Tag Archives: life principles

My Sensible Solution For Immigration Reform

A Nation of Immigrantsveteran-300x263

Immigration reform is a hot topic of conversation at the moment.  It was a key issue in the last election cycle.  There are many who argue passionately for amnesty being extended to illegal aliens already in the country and there are many who argue passionately that the word “illegal” still has meaning.  Unfortunately, there is far more heat than light being generated in most of the debates.

Politically, both parties seek to get an advantage with a growing voting bloc.  Both parties want to be seen as the champion for Latinos.  Both parties want to be able to trumpet that THEY are responsible for Hispanics gaining political clout in the United States.  And both parties risk losing part of their base voters who live in border states.  We live in interesting times.

Displayed on a plaque on the inner pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, is the poem, The New Colossus¸ written by Emma Lazarus.  It was a donation by Lazarus to a fund-raising effort to construct the base of the Statue.  She initially declined to contribute the work, but a good friend convinced her that her work would be of great significance to the immigrants who would sail under Liberty into New York Harbor.

While Liberty was not conceived and sculptured as a symbol of immigration, Lazarus’ poem has become exactly that.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

We are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you hail from Native American roots, your ancestors “came” from somewhere.  As you read the history of our nation, people came here looking for a better way of life.  People came here looking for freedom.  People came here longing to worship in whatever manner they saw fit.

As a matter of historical fact, Native Americans were treated poorly and duped into questionable treaties by the Western Europeans due to naivete on the part of the Native Americans and European cunning and overwhelming firepower.  Some argue that the current political situation and argument is hypocritical at best.

Into the secular dispute, Christians must include a discussion of Biblical, Kingdom principles.  As Christians, which side of the debate should we support?  If it comes to a vote, how should we vote?

A Nation of Laws

Illegal immigration is a personally difficult subject.  I have good friends on both sides of the debate and even more importantly, I have personal who were born in the United States, but whose parents came here illegally.  The parents have never violated the law, have held jobs and (I assume) paid taxes, and lived quiet lives.  The entire family has a deep, personal, and active faith in Jesus Christ.  Each of them attends and supports the church with time, energy, and substance.  For me, simplistic answers are insufficient.

If I take the position that mercy should be shown to illegal immigrants and amnesty and citizenship should be given to those who arrived here illegally, but have not engaged in criminal behavior since their arrival, I compromise the rule of law and make it anecdotal.  The problem with anecdotal law is that it can change at the whim of any ruler.  The basis for the establishment of our nation was to escape anecdotal law and launch a system based on the concept that “all men are created equal.”

Illegal immigrants steal American taxpayer dollars through Medicare, Medicaid, and other governmental programs that provide “free” benefits and do not require citizenship as a basis for receipt.  “Theft” does not always happen at the point of a gun or result in an arrest and conviction.  Robin Hood is celebrated in folklore, but in history, he was a common thief.  Does then that immigrant family I know actually participate in “criminal behavior?”  And should the parents be deported?  Does anything less threaten the rule of law in America?

Those who argue for amnesty always use “grace” and “mercy” as their arguments.  Those arguments are not without merit.  Jesus had little use for the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the lawyers of His day.  He chided and condemned them for creating regulations that no one could keep and called them, “hypocrites” regularly.  Does that mean that we should lay aside our laws and simply welcome all who find themselves within our borders no matter how they arrived?

Mercy without a standard is meaningless.  If anyone who can geographically locate himself within what are now our borders, then our borders are meaningless.  What purpose do they serve?  If our borders are to be protected, if lives are put at risk and tax money is spent to do so, then our borders must be significant and citizenship must be significant also.

A Sensible Solution

I wonder what would happen if politics were removed from the debate?  Would there be so much name-calling and vehemence if illegal aliens who became citizens could not vote…ever?  It seems to me that caring for all those who are genuinely in need is a Christian mandate, but as a legal American citizen, I resent having my vote diluted and my resources reallocated to people who have broken laws without my consent.

