Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: America

Trump vs Clinton/Sanders America gets the choice that it has chosen

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Trump vs Clinton/Sanders America gets the choice that it has chosen

This is an unusual blog for me to talk about such a non-Christian issue as the upcoming election. I try not to get involved in side issues like this because they usually only cause division but I feel that as a first generation immigrant from Scotland who really has no say in the ballot box, this is really the only outlet for me to have my voice so please bear with me.

First – a piece of humor!

Politics is a combination of the following

“Poly” – Many
“Tics” – Blood sucking creatures

Makes sense now huh?

What is my bias?

I am a Brit abroad, deep in California and commenting on a legal immigrant basis who if you knew my history of my paternal grandfather voting all of his days for the Socialist Labour Party and my maternal grandfather being an active campaigner for the Labour party and a member of the NUR (National Union of Railwaymen) my father was also a union representative in the steelworks where he worked, I too had a union card in places where I have worked in Scotland so your first inclination is that I would favor the DNC nomination. If that is the case then read on…

I am not in fact in favor of the DNC nomination as I am actually more Conservative in my political views in the US. In Scotland I campaigned for the Scottish National Party in an effort to secure Scottish Independence and in the US if I was polled based on the beliefs of what would work best for America as a country I would state that I was Republican in nature.

Let me say at this point that neither party is exclusively the party of God (Again I could be funny and quote Psalm 12 – “the wicked walk on every side”) nor does either party represent uniquely “Godly politics” or I understand why people dependent on conscience would favor either party and I am more commonly seeing politicians no longer catering to my demographic, as the world has got more worldly we see the parties following what the popular tide is. It is no longer stating what you believe would be best for the country; it is more about what sells at the box office and will get your elected. The bill of sale for the souls of those involved has long since been redeemed.

Why do I care in the first place?

Because this is my home, the home country of my wife and the love of my life and also the home country of my daughter. Whilst I cannot truthfully be called an “American” as I was born in Britain I regard myself as a “New American” because I pay taxes here, contribute here and I have a heart for seeing America become great again.

What do I mean by American becoming great again?

I am not criticizing I truly am not, however if we look introspectively we know that things could be better and speaking uniquely from a Christian point of view I doubt very much whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will make all that much of a difference in our country because we as a nation need a revival where our hearts are turned to Jesus and I hold neither of these “political saviors” up as someone who will suddenly make America the greatest nation to live in again. There is a quote from the musical Evita that says “eventually we get the Government we deserve!” and you can make your own application from that!

I don’t want Trump and I don’t want Hillary!

As a Brit I really should start a “revokation of independence” petition due to your choice of nominees to be your leaders! (That was humor) However…

I am sorry Bernie but it is not likely you will get the DNC nod!

For me it is a two horse (or donkey) race for the White House and unless Donald Trump does something crazy like appoint Ted Cruz as his VP then I doubt the GOP will be united against him but let us look at the candidates one by one.

TRUMP – Not at all popular among many grass roots long term supporters of the GOP, this may be to his advantage or it may work against him, conversely some long term Republicans that I never in a million years would have thought were going to support him have thrown their weight behind Trump.

His supporters are caricatured as unknowledgeable, fed directly from Fox news and RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only) and has polarized a group called “NeverTrump” supporters. Folks who would normally have voted for a lamppost if it was up for nomination for the GOP ticket and should he win he would need to do so and convince those NeverTrump folks as well as a percentage of swing voters that he was the lesser of two evils between him and Clinton.

One thing is for sure, if you would rather “anyone but Clinton” then whilst he may not be your first choice, a vote for any other than Trump is most likely to result in a Clinton victory. She may very well win anyway but if the Republican base as a whole will not vote for the guy the party aligned themselves to then it will hand victory to the opponents because there is no organized replacement and if there remains none then it will split a vote and default victory will be a Democrat one.

CLINTON- Everyone knows the former First Lady and wife of the 42nd President William (Bill) Clinton and everyone knows her experience in a political setting in both State and National politics. She is not without controversy and she is a long standing “anti-Republican” and in my view would be the Republicans worst nightmare on Election Day should she be elected.

