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Why America Must Stop Courting Socialism

democraticsocialists

The internal threat of socialism in America must be stopped now. The Democratic party has gone from flirting with this political cancer to inviting it into their ranks. A socialist America would be a lost America. Calling it Democratic Socialism is deceptive. There is no legitimacy in applying any label of socialism to our capitalist economy. Let’s look at how socialism is already threatening your income and quality of life.

Socialism has been categorized into four main levels. The traditional Marxist-Leninist socialism of communist countries, e.g., China and Cuba, is what many of us grew up despising. Non-communist socialist countries such as Greece subscribe to Marxist-Leninist tenets, but without the aggressive dictators. Then there is 21st Century socialism which has recently popped up in countries through radical upheavals of the democratic process. Most of these governments are in Latin America and are crumbling after just a few years. More recently, several governments have begun to call themselves Democratic Socialists. That is, there is a semblance of  governing by the people through elected representation and personally owned property. However, Democratic Socialist laws support socialist concepts such as wealth distribution through taxation, universal health care, free college, guaranteed income, prolific labor unions, production controls, etc.  I believe the Democratic Socialism moniker is no more than an attempt to soften the depressing nature of the system. It is a way to pass it off as not-your-grandfather’s Marxist-Leninist government. We must understand socialism for what it is regardless of the adjective placed before the name.

Whatever the title, socialism is woefully inferior to capitalism on every level and a dangerous system. Due to the expected brevity of a blog post, I will withhold comment on the immoral, oppressive, and disincentive aspects of socialism and address just the economics of the beast. I believe economics is the practical measure of a government system, since it affects about every other quality of life element. Socialism fails miserably in the economics test.

The long-proven success of capitalism has made America the most prosperous nation on earth. Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is the accepted measure of a nation’s economy. It is the total dollar value of all goods and services produced within the country in a year. It is also essentially the total income of all Americans during the year. America’s projected GDP for 2018 is just over $20 trillion. The best measure of the quality of life for a country’s citizens is per capita GDP, or each person’s share of the GDP. It also roughly equates to average yearly individual income. America’s current per capita GDP is $56,432. In comparison, the UK GDP per capita is $39,720, and Japan’s is $38,428. Russia (technically not a socialist country anymore) has a per capita GDP of $10,743.

Now, let’s look at the per capita GDP of those “enviable”  26 countries that proclaim themselves socialist. You know, the one’s the Democrats are showcasing. The six Marxist-Leninist countries have an average per capita GDP of $3,638 (China, the highest, is at $10,099). The five non-communist socialist countries average $5,700. The three labeled 21st Century Socialist average $4,834. Twelve Democratic Socialist countries average $4,494. These current numbers are about what Americans were earning in the 1950s.

Socialism has never in history improved the economy or quality of life for its subjects. It kills economies. Not one Democrat in America can justify his or her socialist leaning economically. They are simply interested in growing a big government that takes resources from the people and gives them goods and services based on needs of the government. Voters for Democratic candidates need to either learn some basic economics or be satisfied with a per capita GDP of less than $10,000.

A few years ago, I would have never believed Americans would elect a declared socialist to Congress. Now, we have four, three of which are card-carrying members of the Democrat Socialists of America (DSA). We all know about Senator Bernie Sanders. Then, last November, Americans elected to the House of Representatives Rashida Tlaib , a Muslim and DSA member and, of course, DSA member and smash hit, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The other Muslim and DSA sympathizer elected last November is Ilhan Omar who is also an outspoken anti-Semitic. Furthermore, there are 66 other Democratic members of Congress who openly claim ties to DSA.

Free market capitalism, the economic experiment spanning over two centuries, has produced the greatest economy in the history of the world leading to the greatest quality of life in history for us Americans. We of the present generation are extremely blessed to have inherited this phenomenal advantage from the sacrifices of our predecessors. Any movement that would threaten that way of life must be stopped for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Listen closely to every word that proceeds from the mouths of Democrats. Their socialist agenda is obvious. Remember that at the voting booth.

 

What About the Women in White?

