Marines.Together We Served

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The War on Christians

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
26 December 2016

The War on Christians

Please bear with me on this article. I have wrestled over writing on this particular topic for the simple reason that it can easily be misunderstood and misconstrued.  

What I am about to present is not new. In fact, it is an old story dating back to the persecution of Jews (Hebrews) several thousand years ago. Many Christians would like to believe such persecution of believers is only occurring in isolated areas around the world, but certainly not here in America! The truth is Christians are an ever-growing target for all sorts of groups.

The Islamic faith makes no bones about being at war with Christians, as well as their intent to wipe out all Jews and Christians. While in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf on military assignment, I decided to request a visit with a Muslim cleric (an Imam) in order to hear about their beliefs first hand. We discussed many things during the hour or so that we met. The cleric gave me several books on Islam, which included a copy of the Koran in English.

Later, when I had time to study the Koran without interruption, I discovered that there was a very troubling verse in the first Surah. These seven verses are to be memorized by every Muslim, and is recited during the calls to prayer. Verses 6&7 reads, “Guide us to the Straight Path; the Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace (those who follow the Prophet Mohammed), not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).” This was taken from, The Noble Qur’an, an English translation of the meanings and commentary. I have three different copies of the Koran, so to be fair, the only version that pinpoints Jews and Christians in the footnotes from the seventh verse is the version the Imam gave to me. Muslims believe that they are to conquer the world for Islam. Make no mistake: This is their goal.

Another group that is targeting Christians is atheists. To be clear, atheists are often defined as, “People who do not believe in God.” This is incorrect. Atheists don’t believe in God (or any god) because a true atheist believes there is no God to believe in. The word atheist is a Greek word literally meaning: “No God.” These folks are organized and are working very hard to disrupt any expression of the Christian faith, specifically, so as to cause people to see Christians as hateful, intolerant, bigoted, and a host of other negative descriptions in an attempt to discredit those who would follow Jesus. Much damage has been done by atheists in the academic, political, and medical fields. There are attempts, some successful, in removing any reference to Christ or the Christian faith in the founding of America and the subsequent emergence of the United States from school books and text books. In the medical field, the value of human life has been assaulted – particularly the unborn. Abortion is the tragic outcome of reducing humans to animals, instead of recognizing that each one of us is the handiwork of God.

And a third group that is at war with Christians are those who typically look for a scapegoat to blame for the ills of a nation or the world. The finger is frequently pointed at Christians as the culprits for whatever ills are being experienced in a country or across the globe. This was a common approach by the Romans in their quest to rid the Roman Empire of Christians and their witness for Jesus. The Emperor, Nero, had Rome burned, and then placed the blame on Christians, who were rounded up and thrown in the arenas for sport. Today, you can hear on the news how Christians are being blamed for the troubles America is having with Islamic terrorists. “If only Christians wouldn’t be so exclusionary,” these accusers say, “then we could all get along with Muslims, and they would like us.” If only that were true! The fault for the recent attacks by Muslims across Europe and here in the United States is laid at the feet of Christians. This is simply a “Roman Redux.”

So, here’s my antidote for all this Christian blaming. First, stop being so surprised when you’re attacked for your faith in Jesus. Did Jesus not say this would happen? Yes, of course he did. Second, be open about your faith in Jesus. Nothing is more powerful than a solid reason for your faith. The church in America became rather timid following World War II. There was a concerted onslaught against our secular and religious beliefs from the Mainstream Media, Hollywood, and a Democrat Party that has clearly lost its way. I mentioned a few months ago why I could not vote for Hillary Clinton or any Democrat. My differences of belief with Democrat positions and policy notwithstanding, I was appalled to witness the Democrat National Convention in 2014 vote to exclude God, or any reference to God, from their Platform. I watched this travesty in fascination and horror, as thousands of Democrat delegates, by voice vote, let it be known that God was not to be included in any of their doings.

Speak of your love for Jesus up with a holy boldness, telling others how much Jesus loves them, and what Jesus has done in your life. After all, you are God’s messenger.

The war on Christians will last until Jesus comes back. As a follower of my Savior, I am instructed from his Word, the Bible, to use the weapons that are spiritual in fighting back in this war. Those spiritual weapons are Prayer and the Word. Train hard, Christian!

Monday, December 19, 2016

You Should Celebrate Christmas

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
19 December 2016

You Should Celebrate Christmas

I suspect you are asking yourself the question, challenging my titled statement above, “Why should I celebrate Christmas?”

Granted there are innumerable reasons why some folks choose not to celebrate Christmas. I will list a few to which you may add many more. “I don’t believe in Santa Claus or Jesus.” “It has become too commercialized.” “Christmas is just the Christian religion’s attempt to have a religious holiday to counter the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia with its riotousness and orgiastic behavior.”  And then there are those grumpy, curmudgeonly, Scroogelike characters who respond to a cheerful greeting of Merry Christmas with “Bah! Humbug!” However, that is not the focus of this article. Instead, this article is about why you should celebrate Christmas.

Man is religious by nature. What I mean by that is human beings function in such a way that they must and will find something or someone to worship; to focus their love and attention upon. We really can’t help it. Our first objects of love and affection are our mothers and fathers. Because they shower us with nurturing and care we freely show them our pleasure with smiles, cooing, and a constant display of happiness. As growing children, we still want and need the attention of parents and their involvement in our lives. Parents who are loving and compassionate do more to open the eyes of their children to the possibility of accepting the belief in God than anything else. If that element is missing, the child will then search for something else to focus on. That can be a school teacher, a coach, a youth pastor, belonging to a gang, or, worst of all, becoming self-absorbed. There is no more pathetic individual than a person who becomes narcissistic. Other people are of no importance to this person. This person worships themselves above all else.

