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VOLUME 12 NO.5 | $3.95


American Christian MAGAZINE

At this point, what difference does it make?

Republican Party? You’re fired!

Are these really our choices?

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American Christian Voice Volume 12 No. 5 Contents  Don’t Miss These! ABOUT US 4.Yak Bak 16.Would you like to join the ministry of the American Christian Voice? 27.Puzzle Page!! 36.Where you can buy a copy of the American Christian Voice... 36.Subscription Info FEATURES 8.Why Third-Party Candidates Can’t Win 9.Why Christians Aren't Laughing at Lance Wallnau 11.Ex-Exec Sues Glenn Beck 12.With God, All Things Are Possible! 14.Modern Christian: Confuse Personality With Character 16.What is at Risk with an HRC Presidency? 19.Do Christians Have an Obligation to Vote? 20.Dobson to Liberty U Students:

‘Life Will Trash Your Trophies’ 23.Stay Away from Frightful Investment Moves 28.What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ 30.Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret 31.The Skeleton Walks 32.Mike Rowe Shares his Wise Opinion on Voting 37.Our Great Big Hope 38.Too Proud too accept 5 Million? 39.Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers 39.Ask the Rabbi 40.Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie 42.A Christian Pastor’s Analysis of the U.S. Election Drama 44.Yes, I’m Voting For Donald HE is the Trump. And No, I’m Not Going To All­Consuming Hell Fire! 47.I Could Have Gone On a Cruise

Why I Am Not a Red­Letter Christian DONALD TRUMP AND THE PHARISEES Hell Freezes Over? Finding Jesus in the Feast of Tabernacles Is Your Church Messy Enough? A Great Awakening or a Rude Awakening?

Welcome Church of God members to the Feast! See Centerfold

RETRACTION The article, “Ask the Rabbi” in Volume 12 no. 4 included the name “Yahweh” in it. That was an addition from the ACV editor and not

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yak bak

Just as the Lord separates the tares from the wheat and the sheep from the goats, so go Christians and our politics. The only problem is I don’t know whether to follow the farmer to the slaughter or eat a tin can. Elias Hocter, Oakland, CA ________________________________ Thank you so much for not making Donald Trump out to be our political Messiah. Your publication has clearly shown that one can support a flawed human being (because everyone is one) while not putting their trust in them. Sally Rienhardt, Springfield, MO ___________________________________ Your magazine is despicable. You might have a voice as an American but you should take the word “Christian” off of your cover. Your blatant support of Trump reveals you are a COIN! (Christian Only In Name) Helena Jagson, Tulsa, OK __________________________________ I picked your publication up in a recent trip to Branson. Kudos on the inclusivity of the diverse children of the Living God! John Eriksen, St. Paul, MN ____________________________________ Ever since Glenn Beck went off his rocker I must also observe that he is about as much a Mormon as Donald Trump is a Presbyterian. His shameless promotions of all kind of products generating millions of dollars for himself smacks of someone who places very little trust in God. Dale H. Smith, Harrison, AR

.Feed Back From Our Readers We enjoyed your take on “the sacred cows” of economics. Capitalism run by fallen humans is not synonymous with Christianity after all. It looks like you ARE Intelligent, Inspirational and Fun! I definitely want a subscription. We are buying one for my flaming liberal neighbor as well. Maybe he will enjoy the Crossword puzzle. LOL! Matt & Sue Brunner, Arlington, TX __________________________________ Did you seriously print an article written by a Muslim? (Jesus, Capitalism and the Manifest Destiny, pg. 8, Vol. 12 No. 4) To lend any credibility to a person that is a follower of the Great Whore of Babylon is irresponsible in a Christian Magazine. Gunther Price, Jonesboro, AR _____________________________________ I am a Catholic and used to be a member of Democrats For Life but I have since become an Independent. I still can’t stomach the Republican party but I cannot support a globalist agenda that Hillary Clinton is sure to pursue. As a pragmatist not wanting to throw my vote away, I will vote for (swallowing hard here) Mr. Trump. I would like to write more but I suddenly have the urge to run to the confessional right now. Manfred Warren, New York, NY ed: What Republican Party? I thought they went out of business. ___________________________________ I found your publication in an airplane seat pocket on my way to Chicago. As a 24 year old college student, I cannot afford a



subscription but saw where I can receive it as a virtual magazine online for free. Thanks, I appreciate that. Kyle Shoemaker, Kirksville, MO ________________________________ I loved the statement, “Socilaism is when people wait in line for bread and Capitalism is where bread waits in a line for people.” I cut out the Meme you had in the last issue regarding the types of governments in the world. It was brilliant and I put it on the office refrigerator door. Some wise guy put a slice of stale bread on the door behind a large magnet. What does that even mean? It made an impact on a co-worker but no one has fessed up yet. Harold Mathers, Gatlinburg, TN __________________________________ Send your “letters to the editor” to: or mail to:

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The American Christian Voice is published with the primary purpose is to edify the body of Christ through inspirational articles of Christian faith and courage, educate the body of Christ through informative articles and by promoting the message that disciples of Christ are not under the penalty of sin or condemnation of it. It is because of what Christ has done... not what we do. Our obedience to the law, and our good works, now is out of our gratitude for that precious gift of grace and salvation; not as a motivation to be in right standing with God. We are dedicated to be Kingdom builders as we realize that our unity can only represent God in our diversity as we love the lost through Christ. Our focus is on, and to, the invisible church which Jesus said, “The gates of hell would not prevail against.” We report the good as well as the bad within our church family as a testament for the necessity of a Savior. Our observations are made from a fairly moderate to conservative viewpoint.

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When Red Is Blue

Why I am not a Red­Letter Christian hough I own several Bibles with the words of Christ printed in red, I've always found the concept a bit iffy. After all, we evangelicals believe in the plenary, or full, inspiration of Scripture, don't we? Setting off Jesus' sayings this way seems to imply that they are more holy than what is printed in ordinary black ink. Sure, Christians understand that Jesus the incarnate Word fulfills the written Word. But if all Scripture is God-breathed, then in principle Jesus' inscripturated statements are no more God's Word to us than are those from Peter, Paul, and Mary—or Ezekiel.



That's why I felt a bit queasy when I heard about a group calling itself "Red-Letter Christians." In the book Letters to a Young Evangelical, Tony Campolo says RLCs have an "intense desire to be faithful to the words of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament." That's a worthy start, of course—but only that. This approach sounds reminiscent of a problem dividing the church in Corinth. Hear some cogent words printed, unfortunately, in black letters: "What I mean is that each one of you says, 'I follow Paul,' or 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Cephas,' or 'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided?" RLCs seem to say they have found a higher truth. No doubt Campolo, a wonderful evangelist and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, would demur. But while in no way denying the genuine desire of RLCs to be faithful to Christ, it seems to me that the key color here is not red, but blue. Campolo insists RLCs are strictly nonpartisan. "We are people who want to assure that Jesus is neither defined as a Republican nor a Democrat," he recently told the Associated Baptist Press. "When asked about party affiliation, the Red-Letter Christian is prone to answer, 'Please name the issue.' " But Campolo also says RLCs are upset about "gay-bashing, anti-feminism, antienvironmentalism, pro-war, pro-gun, and Religious Right politics." These items sound a lot like talking points from a James Carville memo. Further, Campolo regularly uses the highly



pejorative term Religious Right for politically conservative Christians but declines a comparable label, Religious Left, for his group. His reasoning? "[I]t suggests that we are an arm of the Democratic Party in the same way in which the Religious Right has become an arm of the Republican Party." Perhaps some on the Right have become so, but this is an oversimplification. Yes, in his book Campolo generously says Christians on the Right "are just as eager as those on the Left to help the poor, bring peace to the world, rescue the environment from degradation, and overcome racism. Working for social justice is not a prerogative of the Left." Regarding social ministries, Campolo acknowledges that "those on the Religious Right excel in financial support and volunteerism." So what really separates us, according to Campolo, is our view of government in addressing these problems. Those on the Left tend to believe in a larger federal role. When discussing RLCs, Campolo states, "Christians should engage in efforts to change the political and economic structures of society." But that must not apply to black-letter Christians, who he says attempt to "force their agenda on others." Remember the Sojourners ad released shortly before the 2004 election, "God Is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat"? But under the line, "We are not single-issue voters," it lists a series of black-and-white questions seemingly pulled directly from John Kerry's briefing book.

They range from poverty ("Do the candidates' budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families?") to the environment ("Do the candidates' policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it?").

Of course, while Christians should not be beholden to any political party, our politics must be informed by our faith. Unfortunately, the platform of RedLetter Christians always seems to come out of the washing machine blue, just as some other "nonpartisan" Christian groups consistently align with the Republicans. If you believe ending poverty requires more government spending and a higher minimum wage; if you believe in a manmade global warming crisis; if you oppose school vouchers; if homosexual marriage is no big deal (and in fact a civil right); and if you are tired of talking about the 50 million unborn human beings lost to abortion since 1973, then you know which lever to pull. How we vote as Christians may differ, and that's okay. But let's not insist that we are somehow above the political fray. That is just the kind of sophistry the Lord warned against. _______________________________________________ e again concur with Gandhi when he said, “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”


An example of this elemental relationship between faith and politics was William Wilberforce, a political leader who became a leading influence in the British Parliament for the abolition of slavery. The recent motion picture, Amazing Grace, gives us a portrait of this relentless man of faith, whose religious convictions compelled his sustained campaign against slavery. The idea that Wilberforce’s religion should have no place in the civic sphere would never have occurred to him — it was his faith that thrust him into politics.

it’s time to carry two swords hen you finally come to the conclusion there is a God, you’re likely to try to attempt to please Him.


And this is where it can get dangerous. You might be on your way to the sanctuary for worship, and you see a man curled up by the side of the road, bloody and beaten by robbers. Something tells you the man needs your help (that’s God talking to you), but you are wearing your Sunday best, and you’re not trained as a first responder, and you’ve been given the honor of opening today’s meeting in prayer, and, besides, this guy is probably a drug addict and you have little children you’re responsible for — so you hurry on to church and you prove that you have the spirit of the Pharisee — that weird inclination to ignore what Jesus called “the weightier matters of the law.” The #NeverTrump movement is defined by this Pharisee spirit. It is chock full of it. Texas pastor Max Lucado is a great example. Max leads what he calls a “red

However, Max recently broke his neutrality pledge when Donald Trump called a bimbo a bimbo. According to Max: I would not have said anything about Mr. Trump, never — I would never have said anything if he didn’t call himself a Christian. It’d be none of my business whatsoever to make any comments about his language, his vulgarities, his slander of people, but I was deeply troubled … that here’s a man who holds up a Bible one day, and calls a lady “bimbo” the next. Think on that for a moment. Max closes his eyes to another “Christian,” Barack

Obama, who stands foursquare for the slaughter of millions of unborn babies, at your expense, but Donald Trump called a lady a “bimbo?” Intolerable! Unthinkable! Impolite! Time to engage the Pharisee warp engines. Donald is a blunt customer, but it looks like he does have a heart. When asked about abortion, Trump related a story close to home. He said that he knew of a pregnancy that was going to be terminated. ”That child today,” Donald continued, ”is a total superstar. It is a great, great child.”


state” church, but Max has a maxim: ”I don’t want anybody to know how I vote.” Max does this to make sure the Democratic voters in his church, the ones who support abortion on demand, Islamo-pandering, and class warfare are not made to feel uncomfortable.


When Donald Trump picked the most prolife running mate in history to be his partner in the quest for the presidency, Governor Mike Pence, he backed up that claim. He made good on his conversion to the life issue, and, in so doing, he proved to be the opposite of the Pharisee spirit — a man who cares about the “weightier matters of the law.” Max Lucado may value political fence-sitting in church, a pleasant smile, and a polite manners, but Donald Trump risked the wrath of a baby-killing culture, and even repudiated his own past, by embracing the politics of life. Who is the real Christian here? The one who acts like it, or the one who puts on a polite show of neutrality?



electoral college makes it unattainable

Why Third­Party Candidates Can’t Win


At some point things stop being a coincidence here’s an idea floating around that the time is ripe for a third-party candidate. In theory, it makes sense— by some measures both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton score worse than Barry Goldwater (the low-water mark of modern presidential campaigns). On the other hand, their low approval ratings might be misleading.