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Why did the Democratic Congresswomen wear white at the State of the Union address? They said it was to commemorate the suffrage movement of the early 20th century and to show economic solidarity for women everywhere. I believe it goes much deeper than that attempting to whitewash shameful pursuits by dressing in the color of innocence. Let’s look at the duplicity of the pure white attire.

White has represented purity and virtue throughout history. In the Bible, white is the sacred color. At the transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes became dazzling white. Angels are described in the Bible as wearing white. In the Book of Revelation, the saints and the army of heaven are all dressed in white. Christians often dress in white for baptisms, confirmations, first communions, and weddings. Being dressed in white is a sign of new life, new beginnings, being born again, being redeemed.

Wearing white can also be an attempt to appear pure when it covers up what is not pure. The Bible warns us to watch out for wolves in sheep clothing–ravenous false prophets dressed in white. The Ku Klux Klan dressed in white to try to appear virtuous. Granted, the suffrage movement claimed white dress as their symbol, but today’s liberal feminists dressed in white represent a quest for power and self gratification more than a celebration of women’s rights.

Their white clothes could not hide their true hearts as they sat stone-faced while others stood in rousing support of the President’s call for laws prohibiting late-term abortions and post-delivery infanticide. The same posture followed the President’s vow that America will never be a Socialist country. Nancy Pelosi sat stoically through most of the speech modeling her white garb as she chewed on her cheek and fumbled a stack of cardboard.

The white dressers were apparently planning to avoid any standing in support of anything the President said. But, when he surprised them with comments on more women in Congress than ever and women doing better in their careers than ever, they looked at each other awkwardly, then stood and shared high-fives. They stood for themselves, but not for their country.

I thought the State of the Union address was one of the best I had ever heard with encouragement, hope, and inspiration. The down side was having to endure the sea of white in the chamber. I will be watching them closely for the next couple of years hanging on their every word and deed. I hope you will do the same. Nothing good for America will come from them.

We Must Recognize the Democratic Party for What It Is

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I have disagreed with the Democrat party for years, but have tried to accept it as a legitimate alternative voice in our government. However, I can no longer stomach its determined pursuit of socialism, devaluation of life, disdain for biblical truth, disruption of family, and disregard for civil order. The party has institutionalized evil. I am uncomfortable using that word, but darkness can only be overcome by light.

I first realized the Democrats’ blatant secularism during the 2012 Democratic convention when the DNC chairman proposed to reinsert the word “God” into the Democratic Platform. The chairman attempted three voice votes from the floor, and each time the vote was overwhelmingly against including “God.” The chairman finally ignored the obvious nay votes from the majority and declared the proposal as passed. The convention floor roared with shouts of anger. Now this week we learned that a key Democratic House committee has drafted new rules for the swearing in of investigation witnesses that leave out “so help me God.”

The character of a nation is largely defined by its spiritual awareness reflected in its politics. America is polarized between two philosophies of life or world views–Republican and Democratic. The Republican party is far from perfect and certainly has its share of moral lapses and wayward players. But as an institution, it generally holds to the biblical principles of freedom, peace, moderation, free market, patriotism, law and order, sanctity of life, and traditional family.

Conversely, the Democratic party has a history of promoting bondage, anarchy, extremism, socialism, rebellion, lawlessness, abortion, and LGBT activism. Although these characteristics of the party were evident as far back as the Kennedy era, they have become much more predominant in recent years. Just in the last decade, under President Obama, gay marriage became law, wealth was forcefully redistributed, our military served as the laboratory for radical social experiments, law enforcement was demonized, and thousands violently rioted in the streets over a legitimate election. Democratic obsession with so-called gender dysphoria created rampant confusion in children and young adults.

Many ungodly cultural shifts are being fostered through the liberal-leaning courts. The majority of current federal judges were appointed by Presidents Obama or Clinton, and the Senate Democrats are obstructing the confirmation of President Trump’s judicial appointments. The confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh was a shameful spectacle of demonic-like behavior and contempt for law and order by Democrats on the Judicial Committee.

