Love is Love . . . Except When It’s Lust

Now that Sodom and Gomorrah Remembrance Month is in our rearview mirror, let’s talk. You were no doubt inundated on social media and TV with pro-LGBT messages like “love is love,” “love has no gender,” and “love only knows equality.” We’ve been force fed “gay pride” and “gay rights” at every turn. Everything has been bathed in rainbow colors. The queer flag has been raised across the world at U.S. embassies. This homosexual agenda is Satanic, dangerous to society, and based on numerous lies. I want to speak about the biggest of those lies today. 

People who are afflicted by homosexuality, and their vocal cheerleaders in the press and online, are laboring under a sinister delusion. They believe that homosexual lust is “love.” It’s not. It never will be. In fact, it’s impossible for homosexual lust to ever be love. You heard me correctly: There was never a homosexual who possessed true romantic love towards another homosexual – only lust.

Jesus with the woman caught in adultery

This is so for several reasons. The easiest reason to explain is that the Apostle John said that “God is love.” God is love and He has forbidden homosexuality. It is therefore a contradiction to suppose that so-called homosexual “love” comes from or is recognized by the One who is love and who also forbade homosexuality. This is basic logic. 

But if two plus two doesn’t equal four for some of you, looking at John’s teaching in context might do the trick. He explained further what love is and where it comes from: 

“[E]very spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:3-11). 

Love is a gift of God. Love is linked to righteousness. Love is exemplified by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who are born of God, or reborn through Christ, are those who become filled with pure love. 

Those who accept Jesus Christ hear God and know the spirit of truth. Or, at least, they should be able to recognize error. Christian disciples are called to “love one another” in the same way that God loves us. Those who don’t love in this way don’t truly know God, and don’t truly love, because this type of love is God and comes from Him. So, John said, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

The word “propitiation” means to appease God. Christ’s “propitiation for our sins” appeases the eternal demands of justice that come upon all of us because we have all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). In return, the Son of God requires certain things of us. We can’t appease, please, or satisfy God, therefore, without following His Son Jesus Christ and living according to His teachings. 

The Lord frankly and openly taught how to receive His and our Heavenly Father’s incredible love and what it means to honestly love God: 

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . . 

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . 

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 

“He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24). 

According to Jesus, true love equals obedience to God’s laws. It means honoring His teachings, keeping His commandments, and following Him down the pathway of righteousness. Only those who “keep my words,” or who sincerely try to do so, will “be loved of the Father, and I will love him.” Those who do not do the will of Christ and keep His commandments have no such promise and walk in darkness. 

Again, Christ is the exemplification of love. And what did Christ do? He said: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He later testified: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). 

Jesus with the woman at the well

If we want to always have the spirit and presence of God, we must likewise do those things that please Him. We must do the will of the Father, which is revealed in the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. Long before the Son of God came into mortality, He had revealed to His ancient prophets the truth that keeping the commandments is central to the Gospel Plan. “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Of those commandments that we are duty-bound to keep, the mortal Messiah listed two as cardinal: 

“Thou shalt the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind. 

“This is the first and great commandment. 

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). 

Loving God is the first and highest commandment of them all. As we’ve seen, we can’t please God without following His Son Jesus Christ and following His commandments. The second great commandment is to love others – to love them in the pure and undefiled way Christ loves us. This is the type of crystalline love that led the Lord to voluntarily sacrifice Himself in Gethsemane and on the Cross. The Savior proclaimed: 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). 

God is our Father. He doesn’t want to condemn us. He doesn’t want to punish us. He doesn’t want to lose us to that malevolent being who tempts us to follow a darker, lower, meaner path. Rather, He sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to light the world with love and to show us a higher and holier way of living. He sent His son to atone for our sins, die on the Cross, and rise from the grave to prepare the path so that we who are not as perfect as He was could one day, through obedience, become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). 