Perhaps this is akin to paper cuts versus stab wounds: both have universal disapproval, but the choice would not be difficult. Alternatively, the contest might be like that between eating sea urchin or porridge: the relatively few Americans who enjoy uni do so immensely, whereas porridge is regarded unenthusiastically by all. Despite high polling results for a generic “other choice” (who wouldn’t want more choices, besides Bernie Sanders?), American politics has never actually resulted in that choice winning. A look at the historical record reveals it’s quite premature to start discussing President Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. The last time a third-party presidential candidate had an effect was in 2000, when Ralph Nader’s support famously handed the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore. So, yes, in a razor-thin election, a third-party candidate can make a difference in a state. But Nader couldn’t even crack three percent in the national vote—hardly a strong result and a far cry from the two previous elections. In 1996 and, especially, 1992, H. Ross Perot set records with his presidential campaigns. He was actually polling in first place at various points in 1992, an unprecedented feat for an independent candidate. When asked which states he planned on winning, Perot proclaimed that he planned to take all 50 in a landslide. Yet despite getting a whopping 19 percent of the vote, he won precisely zero states due to the nature of American elections. Electoral votes are given to whomever has the largest plurality, so getting 50+ percent of the vote in a given state or 40 percent in a three-way race are effectively the same.



1980 had some parallels to this current election. President Carter was viewed as incompetent while Ronald Reagan was viewed as a lunatic about to bring about nuclear armageddon. The independent candidate John Anderson promised competence and moderation, and was polling at over 20 percent during the summer. The issue of whether to include him in a presidential debate—not yet an official electoral tradition—was a sticking point between the two campaigns. Eventually, Carter gave in to Reagan’s demand to debate one on one, with devastating consequences. Anderson eventually delivered a mere seven percent of the vote in a landslide election for Reagan. The last time a third-party candidate won any states was in 1968, when segregationist George Wallace ran against Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Despite claims of Nixon’s “southern strategy,” he lost most of the southern states to Wallace (with Humphrey taking President Lyndon Johnson’s native Texas). Wallace’s five state victories were utterly irrelevant to the outcome, as their combined 46 electoral votes wouldn’t have changed Nixon’s 301 to 191 victory. Wallace’s campaign echoed that of a previous Dixiecrat: Strom Thurmond’s 1948 campaign against Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey. The campaign also featured Truman’s direct predecessor as FDR’s vice president, quasi-Stalinist Henry Wallace, running under the Progressive Party banner. Despite Truman having approval ratings so low that they would only be bested by George W. Bush over 50 years later—and despite every poll to the contrary—Truman won decisively by 303 to 189 electoral votes. Thurmond won less than three percent of the total vote but carried four states (over seven percent of the electoral votes), again demonstrating that it’s not how many votes an independent candidate gets but how they are distributed. The most successful third-party candidate was former two-term president Teddy Roosevelt, running against both his chosen protégé William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Incumbent President Taft was relegated to third place

but Woodrow Wilson garnered 435 of 531 electoral votes—over 80 percent of the total. The electoral landslide was not mirrored in the popular vote, with Wilson only receiving about 42 percent. Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs received six percent of the vote, and was jailed years later by President Wilson for speaking out against the WWI draft. His sentence was commuted by Wilson’s successor, Warren Harding, after Debs ran against him in 1920 while still incarcerated (he got 3.4 percent!). The only other third-party examples are trivia questions and as irrelevant. Robert La Follette won one state in 1924, Millard Filmore one in 1856, and James Weaver won five in 1892 (the same year that Grover Cleveland won reelection to an unprecedented second non-consecutive term). 1872 didn’t even have a second party, as both Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley represented different wings of the Republican party (much like the 1824 election was between four Democrats). Though things were sometimes weird before the modern two-party system was established, the results were still quite similar to today in terms of the impotence of third parties. Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 victory was over three Democrats. Yet even combined, they still would not have beaten him in electoral vote totals. Similarly, having five candidates receive some electoral votes didn’t matter to Martin Van Buren’s lopsided 1836 victory, as having four didn’t matter to Andrew Jackson in 1832. It’s possible that we will one day see Gary Johnson or Jill Stein alongside Teddy Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore. Historically speaking, however, it hasn’t happened. No third-party candidate has ever even come close to winning the presidency, either in terms of the popular vote or in terms of the electoral college. Does that mean it can’t happen? At some point things stop being a coincidence and start becoming a pattern.

Michael Malice is the author of Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il. He is also the subject of Harvey Pekar’s graphic novel Ego & Hubris and the co­author of five other books. Follow him on Twitter @michaelmalice.

He sees the end from the beginning

Lance Wallnau believes God is raising up Donald Trump like he did King Cyrus in Isaiah 45. When the charismatic speaker / business consultant first said this long before the billionaire businessman received the Republican nomination, nearly everyone thought he was nuts. Now, Wallnau's analysis is ringing true with many Christians who are looking to make sense spiritually of this very strange election season. Wallnau also believes God gives leaders "common grace" to be instruments of His purposes—ones like Lincoln or Churchill or Thatcher. In a recent podcast, Wallnau told me all this and more. [See article online for link to listen in]. I felt this message was so important that I asked Wallnau to write it and we published it in Charisma magazine in our October issue which has Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Pence on the cover. An early form of this article was published online in three installments and you can read them [in original article online links]. Wallnau told me he had an impression when he first met Donald Trump early this year that there was an anointing on him. He didn't understand the impression since he preferred Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. Then he saw a meme on Facebook showing Trump as the nation's 45th president. About the same time, he felt the Lord tell him to read Isaiah 45, which says King Cyrus who is called the Lord's "anointed" and later in the chapter says, "I have even called you by your name ... though you have not known Me." Wallnau then told me he felt he heard the Lord tell him "common grace," and he found the term in a Charles Colson book. It was a term the Reformers used to contrast "saving grace," when there was a basic understanding of God that influenced governments and societies even though the people who had this common grace might not have experienced "saving grace." I urge you to not only listen to the podcast (and share it with friends on social media) but to read the article in Charisma. The full

issue is available digitally behind a paywall and you can access it [online] and learn how to subscribe. Meanwhile Steve Shultz, founder of The Elijah List sent out an email about my podcast with Wallnau with this incredible subject line: "Wow: The Bible's 'Cyrus the Great' and 'Donald Trump'— Is This God?" Here, he encouraged his readers, as I am, to listen to the podcast, then he gave a detailed report on what Wallnau said. I found it interesting in how Shultz wrote it, and I end my report by quoting him: Lance Wallnau shares in recent podcast: • God anoints secular rulers in history for specific purposes in order to protect His interests.

up in the force they need to show up in to support what this man's (Donald Trump) capable of doing in restoration. Because 'if history tells us anything (it's this)—when


Why Christians Aren't Laughing at Lance Wallnau Saying God is Raising Up Donald Trump Like Cyrus in Isaiah 45

God shows up He's 'disguised' and His people don't (always) recognize Him." • "Trump is like a wrecking ball." • Trump challenged this group of ministers (who met with him at Trump Tower) and said, "If you don't mind me saying so, I think you guys have gotten soft." Lance went on to explain that Trump was looking at how fear and embarrassment are so often in ministry ... with the church backing up from issues.

• This will amaze you! The three

issues that Cyrus took the most satisfaction in: 1) Dealing with terror 2) Restoring the habitations or economic stability of their cities 3)Honoring their sanctuaries or their houses of faith The Cyrus cylinder (that was uncovered in an archaeological dig) talks about terrorism, economics and faith. • This election is so critical ... Lance says, "I don't know yet if the church is going to be as awakened as they need to be—to show

• Lance continued saying that Trump is like a wrecking ball going toward many controversial issues. And Trump's observation was, "I really think that America's turned against Christianity in the last decade in a way that's not healthy, and I think you guys have gotten soft in terms of taking your ground and holding it." Only someone like Donald Trump, himself a brand-new Christian, could actually get away with saying that to the church leadership in America. Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media.





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he finally went off the reservation

Ex­Exec Sues ‘Erratic,’ ‘Reckless,’ ‘Paranoid’ Glenn Beck



radio DJ to a national superstar, appearing on the covers of Time, Forbes, and [New York Times] Magazine”—focuses on a more recent period in which “Beck’s behavior became increasingly erratic and he distanced himself from the company,” the lawsuit alleges. “Beck became obsessed with rebranding himself as an entertainment figure as opposed to a news personality, even though news is what had made Mercury millions,” it continues. “Beck began to refer to himself as Walt Disney and went so far as to paint ‘Walt’ above his door and ‘Roy’ above Balfe’s door,” the lawsuit goes on, in a reference to the entertainment legend’s older brother and business partner Roy Oliver Disney. “Beck insisted his work with news be quashed, sometimes refusing to participate in a show entirely if it contained a news segment. He spent Mercury’s money developing films, planning amusement parks, and planning to reinvent the healthcare industry starting by building his own hospitals. In the summer of 2013, Beck even produced a live stage show called ‘Man in the Moon’ that cost over $2 million for a single night run.” The lawsuit continues: “Beck also became suspicious of almost everyone. He began terminating employees, including those who had been with the company for more than a decade. Balfe navigated these terminations for Beck at his request, working hard to ensure that they did not result in the release of information that was embarrassing and potentially devastating for Beck’s brand.” In a November 2014 video on The Blaze, a tearful Beck blamed that low moment on a recently cured mysterious brain illness that “quite honestly has made me look crazy.” “As Beck’s paranoia increased, so did his spending. Later, Beck purchased an expensive-to-maintain private jetliner, a 1966-vintage DC-9 formerly owned by Beck’s friend, the late right-wing billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife. The company was spending excessive amounts to pay for unnecessary private security Beck required, and Beck insisted on leasing unnecessary office space as well as building and rebuilding himself unnecessary offices and sets. Despite Balfe’s best efforts, Mercury soon fell behind on vendor payments.” editor’s note: Even a broken clock tells the truth twice each day.

lenn Beck believes, “If one helps to elect an immoral man to the highest office, then one is merely validating his immorality, lewdness and depravity.” Despite reports on social media, Glenn Beck is not endorsing Hillary Clinton. But some of the things the right-wing talker said about the potential for a Clinton presidency has many wondering if Hell just froze over. Beck said that not voting for Donald Trump ― even if it leads to Clinton winning the Oval Office ― could be “a moral, ethical choice.” Demanding that Republicans blindly vote for Trump, on the other hand, would be just the opposite. “It is not acceptable to ask a moral, dignified man to cast his vote to help elect an immoral man who is absent decency or dignity,” Beck wrote on Facebook. If she is elected, the world does not end.... Once elected, Hillary can be fought. Her tactics are blatant and juvenile, and battling her by means of political and procedural maneuvering or through the media , through public marches and online articles, all of that will be moral, worthy of man of principal. Her nominees can be blocked, her proposed laws voted down. The alternative does not offer a moral person the same opportunity. If one helps to elect an immoral man to the highest office, then one is merely validating his immorality, lewdness, and depravity. Beck even told Vice that he considered voting for Clinton. “It has crossed my mind,” Beck admitted. “I think Donald Trump is so unstable ― so dangerous ― that it has crossed my mind.” But, ultimately, he said, he “can’t do it.” While Beck has been part of the “Never Trump” movement from the beginning, the confession that a Clinton presidency could in any way be “a moral, ethical choice” has some on social media wondering what planet we’re living on. He said he would vote for Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle.





laze owner Glenn Beck has driven his media company ‘into the ground due to his own erratic behavior, excessive spending, and mismanagement,’ his former top executive alleges. The abrupt end of a beautiful friendship—nearly two decades of mutual admiration between struggling media entrepreneur Glenn Beck and his fired top executive, Christopher Balfe—has become a legal battle of ugly accusations that only promise to get uglier. “Beck has driven [Mercury Radio Arts, Beck’s wholly owned private umbrella company] into the ground due to his own erratic behavior, excessive spending, and mismanagement,” Balfe alleges in a countersuit filed recently in Dallas County, Texas, District Court—a response to Beck’s July 29 lawsuit accusing his former protégé of fraud, breach of contract, dereliction of duty and various other misdeeds. Balfe—whom Beck quietly fired in December 2014 while publicly lavishing praise—is demanding more than $3 million in deferred compensation and unpaid bonuses and legal fees, as well as unspecified “exemplary,” or punitive, damages. If Beck and Balfe can’t settle their disputes and their dueling lawsuits go forward, a take-no-prisoners discovery process could very well precede a fullblown jury trial that would undoubtedly air a mountain of dirty laundry. Ironically, Balfe—who last year joined with several former Beck executives to launch their own digital media company, Red Seat Ventures—continues to own a slightly more than 10 percent stake in The Blaze. “Balfe propelled Beck and Mercury on a meteoric rise to national prominence and delivered millions of dollars in profits to Beck and Mercury,” claims the complaint filed by the 38-year-old Balfe against his 52-year-old erstwhile mentor, for whom he started working as a 19-year-old computer geek in 1997, when Beck was a relatively unknown local radio host in Hamden, Connecticut. The lawsuit describes Balfe, who dropped out of the University of Connecticut and worked as a consultant before joining Beck’s enterprise fulltime in 2001, as a “close friend” who spoke at Beck’s 1999 wedding to his second wife, Tania. Balfe’s complaint—which offers an epic narrative of Beck’s climb from “a morning

Hell Freezes Over? Glenn Beck Says Electing Hillary Clinton Could Be A ‘Moral, Ethical Choice’ would be his easiest defeat of all. With all odds against him, David reached into his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine hard on the forehead. Immediately, the giant fell facedown on the ground, dead. With fear and trembling, all the Philistines ran away as the Israelites shouted with victory.

