It was 1775 and General George Washington had personally outfitted seven ships in an attempt to drive the British from New England. He believed it was important to be able to attack the British from sea as well as land. Having already surrounded Boston and trapped the British army inside, his mission was to prevent British ships from delivering supplies to the army in Boston.
These seven ships or floating batteries as they were called, in order to be identified as “friendly” to one another, were flying a flag of white, with a pine tree in the middle and the motto, “Appeal to Heaven”; this also became known as Washington’s Cruiser Flag.
This fleet sailed before the first US Navy had even been commissioned, and was also known as “Washington’s Secret Navy”. These schooners captured many a British ship, including the British Brigantine named the “Nancy” that was carrying over a years worth of supplies. This capture is considered the greatest capture of the entire Revolution and it also inspired the birth of the American Navy as we know it today.
In April of 1776, the State of Massachusetts adopted this flag for its own navy as well as ordered the colors of the uniforms of the officers to be green and white. They sailed twenty-five ships in defense of America and were eventually absorbed into the US Navy.
Why this motto – “Appeal to Heaven”?
I’ll attempt to reel in my US History teacher bend and summarize it like so.
John Locke, one of American’s foremost political philosophers argued that
“When all other political and individual methods of resisting tyranny are exhausted, only “an appeal to heaven” remains.”
Second Treatise of Civil Government – John Locke
In summary, he contended that “no man had inherent power to regulate or restrict divine arbitration in civil affairs. Even in dire circumstances, natural rights transcended the political process.”
It was clear to our founding fathers that “God governs in the affairs of men”, and Benjamin Franklin clearly, and unapologetically stated that. It therefore held true, that in all things, Locke’s motto- appealing to heaven, should inspire the citizenry to work to the bitter end to achieve a remedy.
Locke maintained “people should be diligent to oppose egregious acts through political action. Rather than a tactic of last resort, an appeal to heaven was warning sign.”
Though today, Locke’s motto may be overlooked, it appears to me, it represents the very place we again find ourselves standing. It indeed is our focus, battle cry and our course of action.
I join with Washington, the founding fathers, and other revolutionaries who on behalf of a nation lift an appeal to heaven against all tyranny, foreign and domestic. If not now, when?
The fourth and final part of a series from Isaiah 40
As we wrap up our look at Isaiah chapter 40 and the comfort it brings, let’s review.
Isaiah is writing to a nation in deep do do, who’s decisions had turned them away from God and toward certain judgment and doom. He had been warning them of their pending judgment and attempting to rally them back to God. News of oppression, doom and gloom just kept mounting until chapter 40 brings a dramatic shift to the book’s focus.
Like a shaft of light and hope piercing the skies, comes the declaration of chapter 40 and it’s opening first two words – COMFORT, COMFORT.
Resounding through the dark days rings crisp and clear hope, consoling comfort and encouraging vision. In the previous weeks, we looked at these comforting messages – “Comfort in Doom”, “Comfort in Obstacles” and last week, “Comfort and Good News”.
As we close this series, we end with a powerful picture of God’s great and amazing power. The section (verses 12-14) begins peppering us with 10 questions – check some of them out –
who has measured the waters in the hallow of his hand?
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
who has held the dust of the earth in a basket?
who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord?
who can instruct the Lord or be his counselor?
who taught Him the right way?
whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him?
Each of these, gives us the perspective of a mighty, powerful Creator God. His hand holds and measures the oceans of the world. The extension of his fingers, from thumb to pinky measures the length of the heavens. He needs no counselor, advisor or teacher, for within the Spirit of the Lord we find all wisdom, insight, and knowledge.
We can and should find great comfort in the power of the living God. But by choice, we must focus on his power and his abilities, for if we don’t, we too can become discouraged and weary, just like Israel did, in the midst of national upheaval.
His power is over the nations, too. Isaiah reminds us in verses 15-17 that the nations are but a drop in the bucket, regarded as dust, so small they are to our amazing God. Every national crisis, government and situation is within his firm control and grasp. There is no nation or national crisis that he is not involved with. We must be reminded of this.
