A New Year

Do you know the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? An optimist will stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year. A pessimist will stay up to make sure the old year leaves.

I like the way an elderly man prayed for the New Year. “Lord, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”

Are you a “resolution” person? I always set New Year’s resolutions.

One guy was worried about his weight. His New Year’s resolution that year was to get his weight under 180 pounds. The next year his resolution was to get his weight down under 200. And the year after that, he resolved “to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.”

Last year, he resolved to join a gym. And this year’s resolution is “to drive by the gym at least three days a week.”

I like what Mark Twain said. “New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving the road to hell with them as usual.

The Bible says life is really short, like a vapor. You really don’t have the promise of a New Year, but of a new day. So celebrate that promise. And if you’re really serious, go drive by a gym.

Happy New Year! May 2018 be your most blessed year yet.

Driving on Empty

Larry had a lot on his mind when he noticed that his fuel gauge was on empty. Quickly finding the closest gas station, he pulled in. At this particular station, the “pay at the pump” feature was not working. So he went inside and paid the cashier ten dollars. Then he walked out to his car, got in, and drove off without ever filling up.

He kept running errands until finally pulling into his driveway when he looked down at his gas gauge, which was now well below “E.” He had stopped at the gas station, paid, but never pumped.

Talk about distracted! Bill was literally driving on fumes.

This is a picture of most of our lives. We need a fill-up. The price has been paid in advance. We may be at church, God’s filling station. But too often, we drive off without truly filling up.

Sometime today, slow down. Return to the pump, in prayer. Remember, the fuel is already paid for.

The Rushmore Report: Meet Our First Female President

We thought it might be Hillary Clinton. Could it be Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)? Or maybe Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)? Or freshman Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)? According to retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, the answer is none of the above. Peters says we need to look to the other side of the political divide. The first female president will be . . .

Nikki Haley.

Appearing on Fox Business Network, Peters said the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations “may end up as our first female president.”

Peters applauded Haley for standing up to criticism from the U.N. over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but he cautioned against making threats “you’re not prepared to carry out.”

Last Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to declare the decision “null and void.”

Before the vote, Haley threatened that the resolution could lead to the U.S. pulling funding from the U.N.

“This vote will make a difference in how Americans look at the U.N. And this vote will be remembered,” Haley said, declaring that the U.S. will put its embassy in Jerusalem regardless of the vote.

“I fully support moving our embassy to Jerusalem, and God knows we could use a tougher line at the U.N.,” Peters said on The Intelligence Report.

Despite that, Peters said he would suggest three pieces of advice for Haley and the Trump Administration: pick your fights wisely, pick fights you can win, and don’t make threats you’re not prepared to carry out.

“The threat was ill-conceived about cutting funding. We’re certainly not going to cut funding to countries like Jordan or even Egypt at a critical time like this,” Peters said. “I fully support it emotionally, but you’ve got to be tactically as well as strategically good. And I think we took a slight misstep. But my heart’s behind this.”

Earlier in the week, Peters suggested that Haley is “on track to be our Margaret Thatcher.” He said, “She’s really strong. She’s sticking up for truth, justice, and the American way.”

Nikki Haley – our first female president? Stay tuned . . .

The Rushmore Report: Democrats’ Best Strategy – American Failure

The sprint to the left by the modern Democratic Party is well-documented. Any description of the party of Kennedy and Clinton (Bill) as moderate or mainstream was dashed by the anointing of self-described socialist Bernie Sanders (not even a registered Democrat) as their most popular leader, followed closely by the senior senator from the most liberal state in the union – Elizabeth Warren. But what is really sad is their strategy for future political gains – rooting for the failure of everything Republican leadership has put in place – and therefore of the American people.

The new tax legislation serves as a perfect example. Not a single Democrat voted for the plan that even the liberal Washington Post had to admit will bring tax cuts to at least 80 percent of middle-income Americans for the next eight years. So, leading up to the 2018 mid-terms, Democrats will hang their hopes on their ability to convince Americans that having more money ($1600 per year on average) in their pockets is bad for them. Of course, this is an argument no one can make successfully. Therefore, Democrats have only two choices – admit the tax plan does what is says (helps most Americans) or root for its failure.

The same Democrats who passed legislation that resulted in the doubling of the national debt in just eight years are already screaming bloody murder over a possible debt increase tied to the new tax law – that, worst case, will be only 15 percent ($1.5 trillion) the amount of the debt accrued under President Obama ($10 trillion).

The Democrats will pounce on the corporate tax reduction from the highest level in the free world (35 percent) to a more common level (21 percent). “This will only benefit big business,” they say.

Absent from Democratic talking points, or reporting by CNN and MSNBC, are the fact that Boeing is investing $100,000 in its workers, or the $1,000 bonuses being handed out by other corporate giants, in response to the new bill.

The Wall Street Journal has it right. “Democrats used to be the party of hope. Now they are the party of nope. They have become the party that hopes the tax cuts will fail and private investment won’t help workers.”

