I Got Nothing for Christmas

          I got nothing for Christmas and it was great! In our continued quest for simplification Pat and I managed to escape the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season and it was a great experience. Our time was more centered on family, enjoying each others company and most of all the true meaning of Christmas. We had our traditional family Christmas Eve gathering at our old church with two rows of Weese’s seated in the sanctuary spanning four generations. It was truly special. You see I actually did get something for Christmas, the blessing of family and friends. Nothing wrapped and placed under a tree could come anywhere close.

         As I still try to adjust to this new season of our life (the empty nest, grandparent thing) I must admit that I miss those Christmas mornings when we would prepare the family room with music, Christmas lights and hot chocolate before allowing the kids to come down and open their presents. Now they each have their own families and memory making traditions as time continues to blaze forward. We’re still a part of it but it’s different. We’re at that interesting point in life where we can view the past and the future all at once; the blessing of having parents with us to share the holiday as well as children and grandchildren with a couple of grand dogs thrown in. It’s all about legacy. While the legacy includes memories of Christmas past, family traditions and all the trimmings of the modern day yuletide season it goes far beyond all of that. It’s the intangible things that span the movement of time; love for God and love for each other. These are truly the only gifts that last.

          As I watch the holiday madness unfold on the news reports with visions of people pushing, shoving and trampling each other as the security guard opens the doors to the store I wonder how things came to be this way. According to the media, Christmas success is based upon retail spending and the consumers’ ability to purchase the latest Christmas craze item. Stores stay open all night, people rush to the stores to participate in “black Friday” and finances are exhausted on purchases that otherwise would not have been made. An exhausted populace begins the New Year trying to figure out how to pay off the credit card bills as they begin to roll in after the holiday frenzy. I’m reminded of how Jesus wept over Jerusalem as they missed the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41). How many are lost in the busyness of the season and missing Jesus all together. It’s been two thousand years since He walked among us. For all but the last sixty Christmas wasn’t like this. Maybe it’s time to reflect on what Christmas meant in the past, before easy credit, rampant materialism and the neurotic pace of life “we now enjoy”. Maybe it’s time to get nothing for Christmas and get everything at the same time.

He May Be Closer Than You Think!

          “He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near…”. These words were spoken by an English officer who spent time with Dietrich Bonhoeffer the last days of his life while imprisoned together in Flossenburg, by the Nazi regime. Why is this a rare characteristic among Christians? Is God real and always near to you? If so, do others see this as a description of our lives?

          In all probability we see ourselves as falling short of this standard. Is such a relationship reserved for only a privileged few or does God desire that all of us have such an experience? Simply put, I believe that God does desire an intimate relationship with every believer; however it can be quite a struggle to find it. If we look at Phil.4:7, we are given some insight that will prove helpful. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) This result follows an admonition against worry (vs. 6). We are told to “be anxious for nothing”. Again, this is a truth that we can easily accept but find quite hard to live. Why is this so difficult? Perhaps it is due mostly to our lack of perspective. If we break down verse seven into components we will see some perspective needed for our success.

          First of all whose peace is it? “…the peace of God…” is what the scripture tells us. It is His gift to us after we comply with the instructions given in verse 6, approaching Him in submission with thanksgiving. This is a supernatural manifestation of His Holy Spirit at work within us. He changes our perspective about things even if He doesn’t change our circumstance. We are given a different viewpoint, one that removes fear and doubt, one that we cannot otherwise see on our own. We are further told in verse 7 that His peace (His answer) is beyond our comprehension. We cannot implore logic to get the same result. This isn’t so much seeing as it is accepting. Now God is being real and near to us. Others now can see what God has done in us and we can truly be a witness.

          The last part of the verse shows us the maintenance of our relationship with Him. When we surrender our will to Jesus and accept His peace unconditionally our hearts will be guarded against worry and kept “in Christ Jesus”. His perspective will be ours. Unfortunately, we can tend to think of this as an infrequent occurrence or struggle with trying to live there. Struggling with this process is part of our spiritual growth. God desires for us to learn and grow in our relationship with Him as He brings us face to face with our self will and the things He desires for us to place under His control. We come to learn how strong and deep rooted our will can be.   