Our comfort and security come from seeing him, powerful and mighty “sitting on the circle of the earth” v. 22 From knowing that he is in control and there is nothing hidden from him or outside of his power and care.
Read these verses –
“Do you not know? Have you nor heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and his people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them like a tent to live in”
” He brings princes to naught and reduces rulers to nothing.”
It has always been a puzzling mystery why “God allows” certain things; that I will not argue. In fact, at a recent family gathering, we had just that conversation. We can develop our responses, answers and theories, or we can flounder for a meaningful response. But what I hope we will do, regardless of the outcome of our “why God allows” questions, I hope we fall back on HE IS IN CONTROL whether or not we see or feel it.
He is in control and in the blink of an eye or snap of his fingers he can change things, fix things, heal things, or judge things. He can show up in his power at any time, in any place, in any form that he wants and do the impossible right before our eyes.
In God’s power, I find comfort. True, therein lies a fair amount of fear and respect, but mostly comfort, that regardless of what my eyes see, he is at work!
Isaiah asks the nation of Israel –
“Why do you complain? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; and my cause is disregarded by my God?”
Are we foolish enough to think that our God doesn’t hear our complaints, whining, cries, requests? Do we really think he isn’t aware of our every situation and bent to hear our every prayer?
Isaiah encourages us to remember, that the Lord “will not grow tired or weary”. Isaiah 40:28
God is not like a man who wears out and grows weary. He never tires of hearing from us, responding to us and working all things in our life for good. He delights in bringing from our rubble and ruins hope, and building again within our heart a safe, strong place of trust in his ways and ability to get it done.
From Isaiah chapter 40, the message of Comfort in God’s power thunders from the heavens and resonates through every human heart on the planet.
We are reminded that even young people will get tired and weary (geesh, what does that say about us “older people”?) BUT –
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar… like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
In these days of national crisis, in the midst of waves of discouragement, let us remember to look up. Look to the power of the Almighty God to “lift us up where we belong”, to see things from his perspective, the eagle overview, and to draw from his power in our fatigue and discouragement.
His power is our comfort and his promise is to increase the power of the weak. (v. 29) So what do we have to loose?
Next time you’re needing a lift, remember God’s power is over all. Look to him, talk to him, allow him to lift and empower you.
Sunday Sermon 12.19.20 The third of a four part series on Comfort from Isaiah 40
To quickly recap, as we approach Isaiah chapter 40 contextually remember, the nation of Israel had been facing the rigid edicts and judgments of the secular rulers surrounding them. For the previous thirty-nine chapters things were pretty grim and hopeless.
Then comes chapter 40, who’s first words resound, “COMFORT, COMFORT”. The tone and direction of the remainder of the book then shifts to promises of redemption, direction and purpose.
The whole shift starts with comfort, and that is the focus of this series.
Last week we were reminded of the comfort that comes amid the obstacles that we face, and the first week we saw how comfort comes in the midst of doom and gloom.
Today, we will look at comfort along side of good news. Yay, right?
Here’s the text:
” You who bring good news, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
Isaiah 40:9-11 NIV
Notice the theme in this portion is about good news and those who bring it.
It is interesting to note that twice in this passage the phrase “you who bring good news” is used. The Message paraphrase says it this way,
“Climb a high mountain, you’re the preacher of good news.“
“Raise your voice, you’re the preacher of good news.”
Isaiah 40:9 The Message
What is Isaiah saying here?
First off, he is saying that there will be those who bring good news. He is declaring it. Could it be another people coming to bring good news? Could it be from within Israel herself? It could be argued for both.
Here’s the message though, those who do bring the good news get up to a high place, raise your voice, make it loud and clear, and don’t be timid in sharing it! Loud and proud shout out the good news for all to hear. It is much needed!
What is the good news that’s worth shouting from the high places for all to hear and find comfort in?
“Here is your God!“
Look no further, lift up your eyes, God is here. God is present. You are not alone. He is with you. Here he is.
