New Year’s Resolutions

The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. In reality, there is no difference between December 31 and January 1. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31. The Bible does not speak for or against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. However, if a Christian determines to make a New Year’s resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make?

The most common resolutions include losing weight, working out, and eating healthy. Others want to stop smoking or drinking and to manage money better. Some people want to do all these things. Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, read the Bible every day, and attend church more regularly.

By the time February is here, the vast majority of these resolutions will be long forgotten. We will be back doing the same things we were doing last year. Perhaps the problem is with our motivation for the resolutions, to begin with. Why do we want to lose weight, work out, read the Bible, etc.? Do we want to do these things in hopes of improving ourselves for selfish reasons (vanity) or to bring honor and glory to God?

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution, it has a chance for success, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s Will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. If a resolution is not God-honoring and/or is not in agreement with God’s Word, we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution.

Therefore, what should a Christian do about making New Year’s Resolutions? Here are some suggestions: (1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) regarding what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; (2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; (6) don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” And, always remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Where’s the Outrage?

Common Sense Corner

Where is the outrage over this incredibly obvious financial fraud being perpetrated on the American people? Why are there no protesters outside the local office of every Representative and Senator who signed on to this extortion of American taxpayers?

We are supposed to be overwhelmingly grateful, we are supposed to be genuflecting to these self-styled Lords and Ladies who see themselves as our saviors, we are supposed to be singing hosanna on the highest to these clowns, these crooks, these parasites, and their various sycophants and minions, all of whom have never missed a very generous paycheck during this crisis, something that can’t be said for those of us that are forced at gunpoint, at the threat of imprisonment, to give up OUR money to pay those salaries! We are supposed to be all that and more over a $600 check while they spend billions…billions on CRAP that has no…

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“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,… “

Common Sense Corner

In spite of my background, I am not a violent person. I am not one to casually advocate resolving anything through physical destructive action, though I have been known to make comments jokingly.

But I am also not one to simply stand by and allow blatantly obvious injustices occur. I am not one to stand by and watch the results of 244 years of blood, sweat, and treasure willingly and voluntarily committed by so many people to an idea of a free and independent nation be thrown on the trash heap of history by a handful of ignorant, lazy, brain dead parasites being manipulated by power hungry puppet masters. What I am is a RABID PATRIOT that cannot sit by and watch this continue.

I do think about how this all will affect me, but I think more about how it will affect my children and my grandchildren and (hopefully)…

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How Deep The Rot

Common Sense Corner

So let me see if I have this straight…the (National Socialist) Democrat Party spent millions of taxpayer dollars and wasted valuable legislation time, not to mention creating deeper divisions among the American people, claiming President Trump was tied to the Russian government yet not being able to produce one iota of physical proof of anything. But when documented proof of involvement with a known Chinese spy by a member of THEIR party is brought to light they claim there’s no there there. And then, when he IS placed in a highly sensitive position where he could potentially subvert the safety and security of the United States (how that happened is still an unexplained mystery) and it’s found out that even after he was warned about the fact that this was a Chinese espionage agent, he has been and still was in contact with this spy. And only after that is…

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The State of the Union?

Common Sense Corner

What has happened to this country at the national level? The eunuch acting Republican Party and the (National Socialist) Democrat Party seem to have forgotten, or maybe are flat out ignoring, that the primary mission of the federal government is to ensure the safety and security of the United States of America, not to jockey against one another in their quest for power.

We are seeing hacking of major systems, BS amendments that have no connection or bearing to enhancing or maintaining defense being written into defense appropriations bills, ignoring foreign spies that all but openly operate at the highest levels of our government and in one case allowing an individual to sit on one of the most sensitive committees in our government and who maintained contact with the spy right up until the day their association became public knowledge even though they were notified about the spy long before…

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Seven Identifiers for those Blinded by Self-Righteousness

By Josh Laxton

We live in a world filled with self-righteous people, groups, and institutions.

Self-righteousness is more than a trait—it is a state, a condition, or a way of life. It refers to those who are holier-than-thou, pharisaic, or sanctimonious. It’s a prideful reliance on who one is and what one does—in other words, someone full of themselves. While it can be subtle, it is clearly manifested in the antagonistic pious postures that people or groups have towards others.

The reality is, self-righteousness can be found virtually anywhere two or more are gathered. It can be lurking in families, organizations, politics, and yes, even churches.

Although self-righteousness can be easily diagnosed by others, it is hard for those who are self-righteous to receive the diagnosis.

To help make that diagnosis, here are seven identifiers of self-righteousness.