With God, All Things Are Possible! ith God, all things are possible was not on the 9 foot tall giant’s mind when he was entering battle with a scrawny young shepherd boy named David. The giant was sure that he’d defeat the boy with one easy blow, after all, he was a champion Philistine warrior who entered battle with a 126 pound bronze armor, carried a bronze sword, held a spear with the tip alone weighing over fifteen pounds, and occupied a javelin.



All odds piled up against David as the attendees from both sides, Philistine and Israel, predicted the giant’s win.When David entered the battle, the crowd jeered and mocked him. But, David, unmoved by what anybody said had learned a way to fight battles that went beyond natural appearances and expectations. David had learned that when his faith and trust was in God, God would fight his battles. He had experienced this when he’d overcome the force of a dangerous lion; and, the paws of a ferocious bear. The giant paced back and forth sneering at the youngster saying, “Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals.”Unaffected, David approached the giant with five smooth stones and a sling in his hand.He said to the giant, “You come against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into my hands.” Arrogantly,the giant was sure that this


Several weeks ago, at 7:04 am, I was put to the test to trust the LORD when I was awakened from my bed shaking. I thought maybe my husband was doing it, so I nudged him to stop. He felt it too and we were shocked to see everything in our bedroom moving. Immediately, we both sat up with concern. The entire house was shaking! We discovered that we were in an earthquake— in Branson, Missouri—a place where earthquakes are unheard of. You can imagine our surprise! Quickly, I ran downstairs and began to pray, “LORD,God take a hold of this earthquake and defeat it, in the name of Jesus!” I understood that the battle was not mine, but it was the LORD’s. My trust was in Him.Within a few minutes, the earthquake ceased and nothing was destroyed. Trusting means to “attach oneself,” “confide in,” “feel safe,” “be confident,” and “secure.” Proverbs commends us to “Trust in the LORD with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways submit to Him, and He will make our paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Are you facing a battle? If you are, whether it appears to be as huge as a 9 foot giant,or as insecure as an earthquake, give it to God.


Place all your faith in Him. He can be trusted to fight your battles! With man what seems to be impossible, becomes your possibility, when you place your trust in God! Dr. Marla is a radio host, motivational speaker, and a writer. She is available to speak at your next event!

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Finding Jesus in the Feast of Tabernacles


The Feast of Tabernacles is an eight day festival* that begins at sundown on the first day of the feast (see the Jewish Calendar from Judaism 101). The Gospels record that our Lord Jesus not only celebrated the festival, but He took traditional elements of the celebration and applied them to His own life and mission. We find this particularly in John 7 and 8 where Jesus uses two traditional symbols from the Feast of Tabernacles celebration, water and light, to help the people understand who He is and what He offers. In order to understand Jesus' teaching here, we need a bit of background from Leviticus 23. There, Moses instructed the people that the first day and the eighth day of the festival were to be special days of rest, set apart from the others. But the seventh day became known as Hoshana Rabba, "the Great Day." My people developed special observances and traditions to mark this special day in Israel. The most spectacular of these was the water drawing ceremony. Imagine a whole parade of worshipers and flutists led by the priest to the pool of Siloam (where Jesus told the blind man to bathe his eyes after He put clay over them). The priest has two golden pitchers. One is for wine. He fills the other with water from the pool. As the flutes continue to play, a choir of Israelites chants Psalm 118. The whole procession heads back to the Temple through the Water Gate. A trumpet sounds as the priest enters the Temple area. He approaches the altar where two silver basins are waiting. He pours wine into one of the basins as a drink offering to the Lord and water from the pool of Siloam into the other. The whole ceremony, with the parade and the flutes and the singing, was such a joyful occasion that one of the ancient rabbis wrote: "Anyone who has not seen this water ceremony has never seen rejoicing in his life." The ceremony was to thank God for His bounty and to ask Him to provide rain for the crops in the coming year. Today, many people

take water for granted. We simply turn the tap and voilà—water! Not so in the Middle East during the first century. Water was often scarce. The people were very much aware of their dependence on God for the rains that were so vital for the preservation of life. No wonder the prophets came to see rain as a symbol of salvation and the work of God's Holy Spirit: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean… (Ezekiel 36:25). No wonder then that Jesus stood in the Temple on this great day of the feast and cried out: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37­38). The Apostle John commented on this speech in verse 39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. As the rain falls to nourish the crops, so the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, falls upon those who have identified with Jesus in His death and resurrection. It is that Spirit that refreshes us, and causes us to grow in grace and in faith. It is that Spirit that allows us to experience Immanuel, God with us. That Spirit is available to us today and every day. Y'shua's promise to give mayim chayim, living water, prompted even greater discussion and debate during the last day of the festival of Sukkot. The leaders grew angry because the Temple guards refused their order to arrest Jesus. Even when one of their own, Nicodemus, came to Jesus' defense, they still dismissed His claims saying, "A prophet does not come out of Galilee" (verse 52). Apparently, those leaders had forgotten about Isaiah chapter 9: There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; of those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Isaiah 9:1-2). And that brings us to the second Sukkot symbol that Jesus used to point to Himself as the fulfillment of Scripture. God had indeed promised that a great light would shine out of Galilee. Y'shua reminded His critics of that

You see, at the end of the first day of the Feast, the Temple was gloriously illuminated. According to the Mishnah (part of the oral tradition of the rabbis), gigantic candelabras stood within the court of the women. Each of the four golden candelabras is said to have been 50 cubits high. A cubit is somewhere between 18 and 22 inches, so we're talking about candelabras that were about 75 feet tall! Each candelabra had four branches, and at the top of every branch there was a large bowl. Four young men bearing 10 gallon pitchers of oil would climb ladders to fill the four golden bowls on each candelabra. And then the oil in those bowls was ignited.


od gave the biblical festivals to teach the Jewish people about His character and to help us understand His plan of salvation. But all Christians who have been "grafted in" to the olive tree (Romans 11:17) share our rich heritage and roots. So as we approach the last of the High Holy Days on the Jewish calendar, we hope you will find it meaningful.

powerful and prophetic claim, by using an image that would have been very fresh in the memories of all who heard. Light.

Picture sixteen beautiful blazes leaping toward the sky from these golden lamps. Remember that the Temple was on a hill above the rest of the city, so the glorious glow was a sight for the entire city to see. In addition to the light, Levitical musicians played their harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets to make joyful music to the Lord. What a glorious celebration! The light was to remind the people of how God's Shekinah glory had once filled His Temple. But in the person of Jesus, God's glory was once again present in that Temple. And He used that celebration to announce that very fact. He was teaching in the court of women just after the Feast, perhaps standing right next to those magnificent candelabras when He declared to all who were gathered there, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12). Many refused to have their own darkness exposed by that light. But there were those who were drawn to the light, whose hearts burned with the truth of Y'shua. And the light of Y'shua is still shining brightly today. As Jewish people (as well as many Christians) celebrate this festival, please join us in praying that they will come to know the One of whom all the festivals speak. Pray that the living water of Messiah Jesus will quench their thirst and fill them with the very Spirit of the God of Israel. *The Scriptures actually speak of the Feast of Tabernacles as being seven days, but it also speaks of an eighth day on which a holy convocation is to be held, (known as the last great day) with sacrifices made and no traditional work done on that day. See Leviticus 23:34­36.



the Catholic case for Donald Trump

The Modern Christian Temptation to Confuse Personality With Character ne thing I have noticed a lot of well meaning Catholics doing when it comes to Donald Trump is to confuse personality with character. In our soft American parishes today we are used to hearing constant messages about being polite and nice often at the expense of any real substantive Catholic teaching. The problem is that there are plenty of people who are very polite, nice, and wellmannered on the outside, but corrupt on the inside. Very many politicians come to mind (think Hillary Clinton). They talk a very good game, but their actions are quite a different story.

destruction. When necessary, God inflicts vengeance.

Enter Donald Trump. Trump is the exact opposite of what almost every social justice priest at your local guitar Mass says a Christian should be. He’s brash, boasting, confident, tough, unyielding, demanding, and blunt. In our very feminine and politically correct Church of 2016, these attributes alone are enough to horrify sensitive Catholic parishioners and have them mistakenly assume the man is evil , immoral, and Satan incarnate.

It’s pretty clear to me God sends unique people to be “war leaders.” That’s a different role than a pastor or church leader. God understands that.



Yet, if one has any experience with the Greatest Generation of men, the World War II generation, they will have known many men who were brash, tough, who cursed, who had a temper, but who on the inside were decent and good men and possessed natural virtue. And one thing is for certain, they got things done, and they didn’t complain. Sure they made mistakes, they sinned, they weren’t perfect. But sometimes you didn’t get to experience their true character under the gruff exterior unless you were with them on a daily basis. These were the men who fought our wars, who worked blue collar jobs. Many of them Catholic men. Were they all bad or evil men because they were tough, hard working, and no-nonsense? Hardly. Feminine does not necessarily equal holy. The God that said “Let the little children come to Me” also drove out money changers with a whip and called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers.” As Wayne Allyn Root recently wrote: I guess you think God is only nice and gentlemanly. Really? Then you’ve missed the whole point of the Bible. When necessary God is a pretty tough guy. When necessary, God strikes with pain, death and


Maybe you think God couldn’t possibly be associated with someone like Trump. Trump is too vicious, rude and crude. When we won WWII, was God “nice?” Were we gentlemanly when defeating Hitler? Were we gentlemanly when firebombing Germany? Were we gentlemanly when dropping atomic bombs on Japan? Is God ever “nice” on the battlefield? Or does he send us vicious SOB’s like General George S. Patton, so the good guys can defeat evil?

Maybe God purposely sent Trump instead of the nice Republican powder puffs like Paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney, or John Kasich because he wants us to win. And maybe it’s time to re-define “nice.” Maybe Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan aren’t nice at all- because they led us to defeat. And losing again would mean the end of America. And God can’t allow that. Maybe Romney and Ryan mean well, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Or maybe they’re just jealous they had their chance and blew it. Maybe they’d rather help elect Hillary than allow a Trump victory that would make them look weak, feckless and incompetent. However, just because a man is a fighter doesn’t mean he can’t have a heart. Although portrayed by many on the left and in the #nevertrump camp as the embodiment of pure unadulterated evil, there is another side we seldom hear about. Donald Trump is not known for his modesty, but then again, all of his life he has been trying to sell and market his brand. Any sort of selling involves “puffing” or bragging about your product or name in order to make sales. This is the Trump we have seen since the 1980’s. But we don’t see Trump’s other side and that is because he doesn’t make it public.


Liz Crokin is a journalist who has covered Donald Trump for ten years and she doesn’t recognize the man the media makes him out to be:

Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, anti­Semitic and Islamophobe — did I miss anything? The left and the media launch these hideous kinds of attacks at Trump everyday; yet, nothing could be further from the truth about the real estate mogul. As an entertainment journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to cover Trump for over a decade, and in all my years covering him I’ve never heard anything negative about the man until he announced he was running for president. Keep in mind, I got paid a lot of money to dig up dirt on celebrities like Trump for a living so a scandalous story on the famous billionaire could’ve potentially sold a lot of magazines and would’ve been a “yuge” feather in my cap… In 1986, Trump prevented the foreclosure of Annabell Hill’s family farm after her husband committed suicide. Trump personally phoned down to the auction to stop the sale of her home and offered the widow money. Trump decided to take action after he saw Hill’s pleas for help in news reports. In 1988, a commercial airline refused to fly Andrew Ten, a sick Orthodox Jewish child with a rare illness, across the country to get medical care because he had to travel with an elaborate life-support system. His grief stricken parents contacted Trump for help and he didn’t hesitate to send his own plane to take the child from Los Angeles to New York so he could get his treatment. In 1991, 200 Marines who served in Operation Desert Storm spent time at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before they were scheduled to return home to their families. However, the Marines were told that a mistake had been made and an aircraft would not be able to take them home on

their scheduled departure date. When Trump got wind of this, he sent his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami to safely return the Gulf War Marines to their loved ones. In 1995, a motorist stopped to help Trump after the limo he was traveling in got a flat tire. Trump asked the Good Samaritan how he could repay him for his help. All the man asked for was a bouquet of flowers for his wife. A few weeks later Trump sent the flowers with a note that read: “We’ve paid off your mortgage.”… In 2000, Maury Povich featured a little girl named Megan who struggled with Brittle Bone Disease on his show and Trump happened to be watching. Trump said the little girl’s story and positive attitude touched his heart. So he contacted Maury and gifted the little girl and her family with a very generous check… In 2014, Trump gave $25,000 to Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi after he spent seven months in a Mexican jail for accidentally crossing the US-Mexico border. President Barack Obama couldn’t even be bothered to make one phone call to assist with the United States Marine’s release; however, Trump opened his pocketbook to help this serviceman get back on his feet… Lynne Patton, a black female executive for the Trump Organization, released a statement in 2016 defending her boss

against accusations that he’s a racist and a bigot. She tearfully revealed how she’s struggled with substance abuse and addiction for years. Instead of kicking her to the curb, she said the Trump Organization and his entire family loyally stood by her through “immensely difficult times.” All of this is not to say Donald Trump is a saint. As we all know, in his younger days he was a playboy and he has had two divorces. He is far from a paragon of Christian virtue and humility, though by all accounts he has settled down and is now a family man who has, as everyone admits, done an admirable job raising his children. No, it does not seem like he is an extremely religious man and who knows what his Christian beliefs are. But yet our Faith tells us even pagans can have natural virtue. Hence, St. Thomas Aquinas found good in Aristotle and Plato.