Fantastic good news to a hopeless and weary nation. Amazing reminder to a nation that God has not left them. Encouraging declaration in the midst of dark, confusing times. Israel and our nation, “take heart”, Isaiah is saying, the good news is “GOD IS HERE.”
We can declare “God is here” in our life, situation, family, job. We can bring that comforting good news to those around us. We can make it our passion and profession no matter what – “God is here!” We can be the ones who bring that good news into a situation and we can speak it to our weary and worn out hearts as often as we need.
When God shows up in a situation things change. When God shows up people change. When God is present (invited, chosen, & yielded to) look what he brings.
He comes in power, ready to take action. He is the creator of all and will come to take over, take charge, bring order back. He is the Master of the universe and all powers are subjected to Him, so when He comes, everything else must bow. (Isaiah 40:10)
He also comes bringing a couple of things with Him. He comes with payback and He comes with rewards. (Isaiah 40:10)
He is bringing with Him recompense or payback for his enemies. He will show up ready to make amends for the loss and harm suffered. When God is here, so is his promise of recompense. Don’t loose heart, God is faithful and is bringing payback for loss.
When he is present, he also brings rewards for those who love Him.
There are wages earned by those who love Him and the good news is that God’s presence is our payment. Him being with us, through it all, comforts us and is our reward.
But wait, there’s more. (that sounds like a commercial)
The comforting, good news is not only that he is here in power, but that he is here like a shepherd. He comes to his people tenderly, as a caring shepherd who would gather his lambs up in his arms and carry them close to his heart.
Note, the shepherd is hugging his sheep. Touching them, caring for them tenderly. There is no social distancing with Him. He is pulling them close and holding them tight. Speaking to them up close and personal. (without a mask on)
THAT IS GOOD NEWS and very comforting.
As powerful as God is, let’s never loose sight of His tender loving care and compassion for His people. God is love. All love, only love. Even His power is demonstrated because of love.
Today I pray you first of all hear the good news that “God is here” and then experience the comfort of His presence, care and powerful touch.
I trust too, that you will find opportunity to be the one who brings that much needed good news to others. Find that soapbox, be bold – “you’re the preacher of good news.”
Feel His warm embrace enfolding you, infilling you and rest in the assurance that He will take care of both payback and reward.
Find comfort and assurance in the good news today that, “God is here”.
The plan of The Great Reset Initiative as stated in the “Sustainable Development Plan Agenda 201” is to institute “a set of dimensions to build a new social contract that honors every human being.”
Now, there are parts of that that sound good and respectful. Of course we should honor every human being, who doesn’t want that?
And that is where I don’t want people to stop listening or paying attention, because this initiative is not honorable to every human being.
Here’s their plan on how they will shape a new economy, set new priorities and business models that “honor every human being”.
First, lest you think I am on some sort of weird tangent or conspiracy theory, here is a partial list of companies that have already jumped fully on board with The Great Reset. There are over 639 global companies on board, I counted each one!
American Heart Assoc.
Bank of America
The Coca Cola Co
The Lego Brand
These companies, along with the big four accounting firms, led by the Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan, are already underway in the execution of the Davios Manifesto and the new “Duty to Society”.
Here is a summary of what they are committed to and how they plan to achieve it. Again, this is research anyone can do, who is interested in what is going on.
The Davios Manifesto (which will be officially rolled out in January of 2021) makes these three declarations:
“The purpose of a company is to engage all its stakeholders“. via – a. fair competition b. treating people fairly c. suppliers are partners d. supports the community e. shareholders return on investment
“A company is more than an economic investment. It fulfills human and societal aspirations, in a broad social system. Performance is measured not just on return, but environmental objectives.”
“A company is multinational in scope and serves all those stakeholders.”
Bottom line here – according to Klaus Schwab, “shareholder capitalism, as we currently know it, must change to stakeholder capitalism.”
Check these quotes revealing their business plans.
