Exposing Political Hypocrisy

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When Ted Cruz captured the nation last week with his exceptionally long filibuster/speech, he did far more than speak for almost 24 hours. He did what every politician hates: he exposed their hypocrisy.

Often times, the political class merely wants a ‘show vote’ in order to manipulate their constituents into thinking that they are one thing when in reality they are something else altogether. This has become especially obvious over the past week. Numerous Republican Senators that once felt rather secure in their seats are bit more nervous now because Ted Cruz called them out, which is why they went after him on national television and not the normal Democrat elites. This goes to show that the real opposition is not towards the Democrat Party but rather to the grassroots that the political class despises.

Even so, politicians and their respective ‘advisors’ still act like politicians, so they are able to be swayed. Even Karl Rove, someone that certainly doesn’t have warm feelings to the Tea Party, stated, “I obviously don’t agree with the strategy . . . of trying to defund [Obamacare] as opposed to trying to delay . . . but that was an extraordinary performance,” Rove said during On The Record With Greta Van Susteren last night. “I mean, he was on his feet for almost 24 hours. He was cogent, he was thoughtful, he was funny, he was engaging, he was personal, he was personable.”

The verdict is still out on what will come of this showdown involving Obamacare, but one thing that is clear is how petrified the Republican Establishment has become now that the grassroots has a leader with a backbone. Will it last? We will have to stay tuned to see.

Nonetheless, something that will never be hidden is the real thoughts of man, and his hypocrisy goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  Christ was hated by the charlatans, and they crucified Him for revealing to the people just how selfish and hypocritical they were. Let us therefore be warned and take heed to Christ’s penetrating words about hypocrisy in Matthew 23 (ESV).

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, )‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Confronting Evil

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Islamic Terrorism hit hard over the weekend in a Kenyan Mall and a Pakistani Church, and, after well over a thousand years, the reality of Muslim jihad has displayed no signs of waning. Islam was started as a terrorist religion by Muhammad himself, so we should not be surprised when these events occur. Christianity, on the other hand, is rooted in grace. The former rules by intimidation and deceit and the latter by love and truth.

Long before Islam, the early Church faced the same kind of evil, yet it thrived, though not necessarily by the means it anticipated. The case of Stephen in is an excellent example. He stood up to his adversaries and boldly proclaimed the truth of God’s Word. We cannot and must not refrain from confronting evil and calling out sin.

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

ESV Acts 7:51-53

Speaking the truth cost him his earthly life, but he was welcomed into eternity with great glory. What did he see before his departure?

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

ESV Acts 7:54-56

Wow! Christ is often described as seated at the right hand of the Father on High, yet, here He is standing. Christ does not take the death of His saints lightly, and He is not a mere bystander. He has brought such things to pass for His glory, and Stephen beheld that glory in a splendor that we eagerly anticipate.

Shortly thereafter the Church was dispersed because of a great persecution (Acts 8).  These were tough times, but God was in complete control of the situation, for, in this, the gospel exploded to the four winds. Let us pray that God will use these events to reach those who at present hate him the most.

Sons Who Serve

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The Church and America at large is in desperate need of bold leaders who will step up and lead by example. Joseph from the Old Testament is a prime example of what a godly leader looks like.

Joseph’s Service: Seeking the Best for Others Before Himself

Even though Joseph could have held back some of his knowledge to interpret dreams, he did not. Instead, he put Pharaoh and all of Egypt ahead of himself. Any other man would have kept a few cards back just to get out of prison, but this was a man of God who had already refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife. He simply would not cave in to selfish impulses. Life was bigger than Joseph because God is the Architect of life, and He requires our submission to his ways not our ways.

Joseph is much like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (the Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—Daniel 1:7) because, even if God did not get him out of prison, he was still determined to worship God. This resolve only comes from a regenerated heart that loves God and loves his neighbors. He could put others before Himself because He loved God, and, to transgress against God was unthinkable to Him. His service to the Lord in obedience to Him against the wishes of Potiphar’s wife and his selfless labor for Pharaoh were only the tip of the iceberg, for his aid was magnified because his service kept the hope of the promised seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 alive and well. How is this?

Remember, it was Judah who suggested selling Joseph (Genesis 37:26-27), but, later on in Genesis 49:10, we read that the Messiah would come from Judah. What a great and marvelous act of selfless love that he showed to his brothers. Instead of putting them on the chopping block, he kissed and wept upon them (Genesis 45:15)! That is the complete opposite of the world’s wisdom. He welcomed those who had hated him so much. Now he will forever go down as a great hero who God in His Sovereignty used to preserve the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Oh, the glory it is to be used by the Living God! He is the epitome of service because the LORD of all Creation hung on the Cross for His beloved sheep (Matthew 27:32-54)! Are we raising sons like that or are we raising self-absorbed tyrants?

If we want our sons to be godly fathers and husbands who pour out their lives for the sake of others, then we must not only teach them God’s Word, but we must also model that love through selfless service. We are especially commanded to model this attitude towards our wives, those for whom we must be ready to lay down our lives (Ephesians 5:25-30). If I sit on the couch while my wife is heavily fatigued from a full day with the children, then I am a fool, and my children will certainly notice. What good is it to be fruitful and multiply when we act lazy and expect more than our wives are meant to handle?

