A Father’s Heart

simbaDuring this time of year – the Christmas Season – Christians and some non-Christians focus on the birth of the baby Jesus and all that surrounds that special event. While even some Christians only pay lip service to the real ‘reason for the season,’ no one can deny it has been commercialized and over developed to the point of distraction.

The passage in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:26-2:52) is the most detail we have describing the actual events surrounding the coming of Immanuel (God With Us). Nearly everything else has been developed by story-tellers, with some of it based on stories handed down and much of it based on historical assumptions. But Luke got it straight from Mary, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

It is a most incredulous story – that an Eternal, Omnipresent God would, or even could, squeeze Himself into the body of a tiny Baby. But, that’s what happened.

What I have been considering this season, though, has been God the Father’s role in this. Spiritual extrapolation tells us that God developed this perfect plan before time began. Let me put some flesh on this. Here is God the Father and His only Son – a beloved Son, part of the Holy Trinity – whom He loves with an eternal, everlasting love.

The Omniscient God knows that created man will allow sin into his life.  But because of His infinite love He sets down a plan that will allow redemption. Only, the thing is, there is no finite, created being or thing that is a worthy sacrifice for sinful man to find infinite forgiveness. There must be a finite sacrifice that will enter the finite world and provide infinite cleansing for all who believe.

So God must send His only Son, out of a Glorious Undefiled Heaven into this sin darkened cesspool. And the ultimate plan is for His Son to offer Himself up as the blood sacrifice necessary to satisfy the Just and Righteous God.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” [Romans 5:17 NIV]

As a finite man, a father, I cannot but believe that it broke the heart of God to send His Son on such a mission. And, how much more did it burden the heart of God that the very people His Son was sent to ransom, rejected Him and His message and violently murdered Him.

God loved the people of this world – you, me, Herod, Adolph Hitler – every human born since the Creation of Adam and Eve –  to such an extent that He was willing to sacrifice His Beloved Son for the singular purpose of redeeming mankind – to bring man back to his originally created status with God. If man would accept this gift from God.

He stood mute, the Righteous Judge, while His Son was nailed to a tree. He held back His Omnipotence, turned His back and placed all the sins of mankind on Him. We know and love that history. But let’s get back to The Nativity.

Once God had set this plan in place – before time – He was bound by His Eternal Perfection to complete it. The redemption of mankind, the salvation of all Creation, lay in the tiny hands of a vulnerable, peasant child in the care of a teenage peasant girl and a blue-collar builder from a nondescript rural village.

God the Father foretold this plan more than 700 years before the actual event -. His Father’s Heart, desiring to give peace and assurance to a troubled people!

How do you celebrate this most extraordinary event? Have you lost the significance of a new born baby’s cry in the village of Bethlehem, more than 2000 years ago? Is it lost in the screams of the vendors seeking to capitalize on a festival that has lost its meaning, or the cries of the wretched, deceived rabble who hearken to Satan’s lies that it is all a farce?

Get back to the Father! Re-read His Love Story to you in the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Matthew, Luke and John, and others. Mute out the noise and listen to that sweet baby’s cry in the night, the overwhelming joy of that new mother and father, and the exuberant wonder of those shepherds who were granted the first birth notice for Immanuel!

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14 NIV]

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6 NIV]

“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” [Luke 1:38 NKJV]

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14 NIV]

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” [Luke 2:8-11 NIV]

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” [John 1:5 NIV]

A FEW WORDS, NOW THAT THE AMERICAN ELECTION IS OVER

Thanksgiving Week, 2016

Before this extraordinary Presidential election – what did you think was going to happen on Election Day? Seriously!! Did anyone think we would see Donald Trump leap out of the starting gate, never looking back? Ahead throughout the evening? Accomplishing an historic victory for a non-politician? Even if you hoped for a victory could you have envisioned such a sweeping victory?

So, what’s this all about?

It is a right and privilege to vote in the USA. It is the Christian’s duty to vote! In so doing we are participants in God’s Omnipotent work of placing leaders over nations.

The pundits, pollsters, talking heads, politicians, etc. and etc. have been going 24 hours a day since the close of the polls. None of them, save the few in Christian media, have acknowledged our Sovereign God’s Hand in placing Donald Trump into this position.