As stated in “The Four Building Blocks of The Great Reset”, August 11, 2020,
” 1. “Change our mindset” 2. Set new metrics 3. Design new incentives 4. Build genuine connection”
“COVID19 is redrawing the geopolitical map of the world and providing a unique opportunity to reimagine capitalism and think about the kind of people we want to be.” (TIME – The Great Reset)
Bank of America has released “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics” that will be added to companies annual reporting in two years.
Folks, businesses as we know them will cease to exist.
The small business I work for, will no longer be able to function as it has for the past twenty-one years. Soon, new metrics will be placed on them, mandating that every vendor in their supply chain receive equal treatment, provide fair and safe work environments, are practicing green practices, and is equally sharing in their stake in the business. My boss will no longer be responsible for his employees but for every person, in every country that he even remotely does business with.
We are told that businesses do not have to stop sharing profits for their shareholders, they “only need to shift to a long term perspective on their mission; looking beyond the next year to the next decade.” (TIME – The Great Reset)
The small businesses today are struggling the make it into the next year, and are in no position to forecast ten years down the road! C’mon!
With “every country, from the US to China must participate” and “every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed” wrote Klaus Schwab, we are seriously looking at a plan to fundamentally change not just America, but businesses in America and around the world.
“To rebalance economies” means taking away from those who have and giving to those who have not, across the nations – down the supply chain.
It means the merging of businesses with the state.
It means global government, and one unified global order.
It means no local governments or individual empowerment.
It means that by 2030, no one will own property.
It means international decisions are made over local independence and sovereignty.
THIS, is The Great Reset. This is moving ahead. This is the shape of the future.
“We are at a turning point of human kind – we should not underestimate the historical significance of the situation that we are in.”
Professor Schwab 11/20
DUH. Ya think?
There is so much more I could say and other branches to this, but that is not for now.
What is vital right now, is that YOU be aware of how America and the the world are being set up for CHANGE. There is a serious, global move to change the world as we know it. The plan is clear, in print and espoused by hundreds of global businesses and governments.
I am not wanting to be an alarmist, but a reporter of facts. This is underway!
Be aware. Investigate it for yourself. Take action as you see fit.
Thank you Jackson Browne for that great song utilizing the famous phrase, “running on empty”. Today, Imma use it. Here’s the song if you wanna listen to it – 1977 baby!!
What do these things have in common?
taking a vacation
catching up with a friend
touching base with a family member
When I was tending to some banking recently, I saw a connection between each of these four activities I had just participated in.
Do you see it?
At the bank I was making a deposit.
The vacation was an overdue necessity to retain sanity.
Close friends were chatting about what’s been happening in their lives.
Family love and connection was desperately required, poured out and yearned for.
In each case, a deposit was required to avoid running on empty, or perhaps to refill where the warning light was already illuminated.
Triple A keeps records of how many people run out of gas and receive their assistance. In 2006, 116,000 motorists ran out of gas.
I wish I could tell you how many people run out of gas emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, or how many are running on empty right now. I bet it would be many of you.
There are signs when your car is nearing empty. That light illuminates on your dashboard and signals you have 30-50 more miles to go before you will be on empty. After that, there will be no more going until you refill.
And if you do completely run out of gas, because your car is fuel injected, meaning the pump is inside the tank, that pump will be running dry which is harmful to the pump and engine and can cause costly damage.
When you do refuel, it then takes time for the gas to pump through the pump and carburetor, crank the engine and then it will finally start up again. Hopefully, without any damage.
Let me stick with this car scenario for one more point.
There are common symptoms of running out of gas – running on empty. They are:
indicator light on dash lights up
car won’t start
car stalls out regularly
Me thinks people may very well have similar symptoms when they are running on empty.
Like in the cases above.
It had been years since a vacation had been planned, taken or enjoyed. There were warning lights being ignored, fatigue was making starting more difficult and stalling out more regular.
After several busy and stressful weeks these friends finally were getting caught up. Only to find the fuel tank nearly empty and running on fumes. The conversation was helpful to refill the tanks, but fuel levels were dangerously low. There were many warning lights flashing, damage was imminent and much more refilling was needed.
