Photo by Rosemary Ketchum
Here is a collection of some instances of gaslighting that took place during Night #1 of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). You will find snippets from the following people: Tom Perez, Pastor Frederick Haynes III, panelists of the DNC Caucus Youth Council, Gwen Carr, Ayana Pressley, Eva Longoria, Amy Klobuchar, Gretchen Whitmer, Muriel Bowser, Andrew Cuomo, Kristin Urquiza, and the contradicting duo of John Kasich and Bernie Sanders.
Each section is broken down by the speaker, what was said, and why what was said is sheer and utter nonsense.
NIGHT #1 MESSAGE: The Democratic Party are the purveyors of unity and empathy (or so they want you to believe); and hatred of Donald Trump is the glue that is holding the Party together.
WHAT WAS MISSING FROM NIGHT #1: Any discussion of President Trump’s actual policies; also, any unity whatsoever.
PHASE ONE: PRE-PRIMETIME
Tom Perez, DNC Chairman
“The input from Senator Sanders
and others was invaluable to putting
[the Democratic Party platform] together.”
In other words, the socialism of Bernie Sanders IS a major driving force behind the ideology of the Democrat Party. They are a radical leftist party.
Pastor Frederick Haynes III
Um… Pastor? Open your borders or you’re going to hell is one way to reach the religious in this country. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very effective way. Considering that the Bible is riddled with support for nations having borders, I don’t think Jesus would stand behind this message… but that’s just me. It is worth noting that Pastor Haynes has historically offered praise to Louis Farrakhan, the infamous, anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam.
DNC Caucus and Council Meeting: Youth Council
One panelist encouraged people to “stand or kneel” at home for the National Anthem.
One panelist said:
This is the future of the Democratic Party. It is not “moderate” Joe Biden. It is full-fledged AOC. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s Mother
Regarding the rioting on behalf of BLM, she said:
“We can’t let things settle down.”
So, straight up… let the rioting, looting, and burning down of our cities continue. In the name of racial equality, burn down these cities and injure these policemen. She says this as though somehow, that is going to make things right. Lawlessness does not bring justice, and to say that we must continue the lawlessness because it will bring about a positive end is irresponsible and completely false.
Please don’t misinterpret my words here. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a child, and I pray that this mother has since found peace. I sympathize with her, but I do not condone this message. It is shameful. What is even more shameful is that the Democratic Party felt the need to prop her up like this as a still-grieving mother and exploit the death of her son even further, simply to continue the forwarding of their sick, corrupt defense of this riotous behavior on display in our major cities.
Ayana Pressley, least important member of The Squad
“...communities from Boston to Portland
and everywhere in between are rising up to demand
accountability and divestment from broken systems…”
We now equate breaking the law to rising up? Where is the accountability for the rioters? Burning down federal buildings and injuring federal and local officers in Portland for nearly three months now is not acceptable. Telling police officers to stand down and not do their jobs of protecting their communities is not acceptable. Nothing about what is happening in these Democrat-led cities and others is praiseworthy.
PHASE TWO: PRIMETIME
I would just like to note here that the primetime slot began with Joe Biden’s grandchildren leading the Pledge of Allegiance. On Night #2 of the DNC, two different DNC Caucuses also led the Pledge of Allegiance and omitted the words “under God.” Another instance of gaslighting: two different messages being promulgated based on majority viewership at given times.
Eva Longoria (Why?)
“The past four years have left us
as a Nation diminished and divided.”
First off… Why are we being chided by a washed-up Desperate Housewives star? That’s strange. Now, if you don’t believe that we were diminished and divided both during and after 8 years of Obama and his racially-motivated bullying of the American people, then it’s no wonder you bought in to all that is to follow.
So… This is the message. We’re not angry, we’re just disappointed, like they are our parents. It’s all a play on the American emotions. They’re so nice… listen to the nice things they’re saying, as though the Democratic Party is the uniter of this country. Never mind the fact that nearly every major Democrat-run city in America has been looted and burned to the ground over the last two months.
Never mind the countless times that the leaders of their party have stood and called America a bitter, evil, racist country filled with bigoted, terrible people. Never mind the fact that their party still disputes the election in 2016. Never mind the fact that their members are still actively canceling everyone that they disagree with. They’re uniting us all. Shut up and believe it. They are the bringers of unity. We were all united and happy, singing kumbaya until Orange Man Bad was elected, right?
Amy Klobuchar, US Senator of MN
I’m not even going to discuss her weird 4-minute time slot. I just want to remind everyone that she won MANY more votes than Kamala Harris in the primaries but is somehow not the VP candidate–likely because she is white. #equality
Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of MI
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will lead by example…”
Leading by example is obviously very important to Gov. Whitmer, since Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states from COVID-19 (ranked 9th at that time). This is mostly due to Whitmer’s policy for her state to send people with Covid back into nursing homes, just like Andrew Cuomo did in NY. Also–if Joe will lead by example, why hasn’t he done so in the 50 years he has been in American politics? He has nothing to show for himself. Gaslighting.
