My senior high school annual reads: “Joe, a U.S. senator, made out great – he is a presidential candidate!”
I soon met God’s chosen and ideal mate at Dickinson College, graduated from Michigan Law School, served in the military JAGC – teaching at West Point and revising the academy’s entrance criteria to allow women candidates after having two daughters born at West Point – taught at Point Park University, Pitt and various church Sunday schools, helped build one of Pittsburgh’s largest law firms, medical systems and the captive insurance industry, enabled several Episcopal churches to move into the Anglican Alliance, authored the book, “Resurrection: Fact or Fiction,” and recently started a solo practice.
In the process, we raised four children – all lawyers, one a judge – and currently are praying hard for the life plans of nine grandchildren, including graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, Michigan, Olivet-Nazarene and Penn State, with Dickinson College, Ohio University and West Point currently pending.
Early on, I felt I had failed to pursue God’s plan for my life. However, we soon learned that God often keeps us from taking missteps, and we may not always know what God’s plan is for our life until it unfolds, and results in laying up treasures in heaven, rather than here on earth.
Warnings against being “of the world”
God’s word clearly commands us to not become engaged in the world or its politics. Christians are citizens of his kingdom, and only passing through this world, a world where Satan has been permitted – for a time – to govern as the evil prince of the air.
God’s children are given strict warnings, including:
• Isaiah 13:7: “I will punish the world for its evil.”
• Isaiah 13:11: “My Kingdom is not of this world.”
• John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first … you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world…”
• James 4:4: “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
• I John 2:15: “Do not love the world, or anything in it. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
• John 3:16: “ For God so loved the (people in the) world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
One evening of watching cable news today will convince anyone of the wisdom of God’s command to be not “of” this world. It will also remind us of Messiah’s prophecy that “few will enter the narrow gate.”
Imagine for even a moment an authentic Christian seeking high political office – even one who is able to exhibit love, kindness and gentleness toward all. This Christian would be condemned, persecuted and attacked for being weak, meek, narrow, prejudiced and a Christian proselyte. Indeed, not to be so criticized would likely require abandonment of authenticity, salt and light – all in the interest of winning political support.
Of course, our nation and its politics did not just recently become worldly and sinful.
Ben Franklin (a great-uncle), was a wise forefather, but he was also a deist, an adulterer and unlovingly cut his beloved (and illegitimate) son, William, out of his estate long after the war ended because he had been a crown loyalist.
The presidential campaign against John Adams’ second term, waged by Thomas Jefferson – another deist, adulterer and slave-holder – is widely regarded as one of the most vicious in American history. Abe Lincoln was attacked by his opponents as less than man, being portrayed as an ape in a New York newspaper.
Also, let us recall that when the world’s only perfect man, teacher and “leader” appeared 2,000 years ago, not only did he not seek appointment as chief rabbi or priest, the evil world would not even allow him to exist – falsely accusing, then beating and crucifying him.
Current downward trends under satanic worldly rule:
• Containment, restriction and persecution of Christianity together with decline in church attendance, and the teaching of God’s word.
• People becoming increasingly ungodly, unforgiving, slanderous, abusive, self-righteous, proud, lovers of money; (See II Timothy:3)
• An abandonment of Christian and early American history education in public schools, turning their backs on “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) and substituting “progressive” education agendas.
• Diminishment of the traditional family unit.
• Immorality, sexual freedom; sex degradation with 24/7 media focus.
• Divorce – no fault, and for no reason.
• Drug and alcohol abuse – legal and illegal (most states – including Pennsylvania – now trending to legalize “medical” marijuana).
• Death penalty decline for our worst criminals, while pursuing the abortion penalty for the innocent. (Please know that our loving God forgives all repented sin.)
• Rise of “political correctness,” “identity politics” and personal attacks in lieu of different people all working together for the common good.
• 24/7 cable news pushing their own progressive political opinions vs. reporting only facts/events.
• Misuse, abuse and ill-consequences of idolized social media.
• Limiting, and if possible, eliminating the right of the people to bear arms – the last resort by which the people and/or state militias can rebel against despotism.
In summary, as we observe the world today, and as any study of world history reveals, the impact of Satan’s rule has been continuously evident.
However, note well that God’s plan includes demonstrating that the combined effects of the Holy Spirit and his faithful disciples and Christian soldiers have the power to overcome evil, which has enabled the world’s survival to date.
Joe Otto is an attorney from Rockwood.