She knows the system, is very much part of Washington and also knows that as long as she debates above mediocre against Trump then the raging dumpster fire that is the split in the GOP vote will lead her to victory all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ironically if she does get convicted (highly unlikely I know) of wrongdoing through the email scandal before the elections would Bernie get a consolation prize of being allowed to run or would the nomination fall to Hillary’s VP nomination?

The problem as I see it

Is that I can no longer tell the difference between the Democrat and Republican parties! The Republicans are no longer the party that elected Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Regan (in beliefs or the fruit of those beliefs) has certainly not been great with their choice of nomination. I said in my last blog on this subject that if the GOP did not thin out the herd from the five candidates that were running at that point that a Trump victory was assured. Below is a quote from that article…

“Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.”

They have elected candidates that are more similar than they are different and I have not seen anything like this since 1997 in the British Elections for the Westminster Parliament where Tony Blair swept to victory as the UK fell for “New Labour” when they decided to abandon their formally socialist principles and out Conservative the Conservatives. It certainly worked as they were seen as the most viable alternative but since then they have been more alike to the Conservatives than they have been separate. Perhaps it is not just an American phenomenon maybe it is worldwide?

I chose to abstain or “no” vote

That is your democratic right as an American (or qualified citizen) and I would not condemn you for doing so because it is your right to use your vote in whatever fashion you wish. I do say though that in such a tight race this may be the few times where your vote may actually count. I would say this would be the same as when you change to Libertarian or Green from GOP or DNC as neither of those two parties really have a shot of getting the top job so you may be letting a candidate that you disagree more with getting in.

The choice as I see it

Is either Trump or Clinton, it is down to which one you despise least and honestly I see the dilemma because they are certainly not my choices and the DNC will favor Clinton because for the last 8 years we knew this was coming however the GOP have done this to themselves and due to that it may find itself unelectable in this election and America needs a balance. It needs a strong Republican Party (or at least a Conservative party) that will stand up for America. I hope this is not the beginning of the end for the GOP.

The only way to “make America great” again

Is TRUE REVIVAL, America needs to do what it says in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and “humble themselves and pray, then God will see from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land” We need redemption in this land, a true turning from our sins and accepting of the free gift that is our salvation through Jesus Christ and a true repentance from the wrongs we have done. We need to pray individually, as families, as communities and as cities from the lowest paid man in the city to the most affluent business man. From the homeless man who has nothing to the President who has everything, we need to all get right with the Lord and then we will become the greatest nation in the world again. The verse quoted is below…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

For me…that is waaaaay more important than who America elects to be the 45th President.

In closing

I am truly grateful I am not allowed to vote, I pray for you America because I know this is temporary and regardless of who is in the Oval Office I know that my King is Jesus.

God bless you all
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Super Tuesday – a foreigner’s view on the US Elections

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Well it’s here, a Super Tuesday with all the whizz, bang, razzle dazzle and pomp and circumstance you would expect from a day that could either make or break a campaign. I am a foreigner and cannot vote, I was born in Scotland and I take a keen interest in the UK political scene and I thought I would try my hand across the water in the race to see who will be President #45 of these great United States of America.

I love the circus of it all and how the politicians get out there a lot more than the leaders in the UK. (Possibly with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party) But the confusing part for a non-American is the color coding of the parties. America must be the only country in the world where the socialists are blue and the conservatives are red?

Obviously, unlike my other blogs there will be very few scriptures involved and this is mainly my opinion and I do encourage lively debate so if you think I am wrong then please call me on it and we will chat, if you belong to a group that thinks I am wrong then please share the link and whine about this article and what a mess I made of it and by the same token if you think I am right then please feel free to promote these fine words.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is a day that many delegates are up for grabs; in the 2016 race we have delegates up for grabs in the following states…

Alabama, Alaska, (Rep only) American Samoa, (Dem only) Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming (Rep only)

So you can see why it is a big deal huh? As far as the Republican election candidate goes it is a huge deal as 1237 delegates are up for grabs and if one candidate gets the lion share of these delegates then he will be on his way to the election ballot. As for the Democrats they have 880 up for grabs and with their race almost neck and neck then this could be a really important day for a choice to become clearer.