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of DC
Just as a reminder, Mayor Bowser is most famous at this point for painting slogans for BLM on sidewalks while the black people in her city are being shot and killed on the daily. I suppose that’s the “do something” that she is calling for, but it definitely isn’t stopping people from getting shot.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of NY and the King of Gaslighting
Let’s keep in mind that this man presided over the biggest Covid massacre in the country, and the single largest loss of life by illness seen in a single state in decades. Yet, he was presented at the DNC (and has been for months at this point) as the hero of the pandemic. He was asked to speak on the successes and failures of the pandemic. As Ben Shapiro wittily put it, “it’s like trotting out the captain of the Titanic to talk about avoiding icebergs.”
Yeah, it’s not a metaphor. Are the NUMBER OF DEATHS in NY alone -- thanks to his garbage policy -- a metaphor? It’s a metaphor for his awesome leadership, apparently. At that time, NY had the second worst death per million rate in the country, just below NJ.
“As [the White House] proved that
their way failed, we proved that
our way succeeded.”
Disregarding how the White House handled or mishandled anything, Andrew Cuomo being trotted out as a success story in reference to Covid is one of the greatest instances of gaslighting that has probably ever occurred in our country’s political history. This is sheer nonsense. Don’t forget that time when ALL state governors, including ole Cuomo, praised Trump’s administration for getting ventilators and PPE to them quickly and efficiently when they asked for it. “He has delivered for New York. He has.” They are gaslighting us all.
Kristin Urquiza, a Latino American lady whose dad died of Covid
“[My dad’s] only preexisting condition
was trusting Donald Trump, and for that
he paid with his life.”
So… because her dad supported the President, Covid chose him and took his life. That is one smart, discriminatory virus. By that logic, only Trump supporters are at risk of Covid infection, all the people who died in NY were Republicans, and you’re in the clear if you never listen to Trump. That’s strange, considering every single state in this country leading the Covid death toll is a Blue state, save Mississippi. This is a shameless twisting of the facts simply to make a play on the emotions of the viewer. It is a poorly executed attempt to land a punch on the POTUS that is completely baseless and senseless.
John Kasich vs. Bernie Sanders: the Antithesis of Unity
John Kasich, in a nutshell: former Governor of Ohio, 3rd-place finisher to Trump and Ted Cruz in the 2016 RNC primaries, now CNN contributor, supporter of the Trump impeachment. More recently, he was called a traitor in an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune for his efforts against President Trump’s reelection in 2020.
In other words... This guy is the worst. He is the definition of RINO. Democrats, you can have him! We can’t stand him.
Kasich’s situation on Night #1 is a weird one, because the DNC chose to have Bernie Sanders follow him in the lineup. Nearly every statement by Kasich was in blatant contradiction with the statements of Sanders. Kasich fought for the moderacy of the Democratic Party, and then Bernie came in like a radical wrecking ball repeatedly. Here’s an example.
Kasich on the possibility of Joe going hard-left:
“I don’t believe that,
because I know the measure of the man.
He’s reasonable, faithful, respectful.
No one pushes Joe around.”
Sanders on literally pushing Joe around:
“Our campaign ended several months ago, but our movement continues and is getting stronger every day. Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered ‘radical,’ are now mainstream.”
This is more than a little bit conflicting. Kasich says the party is still moderate, and they won’t go radical. Bernie then assures everyone that... No... we are radical, and that ideology is now mainstream and acceptable. Remember, I have already mentioned that Tom Perez kicked off the event by telling us that Bernie wrote the DNC platform.
Biden might have run on a moderate platform through the primaries, but he has since gone full progressive with the help of Bernie Sanders. Don’t let them tell you differently. Also, maybe no one pushed Joe around 10 or 20 years ago, but he has been pushed around openly for the last six months; most recently, Joe was pushed into choosing Kamala Harris as VP when a better choice would have been someone like Klobuchar or even Mayor Pete who actually, you know, earned a vote in the primaries, unlike fun-aunt/narc Kamala.
I can’t speak to anything further that Bernie said because listening to him makes me physically ill. But, it is worth noting that the majority of his time was dedicated to discussing the abnormality of President Trump. Hearing this from an octogenarian communist who has praised Castro and nearly every other dictator made me very, very glad he is the one the DNC rolled out to talk about normality.
So what is the takeaway? Biden is a moderate, but he’s also a radical. It makes so much sense that it absolutely makes no sense at all.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NIGHT #1
The Democratic Party emotionally advocated over and over for unity and empathy while simultaneously and consistently undermining Donald Trump and woke-scolding the American people. They convey such conviction and urgency about the state of our nation while they supervise and encourage the rioters who are actively burning it to the ground. They stop police from protecting their citizens while filing felony charges against the citizens who take it on themselves to protect themselves and their property. This is an outrage. This is not the party of unity–it is the party of division. This is not the party of empathy–it is the party of shaming, berating, endangering, belittling, and gaslighting the citizens that elected them to serve us. And this must stop.
By E.J. Cox | TRINICY.org | Volume I Issue IV
To the Legion of Christ: These are unprecedented times. I never thought that I would live to see the day that going to church in the United States of America would be considered dangerous or reckless or somehow immoral. When the State government of Nevada would encourage the casinos and strip clubs to stay open but try to keep the churches closed. When liquor stores and abortion clinics would be propped as essential to the health of the nation but the church would be considered as dangerous to the national health. When National, State and Local leaders are calling for the closure of the churches but are outwardly supporting rioting and acts of violence, it is time for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ to stand in defiance of Caesar.
