You’ve heard the axiom that you can tell a lot about a person’s character by how he treats those who can do nothing for him in return. This describes the character of Democrats perfectly. During President Trump’s State of the Union address last week, Democrats were most notable by their refusal to stand for anything and anyone who was American. That’s because American citizens, especially those who produce, obey the law, raise families, support the military, and stand for the flag are becoming increasingly less likely to vote Democrat. While Democrats take a knee as Americans go about the business of making America great again, Nancy Pelosi is perfectly willing to stand for 8 hours and make a speech in support of illegal immigrants. Why? Illegal immigrants represent the Democrats’ newest voting bloc. Democrats know that in order to win elections, their votes have to come from somewhere, so the Democrats’ inexplicable furor over protecting illegal immigrants and placing them ahead of American citizens is explained by the fact that Democrats are courting potential new voters. They don’t care that they turn off American citizens because we aren’t voting for them the way we used to, anyway. And if you can’t do anything for the Democrat Party, then the Democrat Party cares nothing about you.
I ran a 5K today. It was my first time running in 10 days. I still have a residual cough from a nasty case of bronchitis, but was also determined to take advantage of a sunny day and get back to running. I can run and have run with a variety of ailments. Bronchitis is not one of them. I know this because I have tried running with bronchitis and it did not go well. My time today was much better than expected (27:44). Also, my right knee, which has been giving me trouble since November, did not bother me. It’s not a bad idea to occasionally take a break from running, especially when you’re 48. I don’t like doing it because I’m always fearful that I’ll lose some of my conditioning. (It’s one thing to whip yourself into running shape, quite another to stay there.) But today it felt as though I hadn’t been away at all. There was no rustiness. I’m a bit relieved because, believe it or not, half-marathon training starts 3 weeks from today. (I can’t believe it’s time again.)
My wife and I have lived in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee for almost 19 years. We moved here the last day of July, 1999. I guess that makes us old-timers. Back then, the population was around 10,000. (The 2000 census listed 12,366, up from 5,389 in 1990.) Even then, Mt. Juliet was growing rapidly. At the time, however, there were few amenities (restaurants, grocery stores, etc.). There were a lot of new subdivisions, but if you wanted something, you had to go to Hermitage or Lebanon.
Then Providence Marketplace came along, and that changed everything. The Providence development, which literally sprung out of nowhere, was begun 10-12 years ago. It is a city unto itself, consisting of a massive shopping center, new homes and apartments. It was more or less a field when we moved here. (I honestly can’t even remember what it used to look like.)
My mother-in-law is moving from Hendersonville to an apartment at Providence in a couple of weeks. It is an exiting time. And it got me to thinking about how much has changed here since 1999. The latest available census data (2016) show Mt. Juliet with a population of 33,263. Whereas before you have to drive somewhere else for just about everything, now a person living in Providence never has to leave Providence. Everything you could possibly ever want or need is right there or very close by.
The subdivision where we live is maybe 100 yards from the Davidson/Wilson County line. Our subdivision was completed many years ago and has changed very little. It has almost a rural feel to it, even though we’re inside the Mt. Juliet city limit. Our church is exactly one mile away. Providence is a 10-minute drive. We have no intention of leaving any time soon.
There is something to be said for apartment living. It does have appeal. You pay rent every month, but never have to pay homeowner’s insurance or property taxes. Your utilities are lower than in a house. You don’t ever have to fool with yard work. When something breaks or leaks, it’s someone else’s problem. And when everything you could possibly ever want or need is within a mile, you see the benefit of living in this city within a city.
I have just finished reading a biography on the 7th President of the United States, a stately gentleman whose home is just down the road from mine. Andrew Jackson was a genuine American hero, both as a military general and as a president. He was a populist and adored by the people. Many greeted him affectionately during his final trip from Washington back to Hermitage. That he lived to the age of 78 is a testament to an iron will.
His victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans is said to have preserved the republic. The redcoats had heretofore more or less routed us in the War of 1812.