Man adheres to the principle of fairness. This value alone emerges practically from the moment we emerge from our mother’s womb. We don’t like being thrust into this new environment. I’d rather be back in my close, warm cocoon. And so it goes when they are hungry, or need a diaper change, or want to sleep, etc. Crying is their way of telling parents that they are falling down on the job. It’s not fair the way they’re being treated. Then comes the time they realize a sibling may get preferential treatment. When our girls were small, they would complain that the other one got a bigger slice of cake. I fixed that problem by having the older one cut two pieces of cake. Then the younger one got to pick which piece she wanted. It was hilarious watching them measure out the slices to make sure one didn’t get one crumb more than the other. Throughout life we lean strongly toward this issue of fairness.

Man yearns for justice. Once again, this is something we humans long for. Life is so full of uncertainty and evil doing that deep within our soul there is the anguished cry demanding justice for the wrongs that have been done. We create more and more laws to push back against those who would disrupt our lives with bad behavior. In an attempt at fairness for everyone, we require those who do bad things to be held accountable. Whether it’s being sent to our room, or being sent to the “Big House”, some action is required to satisfy the need for justice. Even with a death penalty in place and the wrong-doer is executed, the egregiousness of their action is not satisfied even with their death. Ask any family who has had a loved one murdered, or violently assaulted. To assuage this need for justice, Texas has had a law on the books for a long time. It’s called the “He needed killing” law. It was a defense for those who took the life of someone doing severe harm to another.

At this point you may be wondering what all this has to do with Christmas. Well, everything!

The focus and purpose of Christmas is God responding to these three basic concerns of man: 1) We will worship someone or something, 2) We demand fairness, and 3) We cry out for justice.

It is God who knows we have fallen well short of our potential as being created in his image and likeness. Sin has marred and distorted our perception of worship, fairness and justice.

It is this next part that staggers my thinking. God chose to correct this problem by becoming a man just like us, living amongst us, exposing himself to the dangers and sinful thoughts and actions of men. Any cursory reading of Jesus’ life on earth in the Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will clearly demonstrate that Jesus was no mere mortal. As God’s son, he worshipped the only person or thing worthy of such a reverence. As God’s son, he endured the unfairness of life as meted out by evil men, including his death on a cross. And as God’s son, he promised there would be a day of reckoning when all wrongs would be made right. I don’t know how that will be done, but God says he’ll do it, and that’s good enough for me.

So regardless of arguments against celebrating Christmas, this much I know. God loves you and me. He sent his son into the world to pay the price for our sins and man’s fallen condition. And he’s promised us that by placing our faith and trust in his, we will live forever with him forever, far removed from what we have experienced in this world.

So, I say, “Thank you, God, for sending us your Son!” This is why you should celebrate. This is why it is always a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

One More Time

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
12 December 2016

One More Time

Well, the events following the presidential election last month come as no surprise. In fact, I mentioned in one of my articles leading up to the election that there would be a call from somewhere in the political hallways of Congress to repeal the Constitution’s establishment of the Electoral College vote in favor of the more popular “Popular Vote.”

Sure enough, the dust hadn’t even settled from the November 7th ballot counting and already members of Congress were squawking about the unfairness of the election. A political commentary from CNBC trumpets, “Democrats and Left Wing activists are loudly calling to repeal the Electoral College.” The argument that has been put forth goes something like this: Hillary has won the Popular Vote by two-and-a-half million votes over Donald Trump. Therefore, she should be the next president. This same approach was touted by Al Gore in his failed bid for the White House in 2000, garnering more Popular Votes than George W. Bush.

The U.S. Presidential Election has never been a Popular Vote at any time in our 240-year history. Hopefully it never will be. The Founding Fathers intentionally steered our new republic away from popularity voting. High school class presidents were almost entirely about the popularity of the individual running for office. Our Founding Fathers thought this to be a bad formula for electing the president of our country.

The question is still asked, “Why do we have the Electoral College?” The answer comes from a clear understanding of the Constitution.The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”

In a rather clever word picture attempting to show how the Popular Vote works, it is likened to two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. In a Popular Vote (used in a Direct Democracy) the wolves win every time. Whereas in an Electoral College system (used in a Representative Republic) the vote of the lamb is intended to offset the majority vote (50.1%) by leveraging their vote and the vote of the wolves through a representative which is designed to balance out the direct power of majority rule.

If the two candidates running for president had been solely interested in garnering the highest numbers in the Popular Vote, then they would have spent their time in densely populated areas, like Chicago, New York, City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and so on. Folks in Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, and generally throughout “fly-over country” would have little to no influence on the outcome of an election. The reason Hillary Clinton has been ahead in the Popular Vote by a couple of million votes is because she won the five boroughs that make up New York City. The boroughs are: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island (A borough is an incorporated municipality smaller than a city). The sheer numbers of people living in this cramped and congested area ballooned her Popular Vote numbers past Trump, giving her the clear edge in the overall Popular Vote.

But consider this: Hillary won the District of Columbia and only 20 of the 50 states. Now, furthermore, if you want to break this down into who won more counties, then the comparison between Hillary and “The Donald” becomes very clear. There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Donald Trump won 3,084 counties. Hillary Clinton won 57 counties. Did you get that?

Here is why the Electoral College is critical to our nation’s political system. If you believe that every person’s vote should count, then the Electoral College system established in the Constitution deserves to be vigorously defended against those who would throw it out, only to be replaced by the Popular Vote.

For instance: in Loving County, Texas, the population is 82. That’s right! A mere eighty-two people. In Los Angeles County, California, the population is 9.8 million. Each county has an equal vote.

Do you see why Hillary with 20 states and 57 counties nationwide has won the Popular Vote? She managed to succeed in the most heavily populated areas of urban America.

When you cast a vote for your choice of president, you are actually voting for an elector, a representative, to vote on your behalf. “There were no political parties when the Constitution was written. They soon developed, and the party organizations in each state began proposing a slate, or list, of electors who were pledged to vote for their party's nominee. Voters no longer choose individual electors. Voters choose between party slates. Political parties want winner-take-all elections for electors. This means that the slate that receives the most popular votes wins all the state's electoral votes. All the states except Maine use this winner-take-all system today.”