consider who is doing the attacking and why. Why did the non-stop attacks calling Donald Trump a racist, and a bigot, and a sexist mysteriously start when he began succeeding in the primaries? Why did the most vicious character attacks come from the GOP establishment including Mitt Romney, after Romney was happy to take money from and appear with Trump four years earlier? I simply think it would be a good idea for some Catholics to remember that before we cast stones or publicly spread around every last hit piece on the man, God Himself said the following, “nor do I judge according to the look of man: for man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart.” ( 1 Samuel 16:17)

The only point here is to not always judge by superficial politically correct qualities our soft modern Catholicism values. There are virtues and vices in all of us and some of us have rough personalities and are blunt. Are no New Yorkers capable of salvation? Judging by the sermons of some social justice priests, you would think the answer is no. In any case, it is important that when we hear and endless stream of negatives attacking this man’s character, that he hates the disabled, that he hates hispanics, etc. we

edicated on Sunday April 11, 2010, this monument is the result of a vision given to Gene Bicknell by our Lord. That vision specifically outlined how it was to be constructed from top to bottom. The reaction to this vision was immediate and truly driven by the Holy Spirit. The journey to find the appropriate location and placement of this structure took several turns before it ended up in Branson, Mo. The design and blue stone materials were also decided in and through the Holy Spirit.


It is our belief that this place of worship will be blessed by God in such a way that you feel the joy and presence of the Holy Spirit. When entering the Chapel, we pray that you will feel the presence and be moved by God’s Holy Spirit at work in your life. At the time of dedication Gene said: “It has been five years since God gave me the first vision for this project, it has been a labor of love to see it through to completion and I am humbly honored to be chosen to make this structure a reality.”

The Shrine of the Holy Spirit Visit our gift shop 179 Expressway Lane • Branson, MO Mon ­ Sat • 9 am ­ 5 pm • Sunday hours vary



more than you can imagine

What is at risk with an HRC Presidency?


The entire Constitution is at risk if Hillary wins In its 4-4 ruling barring President Obama’s executive order on immigration from going into effect, the Supreme Court proved that Obama was right the first time: He lacked the power to change the law on his own. As recently as December 2014, the president lectured supporters that the Constitution didn’t allow it: “The notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” Then, a few months later, after Congress again refused to pass the law he wanted, he decided to see if he could get away with it anyway — issuing an order that not only suspended deportation for millions, but also gave them the right to work legally. Thing is, he was only one high-court vote away from succeeding, because the liberal justices were willing to ignore the Constitution — as Obama himself understood it just two years before — to support liberal policy. Should Hillary Clinton win in November, she’ll get to fill the Antonin Scalia seat on the court, and likely two more seats soon thereafter. The Supreme Court will no longer stand in the way of the Democratic agenda, even when Democrats lack the votes in Congress. And she’s already promised to out-do Obama on executive actions. On immigration, Clinton said she’d “go as far as I can, even beyond President Obama.” It won’t stop with immigration. Clinton & Co. want executive action on gun control, labor-union power, “environmental protection” and pretty much their whole wish list. And it’s not a two-way street: Conservative jurists aim to observe the letter of the law, not their ideology. That’s why GOP-appointed justices have slapped down Republican presidents from George W. Bush back to Nixon and Eisenhower, and why Chief Justice John Roberts saved ObamaCare. It’s not just the White House at stake this Election Day. It’s the rule of law.

Would you like to join the ministry of the American Christian Voice? The American Christian Voice Ministry Team is looking for retired persons who would like to join us in promoting this magazine in your area. We would send you approximately 75 copies of each issue that we publish. You can then distribute them to hospital waiting rooms, nursing homes, Christian Book stores and any place magazines are displayed. You have the option to cover the cost that we charge ($25.00 or approximately 33 cents per copy) and just paper your travels with them or you are permitted to sell each copy to book and gift stores. An example: Sell each copy for $1.50 and the retailer would sell it for $3.95. You would receive $112.50 less your $25.00 and have $87.50 for gas and lunch expenses. (However magazines are normally sold on consignment) As your ministry grows you can order as many issues as you would like at $25.00 per box of 75. If you have been blessed by the ACV just think how rewarding it will be to bless others that would never have come across it otherwise! Just drop us a note with your first $25.00 check or call us with a credit card at: (417) 336-3636. Obviously you would not need to pay for a personal subscription anymore.



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Do Christians Have an Obligation to Vote? once heard of a church where members thought it was against God's will to vote. Concerned that a corrupt politician would win a local election, church members gathered for an all-night prayer vigil. In the morning, however, they refused to vote and the good candidate lost—by fewer than the number of votes represented by those at the prayer meeting.


THE HIGH COST OF INDIFFERENCE I teach political communication at a Christian college. Once several years ago students in my class complained endlessly about seedy politicians. Yet the day after the election, I discovered that only two of them had voted, and most weren't even REGISTERED to vote! I told them, “For the rest of the semester, if you didn't vote, you have lost your right to complain in this class.” Years later they still remember the lesson.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN CITIZEN There are at least five good reasons why Christians should vote: God has granted us authority.

All authority belongs to God, but He has put human beings on the Earth as caretakers. What is our task? According to Jesus in Matthew 28:18­20, we are to go out and make disciples of all na­ tions, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. This in­ cludes politics. We must disci­ ple people to make godly decisions about government, and promote the efforts of those who are already doing so. We need to stand against evil. St. Augustine said those who are citizens of God's kingdom are best equipped to be citizens of the kingdom of man. The alternative is unthinkable. In the 20th

Christian values contribute positively to society. The Bible’s solutions make sense. It is Christian involvement in government through the ages that gave us hospitals, civil liberties, abolition of slavery, modern science, the elevation of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for common people, the free-enterprise system, and much, much more. When we see the good that results from applying God's principles, and the horror that results from rejecting them, doesn't it seem cruel and irresponsible to keep Jesus teachings about truth, love and compassion to ourselves? At very least, we should vote to keep OUT of office those who attempt to oppose God's authority. Obedience to authority demands good citizenship. The Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 13 clearly states that we must obey governmental leaders because all authority comes from God. Here's the catch: in America, the people are the leaders! Here, at least, we express our obedience to God by exercising our rights and privileges as citizens. That means voting. Good citizenship sets an example for generations to come. Those who apply God's principles to govern-

ment pave the way for generations of blessing. In 1768 a Christian minister named John Witherspoon became president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. While there he taught biblical principles of government to his students. Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, writes author John Eidsmoe, “114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U. S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr. became Vice-President; and James Madison became President.” As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government. You and I may not have the gifts of John Witherspoon, but we can still make a big difference if we put our minds to it. Pass this on to friends and family, and encourage them to vote in the every election!


It seems tragic, but maybe those church members did the right thing. After all, isn't politics a dirty business? Christians are citizens of heaven, not of Earth… right? Every Christian must grapple with this question and come up with a defensible answer.

Century, atheistic and secular humanistic leaders gained control of nations all across Europe, Asia and Africa. What was the result? According to historian R. J. Rummel, almost 170 million men, women and children have been brutally murdered by these governments, all in the name of human progress. These facts led historian John Hallowell to note, “Only through a return to faith in God, as God revealed Himself to man in Jesus Christ, can modern man and his society find redemption from the tyranny of evil.”

Author: Jeffrey L. Myers, Ph.D. / from his book Vital Truth: Christian Citizenship (Feb­ ruary 2003). Copyright 2002, LifeWay Chris­ tian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. All rights reserved. Used by per­ mission of the author.



1 Peter 1:24


James Dobson to Liberty U Students: Don’t Focus on Earthly Achievements, ‘Life Will Trash Your Trophies’ r. James Dobson told Liberty University students recently that if you give it enough time, "life will trash your trophies," cautioning them not to focus on earthly accomplishments but on Resurrection day.


In front of the student body during the university's weekly convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, the 80-year-old bestselling author and former president of Focus on the Family spoke on the same topic he had spoken about at an LU commencement ceremony 23 years ago. In his remarks, Dobson recounted that when he was 18 years old, he dreamed of seeing his name on a tennis trophy in the trophy case at Point Loma Nazarene University, the school where he earned his first degree. His dream was ultimately realized and his name was engraved on that tennis trophy. But 15 years after that accomplishment he received a phone call from a friend who told him that he had found that trophy in the dumpster behind one the university's administration buildings. The friend refurbished the trophy and made sure Dobson got it. As he showed off his prized possession to


the students, Dobson said: "What I learned from that was a very valuable less. I learned that if you live long enough, life will trash your trophies. I don't care what they are, whatever your accomplishments, whatever you think is the most important thing you've done. Sooner or later, it won't matter."

loved, who loved you, and what you did in the service of the Lord. There is nothing else that will stand the test of time."

Look no further for an example of this, Dobson continued, than the recent Olympic Games.

Although he was considered one of the greatest ever basketball players and had broken several NCAA records, Maravich was neither a moral nor happy man.

"How many of you have ever heard of Bobby Morrow?" he asked the students. No one responded. Morrow was once the fastest sprinter in the world, who broke track and field world records in the 1950s. Now all of the talk is about Jamaican Usain Bolt, who has won gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter races for the past three summer Olympic games. Dobson further noted that when he asked students at Abilene Christian University, Morrow's alma mater, how many of them had known about Morrow, no one had heard of him. "Who cares now who won the race for the Senate in New Jersey in 1948?" Dobson asked. "Who cares who won the World Series in 1933? It doesn't matter. It was long ago and it has been forgotten."

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"If you want to know what will stand the test of time, I think I can tell you," Dobson added. "It's what I call the end-of-life test. Project yourself to the end of your life, and when you're there and you're looking back, what will matter to you then?" "You know what will matter most?" he asked. "What will matter most is who you

Dobson then shared that one such man who received his revelation was none other than basketball legend Pete Maravich, who was known as "Pistol Pete."

When health problems forced him to retire from professional sports, Maravich stayed in his house for two years because he could not leave his home without being bombarded for photos and autographs. But at 5 a.m. all alone in his house one day, Maravich heard Someone call his name. Maravich summarily knelt down and gave his heart to Jesus. For the next five years he could not talk to you for five minutes without talking about what Jesus had done for him, Dobson recounted. Dobson wanted to interview the athlete on his radio program and had invited him to play basketball with some friends one morning. Little did Maravich know that day on the court with Dobson would be his last. Maravich had a heart attack and died on Jan. 5, 1988. Dobson recalled telling his son, Ryan, later that day: "What happened to Pete Maravich today was not an isolated tragedy that happens to a man and his family. What happened today is the human condition. This is all of us." "And Ryan, this is what I want you to remember," he continued. "Be there, on that grand Resurrection morning. Be there. I will be looking for you, because the only thing that matters is that you stay true to Christ." "Be there, those two words matter most. I came all the way to Lynchburg today to say that to you. Be there." James Dobson's newest book echoes these themes and is titled, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift.


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Stay Away from Frightful Investment Moves alloween is almost here. When you’re passing out candy, you’ll see many “scary” costumes that will probably just make you smile. But in real life, you can easily find some things that truly are frightening – such as bad investment moves.


