“There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men.”
Ludwig von Mises
One must understand that corruption is first and foremost a heart issue that no form of legislation can address. To truly combat corruption, the heart must be targeted through continual prayer, bold witnessing, and Gospel studying, all while trusting that God will ultimately carry out His plan.
As a basic definition, however, corruption can be defined as, “dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people” as well as, “a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct”. Political corruption, then, is exactly that: corruption within the political sphere.
Yet what is true “corruption”? The definition is objective, as all word definitions are, yet most would agree that real, tangible corruption is a deviation from basic morality (which we would see as defined by God) for the purpose of self-gain.
I did not realize just how terrible the world is until the past few weeks. Even then, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. This missionary kid of seventeen years need two semesters in politics to actually understand the stupidity of this world.
That fact is mildly embarrassing, to be honest. But this has been an embarrassing year with the amount of idiocy that has been exposed even in my personal life.
Have you ever gone through a time of such deep darkness that you forgot what the light looked like? I have. Anxiety, depression, black anger, hurt, frustration, and grief all accompany this tragic state. If you were ever a teenager, you likely can emphasize with this.
Teenage life is, after all, a trying time. We grow at a rapid rate between the ages of 13 and 20, often maturing so quickly (or slowly, at times) that we become different people almost overnight.
I find it interesting (and more than a little amusing) that St. Valentine, the man for which Valentine’s Day is named, was actually beheaded several hundred years ago on the day we celebrate. Therefore, we do not celebrate love, for which St. Valentine was not even famous for (his “Saintly responsibilities” involved beekeeping and epilepsy), but instead we celebrate death. Quite a concept, is it not?
I have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. More than once have I made a complete fool of myself for romance. One such day, about five years ago, I went to great lengths to put a handwritten valentine on the doorstep of my then-crush, even walking almost a mile in the pitch black African bush at 4:00 in the morning. My reward? Absolutely nothing, she never even acknowledged its existence, and is now dating my best friend, a source of enormous amusement to myself and my family. Now, five years later, I am increasingly reminded of the lengths we, as humans, will go to in order to prove our affection for a member of the opposite gender.
You know, I never really knew what I was getting into when I began Anatomy and Physiology. As a senior in high school, I have lost any preference for the classes I take, yet this particular course has proven interesting. While the topics have varied, the most recent topic is also the most awkward: sex.
There’s no other way around this topic, nor is there a better way to phrase it. It’s bound to come up in such a class, and sure enough, it did. Thankfully, my teacher is a Christian, and she combined both the science of sex with the Christianity we both believe.
While the discussion was elaborate, I believe the most important piece said was on the topic of pre-marital sex. In today’s culture, very few of us have a legitimate idea about the importance of wedding night sex. In fact, when polled, the number of Christians who claimed that casual sex between consenting adults is sometimes or always acceptable was well over fifty percent (Diamant 2020).
This is an incredible number. According to Jeff Diamante, 62% of Catholics and 56% of Protestants agree with the prior statement. Not only is this statistic alarming, it is deeply disturbing. For an unexplainable reason, today’s Christians continue to compromise their faith, syncretizing their so-called beliefs with the bells and trinkets of the world.
But couldn’t there be a good situation for casual, pre-marital sex to occur? Not at all! Biblically, we are specifically called to keep the marriage bed pure, reserving sexual interaction for marriage and marriage only. From the beginning, God’s clear-cut plan for marriage is simple: one man to one woman, going to each other on the marriage bed.
Genesis 2:24-25 says, ““Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.””
There is no difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The latter echoes the teachings of the former, stating in 1 Corinthians 7:2 that “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Could you ask for a clearer verse? This is not masked nor hidden. One man to one woman.
Homosexuality and adulteresses are prohibited in the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the judgement for homosexuality was immediate removal from God’s people (banishment, see Leviticus 18). Adultery isn’t merely limited to the law, like homosexuality, but is also included in the Ten Commandments, causing some to argue that the sin of adultery is greater than the sin of homosexuality. I make no such statement but leave you to judge for yourselves. Both are condemned as sin and shall be treated as such.
Satan seeks to twist everything God created. As he actively works in the world, he seeks to corrupt the Godly and their beliefs. Men that once held fast to their faith instead exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25), exchanging the Creator (God and His truth) for the created (the world and its offerings). Anything from the world will be contrary to God’s word, and thus we can recognize it as from Satan. The pure marriage bed, once a norm, has been defiled, an action that has since become commonplace. Normal sexual interactions (again, within the marriage bed), are exchanged for same-sex interactions.