1)The self-righteous see themselves as better than, not better together.

Self-righteous groups or people walk around snubbing their nose in a pious manner as if they are spiritually, morally, physically, and intellectually superior than all other groups or people. The result, they consider themselves “better than” others.

A “better than” others mentality forfeits the joyful and powerful experience of a “better together” mindset. In other words, those who see themselves as “better than” will find themselves living in isolation rather than living in community.

2)The self-righteous blame others for their failures rather than take ownership of them.

God, approaching Adam and Eve in their hiding, asks them, “Who told you that you were naked?” From the readers account, it is a fairly simple and straightforward question; yet, they turned it into a complex answer, one that passed the buck to the next. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent does not say anything. No one took responsibility, and the fear and embarrassment they were feeling came as a result of someone else’s doing, not their own.

The garden was the birthplace of self-righteousness. But since then, self-righteousness has pervaded the globe. It can be found anywhere people don’t take ownership of their mistakes…their failures…their sin. And just so we are clear, ownership doesn’t include watered-down platitudes like, “Yeah, but it wasn’t that bad,” or “you made me do it.”

The reality is, self-righteous people have a hard time seeing and owning their failures. For many, they believe to achieve their understanding of salvation (based upon works) they cannot fail—at least for optics sake. In other words, they believe they need to keep a good clean public image, devoid of any blemishes. And if they do somehow fall publicly, they become self-protective and resort to lying or distorting the truth or mischaracterizing (and demonizing) someone or something else as to shift the focus off of them.

Eventually, the self-righteous lose credibility with the public because the public sees through their hypocrisy.

3)The self-righteous are selfish, not selfless.

Those with snubbed pointing noses do not live life in order to serve others. Rather everything they do, or want done to them, serves their self-righteous interests. Even in the offering up of prayers and gifts, the self-righteous have as the ultimate recipients, themselves.

For instance, the prayers and gifts of the Pharisees were more for the praise they would receive from man than it was for pleasing the heart of God. That’s why Jesus said, “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence” (Matt 23:25).

How can you ultimately tell if the offerings (e.g., prayer, money, service) offered flow from a self-righteous heart? The offerings will never be sacrificial, but superficial. In other words, they will never cost the giver anything, but will be seen as currency to buy food for the insatiable hungers of a selfish heart.

4)The self-righteous are repulsive, not attractive.

No one wants to be around people or groups that are self-righteous.

The self-righteous show no love, no grace, no mercy, no compassion. If they do have grace in their life, it is for themselves and no one else. In addition, their life is constrained by law—making sure they measure up. And since they live their life by trying to measure up, they tear everyone else down. Thus, they are very quick to point out the speck in someone else’s eye while having a massive plank in theirs.

The truth is, there is nothing attractive about being around the self-righteous. They may appear attractive on the outside, but their internal condition releases a hideous odor that drives people away. As Jesus stated about the Pharisees, they are like white-washed tombs.

5)The self-righteous see themselves as exclusive purists, not inclusive persons.

Self-righteous zealots are very protective who they associate with, or who they allow in their group. Only those similar and like-minded are invited inside the gates of the self-righteous.

Unless you side with the self-righteous, agreeing with them in everything, you will be shamed and shunned. You will be viewed as a traitor, a sinner, an evil doer, a non-conformer, a person who has “not seen the light.”

The self-righteous will not let competing ideas, thoughts, sides, or people enter into their faux-perfect world. They must keep it clean from outsiders.

6)The self-righteous are haughty, not humble.

The self-righteous need no help. They can achieve everything—including salvation—on their own. Their faith and hope are in their ability, morality, and works. If they looked in a mirror and said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest one of all?” They would hear the mirror answer, “You.”

Such a haughty posture leads to a rigid life devoid of grace. They don’t believe they need grace—given their stellar ability to perform—therefore they don’t show any grace. Haughtiness, therefore, hardens one’s heart preventing them from seeing their true need for God and seeing the true needs of others.

7)The self-righteous need more self, not more Jesus.

Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9–14) where both go up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee, “standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’” The Pharisee basically communicated to God, “Look at who I am and what I have done; you should be proud of me!” Such a prayer praises the self and feeds the heart of the self-righteous.

But, the tax collector, “standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” The tax collector expressed his need of God. He needed God’s grace to cover his mess. More of God’s grace is something the self-righteous never need or even think they need. They just need to do more or try harder.