Similarly, few have acknowledged that it was an act of MERCY by Almighty God to stop (slow down) our nations slide into an abject godless state.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” [Romans 13:1-4 NIV]

We know, by the things uncovered during the election, that President-Elect Trump is flawed, at best. It is unlikely (I do not profess to know) that he is a born again Christian. However, I believe he has a desire to do what is right, that he recognizes the importance of turning around the wholesale slaughter of preborn babies, and that he recognizes the Christian heritage on which our nation is founded. And I believe he has accepted that the government has no right under our Constitution to inhibit religious freedom, that the work of the Church is within any and every facet of our culture – public and private. Similarly, He seems to understand that we must maintain a strong relationship with our only ally in the Middle East – Israel.

But I do not have direct access to Mr. Trump, nor to any of his advisors. I have very limited voice with our elected legislators. What then should I do as a result of this very clear act of Mercy by my God?

“A king’s heart is like streams of water in the LORD’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses.” [Proverbs 21:1 HCSB]

On Memorial Day, November 11, we remember and honor all the men and women who have served this nation through the military. And that is as it should be, “Lest we forget.” But the best way to honor them is by holding and keeping the nation God gave us, the nation they have served – not the one we are rapidly moving toward!

I deeply feared where this nation was headed if we had 4 to 8 more years of anti-God, anti-Christian, socialist leadership at the highest office. I grieved over what kind of culture I was leaving for my children and grandchildren. My wife and I prayed with fervor for God’s Mercy! And, obviously many of you, many throughout this nation, and probably the world, prayed the same.

And guess what? Our God, who hears all true prayers, granted us His Mercy. It is a limited deal though. He does not go back to sleep now, letting us just go about our business with no responsibility to change. This is not recess time, so that we can continue pursuing worldly gain and pleasure. He never sleeps, never slumbers. God has hit the pause button on our fall into the abyss. We are recipients of a renewed opportunity to actually BE the salt and light within our culture.

“”You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:13-16 NIV]

The responsibility for my actions, and your actions, in every facet of our daily life, is ours individually. I am accountable to God for the way I represent His Son in this world. Whether the government assists me, leaves me alone, or outright persecutes me, I am responsible to God for every moment of my life.

I can promise you that God does have a plan for each of us individually. But, it is not the way of our Loving God to force His Will on us. That is part of being made in the image of God. We have a will. If we allow ourselves to be subjects (slaves) of God, His Holy Spirit will speak to our spirit, and we will subject our will to that of our Father. Any pause after hearing a directive from God is an act of defiance of our will – and it is a sin before our God.

God has inclined His ear toward us and has granted Mercy on our nation. But we must act without delay. Get on your knees, thanking God for His Mercy.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33 NIV]

The enemy has grown more arrogant as the Church has weakened in its resolve. Satan’s deception has moved with powerful force into the Church. Pulpits have gone silent to the truth of the Word of God. The institutional churches in America have sold out to the world. More Christians are listening to the culture and to the ‘siren call’ of human desires rather than to the ‘still, small voice of God,’ believing that God’s Word evolves to coincide with the culture.

God reveals Himself through the revelation of His Word and of His Son, Jesus. These are the same yesterday, today and forever!

God loves His Church. It is becoming the Bride He has appointed for His only Son. He will honor our efforts as we seek to do His Will. The prize of eternal life with Jesus is worth whatever the price!

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:38-39 NKJV]

“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” [2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV]

As we observe this time of giving thanks to our Creator and Provider, Almighty God, we should thank Him for granting us an opportunity to turn back to the foundation of our nation, which is Christian at the core.

Then, Christians, we must commit ourselves, wholeheartedly and with diligence, to prayer, first and foremost; prayers of thanksgiving and to seeking God’s will; and then committing ourselves, selflessly and with NO procrastination, to actively doing the will of our Heavenly Father!

Bless God, America!

And may God continue to bless America!

What Purpose Selfless Sacrifice?

In the early morning hours of 6 March 1836, a rag-tag group of about 200 volunteers were overrun by approximately 1800 Mexican Regular Army calvary and infantry soldiers at the Alamo Mission at San Antonio.

Texas Alamo

This company of men had held off General Santa Anna’s army for 12 days. Repeated requests for reinforcements gained no response, until 32 men rode in from Gonzales.