Here are a few that you’ll want to avoid: Chasing after “hot” stocks – Many so-called “experts” – not to mention your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers – are more than willing to provide you with “tips” on “hot” stocks. But by the time you hear about these stocks, they may already be cooling off – and, in any case, they may not have been appropriate for your needs in the first place.

clear of the scary investment moves described above can help you make steady progress toward your financial objectives. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Investing too aggressively or too conservatively – If you constantly worry about the value of your investment portfolio, and you lose sleep whenever the market drops sharply, you might be taking on too much risk for your own comfort – so you may need to invest somewhat less aggressively. Conversely, if you invest primarily in conservative, low-yielding investments because you think they will help you avoid losses, you might not achieve the long-term growth potential you need to help you reach your important financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement. When you invest, try to balance your need for growth with your personal tolerance for risk. Failing to diversify – If you only own one type of financial asset, and a market downturn hits that asset class strongly, your portfolio will likely take a big hit. You can greatly reduce the effects of market volatility – and give yourself more chances for success – by spreading your money among a range of investments. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t always guarantee profits or protect against all losses.) Paying too much attention to today’s news – Unfortunately, many of the news items of today – or of any day – are more negative than positive. But as an investor, you don’t want to be forced into a “sky-is-falling” mentality, because such a mind-set could lead you to make rash, unwise decisions, such as selling quality investments too soon or staying out of the market altogether. Generally, no single event has truly long-term consequences for investors. Consider the recent “Brexit” vote – in the immediate aftermath, the markets fell sharply, but just a few weeks later, they hit all-time highs. That won’t happen with every newsworthy occurrence, but historically, the markets have shown resilience. So stay invested and follow a smart, long-term investment strategy that’s suitable for your situation – and look beyond today’s headlines. Ignoring opportunities – Are you taking full advantage of all the investment opportunities available to you? For example, are you contributing as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan? If not, you are underutilizing one of the best retirement savings vehicles around. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. You won’t always have the chance to participate in this type of tax-advantaged retirement plan – so make the most of it while it’s available. Halloween usually ends with few tricks and many treats. Steering

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right doctrine, wrong text


What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’ A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25. ost Christians agree that caring for the poor and marginalized is a central tenet of the gospel. And what better passage to reinforce this principle than Matthew 25:40, where Jesus commands us to care for “the least of these.” Many of us readily assume that “the least of these” refers to the poor and marginalized. But are those who Jesus is really talking about?


That question might seem trivial, but its importance can hardly be overstated. After all, Jesus ties our eternal destiny to how we treat “the least of these brothers of mine.” In the broader context of the passage (Matt. 25:31–46), the sheep and goats represent salvation criteria—who is in and who is out. It’s a stark picture, with the only outcomes being salvation or damnation. In a breathtaking scene, the Son of Man sits on a heavenly throne surrounded by angels and renders his verdict: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (v. 46). One’s eternal security is tied to caring for “the least of these,” whoever they are.

Not Who You Think Matthew 25 gives few clues as to who “the least of these” are. They’re described only as hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned. Building on paucity of information in the text, at least three possibilities have been proposed. First, the “least of these” could be Jesus’ ethnic kin, the Jews—his “brothers.” This view assumes that “all the nations” (v. 32) are Gentiles who are judged based on their treatment of Jews during the tribulation. A newsletter I once received from a messianic Jewish organization broadened the application to argue for supporting the state of Israel. Consequently, salvation depended on one’s foreign policy. Problems abound with this option. Jesus never refers elsewhere to the Jews as his brothers. Further, scholars debate whether the modern state of Israel can be equated with the biblical people of God. And there’s no suggestion anywhere in the New Testament that caring for Jewish people is


required for salvation. The second possibility is the most common: “the least of these” are the poor and needy. The imagery is straightforward, memorable, and powerful. Who are the most marginalized in society other than the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned? This option has some scholarly support and no doubt echoes the consistent biblical call to justice (take Deut. 15, for example). As Mother Teresa said of the poor, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” It’s easy to see why this passage is so championed by justice-minded Christians. Linking our eternal destiny to caring for the powerless puts the strongest possible motivation behind such a call. Many fundraising campaigns have relied on this powerful image to solicit funds for the poor. However, this option runs into the same problems that the first one does. For one, it doesn’t adequately account for the meaning of “brothers of mine.” Also, caring for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned isn’t taught elsewhere in the New Testament as the measuring stick for salvation. Can we really affirm that what ultimately matters is caring for the poor, not faith in Jesus? This reading veers toward a mere social gospel, where what ultimately matters are actions, not beliefs. As a result, the importance of evangelism is minimized, and feeding people is prioritized over calling them to follow Christ. Such difficulties prompted a college student, quoted by Delia Nüesch-Olver in The Journal of Youth Ministry, to write: “For me, the most terrifying speech Jesus ever gave is told in Matthew 25:31–46. I am terrified that I might have missed so many chances to feed, clothe, and help Jesus.” To be sure, actions are crucial, but are we really in danger of damnation if we pass by someone in need? If not the Jews or the poor, who are “the least of these”? Fortunately, there is a third option, and we don’t need to look very far to find it. A common practice of biblical interpretation is this: If we don’t understand something in a specific passage, we need to study the surrounding text—whether it be the immediate chapter or the larger book. So who else in Matthew


went hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned? We find such a group in Matthew 10:1–42, where Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to preach about the kingdom. Parallels abound between Jesus’ words in Matthew 10 and the description of “the least of these” in chapter 25. In chapter 10, the disciples had no money, bag for food, or drink (vv. 9–10; compare to the hungry and thirsty in ch. 25). They had no extra clothing (v. 10; the naked in ch. 25), and they had no home to stay in (vv. 11–14; the strangers in ch. 25). Jesus said they would often be arrested (vv. 17–20; the prisoners in ch. 25). Even the order of these circumstances is a near match. Also recurring is the idea that one’s response to Jesus’ representatives is a response to Jesus himself: “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me” (10:40). And the rewards language in chapter 10 is conspicuously similar, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (v. 42). The parallels between the two passages are no accident and make a strong case that the same group is in mind. The “least of these my brothers” are the disciples, followers of Jesus who carry his message. Jesus’ “brothers” in the Gospel of Matthew are always his disciples (12:48–50; 28:10). That specific language is used of no one else. That “the least of these” are the disciples is perhaps less obvious upon a casual reading, but according to New Testament scholar Craig Keener, it “is the majority view in church history and among contemporary New Testament scholars.” Matthew 25 appears to be one of those passages where the commonly assumed meaning diverges significantly from the dominant scholarly and historical view. Thus, Mother Teresa’s maxim that “each one of them is Jesus in disguise” is probably better applied to Christians. The third option not only has more biblical warrant, but also avoids placing unseemly tension between Jesus and Paul regarding salvation. If “the least of these” are the Jews or the poor, then according to Jesus, individual salvation depends on works. It’s

difficult, therefore, to reconcile those readings of Matthew 25 with Paul’s teaching: that we are saved by God's grace, through faith, not by anything we do (Eph. 2:8–9). However, if “the least of these” are Jesus’ messengers, then one’s salvation is dependent upon his or her response to the proclamation of the gospel, which accords with Paul’s teaching. New Testament scholar R. T. France thus explains, “[T]he criterion of judgment becomes not mere philanthropy, but people’s response to the kingdom of heaven as it is presented to them in the person of Jesus’ ‘brothers.’ It is, therefore . . . ultimately a question of their relationship to Jesus himself.” We don’t have to be terrified that our salvation is at risk if we pass by a poor person on the street.

Traveling Full Circle While Scripture doesn’t identify “the least of these” as the poor and needy, in no way does it diminish the biblical mandate to care for the marginalized and underprivileged. Our actions matter. Biblical teaching about justice is comprehensive and does not rest on any single text. And this whole convoluted history of reading and misreading Matthew 25 results in more than an exegetical cautionary tale about interpreting the Bible. Matthew’s text has critical implications for what it means to fully embrace the gospel. Both Matthew 10 and 25 depict people providing physical needs for disciples as part of their response to following Jesus, thus linking faith and justice. In Matthew 10, the disciples hit the road with no

provisions, relying on first-century expectations of hospitality toward travelers. A response to the proclamation of the gospel was concurrent with and embodied by providing for the physical needs of its messengers. While we normally think of Christians both proclaiming the gospel and serving others in need, in Matthew the disciples lacked basic necessities, and those hearing the gospel met those needs. Their willingness to receive the message and provide for the disciples is the equivalent of their response to Jesus himself (10:40–42, 25:40). Coming to faith and relieving suffering appear side by side. These passages also illustrate the importance of relationship in coming to faith. Beginning to follow Jesus included embracing other believers, even strangers, in a new community. In the biblical context, feeding the disciples looks like an ancient Near Eastern covenant meal where eating is symbolic of a covenantal relationship. Surely these relationships are more significant than giving a sandwich to a hungry traveler.

So in an odd way, we come full circle. While “the least of these” does not refer to the poor and powerless, a proper understanding of the text nevertheless underscores the centrality of compassionate actions to the gospel. And it may cause us to reconsider our evangelistic practices. When we lead people to Christ, do we go beyond praying the sinner’s prayer with them? Or do we give them an opportunity for a fuller expression of conversion? Perhaps a deeper humility and vulnerability should be a part of our Christian witness. After all, it is not them out there who are “the least of these.” We are. Perhaps we should start to live that way. Andy Horvath is director of ministries at Hunt Valley Church in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

In summary, these passages in Matthew are not about the nature of the gospel, but about response to the gospel. They are telling us not what good preaching should look like—that is, deeds and not just words—but what a full embrace of the gospel looks like. The gospel is holistic, addressing every area of life. Thus, our response involves membership in a community of self-sacrificial service, not just cognitive assent to an otherworldly truth claim. Following Jesus has both mental and physical dimensions, assent and obedience.

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Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret here’s a name for you ladies,” smirks Joan Crawford, just before sweeping from the room, “but it isn’t used in high society . . . outside of a kennel.”


These and many other immortal scenes are treasured by classic movie fans like me. We tend to look back at the Golden Age of Hollywood as a time that was both more elegant and more innocent. In part, it was: The famous and much-debated Production Code toned down a lot of the onscreen behavior that many of us now take offense at, and female stars often had more substantive and less sexualized roles than they do now. Offscreen, however, things were very different. According to a recent story in Vanity Fair, female stars like Davis, Garland, and Crawford paid a high price to give us those memorable moments. “Much like today, in Old Hollywood, the decisions being made about women’s bodies were made in the interests of men— the powerful heads of motion pictures studios MGM, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and RKO,” write Marcie Bianco and Merryn Johns. And therefore, “from the very infancy of America’s film industry, abortions were necessary body maintenance for women in the spotlight.” The article is filled with painful stories about women who in public appeared powerful and in control but in private were pressured or even coerced into aborting their children. (It should be noted that, then


as now, Hollywood gossip wasn’t always trustworthy or well-sourced, but most of these stories were recounted by the actresses themselves.) Everyone was in on it—the men who wanted to play the field without having to deal with the consequences, the studio fixers who were paid to hush up scandals, and sometimes even the stars’ own mothers. Married stars sometimes faced just as much pressure as unmarried stars. Judy Garland’s mother arranged her daughter’s first abortion during Garland’s marriage to bandleader David Rose. Image was everything, and even for a married woman, a baby could spoil that image. Expectations were so high and often so contradictory that no woman alive could meet them: They had to be simultaneously accessible and sophisticated, tough and sweet, sexy and “virginal.” Ironically, the “morality clauses” in studio contracts—which were written in for the purpose of promoting good character and avoiding scandal—made the problems and the pressures even worse. On top of all that, having a baby meant taking time off work in the short term and having divided loyalties in the long term. In the end, “get[ting] rid of the problem,” as one studio boss put it, was the obvious solution. So the children were sacrificed. And their mothers suffered—not just because of the abortions, but because of the callousness and lack of support they faced.


Garland’s abortions “haunted” her all her life and likely contributed to the downward spiral that led to her drug-induced death at the age of 47. Another actress, Lupe Velez, committed suicide rather than have an abortion. Others were affected differently. Davis, after having children later in life, “‘was proud of the fact that, after her abortions, she could have a baby at last and a career, because her mother had always insisted that she couldn’t have both.’” But whether they collapsed or survived, all of them suffered. It’s hard to deal with this truth—hard to realize that behind the scenes of films that shaped our culture and even our lives, such sordidness and evil went on. Hollywood was born out of a time of rapid societal change, when both sexes gained unprecedented levels of power and freedom, and with that came temptation. But even so, perhaps it didn’t have to be that way. Perhaps with less hedonism, less hypocrisy, and less foolish obsession with perfect, pristine stars, things could have been different. Perhaps if people had placed more value on life and family, if the sexual double standard hadn’t allowed women to be harshly punished while men moved on to their next conquest, the story could have had a happier ending. We’ll never know. As C. S. Lewis wrote in Perelandra, “Whatever you do, [God] will make good of it. But not the good he had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.” We can recognize the good in our cultural heritage—including the great movies that have been passed down to us—but it’s important that we also recognize and mourn the good that was lost.

In any era, under any circumstance, abortion is child sacrifice. And whether they make their choices freely or—as is still often the case—under pressure, the mothers suffer. (The fathers suffer too, although their pain often goes unrecognized.) If the story of Old Hollywood reminds us of anything, it should remind us of this: The culture of hedonism leads directly to the culture of death. Alternatively, when we pursue grace, mercy, and honesty, when people are prioritized over publicity, and when communities support mothers and babies instead of considering them “in the way,” that’s when we find a culture of life where men, women, and children flourish together in the goodness of God’s kingdom.