The situation seems a dilemma until political advantage is removed.  Christians are, I believe, more than willing to assist those less fortunate.  It has been proven again and again, that America responds to needs from a disaster more generously and more quickly than any other nation.  I don’t think caring is the problem.

Don’t confuse a secular debate about law with a spiritual debate about “care.”  Jesus was clear that His Kingdom was not of this world.  He also said that while we are not “of” this world, we are “in” it.

I believe that if the church is allowed to be the church and the government stops playing god for votes, the debate between Americans becomes a profitable discussion and not a screaming match to gain an advantage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, Christianity, Congress, Culture, Faith, Law, Politics, Religion, society, Uncategorized

Therefore, Be It Resolved…

Resolve

We’re a week into the New Year. How many of your resolution are still unbroken? Resolutions are easy to make, but difficult to keep. Most of us make go through the exercise of making resolutions for the New Year. Based on last year’s performance, we resolve to do better. We resolve to lose weight, to get in shape, to make more money, to be kinder, to give more to charity, and many others. Unfortunately, most of our resolutions don’t last more than 24 hours, if that. We don’t make the commitment necessary to achieve the success we wish in whatever area.

“Resolved!” The word just feels strong. By definition, resolve is, “to make clear or understandable.” In legal documents, the word heads the paragraphs that follow the “Whereas” clauses. What is resolved is what is decided and promised based on the stated premises. Resolved indicates a commitment to a particular course of action. The key word is “commitment.”

The word “resolve” has another definition that may not be as familiar to you. It is, “to break up, to separate, to change by disintegration.” We observe both definitions on display when Jesus stood before Pilate. Pilate did all in his power to make Jesus dis-integrate, but Jesus made Himself very clear and understandable. He kept-it-together when it most mattered. As we face a new year, we I challenge you to exhibit the same kind of resolve that Jesus had.

Expediency Lacks Resolve

After listening to the charges against Jesus, Pilate announced, “I find no fault” in the man that stood before him. The trial was illegal under Roman law. The charges were falsely filed and prosecutors were corrupt. But political expediency clouded Pilate’s judgment and the execution of an innocent man proceeded unabated.
We see expediency in politics every day. The recent “fiscal cliff” was a manufactured crisis that created an expediency issue for Congress. The phrase “kicking-the-can-down-the-road” is a description of what elected representatives do in order to avoid hard choices that will be unpopular and therefore not expedient. The motivation for their choices is no different than that of Pontius Pilate.

Businesses use profits as an excuse to cut corners and make expedient rather than principled decisions regarding the contents and safety of their products. Jobs are sometimes shipped overseas because manufacturing costs can be reduced even though the quality of the product suffers.

Teachers’ union leaders are more interested in protecting the jobs of the members who keep them in office than they are in providing the quality educators that our children deserve. It is more expedient for the leadership to “fight” for their members than to improve the professionalism of their members.

Let’s face it, the resolve that allows one to stand in the face of adversity and not flinch, not dis-integrate, is a rare commodity these days. The resolve that Jesus showed is based on integrity and personal commitment. Jesus knew who He was, why He was there, and was prepared to “endure” the moment for the “joy set before Him.” The resolve He demonstrated is principled, and principle is rarely expedient.

More Than Conquerors

Many challenges and opportunities await you in 2013, anticipate them. Some of the God’s best opportunities will come disguised as overwhelming problems, expect them. You will be tempted to make compromising, expedient decisions because the alternative, principled decision will be “hard.” I dare you to trust God and show your resolve.
When the crisis comes, when the decision choice is hard, when you have the opportunity to do the right thing, you will if you have committed beforehand to allow Christ to rule in your life.

Paul told the believers in Rome that no matter the challenge before them, that an “overwhelming victory” belonged to them through Christ. The promise is still valid.

Whereas, He has loved us with an everlasting love, and,
Whereas, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and,
Whereas, nothing can separate me from His love,
Therefore, be it resolved, that I commit my life, my decisions, and my eternity into His Almighty care.