2020 had taken it’s toll on these family members; the separation, isolation, loneliness, stresses, numerous disappointments were emptying the tanks. Phone conversations for temporary refueling were helpful, but what was needed was face to face, extended time being together, and that was coming up this week!!!! Tons of warning lights, stalling and just not being able to get motivated were signaling it could not come fast enough. They were running on empty.
The bank account was in need of a deposit as well, before it too became too dangerously close to empty. Luckily, a hefty deposit saved the day and things kept running.
I am concerned about you, about people today. Are there warning lights trying to tell us we are about to run out of gas? Are we in need of a deposit? Emotional deposit? Physical deposit? Spiritual deposit?
I urge you to stop and take notice. Do not go one step further without evaluating your fuel levels. Are you low on emotional fortitude? Physical energy? Spiritual drive?
Have you been finding it difficult to get going, or start things? Is your motivation nill and interest low?
How are you doing with completing tasks? Do you finish, make it through to the end or stall out somewhere before?
These are signs that you are running on empty, that you need a deposit of some sort.
For me, I recognize the signals in my life when I am running on empty; irritable, antsy, unhappy, hard to please, selfish, tired… Anyone else?
And for me, usually what is needed most is I need to get outside and spend time alone out there just being. Unplug, disconnect and refuel. Get my personal tank resupplied.
Jackson Browne had it right when he said, “Looking into their eyes I see them too… running on empty…” “Running on empty, running blind.”
Get refueled, refilled, make those deposits, receive those deposits and heed the warning signs. Keep yourself from running on empty.
Sunday Sermon 12.12.20 This is the 2nd of a four part series from Isaiah 40 on Comfort
Look no further, here you will find COMFORT, encouragement, help and hope.
Regardless of the previous voices that you have been hearing, this voice, right here, is speaking comfort – freedom from pain or constraint and ease of grief or distress.
Busting into your world of distress, weariness, and discouragement is a resounding voice calling – “Make room for the Lord! Get ready. Give Him space.” Isaiah 40:3
Keep reading and I will show you how He comes to bring you comfort from:
mountains of trouble
All of these situations are spoken of clearly in Isaiah 40.
Isaiah 40 represents a dramatic shift in the book and that shift starts with a comforting voice speaking into these obstacles in our life. Check it out.
To begin with, the comfort offered here comes from the arrival of the Lord. By that we mean, God’s presence actually showing up in your life and situation. Make space for Him, make way for Him, prepare for His presence in your life. He’s coming to bring you comfort.
Are you prepared for His presence to overwhelm you, right now, as you sit there? Make yourself ready, prepare your heart to receive the provision that comes with His presence. Stop, focus, breathe deeply, soak Him in.
When He arrives He promises to do several things. The first one mentioned in Isaiah 40:4 is –
“Every valley will be raised up”
Valleys are low places, depressions in the landscape. Many times surrounded by mountains and covered in shadows. Valleys can be lonely places, dark places, isolating places. Psalm 23 tells us there is a valley of the shadow of death.
These valleys represent depression. In the low places of depression, His presence will overshadow you. His presence will comfort you. His presence will raise you up. EVERY VALLEY WILL BE RAISED UP.
He wants you to be free of depression and hopelessness. He has a plan for you and a future. He knows your path and will walk with you through the valley to the other side. Make room for Him. Prepare for His presence. Place you hand in His and allow Him to lead you through your depressed valleys and raise you up.
Next He promises –
“Every mountain and hill will be made low.”
Those mountains of troublesome ideas, thoughts, and plans that are so big they can be scary… He will bring them down to size!
Mountains are huge obstacles and sometimes the thoughts within our minds are huge obstacles. Other times, the obstacle is a mountain of seemingly unsurpassable roadblocks. No matter what, whether facing the mountain and even the smaller sized hill, we can find His comfort.
In scripture mountains represent governments. So even when government seems like an obstacle, God promises to bring them down to size.