Jesus does not give us commandments and rules in order to restrict us from having a good time, to oppress us, or to make us miserable. Quite the contrary. He said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). As the only perfect Person to ever walk this earth, He knows what He’s talking about. 

A righteous life is an abundant life. It is a lifestyle that merits the unsurpassed love of God. It is a lifestyle that allows Heavenly light to penetrate the darkness of this world and illuminate our souls. It is a life of peace, comfort, and joy (John 13:17; John 14:18, 27). It is a life that allows the Redeemer to redeem and the Savior to save. He doesn’t require perfection before He showers us with love and spiritual gifts, but He requires our hearts and minds and our sincerest efforts to go about doing good (Acts 10:38). Loving God and loving our neighbors is fundamental to this process of Christian living.

Let’s now consider three specific reasons why homosexuality is a counterfeit of true love. 

Firstly, since the beginning of time, the Lord has defined the proper relationship between men and women. He set gender roles and sexual boundaries. He told Adam and Eve, and, by extension, all of us: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). It was a command, therefore, for men and women to enter into the marriage covenant and “multiply.” Marriage was essential to God’s Plan and the essential part of marriage was procreation and childbearing. 

How do humans multiply? We multiple through sexual intercourse. It only works when a man and a woman are joined together as “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Men and women are spiritually designed to fit together. We are anatomically designed to fit together, too. This is for the purpose of fulfilling the command to multiply and replenish the earth and to solidify unity between the sexes. Procreation simply doesn’t work if two women or two men try it. Homosexual sex, then, is an unnatural aberration that fulfills no purpose other than lust. Thus, fulfilling the Lord’s command to multiply is something only heterosexuals are naturally capable of doing. Remember, keeping the commandments is a prerequisite to pleasing God, following His Son, and truly loving. 

Secondly, the gift of sex was given to humankind with special rules. It was only to be used between men and women and only within the confines of the marriage covenant. Anciently, the Lord told His people: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Homosexuality was considered such an abomination, in fact, that it merited the death penalty (Leviticus 20:13). That penalty was dropped by the Lord when He came and established His Church and introduced a higher law, but He and His apostles continued to preach against homosexuality and all other forms of sexual impurity. 

Additionally, pre-marital sex was strictly forbidden. It was called in both the Old and New Testaments “fornication.” The Apostle Paul taught that “this is the will of God . . . that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Under God’s law, there is no provision for homosexual marriage. Thus, all homosexual liaisons are, by definition, fornication and forbidden. 

Extra-marital sex has also been forbidden by the Lord throughout history. It is known as “adultery.” The Apostle Paul admonished: 

“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. . . .  

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. . . . 

“. . . of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. . . . 

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:16-24). 

Many people throughout time have disregarded these laws, choosing to follow after forbidden lusts instead. We rationalize and justify our lust and our violations of divine law by calling it “love” or by trivializing sex as a base bodily function. “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness” (Proverbs 30:20). But we can’t merely wish away God’s laws or the consequences of immorality. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverb 6:27). 

Taken as a whole, these rules regulating sex can be called the law of chastity. There are only two sins that are greater than breaking the law of chastity; namely, denying the witness of the Holy Spirit after receiving it and murder. The Lord takes sexual impurity very seriously. He condemns and forbids everything from homosexuality to fornication to pornography to rape and beyond. All of these have, as at their core, some form of lust or selfishness. 

Thirdly, some people say “God made me this way” and embrace the illicit desires they have, branding them as “love” to ease their consciences. Let me tell you a truth: God did not make you that way. He did not create you gay. He did not put lust in your heart. He did not implant in you a desire to abandon the path of marriage and procreation. To do so would be to violate His own laws and to contradict the teachings of His Son and prophets. The Apostle James clearly taught: 

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14). 

I repeat: God doesn’t make people gay. God does not tempt anyone to do evil. God does not entice anyone to fornicate or commit adultery. It’s contrary to His holy nature, His mercy, and His love. As James said, these forbidden desires are born of lust and are evil. 