An intense battle of several hours followed the commencement of this predawn, multifaceted attack. The outcome was never in question. All of the defenders perished, their bodies burned. A handful of women and children were allowed to leave. It was over. The Mexican dictator had won the day.

Or had he?

“Remember the Alamo!” became the rallying cry for the battle for Texas independence. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. In April, less than two months after the Alamo fell, the Texans, led by Sam Houston, pulled a surprise attack on the much larger Mexican Army at the San Jacinto River, defeating them and capturing General Santa Anna. The General agreed to the demand for Texas Independence in exchange for his personal freedom.

The deaths of those who made a choice to stand firm ignited a fire among those who previously had stood on the sidelines.

What is the lesson learned here?

Sometimes it is the selfless sacrifice of one or a few who turn the tide in a conflict. There are examples, too numerous to mention, where Christians willingly gave there life on the mission field, and God poured out His Holy Spirit followed and a multitude of lives were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today, in the USA, there is a torrent of anti-Christian bias deluding a large number of people and leaders of the reality of Religious Freedom guaranteed in the US Constitution. There is lawlessness like never before coursing through the very heart of this nation. Religious Freedom is a cornerstone of our country. Constitution-LincolnThose against it have no idea what its loss will do to the other freedoms we enjoy.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” [2 Corinthians 3:17]

In the state of Kentucky, a single County Clerk determined that her faith and her right of conscience would not be trampled. Kim Davis has stated she will not bow to an unconstitutional ruling by 5 justices; to the point that she has been willing to relinquish her freedom for her stand.

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” [Proverbs 4:18]

Most people in the US believe she is being foolish over a non-sequitur. They believe her actions do not logically follow. However, it is a far deeper issue. Marriage, as defined by our Creator, and as lived out by ALL CIVILIZATIONS since the beginning of time, is foundational to a healthy society – whether Christian or not. Mrs. Davis knows this and is willing to selflessly stand against this tsunami of irrational actions perpetrated by a handful of radicalized homosexuals.

What does her sacrifice mean? This action forces everyone in this nation to slow down – take a breath – and actually pay attention to the real issue

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.” [Proverbs 11:3-5]

The juggernaut of emotional frenzy, lies and uneducated misinterpretations of the US Constitution (as well as the Bible) has been, at the least, slowed by clear thinking, honesty and proper interpretation of the laws. The rampant influence peddling, abuse of a passive Legislative Branch by judicial activism, breach of the public trust in all three branches, coupled with probable bribery and extortion, and ultimately the Administrative Branch moving with dictatorial fervor, is now coming under scrutiny.

“The rich among you have become wealthy through extortion and violence. Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth.” [Micah 6:12]

May the Wisdom of Almighty God engulf us like a mighty storm; and may we be filled with fortitude and courage of conviction to stand firm and reverse some of this insanity!

Celebrate US Constitution Day, September 17, 2015

Hemingway Meets King Solomon – 2

Good Without God! Really!?! (Part VII)

Ernest_Hemingway in KenyaMany years ago I saw a video presentation by a PhD psychologist/psychiatrist from Colorado, named Morris Massey. He had conducted a study regarding how workers, at different levels within an organization, responded to different situations. I have never forgotten his basic premise, with which, I can say today, I still concur.

The presentation was entitled “You Are What You Were When.” The primary point, as I recall, is that the first 10 years of your life set in concrete many parameters regarding how you will develop your adult lifestyle and how you will respond to various extraordinary situations with which you are confronted.

The time period and culture in which we live, the belief, or lack of belief in God, our family dynamics-parents or none, national and international events all play a part in shaping us to be who we are.

Young Ernest Hemingway, born in 1899, grew up in a burgeoning world, where the USA was just beginning to find its place as a world leader. It was a time of peace and prosperity. However, he led a conflicted childhood, with a father who was a country doctor, avid outdoorsman, and a stern disciplinarian easily applying corporal punishment. He was apathetic toward the things of God. An overbearing mother, although religious, created great trauma in the unusual and quirky way she treated her children. He developed an intense hatred of his mother. More than likely his lust for adventure and accomplishing great feats stemmed from a need to prove he was a man.