Remember Jesus told his disciples, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move.” Matthew 17:20
I’m still working on that kind of faith. I guess I still don’t have even a tiny mustard seed worth yet, but I’m not giving up, and I am still believing. I will exercise my faith, to see His presence and comfort in the face of my mountainous obstacles.
The third promise He gives us is that He will make –
“the rough places plain”
Haven’t there been excessive rough places in your life? Rough situations, rough expectations, rough disappointments, rough relationships, rough, rough, rough. Geesh, we sound like a dog.
Bumps here and ruts there. Rough storms and issues to deal with.
Our comforting God assures us that He will make those rough, bumpy places smooth.
Just like He did for the disciples, in that boat, in the storm, He will stand next to you and speak to the storm, “Peace, be still”, and you will see smooth water where there were rough seas.
His comfort, peace and safety come when facing the rough obstacles.
Lastly, His comfort is promised when facing the obstacle of corruption. Look at what Isaiah says:
“and the crooked places plain.”
“Crooked” always represents twisted, and corrupt ways, ideas and people.
Scripture is full of judgment being called down on corruption. Corruption is never blessed or honored and even though it’s judgment may not come until the next life, it will surely come.
But it is satisfying here, in Isaiah 40, amidst this dramatic shift for the Israelites and thereby for us, that we are comforted by the fact that corruption will be made plain. Corruption will be exposed. Corruption will be judged.
These four obstacles have wormed their way into our lives: depression, mountains of trouble, rough patches and corruption. Yet, we are not without hope, consolation and comfort.
Make room in your life for the presence of the Lord. Prepare a place for Him to reside and in doing so you will find the comfort, strength and victory over these obstacles that you crave.
Don’t delay. This can be immediate and permanent.
And should you face these or any obstacles, keep exercising that faith muscle, so that you can reach the mustard seed size.
In the face of all of your obstacles, there is a voice calling to you, offering you peace and comfort.
Election season is usually the time that we brush up on what the electoral college is and now more than ever, I believe that refresher course is needed.
America’s form of government and how it works is built upon the the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution determines how our government is set up, run and changed as needed.
The Constitution is not a political document, in fact it is the compass for politics, (if there must be politics). It is the guiding force of our nation, providing structure, certainty, safety and direction. It tells us how to do what needs to be done.
All Federal employees, officers, workers, and many State as well, when assuming their jobs, take an oath of office, “to uphold the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution is our most prized and protected document, for within it we find our foundations.
In Article Two of our Constitution we find our guidelines for “The Presidency”. The four sections of that Article lay out for America, how she is to select the President of the United States. All the details are there.
In Article 2, sections 2,3, and 4 we read about the “Electors”. This is the collection of people that we, today call “The Electoral College”. I will explain more, in a minute.
Let me first say a word about why the framers designed it that way they did to choose our President.
You’ll remember, our original 13 colonies were a collection of small and big states.
From the very beginning of our nation, there has always been heated discussions between the large and small states. Both accuse the other of not understanding their state’s needs or need for power.
As early as 1787, at the Constitutional Convention, the large state of Virginia was fighting with the small state of New Jersey about representation.
Virginia believed their governmental representation should be based on population – because they were big, had a large population, they would have more status and power.
New Jersey believed that each state should have equal representation in their government and therefore equal power. (Just cuz they were small didn’t mean that they didn’t matter, right?)
They were at a stalemate and moving no where fast.
The founding fathers realized that both the big and small states must be represented in our United States, in our government and especially in our elections.
What came of it was what they called, “The Great Compromise”. One in which the states would be represented by population in the House of Representatives (the Lower House) and the states would also be represented equally in the Senate (the Upper House).
This is what has worked for 233 years, and what we call Congress, The Legislative Branch of our government.
Now, this is important and affects our presidential elections too.
Why? Because the founders had no intention of having the popular vote determine the outcome of the presidential election. They knew the large states could easily overpower the smaller states by the shear size of their voting blocks.
Therefore, in writing the Constitution they fleshed out a plan based on “electors”.
How does it work?
Rather than have a candidate win only large states, and thus not truly represent ALL Americans, the candidate would need to earn the electors from many states, thus representing a cross-section of Americans.