Just in the last few months, the mostly Democratic news media have made a celebrity of a socialist activist elected to the House of Representatives. Other newly elected Democratic Representatives spewed obscene hostilities against the President publicly. The early announcers for the 2020 presidential campaign are the most radically liberal candidates ever, making Bernie and Hillary seem angelic in comparison.

The Democratic personification of evil is not just in Washington. Hollywood, Broadway, and Nashville stars give us a daily dose of obscene hate speech against rightfully elected government officials. Some have threatened bodily harm or death. Almost all of these miscreants proudly claim allegiance to the Democratic party.

The five highest crime-rate cities in America–Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, and Birmingham–all have a long history of Democratic mayors. America’s highest poverty levels are almost all in cities led by Democrats. Again, leadership depravity results in the darkest environments.

These examples barely scratch the surface of Democratic iniquities. However, in my opinion, the epitome of evil acts by Democrats was the New York Assembly’s late-term abortion bill enacted just last week. New York joined seven other states, all with Democratic governments, in legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth. The assembly celebrated by standing ovation, and the governor lit up the new World Trade Center in honor of the “victory.” This law means a mother can go into labor and then decide to kill the baby just before delivery. Of course, that is no more despicable than a first trimester abortion, but it would have to require more emotional and spiritual numbness on the part of the mother and the abortionist. What possible sense does it make that, if a baby were born at 4:35, willfully killing him or her at 4:36 would be capital murder, but willfully killing him or her at 4:34 would have been perfectly legal and even applauded by many? New York’s legislature is 71% Democratic.

I believe many silent Americans see the lunacy in the Democrat party, but are afraid of being labeled politically incorrect. They are mesmerized by the liberal media’s promotion of the Democratic world view and fear being rejected by their peers. The heart of America is crying out for courageous men and women to stand up and be counted among those who truly love our country and who will fight to preserve all that is right, just, and good.

In labeling the Democratic party evil, I have had a few friends respond that some Democrats are moderate and do not agree with all of the party’s philosophy and platform. My retort is, if one identifies with any organization, he or she is supporting that organization’s values and principles. I believe the Democratic party has institutionalized evil and is destroying America from within. It is becoming the nation’s worst enemy. Democrats should be loved unconditionally as precious fellow men and women, but recognized for who they are and called out accordingly. There is a cultural war in America, and the battle is at the ballot box, not in violent reaction. We need to pray that America will come together in a spirit of civility recognizing our roots and faith that made us the greatest country in history. As for my fellow citizens associated with the Democratic party, I urge you to choose this day whom you will serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Among America’s Best, but Least Known, Theaters: Sight and Sound

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Ranked as the top faith-based live theaters in America, Sight and Sound Theatres are in two locations: Strasburg, Pennsylvania, and Branson, Missouri. With combined annual sales of over 1.3 million tickets, these entertainment jewels are still unknown to most Americans. My wife, Linda, and I have experienced every production in Branson. We highly recommend both theaters. Here is a bit more about them and their rather short but amazing history.

Glenn Eshelman (below left) grew up on a farm in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Infatuated with the beauty of creation, he began painting landscapes as a boy. This passion eshelmanweddingexpanded to photography in his teen years. After marrying Shirley (right), he sold his artwork out of the trunk of his car. In 1964, he began presenting his narrated photography slide show in churches across the country. Although responses were overwhelmingly positive, the travel became a burden. The couple set up Living Waters Theatre in 1976 in Strasburg, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for the nightly presentation of their slide show. In 1987, they transitioned to live stage production of Bible stories and opened The Entertainment Centre in 1991. These shows received rave reviews until 1997 when their theater burned to the ground. Devastated, they prayed for guidance, and God led them to rebuild, this time a 2,000 seat, state-of-the-art theater with a 300-foot wrap-around stage four stories high. By the early 2000’s, sell-out crowds convinced the Eshelmans to expand to a second location. Hot Springs, Arkansas, was among the few cities considered. Branson, Missouri was chosen.