Andrew Jackson was not well-educated, not well-read, and was not a great writer. (He frequently misspelled words.) However, he possessed an uncanny intuition and an ability to read people.
Old Hickory was tall and slender. His physical presence was imposing and leadership came naturally to him. He was, in modern parlance, an alpha male.
His wife Rachel, who Jackson loved dearly, died shortly before his inauguration as President. Thus, she never lived in the White House and also never lived in the present mansion at Hermitage. The original structure was destroyed by fire while Jackson was in Washington and the current home was built during his absence.
Andrew Jackson was the first president to have an attempt made on his life. The would-be assassin fired twice at close range, but his guns did not discharge owing to damp powder. True to form, Jackson, who was unarmed, lunged at the aggressor in an effort to subdue him.
Old Hickory was shot twice in his life, both before ascending to the presidency. One was in the arm. The ball was later surgically removed. The other lodged near his heart and was never removed. It caused him a great deal of health troubles the remainder of his life. He lived with chronic pain for many years. It is believed he died of kidney failure.
Andrew Jackson’s greatest regret as President was his failure to re-annex Texas. Part of the Louisiana Purchase, Texas was bequeathed to Mexico by John Quincy Adams in the Treaty of Florida, of which Jackson was sharply critical.
Many of his presidential appointments ended up being poor choices.
Old Hickory took it upon himself to have extensive renovations made to the White House during his 8 years there, and also added many furnishings.
The national debt was fully retired during his presidency, for which there was a celebration.
Andrew Jackson was born again at some point in his life. He joined the Presbyterian Church in Hermitage shortly after he left office. He found it most difficult to forgive those whom he believed to have betrayed him during his military service. He became deeply pious during his final years. His dying words to his family were, “We will all meet in heaven.”
Three thousand mourners attended his funeral at Hermitage.
Now that President Trump and the GOP have released “The Memo,” a lot of what we suspected has been confirmed. President Trump has been vindicated. Russian collusion did occur, and it was the Democrats who were involved. The Obama administration has been revealed as a corrupt cabal of government officials who operated outside the law with flamboyance. That the Democrats and #fakenews media are so defiant is of great concern. Either they are critical of President Trump and the GOP for releasing the memo, or are defiant about what’s in the memo. Even James Comey asked in a tweet, “That’s it?” Yeah, that’s it. The disturbing part of all this is that we have a major political party and it’s sycophantic media who seem to have no problem with using the power of the federal government and law enforcement to violate the law and violate the constitutional rights of their political opponents for political gain. Now the question is what is the Sessions’ judicial department going to do about it? I’m tired of watching Democrats skate while President Trump gets accused of and investigated for the things Democrats actually did. Are we a country of laws or aren’t we?
God is not just our “buddy”; He is our Father. Without God there is no revelation and understanding in our lives. Only God can allow us to see certain things that we would otherwise be blinded to.
1. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t open your eyes, no man will ever convince you. You don’t just wake up one day with some spiritual passion. If the Holy Spirit won’t bother you about your sin, man won’t be able to, either. If I can talk you into something, someone else can talk you out of it.
You must be “born again,” that is, you must be spiritually born. Otherwise, you will never trust Jesus Christ.
2. We serve the God of hope. We have chaos and anarchy because people are searching for something beyond themselves. And when hope is all gone, help is on the way.
Sometimes we can’t see the hope because our eyes aren’t open. We get too bogged down in our own quagmire.
3. You have an extraordinary calling on your life. Don’t miss it. If you miss the will of God, you can’t blame anyone but yourself. The reason we have talents is to discern what God wants to do with our lives. We are built for the ministry and for service and redemption and revival.
You can never truly run away from your calling. You cannot fill a void in your life with anything other than what God has called you to do.
The real glorious unfolding is when you discern what God has called you to do. You’ll never be too old or too young to serve God, so don’t be too stubborn to serve God. His kingdom will prevail, and we can choose to be a part of it.
And it’s natural if you feel unworthy. We’re all unworthy.