What is even more concerning to me are the Christians, especially those of my generation, who would value perceived safety over their duty to worship Christ and fellowship together. When has the Church ever allowed itself to be intimidated by slander, loss of popularity, or threats of fines or imprisonment? How shall the Church have been created if Christ had refused the Cross? How shall the early Church have been fed if Paul had allowed himself to be silent to avoid imprisonment? Let us not forget the countless saints who were thrown to the lions in the Colosseum, who were burned alive, who were sawn in two, and who were crucified. The American Church has grown so soft from lack of persecution. Don’t misunderstand me, I am glad that we in the American church have had such freedom, unknown to the history of the church, but we have become weak from a lack of persecution. What is worse, too many in the American church desire earthly friendship, peace, and comfort more than they value their fellowship with their fellow soldiers in Christ.
Lastly, when did the Church of Jesus Christ become so afraid of death? We are called to be above the fear of death. Whether it be from a virus, cancer, disease, nature, or our fellow man, we are called to embrace death. I chafe under the constant use of phrases, such as “Until it’s safe.” Safety is an illusion! I am sorry to say it but death is an ever-present character in your life. It may strike you at any moment! There is no escape from it and there is no way to truly prevent it or escape from the reaper’s grip. For what reason should the follower of Christ fear death? As the apostle Paul wrote “For to live is Christ and to die is gain”! The more expediently you can embrace this simple fact, the more expediently you will live without fear of death.
I therefore issue a call to you, my fellow soldiers, my brothers and sisters, my friends:
STAND FIRM AND UPRIGHT IN YOUR DEFIANCE OF TYRANNY!
Our Christian duty is to obey government as long as it follows the edicts of God. However, as Paul also wrote, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” We must determine that we will die on this hill my friends. If we allow ourselves to be cowed and persuaded to abandon our duty to God in the interest of perceived safety, we will allow ourselves to be persuaded little by little to not meet at all. I encourage you to have no fear, to look persecution, slander, loss of popularity and social acceptance in the face and laugh. These concepts are so temporary in comparison to the wondrous and eternal acceptance and love we have in the arms of our Savior. We will not be scared of a virus, whose supposed danger has been used as a political tool to divide and weaken our body and our country. We will not allow the media, either or professional or social, to dissuade us from our Holy mission. Let it be recorded in the history books that the Western Church stood in defiant obedience to Christ. No King but King Jesus!
Legionnaires, Soldiers, stand firm and keep the Phalanx!
One of the most overwhelming truths about our existence is that everything is subject to the limitations of time: the glory of empires meet their fatidic end; the glory of heroes turn into a faint memory, and all creatures come and go. These were probably the thoughts of Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, when he stated the famous maxim "Panta Rhei," which means everything flows. He was a peculiar philosopher, in that he was most likely prone to depression. Hs obscure views of the world were possibly a result of him internalising more than other people of his time about the hopelessness of this world.
But should we, Christians, fall prey to feelings of nostalgia and melancholy? Even though for some more than for others, being optimistic is a hard endeavour, we ought to see time as working always to our advantage! Indeed, the word of God says in 1 John 2:17, "The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
We look and boldly run ahead, knowing every second is a step closer to Heaven! All the things we do have eternal consequences. The relationships we build with our brothers and sisters in Christ will endure forever, because we, His Bride, were made to last forever! Nothing is lost, everything is gained.
By Anonymous | TRINICY.org
It is no secret that racial tensions in the United States have increased palpably over the last few months - an increase that was catalyzed by the death of George Floyd. That’s not to say, of course, that these tensions were nonexistent before this happened. Nonetheless, this incident spurred the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter organization and nationwide protests condemning police brutality against black Americans.
Within these protests, (speaking specifically about those which are being peacefully conducted), the participants often hold signs or chant in unison some of the following slogans:
"Color isn’t a crime"
"If we don’t get justice, shut it down"
"If you’re not livid, you’re not listening"
"All cops are bad"
"It has been time for change"
"This is what democracy looks like"
Overlooking the blatant issues with some of these slogans, the message being conveyed tells a lot about what these protestors are feeling.
These people are hurting. They want change. They want to put an end to racism in this country. They do not want to read any more stories about black Americans being killed unjustly at the hands of the police. Those are noble, reasonable causes. I believe that 99.999% of Americans want the same things for our country.
IF WE ALL WANT CHANGE, THEN WHY CAN'T WE BRIDGE THE GAP AND AGREE?
Despite this overwhelming support, deterrents still exist that prevent every American from jumping on board with the BLM organization’s views for how these changes should take place. One of these fundamental deterrents is how we as a politically, ethnically, and religiously diverse collective of American citizens view racism as a whole.
With that said, I won’t pretend that I understand the way that a black American in 2020 feels when he or she sees a confederate flag, nor will I belittle him or her for the pain that he or she feels when an act of blatant racism is committed against someone of their ethnic group. However, let me be clear that I do not subscribe to the condemnation of an entire group, or our country as a whole, because of the actions of an individual.