In fact, this goes further than sexual sin. Righteousness becomes unrighteousness, truth becomes lie, manhood becomes womanhood (men are becoming more passive), womanhood becomes manhood (women are becoming more aggressive), and much, much more.
This is the world, ladies and gentlemen. It seeks to corrupt everything we know, starting with our hearts and minds. It offers compromise, small at first, but growing larger by the day, and tempts us with its charms. If we do not hold fast to the truths of God and take them as they are written, we will fall together as the Church crashes around our ears.
Marriage is about oneness and offering one’s self to the other. In this mutual servanthood, born out of love, true intimacy is reached, an intimacy that cannot be found anywhere else. When this is torn apart, baggage is created, the same baggage that will be brought into the marriage bed should it be broken beforehand. For true, lasting intimacy, there must be no spiritual or physical baggage brought to your spouse. Yet there is hope for those who have already failed! Christ purifies you, just as He purifies the Church. He cleanses His bride, the harlot Church (or Israel) and makes her a beautiful thing.
Holding fast to the truths of God starts here, with the simple things that we are told to take for granted. The world tells us, “oh, that’s normal, accept it as such.” WAKE UP! Surprise: it’s not. Every Christian is called to hold the marriage bed in honor and purity, for it represents something far greater: the Marriage of the Church and of Christ.
This goes all the way back to the Garden and God’s plan for family and the church. Just as the family reflects the Church (man as the spiritual and literal head of the home), the Church reflects the greater Marriage. In both cases, we are called to keep to this representation and hold these items as pure. As time passes, these boundaries are crossed again and again, the most common examples being pre-marital sex and church divides. We cannot allow these compromises to take hold within the Church, especially if we are to withstand the subtle temptations of the World.
The previous statements have been confirmed again and again by saved friends of mine who, prior or occasionally after their salvation, acted precisely as I just described or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, actually managed to reach their wedding nights with their virginity intact, or without. If I could give you a single lesson, one given to me with excessive emphasis, it is this: the wait is worth it. Don’t give in to the world.
Many will be offended by what I have just said. This is not the goal. My only prayer is that, even through your offense, my words will call you to further conversation and thought on these matters. Please remember: as Christians, our opinions are to be built around God’s Word, not the pressure of the world. If you’d like to engage in healthy, open dialogue, feel free to comment with any questions or thoughts of your own.
Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace.
There are two photos pinned to the wall just above my desk. One of them depicts a young man standing at a pulpit, his mouth split with a wide smile as he animates his discussion with open hands. His eyes seem fixed on a single spot in the crowd before him, perhaps seeing something visible only to himself. Four months ago, as I stood in front of that pulpit to deliver an impromptu speech, a camera captured the emotion most important to me over the past few months: joy.
This post really should be around six thousand words. I could probably write a fifteen-page essay on this topic, but, for the sake of wordcount, I shall restrain myself and discuss only what is necessary.
Yesterday, West Virginia governor Jim Justice announced that all winter sports (including my sport, basketball) are completely canceled until January 11th at the earliest. This is just another example of the American government completely failing in their duties to the American people. The decision has absolutely no logic behind it and was passed because of fear and peer pressure.
America’s problems begin from the top down, starting with Donald Trump. While I am Republican, I refuse to be one of those that ignore Trump’s faults. While Trump did a decent job in the “Covid-19 Presidency”, he failed to properly lead the American people in accountability, propriety, or responsibility. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he pointed fingers to the Democrat party, shifted blame, or refused to acknowledge a tangible problem.
Yet, for all his faults, he actually managed to drastically reduce the overall production time of a COVID vaccine. Through the work of American scientists and doctors, a breakthrough was found….exactly a week and a half after election day, and three days after Joe Biden’s victory was announced.
Coincidence? Absolutely not.
You see, Pfizer (the creator of this vaccine) did not release the news of the vaccine until directly after Joe Biden’s victory. While I cannot claim that Pfizer definitely withheld information for political reasons (and thus I cannot claim such information as fact), I firmly believe that this vaccine was withheld until Donald Trump had lost. If the vaccine had been announced before the election, as it should have, the numbers may have turned and Trump could have won. If these assumptions are true, then this is just another example of the disgusting combination of politics and the pandemic.