The Electoral College has a total of 538 electors, consisting of the number of delegates to Congress from each state. Each member of the House of Representatives, and each states’ two Senators cast a vote. The first presidential candidate to reach or surpass 270 electoral votes is the new president-elect.

Next time you hear someone complain that their vote doesn’t really count, you can show them that it really does count. In the 2000 election, George Bush won 271 electoral votes, to Al Gore’s 267. That means a few votes in a couple of counties may well have made the difference.

The Founding Fathers were brilliant in developing this never-before election system. It must be protected if the United States is to remain the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.

God Bless America!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Civil War Christmas

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
5 December 2016

A Civil War Christmas

The American Civil War, despite its savagery and enormous loss of life, still was the cause for many changes to our nation, which has been largely forgotten in the historical telling.

The celebration of Christmas during wartime is always interesting, and particularly so during horrific encounters between the Union and Confederate forces during this nineteenth century four-year societal carnage.

The thought that first comes to mind is: Christmas is a time of celebration, a reminder of God’s intervention in the world of man to bring peace with God through Jesus, to give and receive gifts and cards with family and friends alike, and a time to gather with family around a table loaded with sumptuous quantities of food and conversation. Yet, we’re engaged in a war of attrition, killing off our countrymen, and even family members, at a frightening pace. How could Christmas be enjoyed in the midst of this hellish war?

As it turns out, we humans have an amazing adaptability, especially during the most traumatic and stressful of times.

Christmas was a well-established special time of the year in the United States leading up to the start of the Civil War. However, the war itself would cause many to reflect on its continued recognition and enjoyment. Both Northerners and Southerners made the most of this special day throughout the war, even though battles and military maneuvers continued unabated. In 1870, five years after the war ended, then President Ulysses S. Grant made it official that Christmas would henceforth be a national holiday, in part in an attempt to further heal the rift that still festered between North and South.

Ever wonder how the image of a jolly fat man with rosy red cheeks, an expansive girth, and a bright red suit of clothes came about? Once again, the Civil War takes center stage. One Thomas Nast, an editorial cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, was asked by the editor, Fletcher Harper, to make a drawing for the Christmas edition which hit the streets January 3, 1863. Nast had a complete mental block as to how to go about fulfilling his assignment. He spent an evening with his school teacher sister who was visiting him for Christmas, where they reminisced about the Santa character, known as Pelznikel from their native Germany. Later that evening Nast had the inspiration for the cover for the paper. Santa was center stage in the drawing, visiting soldiers in the field, handing them presents. This began the evolution of the Santa character to what we have today.

Tom Nast did something a bit different for the Christmas edition of Harper’s Weekly in 1864. The end of the war was coming to a close, with the North victorious after the long and bloody conflict. The title of the article was, “The Union Christmas Dinner.” The drawing showed an openhearted President Lincoln extending his arms to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, welcoming them back into the fold of the United States.

Another Civil War addition to Christmas had to do primarily with decorating the Christmas tree. Hanging items on the tree was nothing new, for this had been done for many years. However, due to shortages, and lack of decorative items due to the demands of wartime, creativity took over as men in their camps would hang such items as were available. This even included hardtack (what sailors called a ship biscuit), a tough, durable, saltless biscuit that had a nearly endless shelf life. Often, soldiers would receive trinkets or other items from home which would end up on their unit’s Christmas tree. The men were encouraged to add items to the tree that were more colorful, in hopes of brightening the spirits of the men in an otherwise dreary and drab setting.

One soldier wrote his thoughts on Christmas Eve in a lengthy poem, entitled, “Christmas Night of ‘62”. William Gordon McCabe, a Confederate, was in a melancholy mood, clearly wishing for a return to hearth and home. Did he survive the war and return home? I don’t know. But you can sense his yearning, as all who wear the uniform of our country so yearn when far away from home during Christmas.

“My thoughts go wandering to and fro,

vibrating ‘twixt the Now and Then;

I see the low-browed home again,

the old hall wreathed in mistletoe.

“And fairly from the far-off years

comes borne the laughter faint and low,

the voices of the Long Ago!

My eyes are wet with tender tears.

“I feel again the mother kiss,

I see again the glad surprise

that lighted up the tranquil eyes

and brimmed them o’re with tears of bliss.

“As, rushing from the old hall-door,

she fondly clasped her wayward boy –

Her face all radiant with joy

she felt to see him home once more.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why I Go to Church

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
28 November 2016

Why I Go to Church

Today’s society is not a church-going crowd. At least it seems that way to me.

Growing up in the 50s, going to church on Sunday mornings was an activity many Americans engaged in. It was expected, even required in some instances. Some businesses asked you what church you attended as part of the employment evaluation. School teachers were likewise expected to attend church if they were going to work in the school system teaching young Americans.

My mother and father grew up attending a little Methodist church in their home town of Marshall, Texas. After they married in 1933, they moved to New York City. From what I can gather, church quickly fell by the wayside. Later, after my mother married my step father, they spoke often of attending church. So off we’d go on a Sunday morning to fulfill some societal expectation, more than likely. We’d attend for two or three weeks, then begin to miss going until we stopped altogether. My brother, sister and I were always glad to see these church sprees end.

This was also a time in our nation when divorce was still rare, and one did not discuss such a topic in polite society. In fact, some families did not allow their children to play with me because I was from a divorced family. It was not uncommon to have a teacher ask why my last name was different from my parents’. Like I said, it was a different time.

In any event, I never got into the habit of attending church. In fact, I was 24 years old when I surrendered my life to Jesus. Only then did I realize that I needed to attend church.

If you will indulge me, I will list, in no specific order, some of the reasons I find attending church not only important, but essential in my life.

