Friday, February 17, 2017

Roots in Ripon - For Such A Time

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Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
13 February 2017

                Down through recorded history, the leaders we so often admire are the ones who lead their troops into battle. These leaders may be generals, princes, kings or any variety of similar titles. But one thing is certain: The leader is beloved by those who follow for one simple reason – the leader leads from the front. The leader is willing to face the slings and arrows along with his troops. The leader says, “Follow me!” Such leaders are warriors!

          One thing is certain when looking for leaders. From the President to the 100 members of the Senate to the 435 members of the House of Representatives to the nine Supreme Court Justices (currently eight), there are precious few among this cabal who are true leaders. Oh, they talk pretty, promising the moon with all their campaigning and fund-raising. It always comes across as so much empty talk.  

          For the past eight years, I have volunteered my time in serving the Republican Party in my area. I’m also a member of the Government Relations Committee of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. This has allowed me to meet a number of our elected representatives and candidates for office, both Democrat and Republican. Most are very nice, willing to “press the flesh” and smile. But what I have attempted to stress, when the occasion presents itself, is to look them in the eye and say, “Do the right thing!” 

          Americans love strong, no nonsense leaders who will face the fire, be it in combat, or in the Halls of Congress. I believe this is why Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has become a hero to many because of his dogged
determination in pursuing the truth about Benghazi and other shady and highly questionable shenanigans perpetrated on the American people. If our political leaders simply told the truth, folks might think better of them. Instead, the embarrassing numbers of trust levels in Congress, which has gone on for decades, hovers in the single digits.

          As I have written before, I was no fan of Mr. Trump until late in the game when he surprisingly became the Republican nominee for president. Several things took place in mid-summer which had a profound effect on me. First was the promises he was making to the American people as to what he was going to do to make America great again once elected. His often crude and brash manner notwithstanding, he was addressing boldly those issues that mattered most to we the people. It resonated across the fruited plain, particularly in “flyover country”. 

          Second, (and this is what sold me on Trump,) he selected Senator Mike Pence of Indiana as his VP running mate. Pence is a Christian who lives his faith and isn’t embarrassed to say so. He is quoted to have said, “I’m a Christian, a Conservative, and a Republican – in that order.” So is Kellyanne Conway, serving now as Counselor to the President. She makes no bones about her faith in Jesus. The same can be said about Dr. Ben Carson, the new Director of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Another strong Christian advising Mr. Trump throughout the campaign was former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. The President’s chief of staff, Reince Preibus, is “known as a principled, devout Christian.” 

          The recently embattled nominee for Attorney General, now confirmed, Jeff Sessions, has served in his church in numerous positions of responsibility throughout his life. Betsy DeVos, the newly appointed Secretary of Education, says she sees education as “one of the ways that God advances his kingdom.” Our new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is considered to be a devout Christian who attends church weekly and teaches Bible study. 

          And on it goes with Scott Pruitt who now runs the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency); Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA; and Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations. 

          Where President Trump stands regarding any personal faith in Jesus, I’m not sure that anyone knows. But he has chosen these folks to be in his cabinet and to serve in his administration. 

          Now here’s the exciting part! I reflect back on the life of Queen Esther in the Bible, a Jewess whom God used to save her people, the Jews. While in exile in Persia under the rule of Xerxes the Great, the Jews found themselves being targeted for extinction with the blessings of Xerxes himself. Esther was unsure of what to do until her uncle, Mordecai, conveyed these immortal words to her. “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

          The Bible records that Esther heroically approached King Xerxes who not only reversed his prior order to have the Jews wiped out, but that the Jews should be shown honor. 

          For quite a number of years in America there has been a growing hostility toward Christians and Jews. With the advent of a president who claims no faith that we know of, he has clearly chosen many of his appointees who are ardently God-fearing Christians. President Trump has also said he will overturn the Johnson Amendment of 1954 which was used to muzzle pastors from speaking about political matters. Additionally, the President has chosen his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a Jew, to serve as his Senior Advisor. Mr. Trump is also having the American Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is historic!

          Who knows but that God has allowed President Trump, a man of no particular religious faith, to be used to reinvigorate the godly heritage of our nation. And in so doing, God has strategically placed key men and women of faith who “have come to this royal position for such a time as this?”
          These next four years should be quite exhilarating! Is God about to do something really special? I, for one, certainly believe so!

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