In 2008, Branson’s new Sight and Sound Theatre opened with the initial production of Noah. Multiple levels of live and mechanical animals encircled the audience. Live animals on the main stage, very talented performers, and phenomenal stage settings made this a “must see” performance. Since then, Branson has hosted two-year stints of Joseph, Jonah, Moses, and Samson. Samson continues its second year this March. The Strasburg theater has produced these same shows plus Daniel, Ruth, Jesus, and is beginning this year with Esther. Between productions, the biennial performance of The Miracle of Christmas is presented in November and December at both theaters. I’m amazed that almost every matinee and evening show enjoys a sell-out audience for the nearly two year run. All productions use impressive special effects, live animals, and quick-change stage sets that will blow you away. The Bible stories are embellished with fictional portrayals, but the spiritual inspiration is always present. The gospel is communicated very effectively. I believe it’s as entertaining as anything you will see on Broadway.

The Eshelmans have recently passed the baton to their two sons-in-law. Matt Neff (below right) is now CEO, and Josh Enck (below left) is now president. These new leaders complement each other perfectly with Matt being more administrative and Josh being more creative. They have wasted no time in improving the sightandsoundneffandenckcompany by adding personnel to ensure shorter production cycles and greater technology in special effects and sets. They both are passionate about maintaining the priority of glorifying God through their mission of bringing Bible stories to life on stage.

I encourage everyone to make a commitment to never miss a Sight and Sound production. It is a destination attraction well worth the trip. Tickets are around $50 each, and some hotels offer package deals on accommodations and tickets. Click here to learn more about show times and tickets. You’ll thank me later.

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Immigration Standoff: All Politics, No Logic from the Liberals

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The government is at a showdown. Both sides claim to support increased border security. The Democrats just a few years ago advocated $25 billion to fund it including $8 billion for the wall. Somehow, now that the President wants some kind of barrier, it is immoral and ineffective. The American family household is perfectly analogous to the country when it comes to neighborly benevolence and security. Here is a brief comparison.

The character of America is a conglomeration of the character of 126 million households. Almost all of those households have a heart for others–family, friends, acquaintances, even strangers. By and large, we are all benevolent people willing to help others when they communicate a need. However, we all have doors on our houses or apartments. All of us have locks on the doors, and many have security systems to ensure safety. The more affluent have security fences or walls or live in gated communities. No sane person would live in a house without a lockable door leaving it vulnerable to the unrestricted entry of all outsiders.

If a stranger outside those doors or enhanced protective barriers communicated to us a legitimate need, almost all of us would be open to satisfying that need according to our ability to do so. If it were a dire emergency need, and we could verify the situation and integrity of the victim, most of us would even open our house for his or her immediate shelter and security.

On the other hand, if a stranger busted down our locked door, entered our living room, and demanded that we give him or her immediate protection, shelter, and resources, we would take drastic measures to get that person out of our house. If we had the capability, we would probably eliminate them as a threat to our family. They might have a legitimate need, but without time and ability to determine that, we could only assume they meant us harm. We would have every reason to expect such an intruder, if having an honest need, to receive our help through proper channels. Anyone crashing through a locked door has to be considered a personal threat.

To expand on this analogy, what if we left our door wide open? A stranger walking through the open door into our living room is still just as much a threat, but shame on us for being so naive as to leave the door open.

America is, without a doubt, the most benevolent nation in the world now and has been throughout history. We give $50 billion every year to other nations for the care of their people. About one million legal immigrants are processed and welcomed into our country each year. These recipients knock on our door and provide legitimate evidence that convinces us to share our resources with them out of sympathy and kindness.

However, about a half-million foreigners cross our borders illegally each year. Another half-million enter on legal visas, then overstay their limited time and become permanent illegal residents. Thus, a million illegal immigrants enter our country each year. Those million people bust down our locked doors, or walk through our open doors, with no invitation or documented reason to do so. Every one is a threat as if he or she showed up in our living room unannounced and unexpected.

Yet, the liberal faction of our society calls our doors immoral and ineffective. Here is the truth. They don’t really believe the wall is wrong. No one can really deny its logic. Their objective is solely to deny the President the realization of his top campaign promise to the American people. Their hope is to convince Americans that he is not strong enough to get the job done. Playing such a political game is total disregard for the safety and welfare of the American people they represent. Their obstruction is 100% politics with no logic.