The Republican issue – too many candidates

Here is the issue if you are of the red persuasion, you have five candidates going into Super Tuesday and a candidate that many “traditional Republicans” would rather not have leading the pack, I am of course talking about Donald Trump.

In case you have been sleeping or not paying attention then here is the candidate list in alphabetical order so I cannot be accused of bias.

• Ben Carson
• Ted Cruz
• John Kasich
• Marco Rubio
• Donald Trump

In this pack we have three career politicians and two folks with no political experience with a successful businessman and a neurosurgeon being the non-politico candidates. At the moment it looks very much like a three horse race between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.

Trump is very much ahead at present and if you were a gambling man then you would be putting money on Trump being the nomination for President. If this is not what you want then the next section may be for you.

How do you solve a problem like Trump?

Trump is an interesting one, when I saw that he was running for President I assumed and quite wrongly that it was a PR stunt and that it would fizzle out in five minutes and we would get a more appropriate list of candidates soon. It wasn’t a PR stunt and he is playing the field rather well. The bluster that is Trump and the desire to talk a lot and not say very much may actually be his undoing if he is up against a competent Democrat candidate should he get the nomination.

So far he has captured the imagination not just of Republicans but if you believe the spin that is coming from the Trump camp then he has captures the votes of “ex-Obama Democrats” and “Reagan Democrats” and if that is the case then based on that information alone he would have the White House sown up. For me this could be a blessing or a curse as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.

Yes they want to win the White House, they have been 8 years in opposition and for the first time since George W Bush they have a candidate that appeals to the non-traditional or non-Republican voter. The worrying point as far as the Republicans are concerned is “How do you control Trump if he gets to be the party’s nomination and do the party line rather than the Trump line?

Lastly, his campaign has been a lot of bluster and he has stolen more column inches than any other candidate (even in this column) and he rarely answers a question in a concise and relevant fashion rather than how he currently answers by speaking until even he is sick of his own voice. I would love it if the answers were on point as to what was asked and answered based on honesty and how the problems can be resolved. All the candidates have been guilty of wanting to “blame the other guy” rather than take the lead and take charge of the question.

Coalition could be the Republican answer

Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.

Has Trump damaged the Republican line?

There are hardline Republicans out there who are asking voters to vote anyone but Trump and I know at least one lady who is a prominent Republican who has stated that she would write in a candidate as opposed to voting for Trump if he would become the Republican nominee. That is her democratic right to do so and I do wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. This is why I ask if Trump has done more harm than good? Is a Trump presidency too high a price to pay to get your party in the White House?

The Democrats are a simpler race

The Democrats in this case have it right in that they have a two horse (or donkey as their logo suggests) race with the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders. Of course the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed his old friend Hillary and I believe that regardless of the will of the people I believe that there will be only one nominee.

At the moment Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the polls and will be very hard to split even after Super Tuesday, unless Bernie has a collapse at the polls then the will of the people will be somewhat evenly split towards the candidates. Where Clinton has the upper hand is in what the Democrats call “Super Delegates” and these delegates are separate from the ballot box and carry some weight and could tip the scales in favor of the Clinton camp.

The only way I see Clinton not getting the nomination is if criminal proceedings are started on here prior to the culmination of the nomination process or if Clinton takes a hammering at the ballot box and Bernie is the “people’s choice”, then it would be foolish to go against the wishes of the very people you will be shortly asking to vote him into office.

What are my predictions for Super Tuesday and beyond?

Super Tuesday certainly will go a long way to securing the nomination on both sides of the electoral landscape, however I believe that for the aforementioned reasons above I think that the big winners on Super Tuesday will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and that will lead to a Trump vs Clinton battle in November.

Who will win? Who knows! I think that Trump could shade a Trump vs Clinton battle and would certainly have the upper hand if Sanders had the nomination, Clinton certainly fears Trump most as he is such a wild card. Whether that is what is best for the country, then who knows! That being said both Cruz and Rubio are capable candidates and speaking from a Christian point of view neither Democrat has lit my fire as an evangelical and of the front runners only Rubio and Cruz seem concerned with courting the evangelical vote on the Republican Party.