The popular vote of a state would determine who would receive those valued electors.
Each state would then hold their national election and it’s outcome would determine how their electors would be assigned.
How many electors does each state get?
They receive the number equal to their representatives in Congress. For example, I live in California, and CA has 55 electors – the same number that represent us in Washington DC.
The electors are people, who are selected to attend a meeting, after the general election; at which time they will cast their assigned vote, based on their states popular vote (except Maine and Nebraska) for President and Vice President. This process is called “The Electoral College”.
What this provides for is the representation of all states in our election. Candidates must work to relate to many states and their people’s needs, many differing ideas and ways. The majority, therefore represents the majority of electoral votes and not the majority of popular votes. Whoever receives 270 electoral votes, receives the majority and thereby represents a broad swath of American ideals.
This is how the Founders designed our system to work. It is not perfect, but for over 200 years it has worked, even in turbulent elections (1800, 1824, 1836, 1872, 1876, 1888, and 2000).
Now here’s the deal, our 2020 electoral college is scheduled to meet on Monday, December 14, at which time, the electors should be casting their votes.
However, because the state legislatures must certify their elections prior to the electors voting, and because that is currently NOT the case in every state, there is the possibility that the December 14 date may be affected.
Additionally, the idea of “safe harbor” – or that safe zone for disputed election results is looming today.
To be clear though, the “safe harbor” ruling says that, “if an election dispute is not resolved by the State by the safe harbor deadline, Congress has discretion over the disposition over the State’s electoral votes.” THAT is a wide open statement in my humble opinion.
Wait, what… whadoyamean?
What I mean is this – the Constitution of the United States has provided direction and guidance for us through very sketchy times, for a very long time. It is the law of the land, and it is working.
However, still to play out are the disputes and contestations – they actually have more time to evolve and will probably be sorted out by some mix of The Supreme Court and Congress. (again, in my opinion)
To close, I am a Constitutionalist, I dearly believe we need it (AND the Electoral College) to be the America we love. I also believe our current election is far from over. There are still unaddressed and contested outliers yet to be adjudicated.
I pray that all of my readers find themselves on the side of the Constitution, regardless of what side you may be on politically.
This Sunday Sermon, is the first in a four part series that I have created on Comfort based upon Isaiah chapter 40.
As I look around at my family, friends, community, nation and world I see a tremendous need for comfort, consolation and encouragement.
Battered by uncontrollable edicts, changing norms, judgments, unresolved politics, and losses, people are worn down, frazzled, afraid, and even becoming hopeless. It has been difficult to find encouragement and keep ourselves propped up with positivity.
We are all in this struggle together. You are not alone in the adversity that you face nor in the weariness that accompanies it.
Therefore, today, and in the next three Sunday Sermons, I will share a message of COMFORT, because we all need the assurances and peace that come with comfort.
In the Bible book of Isaiah, the fortieth chapter begins with
” Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Notice the double imperative that starts that text. COMFORT, COMFORT.
What we see here is a bold declaration of comfort, consolation and heartfelt pity.
Because for the first 39 chapters of Isaiah, it was all doom and gloom, judgment, and loss. In Jerusalem things were getting really, really bad. Things were constantly changing and moving from bad to worse. New leaders were showing up with prideful, arrogance and flexing their political and military muscles. Jerusalem was becoming more and more secular, oppressed and just plain worn out. It was looking very bleak.
Chapter 40 begins a new emphasis, a new direction and hope for the remainder of the book. Therefore, it is altogether appropriate to begin with COMFORT, COMFORT.
It is altogether appropriate to have comfort and doom side by side, because the message here is that comfort triumphs over doom.
It has been said, that the seeds of comfort take root in the soil of adversity. And it is true that you may not escape adversity, but you may find God’s comfort in it.
God promises to comfort his people. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
To those in relationship with Him, who call Him their God, he promises to comfort. In Him they find peace, consolation, and tender mercies filled with strength and hope. They hear His loving voice reassuring them that their sins are forgiven and their hard service is completed. He promises double blessing and double comfort – COMFORT, COMFORT, because of the double price paid for their redemption.