Yes, it requires immense sacrifice to go to work and then come home and start Job #2, but your wife doesn’t receive much of a break either. She is there all the time. We both need rest, but we cannot neglect to alleviate some of the burdens that our wives face on a daily basis.  Though Meggan is the primary Homeschool teacher during the day, I teach as well. I get home, pull up a chair, and break open the books. After the meals, I help to clean up because our children are young and limited in their abilities. It will not be like this forever, but, during this season, it’s time to do some of the dirty work that may never be seen or acknowledged. Family is glorious, but it is work, and the father cannot sit on the couch or retreat to other things when his wife and family are in the most need. If he does, then a familial collapse will soon occur. If you sow the wind, then you will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

For for insights into cultivating a Biblical worldview in the home, check out Take ‘Em Out & Stay Out: The Foundation & Finances of Homeschool

Heads of Atlanta Public School’s Cheating Scandal Battling Cancer

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The Atlanta Public School’s cheating scandal is back in the news, but it is not for expected reasons. A recent bombshell has sent tremors that are far more devastating that what a jury could even begin to contemplate.

Beverly Hall

AJC online reports, “… that indicted ex APS superintendent Beverly Hall is ­battling breast cancer. Earlier this week, the death of  former APS principal Willie Davenport, one of 35 educators indicted on charges of cheating on standardized tests along with Hall,  was announced.

Davenport was 66 and facing criminal charges of racketeering and two counts of making false statements.  She was scheduled to go on trial with others accused of cheating next spring. The cause and date of her death had not been released.  Davenport was the principal at D.H. Stanton Elementary School in central Atlanta in 2009 when a state investigation into cheating said she falsified attendance records and failed to properly monitor standardized tests.

In a statement about  Hall to the AJC, Atlanta attorney Richard Deane said, ‘As has been reported to the court in connection with her bond determination, Dr. Hall has been diagnosed with breast cancer, a serious medical condition for which she is receiving treatment. As a matter of her personal privacy, Dr. Hall does not choose to say more.’ “

Throughout this whole judicial process, many have been skeptical about what kind of conviction might occur if any. After all, some of the best defense lawyers represent those indicted. However, the death of one and cancer for the other in the midst of this certainly makes us think twice about the justice of God. Even so, only God knows why He does what He does, and cancer can come upon anyone at any time: righteous or unrighteous.

Nevertheless, Scripture does reveal to us that certain people clearly received their punishment from the Lord’s hand directly. Jezebel was eaten by dogs for many abominations (2 Kings 9:30-37); Nebuchadnezzar was reduced to a beast because of his pride (Daniel 4:33); and Herod was eaten by worms when he did not give God the glory (Acts 12:20-23). God is serious about His holiness, and so should we be as well.

We must not be quick to say that theses particular women who are involved in the Atlanta cheating scandal received their maladies because of their respective involvements, but we must stand before a Holy God and tremble because we know that God can and has revealed his exact motives for such rebelliousness in the past.  We should tremble, for such could come upon as well when we take the grace of God for granted.

Let us therefore bow humbly before our God, who is Lord of lords and King of kings, and know that we are all unworthy of life because of our sin. God is gracious, and we ought to fall on our face every moment of every day and give thanks, lest we think little of God’s goodness and mercy.

To War or Not To War?

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The situation in Syria continues to ride on the front burner of American politics, and each side is shoring up their respective arguments. Much of the current debate revolves around Congressional approval of military strikes.

FoxNews reports, “Kerry told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he couldn’t imagine Congress would ‘turn its back’ on Israel or other U.S. allies in the region and on the Syrians slaughtered in the Aug. 21 chemical weapon attack, allegedly ordered by President Bashar al-Assad.

‘I can’t contemplate that Congress would turn its back on all of that responsibility,’ Kerry said. ‘I don’t believe Congress will do that.’ ”

Whether for principle or mere distraction politics, some kind of decision will probably be made soon, but be that as it may. As Christians, we must seek counsel from God’s Word in such matters.

We have no specific chapter and verse in Scripture about the present dilemma in Syria, but we do have some principles of just war that can be gleaned from the text-something that was previously articulated. What also needs to be addressed here is the other side of the coin: worldview and the desire for freedom.

Men may want freedom, and we may work to build a case for just war in any particular region, but a crucial element must be present for men to actually live free without a persistent threat of tyranny or political reprisal: Christ. A nation must have the seed of the gospel, or it will always exchange one form of tyranny for another.  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalm 33:12), is not an empty verse, for only a nation that is built upon a Biblical worldview contains the self-regulation and moral principles required to sustain a free society.  Attempts at nation building or nation stabilization will always fail otherwise.

What then do we make of Syria?

Like Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and every other Muslim/dictatorial country, there is not even the remotest foundation for a free society because Christ is rejected. For this reason, the gospel must always go in first. If the Lord sanctions a people to the gospel, then a bedrock platform is formed from which to build upon. Evangelism and prayer is the only way.

To go in with arms and attempt to build a free society that despises the Gospel is a fool’s errand. It is horrific to see tyranny played out, but to think that we can nation build upon a foundation of sand is beyond ignorance; it is rebellion. That should send tremors up our spines.

For this reason, it is not wise to intervene with arms in any foreign power, lest we perceive a real and serious imminent threat to our native soil or extremely close and historically reliable ally (something subject to debate). Even then, our goal is not to nation build but rather to eliminate the imminent threat.

Nevertheless, we do continue to send missionaries and pray for a revival in these idolatrous lands, for that is their only hope. Just as the individual has no hope apart from Christ, so is a nation hopeless without Christ. We must not be ashamed to confess that. We will face mockery and ridicule for such bold statements, but we cannot be true to Scripture if we advocate otherwise.