But let’s pretend God does create some people gay at birth, even though He absolutely does not. Nevertheless, the commandment to repent, change, and be reborn still applies! It applies to every person on earth regardless of their challenges and inclinations. It applies to people who have problems with thievery, lying, gossiping, substance abuse, pornography, gambling, fornication, adultery, violence, pride, anger, arrogance, impatience, ingratitude, ad infinitum. Jesus called the adulterers, prostitutes, demoniacs, and handicapped to follow Him with as much fervor as He called those with less visible problems, such as the learned Pharisees, to follow Him. He’s the Master Healer and He knows how to heal and mend hearts and lives. 

Jesus powerfully and plainly taught Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Could it be any clearer? 

We’re not enough by ourselves. We need Jesus. Our natures are fallen and corrupted. We all sin and do things that we regret or that harm others. It comes with the territory here on planet earth. But we don’t need to let our lusts, our failings, our weaknesses, our sins, or our past define us. We’re better than that. We’re the children of our Heavenly Father! 

Think of it – the King of the universe is our Father! The Creator of worlds without number – the One who walks on water, raises the dead, and calms the raging sea with a single word – is His Son who stands with open arms to receive, lift, and heal all who come to Him regardless of what they were or did in the past. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us everything He has and to see us follow His Son in becoming like Him (Romans 8:16-17; John 10:34). We belong to the family of God Almighty. Shouldn’t that fact alone inspire us to do better and be better?  

Our mission as fallen and sinful individuals is to not embrace the low path, but to throw off our old habits and desires and embrace the higher and holier standard revealed by the Redeemer Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve fallen; you can be redeemed! It doesn’t matter how frequently you’ve sinned or screwed up; you can be saved! 

Just as Joseph in Egypt literally ran from sexual temptation when it literally pulled on him, so, too, does the Lord expect us to remember our legs and flee from the snare of sin (Genesis 39:7-21). Paul urged: 

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

“For ye are abought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). 

As difficult as it may be, our path is clear – we must flee fornication. It doesn’t matter if it is homosexual or heterosexual fornication. It’s wrong either way. It’s lust in both cases; not love. In fact, we are to flee all sin, all error, and all unrighteousness. 

The prodigal son returns

When we slip and fall, there’s a way back. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but all mistakes take us away from God and cause us to lose a measure of His holy light. Repentance is the remedy. To repent simply means to turn away from something. Those with gambling problems must turn away from gambling. Those with anger issues must learn patience. Those with pride must learn humility. And those with sexual problems of all kinds must turn away from them – both in deed and in thought. 

Russell M. Nelson, a powerful Christian leader and example for all believers today, recently gave us these encouraging words about repentance: 

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

“Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day. 

“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ! 

“Brethren, we need to do better and be better because we are in a battle. The battle with sin is real. The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord. He is arming his minions with potent weapons to keep us from partaking of the joy and love of the Lord. 

“Repentance is the key to avoiding misery inflicted by traps of the adversary. The Lord does not expect perfection from us at this point in our eternal progression. But He does expect us to become increasingly pure. Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power. Personal purity can make us powerful tools in the hands of God. Our repentance—our purity—will empower us to help in the gathering of Israel.” 

How many of us need daily repentance? All of us need it! And the greater our sins, the more we need the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we think we have sinned too much, moved too far away, done too many terrible things, to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and healing. I seem to have missed the line in the Bible where it says the Lord won’t heal and embrace those who come to Him. Instead, I remember His words which say: 

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

I also recall the words of Paul which urge us to boldly approach the Lord so that His grace can heal us: 

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

Jesus understands. Jesus knows how difficult it is. And He has mercy on those who sincerely approach Him confessing their sins, acknowledging their weaknesses, and laying all their burdens on Him. He wants nothing more than for the prodigal son to return home. He stands ready to receive all who come to Him with open arms. He will give rest to all who believe on His name. 

