Vote 2018

Vote 2  With all the political ads running on TV and radio, and all the signs and billboards, one can hardly miss that election season is upon us once again here in the USA. Election day is set for Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 and I hope you already are planning to get involved by casting your vote. The Bible has plenty to say about government; for example, Exodus 18:21 gives us a leadership model: “But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.” Likewise, Deuteronomy 1:13 says, “Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.”

Examples of government are woven throughout the Bible, sometimes good, sometimes maybe not so good, but the government is put in place by God to bring order to society. In Romans 13:1,4 & 6 we read: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God….The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong….Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.”

In the USA, we are very fortunate in that we are allowed the privilege of voting and, therefore, we can influence the direction of our government. This is a great right and should never be taken lightly, especially for the Christian as we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). So we should cast our votes to reflect God’s values so we influence the process with the truth of God. Indeed, for the Christian, it is not just a right, but a responsibility!

But how do we know what the candidates stand for? Often, the TV ads tell us more about how the candidates feel about their opponent than where they stand on the actual issues. Despite their claims, we find that all too often the ads we hear and see are full of error, half-truths, and misleading rhetoric. It can be hard to discern which candidates most align with the values we know to reflect the truth found in God’s Word, so how do we decide? Fortunately, there are many resources available to us. I will list a few really good ones here, but there are likely others available in your state:

iVoter Guide – this resources allows you to input your zip code and find responses from the candidates on actual issues of importance. And remember that a candidate’s failure to respond to questions on a specific issue is a response in itself!

Family Research Council – this resource will help you understand important issues of our time and the platforms of the major political parties. It will also help you find where to vote in your area and can even help you to register in some areas.

Christian Voter Guide – offers many resources for researching issues, voting locations, voter guides, etc.

You can also easily research the candidates by typing their name in your favorite search engine to find their campaign websites. So do your research, become an informed citizen, and get out and vote on November 6th, 2018. You can make a difference and your vote does count!

May you be blessed.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.



Donna and I just completed our annual Memorial Day weekend getaway, once again visiting Lake Superior. This year, we were along the North Shore, near Grand Marais and Grand Portage, almost to the Canadian border. It was a wonderful trip just full of amazing scenery. Visiting Lake Superior is becoming a thing for us, as we have now visited several locations around the lake over the last few years. For me, Copper Harbor last fall and the North Shore this year have been my favorites.

We stayed at the Cliff Dweller on Lake Superior and I would be amiss if I didn’t take the time to mention this wonderful little hotel with the friendly and accommodating staff that felt much more like a resort than a hotel. The Cliff Dweller is situated right on the shoreline and overlooks the lake from each room. Every room features a balcony where you can sit and relax to the sound of the crashing waves while enjoying your morning coffee. It was a lovely way to wake up and start each day!

The North Shore area features many hiking trails, scenic overlooks, historical landmarks, and astounding geological formations. In Grand Marais, we discovered such wonderful eateries as The World’s Best Donuts, Sven & Olie’s Pizza, and the Angry Trout Café. The smell of campfire permeated the town as several businesses had outdoor fire pits going. Being so far north, Spring was just beginning, but despite being so early in the season, the weather cooperated such that we enjoyed hundreds of miles of top down driving and dinner outdoors overlooking the harbor.

Two of the most amazing stops on our journey came near the Canadian border. The first was the “High Falls” on the Pigeon River. This amazing work of nature straddles the border and is simply incredible to see in person. As torrents of water plummet 120 feet over the falls and you are sprayed by the mist as you watch from the man-made overlook that you come to after a beautiful half mile hike through the forest. In days gone by, this waterfall was such an obstacle to river travel that American Indians created a nine-mile portage trail to Lake Superior that became known as “The Grand Portage”.

The second amazing site was the Grand Portage National Monument. Here a reconstruction of the old fort holds a wealth of information about life in frontier times, complete with actors fully in character who bring the era to life and answer all your questions. The visitor center contains many artifacts from archeological exploration of the area along with recreated items and knowledgeable guides to explain it all. The rich history of the area combined with the awesome views of Lake Superior was overwhelming to the senses and fired my imagination of what life must’ve been like in those distant times.

It was here in Grand Portage that I came across the following quote, posted on the wall: “I believe in going back to the magic of the earth and the lake, the sky and the universe. That kind of magic. I believe in that kind of religion. A religion of the rocks, the lake, the water, the sky. Yes, that’s what I believe in.” Upon first reading, this quote might seem profound, but it left me with a feeling of sorrow. I find the thought that any person could come to this exquisitely stunning area and come to appreciate its magnificence yet seemingly miss that it was all created by the Lord God Almighty profoundly sad.