Solomon, the child of King David and Bathsheba, grew up in the years of David’s kingdom when times were really good. However, David failed miserably as a father. The warrior king who led his men through for years, was a passive dad, drifting in his ability to maintain a close relationship with God or any relationship with his children. Solomon must have absorbed a great love for God as a child and young adult. But, he was surrounded with great wealth in a royal family. More importantly, his father clearly loved and lusted after many women while he ignored the deep problems boiling over with his children.

So, it seems these early years had the predicted effect as Hemingway and Solomon moved into adulthood. There is no doubt Hemingway was a man of action, a great journalist and novelist; but, a poor husband and absent father. There were four suicides in his family: his father, Clarence, siblings Ursula and Leicester, and granddaughter Margaux. In addition, his youngest son, Gregory, living as a transsexual named Gloria, died of likely unnatural causes in 2001.

Ernest, himself, seemed to be on a slippery slope of life from the time he learned of his father’s suicide. The world system evaluates success differently than does a Holy God. But, even with his success as a writer his life was spinning out of control with freak accidents, womanizing, substance abuse and apparent mental illness. By age 60 he was nearly unable to write anything. His own suicide could have been predicted by reading his novels and articles, and listening to him. He was predisposed to the subject of death, comparing the death of his wild game and sport fish to that of man; even intimating he wrote to keep from killing himself. He took his own life on July 2, 1961, with a double-barreled shotgun.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

The book of Ecclesiastes, coupled with 1 Kings, shows how Solomon drifted from God in his adult years. And with that, he allowed the nation of Israel to drift into full blown apostasy. In addition, like his father, he neglected his children, a fact that led to the split in the kingdom between the 10 tribes in the north and the 2 tribes in the south, after his death. However, Solomon held on to the firm belief in a Sovereign, Almighty God. And he drew back to that in the last years of his life.lonely road

What’s the point? Many are the roads we travel down in life; many the opportunities; many the pitfalls. I am reminded of a poem I heard long ago – the following is just 3 stanzas of it

Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past (Read the whole POEM)

by C. T. Studd (His life story is worth investigating)

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Former Pres. Carter Admits His Wish to Re-Write New Testament

Has God appointed Jimmy Carter to revise and update the New Testament?!? After 2000 years, is it possible the devolved and corrupted wisdom of the humanist mind will finally get their way?

Probably NOT!

But the simple fact that Mr. Carter would reluctantly make such an admission of the truth of what is recorded in the Bible, and then turn around and readily admit his belief God got it wrong, is a perfect example of modern humanist belief that the Bible is not the Word of God.

–           –           –           –           –           –

From MEDIAite.com; by Alex Griswold; 7/7/2015

Former president Jimmy Carter has admitted that there is not a single verse in the gospels where Jesus approves of same-sex sexuality or same-sex marriage.

“Former president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday that he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, though he said that he doesn’t have ‘any verse in scripture’ to corroborate this notion.

“‘I believe he would. I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture…’ Carter responded when asked by HuffPo Live host Mark Lamont Hill whether Christ would embrace same-sex nuptials. ‘I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage, but I’m not – that’s just my own personal belief.’”

–           –           –           –           –           –

Well – he hedges a little, as a good humanist will do, to hide the fact of his disbelief in the Bible’s Truth.

Once again the former President, starved for publicity, verifies God’s Word:

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” [Proverbs 12:15]

Changed By God’s Grace: Chuck Colson

Most of us “baby boomers” have strong memories of the 1960’s and 1970’s – although we may see them through different colored lenses. It was such an intense and volatile period, one where the word “assassinated” was burned into our souls. Looking back, it is difficult to understand how our nation survived. But I believe we see the scars of that period in time in the lives of every succeeding generation.

One if the most well-known episodes surrounded the administration of President Richard Nixon. The Watergate issue that ultimately forced the President’s resignation was probably not as big as it was made out to be – there were political initiatives seeking to depose the Republicans from power. In light of some of the more recent fiascos it would likely pale. But, I do not want to diminish the wrong and the abuse of power that it uncovered.

One story that emerged from all of it is that of Charles Colson, who passed away last week. I could write forever about his story – there is so much that has transpired through the years. However, in short, as Special Counsel to the President, he abused his position and the public trust, and was convicted and sent to prison.