A modern disciple of the Lord, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, gave additional encouragement to those who feel lost or who feel weighed down by their sins. He said

“[H]owever late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines. 

“Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord. . . . 

“So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.” 

It’s getting late, dear reader. Each of us needs to be better. Each of us needs to wake up to the reality that lust is not love, wickedness is not happiness, and a life without Jesus Christ is incomplete. Whether your sin is homosexual or heterosexual sexual immorality, you need repentance either way. 

The fact that “Pride” month is now over can serve as a metaphor. If you’ve suffered from homosexual desires, or if you’ve even acted on your lusts, it was in the past. Today is a new day. Time isn’t over yet. You can change. You can repent. You can turn from darkness to light, from the Adversary to the Lord, from lust to love. Jesus stands with open arms to receive you. He promises cleansing and healing. He promises peace and happiness. He promises eternal rewards, light, and love. Don’t delay. Turn to the Savior Jesus Christ and experience the majesty of God’s perfect love. 

Zack Strong, 

July 1, 2021 

Principles of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is America’s first formal law. It is a binding legal document. It is an official pronouncement by the first leaders of our Republic. Not only did the Declaration announce America’s Independence to the world and list our forefathers’ grievances against the British monarchists, but it set forth the basic principles that our confederated Republic is founded upon. It is incumbent upon Americans who value their Freedom, as well as their history, to study this remarkable document. Consider this article a lesson in some of the essential principles of the Declaration.

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We will discuss two principles of paramount significance: 1) The truth that our rights come from God; and 2) the reality that political power springs from the People and exists for the purpose of securing their God-given rights.

Perhaps the most prominent principle of the Declaration of Independence is its affirmation that an individual’s rights come from God and cannot justly be taken from him or curtailed. In its first paragraph, the Declaration refers to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” It elaborates in these terms:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Nature’s God, the Creator of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the source of our “unalienable Rights.” They do not come from man. They do not come from a collective consensus. And they do not come from government. They are not invented by legislative bodies, granted at the pleasure of a president or king, or voted upon. Our rights come from God alone. Alexander Hamilton put it this way:

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power” (Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February, 1775).

In 1772, Samuel Adams, often referred to as the Father of the Revolution, wrote a document titled “The Rights of the Colonists in which he expounded the very principles we are discussing today:

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. . . .

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. . . .

In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

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Each individual, upon birth, inherits his or her Liberty. Freedom is our birthright! It is the gift of Almighty God. It is an innate endowment and an essential factor in our life’s mission here on earth. This Freedom cannot be justly taken away or limited unless one has forfeited it through their infringement of the equal rights of others. The masterful Thomas Jefferson explained:

[R]ightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual” (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Tiffany, April 4, 1819).

Only our own misuse of our Liberty can allow it to be taken from us by just laws rightly administered. Unless we violate the “equal rights of others,” the law has no hold on us. Any law that violates our individual rights is, by definition, tyrannical.

Our rights – life, Liberty, the ownership and control of private property, self-defense, privacy, due process, habeas corpus, free speech, discrimination/association, and so forth – come from God Almighty. They are, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, “sacred and undeniable.” Please always remember that your rights are God-given, that they are sacred, and that no just government can deny you your exercise of them.

The second great principle we can glean from the Declaration is that all political power rests in individuals. This power is granted by the People (that is, individuals working together voluntarily) for the specific purpose of protecting their rights. The People has no right nor authority unless an individual has the same right and authority. Working in concert does not suddenly increase authority or negate justice. For instance, if an individual cannot take money from his neighbor and give it to another person, then neither can the group take money (e.g. taxes) from members of the population and give it to others (e.g. welfare, federal education aid, foreign aid). The American People has just as much political power as the weakest individual in society has and no more.

After explaining that our precious rights come from God, the Declaration explains that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” What’s more, the Declaration makes it clear that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e. defending individual rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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The purpose of government is to secure our life, Liberty, and property. Frederic Bastiat, writing in his classic text The Law, explained man’s essential rights, the purpose of law and government, and how collective rights are derived only from individual rights:

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life. . . .

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. . . .

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”

When a government exceeds its authority and ceases to fulfill its enumerated purposes, it is not only the right of the People “to alter or to abolish it,” it is a duty. Again, the Declaration informs us:

[M]ankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

It is our duty, my fellow freeman, to throw off the shackles of tyranny when evil men slap them on our wrists. And make no mistake – a pattern of tyranny, such as we’ve seen in the United States for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations, is a clear sign that there is a “design” to “reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” That is to say, when we see a “long train of abuses,” we know for a surety that they are not mere mistakes or miscalculations, but that there is a conspiracy at work to enslave us.

Two years before he wrote the Declaration, the Sage of Monticello penned a lesser-known document entitled “A Summary View of the Rights of British America.” In it, he succinctly explained:

Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”

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We see so many examples of concerted attacks on our Liberty that only one totally uninformed or maliciously complicit can deny them. Republicans and Democrats alike are angling to destroy the Second Amendment’s guarantee of our right of self-defense, violate what little privacy and due process we have left, micromanage what we can and cannot say and publish, steal the remaining wealth they haven’t already stolen, and spill American blood in unconstitutional foreign wars in which we have little to no legitimate interest. When we see this “long train of abuses,” it is our sacred duty to overturn the corrupt laws, oust the oath-breakers, and “provide new Guards” who will honor their oaths to uphold the Constitution and secure our God-given rights.

Never tolerate the violation of your rights by harboring the misguided idea that we owe blind obedience to government at all times and in all things. We do not. We owe obedience only to God, the Constitution as properly interpreted, and just laws that are made in pursuance of the Constitution. Our obedience to these, George Washington said, is “sacredly obligatory upon alland is “the duty of every individual.” However, arbitrary and despotic government merits no allegiance. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Rather, we have a right and a duty to alter or abolish such tyranny and to support a government that secures our rights.

I turn again to the first great principle of the Declaration of Independence; namely, that our rights come from God. It is only by obedience to His divine laws, and through faith on the name of Jesus Christ, that a People can escape the destruction of their Liberty. While we must step forward to safeguard our Freedom, rescue the Constitution, and resist tyranny and conspiratorial machinations, the ultimate remedy for our ailing society is repentance. We must repent, turn our hearts to Christ, and become a righteous and virtuous People once more.

The Holy Bible makes these timeless promises to peoples which serve the Lord:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord(Pslam 33:12).

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. . . .

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. . . .

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isaiah 1:16, 18, 26).

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We must turn to God like our forefathers did. Those extraordinary patriots did not recklessly stumble into the War for Independence. They humbly bowed themselves before their Creator, petitioning Him for strength, and then went to work, having faith that their Lord would be with them and would preserve them in their just struggle. In his memorable speech, Patrick Henry proclaimed:

[W]e are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . .

. . . I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Surely, the Lord was with our ancestors in their bid for Independence. He presided over their conflict and gave them the victory. God is the true Founding Father of America. At the height of the fighting, General Washington was awed by God’s intervention on America’s behalf and stated:

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations” (George Washington to Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778).

The Declaration of Independence concludes with a similar statement of faith to Washington’s and Henry’s. Patriots everywhere know and cherish these iconic words:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

If we love our Liberty, then we will follow our patriot-fathers’ example. We will repent, turn to Christ, and walk uprightly. We will honor God’s laws and the principles of the Constitution. We will zealously guard our rights and ensure that our representatives honor their oaths of office and are punished when they do not. If we are freemen, we must act like freemen.

The time is at hand when neutrality is no longer an option. You must choose a side. Stand with your countrymen who are doing their utmost to defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom. Stand with constitutionalists trying to preserve the supreme law of the land and our distinct Americanist system. And fight the good fight at all times, in all ways, and in all places. I close with words from the Father of our Country. Let them echo in your ears and in your hearts from this day forward. God help us restore our Republic!

