The Rushmore Report: Five Frogs on a Log

Five frogs were sitting on a log. Two decided to jump off. So how many remained on the log? If you said three, you would be wrong. The answer is five.

Here’s why. Deciding to jump off the log is not the same thing as jumping off the log.

In 12-step work, addicts come to step three with the hope of lasting change. It says “we made a decision to turn our lives and wills over to God as we understood God.” But the key is step seven, which says “we turned our lives over to God.”

Success in life is not about making the right decisions. It’s all about follow-through.

A recent study confirms that 58 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. But only 9.2 percent say they were successful in accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions. Deciding and doing are not the same thing.

One of my favorite hymns in my teen years was I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. But the greatest thing I did in my teen years was to actually follow Jesus. 

Solomon wrote, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).

So go ahead and make right decisions. That’s the “beginning” Solomon wrote about. There can be no end without a beginning. But don’t mistake the beginning (decision) for success. It’s what you do after the decision that counts.

Five frogs sat on the log. Two decided to jump off. What happens next is all that really matters.

God’s Gift

The unthinkable occurred 34 years ago. On February 26, 1983, Elizabeth Ann Solomon became Elizabeth Ann Denison. The most beautiful, godly, amazing woman in the universe became my wife. In the ultimate example of “opposites attract,” Beth said “I do” when she could have easily said “Are you kidding me?” To the disbelief of those who knew me best, she married me.

Looking back over these past 34 years, it is clear that this was ordained by God. Beth has demonstrated the character and love of God like no one I’ve ever met. I am a better man because of her, and the world is a better place. These 34 wonderful years of marriage have taught me five lessons.

1. Laughter is a good thing.

The Bible says a godly woman “laughs without fear” (Proverbs 31:25). Solomon said “there is a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:3). For Beth, that time is a daily occurrence. Through times that were bad and times that are good, we have learned to laugh in our marriage – a lot. We laugh at life’s circumstances, each other, and many of you! Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” By that standard, of our 12,418 days of marriage, very few of them have been wasted.

2. Grace is real.

One of the great lessons I’ve taught Beth is the value of grace and forgiveness. By that, I mean I have given her thousands of on-the-job opportunities to practice grace on the highest level. And rarely has she disappointed. Jesus said to forgive 490 times (Matthew 18:2 ). That worked well for us. And then we entered our second year of marriage. Ruth Graham Bell said it best – “Marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Grace is real.

3. Marry your best friend.

Nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Beth and I are together – a lot. And we never get tired of each other. We seldom need “a break.” We have fun together and share so much in common. We love the outdoors. We love the beach. We collect shells together – a state requirement for anyone over the age of 50 living in Florida. We even bought a two-person kayak recently – the ultimate test of our friendship.

4. Marriage is a journey, not a destination.

I used to think the marriage altar would be the consummation of a dream. I’d be married. Check it off the list. Take a victory lap. Take the ring, cut the cake, and accept the congratulations. But marriage is not a destination; it is a journey. God said he’d guide our journey with his light (Psalm 32:8). But I have learned God uses a tiny flashlight, not a giant spotlight. For 34 years, marriage has been about the next step, not the next mile. And that’s a good thing. It is the unpredictability of marriage that keeps it fresh. After 34 years, we are having more fun than ever.

5. It only works with God.

Solomon spoke of marriage as a cord of three strands (Ecclesiastes 4:12-13). You can have a good marriage apart from God. You just have to decide if “good” is good enough. It is through God that success becomes celebration. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). Beth and I have learned that marriage only reaches its highest mountain and deepest meaning inside the boundaries and personhood of God in Jesus Christ. Max Lucado writes, “God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”

Today, we are celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary at Disney World. We are riding roller coasters. If properly drugged, I may even ride the “Tower of Terror.” But when we leave at the end of the day, our greatest ride will continue. We’ve been on this ride called marriage for 34 years now. And with all the twists and turns and ups and downs, the ride is as fun as it is unpredictable. And it keeps getting better every day.

The Proposal

Lady Gaga said, “I’m a religious woman that is confused about religion.”

Lady Gaga confused? Let’s talk about it.

Let’s liken this religion thing to marriage. In the Bible there are scores of famous couples: Adam and Eve, Jacob and Rachel, Abraham and Sarah, David and Bathsheba. But there was another couple: Hosea and Gomer. (Gomer was the girl.) Here’s what happened. God told Hosea to pursue Gomer in marriage, knowing Gomer has a checkered past and a lousy present. She was not a one-man gal.

Hosea married Gomer. Their marriage was a parable on life.

God pursues us when we are not worthy. It is not about religion, but a relationship. You need to see God as the one who is pursuing you. He will keep pursuing you.

This is his proposal: “Marry me. Commit to me.”

God can change your life. But you must first accept his proposal. Turn to him and say “yes.” Jesus called this being “born again.”

Just One Road

It happened in the big city of Kingman, Arizona. A dude rancher filed a notice of appeal with federal authorities to stop the use of a bypass road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Nigel Turner is the owner of the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, which supplies the total income and livelihood. His problem with the bypass road was that it was an unnecessary route into the Skywalk area because two other routes already exist.

Here’s the real issue. Nigel wants all tourists to the Grand Canyon to pass by his resort. This means more business for him. He is already upset that two routes exist; he can’t stand the thought of three.

Most places have multiple routes. When my wife and I drive somewhere, her smart phone tells this dumb driver about three possible routes, whether we want three possible routes or not. But that comes in handy in times of heavy traffic.

But there is one place that only has one route. That place is heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way.” There is one way in and no way out.

The Rushmore Report: The 2020 Candidate Trump Fears the Most

Donald Trump is reportedly already looking ahead to the 2020 election and has his team looking into the backgrounds of potential challengers. According to the New York Post, Trump’s team is looking into four Democrats: Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and this man – the one person Team Trump fears the most.

Multiple sources say the current administration is threatened by these potential opponents because of their ability to raise money and support quickly. However, the White House’s “biggest fear,” according to reports, is fellow political outsider Mark Cuban.

“He’s not a typical candidate,” says a Trump confidant. “He appeals to a lot of people the same way Trump did.”

Another source said, “If you believe in the Trump revolution, you can believe a candidate like Mark Cuban could win an election. And Mark is the kind of guy who would drop half a billion dollars of his own money on the race.”

Last weekend, the two billionaires got into a public squabble on Twitter. Cuban even tweeted a screenshot of an email he sent to then presidential candidate Trump in 2016, saying, “I may go after that job some day and it could be against you.”

Surprisingly, those who appear to be missing from Trump’s list include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The Rushmore Report: The Incredible Attack on Melania Trump for Reciting The Lord’s Prayer

Joining her husband to address a rally in Melbourne, Florida last Saturday, Melania Trump began her address with these words: “Let us pray.” She then recited The Lord’s Prayer. Twitter lit up with shock at the First Lady for leading the prayer. Critics argue she breached the separation of church and state – for doing the very thing Presidents Obama and Clinton had done.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has been silent in their criticism of the outlandish attacks on the First Lady. Nor do they report the fact that the last three Democratic presidents – Carter, Clinton, and Obama – all shared their Christian faith publicly. But as First Lady, Melania is being called out for simply reciting/reading the same Lord’s Prayer that is recited at the start of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting across the land.

The argument is that Melania crossed the line of church/state separation. While the First Amendment bars the establishment of a national religion, it makes no direct reference to a separation of church and state. Further, many U.S. presidents have openly offered Christian prayers while in office.

President Obama often quoted Scripture and offered a prayer every year in office at the National Prayer Breakfast. Bill Clinton weaved Bible passages into his speeches regularly. Jimmy Carter taught Sunday School while in office. Harry Truman spoke openly about how his Christian values impacted his views. Of course, Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were equally outspoken about their Christian faith.

This begs two questions . . .

1. Why is Melania Trump held to a higher separation of church and state standard than presidents are?

2. Why is the media complicit in their condemnation of her, as exposed by their silence?

Of course, the separation of church and state is not found in our Constitution. What is found is explicit protection of a citizen’s free expression of his or her faith. The First Lady of the United States has the same protection as Presidents Obama, Clinton, et al.

The criticism she is receiving is cruel, immoral, and unamerican – and by most – completely ignored.

 

The Rushmore Report: Roe, of ‘Roe v Wade,’ Dies Pro-Life

Members of the pro-life movement are expressing their condolences to the family of Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, who later became a strong anti-abortion advocate. Initially known as “Jane Roe” due to the need to protect her true identity, in 1995 McCorvey became a Christian and staunch advocate for life.

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement that McCorvey became a “valued ally” to the pro-life cause. “Norma McCorvey was a friend and valued ally in the fight for life and she will be deeply missed,” stated Tobias.

Tobias continued, “Norma became an outspoken advocate for protecting the lives of mothers and their unborn children, speaking at right-to-life events across the country, including the National Right to Life convention.”

Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, described McCorvey as “a champion for the preborn the past two decades.”

She said, “Even though it is after her namesake that Roe v. Wade is named, she never stepped foot in the courtroom in this case nor did she ever have an abortion. Her baby was placed for adoption.”

A native of Louisiana, in 1970 McCorvey filed a lawsuit to have an abortion. A few years later, the suit became the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

McCorvey herself never had the abortion she sued for and kept a low profile until the 1980s, when she openly campaigned for the pro-choice movement.

In 1995, she was baptized and became a born again Christian, reversing her views on abortion and joining the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue.

“I’ll be serving the Lord and helping women save their babies. I will hold a pro-life position for the rest of my life,” stated McCorvey after her conversion, adding that “I think I’ve always been pro-life. I just didn’t know it.”

In a statement posted in the Priests for Life website, the family of McCorvey said that they were “grateful to so many people across America and around the world who, in these days, are expressing their condolences, their prayers, and their gratitude for the example Mom gave them in standing up for life and truth.”

“Mom suffered much during her life, but we are grateful to God that she took his hand, found his peace, and now has that peace in its fullness,” stated the family.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a reporter for the Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: Billy Graham Answers – ‘Who Was the Greatest Christian Who Ever Lived?’

In a Q&A published Wednesday by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham was asked, “Who do you think was the greatest Christian who ever lived?” Graham responded that this is a hard question to answer because only “God knows our hearts.” But then the famed evangelist offered his personal opinion. The greatest Christian who ever lived was . . .

Graham said, “I suspect that it probably would be someone you and I have never heard of – someone who humbly lived for Christ in very difficult and obscure circumstances, but loved Christ and lived for him regardless of the cost.”

He went on to caution that “only Christ is worthy” to serve as an example to model one’s life after, as even the best Christians are imperfect.

“Learn from them, be thankful for them, apply lessons from their lives to your own life – but don’t make them your model,” Graham advised. “Even the Apostle Paul told people not to follow him if he wasn’t following Christ. He said, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ'” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Many websites feature lists of famous and notable Christians in history. For example, the website, What Christians Want to Know,” has an article listing “10 of the most influential Christian leaders of all-time.”

This list includes George Whitefield, Dwight L. Moody, John Vernon McGee, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, William Carey, Elder John Leland, and Billy Graham.

“No doubt the greatest Christian leader of all time is Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior of the world. As time passes we are blessed by the influence of certain other Christian leaders that leave a legacy unparalleled by any other,” noted the site.

“No matter what the denomination, most will agree that many Christian leaders have had a huge impact on our community, our nation, and even our world.”

For his part, last year Billy Graham made Gallup’s most admired men in the world list, having gotten into the top 10 for a record 60th time.

“This year marks the 60th time Graham has finished in the top 10 – a Gallup record. That includes making it into the top 10 every year since 1955, with the exception of the 1962 survey and in 1976, when the question was not asked,” noted Gallup.

The results are based on a poll taken December 7-11, 2016. Since 1946, Gallup has asked Americans to name the man, living anywhere in the world, whom they admire most.

The Rushmore Report: Five Common Mistakes Christian Parents Make

My wife and I are in the throes of parenting and are surrounded, in our church and among friends, with other parents in the throes of parenting. So my parenting radar is hot. I’m learning, growing, and repenting every day as I ask the Lord to make me a faithful dad. And here’s a list of five common mistakes in parenting I’ve observed many Christian parents making.

1. We overexpose our kids to the culture.

The Bible doesn’t use the term “culture,” but there is a very similar word – “world.” This is a loose definition of the prevailing thinking in a given society. Typically, the values of the culture run counter to the way of Christ. We can be passive in allowing them to form ungodly convictions based on what everyone else is thinking and saying. What’s more, there are corrosive images that can hurt their souls. This is why we have to be wise to monitor the media they consume, how much time they spend online, and the amount of time they spend with friends.

