The Death of a King

The king died 41 years ago today. It hardly seems possible. On August 16, 1977, music icon Elvis Presley died in Memphis at age 42. The death of the king of rock and roll brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis’ record “Heartbreak Hotel” made him a national sensation in early 1956. He followed up with the double-sided hit record “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” In September of 1956, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and teenagers went into hysterics over his dynamic stage presence, good looks, and simple but catchy songs. Presley continued to dominate the music charts and film screens into the 1970s. Presley is buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.

The lesson of Elvis Presley is two-fold. First, we want a king we can see. Presley was on TV, the radio, and in the movie theaters. We grew up with him. He was accessible and obvious. He was someone we could get close to at his concerts. We felt we knew him. He was real. The prophet Elijah lived in a day when people bowed to any god they could see. We have not changed since. Millions would rather worship the king they could see than the King they cannot see.

Second, all mortal kings face the same future. They all die. If he was still with us today, Elvis would be 81 years old. But whether he died of drug overdose, cancer, or other natural causes, he was destined to die. And therein lies the difference between the king and the King. Jesus died, but his grave could not hold him. As for Elvis, where he was buried 39 years ago, you can still find him today.

Praying Lions

The man was an experienced mountain climber, hiker, and outdoorsman. But this day would be unlike any other in his entire life. Lost, searching for a way down, he spotted a lion nearby. Worse yet, the lion spotted him. The lion started his approach. The man had no chance to escape. So he prayed.

He said, “God, you can see I’m in trouble here. I’m lost and I’m stuck. There is a lion coming, and he looks really hungry. If you get me out of this mess, I’ll do anything you want me to do. I’ll give to the poor, I’ll be a better husband, I’ll be a good father, and I’ll even go to church this Easter. Just get me out of this mess.”

When he finished his prayer, he looked up. It was a miracle! Just as he prayed, the lion stopped. The lion sat. And then the lion prayed.

“Wow! A praying lion!” the man thought to himself. “This lion must be a Christian!”

Then he heard the lion’s prayer. “Lord, thank you for this meal you have prepared for me.”

Don’t worry. No animals (or people) were hurt in the telling of this joke. But you can get hurt, really badly. How? By waiting until you are in trouble before you pray.

The Fire Upstairs

One evening a few months ago, Marcos Ugarte was doing his homework. His father, Eduardo, a teacher, was busy preparing lesson plans. They heard yelling from outside. They stepped onto the porch and saw the problem. Four doors down, they saw a glow coming from inside a neighbor’s house.

“The house is on fire!” exclaimed Marcos to his dad.

They raced over to the house as the neighbor, Yim Ma, stumbled out, nearly overcome with smoke.

“Is there anyone else in the house?” asked Eduardo.

“Yes, my son Cody!” cried Mr. Ma.

Eduardo ran into the house in search of the boy, but to no avail. Little did he know what his own son was doing.

Marcos heard a noise from the second floor. He grabbed a ladder and raced up to the window. He grabbed the infant boy, Cody. And he carried him down the ladder to safety.

Mark Maunder, the Fire Chief, arrived moments later. He said, “If Marcos had not gone into the fire, Cody would have never come out.”

That is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He went into the fire of temptation, death, and hell, so we could come out.

Of eternity, Jesus said, “Then they would go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

The Rushmore Report – The Funniest Political Story of the Year

Question: When is a challenge to debate national defense, the economy, and immigration code for sexism? Answer: When a certain congressional candidate would rather avoid the discussion of real issues than accept a gift of $10,000 for her own campaign or favorite charity. What happened this week is the funniest political story of the year. Here’s what happened. Conservative activist Ben Shapiro called out New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

While she has made a sport of flying around the country to endorse fellow socialists – all of whom have fallen in defeat following her endorsements – Ocasio-Cortez continues to simply make up data that is the antithesis of truth. Her recent statements on the economy, jobs numbers, and the middle class have been proven false by some of the most liberal news outlets in the country. But rather than getting a grasp on the facts, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez continues to say things that are verifiably inaccurate.

In stepped Ben Shapiro with an offer she could refuse.

Shapiro tweeted this message: “Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign for you to come on our Sunday special. We can have an hour-long conversation about all the topics under the sun in order to really probe your belief system.”

Not only did she decline the offer; she characterized Shapiro’s offer as sexist. She said it was a form of “catcalling.”

She tweeted, “Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.”

Conservative Katie Pavlich weighed in. “Okay, fine. If you won’t debate Ben Shapiro because he’s a man (and because he would destroy you intellectually) how about a debate with me?”