There are too many such examples to count. We, the American people, have lost all sense of decency (the Presidential debate), graciousness (the riots), servanthood (corrupt cops), leadership (Jim Justice and California’s governing body), and love. We are a selfish, self-absorbed, easily-angered and quickly-speaking country. The very principles upon which this country was built have been discarded and left to rot.
When are we going to wake up? When are our governors going to begin making decisions outside of pressure, with the best interests of their people at heart? Instead of giving into peer pressure and making decisions with no logic (canceling sports, requiring masks in your own yards, etc.), governors have to understand that their people are tired of the governmental yoke of oppression. For almost a year now, we have withstood new mandates, laws, and even arrests over refusal to exercise the right to not wear a mask.
When are we going to realize that this virus is not going to magically disappear because the American people wore their masks, social distanced, didn’t go to church, conducted school online, and stayed in their homes?
This virus is massively contagious. It spreads through human contact, a part of life absolutely necessary for maintaining the sanity of a human being (by which I mean that the majority of Covid transmissions are between family members that spent time together). While mask mandates and social distancing laws may partially slow the spread of the virus, why are we overestimating their effectiveness? Look around you. We have had over ten million cases and 238,000 deaths. This virus is bigger than anybody anticipated, and it isn’t going to be stopped by a stupid piece of cloth or paper.
Many will argue with such points, claiming these numbers would be much higher if we had not imposed nationwide mandates. To such a claim, I point to the country of Sweden. From the beginning, they have emphasized personal choice and discretion with masks/social distancing. If someone has a health issue or is at risk, they can stay at home or wear a two-way mask in public. Otherwise, the people are free to act at their discretion. Schools were not closed, and businesses remained open. Guess what? Sweden’s numbers are almost precisely the same as the neighboring country of Finland, a country that did close schools, impose mask mandates, and require business to shut down for ridiculous amounts of time.
What does this say to you? These procedures do not slow the virus as much as we thought. Yet the American government insists on abiding by them, even going so far as to ask citizens to call the police on non-mask-wearing people (Jim Justice said this yesterday). This is absolute and utter madness! In fact, the only explanation that makes even the most remote sense is found in a single word: politics.
Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic coincided with the election year. While we quarantined in our homes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden dueled in commercials, advertisements, radio discussions, and debates. State governors, knowing their time was almost at an end, fought to buy the most voters instead of actually trying to restore some semblance of real life. Most governors have long since proven their disinterest in the mind of the people (as proven by anti-lockdown riots and demonstrations across the USA), exchanging interest in the people for interest in their jobs.
It is only by the grace of God that the end is within sight. The vaccine, despite its apparently-delayed appearance, is beginning production. By January, most of America should be vaccinated. I only hope that the American governors are smart enough to realize that vaccinated people cannot get the disease and will thus return us to completely normal life.
Christians: we are not excused from our duty to prayer. While my frustration in the American government is valid, as asserted by many around me, this does not give me an excuse to stop praying. Despite my absolute disliking for Joe Biden, I will pray for him every time I hear his name. He needs Jesus, just like the rest of us. Please don’t forget that you do, too.
They say that the best teachers are those that know you best. I believe this to be true. A teacher that can reach into your heart and find your deepest needs, gaps, and desires is a teacher that will always succeed. Moreover, a teacher willing to go to great lengths to ensure your complete understanding of a given topic is a teacher like no other. This man or woman will never be forgotten. They will implant their face upon the hearts and minds of our young generations for decades, changing the future for the better.
It has been well over a month since I last published on my website. The commencement of the soccer season completely removed any semblance of free time I once possessed, forcing me to temporarily pause my writing.
My time in solitude has ended. I’m back.
Although my publishing schedule will change (I will now publish one post a week), I am returning to writing with high expectations- I’d like to pass 1,500 followers before 2021 has arrived.
Yet aside from my personal goals and lack of time, the Lord has worked some marvelous things in the past three months. His graciousness has shown through, demonstrating His never-stopping, never-ending, always-pursuing, and never-giving-up love.
For the past ten or twelve weeks, God has confronted me on several heart issues, including my pride and tendency to see myself above others. He has shown me the root effects of my anger and has given me several newer friends to lift me up and push me back towards Him.
He has also given me clear, concise guidance in my relationship with a dear friend of mine. He showed me my absolute need for Christ to be closely involved in all of my relationships, beyond even that specific friendship.