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit (NASB)

          As we begin to learn God’s process we also will develop an understanding about sin. Simply put, un-confessed sin will always prohibit you from having an intimate relationship with God and distance you from His favor. Repentance is a gift from God as is faith. Verse 6 directs us to seek Him in prayer with thanksgiving. We need Him to show us those things that we must drastically deal with in our flesh in order to honor Him and to come into a right relationship with Him. It all depends upon His process and remains a supernatural transaction. Christianity can be a harsh and at times challenging belief until we realize that it’s not about us at all. His peace can be gained only by accepting His will for us and our relationship begins at the point of discovering our true need for Him.

“The Smell of Politics is in The Air”

          “Who saves his country violates no law.” This quote by Napoleon Bonaparte sums up his thoughts on patriotism. Did I miss the campaign ad in which anyone running for office had a clue about saving our country? The ads on my TV were quite proficient when it comes to explaining what a no-good, low life, cheating, lying, tax dodging, scoundrel each person has for an opponent. Usually their opponents’ ad comes on right behind the first ad with the same kind of rhetoric. It’s the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s without the guns and showing a lot less class. Seriously, is this the best we can do? Is this all we have to offer?

          Unfortunately, I get the fact that most politicians are completely out of touch with their constituency and I’m believing that most hard working honest Americans are fed up with the campaign mud wallowing and are hungry for someone who has at least one good idea to improve our country or way of life. It seems that each camp is so busy trying to figure out how to bash the other guy that there is no time left for the foreign concept of having a “good idea”. Even the bashing is low quality. If you listen carefully, and I hate to listen at all, you can hear the half truths and twisted innuendos. If we were to believe all that is being said we really wouldn’t need a voting booth, a dart board would do just fine.

          The real tragedy is having our children watch this tripe during prime time viewing. What example does this set for the adults of tomorrow? Our local schools promote a program called “Character Counts”. The idea behind the program is to teach our students integrity and manners that will serve them well in society. Perhaps we need to pass a law that would require our elected officials to take continuing education classes in character development. If we are lucky perhaps they will be able to perform at the fifth grade level in a few years.

          OK! I know that there are a few candidates who stepped up to take on the responsibility of public office without climbing into the hog trough with the majority. To those who were willing to put themselves out for our sakes, I commend you. Without good people coming forward, we are cursed with what’s left. The brave few deserve our prayers and support. Our need for them to succeed is enormous and we need more like them, people who will do what’s right regardless of the political consequences. We need people who are willing to save this nation.

          On a good note, the populace has begun to care again. Things are so out of kilter that it would be hard for anyone to miss, yet some still do. Let’s hope, what we have witnessed in this recent campaign is the bottom rather than a continual slide into the abyss. Integrity is who you are. You can’t fake character, you either have it or you do not. We are in desperate need of real leadership. True patriots put the good of others above their own. What a novel change that would be in our government.

Apathy Finally Dies In America

Can it really be true, “apathy” in America is beginning to die? It is quite possible that we are beginning to see passionate beliefs rise up as Americans debate our true identity. Questions about heritage, our rights, losing our rights, socialism, freedoms and much more have become daily topics of interest around the proverbial water cooler, sidewalks, kitchens, and computer chat sites of our culture. It is a testimony to human nature that when times are high and things are good we tend to feel less need for the deeper meaning of life. Apathy then prevails and the contemplative waters of society become shallow pools where we tend to embrace quantity of thought as opposed to quality. It is in times such as these that new and different ideologies filter into our culture and gain a foothold of acceptance without passing any substantive test other than “it sort of sounds good to me”. Now we have arrived at the root issue at hand. What is the test for our beliefs? What standard should be met before we accept an idea or pass it on to others? Is there a basis for truth and if so what is it?

I was inspired to this writing because I became aware of some opposing comments that were traveling through my neighborhood via email. It would not have been difficult for me to jump on one side and make a defense for my particular point of view but I decided there was a greater good to be served. After years of growing weary of apathetic people in the work place or in church or in government or in social clubs I am excited to see my neighbors passionate about what they believe. Passion is a good thing. I also know that it can be a double edge sword. It can bring out the worst in people or the best. It can be either an opportunity for growth or a platform for crisis. As we venture out of the abyss of apathy we need to take time to dig a little deeper and discover truth for ourselves. This wisdom applies to all points of view, no one is exempt. We live in the information age and anyone can out find almost anything in a matter of minutes at the push of a few buttons on the keyboard. Perhaps this is also one of our problems, more information than we can digest at any one time.

