What have we been thinking since that fateful day? How many remember in what year 9/11 happened?
• In Geneva, Switzerland, John Calvin (1509–1564) pastored the St. Pierre Church, preaching sermons in it daily. He wrote dozens of books and pamphlets, trained and sent out scores of missionaries all the while battling a host of physical ailments and painful family deaths. His emphasis was always on transforming a sinful world. He was a one-man platoon who eventually became a one-man Army. He’s still fighting today via those who have committed to honoring his legacy and world-changing doctrines. He lived to the ripe old age of…55.
• Ever feel like we’re hopelessly out of the political loop and that we’ve somehow lost control of our government? Does it seem as though politicians are the tail wagging the dog and that we’re the dog?
• Celebrity Deaths in 2008: Paul Newman; Van Johnson; 115 yr. old Edna Parker. Michael Chrichton. George Carlin. Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. Tony Snow. Jesse Helms. Tim Russert. Harvey Korman. Charlton Heston. Roy (Jaws) Scheider. Margaret Truman. Suzanne Pleshette. Bobby Fischer. Sir Edmund Hillary. William F. Buckley Jr.
• What this country needs, among other things, is true leadership. Frustratingly, it’s already there for the asking by those who’ll begin with the Word of God. Those who make that decision to obey all the Bible’s tenets will emerge as the longed-for leaders. The best chance for having that happen will be when parents are willing to be far-sighted spiritual pioneers as were our U.S. pioneers of old. The new frontier? The homeschooling challenge.
• Needed ASAP are thousands of spiritual pioneers willing to stake their claim on a national spiritual resurgence. Revival comes with heavenly miracles AND earthly dedication. One well-trained homeschool graduate’s a platoon. 10 in any given town’s an Army.
• A happy new year to everyone. We can do all things through Christ whenever we get truly serious with Him. Easy to say, not always easy to do. God bless you.