Please note that God is not the God or the Republican or Democrat Party and despite seeing things banded around recently questioning the faith of an individual if they vote for a certain candidate and that is ridiculous. I serve a God who is big enough to allow bad people to do good things. I don’t see that voting for a particular political party or candidate makes you any more or less Christian. (Unless of course if you are proposing a candidate that is staunchly anti-Christian)

It sure is a tough choice and I pray for you America, I love this country as my new home and I do want to see it do well. The things I look for in a candidate may not be what you look for and that is okay, the country was founded on liberty, truth and justice for all and it is your democratic right to cast your vote the way you see fit! I just plead with you as one without a voice; choose well for the rest of us!

In closing, a Scottish newspaper run an example of their thoughts on a Trump Presidency, feel free to check it out!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The ACTS Files – I know our wine is strong but it’s only 9 o’clock! – Acts 2: 5-13

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The ACTS Files – I know our wine is strong but it’s only 9 o’clock! – Acts 2: 5-13 – 01/18/2016

Acts 2:5 (ESV) Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this series of verses are probably the ones most quoted in a charismatic/speaking in tongues type assemblies and I have seen some great teachings on these verses and some not so great. My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse five…

V5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.

Pentecost attracted men from all parts of the earth who just had to be in Jerusalem at that appointed time. We see that they were not originally from there as they were “dwelling” and being there on a temporary basis, I would imagine they would have arrived for Passover and would leave after Pentecost, however they were there for a much more divine appointment to just celebrate a Jewish festival and this happened at the end of their time in Jerusalem. God ordained this to happen to the biggest audience possible that would disperse to their own lands with this new gospel. Look at how they were going to be touched by God…

V6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.

Let’s get this correct…THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE! This was the Tower of Babel reversed, God opened the ears of the people there supernaturally and they heard it spoken in words that they understood. I have no idea how they were seen by a multitude, perhaps they were on elevated ground, perhaps they were on a balcony, the text is not clear what is clear is the following…

• There was a sound that made the multitude come together
• It caused bewilderment that they spoke in their native tongue

Luke goes on to explain why…

V7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

They recognized these men as Galileans, possibly by their accent, possibly their dialect. Being a Scotsman in America, I speak the same language as the people who are from here but the way that I speak identifies me as Scottish.

This does not cause bewilderment, amazement or astonishment; they realize that as a business language I also speak English, this was a supernatural occurrence that God did for his glory. Luke goes to great lengths to explain the vast nature of the amount of possible tongues that would have been heard that day in verse nine…

V9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

What glory to God that so many different tongues were spoken and so many folks understood the message that was being given to them about the praises of God’s glory, God willing we will look at Peters Sermon which begins in Acts 2:14 and see what was being said to these people. God was outreaching both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians also. Everyone that was in attendance was able to hear about this Messiah!

Isn’t it amazing that God used men who were seen as uncultured, brash and uneducated? As a Scottish guy who barely passed high school with no college level education I am buoyed by this news that if you are willing, if you are where God wants you to be then he can use even the rawest of materials and turn them into something beautiful. In my case he used a man who was brash, uncouth, a drunkard who looked after number one (I could have been Galilean) and turned him into a man who lives to study and teach the word of God, a man who loves his wife and loves his daughter, what a testimony and what a Savior!

Based on what they had witnessed here, this was not your usual Pentecost! The people began to ask questions about what was going on around them, let’s look at verse twelve…

V12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

And here is where we get our title from, I actually blagged it from a musical hero of mine called Sammy Horner and a band he played in called “The Electrics” and they had a song called “Visions and Dreams” which many of their fans (well at least 5 of us) thought this was their Sargent Pepper or Bohemian Rhapsody. Anyways, waaaaay to long an introduction as usual!