On one suggested website entitled the “American Thinker” I found this quote. “Our Founding Fathers were religious in a new way, the Judeo-Christian way, and they were the liberals of their day by deducing that our political and human rights come from a power higher than human government; but they were conservative to Biblical morality.” This was their test in forming our identity. Most Americans are unaware of the extensive process that went into forming this nation and while consulting many written documents to make their decisions the document most used (43% of the time) was the Bible. It’s a historical fact. I’m sure that there were dissenting opinions about many points but at the end of the process the majority ruled and our identity as a nation was set in motion. The two party system was designed to have different viewpoints, in other words a clear choice. Opposing viewpoints are meant to sharpen our intellect and understanding of who we are. Bi-partisanship was not really intended. One of the problems facing us today is that fact that some Republicans act as if they were Democrats and visa versa. We aren’t presented with a clear choice in fact most feel we aren’t presented with a trustworthy choice. The battle lines have been drawn between conservatives and liberals and the two sides are not pure. True leaders have become scare. Those are the ones that clearly take a stand and can clearly articulate their beliefs, regardless of the political cost. The alleged leader that governs on the basis of popularity will never make the right and difficult choices required of real leaders.

There are some fundamental things we need to agree upon. There are some things that we can oppose one another on and still live in peace. It does however become essential for us to look back to our beginnings if we truly want to understand who we are. Personally I believe as our “Founding Fathers” believed, that we must not abandon Biblical morality (unfortunately we are a long way down that road). Liberty means that we make room to debate and discern in order to discover the truth. As an example, the Bible commands us to love even our enemies. Current political correctness says we need to be tolerant of all others. What is the difference between the two? Simply this, as a Christian we show others love in order that they may see Christ. This is meant for a higher purpose. Tolerance, as some interpret it, asks us to forsake our identity. We can be loving and tolerant but we must uphold the values that this nation was founded upon. I’m a conservative but I see the need for liberal thinkers. Think about this, in what other society on the face of the earth other than one based upon Judeo-Christian values, would anyone be allowed to express their liberal point of view? As passions rise, so must our practice of measuring the truth by the only reliable standard known to exist. The standard used by our founders; the Bible.

Where Do We Go From Here?

          I recently watched  a re-run of the show called “The Practice”. In this episode a couple was placed on trial for murder because they refused to get medical attention for their sick three year old son. They were Christian-Scientists and chose to believe that their strongest chance of a cure rested in prayer for God to heal their son. The defense argued that the “Constitution” guaranteed religious freedom and the prosecution argued that the parents had a responsibility that they violated and were guilty of murder. To further complicate the issue, the accused mother was about to deliver another child which set up an additional argument as to the rights of the unborn fetus.

          It occurred to me how important a belief system can be to a nation. Some citizens would say that an unborn fetus has no rights while others would oppose that point of view. How essential is it that we have a basis for what we believe? I’m not suggesting that we believe what we care to believe but rather that we need to support out belief  by factual evidence that we can use as a foundation. I believe that our founding fathers had such a unified belief. In the “Declaration of Independence”, evidence of such belief was based upon their understanding that certain unalienable rights were given by our Creator. That is the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Given the time in history of the writing I believe with certainty that their definition of happiness was far different than that which we as Americans have pursued over the past several decades. Their view encompassed the basics of life and existence, not so much lifestyle. Their standard of conduct was based upon a moral code which rested on nothing less than Biblical tenants. I think what they had in view was the goal of holiness, the only true path to happiness.

          Today we find the leadership of our government and business sector in chaos. There seems to be little agreement on the way forward and I contend the reason for such chaos rests squarely on our lack of identity as a people and the failure of our society to maintain the beliefs that made this a great nation. The strength of what one believes can have a profound effect on the world around us. It is difficult for most of us to understand the commitment of the Kami-Kazi pilot from World War II or the dedication of a suicide bomber in a modern day terrorist attack. Both such actions were born from deep rooted belief systems. Unfortunately, too many of our leaders today have corrupted the values of our society and are driven only by the lust for power or money. These things are a poor substitute for the godly wisdom of character and integrity.