 

President Tyler, born in 1790, has two living grandsons!

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Seems impossible, but two brothers living among us today are the grandsons of President John Tyler, the 10th President, born just a year after George Washington became our first President. Even with today’s relatively long lives, three generations normally cover about 130 years from the birth of the first to the death of the third. The three Tyler generations have spanned 229 years, 14 years short of the life of our country. How can that be?

President Tyler’s first wife died in 1842 after giving him eight children. He then married a much younger woman, and they had seven more. His youngest child was Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. who was born in 1853 when John Tyler was 63. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. also married a second time to a much younger woman after his first wife died in 1921. He had six children, the youngest two being Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr. (top right above), born in 1924, and  Harrison Tyler (bottom right above), born in 1928. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr. was 75 when the youngest, Harrison, was born. So, President Tyler and his son both having had children very late in life coupled with the President’s grandsons living long lives, currently at 94 and 90, resulted in a phenomenal three generation life span of well over two centuries. In this particular case, the three generations have lived in four centuries– the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st. Also, each of the three lived in two centuries. Is you head beginning to hurt?

Harrison Tyler spent his career as a chemical engineer and businessman, eventually selling his company for $435 million upon retirement. He now lives on the family plantation, Sherwood Forest, in Virginia founded by President Tyler. Lyon Tyler, Jr., had a brief career as a lawyer before getting his PhD in History and teaching at the University of Richmond, Virginia Military Institute, and the Citadel. He now lives in Franklin, Tennessee.

It was common in the 19th century for older men to have second marriages to younger women, especially after a first wife’s death. In fact, our government is currently paying a Civil War pension to a daughter of a veteran of that war now living in North Carolina. Irene Triplett, age 86, collects $73.13 each month from her father’s military pension earned when he fought for the Union 153 years ago. Her father who married a woman 50 years younger begat her when he was 83 (Don’t go there, just accept it; the government does.)

(Some of this information came from Curt Mills, writer, U.S. News & World Report.)

 

The Best Ever New Year’s Resolution

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Regardless of whether you are a new year’s resolution person, everyone needs to take some time at the threshold of a new year to self-evaluate just where you are in life. Then consider what changes might be in order to attain greater quality of life and sense of purpose. Resolutions are usually in categories such as health, finances, family, and personal habits. However, there is another category of resolution that will reap more rewards than anything you have probably thought of.

Most of us need to be more fit and in better shape. We should quit some bad habits. Some family relationships should be strengthened. And who doesn’t need to spend less and save more in the coming year? However, almost all areas of life change are linked to the one most important adjustment we can make–a spiritual renewal. If our spiritual condition is not in shape, it affects everything else in our lives. Here are some suggested initiatives for making 2019 the year of spiritual renewal.

First, if you don’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you are in critical condition spiritually and in dire need of getting that most important aspect of your life settled once and for all. I invite you to visit my “Eternity” page on this website: http://terrythompson.org/eternity. Start 2019 right by making it the year you turn your life over to the Lord and begin growing in your understanding of His best for you.

If you are just not sure of where you stand with God and have doubts about your eternal destiny, you need to have that absolute assurance in order to live life to its fullest. I invite you to start 2019 by reading the Book of First John (not the Gospel of John, but the short book near the end of your Bible). Read it several times pausing at each statement that describes the actions and thoughts of those who truly belong to the Lord. Evaluate your life according to those descriptions. If you can’t identify yourself in this reading, your condition is that of the previous paragraph.

If you are convinced of your salvation according to First John, the best resolution you can make for 2019 may be to devote more time to Bible reading and prayer. Nothing conditions you spiritually more than time spent with Him in reading His Word and communicating with Him. I encourage you to read the entire Bible through in 2019. It only requires about three or four chapters a day. There are several Apps that help and motivate you to do this. Just search the App Store for “read the Bible in a year” and choose one you like. Yes, it takes some extra time each day, but anything worthwhile has to be given priority over something less important.

