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Five Vanities That Are Destroying America

Vanities have become gods to the American people.

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What if our problem isn’t political, but moral?

As I look at America, a moral shell of what it once was, filled with men and women who have lost their way, have very little understanding of truth, and who seem endlessly led astray to the point where they know not where they are or where they going, I realize that Americans have been lured away by vanities. Vanities in the dictionary is defined as being worthless, pointless or futile. When they should be focused on serious issues that face our nation, most Americans can’t be bothered as they are currently distracted.

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I see Americans consumed with these things. They have become gods to the American people, so much so that when confronted with a decision to stand on principle or pursue their vanities, most Americans choose their meaningless pursuits.

Here are five vanities that people pursue and have allowed to take over their lives. I would first point out that none of these things are evil in their own right, but when placed at a level in someone’s life that it is more important than standing on principle, things have gone awry. Consider them with me, and the value that we Americans have placed on them.

Sports – Now don’t get me wrong. Sports are a very good thing, in their place. I played sports all while growing up and they were a good thing for me. I learned how to win, and I learned how to lose. I learned sportsmanship. All good things. But later in life I distanced myself from sports. Yes, I golfed from time to time and played an occasional game of pickup basketball, but for many Americans, it goes so much further than that.

“Our Founders made no peace with this organisation of public sports. They did not spend their lives to secure for all men and women on the earth freedom, health, and leisure, in order that they might waste lives in such folly.” H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia

When we should be focused on saving our nation, people are instead consumed with sports. It reminds me of the term “bread and circuses,” credited to Juvenal, a Roman poet. The idea is that when they should be focused on civic duty, citizens are instead distracted with the trivial.

I see this now even more among even my conservative friends. The last few years have inarguably demonstrated a war against conservatives, demeaning them as well as American traditions such as the National Anthem. Nowhere is this more evident than professional sports. The major sports leagues have not only tolerated but encouraged the degradation of America with their treatment of our National Anthem. Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, even tried to remove entirely the National Anthem from being played before games. While the NBA, in a moment of sanity, told Cuban he most certainly will play the Anthem, they still allow other demonstrations that undermine national pride and unity. Yet people still patronize these leagues. The NFL is one of the worst perpetrators against America. It would make sense then that conservatives would reject that kind of behavior, yet they don’t. Why? Well, when push comes to shove, and this is hard for me to say, they are so infatuated with sports, that they cannot stay away even though those sports openly mock them and deride everything they stand for.

Why would anyone allow themselves to be publicly ridiculed and then turn around and give those same people money?

“You are a white supremacist.”

“I’m not really, but here’s $250.”

See how ignorant that sounds when written out? Yet millions of Americans cannot stop watching sports, supplying their enemies with the money they will use to destroy the American Way. Vanities.

Wealth – Again, there is no innate problem with wealth. Some of the most godly men in the Bible were wealthy. The richest man to ever live was King Solomon, who wrote the book of Proverbs in the Scriptures. Money is an inanimate object and can be used for good or for evil. What I am talking about here is the relentless pursuit of wealth that causes one to go astray and to not stand with truth. Wealth is the ultimate attainment for many today. Self-help gurus and financial advisors teach people how to “get rich quick,” But the people forget the warnings:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” I Timothy 6:10

First notice the difference from what you may have thought that passage says. It does not say that “money is the root of all evil.” But the “love of money” is what can certainly lead you astray. In all my years of traveling our country as a speaker and author, I have found that there are people who are rich who don’t love money and there are poor people who do love money. It isn’t about money. It is about the elevation you give to money in your life and heart.

We cannot love money to the point we lose our values. All it takes is a brief glance at the news and we can see people – even famous people with enough money already – who do stupid things, going against their values. I see conservatives today making decisions about right and wrong, but being pulled away because of money. One example is cancel culture. Now I get that it is hard when the choice between right and wrong includes the possibility of being canceled and losing your job and livelihood, but would we even be here today in this great land of ours if our forefathers had made the decision to put money over principle?

“I’m not fighting the British. What if they close down my printing shop? How will I pay my bills?”

I’m glad that they didn’t make that decision.

Gambling – Okay, I know many of you may feel as though there is nothing redeemable in gambling, and for the most part I agree. But a friendly wager is something we have all done and it didn’t make us turn from our values.

What I am talking about is the mindless gambling done in casinos all over America, with people sitting for hours in front of slot machines like mindless robots. Their eyes stare into the flashing lights, whirling wheels and upbeats sounds the slots make. Perhaps one of the saddest sights to see is hundreds of American senior citizens sitting there, many with their oxygen tanks sitting next to them, putting their Social Security checks into a slot machine, making someone else rich. Shouldn’t our elderly have better lives than to sit like mindless automatons in a casino? Yet according to Statista, the US Casino Gaming Revenue is $79.42B a year in the US.

All of it simply a distraction to keep Americans placated while the country is stolen from under us.

Casual Sex – Of course sex is AMAZING – anyone who has had sex knows the powerful pleasure it brings. The key is sex as it was intended. Americans have moved way past the beauty of sex and are now entrapped by it, thinking they are finding themselves but in actuality are placing themselves in a prison of their own making, driven by their desires.

The sexual revolution promised freedom and yet, the results have been far from it. Tens of millions of people are on “hook-up” sites like Tinder and Plenty of Fish, looking for their next sexual encounter.

Tens of millions of Americans are in bondage to porn.

According to 2017 statistics:

Washington, D.C., has more porn viewership per capita than any state in the nation (does it surprise us?)

Pornhub has 81,000,000 users per day

The U.S. leads all countries with the most traffic to Pornhub

According to Women’s Health Magazine:

After surveying over 1,000 adults, they found that just over half of Americans watch porn as a couple, and 66 percent would consider it if they were asked. But it’s not just men who want to watch—more than half of the women currently in relationships said they’d be into it. And for women under 25, that number was even higher.

As you can see, we have a sexual crisis. Broken marriages, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion or children who are mistreated by their parents. But the enemy has everyone thirsty for their fantasies and vanities. Complacent in their indulgence.

Entertainment – I prefer the term “Amusement” because of the literal meaning of the word…

Amusement has at its root, the word “Muse.” The definition of Muse is, according to the dictionary, “to think about something carefully and thoroughly.”

Now, if you stayed awake in English class, you know that an “A” in front of a word means “no” or “nothing,” as in the difference between “Moral” and “Amoral.” Or “Theist” and “Atheist.”

Now, see what “Amusement” means? It literally means “No thorough or careful thinking.”

Again, don’t get me wrong, sometimes we all need to just “veg out.” I get it. But Americans are consumed with entertainment and amusement. They are distracted by it all. As long as they have their movies and their music, they are okay and in no need of seeing what is really going on.

My friends, we are distracted. Maybe you aren’t but America as a whole is.

It is time for you to reflect. Have you fallen into the trap of caring more for your vanities than your duty as a citizen?

It is my opinion that the answer lies in placing God first in our country again, which means rejecting selfish and vain frivolities.

II Timothy 3:1-5 describes America perfectly: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Instead we ought to focus on this:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

And ultimately, it is this advice that will save our nation:

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

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Chris is the Founder of PolitiCrossing, one of the World's Top 50 Speakers and a member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame. He considers it a privilege to be able to speak to people, help them lead successful lives, become extraordinary leaders and, masterful salespeople. Chris has authored twenty-three books with three million copies in print in 14 languages and over 450 articles on success, leadership, sales and motivation.



 
 
 

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Faith

A Nation of Unsung Heroes

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The movie, Unsung Hero, is not only a great movie. It’s a movie that captures the struggle and hard-earned survival and eventual success of millions of Americans who have had to overcome struggles to earn their own American Dream. For two centuries, Americans have been known for their resourcefulness and resilience, and we are not done yet!

We are again living in difficult and challenging times. Surveys suggest that nearly 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Their solutions to their plight won’t be coming from politicians in Washington. Their success, as always, depends on their will and resourcefulness in overcoming daily obstacles, their ability to survive on limited resources, their scrounging for work that allows them to survive another day, and help from those who care.

That common but heart-rending struggle is conveyed in an inspiring way in Unsung Hero. The film focuses on the early struggles of the Smallbone family in the early 90’s. We watch as David Smallbone’s once-thriving music business as a concert promoter in Australia falls apart. They lose their home, their car, and their life’s savings. With no opportunities in Australia, David moves the family halfway around the world to Nashville to secure the only job he could secure. After missed flights and a long and tiring journey to Tennessee, David learns that his promised job had been given to someone else.

As their dreams fall apart, you watch as the steady faith and creativity of Helen Smallbone, played by Australian actress and mother Daisy Betts, pulls the family through one setback and challenge after another to find a way through. With six children and another on the way, every member of the family is challenged to do their part to keep them afloat. They do yard work, any work that would fill their jar of savings. They couldn’t let it be empty, and they didn’t. They kept finding a way.

They were Australians with no friends, no family, no car, sleeping on beds made out of clothes. To nurture their faith, they began attending a local church. Aware of their needs, church members found ways to help in any way they could. In a foreign country living in a city with over half-a million people, it took finding a loving faith community who cared enough to help. Watch the movie, to find out the rest of the story. Bring plenty of tissue and be ready for a few tears along the way.

America needs this movie right now. Why? Too many people are feeling hopeless in the face of growing inflation and lost jobs. They face frustrating obstacles and enormous challenges, and the answer is summed up by a quotation of Mother Teresa shared in the movie, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Luke Smallbone, the producer of the film, acknowledged the importance of that truth, “That is really the heartbeat behind the film.” It is also the local solution that has always helped Americans find their way through-the power of family and the presence and support of their local “family of God.”

Washington may send you money, but they can’t provide the flexible and persistent support needed. It’s one’s local family, friends, and faith communities who can encourage resilience and help shape a needed recovery. Solutions come from a local community’s caring and support. It used to always be that way, and it needs to be that way again.

Our nation is full of unsung heroes who are helping their family and friends, and they are more needed than ever. If you don’t have anyone helping you, stop looking to Washinton for the help that will never come no matter who is elected President. Get involved again in your family and your community. Call your family and let them know you need help. Get back involved in your church or synagogue and let God work through them to help you get back on your feet. Investing in community is an adventure that allows you to help and be helped to the glory of God and country.

When you get involved, you most likely will not make any headlines. That is left for terrorists, violent demonstrators, and other disasters and threats out of your control. But America is strong because of millions of unsung heroes who make it all work and seldom get acknowledged. This column is dedicated to you. You deserve to be honored and applauded for all you have done and will do to keep America the country it has been and must remain. May it continue to be so in your adventure!
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Elections

Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!
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