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die” (George Washington, address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776).

Zack Strong,

January 20, 2020

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Give Thanks and Mean It

Each Thanksgiving, American families gather and gorge themselves on turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. They watch football, laugh together, and then go back and eat some more. In all the revelry, how many of us stop and remember the purpose of the holiday we’re commemorating? What are we supposed to be thankful for anyway? And is our gratitude verbal only or do we show it in our actions? This Thanksgiving, I make a plea for Americans everywhere to give thanks and mean it.

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Let’s start at the beginning – the purpose of the holiday. The designation of the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving was made on October 3, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. I rank President Lincoln as one of America’s top five worst presidents and one of the biggest violators of the Constitution to ever occupy the White House. However, he talked a good talk and his praise for God often waxed eloquent. His 1863 proclamation read in part:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God . . . It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gracious gifts of the Most High God] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

From 1863 to the present, Thanksgiving has been annually observed on the fourth Thursday in November. The purpose of the holiday, ostensibly, is the same: To acknowledge that our blessings, deliverance, and prosperity come from Almighty God and to give our praise to Him for His mercy and watchful care over our People and Republic.

The practice of proclaiming days of thanksgiving, fasting, and prayer, however, dates back much earlier. They date back to the first years of white settlement in the New World. The practice became more formalized when on October 3, 1789, George Washington became the first president to call for a national day of thanks. I reproduce his presidential proclamation in full:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”

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The purpose of the United States’ first Thanksgiving was for our People to give religious devotion to “that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” We were meant to express gratitude to God for his “signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of [the War for Independence].” Americans were intended to thank the Lord for the “tranquility, union, and plenty” which they enjoyed in their blessed country. Additionally, President Washington wanted the American People to “unite it the most humbly offering of prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations” for forgiveness of their “national and other transgressions.” This first day of thanks was intended to also “promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among . . . us.”

In other words, Thanksgiving was set apart as a day of religious service for the expression of gratitude, the increase of our faith in the Lord, the spread of wholesome Christian values, and a general increase in light and knowledge. It was a distinctly Christian holiday. Jesus Christ was its center. It was in His holy name that the American People were intended to offer their thanks and devotions to Almighty God.

Americans have more to be grateful for than any other people on the planet. In his Inaugural Address of April 30, 1789, President George Washington acknowledged this fact. He stated:

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

God’s hand was present not merely in the War for Independence. His influence was to be seen everywhere. He poured out His blessings upon the American People, guided us in creating our unique and unsurpassed system of law known as the Constitution, blessed us with order and industriousness, gave us power and influence, planted the standard of Christianity and religious devotion in our hearts, prospered us with fields and flocks and bountiful harvest and almost unlimited resources, and made of the most blessed People on the planet.

Modern leftists claim this is a “chauvinistic” attitude, but it’s the truth: Americans are the most blessed People on earth. After spending time in France as ambassador and touring Europe, Thomas Jefferson wrote home to his good friend and future president James Monroe:

“my god! how little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. while we shall see multiplied instances of Europeans going to live in America, I will venture to say no man now living will ever see an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe & continuing there” (Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, June 17, 1785).

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Anyone who has ever visited or lived abroad must make the same declaration. Nowhere I have ever lived or traveled, be it Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Canada, Ukraine, Lithuania, or Panama, even comes close to matching the superior blessings we enjoy in the United States. Whenever I return to my country from abroad, I feel lighter and happier. There’s a unique feeling in America. There’s a current in the atmosphere that emits hope and solidarity with the great Freedom fighters of the past. You stand on soil trod by men like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Adams, Henry, the Pilgrims, the Pioneers, the frontiersmen, and others. Yes, America is a blessed land – the Promised Land of God.