When these claims of racism are hurled at any group or nation as a whole, the cause for which the protestors march is delegitimized for many Americans. That is the point at which many protestors lose both the sympathy and attention of their fellow Americans on this issue.
If we cannot agree on what racism is or who is racist, then where do we go from here?
ONE WORD TO DEFINE RACISM, AND WHY IT ISN'T ACKNOWLEDGED.
Consider briefly a scenario in which all citizens of this country agreed on the aforementioned points, which are summed up in this one statement: no group or nation as a whole is racist; instead, individuals within a group or nation can be racist. Surely, if everyone subscribed to that statement, then and only then can we make real change in this country towards ending racism… right? Sadly, still no.
The eradication of racism in this country or the world as a whole is not achievable by human power. Racism cannot be legislated away. It cannot be forced, marched, or protested away. It cannot be removed by payment of reparations.
This is outside of human control, because racism is synonymous for sin. While you will not find the word racism in the Scriptures explicitly, the Bible has a lot to say on the issue.
These points provide a brief Biblical explanation for the way Bible-believing Christians view racism. It is not an issue unique to the United States – it is a sinful condition that was spoken of throughout the Bible (for example, the Jews and Samaritans hated each other). Christians understand that sin is the inherent problem of the heart for all mankind, and racism is no exception. The removal of sin comes only by acknowledgement and repentance of said sin.
Again, I ask: if we are unable to fix the problem ourselves, where do we go from here?
IF FIXING RACISM IS OUTSIDE OF HUMAN ABILITY, THEN WE NEED HELP APART FROM OURSELVES.
If only we had the power to fix our own sin – how much simpler this would all be. If every anti-racism law currently on the books in America had the power to eradicate racism within our borders, then we would no longer experience racism. What is one more law going to fix?
There’s only one Man with the power to save us from our sin (and from each other – Acts 26:17), and He isn’t a member of the United States Congress.
1 John 1:8-10 claims that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us if we confess those sins. The hatred and anger that lead to racism are not excluded – they are forgivable. Their removal requires that we acknowledge them in each of our lives. If we fail to acknowledge sin, then Scripture says that we are fooling ourselves.
Complementary to this forgiveness of sins is that, though we are forgiven, we will still sin. The difference is that those who have been forgiven are no longer slaves to sin. Paul says in Romans 6:11-14 that we shall no longer be mastered by sin because we are covered by grace.
This may seem strange to someone who has not experienced the grace of Jesus. If Salvation saves us from sin but does not remove sin from our lives, then what is the point of being a Christian? If hatred and anger still have free rein on this earth and cause havoc, pain, and destruction in spite of Jesus’s death, then why believe in a Savior who did not end all sin?
UTOPIA IS COMING, BUT NOT BEFORE JESUS RETURNS.
The attempts to legislate toward the end of racism, injustice, and other forms of discrimination are futile and often unsuccessful for the very reasons we have discussed. For those who make this legislation and participate in the protests, what is the ultimate goal?
These people want to create a sinless earth. However, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Satan is the god of this world; therefore, sin and hatred will always reign over the earth. Likewise, Philippians 3:20 tells us that this earth is not, nor was it ever meant to be our home.
The earth as we know it will never be perfect. It will never be free of hatred. It will never be free of racism. Nothing apart from God Himself is perfect (Mark 10:18).
But that isn’t the end of the story.
There is coming a day in which God will provide for His people a sinless existence with Him in the place that He has promised to us. Isaiah 65:17-25 lays out beautifully the utopia that God has promised for us. In this passage, God says that He will create new heavens and a new earth, and that we are to rejoice and be glad forever in that.
That is why Jesus came. That is why we believe in Him. That is why we hold fast to the truth of Jesus and who He is in light of a broken world. That is why we know that He is sovereign over all the sin and shame and racism on this earth.
INJUSTICE WILL NOT LAST, BUT HOPE IN HIS KINGDOM WILL.
Earlier, I mentioned that I personally am unable to relate to the feelings of racial injustice held by the protestors. But Scripture tells us that Jesus suffered one of the greatest injustices in the history of the world. He committed no sin. He committed no punishable offense. He did no wrong. And yet, those in power during His day allowed their hatred and jealousy to dictate their actions, leading them to murder an innocent Man. Barring the fact that Jesus was the only perfect human to ever walk the earth, the motivations in both Jesus’s death and the racially-motivated deaths we see today are the exact same. He understands your pain.
While I wish that I were able to remove this pain for my fellow Americans, the fact remains that neither a law, nor a conversation, nor a protest, nor a roundtable, nor a reparation has the power to change anyone’s heart.
I am glad that we have a Savior who died for the reconciliation of our hearts and not individual races. I am glad He understands our pain and that He gives us hope for the future.
There is only one place where racism is eradicated: in the heart. That eradication only comes about by accepting the gift of Salvation that Jesus so freely gives through His death on the cross. That Salvation gives us hope for the utopia that is to come. Galatians 5:5 so perfectly says it: through the Spirit and by faith, we are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
THE NINE-FLAVORED FRUIT DEVOTIONAL SERIES
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
Many of us have walked down the Mall in Washington DC on a hot summer day, and climbed the steps to enter into the National Gallery of Art. The refreshing air conditioning revives the body, while the art inside revives the soul! Here are just a few of the masterpieces. If they aren’t familiar, I urge you to plan a trip there either virtually or in person.