1.   I am a traveler heading for Heaven. As an old hymn says, “I’m just a
poor, wayfaring stranger.” Another says, “This world is not my home.” As a follower of Jesus, I know there’s a better place waiting in Heaven. But as long as I’m here on planet Earth, I need to be surrounded and embraced, literally, by others who are on this pilgrim road as well. The people in my church are familiar to me. I was their pastor for sixteen years. My wife and I love these folks, and we are loved by them in return. This is why when I retired from the pastoral ministry a few years ago, Isaura and I wanted to continue attending there, with the proviso that the new pastor was comfortable having the previous guy hanging around.

2.   I need encouragement and refreshing. Living for Jesus is fraught with
challenges regardless of where you live on this celestial ball. Coming together with others who face life’s daily challenges allows us to draw strength from one another, realizing we are not alone in the journey. As we grow in the Spirit, we lift each other up through prayer, and sharing verses of Scripture, and a thoughtful and timely word of encouragement. These weekly encounters in a designated place, such as the church, opens up opportunities to gather together around the table to share a meal, such as a church pot luck; or lunch at a nearby restaurant; or having folks over for a home-cooked meal. After all, in Christ, we are all brothers and sisters.

3.   I need the blessing of worship. This begins for me each Sunday
by singing the old hymns. After finishing seminary, I was serving as youth pastor at a church in San Jose. Our daughter, Laura, was about three at that time when one of the men in the church asked her, “What does your daddy do?” Laura spoke right up, saying, “My daddy wears a suit, and sings loud.” That about summed it up! And it hasn’t changed. Singing, particularly the old hymns of the faith, is nourishment to my soul, and gives life to my bones. I can never get enough of it. I serve in the church on the worship team in both morning services. We have a great time together.

4.   I need the challenge from God’s Word. I know one thing for sure:
Without the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, I would surely shrivel up and die spiritually speaking. Through pastors who faithfully proclaim God’s Word I am invigorated because the Bible rings true in my soul, and I must align my life in accordance with that word of instruction. At times, I am under the conviction of God’s spirit, pointing out areas in my life that need his correction. Other times, I’m simply enjoying God’s Word. I recount the many blessings I have enjoyed from his gracious hand. Still other times, I am greatly encouraged by standing on the promises of God.

5.   I need the life of the church. I’m not talking about a building. I’m
referring to the people who are God’s church. Several times during the week we have the opportunity to come together in fellowship. I’m comfortable coming into the church because I am a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace. And I get to be with other sinners who have experienced his amazing grace as well. I am far from perfect, and so are we all. That’s why I need to be with others who know Jesus. He’s the one who is perfect, and he leads imperfect people to Glory.

          Believe me when I tell you this: You want me to be regularly attending church. Why do I say this? Because when I begin to ignore my walk with Jesus, my old nature has a way of worming its way back into my life. Those things that plagued me before I accepted Christ have a sneaky way of reappearing, such as impatience, a short temper, selfishness, a foul mouth, and various and sundry sinful behaviors that need to always be under the blood of Jesus. If I slip in my walk with the Master, (what used to be called, “backsliding”) then I am not someone you would want to be around.

          This is why at Advent Season, I am so glad Jesus came some 2000 years ago. He came to save me from the ravages of sin by dying on the cross. I will serve him because he loves me, and I love him. He is the Head of the church, and that’s where I belong!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Always Thankful

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
21 November 2016

Always Thankful

Thankfulness is a decision of the heart. It is an attitude that you decide to embrace in the face of all that life throws at you. This is one of the reasons why I have always appreciated this passage from the Bible which says, “In everything, give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I will admit that this passage threw me for a loop in my early days as a Christian. I was twenty-four, knowing little about the Bible or Jesus or anything else pertaining to living a life for God. Thankfulness was one of the first sensations I experienced the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior. As a sergeant in the Marine Corps I was not exactly a boy scout. I didn’t grow up attending church except on rare occasions with the family. And the church we attended at those infrequent times wasn’t even Christian.

The thankfulness that I experienced was harbored deep in the soul as I began to fully realize how much God in Christ was willing to sacrifice so that I could be free from the penalty of sin. Jesus paid that price once and for all – and I accepted his forgiveness with my entire being. The dark night of the soul that had been nipping at my heels for far too long was now over. Thankfulness blossomed in me like the burst of sunshine at dawn.

It is not my intent to portray myself as some sort of super holy person. I am not that at all. In fact, I am flawed, walking with feet of clay. Knowing my personal weakness could be quite damaging to my state of being were it not for the fact that God’s promises are not contingent upon how successful I am in my walk with Jesus. It is my desire to live for him in all that I say and do, despite the many times when I fall woefully short. He has declared me to be his child; to be an heir of God’s kingdom; and to have an address in heaven waiting for me.

This may sound to some like so much “pie in the sky,” but I assure you, based again on God’s Word, that such a reality for those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior is a promise which God says is true.

Here’s what always gets to me and why I am thankful in all things. If God is in fact God of the universe and everything that exists, then his power is beyond incredible. It could only be described as being beyond our finite understanding of what we know about this time-and-space stage we live upon for such an oh-so-brief moment in eternity.

So, I boil this down to my life and what takes place each and every day. As both good and bad come my way I can easily find myself worked up over bad situations and equally bad people, seething over circumstances and problems I have no control over. Truth be told, it’s better that I would not have control over such circumstances for fear I would choose to handle them in a way that might make things even worse. You see, if God is as big as I believe he is, and as powerful as I’ve mentioned earlier, then it only makes sense that he can take care of any trouble in my life. If I don’t believe this about God, then I have, in essence, shrunk God down to the size of a lesser god, or a superman, if you will. Such a personage can still do many great things, appearing to be the answer to our problems, but they yet lack the mantle of God who is All-knowing, All-powerful, and Everywhere at once.