It is obvious that consistent church attendance in America has been trending downward in recent years. Yet, the Bible is very clear that Jesus established the church and works through it to relate to His people and minister to others. The church is His stated strategy for changing the world. Christians worshiping, praying, fellowshipping, and ministering together within the church is the only way to experience the fullness of what God desires to give us. The Bible teaches that each of us is given special capabilities to be used for Christ particularly through the church. Recommit yourself to serving in your church in 2019.

Finally, even if you are comfortable in your level of spiritual maturity, you spend ample time with the Lord daily, and you are active in church, God will always desire a more abundant life for you and to prepare you even more for eternity with Him. Invite Him to delve more deeply into your life in 2019 showing you little pockets of needed improvement and refining. Let Him cleanse you even more thoroughly for greater works in His kingdom. Allow Him to reveal shortcomings you may not even be aware of, but that need to be confessed and corrected.

There are many ways to improve your life through resolutions in 2019. But, the resolution to renew your life spiritually will improve everything.

Please “like” and “share” this post to wish many others a more abundant life in 2019.

 

 

The Christmas Star of the Magi: What Was It?

Three wisemans and the star of Bethlehem

The Christmas star, or Star of Bethlehem, that drew the Magi, or Wise Men, to the birthplace of Jesus has long been debated. Was the star created just for that event? Was it a natural celestial occurrence? Did it really even happen? Recent advances in knowledge of the stars and planets have given us a new outlook on this topic. Here’s what modern astronomers are saying about this elusive star.

Unfortunately, songs, poems, paintings, and other sources of tradition have almost made a mockery of many truths of the Bible. Traditions have often embellished or even replaced the Holy Scriptures. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the story of the three wise men who followed a star to Jerusalem and ultimately to Bethlehem to find the newborn Jesus. I italicized those three words, because they are likely untrue and certainly are not in the Bible. Although the song says, “We three kings…,” The Bible simply uses a plural noun which only means there were more than one, but there could have been a a caravan of many. And, they were not likely kings, but rather magi, or astronomers/astrologers. Some translations call them wise men. They didn’t likely “follow” a star, but rather set out on their journey after observing a celestial phenomenon, probably a conjugation of the planets Venus and Jupiter. Finally, Jesus was not likely a “newborn,” but rather a toddler by the time they reached his birthplace. Therefore, those Christmas cards showing the baby Jesus in a barn under a star surrounded by shepherds, wise men, and animals are all messed up. Let’s look specifically at the star.

Most historians and biblical scholars believe these magi were from a legendary line of students and interpreters of the stars and planets. They lived in ancient Chaldea of which Babylon was the dominant city. This is now the general region of Iraq. The pre-first-century Magi would have been familiar with the prophesied Messiah being anticipated by the Jews. Many Jews remained in and around Babylon after Babylonia conquered Judah and took the entire nation captive 400 years prior. Also, Daniel of the Bible, a Jew, was appointed leader of the Babylonian Magi during the Jewish exile and, no doubt, taught them about the future Messiah and even the approximate time and location of His coming. So, the Magi also anticipated the Messiah, a king, knew his birth was imminent, and that He would be born in Judea.

The Magi would have been familiar with the fact that the planets Venus and Jupiter appeared to almost align with each other every year or so. These were and are the brightest objects in the night sky besides the moon and commanded major interest. In that day, Jupiter was known as the king of planets, and Venus was called the mother of planets. Astronomy software can now track the movement of planets infinitely back in time. Joe Rao, astronomer at the New York Hayden Planetarium, wrote that on August 12 of 3 BC, a Venus-Jupiter conjugation was prominent in the eastern sky of the Chaldea region. This brought each of the two planets virtually in line with each other to form the brightest light in the night sky. They were probably never more closely aligned than this particular year in history. It would have gotten the Magi’s attention. The Magi likely assumed this uniting of the “king” planet and the “mother” planet signaled the birth of the Messiah king. They didn’t need to “follow” the heavenly sign, knowing they would find the child in Judea. They journeyed to the Judea capital of Jerusalem.

Think about this. For this closest alignment in history of these two planets to have happened at precisely this time by natural movement of the planets, God had to have set up the exact movement sequence during the creation of the universe!