But how many of us would mistake this painting by the famous Pablo Picasso as real fruit? This fruit, while a very famous still-life painting, is not a realistic substitute for, nor even a representation of fruit. You could not, nor would you want to, pluck an apple from it and expect it to refresh or satisfy. So it is with the Christian life. The satisfaction of it does not come from mimicking the spiritual fruit that the Apostle Paul describes in Galatians 5. You see, the nine characteristics, or ‘flavors,’ are the spiritual product in our lives that God Himself produces. That is, if we walk in the power and presence of the indwelling Spirit of God. The nine characteristics of this fruit include the ‘flavor’ Peace. To measure our understanding of, commitment to and whether Spirit-produced Peace is present in our lives, let’s look at it in “3-D”!
1st “DIMENSION” - PEACE WITH GOD
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
Before we can experience and enjoy the peace of God, we must first be at peace with God. Man once walked with God in perfect fellowship and friendship. But because of sin, man entered into an enemy relationship with God. There is a wall called “sin” between God and man. Man must be reconciled to God, not God to man. Man must be brought back to God as it was man who moved, not God! Because of the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross where He paid the required payment for sin, man can now be reconciled and justified freely! It is when I was justified by faith (God now looks at me ‘just-(as)if-I’d’ never sinned!) that I can renew a friendship-type relationship with God who, because of my rebellion, had become my enemy. Are you the enemy of God, or the friend of God?!
2nd “DIMENSION” - PEACE OF GOD
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Once we have made peace with God, it is then that He can give us the very peace of God! The feelings of anxiety plague our hearts and minds. However, we are unable to change how we feel. Has anyone, even a well-intended friend, or Bobby McFerrin himself, ever told you, “Don’t worry, be happy!” or, “Cheer up, Charlie!”? The train of Life, the engine of Fact, and the coal car of Faith will pull the caboose of Feelings. Trying to drive a train with the powerless caboose of Feelings will, quite literally, get you nowhere!! No one can change how they feel by an act of the will. What we can do, according to Philippians 4:8-9, is to think rightly and do rightly, and our feelings of Peace will follow.
3rd “DIMENSION” - PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER
“Live in peace with one another.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13b
Yes, we are told to live in peace with other people, but what about that parent who just doesn’t understand your circumstances?! What about that ‘bff?’ Who is testing the ‘b’ part, or the ‘f’ part, or the other ‘f’ part?! We must love one another, but if someone is not likeable, that is not our part! While we are to “Pursue peace with all men” Hebrews 12:14a, we are also told in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” God is able to be at peace with you, give you His peace, and be your friend. Don’t you think He might empower you to do the same with others who are hard to live with...just like you?!
Father, thank you for befriending me, when my heart was so far from you. Thank you for giving me peace that no one else could give, because only you understand. And father, thank you for __(name of someone I should be a friend to)__ in my life, because, by grace, you have accepted someone like me. In the name of the Prince of Peace, Amen.”
Original watercolor painting by Ruxandra Ionce
My grandma used to tell me I should learn how to be alone with myself. Everyone of us will go through seasons of loneliness and isolation for reasons beyond our control. These can be terrifying times, mostly because loneliness does not allow us to camouflage those deep places of our soul that we so successfully cover up with the noises of modern life.
God often uses these times to confront us with the raw state of our souls, to confront us with who we actually are and what we actually have. In solitude, God worked in the lives of the heroes of faith sculpting, refining, and perfecting their characters and purifying their souls. In isolation, on the small island of Patmos, God revealed to John the future glory of the church.
Isolation can be contemplative, peaceful, pleasant. God gave us the gift of imagination to use it according to Philippians 4:8 and fill our minds with beautiful and noble things. We do not suffer more today because our problems are greater than before. Instead, we suffer because the world is too loud and we lose control of the things we let in.
We were made to live in a garden, surrounded by God's creations. However, for many of us it is not physically possible to escape our urban environment. There is a solution: we have Christ with us, beside us, around us. We can use our imagination to better comprehend the reality of Christ being next to us, to contemplate His beauty, and the work of His hands.
THE NINE-FLAVORED FRUIT DEVOTIONAL SERIES
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
Paul wrote to the Believers in Galatia, now in modern day Turkey, about the dangers of legalism. He warned them that the gospel, plus works, was no gospel at all! We are also instructed that growing in the Christian life is not a matter of human strength, but of supernatural empowerment. As we ‘branches’ draw our daily life from Jesus, the Vine, the Spirit of God will produce in our lives the nine-flavored Fruit of the Spirit, one of the ‘flavors’ being JOY.
This delicious flavor, craved by any who have ever tasted sadness, hopelessness or sorrow, is often disguised and served up as ‘happiness,’ These two flavors, while similar in appearance, can be worlds apart. Just bite into a grapefruit when you are expecting an orange! Remember, “grin and bare it” is not Joy...it is a sham. True Joy is experienced when we see things God’s way. The letter of Paul to the Believers in Philippi mentions the word, form or root of the word “JOY” fourteen times. To measure our understanding of, commitment to and whether Spirit-produced Joy is present in our lives, let’s look at it in “3-D”!