The Skeleton Walks ave you ever done or said anything that would be humiliating if someone found out? It is my experience that everyone has a skeleton somewhere in their closet.


Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are no different. They are public figures and their skeletons take on a life of their own when revealed. It serves no purpose to bring these skeletons to life and let them walk around for all to see. What if you were a public figure and the scrutiny was applied to you that is applied to them. What if you had changed and the Lord had washed away all your sin? What if it was paraded before your friends and family and everywhere you went, someone brought it up. What if you were the topic of main stream media, blogs, tweets and Facebook?

haven’t run by their business acumen and their promises.

Most important in deciding who to vote for in the coming elections is to follow the leading of the Lord God and vote His way and not your own. Skeletons that have taken on a life of their own will never help a man or woman to become a good public servant. We must bury the skeletons and elect real people that are prepared and ready to serve the people and not their own agenda. Only God knows who that is and only prayer can give you direction.


The most tragic part of this story is how little we seem to have learned from it all. The Vanity Fairwriters are commendably indignant over Old Hollywood’s culture of coerced abortion. And yet they still make snide remarks about those “patriarchal” types of today who try to keep women from getting abortions—as if the old problem has entirely disappeared. As Mona Charen points out in The Weekly Standard, even in these more permissive, “liberated” days, “women are often the victims of male pressure to abort babies. Feminists, so exquisitely sensitive to male pressure on women in every other context, avert their eyes on this.”

As Billye Brim from Prayer Mountain of the Ozarks heard the Lord say, “One thing will save America and the nations, and it is not a man (or a woman), it is an awakening to God.” Let’s light up this world by burying the skeletons and awaken to the wonderful good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is easy to be a judge when we look at other’s lives. How could they have done or said that? How could they dare think that with that background they are suited to run for political office. It seems that using this criteria, there is only one person that has ever lived that is qualified and that is Jesus, the Christ. Today, I ask that you treat the candidates the way you would want to be treated and forgive their past moral failures. Let’s lay that all aside and choose, based on the party’s plank and their current rhetoric and actions. Let’s bury the dead skeleton’s and look at the flesh and blood men and women who are stepping up to do the thankless job of governing the country, states, counties, local cities and towns as well as school boards. These are important positions and should be judged on the fulfilled promises and actions of those who are incumbents. We can judge those who

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Mike Rowe Shares his Wise Opinion on Voting Mike Rowe was asked by a fan to help out with this year’s election by encouraging his following to go out and vote. Mike’s response to this request was nothing short of perfect. What he offered instead was wisdom and a completely different outlook on this issue. Check out the exchange below.

Hey Mike, I have nothing but respect for you. Your no-nonsense outlook and incredible eloquence have really had a profound impact in my life. Can you please encourage your huge following to go out and vote this election? I would never impose on you by asking you to advocate one politician over another, but I do feel this election could really use your help. I know that there are many people out there who feel like there is nothing they can do. Please try to use your gifts to make them see that they can do something – that their vote counts. Hi Jeremy, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens? Casting a ballot is not so different. It’s an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it’s one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and

quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I’ve never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they’re at it again. Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to “get out and vote.” They tell us it’s our “most important civic duty,” and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the “masses” to vote, if they believed the “masses” would elect Donald Trump? Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our “civic duty” to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged. The undeniable reality is this: our right to vote does not require any understanding of current events, or any awareness of how our government works. So, when a celebrity reminds the country that “everybody’s vote counts,” they are absolutely correct. But when they tell us that “everybody in the country should get out there and vote,” regardless of what they

think or believe, I gotta wonder what they’re smoking. Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It’s not about who you like more, it’s about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let’s be honest – Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We’ve treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect? So no, Jeremy – I can’t personally encourage everyone in the country to run out and vote. I wouldn’t do it, even if I thought it would benefit my personal choice. Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process. So if you really want me to say something political, how about this – read more. Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own. Or, don’t. None of the freedoms spelled out in our Constitution were put there so people could cast uninformed ballots out of some misplaced sense of civic duty brought on by a celebrity guilt-trip. The right to assemble, to protest, to speak freely – these rights were included to help assure that the best ideas and the best candidates would emerge from the most transparent process possible. Remember – there’s nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting, and the next time someone tells you otherwise, do me a favor – ask them who they’re voting for. Then tell them you’re voting for their opponent. Then, see if they’ll give you a ride to the polls. In the meantime, dig into “Economics in One Lesson,” by Henry Hazlitt. It sounds like a snooze but it really is a page turner, and you can download it for free.





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country club or hospital? BY TIM CHALLES

Is Your Church Messy Enough? love my church. I love the people I gather with week-by-week. They are fun and safe and easy to be with. But who said church should be safe and easy? What if one of the marks of a good church, a blessed church, is that it’s a messy church?


I’m sure you know of the parable of The Lost Sheep in Luke 15. We call it “The Parable of The Lost Sheep” but it is actually “The Parable of the Kind and Loving Shepherd.” The sheep aren’t the point of the story. Like so many of Jesus’ parables, this parable was told in the presence of two groups of people—people who were convinced of their own badness and people who were convinced of their own goodness. And in this case Jesus was speaking primarily to those good and religious people.

The shepherd finds his sheep and punishes it: “You dumb, disobedient sheep. I’ll teach you to wander off!” No, he doesn’t punish it. The shepherd finds his sheep and is disgusted by it: “You are filthy and smelly! What on earth did you get into? You go clean yourself up right now and I’ll come back later.” No, he doesn’t make it clean itself up.




The parable is simple: A sheep has wandered off from the flock and become lost. The shepherd will not rest until he has found it and restored it to himself. He goes, he searches, he finds, he restores, he rejoices. Just think about that silly, helpless sheeping, wandering lost and alone in the wilderness. Think about that tired shepherd who had to go wandering far and wide to find him. Think of the ways he could have responded when he finally tracked it down.

“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Yeah, that’s the one. When that shepherd finds his sheep, he cares for it. He hoists that big, heavy, dirty sheep onto his shoulders and carries it home, rejoicing all the way. He carries it home and calls his friends and throws a party to celebrate.

The shepherd finds his sheep and rebukes it: “You stupid, ignorant sheep. How dare you wander off from me?” No. He doesn’t rebuke it.

The point of the parable is that God loves to save the lost. He loves to save sinners. He doesn’t save those who are righteous and whose lives are all put together, he saves

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are just plain bad. He saves the messy ones, not the are

The shepherd finds his sheep and sells it: “I can’t have a sheep like you polluting my flock. Do you know how you made me look in front of everyone else?” No, he doesn’t get rid of it.

He doesn’t save those who are righteous and whose lives are all put together, he saves those who are just plain bad.

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they are clean. If God is in the business of saving sinners, we need to expect that church will be full of sinners—those who are still wandering and those who have only just been found. If our churches reflect God’s heart for the lost, they will be full of people with problems, full of people showing the consequences of a lifetime of wandering. And this means that church may not be a safe and easy place. It may not be a place full of people who have it all together. It may be messy. It should be messy. Thank God if it is messy. (417) 336-6310

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from Cohen Gadol to Christ

or observant Jews, this past sunset Oct. 11 to sunset Oct. 12 encompasses the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Jewish tradition holds to year-by-year predestination: On Yom Kippur God writes into the Book of Life what will happen to each person during the coming year. On and just prior to Yom Kippur, observant Jews try to straighten their paths, confess sins, and seek forgiveness from God and man.


One stream of North American music— hymnody, gospel, occasionally country—emphasizes that hope. Another, tormented stream emphasizes bloody lives without hope. Devout Jews now use the Hebrew word gadol (“big” or “great”) to refer to the most revered rabbis of a generation. Applied to music, today’s Cohen Gadol is singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, apparently descended from the original high priest, Aaron, as well as from two grandfathers who both were rabbis. Generalizations about Leonard Cohen, who turned 82 on Sept. 21, should be tentative because his half-century corpus is huge, but here’s one verse from the first song on his latest album, released last August: “If you are the dealer / Let me out of the game / If you are the healer / I’m broken and lame / If thine is the glory / Mine must be the shame / You want it darker / We kill the flame.”

That process is much cleaner in A.D. 2016 than it was in A.D. 16. Then, the Cohen Gadol (high priest) slaughtered a bull, caught its blood in a bowl, sprinkled the spot in the Holy of Holies where the lost Ark of the Covenant had stood, killed a goat, caught its blood in another bowl, and sprinkled again. Later, the Cohen Gadol mixed together the bull and goat blood and smeared it on each corner of a golden altar. Then eight more sprinklings, removal of the bull’s guts, intertwining and burning of the bodies of bull and goat. Then he slaughtered two rams, caught their blood in a bowl, splashed the blood on an outer altar, cut the rams into pieces, and burned them entirely. Visualizing that messy process helps us understand the stunning impact of the gospel, as summarized by one hymn: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the

Who wants it darker? Leonard Cohen’s musical kingdom and power have been God-haunted for a long time. He has acknowledged that for a time his religion was sex (as in his most famous Biblereferencing song, “Hallelujah”) because “we are irresistibly lonely for each other” and sex is an attempt at uniting. He also noted, though, “Each one of us understands his solitude in the cosmos and longs for some affirmation by the maker of the cosmos.”

On what basis can we expect affirmation? Animal blood? Good deeds? Today’s Cohen Gadol doesn’t say, but in a recent concert he performed one of his pessimistic songs from the 1980s: “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded / Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed / Everybody knows that the war is over / Everybody knows the good guys lost / … Everybody knows that the Plague is coming / Everybody knows that it’s moving fast / Everybody knows that the naked man and woman / Are just a shining artifact of the past.” Today’s Cohen Gadol keeps the Sabbath and understands that we can’t be Adam and Eve in Eden. He sees blood:


Our Great Big Hope

blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Christ’s blood, the hymn declares, provides cleansing, pardon, erasure of sins, hope, peace, and righteousness. The good news is that Christ ‘offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.’

“Everybody knows that you’re in trouble / Everybody knows what you’ve been through / From the bloody cross on top of Calvary / To the beach of Malibu / Everybody knows it’s coming apart / Take one last look at this Sacred Heart / Before it blows / And everybody knows.” The Cohen Gadol almost 2,000 years ago, Caiaphas, peered at Christ’s sacred heart. Then Pontius Pilate sent it and the body surrounding it to the bloody cross. Chapter 10 of the Epistle to the Hebrews (including Leonard Cohen, including me) declares, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” The good news is that Christ “offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins,” and God said, “I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds. … I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Email Marvin Olasky is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.



Proverbs 13:22

Too Proud too accept 5 Million? BY PROF RODNEY BALLANCE, JR

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who started a very worthwhile ministry that has helped countless people all over America. As we talked the conversation turned to finances, as do most conversations with churches and non-profit ministries. The reason we always end up talking about money is there never seems to be enough of it. The purpose of this article is to try and alleviate that situation among those who strive to do God’s work. As he described an opportunity that was placed before him last year, he seemed proud of the fact that he turned down nearly 5 million dollars from a particular donor. He said he wouldn’t take the money because of the industry from which it came. Throughout my time as a Deacon, a leader in a major church affiliation, and a teacher of leadership to pastors I’ve heard this statement more times than I can count. I’ve heard pastors say they would never accept money from someone who won the lottery. They would never accept money from someone who did this or did that, because of the lack of Godly impact the money made in the past. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m glad that we don’t look at people that way! As a Christian, I’m sure you have never judged people by what they’ve done in the past or mistakes they’ve made. I’m sure we all look at the potential good everyone can do moving forward, realizing that God forgave those who repented and gave their lives to Him. Think about this for a moment. What if we were less concerned about where money had been, and more concerned about what it could do in the right hands? How much less suffering, worrying and stress could there be when we realize that money is simply another tool we can use to promote God’s love. Imagine if we refused any lumber or other building materials for a mission trip to Haiti or to rebuild a storm damaged community, because we knew that the delivery guy had


been in a bar the night before. When we realize how ridiculous that idea is, and how much good we could do when we stop being so judgmental, God can do tremendous things through us. I told my friend, as he continued on about how he looked the man in the eye and refused his donation, that he was dead wrong. He said, “But the money came from the alcohol industry, from a man who owns a brewery. I will not support that industry by accepting their money.” Let’s dissect that statement, shall we? How would accepting money that had already been earned be supporting that business? How would the thousands of people that $5 million could help know where that money had been? Heck, some of the very people that could have been reached through his ministry may have been regular patrons who provided that money to begin with. If his ministry reached those people, isn’t it possible that the brewer mighteventually see a reduction in revenue because of how that money was used? If you think I’m condemning decisions to refuse donations from less than Godly industries, you’re exactly correct! Anyone that would refuse help to promote God’s word is, in my mind, a hypocrite and is selfserving. Show me in the Bible anywhere that Jesus refused to take money from the Pharisees or anyone for that matter. He wasn’t afraid of what the donations had done, but was excited about what they enabled his disciples to do. If your church or ministry has some hang up about accepting funds, get over it. In fact, I’ll encourage you to go to the very places and people you preach against, and ask them straight out for donations. They may be so shocked or possibly embarrassed that they write you a check on the spot. The shame for you isn’t in accepting those funds, but in complaining that you don’t have enough to accomplish the mission of your organization. I’d like to say that I’m sorry if I’ve stepped on any toes with this article, but I’d be lying to you. I hope that your toes hurt bad


enough to wake you up to the fact that there are billions of dollars out there waiting to be used for God’s work. If you refuse to accept them, what work will they do? What message are you sending to the potential donors? I’ll close with this statement. What if that potential donor wants to come to Christ, and their first act is to give some money in hopes of getting access to you, God’s messenger? If you demonstrate that money can’t be used by God because of its past, aren’t you telling that donor the same thing about themselves? How many blessings have you robbed others of, just because your organization is more concerned with the past rather than the future? If you want more information or education about how money really works, visit IFLA University for Financial Freedom at: or call:

888­779­8972 If you want to take control over your money with REAL financial education, visit our website at: Rodney Ballance has been a licensed financial professional for over two decades. Throughout his career he’s worked with people from all walks of life helping them build wealth and expand fortunes. He often says that he has learned more from his wealthy clients about how money really works than in any classroom. He’s served as a regular contributor to the CBN television network, and the American Family radio network as a financial expert for many years, and has been written about in a subsidiary of the Wall Street Journal. He recently filmed a segment for a television program titled “Consumer Advocacy” to be aired on all four of the major television networks.