It is in these same scriptures that we are told to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and don’t lean on your own understanding.” I may think I’m really smart, and according to the way the world measures being smart, I guess I would be considered pretty smart. With a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctorate degree most folks assume I’m smart. But, compared to what? In my 68 years, I have spent well over twenty years earning an education. The education I have received is no small matter, and I am very thankful for the privilege. But even the Bible warns against too much education: “Much study wearies the body.” How true this is! But the greater concern is to not be caught up in our own academic achievements. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. When it comes to my need to trust God, I am cautioned not to rely on my own understanding. Why? Because I may well have the wrong picture of who God really is. I certainly had a distorted view of God growing up. Had it not been for his mercy, I would have continued on through life believing God to be something other than, and therefore lesser than, who he actually is.

So, this Thursday I will gather with family and friends around the table, thankful to God for the multitude of blessings I have received from his gracious hand. But, if I lost it all on Friday, I would still praise him with a thankful heart for one simple reason: He alone is God, and he will always do what is right. I may not think so at the time. But my view of things is skewed, whereas God’s view is perfect. But even as Job suffered much, he spoke these words: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”

God may yet lead me into situations I do not understand, but with my trust fully in him, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Regardless of what happens, I will either still be here on earth, or I will be in heaven. And, it’s God’s decision where and when my time on earth ends, and my new residence in Glory begins!

I am always thankful every day for God’s promises.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Reflections on the Election

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
14 November 2016

Reflections on the Election

Well, now! This is a fine kettle of fish we find ourselves in. The presidential election is over and the winner will assume the mantle of President of the United States in about 70 days. The election process, as outlined in the Constitution, still works just fine whether or not your choice of candidate won.

As is the case in all elections, not everyone is happy with the outcome. Expectations run high, hoping your candidate wins. But let’s face it: about fifty percent of the folks who vote are going to be disappointed with the outcome, and rightly so. But good for you for engaging in this wonderful process of voting. Remember – four years from now you will have the opportunity to vote again for the highest office in the land. That’s what’s so beautiful about our American Republic.

And this is where I want to take this article. Far too many Americans are under the mistaken impression that the United States of America is a democracy. It is not. It is a republic. You may be asking, “What’s the difference?” Glad you asked!

A nation working in a clear democracy operates on the basis of a simple majority (50.1%) to elect candidates or enact legislation. In the history of the world such a system has never succeeded for long. Our Founding Fathers knew this which is why they set up a different process to protect America from the ravages of majority rule. You see, majority rule is only good if you are the one in the majority.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, by definition, a democracy is “a government by the people; especially: rule of the majority.”

Now, in contrast, what is a republic form of government? Once again, Webster’s Dictionary tells us that a republic is “a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than a king or queen.”

Just as the Continental Congress was wrapping up its efforts at establishing a new form of government for the United States in the late 1780s, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a woman asking what sort of government was decided upon. In his pithy, yet direct manner, Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

Therein lies the rub. The success or failure of this new government would not rest on the elected leaders or politicians. Instead, it would reside squarely on the shoulders of the American people. A republic is made up of folks who vote to elect their representatives. Ever notice the words in the Pledge of Allegiance? “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands . . .” Did you see that? To the republic?

Now this is where the Electoral College comes in. What is the Electoral College anyway? Just as many Americans do not know that we are a republic, and not a democracy, a frighteningly greater number seem to have little or no knowledge of the purpose and function of the Electoral College. Every election cycle I will hear people call for the elimination of the Electoral College. This would be disastrous to America. It is the sole safe-guard that the Founding Fathers inserted into the Constitution so that every person’s vote would count.

The History Channel reported on the Electoral College, describing it this way: “The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between population and the selection of a President. The second as part of the structure of the government that gave extra power to the smaller states.” “The Founding Fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power.”

I would postulate that though a tyrant certainly could coerce voters to support them, the second reason for the Electoral College, at least in my way of thinking, is most important. The smaller states have a very definite say and influence despite the huge populace vote from larger and more heavily populated areas.

The Electoral College is a body of elected officials who choose who will be the President and the Vice President. These elected persons, known as electors, are chosen by election by the people in each state. So, the electors in any state are, at a minimum, three. That would be two senators (each state has two regardless of population size), and each state has at least one representative (serving in Congress). Depending on the size of the population, a state that is much smaller in size may have a large population, such as Florida. Whereas a state of significant geographic size, such as Alaska, has a relatively small population. The number of representatives is determined by the number of people in the state. Wyoming has a ridiculously small number of people compared to California with its two enormously populated cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Yet, the smaller population of Wyoming has more power in voting in the Electoral College because each representative in Wyoming has more people it is representing compared to the number of citizens a representative in California is responsible for.

And this is why every Electoral College vote is valued by the candidates. One of the hits on Hillary Clinton’s campaign was not paying closer attention to the “Rust Belt” where she hardly made any personal appearances. Politicos and pundits are speculating that this is one of the reasons she lost her bid for the White House.

So, in conclusion, I hope you see why the Electoral College looms large in the election process. Otherwise, if we functioned purely on popular vote, the large cities would always dictate the outcome, leaving smaller populated states out in the dark. And candidates would pitch their tents in the large urban areas, and would ignore the rest of America.

Is the Electoral College a perfect system? No. But it was genius on the part of the Founding Fathers, many of who never lived long enough to see it work.

The next time you vote, remember that the Founding Fathers set this election process up so that every American who votes has a say in the outcome.

Is this a great country, or what?!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Congratulations, America!

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
7 November 2016

Congratulations, America!