1st “D” - DEMANDED
In Philippians 4:4, Paul tells the believers, “Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I will say, rejoice!” Paul does not ask, or suggest that we rejoice. He demands it! Who does he think he is, telling people to be happy?! Wait, he is not telling them to be happy. He tells them to rejoice. Paul was under house arrest, chained to a rotating group of assigned palace guards, and robbed of his freedom. When he was in prison, probably in stocks sitting in his own excrement, what did he do? He burst into song, singing songs of praise to God. He didn’t do this because he was happy, but because his JOY was greater. Happiness is based on our circumstances, on happenstance, on what is happening to us. JOY is based on Who we know. If we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) then we no longer need to be “under these circumstances,” but instead we can live with God’s perspective of our lives...from above, with JOY!
2nd “D” - DELAYED
In Philippians 2:16, Paul says how glad and grateful he is the Philippian Christians are clinging to and being faithful to the Word of God, to the end that, in the future, when the Day of Christ comes, that Paul’s JOY will be full, seeing that his life and labor and investing in them was not in vain, and that it mattered! Have you ever wondered if living the life you are called to in Christ is worth it? Thinking no one cares about your faithfulness to Jesus?! Dear brother and sister, Jesus said in Matthew 25:23 that one day, as you have been a faithful servant, He will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant...Enter into the JOY of your Lord!” Even Jesus endured the infinite agony of the cross for future JOY; “for the JOY that was set before Him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
“Runner when the road is long
Feel like giving in, but you're hanging on
Oh runner, when the race is won
You will run into His arms”
-Runner by Twila Paris
3rd “D” - DELIGHT
True JOY must be expressed. Over and over in the Word we see that JOY is uncontainable! Praise, singing, dancing, shouting and even silence in the face of “indescribable joy”! As we are able to express the JOY that is ours in Christ. In spite of our circumstances, our happiness that has been missing has a chance to rise and join with the JOY that is greater. It will bring a personal reality and gladness that warms the soul! Is there anything more joyous than a wedding? It is comparable to the delight the bride experiences as she unites with her long awaited groom. “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Solomon 2:3) This is the Fruit called JOY.
Happiness is wonderful! Joy is greater!
“Lord, help me to find my JOY in living my life in Your Word, in my life in light of the soon return of your Son, and in the delight that comes from pleasing you, my Father!”
Photo credit: George Frances Schreiber
Frederick Douglass and the Fourth of July
On July 5, 1852, abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass took the stage at the Women’s Abolition Society in Rochester, New York. The oration that followed would not only be one of Douglass’s most remembered, but also one of America’s most remembered. The speech is often quoted among academic figureheads and celebrities alike. On the surface, it is often presented as an indictment of America. How well, however, do its critics actually know the speech? Furthermore, are Americans actually being given the entire content of the speech?
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery circa 1818, in or near Cordova, Maryland. At an early age, he escaped from slavery and headed north where he eventually joined the Boston Abolition Society. Douglass later moved to Rochester, New York where he became a newspaper editor. A talented writer and orator, Douglass was later referred to as the most influential African-American of the Nineteenth Century. In his time, slavery was the greatest evil and the most controversial political subject. Throughout the first half of the Nineteenth Century, much tension surrounding the issue of slavery occurred. Various compromises were introduced in an effort to prevent secession or war. The United States gained much of its Western territory following the Mexican-American War in 1848. This further complicated the slavery question, continuing to polarize the anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: HOLIDAY OF HATE?
In today’s age, the Progressive Left often asserts that celebrating the Fourth of July means to celebrate slavery and inequality. In their point of view, because slavery and racial inequality were present at the time of the American founding, it is wrong to honor a day of independence when not all people were actually free. Progressives insist America’s founding in general, with all its components - Declaration of Independence and Constitution included - were made only for White men.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech titled, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? For many, this oration is both viewed and used as an anti-American speech. Take, for example, the following excerpt, often used on social media: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national Independence?...This Fourth of July is yours, not mine...There is not a nation on earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.” On the surface, this speech may seem as if Douglass was condemning American patriotism. In actuality, a thorough reading of its entirety reveals something different. Once the speech is fully examined, the reader may be surprised to learn that Douglass was condemning the evils practiced in America during his day, while simultaneously casting support to the founders, Declaration, and Constitution.
THE NATION’S RINGBOLT
At the start of the speech, Douglass acknowledged the importance of Independence Day to Americans, and called the Declaration of Independence the ringbolt to the chain of the nation’s destiny. He stated, “The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.” Douglass then turns his attention to the founders. Today, many progressives reject the founders and downplay their intellect. Douglass, however, held a different view of them.
He said: “Fellow citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too - great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not certainly the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots, and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. They loved their country better than their own private interests...Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests. They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny...With them, justice, liberty, and humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times. How circumspect, exact, and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour!”
ADDRESSING THE PRESENT
Following his vindication of the founders and the principles enshrined in the Declaration, Douglass turned his attention to the present. Slavery was, without dispute, the greatest moral and political issue in 1852. This is where Douglass began to stir the fiery passions among his fellow anti-slavery advocates. Since the 1830s, various politicians - notably within the Democratic Party - had embraced John C. Calhoun’s view of slavery. This belief asserted that slavery was a “positive good.” That is, good for both the master and the slave.
Douglass whole-heartedly renounced this view, stating no one would possibly declare slavery to be good for their own selves. Douglass went on to make the claim that it was time for citizens to act in order to abolish slavery. In other words, it was time to shine the spotlight on the nation’s wrongdoing. To accomplish this, Douglass returned to the country’s most celebratory day, and asked: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in a year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham…” Douglass continues to state that America is without rival when it comes to boasting about liberty, yet keeping people in bondage.
At certain points, Douglass definitely hits home. For instance, at one point, he remarked, “You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill...You can bear your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the Black laborers of your country.”
CALLING OUT THE ENABLERS
Douglass then turned his attention to those who allowed slavery to reach its current condition. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act. This proved a further blow to anti-slavery advocates and provided no legal safe haven for those seeking refuge from bondage. Douglass referred to this as slavery being “nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form.” He commented that all states had now become a hunting ground and that true liberty was in peril. Douglass then commented on religious liberty, as well as the fact that the church was often responsible for remaining silent on slavery.
It is an unfortunate fact that, historically, the greatest opposition to liberty occasionally came from people within the religious establishment who twisted scripture to fit their own agenda. Douglass said, “A worship that can be conducted by persons who give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as ‘scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier-matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith.’” Douglass remarked that churches that preached pro-slavery messages were even more dangerous than the infidel writings of figureheads such as Thomas Paine. A paraphrase of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is sugar-coated preaching is dangerous to your soul.
A GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT
One thing that both pro-slavery Democrats and Radical Republicans seemed to agree on was that the spirit of the U.S. Constitution protected and condoned slavery. One prominent abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, deemed the Constitution a “covenant with death and an agreement with Hell.” How did Frederick Douglass hold up on this issue?
During his younger years, Douglass agreed with Garrison and other radical abolitionists. Like them, he viewed the Constitution as a document that encouraged property ownership of slaves. By 1852, however, his view had shifted entirely. He stated, “interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? Is it in the temple?
It is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be by its framers and adopters a slave-holding document, why neither slavery, slaveholding, or slave can be found anywhere in it.” Douglass later said, “Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”
SEEKING JUSTICE AMID DARK DAYS
Douglass then said what is perhaps one of the most important lines in the entire oration. “Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country.” Douglass remarked that he believed slavery would eventually come to an end, especially if the nation stayed true to the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Douglass lived to witness the end of American Slavery in 1865, and he then continued to serve his Lord and country as an impressive statesman. Perhaps his true character was most exemplified in 1877, when he met with his former master, Thomas Auld. Douglass forgave Auld for his past treatment of him and the two parted as friends.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? is not, as Progressives have tried to sell it, a condemnation of America. Rather, it is a necessary criticism of a nation’s wrongdoing. Throughout history, all countries have experienced some form of sinful action. What makes America special is the fact that America has done more than any nation on earth to combat not only its own evils, but the evils of other nations, as well. Americans have defeated slavery, fascism, communism, and radical Islam, and saved countless individuals from tyranny. It is also important to remember that slavery still continues today in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and other locations of the world, in which Progressives remain virtually silent about. Douglass’s speech should always hold a special place in American memory, and may we never forget his iconic call to action: “I would unite with anybody to do right and nobody to do wrong.”
“You can get there, from here!”
All that could be heard was the soothing, and yet somehow annoying droning of the engines as the plane cut through the evening sky. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I have some Bad News and I have some Good News. The bad news is we are lost. The good news is we are making excellent time!” Have you ever felt as though you were in a hamster cage, running as if your very life and happiness depended on it, only to recognize the obvious?...You are not getting anywhere!
All too often, this is the sense of the struggling Christian. With discipline, intestinal fortitude, and good intentions they apply themselves to their life as a follower of Jesus Christ, only to feel that they are no closer to the ‘promised’ “victorious Christian life” then when they began their journey of faith.
From ancient scrolled parchments, to folding maps, to trip booklets, to car navigation tools, to the ubiquitous smartphone maps and location apps everyone has access to, anyone can instantly determine where they are...physically. Where are we spiritually? This is a whole nother story. For the Christian, it is very easy to feel confused. Having embarked on their Christian journey by placing their trust in Jesus Christ as their necessary payment for sin, life still seems fraught with the same struggles that were present BC, Before Christ!
Maps give information on where you are, where you have been, where you are going, and how to get there. It can provide relief if you are lost, instruction if you are confused and timing of arrival, for a hopeful sense of anticipation! Mapping the Christian Life can provide the same kind of benefits, from a spiritual perspective.
Included in this article are two diagrams, or ‘maps.’ Map #1 is completed, from numbers 1 - 22, and Map #2 has numbered blanks for you to fill in yourself if later you would like to test your own comprehension.
Map #1 (Numbered & Complete)
Breaking up the Christian Life into three tenses helps greatly. The (#1. Past) is inked in black because we are dead and separated from God because of our sin. The (#2. Present) is inked in red because of the shed blood of Christ for our sins. The (#3. Future) is inked in blue because we will be with Christ in the Heavens.
The (#4. R.I.P.), Rest In Peace Tombstone illustrates that, according to Ephesians 2:1, “you were (#5. dead in your trespasses and sins).” Fallen man is not spiritually sick. He is spiritually dead and unable to live any kind of life, especially a perfect life which is required by a perfect God! Why does fallen man behave in evil ways? Because he is a (#7. Slave To Sin), and according to (#6. Isaiah 64:6), even his “righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” (Look up what filthy garment Prophet Isaiah ben Amoz is referring to!) We all understand the bad things we do are ugly, to say the least. But God says because we are spiritually dead, even our good deeds are ugly as compared to the standard of His righteousness. We can, for a funeral, try to make a corpse in a coffin look alive and well and ‘peaceful,’ but it is not well. It is not sick. It is not peaceful. It is dead and has no life. So it is with man spiritually. He does not need reformation...he needs salvation! He does not need education...he needs resurrection! He does not need resuscitation… he needs regeneration! He does not need “good works”...he can’t do anything! He’s dead!
This is the desperate predicament of mankind. This is why social reform is not the ultimate solution to man’s woes and ills. That is also why Jesus Christ came; to be the perfect substitute sacrifice for our sin that we needed in order to be reconciled to God and to spend eternity with Him. This is the Good News!
The crux of the matter (lit. cross or resolution of a problem) on the Map of our Christian Life, is in fact the instrument of torture and execution itself was the Cross of Calvary. For the Believer, life and eternity changed there. The moment someone places their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, the (#11. Penalty of Sin) is completely paid for, (#8. Salvation) is forever secured because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. (#9. Hebrews 10:11-14) says in part that animal or ceremonial sacrifices “can never take away sins; but He [Christ], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God...for by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
Now, about this word, “sanctification”...what does it mean?! (#13. & #22 Sanctification) literally means “to make holy, to set apart for a particular purpose.” God says that I am holy. But I’m not. But I will be. Which one is it? The answer is, “Yes”! However, while our (#12. Position) spiritually is that we are (#10. Ephesians 1:3) “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” and are seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6), life often doesn’t seem very “heavenly”! (#12. Positionaly) I am holy in the eyes of God because He has declared me righteous in Christ. But in (#9. Practical) terms, I still struggle in the Christian Life, yes, and still sin. It is a progressive life where God changes me day by day to be conformed to the image of His Son--that is--to become more like Christ, moment by moment. (#14. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) says in part, that “the God of peace Himself [will] sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are in the process of being fashioned into the (#17. Ultimate) state that is yet to come. No longer should the (#15. Power of Sin) rule over our lives. We have the Holy Spirit residing in us, convincing us of sin, comforting us in suffering, and empowering us in service in the life we are still living in this world!
Then, in a moment, whether we pass from this life through the shadow called death, or at the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we shall be be changed through the (#19. Glorification) of our mortal bodies, we shall be changed to be like Him. (#20. 1 John 3:2) says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
Here is the great ‘wonderment’: From the (#1. Past) we have been born into God’s forever family by His Son. In the (#2. Present) we are being changed, moment by moment to be like Christ in this roller coaster ride of life, knowing one day in the (#3. Future) we will actually be delivered from the (#21. Presence of Sin) in (#18. Heaven)!
Map #2 (Numbered & Blank Self-test)
Do you better understand Mapping the Christian Life, or are you still a little lost?!...To test yourself, here are the answers to fill in:
Words to number:
__ POSITIONAL __ PRACTICAL __ ULTIMATE __ SANCTIFICATION
__ PAST __ PRESENT __ FUTURE __ GLORIFICATION
__ HEAVEN __ SALVATION __ 1 JOHN 3:2 __ REST IN PEACE
__ SLAVE TO SIN __ DEAD IN SIN __ POWER OF SIN 22 SANCTIFICATION
__ EPHESIANS 1:3 __ PRESENCE OF SIN __ PENALTY OF SIN
__ HEBREWS 10:11-14 __ ISAIAH 64:6 __ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:23,24
How did you do on your test?! More importantly, how are you doing in your journey through the Christian Life? Remember, you are not where you were. You are closer to your destination. Knowing you will get there can make today an amazing adventure! Press on brothers and sisters! You are making progress, Pilgrim! You’re almost Home!
By Ruxandra Ionce | @ruxandradoxiada | TRINICY.org
THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT
The Father's instruction to His beloved children is for them to acquire the most important of all possessions: wisdom (Proverbs 4:5). It is to be obtained by all means and with any sacrifice required, for wisdom rewards us more than a thousandfold. Even though wisdom is always near and always inviting, it is never loud nor imposing, but awaits to be taken by those who value her purpose. It is wisdom that is promised to us in great abundance and without measure, as long as we are determined soldiers with minds set on our glorious duty and honor our Father's commands in full trust (James 1:5). Wisdom shows us how to live, how to understand, how to use the knowledge we gain, how to love and be patient, to abstain, to be abundant, and how to rejoice at all times.
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