The question they asked was a legitimate question, it was obvious that something supernatural was happening so a question of “what does this mean?” is not to unreasonable a question. This was not answered at this time but should we get to Peters sermon then you will see that Peter answers the question. They were accused of being drunk but as we read it was only the third hour of the day (9am) and it is not uncommon when God moves that he is mocked. I hope and pray that we get to the next article to hear Peters sermon.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Why good koinonia is required for sustained Christian growth

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Iron sharpens Iron

I have been blessed to have been strengthened recently by two friends that I met around February time and they have been a constant source of encouragement. We are three busy guys and often times the encouragement is in the form of a text message here there and a wee exhortation.

I have to admit that I am not all that complete at encouragement, I love to be encouraging but my follow up and follow through with people leaves a lot to be desired. This is regrettable as when I was helping out at a mission’s church plant at Calvary Chapel in Glasgow, I was “Mr. Let’s get together” or “Mr. Koinonia” and I was always keen to either have folks over or trample on others hospitality. In short I loved being around believers who were a blessing to my soul.

When I arrived in America this was not the case, the homeland (US) churches are not set up that way. People have lives, people have jobs, people have families, spending time with their Christian brothers and sisters slides further and further down the priority list.

The need for Koinonia

Not all Christians have it easy, we all struggle with different things! When I was a “baby Christian” I used to say all the time “Why do they struggle with that?” and then it came to me (I believed that it was revealed by God) that perhaps the stuff that I had issues with they didn’t and vice versa.

This is why I believe that good quality koinonia is really important, you have to find people not only that you can disciple to, but we all need to be ministered too. Even Pastors go to conferences to be ministered to so why shouldn’t I as a layperson require any less.

My psyche is such that I need to be challenged, need to have a goal to aim towards so I look and seek out men that can help me, talk things over and grow in God. I am blessed to have found two such men in “Bob” and “Chris” (I hope they won’t mind that I mention them by name) but the three of us have taken upon ourselves to encourage one another and Bob set a challenge this month to have memorized the three following verses:

Romans 6:7 (ESV) – For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Romans 6:14 (ESV) – For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 8:12 (ESV) – So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

The idea of going through scripture together is a good one, it gives a scriptural point of order to talk from, we can share viewpoints that will both challenge us and help us grow. Growing together is good because of the bond it creates. Fellowships that grow together are more likely to have committed serving members that will go that extra mile to evangelize and bring the Word of God to more and more people.

What I get out of this

Well I get two different things from both guys, Chris is simply inspirational, he is slow to speak, but when he does it is well thought out and he is much more mature than I am, he has a shedload of knowledge but more importantly, he has wisdom. Chris is a worship leader and he has a worship leader’s heart. Bob on the other hand is simply an inspiration, this guy is an evangelist, and he is a walking, talking billboard for Jesus. He is not boastful but he spreads inspiration wherever he goes. he can’t meet a stranger without trying to introduce them to Jesus. He has this bag which is chock full of stuff that he uses to share the gospel! Awesome stuff

What they get out of me?

I don’t actually know! Funny stories maybe? I hope that I bring something to the proverbial table, but they seem to like me for who I am which is awesome! I have truly missed the great koinonia since being in a close knit fellowship where we were bummed if we didn’t spend time with each other as often as possible.

In the book of Proverbs we are told that “iron sharpens iron” and we were never meant to walk the Christian life alone, I have my wonderful wife who is way more than I deserve, but sometime I need some “guy time” (My wife feels the same with “girl time”) as it is good for the soul.

If you are a guy that is leading his home properly as a good and Godly leader of the home then the stresses of leadership will wear on you, sometimes you need that “peer refreshment” and it can be anything, can be a baseball game, can be hunting, can be Starbucks, could even be through text messages, but sometimes you just need to open the word with the boys. (Or girls if you are a lady)

I don’t have anyone

If you don’t then don’t be a lone wolf! The scriptures advise that “where two or three are gathered” not “when someone goes it alone” we all have issues, we all have struggles so let’s be accountable to one another and lets be real at church. That is the one place where we should be confident of not being judged and being loved.

God bless and I hope that this was a blessing, please feel free to share and comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE