The Lincoln Effect

lincoln

The United States is currently at a turning point as a nation. Only once in our history have we found ourselves in such a difficult and dangerous position. That occurred just prior to the Civil War in the 1860’s, during the election of Abraham Lincoln and it brought about the “Lincoln Effect”. Liberal Democrats, who had continually vote against ending slavery, were unable to place their man in the White House and Republicans secured the nation and the freedom of tens of thousands of blacks slaves. These slaves lived broken lives of poverty and abuse at the hands of big money southern plantation owners. These  same plantation owners thanked the Northern Democrats by providing lucrative business deals and cash donations to line their bulging pockets.

When Lincoln was finally confirmed the winner in this hotly contested election, the dynamics of the whole nation and government changed. The liberal Democrats in authority, and the wealthy landowners who supported them, lost their power base and place of hidden influence. Lincoln’s election exposed the corrupt system for what it was, and the halls of Congress began to echo the cry’s of freedom rather than hide the whispers of maintaining the status quo.

The historical records are very clear. The Republican rule that came when Lincoln was elected changed the fabric of the nation. It prevented us from falling headlong into an economy driven by slaves, ruled by the wealthy and controlled by greedy, unethical politicians. Because the common people had raised up and supported an unlikely champion, life for everyone hung in the balance. The common people had opened their mouths to support their candidate, and when Election Day came, they voted with a view towards righteousness that shocked the political pundits.

The shock was that they voted Lincoln into office knowing what he was proposing to do. He would bring an unavoidable and deadly conflict right to the center of Washington, DC, and into the heart of the nation. If he succeeded he would heal the nation, if he did not, the nation would be forever divided and never the same. The good people of this country were convinced that this painful change was necessary to put us back on track. They were willing to follow Lincoln’s lead and embrace his leadership even though he was not a polished politician, and had a string of failures haunting his background. History has indeed confirmed that Lincoln was God’s man for that hour.

I believe that Donald Trump is in our day, just such a man as Lincoln was in his. In the eyes of many people Trump is the most unlikely person to run for President, much less win that race. He is not polished, he has no political experience and he is more like a CEO than a Commander In Chief. Yet, there is something about him that demands respect and has drawn tens of millions to his side. He simply defies every explanation and continues to rise afresh from what his critics are convinced is a death spiral. He is unorthodox and speaks the brutal truth. He cares more about getting the job done than being politically correct. To put it honestly, he is the breath the fresh air that people have been waiting for, and others have feared.

Anything the liberal, progressive Democrats have to offer in this election is of the same caliber that their counterparts did in Lincoln’s day. It’s just more of the same failed policies that have brought us to the current place of division, racial tension, unemployment, national debt, weakened military strength, unsecure borders and vulnerability to terrorist attacks. This elephant in the room has the word Democrat written all over it. Call it something else, point the finger and shift the blame to what happened a decade ago, but this baby is all your doing and you can’t run away from it by running with a corrupt politician who lies the way Hillary does.

Democrats want to just keep things moving as they are, and please don’t rock the boat. Let’s keep the money flowing, the favors going and the people in the dark. Let’s pile on more national debt, heap on the taxes, hand out more “free” stuff. Oh yes, be sure to keep the welfare high and make it available to every illegal alien who breaks the law to get across the border. Stack up thousands of pages of new regulations, run by unelected bureaucrats to discourage independent small business owners and force successful businesses to pay even more. Then, force people to get government run health care that covers nothing while you jack up their premiums and their deductibles to all time highs. Finally, and here is the good part, criminalize and fine those who don’t want or can’t afford this disastrous, inferior health insurance.

We have been lied to, kept in the dark, scammed, taken advantage of and had our trust violate in the most egregious and outrageous ways. Yet now this same, lawless “political rapist” is asking us to vote her back into the place of ultimate power?? The very one who was in power when this violation happened, the one who voted to put all this in place, now wants us to empower her again? Only a masochist, an insane person or a demoniac would do such a thing! I thank God the bulk of Americans are no such thing!!!!!

Trump as president…. Absolutely!!!…… In a heartbeat! There is nothing else to say. Come November 8th, 2016, when Donald Trump is elected, we will have a president to be proud of, a strong national leader who loves America, and a clear voice that speaks for the people. It’s time to clean house and set off in a new direction with someone who is not afraid to speak the truth and do what needs to be done. Drain the swamp, wash out the mud and let’s get back to the clarity of American life, liberty and security as our founders intended it to be. God Bless America …. and deliver us from evil!  May the “Lincoln Effect” be felt in our land once again!