4. Our true riches are Godly relationships. The riches are the glory of His inheritance. We always talk about what we’re going to get from God but ignore what we already have. And what we have now are Godly relationships with other believers. These will be the richest things we will ever have.
That awkward moment last Inauguration Day when Melania Trump presented Michelle Obama with a gift is back in the news. The Mooch recently appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and described the moment this way:
MICHELLE: Well, there’s all this protocol. I mean, this is like a state visit. So they tell you, “You’re gonna do this; they’re gonna stand here.” Never before do you get this gift. So I’m sort of like, “Okay.”
MICHELLE: “What am I supposed to do with this gift?” And then my husband saved the day. See, he grabbed the box and took it back inside. But everybody cleared out. No staff, no one. I — I was like, “What do you do with a box?”
Doesn’t the Mooch know YouTube is forever? You see, just 8 years before, she presented Laura Bush with a gift prior to the same ceremony.
My friend Bob and his family are going through the worst hard time. It has been more than two months since he suffered a major stroke and his rehabilitation has been difficult and fraught with uncertainties. Last month, his sister, who was in her early 40’s, passed away, which just seemed to heap misery on top of misery.
Bob’s wife has been trying to get him into a top-notch facility that specializes in stroke patients. There’s one in Chicago that is supposedly the best of its kind. So yesterday I prayed that God would move mountains in getting Bob into the best available facility.
Yesterday evening I received, via a friend, Bob’s wife’s daily Facebook update in which she literally said that God had moved mountains and gotten Bob approved for the facility in Chicago.
Bob is one of those people who makes friends very easily. If I could describe him with one word, it would be “gregarious.” He knows a lot of people. I have no doubt that there is an extensive prayer network surrounding Bob and his family. I am only one of many, so who knows how many prayers have been said on his behalf?
I love watching God at work like this. One might be tempted to look at Bob’s situation and ask why, or get mad at God for even allowing it, or ask cynically can any good come of this? I don’t know what’s in store for Bob. I do know that God has made a habit of turning around seemingly hopeless situations just like this and working miracles in people’s lives. Indeed, there are many chapters left to be written. All we can do now is pray and offer support to the family.
This is a big election year in Tennessee. In November, we’ll elect a senator to replace Bob Corker, and also a new governor. Who exactly is running for these offices? I was asking myself the same question and decided to find out.
For governor to replace the term-limited Bill Haslam, those seeking the Democrat nomination are Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville, and Craig Fitzhugh, who is the current House Minority Leader.
Republicans are Congresswoman Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell, the current Speaker of the House, Bill Lee and Kay White.
As far as the Senate race, there are only two Democrats currently running: Bill Bailey and Phil Bredesen.
Republicans seeking to replace Corker include Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Larry Crim, Stephen Fincher, Steven Hughes, Aaron Pettigrew and Rolando Toyos.
This one is going to come down to Phil Bredesen vs. Marsha Blackburn. And it will be a tough race. Tennessee is a Republican state, but Bredesen was also a popular governor. The race for senator might actually overshadow the governor’s race.
Last evening I watched President Trump’s first State-of-the-Union address. I deliberately set my iPhone aside because I didn’t want to live tweet. I wanted no distractions. I saved everything until after the President was finished. Here’s what I had to say afterwards.
“That was quite possibly the greatest political speech I have ever heard in my life. Trump’s message was pro-freedom, pro-capitalism, pro-achievement, non-partisan, and AMERICA FIRST! #sotu”
“Not since Reagan have we had a president as positively pro-American as Trump. In my lifetime, there’s Reagan, there’s Trump, and no one else compares. #sotu”
“If you were like those dejected Democrats sitting on their hands, you were either reading #fakenews subtitles with the volume muted, or you just really enjoy losing. Trump was simply awesome! #sotu”
“President Trump didn’t criticize the Democrats a single time last night. He didn’t have to. He did something far more damaging. He exposed them right there on national TV for all to see. #sotu”
“President Trump’s #sotu was not about him. It was about us. It was about the American worker, the American hero, the American military, the American company, the American dreamer, the American brand. We are all winning and even greater things are possible.”