          The questions that plague our society have real answers. However, they can only be found in the light of Biblical scripture, the same light that shone brightly on the founding documents of this great nation, written by men who used to adjourn and pray for hours to seek the face of Almighty God before determining their course of action. The Bible was the document most consulted over all other writings. Are we really more enlightened? Are we wiser in our own estimation than the fathers of our nation? For our liberal minded fellow citizens who object to the idea of our Biblical heritage I will concede that there was never a mandated national religion. Christianity cannot be mandated as it remains a personal decision for every human to accept Jesus as their Savior, solely reliant upon the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Yet there can be no denial of the Biblical influence by which our founders and their writings  relied upon for the birth of this nation. Further there can be no denial of the destruction brought about by the religion of  liberal thinking to our way of life, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness. The proof exists all around us in the chaos that is now present. True followers of Jesus can have peace knowing that the sovereignty of God is still in tact. The “Good News” is still the “Good News”. For everyone else I suggest you read the world’s most important book before you dare reject it. It’s your only hope for living with assurance in the midst of these chaotic days.

Be Aware of “That Kiss”…

          In Luke 22:51 Jesus healed the temple servant after Peter had cut off His ear. You would think such a miracle would have been reason enough for everyone present to submit to the authority of Jesus, but it wasn’t. Judas had betrayed Jesus with a kiss, a sign of close and personal affection, but rather meant for evil. In verse 53 Jesus declares the hour of evil and the power of darkness that belonged to His captors. There can be no doubt that Satan was controlling the actions of those who came to seize Him and that they were powerless to do anything else.

          How often is Jesus betrayed by those disguised as His servants? Even a kiss can be rooted in deception. When we fail to guard our hearts, the opportunity always arises for us to betray Him through our self-interest and motivation. If we fail to consider all our actions through the lens of His word then we are vulnerable to the power of darkness and the hour of evil. Hebrews 4:12 tells us “…the word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This is the sword that He has given us to answer all evil intent. The sword of steel can only cause physical harm but the sword of the word strikes at the very existence and presence of evil itself. When Peter struck the servant, it only added to the atmosphere of hostility. It would have presented the opportunity for justification by those who came to seize Jesus but our Lord would not allow them to have such cause. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (v.6:12) we are told “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

          Our first concern in warfare must be enemy identification. James 1:19 councils us “to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Herein lies the process for discovery of the enemy. Being “quick to hear” grants us the time to evaluate what is really happening. If we are listening then we are not reacting. This presents us the opportunity to apply God’s word from our hearts and correctly evaluate our course of action. If we fail to follow these steps we are all too likely to shoot the wrong target. We may inflict wounds to those who confront us but fail to strike the crucial blow needed to defeat our spiritual enemy. We must accept the existence of cosmic powers of darkness at work. There are demonic creatures who aid Satan in His desire to defeat God’s work by striking out against believers. All too often we focus on the other person, examining their conduct while failing to look beyond what we see in the physical sense. Cutting the ear off the servant only tends to give credence to his cause. Blindly we aid the enemy in his efforts without being aware of what we have done.

          Further study of Ephesians 6:13-18 would benefit all of us in preparation for spiritual warfare. Not only will we find the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v.17) but also other pieces of armor necessary for battle. It’s time to suit up and be prepared to do a little hunting of our own. He has given us all we need to search out and destroy the enemy. We no longer need to be subject to his schemes. It’s time to resist. It’s time to send him on the run. It’s time to walk in victory; all we need is to be prepared.

Right Way, Wrong Way?

         “There’s a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death.” (Prov. 14:12) There can only be one conclusion, that we cannot always trust our own instincts and if that is so then there must be something else by which we can guide our decisions. If what seems right is wrong then what is the great test that clarifies our actions?

          Does a little white lie corrupt the soul? Does criticizing others when they can’t hear us really hurt anything? If gossip gets a laugh at someone else’s expense wasn’t it really just for the fun of the moment? Why shouldn’t I cheat on my taxes, after all the government is blowing billions? A stock broker gets a bit of inside information, why not exploit it, everyone’s doing it? A wife has an affair because she isn’t happy at home; doesn’t she deserve more? A student has someone else take an exam, what difference does it really make? There are no limits on the variations of this theme, no end to the number of ways to damage the soul, sell off a chunk of integrity or to feed the prevailing climate of sin that so infiltrates humanity. It all started with one basic lie, one deception.