Once the Magi were in Jerusalem, Herod, king of Judea, heard they were looking for the future king of the Jews. Herod’s religious leaders shared that the Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem. When the magi headed to Bethlehem, the planet Jupiter was moving south in the night sky. According to computer analysis, this was about a year after the first sign. Jupiter moved into the constellation, Leo, which was considered a symbol of power. Planets occasionally appear to stop moving temporarily in what is termed “retrograde” as they seem to reverse course from earth’s perspective. This probably happened with Jupiter which is referenced in the Book of Matthew as having “stood over the place where the child was.” According to historical analyses of people and events during that time, most historians believe this visit by the Magi was a year or more after the actual birth of Jesus.

Of course, this is all theory, albeit highly researched theory and very plausible. All we know for absolutely certain is that prominent men from far away were alerted about Jesus’ birth by a star-like body in the sky. It prodded them to pay homage to the child that would usher in the greatest change in the history of mankind. He would have the most powerful impact on human destiny of anyone before or after His life on earth. He deserves at least the same level of attention from us that He got from the Magi. But, thankfully, you don’t have to travel for hundreds of miles and for weeks over desert and mountains to find Him. He is as near as your humble prayer, and the Bible is your Christmas star. How could God make it any easier to respond to Him?

By the way, the next conjugation of Venus and Jupiter will be visible in America on January 22, 2019, just a few weeks away. But, it won’t be as closely aligned as it was 2021 years ago.

I urge you to read Matthew, chapter two, and Luke, chapter two, this Christmas season. Do this not while following a sermon at church or on TV, but in private just between you and the Lord. Let Him speak to you through the magnificent story of His arrival that we celebrate this week. Merry Christmas!

Seeking a Return to Goodness

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This December, the passing of President George H. W. Bush seems to have created even more nation-wide nostalgia than what is normally experienced through Hallmark movies. Does America’s infatuation with icons of the past, old movies, and cheesy Hallmark TV shows reflect our yearning for a kinder, gentler country? I believe it does, and here’s why.

My wife, Linda, and I were in Washington, DC, by coincidence when the body of former President Bush was lying in state in the Capitol rotunda. We are volunteers for the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) and were invited by that organization to lobby Congress for one of their senior adult legislative initiatives. We arrived four hours prior to a working dinner and decided to pay our respects to the president and war hero we admired greatly. After standing in line for a cold hour, we learned the wait would be over three-and-a-half hours, so we had to depart to be on time for the dinner. Why were thousands of people from all over the country braving the frigid temperatures for up to four hours to spend a couple of minutes with a former president’s remains in a closed casket? Mostly because they needed to reconnect with the more peaceful, more civil, and simpler times when America was, well, just better.

People are also turning to more traditional entertainment from the past. Apparently, I’m not the only one who rejects the tripe that passes for TV series and reality shows opting instead for network classic movies. Every year, more people tune into the TCM network, and the average age of the movie fans is getting younger. Again, the evidence is that our society is yearning for the values of days gone by.

But, the most telling display of America’s desire for traditional morals and family has to be the Hallmark Christmas movie craze. Why else would millions of people opt for a poorly written, low-budget movie with amateur actors in totally predictable plots. It’s always about someone from the big city who goes to a small town and falls in love with someone who already has a love interest. The screen writers just change the names and venues. Yet, people are driven to these movies because of the void in their hearts that longs for the authenticity, simplicity, and unconditional love characterized by the stories.

Americans in general want to return to a time of goodness. Maybe it should be described as a time of godliness. We see our nation moving in a direction contrary to our ideology and we find consolation in retreating to more meaningful times. Realistically, those times were not as good as our memories of them, but they were heavenly compared to today’s social climate. So, how can we reverse the present political and societal mess and return to better times? Societies only change as individuals change, and we can only change one individual–ourselves. To borrow a concept of Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker, we can draw a circle around ourselves and change everyone in that circle.

I am very concerned about the scarcity of civility, respect, love for others, and personal sacrifice that characterizes America today. There is little I can do about it other than make sure I’m not contributing to it. So, with God’s help, I’m going to continue striving to be more like George H. W. Bush and the people of classical and Hallmark movies. I hope you will, too.