Meanwhile, outside the Democratic noise machine, the economy is growing at four percent, the Dow Jones had a 5,000-point surge in 2017 (its biggest year ever), consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, and unemployment is at a near two-decade low. The economy is booming. Even CNN had to admit that this bill would put some “damn good money” in the pockets of working class families.

But for Democrats, who have only doom and gloom to share, this is apparently bad news. Tax cuts for middle-class Americans, record employment, and a booming economy – not to mention victory over ISIS – are apocalyptic news for the Democrats.

You won’t find a single Democrat cheering the good news for the American people. You won’t find a single Democrat rooting for the tax cuts to work or for the continued success of Trump policies.

Void of any fresh ideas of their own, Democrats have retreated to the sidelines where they only cheer for the coach to be fired and for his team to fail. That way, perhaps they can be put back in charge. And sadly, for the Democratic Party, being back in charge is the new definition of success.

The Rushmore Report: When Told the GOP Tax Plan Was Really ‘The Bernie Sanders Plan,’ Liberals Love It!

Conservative commentator Ami Horowitz recently took to the streets to see how die-hard progressives felt about the Republican tax reform bill that Democrats literally called “the worst piece of legislation ever.” They hated the plan. So Horowitz changed her tune. She said it was Bernie Sanders’ plan – and suddenly the liberals all loved it! You can’t make this up.

Horowitz wrote, “The Republicans recently voted on a new tax proposal, and, predictably, the Democrats didn’t like it. But what if they thought the Republican plan was actually Bernie Sanders’ proposal? We presented them with the Republican tax plan and pretended it was in fact Bernie’s plan.”

Horowitz began by asking interviewees, most of whom appeared to be millennials, how they felt in general about the Republican plan.

“I’m going to be honest with you. I feel like this is just another excuse for rich people to get a break on having to pay taxes like the rest of us hardworking people have to pay,” said one guy. Another said, “It doesn’t have much stuff in it for the middle class working Americans.” Another rejected the plan because it “seems like the middle class is going to get hit hard.”

But then Horowitz presented the details of Bernie’s supposed “competing plan,” which was simply the much maligned Republican plan, which she spelled out in detail. And suddenly, every single opponent of the Republican plan loved the “Bernie Plan.”

The very same people who blasted the Republican plan as hurting the middle class all said they loved the idea that most families of four making $50,000 or less will no longer pay any taxes at all. They loved the expanded child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. And they liked the part that has homeowners with mortgages over $750,000 having to pay more.

One Bernie supporter exclaimed, “It’s fantastic! I think that’s a step in the right direction. It’s all just rational with Bernie, and with Trump it’s not. His plan is so much better than what the Republicans are offering.”

So what does this tell us? Two things, I think. First, progressives are ill-informed and have their minds made up before they hear the facts. Second, conservatives missed a great opportunity. If they would have just called their tax bill “The Bernie Plan” from the beginning, their legislation would have flown through Congress.

About the Author

James Barrett writes for The Daily Wire.

The Rushmore Report: Gingrich – ‘Media Spent 6 Months Lying about the Tax Bill’

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich called out the “elite news media” for six  months of “lies” about the tax reform bill, along with overwhelmingly “hostile” coverage of the Trump Administration’s first year. On Fox News, host Bill Hemmer asked Gingrich whether he thought the bill’s passage would lead to electoral success for the GOP in 2018.

The former Georgia lawmaker said the results will be evident soon, when Americans file their taxes and see a doubling of the child tax credit and standard deduction and lower taxes for small businesses. He then predicted there will be a boom in investment in American jobs due to the lowering of the corporate tax rate.

Gingrich said, “This is gonna launch an American economic growth pattern that will be enormous.” He predicted an annual economic growth rate of four percent.

As for the public’s tepid support of the tax legislation, Gringrich pointed to the major networks’ negative coverage of the bill. “If the only thing you’ve heard was left-wing diatribes, you’re not gonna believe it, either.”

On top of the tax cuts, Gingrich urged everyone to read President Trump’s new national security strategy, which the president articulated in a speech last week.

“It’s a huge, profound break with the last 20 years. This is the week that proves to people that Donald J. Trump is a serious person achieving serious things, despite all the hostile news coverage.”

 

The Rushmore Report: Why Did Lady Give Away $10,000 to Church Members?

An anonymous donor whose giving lifted her out of depression earlier this year shared her joy of giving with her brothers and sisters at Severna Park United Methodist Church in Maryland just before Christmas, when she gave them $10,000 worth of $100 bills. Her generosity was completely unexpected. But it is what came next that was the most stunning part of the story.

Church members who accepted the donor’s gift did so on one condition. They had to agree to do one good deed for members of the local Severna Park community, such as purchasing socks for a cancer patient, gifts for homeless children, or just helping cash-strapped strangers, the church’s pastor, Rev. Ron Foster, told The Washington Post.

“Listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading you,” he told his congregation before entrusting 100 of his congregants with a $100 bill. “Listen to the need that’s around you, that you find in the community. You may be in the right place at the right time to help somebody, because you now have this in your hand.”

The donor, who requested that her name not be published, said she wanted to share the gift of giving because of what giving did for her when she became depressed over the death of a friend this past summer. Another friend gave her a gift that lifted her spirits when she shared it with others; she felt led by God to do the same for 100 fellow church members.

She said she learned of other churches which had done similar giving acts and approached Foster about making it happen at Saverna Park. Once they worked out the logistics they decided that they would give $100 to every member who wanted to participate in the giving spree on the first Sunday of Advent.

“People have been so thoughtful. The money has just multiplied and blossomed and gone out,” Foster said of the results. “There’s been so much joy and excitement just spilling over.”

One congregant wrote on the church’s blog page, “What was the coolest thing to me was how I was on ‘high alert’ all week, looking for people or opportunities to help. That was a great lesson. I think we should always be in that mode, always on the lookout for who God may place in our path, and for things He calls us to do. I am going to strive to be in that spirit more and more, to have eyes to see people’s needs more routinely, and to help in any way I can.”

About the Author

Leonardo Blair writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: New Year’s Resolutions? Just One

1 Corinthians 2:2 says, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” If the Apostle Paul made New Year’s resolutions, my thought is he only had one resolution on his list: “This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.” Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone. What does this mean?

  • It’s not Christ plus your good behavior.
  • It’s not Christ plus the number of verses you memorize.
  • It’s not Christ plus being super active in church.
  • It’s not Christ plus your tithe.
  • It’s not Christ plus wisdom from the latest Christian seminar.
  • It’s not Christ plus the years you taught a Bible Study.
  • It’s not Christ plus the perfect spouse.
  • It’s not Christ plus well-behaved children.
  • It’s not Christ plus the right job.
  • It’s not Christ plus a good driving record.

It’s simply Christ – Christ plus nothing.

That’s Paul’s message, a message that is as right throughout this coming year as it will be in 2999. Let’s make our resolution for 2018 to focus on Jesus, who he is, and what he did for us.

About the Author

Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church and a best-selling author.

The Rushmore Report: Trump Calls on Carson to Lead Cabinet Prayer, Media Still Doesn’t Get It

Nothing is more offensive to the mainstream media than public prayer. Unless that prayer is offered by the President or a cabinet member – as was done regularly by a fellow named George Washington. But Trump is no Washington, and today’s media is not the Colonial Times of the 1700s. So what was it about the prayer that threw the media for a loop?

Trump called on HUD Secretary Ben Carson to lead the prayer shortly after Congress passed sweeping tax changes last week. The president encouraged the media to stay in the room for the prayer in typical Trumpian fashion. He told them, “You need the prayer more than I do.” Then, turning to Carson, Trump said, “Maybe a good solid prayer and they’ll be honest, Ben, is that possible?” he joked, pointing at reporters in the Cabinet room.

In his prayer, Carson thanked God “for a President and for cabinet members who are courageous, who are willing to face the winds of controversy in order to provide a better future for those who come behind us” and for “the unity in Congress” that brought about passage of the Republican tax reform legislation. He also thanked God for the current economic expansion “so we can fight the corrosive debt that has been destroying our future.”

That is where Carson seems to have crossed the line for many in the media.

It seems that while Mr. Carson was leading  the prayer, not every member of the media was praying along. MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell commented on the “unusual nature” of Carson’s prayer. She said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in the Cabinet room, other than a White House prayer breakfast.”

White House correspondent Kristin Welker agreed. She said, “It was striking to see everyone bow their heads in that context.” USA Today senior politics reporter Heidi Przybyla piled on, adding her criticism of the tax bill itself.

For the media who finds a simple prayer in the Cabinet to be “unusual,” you wonder how they would have responded to Washington’s comment that “It shall be impossible to properly lead any government without prayer,” or Abe Lincoln’s view of Scripture, as “God’s divine light for leading his people.”

Perhaps a Muslim prayer would have been less offensive. Or better yet, no prayer at all.

 

Babe Ruth

In 1926, Johnny Sylvester got kicked in the head by a horse. The wound got badly infected. Doctors told his parents the bad news. Johnny would die.

“I wish I could see Babe Ruth wallop a home run before I die,” Johnny told his parents.

So they sent a telegram to the great slugger of the New York Yankees. And Babe Ruth sent an answer. He would hit a homer just for Johnny in the next game.

Johnny Sylvester instantly became one of the most famous boys in baseball history. Did Babe Ruth slug one for Johnny? Yes! In fact, he hit three homers in that game. It was an incredible gift for young Johnny, and a feat Ruth would never achieve again.

But let’s get back to Johnny’s injury. Were the doctors right? Did Johnny Sylvester die, as predicted?

Yes, they were right. Johnny Sylvester did die – at the age of 74.

The Bible says, “It is appointed to man once to die.”

Babe Ruth was a legend. He still is. Perhaps it was his inspiration that led Johnny Sylvester to become one of America’s great business executives.

We can learn a lot from that. Inspire someone today. You never know when their last days will come. But God does.