Have a great 2013!!!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Culture, Faith, Uncategorized

NOW THAT THE ELECTION IS OVER

 

Political and Spiritual Realities

 Mourning the political loss of last Tuesday has been the dominant theme among those of us who “live” on the internet, discussing and reading Christian and political commentary.  There is no doubt that the re-election of President Obama came as a genuine shock and disappointment to the many Christians who espouse the traditional Biblical values upon which this country was founded, me included.  However, winners and losers in God’s eyes are neither Democrat nor Republican.  His Kingdom is not of this world.  In fact, “He that overcomes the world is he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (I John 5:5)

Many Christians have never seen themselves as a “remnant” even though the Bible calls us that again and again.  Constantine may have legitimized Christianity, but Scripture makes it very clear that light will always struggle against darkness and the majority will always choose darkness.  Many are genuinely grieving over what they see as the death of America.  But, I would submit, that even with all the political and economic uncertainty, there are a couple of things that are absolute and certain.

 How about God’s Word on real  winners?  “To him that overcomes, God will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Rev 2:7)  And, “He will also be clothed with white raiment, and instead of his name being blotted out of the book of life, Jesus will confess his name before the Father and His angels.” (Rev. 3:5)

 I am absolutely convinced that attitude is reflected in performance.  Unfortunately, our attitude is directly linked to our emotions, and our emotions are affected by the information we gather from various sources.  What that means, as any computer geek knows, is GIGO. “Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

 Read newspapers, watch TV, listen to radio, access the Internet and fill your mind with information, most of which disregards or denigrates our faith in God (Garbage In) and I guarantee you will display an attitude of defeat and dismay (Garbage Out).  Your work is affected, your relationships are affected, even the simple enjoyment of life is affected.  But, God doesn’t change.  His Word is just as true as it was before the election.

The election proved what we already knew but did not want to acknowledge; we are a deeply divided nation.  Our Christian influence has dwindled over the past few decades.  Clearly, no overwhelming mandate was give to the Democrats.  No candidate crushed another.  At the end of the day, the status quo was pretty much maintained.  There is one constant in politics and that is “struggle.”  No victory is ever permanent, nor is any defeat, unless the battle is abandoned.

Veterans Assured Your Freedom to Participate

Sunday was Veteran’s Day.  It is an annual celebration of the men and women who have defended, some with their lives, the rights and privileges we exercised last week.  Whether you agree with the election or not, it was the free exercise of the vote that our Veterans sacrificed to preserve.  Veterans know about struggle.  Veterans know about sustaining battles.  Veterans know about losing battles, but winning wars.  Veterans know about sacrifice.

 The more troubling part of the election was not the outcome, but the lack of participants.  Roughly 125 million people voted.  That number is appalling.  Fewer people voted in this election than in 2008.  The population of the country increased, but the vote decreased.  What is wrong with this picture?  Vets died so that you, YOU, could have a say in the leadership of the nation, and you didn’t bother?

 What is troubling is the number of Christians who did not vote and are proud of it.  Forgive me, you remind me of the Pharisees who wrapped their robes and crossed the street so they wouldn’t have to deal with a beaten and dying Samaritan.

 I have no doubt that, given the chance, Christians in Sudan would have voted.  Christians in Syria would have voted.  Christians in China would have voted.  Christians in North Korea would have voted.  Christians in any of the “stans” would have voted.  I hope you get the point. Your silence was deafening.  You need to engage! 

 My father-in-law is a Christian, a retired missionary, and a proud Veteran.  He has sacrificed his life to bring men and women to Jesus Christ.  He has “served” through all manner of political administrations.  As a missionary, he even “served” under dictatorships.  The constant in his life is his witness; it was never compromised, never changed, though often challenged.  His commitment to the Truth has rendered him immovable and unflappable.  To this day, he is engaged in the struggle for men’s souls.  I aspire to be like him.