To witness the majesty of this area is to see the wonderful works of the Creator firsthand. And such elegant beauty should deepen our admiration and appreciation of the God who created it all; it should move us to praise the Creator not the creation. But the quote above seems to resound with just the opposite, which reminds me of what the Apostle Paul was moved to write in his letter to the Romans: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature….(but) they traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (Romans 1:19-20,25)

Whether standing in the mist of the High Falls or staring out into the vastness of Lake Superior, I am reminded that, though these things seem magnificent to me, they are but a mere teardrop compared to our Creator God. For God is infinitely vast, having created not only the planet earth and everything in it, but also the entire universe, the size of which we cannot precisely determine. It is God who set in motion all the laws of physics and science which we so earnestly study but scarcely yet comprehend. And it is this same immutable, eternal, and infinite God who has numbered every hair on my head, who cared enough about me…and you…to send his very own Son to redeem us so we might also live eternally in fellowship with him.

Yes, to think anyone could experience the beauty of the North Shore and miss the significance of its message about the Creator and about the love He has for each and every one of us fills me with deep sadness. And I hope this little blog will help you see that the very beauty you see in nature pales in comparison to the divine beauty God sees in you.

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17-18

God loves you. More than you will ever know or understand. If you’d like to learn more, please check out:

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Memorial Day

flags-292774_960_720 Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was created as a time to remember and honor those who have given their lives in service to the United States. Originally born out of the Civil War and the desire to remember the dead, Memorial Day was first declared on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date for Decoration Day, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the very first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery and a large group of volunteers decorated the graves of some 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who are buried there. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873; by 1890 it was recognized by all northern states. Southern states refused to recognize the holiday, instead choosing other days to remember their dead. This continued until after World War I when the holiday was changed from recognizing only those lost in the Civil War to honoring those who were lost in any war.

With the Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend. There is a traditional method of observing the holiday with the American flag by raising the flag briskly to full-staff, then lowering it slowly and solemnly to half-staff, where it remains until noon, then it is raised to full staff again. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million who have given their lives in service to their country. At noon, then, their memory is raised by the living who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up and continue the fight for liberty.

Other traditional observances include visiting cemeteries, wearing red poppies, and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen loved ones. Observance of Memorial Day traditions has diminished over the years and many people have forgotten the meaning of the day. The graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored or neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. To help remind us of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in December 2000. It asks that at 3 p.m. local time all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”

Do you remember the real meaning behind Memorial Day? Will you take the challenge to pause at 3pm on Memorial Day and remember those who made the greatest sacrifice to secure our continued freedom? And will you accept the challenge to “rise up” and continue the fight for liberty at whatever cost?

Memorial Day is also a great time to remember the one who sacrificed all so we could have our sins be forgiven.  One of the greatest freedoms that our soldiers died to preserve is the freedom of religion. Why not take advantage of that freedom right now and invite Jesus Christ into your life? Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

I will leave you with this verse for reflection: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1John 3:16)

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Happy Independence Day

fireworks-828643_960_720The fourth of July is a national holiday celebrating our independence from Great Britain. Now it was on the 2nd of July that we actually declared our independence, but in typical bureaucratic fashion, it took Congress two days of debate before they were able to come up with a declaration containing verbiage agreeable to all. Hence…we celebrate on July 4th, which is the date on the Declaration of Independence (many historians believe it was not actually signed until August 2, 1776). (Reference: “Top 5 Myths About the Fourth of July!“. History News Network. George Mason University. June 30, 2001.)

Whatever is the true and correct date of our independence, it is on the 4th of July that we celebrate as a country with parades, carnivals, patriotic displays, and, of course, fireworks. It is a time we spend with family and friends, relaxing at the lake, enjoying freshly grilled cuisine together, or any combination of fun-filled activities. Our independence as a country is certainly something worth celebrating, after all, the United States of America is the hallmark of freedom to the entire world!

Another lesser known fact about the 4th of July is that it is the day three of our past presidents entered their eternity. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signors of the Declaration of Independence who later became president, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826. And President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. I bring up these facts for a simple reason, to remind us all that the 4th of July is as good a day as any to contemplate that one statistic that is beyond argument: we will all one day pass from this world.

And while death is never a fun topic for discussion, it is from this very holiday that we can all find reason to rejoice! Because when the United States of America became independent it led to the eventual adoption of our constitution (in 1789) and bill of rights giving us the promise of the free exercise of religion (the first amendment was ratified in 1791). And it is with this guarantee that we are free to investigate and pursue our own religious convictions.

So, on this Independence Day I want to challenge you to spend some time contemplating the simple reality that you will eventually die and there is no escaping that fact. And, while you are celebrating your freedom, I want to further encourage you to thoroughly investigate the validity of the Christian faith. Because if you do investigate with an open heart and mind, I am confident you will conclude, as tens of millions of others have, that Jesus Christ is real, that he surely walked this earth, that he was crucified on the cross, died a horrible and agonizing death as payment for our sins, and that he truly rose again.

In our independent country, we place a lot of faith in eyewitnesses. There were hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. The apostles were so convinced of the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection they endured beatings, jail time, and eventually death so that the message of salvation through faith in Christ would go out to all the world.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Folks, if you haven’t already done so, why not make this 4th of July the day you secure your eternal home with Jesus. It’s really simple, all you have to do is ask him.

(For further reading, we are pleased to recommend “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.)

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