This is where the story takes a strange twist. Colson’s life was invaded by Jesus Christ, another convicted criminal, and he was radically changed. He then used the gifts and abilities given him by God to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. And he did so with great passion. His legacy lives on primarily in Prison Fellowship Ministries, which has brought positive change into the lives of prisoners literally around the world. He used his platform to get into the presence of world leaders and to write about the grace of God through his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

One book he wrote, “The Body,” was a powerful testimony to the power of God through the Church, in transforming the world and tearing down the walls of the Soviet Union and its anti-God campaign. Filled with interviews and true life stories of people living under the iron rule of totalitarianism, it showed how their faith in Jesus Christ and the Peace of Jesus won out over the efforts of man to eradicate Christianity. I read it in about 1987 and was mesmerized by the countless testimonies of men and women, many of whom (not all) were Catholic or Orthodox Christians, who simply surrendered their lives, and stood firm on their profession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. (Reference Hebrews 11)

Chuck Colson was a Catholic Christian. I am an evangelical Christian. He and I are brothers in Christ. Colson was excoriated by many evangelical Christians and organizations for that book, claiming He was pushing Catholicism and a “one world” Church, headed by the Pope. I was shocked at the tunnel vision of these so-called Christian leaders, who apparently have never read the Gospel of John, nor his letters in 1st, 2nd and 3rd John, nor Peter’s letters to the Christians scattered about in the first century. We all serve one King of Kings, and He taught that His presence in our lives was evidenced by our love for our brothers and sisters in Him. Race, ethnicity, politics, denominations, Catholic, Protestant, etc, etc., have no bearing on this Bloodline in which we have our eternal life.

Chuck Colson was human – and far from perfect. Chuck Colson is now sitting at the feet of His Lord Jesus, who considers first and foremost the motivations of our heart. Well done, Chuck! Your example as a servant of your Master and your voice will be missed.  

I ran across the following story that, to me, epitomizes the reality of Colson’s faith in Jesus Christ and the healing power of forgiveness, even at the heights of the political world.

My Chuck Colson Lesson

By Lanny Davis, a Washington, D.C., attorney specializing in legal crisis management. Mr. Davis served as Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton in 1996-98 and served as a member of President Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Board in 2006-07. He currently serves as Special Counsel to Dilworth Paxson.

Sometime in 1973, I first heard the name Charles Colson from my father at the dinner table. My dad, who always told me he “hated” President Nixon, told me that night that he also “hated” a man named Charles Colson, who had the title “special counsel to the president.” He told me about a sign on Colson’s wall in the White House: “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

About a year later, I think in early 1974, I was astonished to receive a phone call, which began: “Hello, this is Bob Woodward from the Washington Post. Do you have any comment on the fact that you were on one of Nixon’s ‘enemies lists’?

“You’ve got to be kidding. Me? Why was I on Nixon’s enemies list?”

“We are not sure,” Woodward said. “You were Muskie’s youth coordinator and made a lot of anti-Nixon speeches. Maybe that’s how you got there.” (He was referring to Maine Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, who had been an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and for whom I had worked during his campaign.)

I asked Woodward whether he had any idea who in the Nixon White House had put me on the enemies list.

“Yeah, we think it was Colson.”

“Do you mean Charles Colson — the guy with the ‘hearts and minds’ sign on the wall?”

“Yeah, that Colson. Would you like to comment?”

“Sure — I am complimented and want to thank Colson for the honor.”

The next day, I read a short article in the Post mentioning that I had been listed on one of the enemies lists. It wasn’t long until my phone rang. It was my mom and dad, both yelling, “Mazel tov,” with even more pride and joy, it seemed, than the day of my bar mitzvah.

“We’re so proud of you, son,” my dad said. “You made the List!”

Fast-forward about 30 years later, I am guessing, probably about 2004. I was at the dinner traditionally hosted by conservative columnist Cal Thomas on the evening before the National Prayer Breakfast. Each year,Cal invites friends to join him to hear a born-again Christian give testimony about his or her experience. It’s a moving experience and an honor to be invited.

“There is someone I want you to meet,”Cal told me. “You must come.”

When I arrived,Cal steered me over to a vaguely familiar face.