 So…Christian…square your shoulders today, the battle is not over.  Remember what the Scripture commands, “Rejoice!”  “Give thanks unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ (II Cor 2:14) knowing that no weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rises up against you in judgment you shall condemn for this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. (Isa 54:17).”  Our battle does not end with a four year term in the White House, it is for an eternity in God’s House called, “Heaven.”

Don’t be discouraged.  Don’t ever forget, Satan thought he had won on Friday…but Sunday was coming!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

Decision Time

Make A Decision!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  We all have to make them and we all procrastinate as long as we can with difficult decisions.  We say, “We’re trying to get all the facts before we decide,” but we are really trying to decide what happens if we do this and what happens if we do that…if we’re not sure, we prefer to put off the decision hoping that someone or something will make it for us.  (You’re probably not like that, but the rest of us are)

Well, tomorrow is Decision Day.  It is more than Election Day.  It is a day in which we will decide on a direction that our nation will take for the next several decades.  Your children and grandchildren will be effected by the decision you make tomorrow.  If that seems melodramatic, I assure you it is not.

Consider These Decisions…

It was an ELECTED judge whose decision began the rulings that led Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court where justices appointed by ELECTED Presidents and confirmed by ELECTED Senators made a decision (against over 100 years of precedent law) that abortion was legal.  That initial ruling is now being interpreted as a “right.”

It was a Supreme Court APPOINTED by ELECTED Presidents and confirmed by ELECTED Senators that made the decision that God was to be removed from our society.  The Court’s decision was that the Constitution provided for a “separation clause” that has been used to work toward a secular society.  The Court’s decision was not based on a strict interpretation of the document, and its interpretation still plagues this nation.

It was an ELECTED Senate that, for political reasons alone, made the decision to allow a man, disbarred for lying, to remain President.  And the currently ELECTED President makes Mr. Clinton look like a saint.

Here’s Why YOU Need To Make A Decision

Mr. Obama has called the United States a “post-Christian” nation.  It was Mr. Obama’s decision that has plunged the United States into more debt in four years than his predecessors combined.  It has been Mr. Obama’s decision to lie about his faith.  The decision or decisions made regarding the events in Benghazi ultimately lie with Mr. Obama.  It was Mr. Obama’s decision to send out surrogates to blame an obscure video for an Al-Qaida attack.

It was Mr. Obama’s decision to appoint and approve an Attorney General who has thumbed his nose at Congress and everyone else.  The decision to pass what has become known as “Obamacare” was made in the middle of the night by ELECTED officials who cared nothing for the unintended consequences of their actions.

It is the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services and its APPOINTED Secretary, to require employers to “cover” abortive and contraceptive drugs to their employees even though their personal religious convictions are violated.

Saul Alinsky was never elected to any office, but his beliefs and writings have been studied and believed by liberal democrats for decades.  Contrary to the Judeo-Christian eithic upon which this nation was founded, Alinsky’s philosophy has been blatantly adopted as public policy by the current administration.  Every decision that this administration has made is tainted with Alinsky’s sewage.

My Decision Is A Matter of Faith

Please don’t think that I am so naïve as to believe that the Republican ticket is perfect, but the alternative makes my decision relatively easy.  Governor Romney was not my first choice for a candidate, but the socialist, godless, anti-family, morally bankrupt agenda put forth by the Democrats and Barack Obama is beyond my contempt.  As a Christian, not a Republican, I cannot allow Barak Obama and the democrats the opportunity to APPOINT anyone who will continue to marginalize the Church, violate the sanctity of life, and to thumb their noses at those of us who believe that values matter.

As I said earlier, my decision in my personal vote does not reveal naivete.  Romney may be a better decision but I do not (and probably will not) agree with all of his policies.  However, I do believe he will restore a measure of dignity to the Office of President.  And, I do believe that he hold a faith in Almighty God that the current administration disdains.

