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Principles to Live By

Principles to Live By

Mrs. Jeanette Whittaker

principles to live by

An exchange took place recently on social media between Mrs. Ruth Smith, our ministry founder and president, and a former student who now calls herself a mom of many. Both are dear to me, so I smiled to see my friend, the mom of many, thank Mrs. Smith for the teaching she shared years ago in a high school classroom. The mom of many summed it up perfectly as “principles to live by.”

In a world of conflicting views and clamorous voices, confusion is more common than clarity. Choices with far-reaching consequences are made simply on the whims of opinion.

How does one remain grounded in such a society? He must have principles to live by. He must focus and discipline his thoughts in a manner that exercises right thinking. He must define right from a proper authority. He must submit himself to that which should truly govern his decisions, and therein lies the difficulty.

By nature, we want our own way. We prefer ourselves over others; or we prefer to impose ourselves upon others for our own purposes.

The conflict of life, that internal alignment of the heart and mind to that which should truly define our thinking and actions must rule in place of our preferences. That alignment may be thought of as a conscious effort to submit ourselves to those principles by which we should live. Those principles aren’t man-made or contrived; nor are they forced upon us against our will.

Out of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, one must seek the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, to discover the mind of God. Discipline must be exercised with vigilance, always considering the unchanging principles of truth and righteousness which bring order in the midst of chaos, healing for brokenness, and hope that is founded on Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

On your journey of life, we would look forward to ministering to you as you search for those principles by which you will live.

Power in the People

Flow of power in government power in the people

Power in the People

Friday we experienced what Ronald Reagan described, in his first Inaugural Address, as “a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place . . . and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this very 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

During his inaugural address, the 45th President Trump, made a statement, “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

Following the Inaugural speech, many news pundits picked up on this idea as something not necessarily consistent with conservative ideas. And yet this is not a new idea. Rather, it reflects the very basic idea upon which our nation was founded. For some reason, critics seemed to think putting the power in the people did not coincide with the ideas of limited government. It was puzzling why this was their interpretation.

William Penn stated that “we put the power in the people.” Historian Felix Morley wrote, “To put the power in the people implies faith. It implies that the component individuals are, for the most part, already endowed with self-control.”

Historian Verna Hall defined civil government as “the flow of power and force in society.”[1] The Scripture teaches us that all power comes from God. The individual becomes the fountain through which that power can flow from the individual to his delegated representatives. Over the past century, the flow of power has been interrupted as the Executive Branch developed a huge bureaucracy, expanding its powers far beyond the realm of its constitutional powers. In addition, the checks and balances of our three branches of government have been weakened. Power has gradually been centralized in the national government and flowing from Washington, D.C. down to the people in many areas, rather than from the people delegating authority to their elected representatives.

To truly put the power back in the hands of the people would be a formidable task, but one that could at least begin at some levels. It would require huge discipline on the part of the leadership in Washington and a willingness to give up power and move it back to the state or local levels where it belongs. The challenge will be whether the thousands of political appointees and employees in civil service positions will be willing to allow this to occur.

Turning to national government, rather than local government or private enterprise, has become so much a way of life in America that it will be very difficult to undo the mindset of a people who do not realize how much it is a part of our thinking. We need to be asking questions as to why is civil government providing funding for research, granting funds for arts, or protecting an endangered species, or meeting many other needs? Is this the function of civil government as provided by the Constitution? Or does this need to be the responsibility of local foundations, corporations, or individuals, who if liberated from their tax burden, would have the resources to provide for such opportunities?

Americans must educate themselves in the true purpose of civil government as it was intended and then seek to restore those foundational principles. One of those basic principles is to restore the power to the people. Can we once again be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?” Do we have the character for such a government? Or have we become so dependent on big government that we cannot take the responsibility which would be required of each of us?

 

[1] Verna M. Hall, The Christian of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976) page xxi v.

When Society Crumbles

When Society Crumbles  by  Jeanette Whittaker

Society seems to be crumbling away in an alarming fashion. Without clarity of thought, it would be tempting to believe that enacting legislation, drastically rearranging the roles of our citizenry, or restructuring American institutions offer the only path to order and peace.