The Voice Of Truth

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As a boy growing up in the heart of the northern Adirondacks, I was very independent and really enjoyed being my own person. I was never one to follow the crowd, and usually took my own path no matter where it might lead. What I learned along the way was to value what past generations handed down to me, and I learned to listen for the voice of truth, no matter who it came through. No doubt, I got this frame of reference from my father, who was one of the last “old-time” Adirondack guides. He was born on the Emmons homestead in Bloomingdale, NY in  August of 1905. Dad loved our family’s heritage and spoke fondly of the life they had carved out in the Adirondacks, and the faith they had lived out in those rugged mountains and valleys.

One thing was certain, dad tended to do things the old way.  He had been deeply impacted by the great depression of 1929 and had lived through the struggles of World War II. He, and those of his generation, knew the importance of just doing things for themselves. Dad was a an excellent craftsmen with wood, a self-taught jeweler, electro-plater, welder, plumber, electrician, house painter and artist, among many other things. He preferred to use hand saws and butt plaines over powered tools. He preferred wood heat over the oil furnace in our basement, and he liked kerosene lamps and lanterns more than electric lights. He loved gardening, fishing and hunting when it came to putting food on our table. Above all this he always, and I mean always carried a jack knife, which he called a “pen knife”. That term came from the fact that he, and all the generations before him, used a quill pen. Thus, they all carried a “pen” knife to keep the end of the quill pen sharp.

The point is, we really are who we are because of two things. One is the people who influenced our lives and the other is the voice of truth we listened to. I was as independent as my father because his ways and words had been passed down to me. These had come down to him from his parents, who married and started their family in the 1880’s. They in turn, got their values and mode of operation from the generation who had lived before and during the Civil War. Even more amazing is that Dad’s grandparents, and that whole generation, had gotten their values and practices from those who had lived during the years surrounding the Revolutionary War. So, a portion of my way of thinking and my view of life has actually been shaped by those who lived and died with George Washington, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Imagine that!!!

When I think of this historical connection it simply rocks my mind. What my ancestors believed, what they did and where they went in the 1700’s still echoes down the centuries to have a clear expression in me, my children and grandchildren. Our lives and beliefs are the product of all those generations. We all carry a jack knife and we all love to sit by an evening fire out back. We enjoy gardening, love to hunt and can’t wait to find a new trout stream for a meal of fresh fish. We all like to fix things on our own and we enjoy helping others fix their stuff as well. We hold to our Christian faith and walk in it’s teachings as the guiding principles of life, just the way my father’s parents and all their ancestors did.

Every bit the above brings me to a very sobering reality for us all. The whole chain of personal historical continuity, that which makes an Emmons an Emmons, or a Smith a Smith, could ended in a flash. Every trait, every guiding principle, every shred of personal family heritage that makes us what we are could be gone in a moment. How is that possible, you might ask. Well, all it takes is just one generation to reject the voice of truth. If one generation does not value where we came from, and by default simply fails to get and pass along the values we all hold dear, then everything that makes any family what it always has been, will be gone forever. For some that might be a good thing, but for the vast majority of Americans it would be our worst nightmare, and sad to say, we are now being pushed  headlong in that direction.

Consider what has happened through the American education system over the last 40 years. As a public school teacher, I saw the shift first hand, that came to public education between 1976 and 2012. It began in our colleges when they hired liberal professors to influence impressionable, young students. These rejected our historical foundations and embrace a repackaging of socialism as the way to go. No one saw it coming, and few recognized where it was going. These college students soon graduated and were hired as teachers. They carefully advocated and taught their students to embrace the same left leaning liberal ideology, while parents were busy making a living. That altered view of reality was put into the curriculum  with ease and no one recognized it for what it was.

The results has been astounding. We now see an entire generation of people who have been reeducated about America, and it’s history. They don’t know about our Christian foundations or believe it’s morality and ethics. They are hostile towards the principles of the Bible and reject the traditional family, both of which have been the bedrock of American life, law and justice. They view any other belief but their own to be hate-filled speech or racism, which needs to be legislated against and punished. They see no need to protect  their own children in the womb, but fiercely prosecute, fine and jail anyone who dares to disturb a green sea turtle egg or burn a styrofoam cup. How did all this happen? It happened because one generation simply rejected the voice of truth!