The comfort He offers His own in the middle of grief, distress and doom is meant to be felt and experienced worldwide. His comfort is available to all.
So, let’s review -in the midst of doom and gloom Isaiah tells the people
God is speaking comfortably, to the heart, tenderly to you
the time for your release from doom has come
your debt has been paid in full
a great price (double) has been paid for your sins
How is that message any less important, timely or needed for us, today?
Reread those and be reassured that is God’s message to YOU too.
A dramatic shift occurs when we choose to focus on Him rather than on the doom of the day. Just like Isaiah’s shift in chapter 40, when we focus on God and His comfort and consolation rather than on trusting in the secular rulers of the day, things change for us too.
I trust you will find renewed faith to look to Him above all else and in doing so find new comfort, encouragement and strength to live in daily victory.
“Praise be to the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…”
2 Corinthians 1:2
John 16:33 -” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The God of all comfort wants to be your comfort. He will tenderly draw you close to Him and speak gently to your weary heart. See His love for you and power to lift you and change you with His comfort during these days of doom.
Isaiah 40 is packed full of truths that apply to our times, so I hope you will check back for the second installment of Messages of Comfort from Isaiah 40.
Next up – Comfort and Obstacles – Isaiah 40:3-8
I am wishing you tidings of Comfort and Joy this holiday season.
No one really knows what races through our thoughts and minds each day.
Some say that the majority of our thoughts are useless and unimportant ones. Perhaps though, there are creative ideas either way, thoughts are much like butterflies, ever flying around from one flower to another, rarely standing still.
Medicines are even given to some who have uncontrollable thoughts, impulses and inclinations in their minds. They actually need assistance controlling and settling their thoughts.
Science tells us the average person has between 6,200 and 80,000 thoughts a day. The numbers vary with a common thought being 72,000 thoughts a day!
If that is true, (Dr. Deepak Chopra thinks it is) that would mean you have:
3,000 thoughts per hour
50 thoughts per minute
1 thought per second
And those thought are fast little suckers; like those fleeting butterflies.
When we receive some sort of sensory stimuli, it takes about 50 milliseconds for our brain to become aware of it. If we are to respond to that stimuli, then that takes 150 milliseconds to take action. (Sciencefocus.com) That is super fast!
I’m sure that you have found all that gobbledygook to be true, each time you sit to try to meditate, or study, or rest quietly.
Your mind and thoughts are racing, and the busier you are, it seems the faster and more distracting the thoughts. So you do your best to allow those butterfly thoughts to stop and still. It is very much like herding cats. Good luck with that.
One last little scientific detail – Psychologists say that “the psychological present” is a window of about 3 seconds. Everything else is past or future. So, the present is only 3 seconds long.
You’ve heard the term… “we need to be present” aka fully engaged in the moment, body soul, mind and spirit. Now we know that present window is only 3 seconds.
We struggle with being present for 3 seconds??!! Focusing for only 3 seconds. Really?
Yep, cuz our mind is so full of thoughts, butterflies, cats needing to be herded.
Can you imagine being the target of all of those thoughts? The object? The intended receiver of each and every one?
Try to, because you actually are.
“Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore.”
It is estimated that there are roughly 7.5 x 10 to the 18th power, or 7 quintrillion pieces of sand on Earth.
Now realize, that God’s thoughts to YOU are MORE than 7 quintrillion every single moment! In every 3 second, present moment 7 quintrillion thoughts are coming at you. In the next present moment, 7 quintrillion thoughts coming at you.
He is covering you, every moment with innumerable thoughts. He is present for your present moments. In every breath, every beat of your heart, every thought of you mind – He is showering you with loving thoughts. More than you can comprehend.
“How vast is the sum of them”, David said. I couldn’t agree more.
Recently, I was singing a song, who’s lyrics were :
“Is it true that you are thinking of me?” YES! It is true!
Today, be reminded that God is thinking of you, and it is AMAZING!