It is time for you to make your decision.  I call, today, for you to vote tomorrow.  If you don’t agree with me, go vote just to cancel me out!  Get involved in the process, make a decision.  Your vote, your decision, might make the difference between a baby living and dying, your kids learning the value and importance of prayer, and continuing to worship the God whom we serve freely.

Moses challenged Israel to make a decision to serve the Lord and Joshua did likewise.  Joshua’s words seem to summarize my feelings on this day before Decision Day.  “. . .if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!”

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

Ya Gotta Have A Team

Everybody Needs A Lift

Well, the World Series is in full swing as I write this.  San Francisco  and Detroit are going at it.  Detroit was the favorite to win, but someone forgot to get the memo to the Giants.  Detroit has more “stars,” but San Francisco has been making all the right decisions and big plays.  I must admit that I wasn’t sure the Tigers would beat the Yankees and I was confident that the Giants wouldn’t beat the Cards.  Good thing I am not a betting man!  Here’s something I do know… Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Religion, Uncategorized

Experience Is Priceless

Experience Really Is The Best Teacher

I’m not sure who first said, “Experience is the greatest teacher,” but I know it to be one of the truest statements ever made.  Someone even took it to a higher level by stating, “Experience is the ONLY teacher.”  Problem solving is an integral part of all our careers, and personal lives.  Experience often makes us more confident in our decisions because our understanding of the situation is not brand new.

Researchers have found that infants who had an opportunity to use a plastic cane to get an out-of-reach toy were better able to understand the goal of another person’s use of a similar tool than were infants who had previously only watched an adult use a cane to retrieve a toy.

According to assistant professor of psychology and lead author of a study published in a 2008 issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, “Acting on the world is one way infants learn about the world, and only recently have there been studies showing that active, hands-on experience is a more effective way of learning than watching. This study indicates that there is a benefit to actual hands-on experience early in human development.” (Science Daily, October 9, 2008)

Executives who rise to the C-suite exude confidence.  CEOs and Chairmen are usually in their positions because of consistency in making good decisions.  In interviewing hundreds of them over the years, the one constant among them is that the confidence in their decision-making improved with age and experience.

Experience Produces An Excellent Spirit

One man, in particular, told the story of his growth.  He achieved success (financially) early in his career and seemed to have a Midas-touch.  Everything he did came easy and in his words he, “didn’t know the difference between confident and cocky.”  He had faced no hard decisions or failures according to his account.  Then things changed.  His industry had a cyclical downturn; something he had not experienced, nor had he planned for.  His fortune was lost and he was no longer regarded as he had been previously.

One thing he possessed was a strong faith in God.  He was shaken by his losses, but his faith in God and in his skills remained strong.  He began again.  He took an entry-level position in a company that would use his skills.  It was humbling, but it was a successful step.  Today, he owns the company.

As we talked, he made it clear that his stability and confidence came from his faith.  He had confidence in his skill set as it had clearly worked for him before.  He simply needed the opportunity to put those skills to use once more and he did not consider himself above taking a humble position.  My friend had an excellent spirit.

The Bible declares that Daniel had an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, a keen mind, and the ability to solve difficult problems (Daniel 5:12-13).  When called before Belshazzar to interpret a dream (a task none of his contemporaries could accomplish), he acted and spoke with absolute confidence.  His confidence was born out of his experience before Nebuchadnezzar and also his continued walk with the Almighty God.

My friend’s experience and Daniel’s experience are similar.  When my friend was given opportunity in a new situation, he performed with confidence.  Just as Daniel knew God and his employer, so did my friend.  And so can you.

Trust God…and Your Experience

Know, today, that those same resources are available to you.  Your experience has fit you for the “battle” of today and the same Almighty God can be trusted, not only with your eternal future, but with the hassles of the moment.  Daniel trusted God to assist him in solving difficult problems; God will assist you too!  You are up to the task in Him!  Know it!  Understand it!  It will create an excellent spirit in you.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (II Peter 1:3-8 NIV)

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Religion, Uncategorized