The Blinding Sin and the Gracious Savior

Self-righteousness is blinding. For one to say they don’t deal with self-righteousness is in and of itself a self-righteous statement. Realistically, self-righteousness permeates the hearts of human beings and the groups and institutions of which we inhabit. It basically espouses that we don’t need God, and that we are, in some sense, a god unto ourselves. Even those who have been awakened by the gospel of Christ can find themselves relapsing into the dormant disease of self-righteousness.

Although it is a blinding sin, the good news is that there is a gracious Savior to open our eyes of self-righteousness and to save us from our self-righteousness. The gospel teaches us that Jesus:

  • Didn’t see himself as “better than” us but clothed himself in human flesh
  • Took ownership of our sin although he was sinless
  • Selflessly came to serve and give his life as a ransom for our sin
  • Demonstrates the love of God for fallen humanity in dying in our place
  • Invites the “whosoever wills” to come to God
  • Humbly submits himself for the Father’s glory and the world’s good
  • Gives us himself and the Spirit to live a life we could never live

In short, Jesus selflessly gives us his righteousness so that we can be new creations that selflessly and sacrificially love God and love others. And thus the gospel is the antidote for the disease of self-righteousness.

In a world filled with self-righteousness, may the church be the fragrant aroma of Christ’s selfless and sacrificial love.

Josh Laxton currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, Lausanne North American Coordinator at Wheaton College. He has a Ph.D. in North American Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Taxing Their Way To Power

Common Sense Corner

The following is a post from Lt. Governor-Elect Mark Robinson’s Facebook page.

“When it comes to our RIGHTS Americans need to understand two things about Democrats; their legacy and their leadership. Their legacy is that of using a “poll tax” to keep people from exercising their RIGHT TO VOTE. Their current leadership has a suggested using a TAX on guns and gun components to keep people from exercising their RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. To those “leaders” I say this;

The poll tax was abolished, and the tax on our guns will not be TOLERATED…

Because BOTH subvert our CONSTITUTION.”

I’ve known Mark for a while and he has expressed admiration for my writing and letters.

We talked at the memorial service for recently deceased past County GOP Chairman Troy Lawson and Mark asked me to expound on his Facebook post comparing the poll tax of the past to the proposed…

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All Things Work Together for Good

As this year draws to a close, and a new one begins, the turmoil continues. The coronavirus is running rampant throughout the world, turning lives upside down. The political climate is as unstable as it has ever been. Powerful people are attempting to overthrow the form of government created by our Founding Fathers. Christians are being persecuted all over the world. Churches here are being forced to close while liquor stores and strip clubs are considered essential businesses. Our way of life is under attack and uncertain. Is there any hope left? The answer to the question is, “It depends.” 

For those who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, the outlook is grim. They have no hope. Their destiny is eternal life separated from God in Hell. For those of us that do know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, our fate is sealed. We will spend eternity with God in Heaven where there will be no more tears, no more trouble, and no more sickness. But what about our time left here on Earth? We still have to live in the nasty now and now before we get to the sweet by and by. 

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Let’s take a look at the plan God has for His children. 

Being a Christian is more than saying a little prayer and going on with your life. It is a way of life. If there has been no change in your life, you need to check your relationship with Christ. Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter to them, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) So then the question is, how do we live our this “new creation?” The Bible teaches us that when we are “born again,” the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are each given spiritual gifts that we are to use in service to God. It is our duty to study God’s Word and understand these gifts, and to discern which ones we have been given. Once that is completed, our job is just getting started. 

The mission for every Christian is given to us directly by our Lord and Savior in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The way we accomplish this is by using our spiritual gifts. 

In order to use our gifts, we are told in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

Now we have the big picture. As a Christian, we have the promise from God that all things will work out for good for those that put forth reasonable service using their gifts in the way that God has called them to use them. So, no matter what is going on around us, no matter who is the president, no matter who controls Congress, no matter who persecutes us, no matter what pandemic infects us, we can know that no matter what happens, everything will work out for good. 

Perhaps you have read this and would like to have that same assurance from God. The great news is that you can. The first step is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible says that if you believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless life, was punished and died for your sins, that He was buried, that He rose from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for you, you are saved. Then, you need to find a local church where you can learn the Bible and find out your gifts and how to use them. Then live your life in a pleasing and acceptable way to God, which is your reasonable service. God has never called anyone to be saved and then to do nothing for His Kingdom. 

If you have any questions about how to be saved or other questions about being a Christian, please contact me. 