Shapiro has added, “This is a new definition of ‘catcalling.’ If I say to a woman, ‘Hey, wanna talk about the economy?’ that is now a sexist statement.”

And to make the point that he is not just targeting women, Shapiro has now made the same offer to a man. Perhaps you’ve heard of him – Sen. Bernie Sanders. Only this time, Shapiro has offered $50,000 to discuss the issues.

Together, Ocasio-Cortex and Sanders could get their message to a new audience of Americans, and at the same time, raise $60,000 for their causes. But – as expected – they have no interest in a free and open discussion with Ben Shapiro. And who can blame them? It’s much easier to scream “Sexism!” than to defend the socialist policies that have failed wherever they have been tried.

 

The Rushmore Report – John Piper Answers: What Is My Reason for Existence?

John Piper, reformed theologian and head of the popular website DesiringGod.com, has offered answers to hundreds of questions about faith, doctrine, and the Christian life. Recently, he was asked one of the most intriguing questions of his ministry. It is the question at the heart of most people: “What is my reason for existence?” His answer will inspire you. In an episode of the podcast, Ask Pastor John, a listener named Tyler asked the “why” question.

“What is the overarching concept for my life, my reason for existence, and relationship with God?” Tyler asked. “I know if I better understood this, I would dive into the details and perform them more effectively and joyfully within the larger contest.”

Piper responded by saying that the purpose for his life was to “live to make Christ look magnificent.”

He said, “Almost everything I’ve done in the last 50 years has been a working out of what it means that God created the universe for his glory. The greatness of being human is to join him in that eternal purpose. Everything else finds its ground and its significance in God’s purpose to create and do all acts of providence and all acts of redemption for his glory.”

Piper encouraged Tyler that if he lives “in view of this great overarching purpose,” he can “be able to dive into the painful and happy particulars in your life.”

To review, the great purpose of life, in Piper’s words, is “to make Christ look magnificent.”

He is right. As Rick Warren says in his introduction to The Purpose-Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” It’s about God. A Christ-centered life is a life full of purpose. It’s that simple.

The Rushmore Report – Are Dems Falling Short of Blue Wave Predictions?

The latest round of Election Day results has Democrats boasting of outperforming Republicans in a key congressional district in the battleground state of Ohio. While at first blush this may be seen as positive for Democrats, the news is anything but spectacular. During a midterm election year in which liberal leaders promised their base a “blue wave,” even this week that wave looks more like a trickle of water caught in the elaborate drainpipe of election recounts, newly found ballots, legal challenges and delayed certifications.

Perhaps even more important than Tuesday’s close election is the fact that generic ballot polling — often thought to be the best indicator of election day performance — tightened again this week, and it wasn’t in Democrats’ favor.

A Rasmussen Poll shows that the generic ballot now only favors Democrats by 4 points — well within the margin of error. Compare that to the generic ballot earlier this year that had Democrats ahead by a whopping 15 points. (Note: Before Democrats dismiss Rasmussen as being a Republican-leaning firm, it is important to point out that Rasmussen was one of only three polling organizations that called the 2016 presidential election accurately).

The point is that Democrats should be doing better than they are at this midpoint, given the intensity of their distaste for President Donald Trump.

Earlier this spring the Washington Post reported that a record number of Americans — 20 percent — had participated in a protest since Trump took office. The protests included the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, and other events.

Given this intensity on the left, the Democrats’ victories should be blowouts, but protests don’t necessarily equate to victories at the ballot box.

The truth is, Democrats right now are approximately where they were in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, both years in which Democrats suffered devastating defeats.

In the 2014 midterms, Democrats were ahead on the generic ballot by an impressive 8 points most of the year but saw their lead vanish, just as it has this year. Republicans ultimately trampled them on election day, retaking the U.S. Senate and winning the largest margin of seats in the House of Representatives in American history.

The Democrats’ position also currently rates worse than their generic ballot ranking in the 2010 midterms.

In 2010, Democrats were polling closely to Republicans in the summer months but, ultimately, Republicans ended up winning back control of the House of Representatives.

Given the fact that Democrats now have just a measly 4-point advantage in generic ballot polling, November looks to be anything but a wave.

This is not to suggest that Republicans will have it easy in the fall — they won’t.

Republicans still have the challenge of maintaining seats in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, while the lightning rod that is President Trump is on the airwaves day after day. That will take a careful threading of the needle.

However, Democrats have the bigger challenge here of overcoming another new polling number: 44 percent of Americans now think the country is headed in the right direction. This figure is up 3 points in August and moving in Republicans’ favor.