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If Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential election, it will be the first time in history that two U.S. presidents have slept with each other! If Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election, it will be the first time in history that a billionaire moves into public housing vacated by a black family!

Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers • James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family • Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University • Richard Land, seminary president and Southern Baptist leader • Paula White, Florida preacher and televangelist • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, charismatic Texas ministers • Mark Burns, South Carolina pastor • James Robison, founder of LIFE Outreach International • Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention • Robert Jeffress, author and Texas megachurch pastor • David Jeremiah, author, pastor, and televangelist • Jack Graham, Texas pastor and evangelist • James MacDonald, Chicago megachurch pastor • Jay Strack, student ministry leader • Michele Bachmann, Republican politician

• Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition • A. R. Bernard, pastor of New York’s biggest megachurch • Robert Morris, author and Texas megachurch pastor • Jentezen Franklin, pastor and author • Harry Jackson, Maryland pastor • “Coach” Tom Mullins, Florida pastor • Johnnie Moore, evangelical advisor • Sealy Yates, attorney, literary agent, and president of My Faith Votes • Tom Winters, attorney • Tim Clinton, national leader in Christian counseling • Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)


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Ask the Rabbi - What is the Feast of Tabernacles?


The booths that characterize the holiday may originally have been temporary structures that people would have used while taking in the harvest. Exodus 23:16 explains this connection: “…and the feast of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the results of your work from the field” -- it is a holiday of great joy, on which

we celebrate the great bounty that God has given. The centrality of this holiday is even more apparent in biblical texts such as Nehemiah, Ezekiel, and I Kings, where Sukkot is referred to simply as Hehag--"The Holiday." Another well-known Sukkot tradition is that of the four species (arba’ah minim), also known as the lulav and etrog. “On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees (traditionally identified as the etrog/citron tree), branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). Certainly these gathered species must be a symbol of the agricultural aspect of the holiday--emphasizing four different types of growing things. The Tabernacle will be celebrating Sukkot

from October 16th - 20th. Please call our office if you are interested it celebrating with us! To contact Jeremy for ministry in your congregation, for a radio or television interview or other special event, or for information on his albums or teachings, please call or email:

The Tabernacle Branson’s Messianic Congregation 256 Church Road Branson, MO 65616 (417) 334-7373



ccording to the Bible, on this holiday (Sukkot in Hebrew) we should “live in booths (sukkot) for seven days…in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 23:42-43). These “booths,” therefore, are a visible symbol of God’s beneficence, one that has its origins in the agricultural tradition. Sukkot is understood as Hag Ha’asif--“the holiday of the ingathering” of the harvest.


Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie:



must confess, I’m a junk food junkie! Friends, I really believe God has quite a sense of humor. He orchestrated for me to marry a health and fitness guru with a body fat percentage of .5 or less!! Ok I might be exaggerating a wee bit...but NOT MUCH! His idea of fun is doing handstand push ups between sets of burpees!! Hey...I'm not complaining...he's got it going on! If he's an organic, grass fed steak, I’m an 8 count nugget meal deal from Chick-fil-A!! He He! But due to my hubby’s good influence, I do drink a healthy shake every morning. Yep, it’s green with kale and spinach. Oh believe me...I gagged at the thought of it...but miracles still happen folks! I’ve learned to actually gulp it down. Thank you Jesus! However, once I’m out the door, delectable temptations are in my face Unfortunately, most of the time I succumb to the power of junk food! I'm telling you, I will never judge an addict of any kind. Man, once you're hooked it's DIFFICULT to break the habit. So in an attempt to get real about my habit, I decided to document my day... just to see how bad it really is. 9:00 AM meeting - Oh mylanta, I cannot even tell you how many sweets and treats I've indulged in at meetings. And I go to meetings EVERY DAY. I always think that if I just have a “few bites,” it won’t hurt, but apparently a few bites add up! Eek! 11:45 AM lunch - It's gotta be quick because I have a full day. It’s fast food drive through time. Hmmm…I really should get the grilled chicken salad and a bottled water. Oh but if I just get a couple of things off of the dollar menu, that will be cheaper and easier to eat while driving to the next destination. Uh huh. 12:15 PM appointments/errands - Lord Help. It's time to go to Wal-Mart! One of my favorite internet sensations, “Whoa Susannah,” calls Wal-Mart “satan’s playground!” That makes me chuckle and my left eye twitch simultaneously. So here's the deal: my shopping cart is 50% full of healthy choices BUT the other half is sketchy. I find myself gravitating to what I know my kiddos will want to eat, and quite frankly, what I will want to eat. I’ve jumped on and off the “Low Carb Diet” roller coaster a hundred times. I’ve made mashed


“faux-tatoes” out of cauliflower, and crustless pizza and almost lost my ever lovin’ mind! So I admit, I'm in that rebellious mode. My motto has become, “Ain't nobody got time for that!” Umm Yeah. I'm starting to see a pattern here. Stress eating alert: I've made it through Wal-Mart and received 2 unpleasant phone calls in the I'm in the checkout line and right in front of me is a huge array of candy and soda. My thoughts become irrational and all I want is just a little sugar to feel better. I look around to make sure nobody I know is watching and grab some M&M”s. Not good, friends! 3:00 PM Coffee Break - So after a few more errands I’m ready for caffeine to make it through the after school chaos, I mean, activities. 4:30 PM After school snack - My kids are starving, bless their hearts. I give them peanut butter with apples, and it looks so delicious that I end up having some too...even though I’m really not hungry. Add 500 extra calories to my tab! 6:00 PM Dinner - Welp, tonight we have soccer, cross country and the hubs has a class after work. We are out and about, and Chinese food is calling our name. And so it goes. 8:30 PM Last Call - Homework, laundry, bills, bedtime routines...I won't even mention the cookies I had right before bed. So there are (at least) three reasons why I am a junk food junkie: lack of hope, lack of planning, and lack of self control. Can you relate to a “lack of hope” when it comes to your struggle, whether it's junk food or (fill in the blank)? It's overwhelming to think about how to ever change. It's easy to believe changing is too hard and painful. I didn't get here overnight and I'm not going to get out of this overnight. But to be completely


honest, I've turned to junk food as a stress reliever. But the truth is that turning to anything for comfort besides Jesus leads to a world of hurt. Last week I had to face the consequences. I went to the doctor for a check up and they did some blood tests because of how bad I've been feeling. Just yesterday I found out that my A1C is high and approaching prediabetic. Wake up call! Being a junk food junkie is not a funny joke anymore. Change is now imperative! Here’s what my husband says, “It's not that you can't have treats ever

Christian counselors in a powerful way to get us through rough times. lf you are in a similar circumstance, whether it's food or some other stronghold, I want to encourage you with the power of scripture. See, when I need self control I know that praying God's word is what makes change truly possible! He has helped me overcome trials in the past, and I know He is going to do it again! It is truly up to me and you to choose it‌to want it!

It's also about planning. As much as I want healthy eating to be my jam, it just ain't magically happening without a plan! Wait a minute, I think I read a blog about action plans, oh yeah, I wrote one! LOL! See “A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action� at: conversation­action/

When you are lacking hope:

And then it's the big ol’ elephant in the room: self control. You might be wondering how I could let myself be so out of control. I mean, I know Jesus, right? Well, it's easy to just impulsively make decisions that feed the flesh right here and right now. I can so relate to Paul when he says: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.� Romans 7:1516 Thankfully I do know Jesus and He has been pressing on my heart to do what I know I need to do! That's why I finally went to the doctor, and I am going to seek help through a Christian counselor as well. I know from experience that there are times when God uses

Blessed am I when I'm patient under trial and stand up under temptation, for when I have stood the test and been approved, I will receive the victor's crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 When I call, You answer me; and you strengthen me with strength, might and inflexibility to temptation in my inner self. Psalm 138:3 I will be subject to God. I will resist the devil and he will flee from me. James 4:7 And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5 When you are lacking planning: I will not die for lack of discipline and instruction, and in the greatness of my folly be led astray and lost. Proverbs 5:23

though “I am allowed to do anything,� I must not become a slave to anything.� 1 Corinthians 6:12


again, but you have to make MORE good deposits in your health account than withdrawals.� He’s right. I'm feeling overdrawn for sure! And it affects everyone I interact with, it's not just about me. My energy, mood, and health are as junky as the junk food I'm consuming. Great question: Which is worse? The pain of my habit and all of the consequences OR the pain and hard work of making the healthy changes?

I operate and self-control and don't allow my spirit to be unruly. I refuse to be like a city that is broken down and without walls. Self-control and discipline add protection to my life. Proverbs 25:28 The Bible says that by our steadfastness and patient endurance we will win the true life of our soul! (Luke 21:19). Wow! Yes that is what I really want‌ How about you? Are you like me and know that there is something in your life that is causing destruction, but what you really want is true life in your soul? Let's take the first step together starting today! It won't be easy, but tasting victory will be ever so much sweeter than any kind of junk food (or fill in the blank) could ever be! I declare in Jesus’ Name to be addicted to Christ and Christ alone! All other addictions hold no power over you and me! Jesus is our stronghold! We can do this through Christ who strengthens us! Starting with God’s word and He will lead us step by step. P.S. I still think God has a sense of humor for pairing me with my husband, but even more than that, what amazing grace God has for giving my husband to me! What a loving God we serve! -----------------I send an inspirational newsletter “Loving God, Loving Peopleâ€? once a week! Subscribe for free and receive a song download too at

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness, but everyone who is impatient and hasty hastens only to want. Proverbs 21:5 When you are lacking self control: You say, “I am allowed to do anything�—but not everything is good for you. And even

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platform Trumps personality


A Christian Pastor’s Analysis of the U.S. Election Drama s Trump good for America? I mentioned Sunday that I would speak on this next week. Unfortunately, I found that I was shoehorning this topic into my planned message. To properly present what I want to speak on Sunday, I may have to leave the Donald out of it! But let me take a minute for those that wonder and give some of my thoughts…………


When I first heard that Trump was entering the race last year, I told my wife that perhaps it was a good thing for the party and America. I knew that he was not a "saint," but I thought that he would be like a bull in a china shop. He is a disrupter and I believe America could use a fresh thinker especially in the political arena. I didn't think he would get the nomination, but that he would shake up politics as usual. I was correct on the shaking up! Lance Wallnau likens him to a biblical Cyrus. Someone who is dynamically used of God even though not perceived by many as a God follower. God has used many people in history that I would probably not like or agree with. I'm not sure I would have liked all the disciples, or David, or Moses.

was disgustingly drunk. His response was "My dear, you are disgustingly ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly!" There are many websites that discuss the outlandish comments and activities of this great world leader. But, he had exactly what was needed to stop Hitler at the Channel, to rouse a nation to never give up and to partner with America to find final victory in Europe. You probably wouldn't want him as your pastor, maybe not even your father, but he was the right leader for that moment in England's history. Such a brazen man that would go up to the roof of his quarters in central London and smoke cigars as Hitler's air force bombed all around him. I'm not sure I would have voted for him.... but he was the right man!