          The propensity of sin to permeate mankind and destroy the soul is far more powerful than anyone of us can fully appreciate. A man wakes up one morning to the realization that he is an alcoholic and his life is spiraling out of control. He scarce can remember taking the first step down the slippery slope and discovers that he lies at the bottom of life and there now seems to be no hope. Ironically what seemed right at the start with no harm in sight arrives at a place where nothing seems right and all hope gone. The deception has performed its work and reached its destination of despair with only one final step to go, death. It is a death that leads to the eternal separation from all that is good and righteous, never again to have the opportunity of reconciliation and it all starts with one small compromise of spiritual integrity.

          The great test in this life comes down to our own goals. Are we living this life from a self-centered point of orientation or for the higher cause of Christ? Our only shot at reconciliation is through His cross. None other can make the choices faced in this life clear. On our own, we are not strong enough to stand against the temptations that come our way or even be totally aware of their presence. The things that seem right may be loaded with pitfalls that we are not equipped to evaluate. When we shine the light of His word on life’s decisions and submit to trusting Him for guidance we gain the insight needed to escape the tragedies of bad decisions. Just as all harm starts with one bad decision, all which is good begins with one and only one decision available to each and every one of us, the decision to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our life. His answers are infallible and His reasoning is from an eternal perspective.

Call 911 – The Church Needs CPR!

            Many years ago when I heard God calling me back to the church I remember thinking that there just seemed like there was something wrong with the church. I thought, “Who am I to have such a thought? After all the church has been around for hundreds of years, they must know what they are doing”. At the time, my wife, two children and I belonged to a very small mainline denominational church. We had been attending for a few years but other interests seem to pull us away. Even after we returned, the years clicked by and nothing seemed to happen. No one ever came to the saving grace of God; it was certainly devoid of the miraculous, in fact no one ever seemed to change. The Sunday message was some sort of flowery, biblical sounding digression that was almost absent of any meaningful content. I did not know it at the time but we were attending a church that was in dire need of resuscitation, CPR to be exact, “Christ, Prayer and Repentance”.

          Unfortunately this is a scene that is repeated over and over again in some fashion, or another all across our nation. People wander into churches on Sunday throughout our land, showing up with all their baggage; hurts, hang-ups and addictions. Then after an hour or so they tote all their problems back home and nothing has changed. Christianity has been reduced to doing a duty, namely, showing up at church. It is far from the abundant life promised by Jesus, far from being a lifestyle. So what’s wrong with the church?

          Perhaps the first course correction needed is for God’s people to wake up and realize that they “ARE” the church. The church isn’t the building; it’s a people for God’s own possession, a people who have surrendered their all to Jesus. We are to be led by His spirit, seeking Him in prayer and repenting of all the things that keep us apart from Him, Christ, Prayer and Repentance, CPR for the church. No one but God can breathe life back into the church and we desperately need to seek Him with all our hearts.

          Secondly, God’s people need read the Bible. I have found that many if not most Christians do not regularly (daily) read or study God’s word. How can we possibly have a personal relationship with our Savior if we don’t even study God’s scripture? How can we know of His loving promises if we do not read them for ourselves? When we come to Him in prayer we need to be grounded on His word and we need to be assured of His nature which can only happen through the study of His inspired word. Biblical illiteracy plagues our country and many are suffering because of it.

          If you have ever been apart of a church like the one I described, you cannot help but wonder what damage has been done? Not only in the lives of the congregation but also in the lives of those who came in contact with the church and saw nothing different than the world around them and found no power for life changing transformation. The dead churches of our culture have poisoned so many against the cause of Christ because many have failed to see the abundant life promised by Jesus alive in the members of the church. Real Christianity is caught not taught. The time is right for church to catch a fresh breath of life and to gain a contagious spirit.

Are You Prepared to Climb the Mountain?

          “The record is one thing, but standing on top of the world is just the best feeling you could ever imagine.” This was the recent quote from Jordan Romero, age 13, who recently became the youngest climber to ever scale Mt. Everest. The feeling of being unique, accomplishing the unbelievable and the realization of a dream come true must be an experience that he will never forget.