“Hi, I’m Chuck Colson,” he said, as he stuck his hand out to shake hands. I shook his hand, amazed, and became even more amazed when he said:

“I admired your work for President Clinton — and I had the same title as you, ‘special counsel.’ I’ve wanted for a very long time to say something to you: I am sorry, may God forgive me.”

I looked at him, stunned.

“You know, I’m the guy who put you on the enemies list — that was wrong, please forgive me.”

I looked into his eyes and I felt a strange and deep peace. It was eerie. I also saw a profound goodness and spirituality.

I thought of my dad, who had passed away in 1996, and who had used the words “hate” and “evil” about this man. My eyes teared up. I wished my dad was alive to hear me say, “Of course I forgive you, Mr. Colson” — and then adding: “And please forgive me and my late dad, for we used to use the word ‘hate’ about you.”

Chuck Colson immediately hugged me, whispering in my ear, “I know your dad is in heaven, and he is smiling right now at the both of us loving God and forgiving each other.”

I learned an important lesson that night: I vowed that I would never use the word “hate” about people in politics with whom I disagreed.

And I knew I would never forget this moment and what Charles Colson had taught me.

Thank you, Chuck.

May your soul rest in peace. I know it will.

Leader of the Velvet Revolution

Much has been and will be said about the life and legacy of Vaclav Havel. Obviously, I did not know the man personally, but want to share some thoughts about him for those who are not aware of his contributions.

During the ‘80’s I became aware of his writings and began to find out about his life. I was greatly impressed with his ideas on human rights, freedom of religious expression, the free market, and national democratic government. What was so intriguing about that was his ideas were developed while living under the Soviet Communist rule.

In the early 1990’s I had the opportunity to work with some Czech businessmen, getting a first hand look at the state of their economy and business climate. Then, I was in France four years and traveled in the Czech Republic. The business atmosphere was one of enthusiasm and optimism. Although there were elements of assistance from the Central Government, there did not seem to be the “entitlement albatross” hanging around. There was a strong element of entrepreneurism, and a sense of hope for the future of their country.

Some quotes from Havel – the Playwright, the Dissident

“Genuine politics – even politics worthy of the name – the only politics I am willing to devote myself to – is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole.”

“The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.”

“A state that denies its citizens their basic rights becomes a danger to its neighbors as well: internal arbitrary rule will be reflected in arbitrary external relations. The suppression of public opinion, the abolition of public competition for power and its public exercise opens the way for the state power to arm itself in any way it sees fit. A state that does not hesitate to lie to its own people will not hesitate to lie to other states.”

“We have become morally ill because we have become accustomed to saying one thing and doing another. We have learned not to believe in anything. Not to care about one another and only to look after ourselves. Notions such as love, friendship, compassion, humility and forgiveness have lost their depth dimension.”

Notes from Jan Culik of Scotland (1989)

“In 1979,Havel was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment for his association with VONS, the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted. Before his trial, he was given leave to emigrate. He declined. Three and a half years later, in danger of his life, he was released from prison as a direct result of international pressure. Throughout the seventies and eighties, Havel wrote a number of essays, political articles and open letters, showing himself to be a man of profound insight and sensitivity.

“Arguably the most important essay in this volume is “The Power of the Powerless”, written in 1978. Here Havel presents a thought-provoking analysis of a typical East European regime prior to Gorbachev’s revolution. He argues that the pre-Gorbachevian East European states were in no way similar to traditional dictatorships. They usurped all means of production and employment, thus wielding absolute control over their citizens. There was no sharp dividing line between rulers and subjugated. In order to be left in peace, every citizen was required to perform certain political rituals.

“Havelwas a supporter of “antipolitical politics”, believing the only remedy for the world’s ills to be a re-introduction of the ethical and moral norms as the guiding principles in people’s lives. He does not regard the Western party political system as an ideal model. Personally, he would prefer an arrangement whereby politicians would be elected into positions of power on individual merit, rather than members of political parties, thus being fully accountable for all their actions.”

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Havel was not (apparently) a Christian. However, he studied his Bible and admitted to an affinity for the “Christian sentiment.”

Havel had a huge impact on the fall of the Soviet Union. He was unafraid of the state’s power to muzzle his voice, willing to suffer prison rather than contradict his character and beliefs.

A man – a dissident –  willing to live his convictions in the face of a totalitarian regime, stay the course, and see its fall.