As you read this we will be most likely in the midst of Election Day Tuesday, November 8, 2016. This means our Constitutional system of government is still intact. No person, or party, or military strongman has taken over the government to establish a dictatorship, a socialistic government, or a junta.
Regardless of how the election results turn out, America is the winner because our nation continues to move along following the political and philosophical dreams of our Founding Fathers. Now, don’t misunderstand. Everything is not all lollypops and roses in our country. I have attempted to highlight many of the problems in the past several weeks. But America has not had to endure the endless cycle of government takeovers, or changes, with new or rewritten constitutions the way many countries have. Last I read, Italy has changed governments (not just leaders within their government, but restructure of how their country is run) 19 different times since the end of Mussolini and World War II. Here in America we have had one government for the past 240 years, with the Constitution being ratified by all 13 original states in 1790, our nation has moved along fairly well by staying within the Constitutional guidelines.
Since the end of World War II we have had 12 presidents. The 13th will either be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And in line of succession, our newest president will be the 45th president of the United States.
If you reflect on this achievement, it is quite spectacular that our nation has been able to stay focused on the importance of the rule of law as laid out in the Constitution. The office of the president is still bigger than any single person. Each elected candidate to this highest office of the land is awed and humbled by the role and responsibilities associated with the position. Some men have been crushed by the sheer weight of the job. Others have managed to keep their heads above water (barely, in some cases), and yet others seem to have been born to the job.
My pastor delivered a sermon this past Sunday, entitled, “Being a Christian in an Election Year.” It was very well done. I am going to share the gist of it, hopefully doing it justice.
The basic premise of the message was this: During an election year, we tend to be, 1. Fearful, 2. Prideful, 3. Selfish, and 4. Divisive. These are not necessarily stand-alone characteristics. Instead, when you allow fear to enter into your thinking, the other three (pride, ego, and division) are nipping at your heels. I would share with you a passage written by the Apostle Paul in which he admonishes us to focus on the right things. Read this section carefully. Philippians 4:6-9:

"Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." [“The Message” Translation]

This is great encouragement because regardless of the election results, a lot of people are going to be unhappy. So then, based upon this Bible passage, if God is seated on his eternal throne, then all is well, and we need not fear anything. However, if God is not on his throne, then he does not exist and we should be full of fear because we are all in a world of hurt.
The naysayers from both political parties foresee the worst-case scenarios should their candidate lose. It’s easy to get caught up in this fearmongering and forget that God is still very much involved in the affairs of the human race.
As for me, I choose to trust in God. He has blessed the United States of America, and I believe he still wants to, in spite of our wandering hearts as a nation.
So, that’s why I say, Congratulations, America! Now watch and see what God has yet to accomplish. Be prepared to be amazed!
God bless America!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Just Do the Job

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
31 October 2016

Just Do the Job

There is no way a Hollywood screenwriter would have been able to come up with the crazy shenanigans “We the People” have been subjected to during this presidential election season. Seriously, have you ever seen the like?

My wife and I are finding that we are experiencing “newscycle fatigue”. I don’t know if this is an actual term or not, but it certainly describes the way the two of us are feeling at this point with eight days yet remaining before election day. If I see one more “Breaking” news banner announcing another woman has come forth accusing Donald Trump of unwanted sexual advances, or a new batch of emails uncovered concerning Hillary Clinton, I may just have to seclude myself in a quiet room with copious amounts of comfort food until November 9.

The Scottish bard, Sir Walter Scott, famously wrote this insightful ditty that most of us have heard at one time or another: “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” Such practiced deception seems to be standard operating procedure throughout our government.

From my private pristine perch in the Central Valley of California I am able to critique the political blathering nabobs who inhabit the far country known as Washington DC. Someone might point out that all the politicians are not bad. And I would agree. However, they have all been infected. The political game is seriously flawed. It is virtually impossible for a right-hearted person to be a genuine re-creation of Mr. Smith from the movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” played by the one-and-only Jimmy Stewart. In one scene, Stewart, as Senator Jefferson Smith, says, “You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading ‘The Land of the Free’ in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t. I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.”

The infection the politicians of every party and stripe experience is known as Power. Because the money collected from Americans flows into the coffers of our nation’s capital, the idea that these taxes can be used for whatever the political establishment desires is heady stuff. The Republicans want this power, and so do the Democrats. Political groups and special interest groups all want to sit at the table with the powerful heads of government. Several phrases come to mind that highlight this condition evidenced inside the DC Beltway. “Live by the Golden Rule! Because he who has the gold, makes the rules.” Then there’s this one, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” You get the idea.

Many a well-intentioned, aspiring politician from small-town USA has been sent to our capital by their constituents with high hopes of making a difference by shaking up the entrenched establishment, and poking a finger in the eye of the good-old-boy system that has been, and continues to be, a cancer within the hallowed halls of the three branches of government: the executive (president), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (Supreme Court).

The political power brokers will quickly explain the rules of the game to any new freshman senators and representatives. It is very simple. It goes something like this: “If you want to get anything done in this town, you will go along with the way we do things. If you fight us, you will find yourself unable to get any legislation passed through Congress that would otherwise benefit your constituents. You will find yourself being a one-term Congressman.”

This corrupt system of running the world’s most powerful and financially muscular nation needs a good housecleaning. And this is yet another reason why I wholly reject Hillary. She is bought and paid for many times over, contributing to this wretched system currently in place. The depth of her corruption is staggering and, according to the FBI, is still under investigation, possibly extending well into the next presidential term. “The Donald”, on the other hand, is a total outsider who, as a businessman has learned how to work within this system, as well as outside of it, in order to build a most impressive real estate empire. However, he fully recognizes the rottenness that is at the core of this DC good-old-boy game. And Trump is not beholding to anyone. In other words, he’s not a politician.

Of all the presidential candidates that I have watched march across the stage of life in their quest to become the President of the United States, Trump is the only one who has the toughness of character and desire to get into DC where he can begin to rock the city to its very core. He has already made a list of conservative constitutionalists who he would select for the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court would once again do its job which is to interpret the law. Congress would do its job by creating law. And the president would do the job of protecting and defending the law.

This is why I want to see Donald Trump become our next president. He understands the job of the president as outlined in the Constitution: “The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress.”

All of the foolishness of this election aside, I believe Donald Trump is the candidate for president who will change Washington DC by first simply fulfilling the duties of the job. Now that would be refreshing!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Up With Life

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
24 October 2016

Up With Life

The election for the next president of the United States is in two weeks. The outcome is being announced already in the mainstream media. They are gushing over a Hillary victory. The polls are supposedly providing the necessary support for such an expected outcome. Hogwash!