          I have heard many times the description from Christian teachers and preachers of mountaintop experiences associated with spiritual moments. Mountaintops in our spiritual walk tend to be places we can visit but not reside. Much like Jordan Romero’s description, spiritual mountaintops provide for us “the best feeling you could ever imagine.” These are times of close proximity with our Creator. At these moments all of our doubts and fears seem to fade away and we know that God is God, and at last we find peace. Have you had such an experience? Are they fairly rare in your Christian walk? If so, you may need to ask yourself if you are prepared.

          If you look at the laundry list of items required to scale to the summit of Mt. Everest you will find that a considerable amount of equipment is required. The list pertaining to just footwear alone is quite extensive. The needed equipment is designed to provide protection, comfort, necessities of life, tools to accomplish the climb, shelter and the items necessary to travel with and move all of this gear. These are just the material items needed. In addition the climber must be physically and mentally equipped to withstand the harsh conditions of the climb. So it is with the life of a Christian.

          As a follower of Christ we must be equipped for the journey God has designed for us. He offers all that we need for protection, security, comfort, the necessities of life and the tools needed to accomplish our goal. His great plan includes other believers around us who have also been equipped by Him to help us in our walk. The real challenge lies in the effort we make to appropriate what we need. This effort includes time alone with God, reading and studying His word. Then we must pray, submitting our requests to Him, asking for His guidance and petitioning that He will instruct us regarding areas in our life needing surrender. We cannot ascend a spiritual mountain with our own strength, it cannot be done. Each challenge encountered on the way up the mountain must be met in reliance upon His power otherwise we will not succeed. Israel wandered in the desert for forty years and an entire generation perished because they did not accept God’s view. Paradise awaited them on the other side of the river but they could not move past their fear. What a tragedy that so many Christians today really are not living in total reliance upon Him. Anyone that has received the gift of salvation but fails to persevere through spiritual preparation misses the best that God has for them. It’s comparable to wandering in the desert and perishing from this life never knowing the abundant life promised by our Savior. You just plain miss “the best feeling you could ever imagine,” the “peace that passes all understanding.”

Do You Know How to Give “Good Gifts” to Your Children?

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13)

          Certainly none of us ever want to give gifts to our children that are harmful. This scripture assures us that our heavenly Father only gives good gifts to us, by means of His Holy Spirit. His gifts are meant to help us as we journey through this life to live it more abundantly and to have a life that is marked by joy and peace in the midst of whatever mess we may be facing. His gifts have a purpose and direction behind them and empower us to be the person He created us to be.

          With that in mind shouldn’t we as parents think wisely about the gifts we give our children? While not excluding the material gifts I wish us to consider the more intangible things that we are likely to pass on, things that develop character. I am struck today by the enormous disregard for truth that is so prevalent in our society. The victim mentality has all but taken over many who live in and around us. The victim mentality says that the world owes me and even when I find myself in an unfortunate situation I can feel free to put a spin on it so that I am not ultimately responsible. Many of the leaders of our country as well as popular sports figures, movie stars, singers and actors fail to own their own mess. We have become a society that enables bad behavior by constantly calling it something other than what it is followed by worldly solutions such as a week in rehab or the latest pill (which by the way has more side effects than the original problem).  So one “good gift” among many that I can think of is a respect for the “truth” and the character to own your own mess.

          If you want to view a blatant example of deception in place of the truth, go to the following link for an explanation of the GM payback.  https://rodgerweese.com//www.breitbart.tv/reasontv-did-gm-really-pay-back-its-loans-in-full/ (I forgot to include some of our corporate leaders in the above list.) This is “smoke and mirrors” at its zenith. There’s a popular mindset floating around our culture today that truth is whatever one perceives it to be. The corporate leaders as well as their political counterparts would like us to believe that GM paid back the multi-billion dollar bailout when in fact they received additional taxpayer dollars, TARP money, to use for the payback. Take it from one pocket and put in another. Is this really a payback? See if that will work for your mortgage or your car payment. Is this integrity and what does it say about their opinion of the American public?

          Our culture is in dire need of leadership with moral fiber. Our children are the next generation to lead and we must pass on some standard of character and honesty for them to operate by. We must guard against allowing the culture of our times to mold our thinking and our behavior.  Good gifts include a legacy of values, respect, standards and priorities. Look around and ask, are we better off with than were a decade or two ago or have these precious commodities eroded? The proof is all around of us.