Finally, God has continued to confront me on my relationship with my parents and siblings. While many of the problems my parents and I face are labeled as “common teenage problems”, I reject such labeling. These problems, while common to man, were not common to Jesus. Because I am called to emulate Him in every possible way, I must strive for a good, pure relationship with my parents and siblings.
I am very thankful for the marvelous works of Christ within my own life. He truly is good, isn’t He? There is no denying the power and glory of our God!
If you could know anything, what would you want to know?
We all have an insatiable desire to know something. It’s what drives new discoveries, new creations, and new ideas. We may want to know where we will be in five years, or when the pandemic will be over, or how to create light without a lightbulb or a candle. Yet that information escapes us until given proper permission. Want to know what happens in five years? Wait five years and see.
Scripture says that the Lord’s ways are above our ways, His thoughts above our thoughts, and His knowledge is above our knowledge. In The Saga of the Volsungs, one woman, Gudrun, touches on knowledge in a poignant way. Having just learned her future and that of her husband’s, she says, “The grief of knowing such things overwhelms me” (78). An overabundance of knowledge can hurt us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Overwhelming emotions can lead to physical pain, as I (along with anyone else that has struggled with depression) have experienced. Having “God knowledge” changes us into trusting ourselves and not Him, hurting our spiritual lives.
I have heard pastors speak about the walk of faith in such a way, often giving the story of Mary. Mary, mother of Jesus, gives the humble, simple response of “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 ESV) upon receiving the clearly-written story of her future.I wonder if her response had changed, should she have known what was ahead—her son being mocked, disbelieved, tortured, and crucified before her very eyes.
The Lord reveals His will in His timing, not ours, often using this as a method of teaching us patience. He teaches us to lean into Him, instead of relying on our own strength.
Take, for example, a cardboard box. Imagine that this cardboard box represents your strength. Now imagine sitting on it for hours upon hours, days upon days, weeks upon weeks. What would happen? It would crumble, folding in on itself, and soon, you’d be on the floor. In the same way, leaning on our own strength leads to even more brokenness. Now, if you sat on a well-crafted chair for years upon years, would it crumble under you? Probably not. I know the analogy breaks down a bit, as do all human analogies, but the idea stands. Leaning into and relying on God’s strength is like sitting in that chair. It never breaks down; it always supports and carries you. God will always be there for you, holding and carrying you when you cannot lift yourself. In our weakness, He is our strength.
“God will always be there for you, holding and carrying you when you cannot lift yourself. In our weakness, He is our strength.” -Katelyn Vergakis
Another example can be found within the book known as Thunder Dog, a story about the 9/11 attacks. The story tells of a blind man who worked in the World Trade Center, accompanied by his service dog, Roselle. He survived the attacks because of his trust in his guide. He now travels around the world speaking about 9/11 and the important relationships between guide dogs and the people they lead.
In the same way as the blind man and Roselle, when we can’t see our path, the Lord leads us where we should go and never leaves our side. 2 Corinthians 5:7 calls us to “Walk by faith and not by sight”, so that we learn through experience how to better trust our Lord.
If we knew everything to come, we would fight God all the more. We would say “I don’t need you! I know everything about myself and my future.” How can we walk the walk of faith if we are fighting the one who gives us our belief? How can we trust in our Saviour while attempting to trust ourselves and our limited, human strength?
Developing our trust in Christ is what pushes us to the other side. Like an athlete working day in and day out to achieve a single victory, we must build our trust for the greatest victory: Christ’s. It’s through Him that we can say “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” (Louisa May Alcott). If you trust in the Lord and His perfect plan, then you will find that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). All you have to do is take His hand and hold on for the ride.
Statler: Ah, Mrs. Collins has published another book, I see. Are you going to read it?
Waldorf: Read it? I’m going to use it!
Statler: Use it for what?
Waldorf: As kindling for my fire!
*The two chuckle*
Thank you Statler, and you, Waldorf, for that wonderful intro. I really don’t know what I’d do without you guys.
Since today is the first day of what will be many, many “Statler and Waldorf book reviews” to come, I may as well explain how I intend to conduct such posts. These will be published on Mondays, as the title insinuates, and will cover any book I have read within the past few weeks. Books will be given a summary, a star rating out of 5 (I will not give 5 stars unless the books are amazing), and a small, individual critique from both Statler and Waldorf. I may add more features as the posts continue, but this is how I intend to begin.