In our nation’s history, we have had a number of surprise or unexpected results. A classic is the 1948 Thomas Dewey/Harry Truman election night results. The Chicago Daily Tribune (later changed to the Chicago Tribune) made an egregious faux-pas by prematurely announcing that New York governor Thomas Dewey, a republican, had won the election. The words, “Dewey Defeats Truman” were emblazoned across the top fold of the paper’s early edition. Why was this mistake made? Two reasons: 1. The early results of the race seemed to favor a clear victory for Dewey, and 2. The Tribune had recently begun to use a new form of newspaper type which required that they beginning the process of printing the first edition a few hours earlier than had been required previously. Some 150,000 copies were distributed before the actual results were confirmed with Truman the clear runaway winner.

It was no secret at the time that the Chicago paper was Republican-leaning in its handling of political news. They had referred to Truman as a “nincompoop” and Truman was no fan of the paper either. When Truman saw the paper the day after the election he was elated, holding up the erroneous headline for the press corps that was following him. The now famous picture of a smilingly victorious Truman with paper in hand is part of American history. Adding insult to injury, the Chicago Daily Tribune had also announced that the Republicans would hold onto the seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Neither turned out to be true.

So, pardon me if I don’t get too worked up over polls, papers, politicos and pundits ballyhooing election results before the election has even taken place. This is especially true since the Democrats seem to have control over a political machine that can dictate what it desires. Fair and balanced, they are not.

Let’s remember something at this point. Because the political system is broken beyond repair, at least within the DC Beltway, Americans have become increasingly distrusting of anything coming out of our nation’s capitol. Consider the rapid rise and popularity of the Republican-leaning FOX News network. Many Americans are conservative in their outlook both politically and socially. Because of the apparent bias in the rest of the media, many Americans who care very much about the state of affairs in our country feel they no longer have a voice. Many of those have dropped out of being involved to the point of no longer believing that it matters. The game is rigged.

Yet along comes a person who is not part of the political system, and who is not a politician, and is saying many of the things that the disenfranchised electorate has been feeling for a very long time. Are they factored into the polls? I don’t know. What I do know is this: It ain’t over till it’s over.

A segment in the third and final presidential debate last week crystalized my position as to who I would vote for on November 8th. The question of abortion came up in which Hillary Clinton stated clearly that she was all about protecting women’s rights, going so far as to say it was okay to abort a baby as late as the third trimester, even during the ninth month. Donald Trump came out strongly against this heinous, dreadful, inhumane practice that has plagued our nation for the last 43 years. Even in the 1973 Roe v Wade landmark decision made by the United States Supreme Court didn’t go as far as Hillary would like to go, legalizing the aborting of a baby only in the first two trimesters.

Some may cry that I am setting up a litmus test for who I would vote for in the presidential election. And you know what? That would be exactly right.

You see, for us as a nation to wantonly destroy the life of a baby in the womb of its mother is still, for me, after all these decades, too horrific an injustice to ever become acceptable. In the last nine years my wife and I have been blessed with three precious grandchildren. We were present for the birth of all of them. I look into their faces and I see the face of God. Each one is a miracle, handcrafted by a loving Creator. My heart thrills at them being alive and part of our family. To think that they would no longer be a part of our lives brings such a heaviness in my soul that I am reduced to the depths of sorrow.

I have said it many times during my years of counseling, and simply sharing with people, that if a woman is contemplating an abortion, I would plead with them to carry this baby to full term at which point I would assume full responsibility for the child regardless of the baby’s health, and absolving the mother (and father) of any and all responsibilities. I still hold this position. As a Christian, I can do nothing less than this.

Donald Trump is for protecting the unborn and giving them a chance at life. Hillary is not. That makes my presidential decision very simple.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Political Folderol

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
17 October 2016

Political Folderol

Every election cycle brings out the same old hackneyed accusations and “gotcha!” revelations by each candidate about their opponent. And now that we’re in the final few weeks of the 2016 presidential election, each candidate and their nudniks are using the most broad-brushed black paint in characterizing their political opponent.

I’m sure looking forward to this childish nonsense to end. Then maybe my email Inbox can return to some semblance of normality. Can I get an “Amen”?

So then, what are we the American people to do with two candidates that have the lowest approval level in history (or so it is reported)? One simple answer: VOTE! Set aside the personal quirks, oddities, blunders and foolishness of both Clinton and Trump, and engage in some due diligence by studying the pressing issues that confront our nation right now. Who is most likely to handle these challenges?

1.   National Debt – Our nation is rocketing toward an indebtedness that is unthinkable. We are nearly 20 trillion dollars in debt, doubling in the past eight years. It is clear to “We the People” that Congress and the President do not know how to properly use the monies obtained from us, the American taxpayers. So, which of the two candidates is most likely to stop the hemorrhaging of out-of-control spending by our elected representatives?

2.   Military Readiness – It is reported that our military has been weakened to the point that we are as unprepared to handle the exigencies of world-wide threats today as we were in the late 1930s leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor which, ready-or-not (and we were definitely NOT), launched us into World War Two. Just this week missiles have been wantonly launched numerous times against our Navy warships off the coast of Somalia. Benghazi and Syria also come to mind. There’s a robust Communist China and a bellicose Russia, to boot. So, which candidate will have the steely resolve to stand against the world’s bullies?

3.   Loss of Jobs – Over the past number of years the unemployment rate has been toyed with by the current administration to make it appear as though the unemployment rate has gone down. The truth is voodoo economics. Whole categories of people are used or ignored to “fudge” the numbers. Large companies and corporations are either moving to “business-friendly” states, or relocating outside of the United States in an attempt to reduce the costs of doing business. Which candidate is more likely to turn this behemoth problem around by creating an environment where businesses can once again thrive?

4.   National Security – The alarming rate of people from around the world who are crossing our borders illegally is appalling. Americans who live along the Rio Grande River are watching people simply walk across into the United States. Many of these Americans are assaulted and terrorized by these illegals. Our Border patrol is woefully undermanned and incapable of putting a stop to this abuse of our national borders. Again, which candidate is most likely to take the necessary steps to stem this flow of illegals into our country?