When Society Crumbles

Such is not the case.

The structure of a peaceful and orderly society, a society in which an individual has the liberty to pursue his happiness, is founded on straightforward, unchanging truths.

For 230 years, the nation has survived external threats and unforeseen dangers: scarred by the conflict, and sometimes wiser for having endured the storm.
So as we struggle to endure the conflict of our day, we must not be tempted to focus only on overcoming the dangers that threaten us from without, we must also look with care upon threats that come from within.

Choosing to neglect or ignore the fixed, primary, operative, foundational principles which are both timeless and enduring will cripple and destroy us.
For roughly two generations, Americans have questioned and debated our founding principles. Questions and debates are now things of the past. Instead, today–

Life is not valued.
Conscience is trampled.
Property is at risk.
Unity does not seem possible.

Left with nothing to provide stability, we foolishly believe that a new and better society may be had by some new and untried means.

Perhaps you realize the inherent fallacies of this thinking. If you have grounded your views in a Biblical perspective of God, man, and how man is to be governed, you understand that individual self government is necessary to support liberty.

For over three decades, Pilgrim Institute has walked alongside parents and grandparents, Christian leaders, and concerned citizens from all walks of life, equipping them to make a difference in their spheres of influence.

If you have not yet taken advantage of the resources which will clarify your thinking and strengthen your influence, now is the time to act. Find the resources which will best help your family, your friends and acquaintances, and most of all – you.

Visit Pilgrim Institute today.

Standing on Principles

Standing on Principles

As I watched brief news coverage on the Supreme Court hearing involving the religious liberty of such groups as the Little Sisters of the Poor, it reminded me of the challenge faced by the colonists in 1773 concerning the tax on tea. When the colonists refused to pay the tax, since they had no representation, a plan was devised that the tax would be absorbed, so that the tax would be paid, but the colonists would not pay the tax.

Capitol Bldg

Thinking this would satisfy the colonists, Benjamin Franklin wrote: “They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American . . . “ “They did not rise up against the paltry duty because they were poor and could not pay, but because they were free and would not submit to wrong.” The same principles apply today. Organizations and individuals are being asked to sacrifice their principles, even though the cost is being hidden. We must stand on those principles even as did the founding fathers of our nation. May the Lord guide the hearts of the Supreme Court, even as He can turn the heart of the King.

Elections have Consequences

Elections have Consequences

by Ruth Smith

The idea that “elections have consequences” is a concept that many forget. Today the main election we are hearing about through interviews and ads is the Presidential election. Each candidate is endeavoring to present himself or herself as the “best” person to lead our nation for the next four years. The field is vast, from a declared socialist to those who identify themselves as conservative.

Noah Webster Quote Elections consequences

Do “we, the people” know what a “socialist” is? We see young people, especially college-age young people flocking to follow the siren call of this individual. Or what does it mean to be a “conservative”? To one individual for what a conservative stands may mean one thing and to another it means something different.

Whose responsibility is it to determine what each candidate represents? Or to know how this candidate will govern? Is it the one who has the loudest voice?

As a Christian, do we only look for the one who says he is a born-again Christian? History reveals that isn’t the only basis by which we should choose a candidate and can bring poor results? On the other hand, how important is it that the candidate stands for the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all as stated in the Declaration of Independence?

Our forefathers understood from the very beginning that our nation could only stand if people of integrity and principle were chosen to be the leaders and make the laws by which we would be governed.

Following is a quote from Noah Webster in his Letters to a Young Gentleman. The content may not be easy reading, but rings true yet today:

In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character as a man of known principle, of tried integrity, and undoubted ability for the office.

“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. But if we had no divine instruction on the subject, our own interest would demand of us a strict observance of the principle of these injunctions. And it is to the neglect of this rule of conduct in our citizens, that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, peculations and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country; which disgrace a republican government; and which will tend to reconcile men to monarchy in other countries and even in our own. . . .”

More to follow in a later post.

Do you know the principles upon which this nation was founded? Do your children know? Do your friends and neighbors know?

Study Kit

Pilgrim Institute has designed a great DVD study for restoring this foundation – check out the details for Restoring America’s Biblical Foundations.

 

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