Despite our decaying culture, mob government, and imploding society – all brought about by communist infiltrators and apathy on the part of people who should be most concerned with maintaining our Republic – the United States is still the best country on earth. We have the most potential of any People. We have an unsurpassed heritage of Freedom and the example of the Founding Fathers to guide us. We have the greatest means of overthrowing the “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12) of any nation. We have tens of millions of people in whose hearts still burn the fires of Liberty. There are millions of Americans like me who love their Faith, Families, and Freedom and who will die before surrendering them. The Establishment be warned.

Now on to the second portion of this article. How do you show that you are grateful to be an American and that you are are thankful for your unrivaled blessings? I suggest three things each of us can do to show our gratitude by our conduct:

1) Become informed, alert, and aware

2) Vote correctly

3) Turn to God

The first thing we can do to show that we are grateful for the Liberty we’ve been given and the sacrifices our ancestors have made to hand us these blessings is to become aware of them. Despite living in the technology age and having the collective learning of humanity at our fingertips, we’re woefully uninformed. We don’t know our history. We’ve lost touch with our heritage, roots, and traditions. With a few exceptions, we don’t know the names of the figures who made America great. We don’t know their stories. We don’t know the sacrifices our People made to forge a well-ordered, prosperous, and free civilization on this previously barbarous continent. We take it all for granted.

Because we take for granted our Freedom, we ignore the threats to it. After all, if you don’t understand one, you can’t understand the other. We are oblivious to the forces chipping away at our rights, sapping our wealth, stirring up division, seeking for power over us, and transforming our government into an oligarchy of Elitists in which we – the average citizens – have no say.

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It is an insult to the purpose of Thanksgiving to continue on in our ignorance. President Washington pleaded for us to “promote . . . knowledge . . . and the encrease of science” in vain if we don’t take advantage of our means of education to learn correct principles, real history, and truth. Surely an indispensable part of giving thanks for the profound blessings our country has enjoyed is to be aware of the dangers that threaten to strip us of those very blessings. We must be alert. We must awaken. We must become aware of what’s going on in our community and society. And we must take a stand against all forces which would deprive us of those things for which we unite each November to give thanks – namely, our Faith, Families, and Freedom.

The second thing Americans can do to show their gratitude this Thanksgiving is to determine to vote correctly. And yes, there is a right and a wrong way to vote. Voting for candidates of any party whose principles and personal character conflict with the founding vision of America, with the principles of our inspired Constitution, or with that which is in our People’s best interest, is the wrong way to vote. And voting for individuals of any party whose principles and character are in harmony with the founding vision of America, most importantly with our inspired Constitution and the Christian values which undergird it, is the only correct way to vote.

Resolve this Thanksgiving to do everything in your power to ensure that the blessings you enjoy will still exist for the next generation to enjoy as well. You can help bring this about by removing from office all derelict representatives from their posts and replacing them with worthy stewards of our rights. Determine now to be more active in rejecting all parties, programs, and people whose principles conflict with those values and standards which made America great in the first place and caused our forefathers to institute solemn days of thanksgiving. Instead, use your inherent power to support only those ideas, institutions, and individuals which are truly American in character.

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Third, and most importantly, you can show your gratitude by turning more fully to God. No matter how committed you may be to the Savior, there isn’t a single person who can’t become more Christlike, more righteous, more selfless, more charitable, more loving, and more faithful. I have long been of the opinion that the only thing that can truly save our Republic is repentance. Repentance is the remedy we seek. Unless we repent, our society cannot survive.

What is repentance? To most, repentance is a scary word evoking thoughts of stiff punishment, cold tribunals, public shaming, profound embarrassment, and harsh judgment. This false conception was introduced to Christendom only after the martyrdom of the Lord’s apostles who knew better. The original sense of the Hebrew concept of repentance is “to turn.” To repent is to turn away from sin and to turn to God. It means to turn away from harmful practices – adultery, substance abuse, theft, murder, lying, and so forth – and to turn to good works, charity, compassion, faith, and love. Repentance is the most hopeful word in our language.