5.   Threat of ISIS – Any number of Islamic groups, ISIS being the “threat du jour”, are targeting our country for take-over. It is the intent of Islam to subjugate all peoples under the banner of Islam. So if they can neutralize America and its power against them, the rest of the world should be much easier to conquer. Even a cursory study of Islam will enlighten you as to the projected goals of world dominance by this far from benign religion. Islam has been attacking the United States aggressively since 1968 with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan. Which of the two presidential hopefuls will have the courage to go against the conventional thinking that wants to believe that Islam is a religion of peace and take aggressive action against this murderous threat to our nation?

6.   Constitutional Anemia – The very core of our nation, and the basis upon which all laws and policies derive is the Constitution. This singular document, lovingly crafted by men who had never before experienced the freedoms they hoped for the rest of us, and under the guiding hand of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, is now under serious threat of being weakened by those who have chosen to give variant interpretations to its meaning and purpose, specifically the first, second and fourth amendments. Which of the candidates is most likely to honor the Constitution and uphold its rightful place in governing our nation?

It would be easy to list many more issues that we Americans must face
under a new administration, but you get the idea.

          The beauty of our country and its laws and form of governance is that “We the People” get to choose by election in the ballot box the person we want to lead us into the future. Study the issues. Get to know more about your candidate. And then cast your vote.

          The Bible declares, “What is impossible with man, is possible with God.” This is why we can still pray and expect God to bless America.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Who Will Win?

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
10 October 2016

Who Will Win?

So here we are – down to the last four weeks before election day. The second of the three presidential debates is mercifully over. Who will win the election? Who knows?

Right after the debate last night between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump my email inbox received a rush from various politicos and pundits asking the question: Who won the debate? Then the follow-up TV news analysts had a field-day critiquing each candidate and their performance. Sycophants from both parties loudly and unabashedly proclaimed that their candidate won. It’s at this point in the evening when I feel like it’s time for a cookie and a glass of milk before the slumbering embrace of my bed enfolds me.

So who won the debate? Actually, the American people won. The Constitution of the United States won. And freedom and liberty are still intact in America.

I was bemused by some of the news commentators who said there were angry exchanges between the candidates. I looked at my wife and said, “Did you see any angry exchanges between Hillary and Donald?” She said no, and was as befuddled as I was, especially after they replayed one of the supposed “angry” exchanges. It was truly laughable. It wasn’t exactly Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but angry it was not!

As I have written in this column before, I am not and never would be a supporter of Hillary Clinton. My reasons for this are too many to recount in this column. But the most damning reason for not even considering her is summed up in one word for me: Benghazi. She and President Obama made the unconscionable choice four years ago to leave our ambassador, his aide, and two former Navy SEALs to die unnecessarily at the hands of Muslim fanatics. Then she lied about it to the families and the American people, claiming that some movie about Islam inflamed these nut-jobs to seek vengeance on Americans. Furthermore, Hillary stated a number of years ago that she was named for the great New Zealand adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary, famous for having climbed Mount Everest in 1953. Before that he was unknown. And when was Hillary born? 1947! If she lies about her given name, what won’t she lie about?

When it comes to Donald Trump, I find him to be obnoxious in a number of ways. First, he’s a bully in the manner in which he addresses those he disagrees with. The debates between the Republican presidential hopefuls last year are a good example of this bullying tactic on display. Second, “The Donald” is often boorish in his manner, voicing his thoughts without a check system in place before he blurts out something offensive and ill-advised. He also belittles others for no other reason than he can. Third, he is a cad, meaning he has been accused of behaving in dishonorable or irresponsible ways toward women. Of the 17 Republicans in the race for the nomination, Trump was near the bottom, if not the bottom, of my list. His attacks on Senator John McCain’s war record, declaring that he is not a hero, were over the top.

So, where does all this leave me as a voter? Frustrated, mostly.

Some might not vote at all because they do not like either one. This would be foolish because one of these two candidates will be the next president of the United States. Yes, I know there are some other candidates, but let’s be honest – they have no chance of being elected. Not voting is not an option for me.

I will vote for the next president of the United States. I have never missed an opportunity to vote, beginning with my first presidential election when I voted absentee while serving as a Marine in Vietnam in 1972.

Because I am a Christian I would not be able to vote for any Democrat. Why? Because I remember in the last election cycle that the Democrats ruled God out of their platform. It was breathtaking to watch the vote as the chair asked for a voice vote on whether to keep the name of God in their platform. The Nays totally overwhelmed the Yeas. On top of that, the Democrats have embraced socialism which is antithetical to the Constitution and our freedoms.

The bottom line for me is this – I will vote for Donald Trump for several reasons. First, the Republican Party stated beliefs most closely align with my own. Second, the next president will be selecting several Supreme Court Justices which will have a significant impact as to whether the Constitution is upheld as the Law of the Land, or will be diluted with a mixture of socialism and Sharia Law. Third, Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with quality people whom I respect. It is my fervent prayer that he will act on their counsel. Last, though he is “rough around the edges”, I can live with that. He has never professed to be a Sunday school teacher. Nor is that what I’m looking for in someone who is to lead our nation into the future.

Above all of this, I have a firm belief that God is going to see his plans accomplished. A cursory view of the Bible reveals that God is always at work in the affairs of man, especially in our darkest hours. Moses had a real problem with his temper, to such an extent that he was denied the privilege of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. David lusted after another man’s wife, committing adultery, and then murder. Because of this he and his family were denied rule over Israel, plunging the country into a succession of despicable characters as their rulers. The list could go on, but you get the idea. God even used rulers of other nations who frequently spurned the Jewish beliefs, yet God worked through them anyway.

This election may not turn out to my liking, but I rest in the assurance that God knows exactly what is going on. In the final analysis, I will stand with God. You see, I’ve read to the end of the Bible. And God wins!