If you want one clear example just look at Thanksgiving. It is now taught in public schools as a feast where Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for the harvest. There is no mention of the fact that this was a celebration dedicated to thanking God. Historical records clearly state that this feast celebrated God’s blessing upon the harvest.  It was His blessing for the friendship with the Indians and the main focus was on His abundant goodness over all the year. It recognized God’s grace and love as a Savior in keeping them safe in this new Christian based colony. In schools there is no mention of the Mayflower Compact’s many references to God. There is no mention of the charters drawn up by all the new colonies that gave glory to God for His divine help in this difficult new world. In fact, any mention of God is immediately attacked and dismissed as dangerous, non-educational, unfit for discussion and nothing more than radical, religious rhetoric.

The question I am asked over and over is “What happened and what do we do now? How do we return to who we really are as a  nation and as families?” The answer is not simple but it is doable. We must reconnect to our heritage and not embrace any ideology that is contrary to the facts, or the Bible. Get back to a good church, read the Bible to your kids and teach your children and grandchildren the truth. Make family and family life a priority. Your children need to see the love and respect you have for each other as husband and wife. This is foundational to their security and establishes a sense of well-being in their lives. Teach them about our American history so they feel a patriotic sense of connection to this nation, and those who serve it. Finally, give your best in all you do and pray for your family, for our leaders and for the nation. As we serve others and pray, we invite God back into our lives and country. He is the One who really has the answers we are all looking for.

Do we want to see this nation become all it was intended to be? Do we want our children and grandchildren to still feel our good influence in the decades to come? If we do, then it’s time to hear the voice of truth once again. If we have an open and honest heart it’s easy. What’s not so easy is the willingness to walk in what that voice is calling us to do. Our ancestors pledged their lives and fortunes to birth this wonderful country. Here, anyone could live as one people under our Constitution and one nation under God. I believe a rebirth of national identity and family life can come to America. My question is, should we expect it to cost us any less than it cost our Founding Fathers? The voice of truth is speaking,….. do we really want to hear what it has to say?

A Snowflake Of Shift

snow-falling

It’s a wet Fall day here in upstate New York and the temperature has been hovering around 37 degrees all day. A cold rain fell all night and it pulled the frost-burned leaves off the ancient Ash trees in my front yard. At this moment snow is coming down in the high peaks, just north of us. Mount Marcy, Old Forge, Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid and the upper elevations are getting a blast of snow that was carried by frigid Canadian air. This marks the first touch of winter, the start of the holiday season and the reality that a changeover has finally come.

The stark contrast of this changeover was extremely clear to me as I woke up this morning. That’s because my wife and I just flew back from a vacation in Valencia and Santa Barbara, California. Yesterday morning we were 3,000 miles away from here, enjoying the west coast with family. It was 85 degrees, cloudless, warm and breezy. We had sand between our toes and the sound of motorcycles, birds and the Pacific Ocean in our ears. It really was wonderful to feel the heat of summer when my northeast “knower” was already leaning into a winter frame of mind.

Thus, last night about 1am when we landed in Albany, NY, life in the Northeast hit me. Needless to say, this morning when I heard the sound of my furnace kicking on, the weather report saying it was snowing north of us, and the pelting of ice-cold rain on my roof, it was a reality check. Thus, when I saw that first wet snowflake fall, I made myself a cup of hot coffee. I added some pure Maple syrup, pulled on a warm sweatshirt and sat in my old rocker looking out the window to surmise the situation.

In that moment of silent contemplation, another heavy flake fell into my view. When it hit the ground and melted, a change happened within me instantly, and something was done. One flake, just one wet snowflake, shifted my thoughts and frame of reference from Fall to Winter. That was it. No big fan fare or parade. No deep theological reality came shaking heaven and earth around me. No, nothing like that at all happened. The balance point in my “knower” had been leaning towards what must come, and with the arrival of one flake of snow everything tilted into a winter mode and life simply moved on. The wait was over, the reality was here and I actually enjoyed it.

My point in sharing this moment of truth is simple. The fact is, life in general is not what we anticipate it to be. To get the most out of things we need to relax, enjoy the journey and go with the flow. What I mean is, the anticipation of a coming change is often more difficult to endure than the actual change itself. Our thoughts, emotions and concerns all lean toward that future event, yet the actual event is usually quite different from what we imagined. Because of this, all the time, energy and thought we put into what is to come, is basically wasted on nothing.

Don’t think I am saying we need not prepare. Truthfully, preparation is one of the main keys we need to exercise for real success. What I am saying is that people are often more wrapped up in what “might” happen than what actually is happening in the here and now. Let me suggest that we would all be much better off if we began to enjoy the present moment, if we learned from the past and if we embraced the future when it gets here.