 

Will There Be a Third President Bush?

Bush41

With the passing of one of America’s most loved presidents, George H. W. Bush, the question lingers: will there ever be another Bush in the White House? Since Jeb dropped out of the campaign for a potential trifecta in February, 2016, most pundits see no such Bush in the wings. However, in a recent interview, George H. W. said he would love to see one of his grandchildren become president. Take a quick look at his grandchildren and see whether you think one of them might someday sit in the Oval Office.

George W. Bush’s daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, now 37, has pursued a career in the nonprofit sector. She co-founded the leadership development organization, Global Health Corps, in 2008, which operates in Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia, in addition to several cities stateside. In October 2018, Barbara wed screenwriter Craig Coyne.

George W. Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, also 37, chose a career in journalism. She’s currently a co-host for The Today Show, a correspondent for NBC News, and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. Jenna married Henry Hager, who worked in the Department of Commerce (and was an assistant in George W. Bush’s White House before that) in 2008. The couple have two daughters together, Mila and Poppy.

Jeb Bush’s son, George Prescott Bush, 42, has officially entered the political arena. In 2014, he was elected Texas Land Commissioner, and was recently re-elected for his second term. With his wife, former law school classmate Amanda Williams, he has two young sons, Prescott and John.

Jeb Bush’s daughter, Noelle Bush, 41, has struggled to find her footing. Her father has been candid about her ongoing issues with drug abuse.

Jeb Bush’s son, John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, Jr., 34, currently runs a real estate firm, Bush Realty, LLC, and serves as a Managing Partner of Jeb Bush & Associates, LLC, which provides business consulting services. During his father’s 2015 presidential primary run, Jeb Jr. served as a surrogate for the candidate on the campaign trail. With his wife, Sandra, he’s currently raising two young children, Georgia and Vivian.

Neil Bush’s daughter, Lauren Bush Lauren, 34, founded the nonprofit FEED in 2007, an organization that raises money to fight hunger by selling socially and environmentally sustainable products. With her husband David Lauren, son of designer Ralph Lauren, she has two children, Max Walker and James.

Neil Bush’s son, Pierce Bush, 32, is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the organization’s Dallas outpost. He married Sarahbeth Melton in March of 2018.

Neil Bush’s daughter, Ashley Bush, 29, chose to pursue a career in the film industry. She’s produced, directed, and written numerous shorts. In December 2017, Ashley became engagement to fellow filmmaker Julian LeFevre.

Marvin Bush’s adopted daughter, Marshall Lloyd Bush, 32, worked on George W. Bush’s re-election campaign during school breaks in 2004. She married former Naval officer (and fellow University of Virginia alumni) Nick Rossi in 2015.

Marvin Bush’s adopted son, Charles Walker Bush, 28, has served in the Marine Corps.

Dorothy Bush’s son, Sam LeBlond, 34, has worked as a beer distributor in the D.C. area, among other jobs. He wed Lee Bobbitt, a legislative assistant in the Senate, in 2016.

Dorothy Bush’s daughter, Nancy Ellis “Ellie” LeBlond Sosa, 32, works for a Boston-based healthcare organization, and is a physical trainer in her spare time. She married Nick Sosa in 2014.

Dorothy Bush’s son, Robert Koch, 25, has kept a low profile. He is single.

Dorothy Bush’s daughter, Georgia Grace “Gigi” Koch, 22, is currently in college at the University of Southern California. She spent the summer of 2017 interning for the House Majority Whip—a clue that she might want to work in politics. She is single.

Of 14 grandchildren, none seems to be particularly interested in politics with the exception of George Prescott Bush, possibly Jeb Bush, Jr., and maybe Gigi Koch. George H. W. said in the aforementioned interview that his desire to have a grandchild as president wasn’t about the position, but rather about serving others. Several grandchildren are certainly doing that, but a Bush 46+ doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. Although anything can happen in presidential politics as we saw in 2016. Watch the Bushes!

Note: Some material from this post was sourced from www.townandcountrymag.com.

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