Repentance is not only the most hopeful word in the English language, but is also our most desperately needed act. It is the remedy to our society’s problems. Until we generously apply this remedy and become true disciples of Jesus Christ, things will continue to spiral out of control. This Thanksgiving, we can show that we are truly grateful for our blessings by recommitting ourselves to lives of purity and goodness. Our Savior “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) and so should we. Emulating our Lord’s example expresses the ultimate gratitude.

For those who are not Christian, I commend to you a quote by the great Benjamin Franklin. He said: “A virtuous Heretick shall be saved before a wicked Christian” (Benjamin Franklin, “Dialogue Between Two Presbyterians,” April 10. 1735). However, I also invite you to “come and see” (John 1:39) what the Lord’s Gospel offers. It truly offers the abundant life (John 10:10). It is the only path that leads to eternal happiness (Matthew 7:13-14).

An additional word about national repentance, or turning to God, seems prudent as our society comes together to ostensibly worship God. In ancient times, the Lord told His people that if they repented, or turned from their incorrect traditions to correct and worthy ways, He would forgive them and prosper their land. He was anxious to forgive them and bless them, but that blessing depended upon their repentance, righteousness, and faithfulness. Note the marvelous blessings the Lord promises to peoples who turn to Him:

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord . . . they are gone away backward.

Why should ye be stricken any more? . . . .

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. . . .

Hear the word of the Lord . . . give ear unto the law of our God. . . .

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge [i.e. do justice to] the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:4-5, 7, 10, 16-19).

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Similar blessings are pronounced in the more popular declarations found in the following passages of the Bible:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

This Thanksgiving, the most important thing we can do to express our gratitude is to humble ourselves before God, turn to His Son, and commit ourselves to living lives of goodness that harmonize with the commandments. We ought to, as the Father of our Country implored, “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.” To repent is to improve and rededicate our lives to the Lord. Let’s unite in recommitting ourselves, as a People, to our great God.

My fellow Americans, we have so much to be grateful for! We have more reason to give thanks than any other group of people who have ever lived. We are richly blessed. However, our blessings are beginning to dry up because we have allowed the sickness of sin to rot our culture, replace our Faith in Christ with trust in science and the faux “wisdom” of men, destroy too many our Families, and gnaw away at our Freedom under the law. Yet, notwithstanding the serious challenges that face us, we’re still the greatest society on earth and we have, without any doubt, the greatest potential of any people to overcome our challenges and shine again.

America was founded to become a shining city on a hill. We were meant to be a refuge for the oppressed of mankind – a haven for those who want to live in peace, breathe free air, raise their families without micromanaging, and worship God as they see fit. For a long time, this vision was a burgeoning reality. Because of our apathy, historical forgetfulness, and immorality, however, we have fallen to a large extent. In order to revive America, we must: 1) Become informed about our history and alert to the dangers threatening us; 2) vote according to principle and support only individuals, ideas, and institutions that conform to the unique principles of Americanism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and 3) turn our hearts back to the Lord and become a righteous People once again.

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I hope you will take the opportunity this Thanksgiving to teach your family the history of the holiday. Teach your children that our national blessings come from the Lord and that their continuation depends upon our faithfulness. Teach them to rely upon God and to kneel down and give thanks to Him. Teach them that Jesus is the God of this blessed land.

This year, as you gather with your families, give thanks from the bottom of your heart for everything the Lord has blessed you with and for everything He has blessed this country with. Give thanks for your God-given rights. Give thanks to live in the most incredible and prosperous nation on earth. Give thanks for the Constitution and its sublime principles. Give thanks for the unsurpassed heritage of Liberty we have as Americans. Give thanks for your Faith, Family, and Freedom. Yes, give thanks and mean it!

Zack Strong,

November 28, 2019