Scott Harris 

Invitation to Bible Study

Several current television shows highlight the secondhand retail industry. The stars of the shows shop for bargains in barns, flea markets, and pawn stores. They are looking for treasures among items that most people would deem used up or worthless. Most of the shows save one final purchase for the end of the program, when the star of the show stumbles upon an item of great price, purchases it, and repurposes it to highlight its value to the new owner. These shows highlight the concept of redemption. This week we begin our new study of chapters 1–9 in the Book of Luke. I hope you’ll join us as we discuss how God’s promises point to His redemptive plan for His creation.

This study commences on Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 9:00 A.M. via Zoom. It will last about an hour. Everyone is welcome! If you are interested, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post at Word Press or email me at Feel free to share this with someone that ma in interested.

Start your New Year’s resolutions now as we will learn about the real meaning of Christmas.

Scott Harris

Are You a Member of the Family?

Are you a member of the family of God? During this tumultuous time in our Country where we are staunchly divided into members of the Democrat family or Republican family, only one family makes a difference in the big picture. President Obama famously said, “Elections have consequences.” He was correct. The outcomes of elections here in the USA will determine what type of Country we will be and how it will be run; however, this is a temporary situation. New leaders will inevitably be chosen, and they will have their ideas of how things will be. But one day, it will all end. There will no longer be Democrats or Republicans or even a United States of America. But when this all ends here on Earth, there will still be an eternity. Then, the question will be, “Are you a member of the family of God?” 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. He left Heaven, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless life, was tortured, crucified, and killed, paid the penalty of sin, was buried, rose from the dead, and in now sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for His family. To become an adopted member of this family, all you have to do is believe that Jesus paid that price for you and believe that He was resurrected from the dead, defeating death, and now intercedes on your behalf. But what about all this election and predestination stuff? Let’s take a look. 

Election and predestination are both biblical teachings. The English “predestination” is translated from the Greek word proorizo, which means 1) to predetermine, decide beforehand; 2) in the NT, of God decreeing from eternity; 3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand. Predestination, then, is the biblical teaching that God predestines certain events and people to accomplish what He so desires. The word proorizo occurs six times in the New Testament, each time demonstrating that God is the one who is foreordaining and bringing about specific events:

  1. Acts 4:28, “to do whatever Your hand and purpose predestined to occur.”
  2. Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; 
  3. Romans 8:30, “and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
  4. 1 Corinthians 2:7, “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
  5. Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
  6. Ephesians 1:11, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

The word “election,” or “elect,” comes from the Greek word eklectos and occurs about 25 times in the New Testament. It signifies “to pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one’s self, a choosing one out of many.” The one who does the choosing, the electing, is God.

  1. John 13:18, “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ˜He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.”
  2. Ephesians 1:4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
  3. 1 Timothy 5:21, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”

Again, there is debate within Christianity as to the means and purpose of God’s election. Some say that God elects individuals and others say He only elects nations and/or groups of people. If God elects individuals, this means that God is predestining them, electing them into salvation, and He is not electing others. This does not sit well with many Christians. On the other hand, some Christians state that God elects based upon a foreknowledge of what an individual will do.

Whichever side you believe, remember that predestination and election are biblical concepts. You must also not forget that how you believe in predestination and/or election does not affect your salvation. Therefore, you should be gracious to other Christians who differ from you on this subject.

While there are numerous ideas of precisely what election means regarding salvation, the fact that believers are chosen is indisputable. Simply put, the doctrine of election is that God chooses/determines/elects/predestines who will be saved. Therefore, the question is, “How can I know if I am one of the elect?” The answer is exceedingly simple: believe!

The Bible nowhere instructs us to be concerned regarding our status of elect vs. non-elect. Instead, God calls us to believe, to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). If a person truly trusts in Jesus alone for salvation, that person is one of the elect. Whether belief secures election or election causes belief – that is another debate. But what is sure is that belief is evidence of election. No one can receive Jesus as Savior unless God draws him or her (John 6:44). God calls/draws those whom He has predestined/elected (Romans 8:29-30). Saving faith is not possible without divine election. Therefore, saving faith is evidence of election.

The idea of a person wanting to be saved but being unable to do so due to not being one of the elect is foreign to the Bible. No one seeks after God’s plan of salvation on his own accord (Romans 3:10-18). Those without Christ are blind to their need for salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4). This only changes when God begins drawing a person to Himself. It is God who opens eyes and enlightens minds to the need for Jesus Christ as Savior. A person cannot repent (change the mind about sin and the need for salvation) unless God grants repentance (Acts 11:18). Therefore, if you understand God’s plan of salvation, recognize your need for it, and feel compelled to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, then believe, and you are saved.

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior, trusting Him alone for salvation, believing that His sacrifice is the full payment for your sins – congratulations, you are one of the elect.