Bottom line: The 2018 midterm elections are anything but settled, and if Democrats are to deliver on their promise of a massive tidal wave this November, they are going to have to perform much better than they did on Tuesday.

About the Author

Jen Kerns has served as a GOP strategist and writer for the U.S. presidential debates for FOX News.

 

Texas v. White

This was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1869, that decreed by law what the Union’s victory in the Civil War had established by force; namely, that the United States is an indestructible union from which no state can secede. In 1850 the State of Texas had received $10 million in federal bonds in settlement of boundary claims. In 1862 these bonds, which lacked the necessary signature of the Governor, were transferred to pay for Confederate supplies. At the war’s end, Texas brought a suit in the Supreme Court, to recover the bonds.

The defendants claimed that because Texas had seceded from the Union, it could not sue. The court upheld the right of Texas to sue and recover the bonds. The ruling stated, “The unsuccessful effort of Texas to secede may temporarily have lost the state the privileges of membership in the Union, but not membership itself.”

Now, what is the point of this history lesson? The Bible says believers are “adopted” into God’s family. Even if they wanted to “secede,” they could not. Our membership in God’s Union is secure.

Make no mistake. Saved people act differently than those who are unsaved. But their relationship with the Father is secure.

Standing Still

The Tartar tribes of central Asia spoke a certain curse against an enemy. They didn’t call for their enemy’s swords to rust or for their people to die of disease. Instead they said, “May you stay in one place forever.”

The best way to assure yourself that you will never get better is to stand still. Jim Rohn said, “In order to do more, you first have to be more.”

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said, “The great mystery isn’t that people do things badly but that they occasionally do a few things well. The only thing that is universal is incompetence.”

Drucker’s point is that we all have flaws, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is standing still, not doing anything to improve.

I read a story about a St. Louis doctor who met a young man in high school who had lost his hand at the wrist. When the doctor asked about his handicap, the teenager responded, “I don’t have a handicap, sir. I just don’t have a right hand.”

It turns out the boy was the leading scorer on his basketball team. He learned to focus on what he had left rather than on what he had lost. He learned to not stand still.

Paul said, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up. Your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Paying the Fines

Once when Mr. LaGuardia, the famous ex-mayor of New York, was presiding at a police court, they brought a trembling old man before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. He said his family was starving.

“Well, I’ve got to punish you,” said Mr. LaGuardia. “The law makes no exception, and I can do nothing but sentence you to a fine of ten dollars.”

Then he added, after reaching into his pocket, “and here’s the ten dollars to pay your fine. And now I remit the fine.”

Then, tossing the ten dollar bill into his famous outsized hat, he said, “Furthermore, I’m going to fine everybody in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines, and give them to this defendant.”

The hat was passed, and the incredulous old man, with a light of heaven in his eyes, left the court room with $47.50.

We are all like that old man. We have made mistakes. They are called “sin.” We are all guilty. A fine has been assigned. But a loving Judge has already paid the penalty, and blessed us with far more than $47.50.

Did You Know?

The Olympics aren’t what they used to be. For example, did you know the last time the gold medals were solid gold was in 1912? I bet there are other things you didn’t know!

Did you know your middle fingernail grows fastest and your thumbnail grows slowest? Did you know the word “news” comes from North, East, West, and South? Did you know the most dangerous job in the United States is being a fisherman? Did you know “Goodnight, sleep tight” comes from Shakespeare’s time, when mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes – when you pulled on the ropes, the mattress became tight, or firm. Did you know that 95% of American television viewers keep their volume level on an even number? Did you know that “a bug in the computer” comes from a moth that invaded a computer at Harvard in 1945? Did you know that in the United States, more toilets flush during halftime of the Super Bowl than any other time? Did you know the man who pitched the ball that Babe Ruth hit for his last home run also pitched the ball that Joe DiMaggio hit for his first home run? Did you know that if you multiply your age by 7, then multiply that number by 1,443 – the result will be your age repeated three times?

Did you know a fetus starts to develop fingerprints at the age of eight weeks?

Whoa! What was that last one? Did you know God has already put his unique mark (fingerprints) on every child several months before the United States says it’s okay to abort that baby?

One more – Did you know America used to value the unborn child? That’s right. From 1776 until 1973 abortion was illegal. So, for 82% of all American history, abortion was considered murder.

Two more . . .

1. Did you know some people still call this a “Christian nation”?

2. Did you know there are actually people who claim to love God, love the Bible, and love children – who are perfectly fine with the taking of the unborn child?

Sounds impossible, huh?