Greetings everyone. My name is Philip Soen and I am Elisha McFarland’s uncle. Presently, I live in Dallas, Texas, where I have been studying to become a university professor. This last July (2020) I had the privilege of vacationing in St. Albans, West Virginia. There Elisha’s family hosted my two daughters and me. Time with the McFarlands was wonderful, and I had the special privilege of connecting with Elisha and his younger brother Noah. All three of us slept in the same room and would often stay up late talking about the day’s events, entertainment, or theology. I very much enjoyed both Elisha and Noah and their flourishing interest in knowing the ultimate things about God and his word.
After I returned from my vacation, Elisha invited me to post an entry on his blog. The topic is power for courageous action. This particular topic interests me greatly because the world is full of danger, and without any power to conquer threatening forces, valiant action is impossible. As far as I’m concerned, courageous action is the only way forward in a world that seeks to destroy life, dishonor good people, and denigrate the triune God. Where, however, can one obtain power for such action?
This is a perplexing question. Courage may be a man’s greatest desire, but such a man could go his entire life without an ounce of such a quality. So, where can anyone get power for courageous action? I stumbled upon the answer when reading through Homer’s Iliad the other day. (Have you ever read The Iliad?! If you haven’t, you should). The answer? Achilles’ spear.
False teachers are everywhere. Everyone thinks that they’re the next John Piper, prepared to give controversial opinions with little care given to the legitimacy of their claims.
In an age of false news and quick, unresearched opinions, it can become almost impossible to properly research current events. Every smalltime blogger, podcaster, youtuber, and writer thinks that their take on current events is the most factual, needed piece of content on the web, and they’re usually wrong.
This extends beyond the news and into the Christian world. Thousands of “Christian bloggers” surround themselves with a small audience, then begin peddling false gospels and heresies, all while convinced of their own necessity and puffed up by their knowledge.
After over two years of silence, acclaimed rapper Lecrae has released his newest album, aptly titled “Restoration“. The album, containing tracks featuring popular artists John Legend and YK Osiris, has been met with wide success, garnering over 2 million YouTube views within mere days of being released.
What happened? What caused his music to take such an extraordinary shift?
Today is the day! Publishing Peace Ministries has officially launched! After three months of dreaming, writing, envisioning, and working, we have finally reached the Starting line.
Publishing Peace Ministries, originally known as “Project Cast”, began as the brain child of Jonathan Bjorn-Kellogg, aka. Bjorn. His vision for quality Christian content in an age of low-quality, lackluster “christian” content was a magnificent one, attracting people such as myself to the ministry idea.
After a few weeks, several decisions were made. First, the project name was changed to “Publishing Peace Ministries”, based on Isaiah 52:7, which says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The project focus then shifted from YouTube-oriented to website-oriented. While YouTubing and Podcasting is still on the radar for Publishing Peace, the writing team shows a lot of promise and will begin work today.
Finally, before work began, the board of Directors voted me as the Director of Publishing Peace based, I believe, on my past experiences and current skill set. I am deeply humbled by the appointment and have promised to do my absolute best to ensure that this project succeeds.
If you’d like to become involved in the project as a writer, contact me or write me at email@example.com. If you’d like to view/watch what we produce, you can visit our site by clicking here (make sure to subscribe) or following any of our social media below.
In the meantime, feel free to read our ministry’s information below.
Who We Are
Established in 2020, Publishing Peace Ministries is a gospel-driven organization devoted to creating quality content for all believers to help them discover joy in their Savior. We at Publishing Peace strive to bring people closer to Christ by showing them the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Gospel in a multitude of ways, including blog posts, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, film and television.
Our goal as a ministry is to show people the untapped spiritual depth and joy secured in the Gospel. We reject the worldly mindset of the “Sunday-only faith,” and strive to share the all-encompassing, life-transforming glory of what Jesus has done (and continues to do) for us.
Equipping today’s believers with the tools to grow and mature even in their daily lives so that they may go into the world prepared to serve and enjoy Christ in the fullest.
That today’s believers would discover the true magnitude the Gospel, preparing a generation to enjoy, grow in, and share their salvation.
Again, if you’d like to become involved in Publishing Peace, you can email me or contact me through the Contact page. If you’d like to visit our website, click above.
Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope you have an excellent day!