Somehow, God did not seem compelled to consult with me on His choices!

I think it would be awesome to have a righteous leader, one that understood the intricacies of the economy, health care, defense, immigration, with great sensitivity to religious institutions, a heart for the poor, a vision for the future. If that leader was a praying person, formidable in the word of God and loved the local church, I would rejoice! I do not think that is the choice we will have in November.

I have always admired Winston Churchill. He is seen as one of the greatest national leaders in the 20th century. Last year, I had the privilege of going through the War Museum in London. Winston is a key feature. His life is controversial. He was not always celebrated as a great leader. He was a bombastic, cigar smoking, at times crude, even misogynistic leader. It is alleged that he told off color stories to his children before bedtime! A woman once told him he

Instead....we will look for someone who is imperfect, yet will fit the times we are living in. Particularly, that 'whoever' we vote for, will be someone who might possibly have the opportunity to appoint up to three Supreme Court justices. That could radically shape our culture in America for the next 30 years. The America of our grandchildren could be very different....and that may not be good. We cannot stand on the sidelines. A non-vote is a passive vote

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Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.


for a direction we may very well regret. Donald Trump good for America? I honestly believe that he has been already. He has shaken the political system. Do his comments offend me? At times! Do I agree with all he says? Not at all! But could he be a "Cyrus" being raised up by God to preserve America? Nobody liked Gen. Patton, but he sure WAS an instrument of the United States for the right things. This I know. I will vote for the best chance for America. I will pray for our leaders as I have already. In the end - God will continue to be my source and my hope. I do believe that God has had a hand in America's history. I hope and pray that He will also have a saving hand in America's future.


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purgatory mayber...


Yes, I’m Voting For Donald Trump. And No, I’m Not Going To Hell When I was about 6 years old, I remember talking to my friend about how much I like The Muppets. She turned her nose up in disgust, “Ew. I hate those stupid things,” she said. I felt like I had just been slapped. “WHAT?” I thought, “But I like The Muppets!” Silly, I know—but it was one of those “core memories” (to borrow a concept from “Inside Out”) that has stuck with me all these years. It was the first time anyone had really ever challenged something I liked, and it shook my whole little world … because I was 6. And I didn’t understand that people can disagree and it doesn’t necessarily mean the friendship’s done, or the other person is heinous—or whatever.

even—for the first time in my recollection—was at odds with my father, with whom I rarely disagree. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t the Hatfields and the McCoys.)

choose? “Shoot!” I remember thinking, as that illustration put a kink in my entire train of rational thought about my choice.

He was convinced Trump was the lesser of two evils, and I couldn’t get there. I just couldn’t.

I battled on all summer long—but I couldn’t get that image out of my head. With Hillary Clinton, we’re not just faced with a politician whose policies we don’t like, but rather we’re faced with a truly corrupt, utterly evil woman whose

And then I heard Daniel Lapin paint a picture that I just couldn’t get out of my head. You’re on a ship that’s going to sink. No questions about it—it’s going down like a rock. You find two lifeboats; one has holes in it, and the other has a cover over it.

Me and the Donald have the same hair!

Now honestly, which one

This mentality came back to mind this week as I let a few people in on a decision I had made (and I realized that one doesn’t necessarily need to be 6 to continue operating this way…) I shared this personal struggle with you all back in May when I wrote this piece: “I’m having a heart-and-gut-wrenching conscience battle with myself right now over what’s least worst. I think Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is an immense danger to this country. And, if his record and his campaign show us anything, Republican nominee Donald Trump looks to be just as bad. Do I end this ridiculous cycle of voting for the lesser of two evils by writing in a candidate or not voting at all? Or, since I know exactly what kind of damage Clinton will cause, do I risk it on the slim, slim chance that I’m wrong about Trump?” This went on for months. I


capacity for wrongdoing grows by the day.




And yes—I know a lot of Donald Trump’s past and present doesn’t look much rosier. Yes, I know. I know, y’all, I’ve written about it and taken copious (even high profile) flack for it as I begged and pleaded with people during the primary process to pick a good, decent candidate whose character and wobbly principles didn’t have us holding our noses in the voting

booth, or staying home

altogether. But they didn’t listen. And this is the army we got stuck with. And I’ve come to the conclusion that we can be absolutely certain of Hillary Clinton’s propensity for awfulness if she’s allowed to become president. I’m only pretty certain about Donald Trump’s. I’m betting on the shred of hope that I might possibly be wrong. I know I’m not wrong about Hillary Clinton. So, I guess that makes Trump the proverbial covered life boat. Might be full of holes … might not be. And I decided I couldn’t look my kid or my country in the eyes and say I didn’t take a chance with the lifeboat that might not sink; that I didn’t try to stop a certain evil. So there. I said it. I decided I’d be voting for Donald Trump come November. But I also decided I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it, because I wasn’t about to become this guy’s cheerleader. I’m still not. I also avoided it for the very flack I’m about to share with you. And then Mark Levin made his big announcement that he too had arrived at the same conclusion.

Suddenly, the decision I had previously decided to keep between me and the little circle I’d fill in at the voting both came to the surface—and it became clear that unless I was going to sit and nod my head as people slammed Levin (just so I wouldn’t have to talk about my decision), I’d have to share that I had come to that conclusion a while ago, too. One person I shared this with was incredible. His mind wasn’t changed (nor was it my intent to), and while he agreed that we fundamentally disagreed on this one, he recognized the agonizing struggle I and so many others had arriving at this crappy decision. Others informed me I’d have to answer to God for my decision—calling into question my very salvation. I hate this election. I hate what it’s done to our country, to friendships, to relationships—to our dignity as human beings. Remember my Muppets story? That’s how I felt so many people reacted (and will react) to my decision. “WHAT? She doesn’t think like ME? Well that’s THAT then.”

with my decision (and my conscience, thank you very much). I’m just here to say we need to get a grip. We need to stop acting like six year olds when it comes to dealing with someone whose decision we don’t agree with—even if we disagree fundamentally and vehemently. To once again borrow from my favorite Tim McGraw song, we’ve forgotten how to be humble and kind. Let me direct you to my good friend Jonathon Dunne (avidly Never Trump, by the way) who puts it so well: stop dehumanzing the individual. Stop it. I stand with Ted Cruz — vote your conscience. For me, that’s a vote to stop Hillary. Make up your own minds, and don’t let anyone bully you into anything different. Mary Ramirez is a full­time writer, creator (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at:; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree

And listen, I’m not here to whine. People can call me what they want; I’m at peace

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as long as we’re awake


A Great Awakening or a Rude Awakening: What Will It Be? sn’t it a shame that, at a time when America desperately needs to hear the prophetic voice of the church, what America hears instead is partisan politics in the name of Jesus?


Isn’t it a shame that, instead of the church leading the way and politicians following, it is politicians leading the way and Christian leaders following? Of course, there are exceptions to what I’m saying – fine, godly, exceptions – but they are the distinct minority, since, the truth be told, we are guilty of putting our trust in political leaders more than in the power of the gospel. We still flock around presidential candidates as if they were savior figures, with some pastors proclaiming Hillary as “anointed” to lead and others proclaiming Trump as God’s man for the hour, as if these candidates had the power to bless or curse the nation, as if the church was beholden to them rather than them being beholden to the church. Four years ago, in June, 2012, I wrote that the indifference of many conservative Christians towards Mitt Romney could be a positive if: “1) we don’t get caught up in the typical election year fever; 2) if we do vote for Romney, we do so remembering that he is not the answer; 3) we realize instead that the answer to America’s greatest problems is looking at us in the mirror if we align ourselves properly with God and with our neighbor.” And I added, “Yes, Barack Hussein Obama has done great harm to our country, but he is not the primary cause of America’s current malaise, we are. And if we have messed things up, then by God’s grace, we can turn


them around.” Now, four years later, with even more stark choices than we had in 2012, will the church wake up and learn? Will we finally realize that we do not have a political savior? Will we finally realize that, as important as the office of the president is, the fate of the nation is dependent on the state of the church more than on the occupant of the White House? On the morning of Election Day, four years ago, I wrote (in the event that Romney was elected), “No more looking to the White House to transform America!” How much more does this apply today? “And,” I added on November 6, 2012, “what if Barack Obama is reelected? Then we would do well to avoid the trap of putting most of our energies into rebuking the president’s latest transgressions. Instead, we will have to focus our efforts like never before on fomenting a moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution. Come to think of it, that would be a sound course of action if Mitt Romney is our next president too. . . .” Unfortunately, many of us fell into the trap of spending much of the last four years bashing President Obama (who gave us many reasons to oppose his policies and words) and advocating for a conservative candidate to take his place, investing our energies and our passions and our finances in the heated political battle more than in the work of the gospel.

votion, and it all too easy for us to sell our souls to a political party or candidate, giving ourselves to their cause as if they were the hope of America. Not so! There is only one hope for America, and He is not running for office. All this being said, I actually see a silver lining in the 2016 presidential election. If Hillary Clinton is elected, it could well be that our worst fears are realized and that she not only appoints disastrous judges to the courts but that she openly opposes our religious liberties, telling us that our prolife, pro-marriage beliefs will have to change – or else. If that’s the case, then I say bring the battle on. As distasteful as this prospect is and as painful as it could be for our kids and grandkids, it might just be the very thing that wakes up the stillsleeping church in our nation. Perhaps a Hillary victory will finally awaken us from our complacency and lethargy. And if Donald Trump is elected, even if he appoints fine justices to the courts and stands up for our religious liberties, his flaws and shortcomings are so evident and he has been such a volatile and divisive candidate that it would be very hard to look to him as the savior of the nation. A Trump presidency, therefore, would also be a call to prayer, a call for the church to rise up and make a difference, a call to make America great by making America dependent on the Lord.

And while there is absolutely a place for our political involvement – I would even say that God has given us a stewardship to be involved politically here in America – our energies would have been much better spent in praying for revival, turning away from our own sin, reaching out to the lost, standing up for justice, and caring for the poor and needy.

The good news, then, is that having such unpopular candidates could be a blessing in disguise, forcing us to put our trust in God, not people.

Can we do all these things and get involved politically as well? Absolutely. But the question is one of priorities, of emphasis, of de-

So, what will it be, a great awakening or a rude awakening? The choice is ours to make.


The bad news is that if this election season doesn’t help us get our priorities right, almost nothing will – meaning, that we could be in for a very rude awakening.

gold­plated tongue depressor?

I Could Have Gone On a Cruise


Had I known that my little trip to the hospital would have cost the same amount as a world cruise, I would have managed to get through the pain at the prospect of such a trip. Wouldn’t you?

However, Our medical industry in the United States is grossly mismanaged and bloated with regulations that inflate basic health care costs to stratospheric levels.

Why do politicians insist on attacking our health care needs at the insurance level instead of overhauling the entire way we treat most ailments?

Case in point: All I needed was some strong pain medication but the hospital refuses to do so without an MRI. The cost of my visit? $7,500.00. I don’t have insurance. Obamacare for my family of four cost more than my mortgage and has a $2,000 deductible and a 20% co-pay.

LIABILITY in one word. I have interviewed a number of physicians that have informed me that

to start with. If a medical professional screws up 85 million dollars will not “fix” the error anymore than one million would. I saw a medical bill from a friend that showed a tongue depressor at a cost of nearly $4.00 each. I’ll bet we can figure out how to make them for about 35 cents and still make a profit.


f you remember my article from a few issues ago, I shared my experience of having a kidney stone that sent me to the hospital. I knew I would eventually pass it but I just needed some pain relief.

The reform needs to be in medical costs and liability issues and inflated medical apparatus. Insurance costs will plummet in a free market system.

A spokesperson for the hospital explained that I could be a drug addict and faked my pain to try and get a fix or maybe I had a ruptured appendix and not a kidney stone and the hospital would get charged with a huge malpractice settlement. I related to him what my doctor friend told me about that very same scenario. (Excuse the technical terms here) “That is cow exhaust. For the cost of a latex glove I could stick my finger up your wazoo and tell you if it was a kidney stone or appendicitis.” In retrospect, I could have gone to a certain part in town and purchased two pain pills that would have certainly done the job for around $30.00 total.

malpractice insurance alone has drove them out of private practice and into the malaise of large corporate medical complexes. America is the most litigious nation on the planet and now we are paying the ultimate price for it. We need tort reform

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Does Your Child Show These Symptoms?: Loses his place while reading • Avoids close work • Holds reading material closer than normal • Tends to rub his eyes • Has headaches • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing • Uses finger to maintain place when reading • Omits or confuses small words when reading • Consistently performs below potential A good education for your child means good schools, good teachers and good vision. Your child’s eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. So when his or her vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. VOL.12 #5 | WWW.AMERICAN CHRISTIAN VOICE.COM


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