2. We underexpose our kids to the culture.

This is an equal and opposite danger to overexposure. It is easy to adopt a fortress mentality as parents. There is a tendency to overprotect our kids so much that we fail to prepare them for their mission in this world. If our only parenting mode is protection, we fail to teach them how to apply the Scriptures to the reality of life in a sinful world. What’s more, we rob them of the God-glorifying act of enjoying, consuming, and creating the best of culture: art, beauty, and grace as expressed by artists whose talent points to a masterful Creator.

3. We mediate all of their petty disputes.

I wonder if there is a more difficult thing to resist than the impulse to dive in and solve all of my kids’ interpersonal problems with their friends. But I’ve found that when I become my child’s defense attorney all the time, it not only harms my child’s ability to make good choices; it destroys the fragile unity among Christian parents.

4. We focus only on short-term behaviors.

I’m learning this lesson as my daughter Grace gets older. She’s eight now and we’ve given her some liberty to go a few houses down and visit with her friends. These are good families with whom we have good relationships. At times we’ve gotten upset with Grace because she made poor choices, such as going past the boundaries we’ve set. But we also are trying to teach her to draw her own boundaries. If we make every decision for our kids, we give them no space to fail. And that robs them of learning experiences.

5. We overcompensate for our perceived childhood gaps.

Every generation tends to react to the mistakes of the previous generation. We want to avoid the reactive, seesaw parenting if we can. It’s good to highlight areas where we think our parents might have missed the mark, but we need to be careful to not overcompensate. Like our parents, we are fallen sinners in need of God’s grace. Our parenting will have huge gaps. So let’s have some humility.

About the Author

Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is an author, speaker, and columnist.

The Rushmore Report: Trump’s Top Ten Accomplishments in His First 30 Days

Despite the hysteria from the left, apoplectic meltdown of the media, and several unforced errors within his own leadership team, President Donald Trump has put together an impressive string of successes in his first 30 days in office. If you can look beyond his tweeting obsession, fixation on winning every argument, and occasional missteps, you will find an amazing list of accomplishments. Here are the top ten accomplishments of President Trump’s first 30 days.

1. Selection of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court

Gorsuch is an eminently qualified constitutional originalist, cut from the same cloth as Antony Scalia. His record is unimpeachable and his credentials indisputable. Now it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do his job.

2. Approving the Keystone Pipeline

Along with the Dakota Access Pipeline, this project will move America toward energy self-sufficiency. Environmentally safe, these projects will produce thousands of jobs and reduce the price of gas at the pump. Blocking Keystone ranks as one of President Obama’s greatest failures.

3. Cutting Federal Regulations

Mr. Trump has enacted a policy that cuts two regulations for every new regulation put in place. This will take the shackles off American businesses and pump life into the economy.

4. Freezing Federal Hiring

Trump has followed in President Reagan’s footsteps by putting a federal hiring freeze in place almost immediately after becoming president. This is big, because the first step to shrinking government is to stop adding more people to it.

5. Pulling Support for the Crazy Obama Bathroom Policy

Trump has ordered the DOJ to “withdraw a motion filed by former President Barack Obama seeking to allow transgender students in public schools to use the restroom with which they identify.” This will kick the issue to the states, where it belonged all along.

6. Reinstating the Mexico City Policy

Barring U.S. government funding to international non-governmental agencies that promote abortion is a big deal to the pro-life crowd. Because of Trump’s move, your tax dollars are no longer going to be used to murder unborn children overseas.

7. Defunding Sanctuary Cities

Trump has asked the DOJ to withhold federal funds from cities that provide unlawful refuge to hardened criminal illegal immigrants. The fewer sanctuary cities we have, the fewer Americans like Kate Steinle will be raped, robbed, or murdered. Democrats who continue to oppose this initiative do so at their own peril.

8. Overturning Obamacare

While the process is still in its early stages, Trump has proven that he will fulfill his campaign promises. Now it is in the hands of Congress to produce repeal and replace legislation that the president can sign into law.

9. Ordering Construction of the Border Wall

This may have been Trump’s signature issue during the campaign. Despite continued opposition from those who want to make illegal immigration as easy as possible, Trump is moving forward with his pledge to protect Americans and strengthen her border.

10. Killing the TPP

By pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal, Trump is transferring American sovereignty from an unelected international council back to the United States of America. Only inside the Beltway does this action make no sense.