Investing huge amounts of thought, emotion and concern on things that “might” happen is counterproductive to any life. Focus on what “is” happening, do your best to get that right, and by doing this consistently the future will naturally unfold in ways that will be a blessing. If you are struggling with your future, and are leaning into it before it gets here, then perhaps it is time learn the lesson of the snowflake.

The future and the change it brings are going to come no matter what you do. However, how you walk into it and what that future looks like really is up to you. Do the best you can today and when tomorrow’s snowflake drops into sight, you will be there to watch it and enjoy the shift it brings. It’s easy to do and simpler to walk in than you might imagine. The thing is, it’s the only way to love the life you live, and live the life you love.

So, go ahead and take a front row seat in the window of your own life. Sit back, sip that cup of coffee and watch for your snowflake to fall. Prepare the best you can, learn from your past and look to the future but don’t lean into it too heavily. Invest your time, talent, and emotions in the here and now, but look with healthy anticipation for your snowflake to fall. When it does, you will know in your “knower” that change has come, and life as you have lived it will never be the same.

The Right Path

201209-a-best-fall-drives-adirondacks  One of my favorite roads to travel in the Fall season is the one pictured here. It is an ancient dirt road that gracefully winds it’s way down the valleys and river beds from north to south in our area. It was a well traveled wagon road in the early 1700’s that connected the small frontier settlements of the Adirondacks to south central New York. Before that, it was a Mohawk indian path that led from the Adirondack high peaks into the Mohawk Valley. If this road could talk, what an amazing history it would reveal!

If we could view this road in historical time-lapse, it would show the first Americans traveling south after the glaciers melted, and woolly mammoths lumbering along in search of a mate or food. It would reveal deer and bear, mountain lions, wolves and other animals seeking safety or shelter from deadly storms, summer heat or bitter winter cold. We would see Indian tribes from the 7 Nation Confederation forging alliances, or other tribes going to war. They would be walking along in single file, silenced, focused movement.  Eagles, owls and hawks would swoop down to make a fresh kill. We would see British and American troops marching along in preparation for the battles ahead. Then would come horseback riding preachers, wagons full of farm supplies , Model A Fords, 1945 Roadsters and finally me.

Every time I am slowly moving down this road in my 4 wheel drive vehicle, or walking along it hunting partridge on a late Fall afternoon, I think of those who traveled here. When I come upon a small stone walled graveyard with weather worn headstones I look at the names and dates with a holy awe. It always makes me wonder about the decisions and circumstances that brought them down this road. Who were these people? Where did they come from, what were they thinking as they traveled along and how did this path finally take them here? Each life was unique and each journey impacted others in many ways. This roadway was taken with a purpose in mind, and it actually took them to their own unique destination in history.

I see the same mountains and rivers they saw. I feel the same sun and the same moon as it rises. I feel the same breeze in my face, climb the same hills and move through the same bends in the road. I stand in the same ancient grave yard where they are now buried. I am actually walking in their foot steps, on the same soil they trod, yet the end result for me will be very different. That, my friends is an unchangeable truth. You can go where others have gone, see what others saw, and even feel what they felt, but you will not get the same results they got. Your path, though it may overlap the path of others at times, will always bring you to the exact place you alone need to be.

This is what it means to be on “the right path”. It is the one that you are on, right now, in this present moment. Every view, every breeze, every footstep you take is yours alone to experience, learn from and enjoy.  It may be that thousands have walked before you in this same place, but their journey does not dictate where you will end up. Let the experience of living life on your path, forge the final outcome of your journey. Appreciate where and when others have walked, but never let their journey decide where yours will go.

What job will you have? What church will you attend? What friends will you hang with or vacation will you take? What person will you marry? These are all paths that you have to decided on, discover and walk on for yourself. If you let the opinions of others influence you  and direct the path you take, you are nothing more than a spectator, living someone else’s life. That’s a directionless life of “leading from behind”. It never provides the clear focus and vision people must have to be happy and successful in what they do.  What a tragic loss it is when anyone gets trapped in this broken ideology. The good news is, no one has to stay there!

Let me encourage you today to walk your path and lead the way with anticipation and hope for what is just around the next bend. If things are painful, hold on and keep walking. If things are good walk on and keep rejoicing. If things are uncertain carry on and keep trying. If things are tough move on and keep praying. This is your road and you have the power to walk with boldness all the way. Your destination will not be like that of those who have gone before you. No…. your road will take you to the exact people, places and position you need to fulfill your calling. So don’t stop now, and don’t look back! You may need to sit and rest at times, and that’s ok.  Then get up and keep walking, because this is the season to press on and enjoy the “the right path” that God has set before you!