My Favorite Pie that Wasn’t!

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My Favorite Pie that Wasn’t!

James R. Aist

When Daddy became an ordained Methodist minister in Arkansas in the mid-1950s, and I was about ten years old, our family became increasingly familiar with the tradition of churches having pot-luck dinners on the grounds after the morning worship service. This transition delighted me no end, because I had already developed a lust for food, especially of the sweet varieties. There was a plethora of different foods to choose from while filling your plate and no limit to the number of times you could return to the food tables for more! Consequently, I became most interested in going to church when I knew there would be a pot-luck dinner afterward. (Hey, cut me some slack; I was only ten years old!)

Speaking of desserts, Mama did a lot of cooking for us, and she was quite good at it. My favorite of all of her culinary creations was her lemon meringue pie; it had just the right combination of sweet and tangy with a gentle taste of lemon, and it always seemed to disappear from the family dinner table far too quickly to suit my taste, so to speak. So, I always looked forward to visiting the dessert tables at the pot-luck dinners to search out and sample the lemon meringue pies on display there.

On one such occasion, I reconnoitered the dessert tables ahead of time, and to my great satisfaction and anticipation there were a half-dozen beautiful and inviting lemon meringue pies just waiting for me to chose one to begin with. The “blessing” was asked, and I hurriedly filled my first plate with fried chicken, fried okra, tater salad and “poke salad.” After dutifully cleaning this plate, I moved on to what I considered the main course: desserts. Eagerly I rushed to the lemon meringue pies, looked them all over carefully, and chose the one most closely resembling the ones my Mama usually made. I was salivating as I drew aside to begin my conquest.

But, instead of the blissful, sweet and lemony satisfaction I was anticipating upon my first mouthful, I was met with a strongly sour, rather sulfurous sensation that nearly gagged me! “What kind of lemon meringue pie is this?”, I thought to myself. “Is it even lemon meringue? What am I going to do now? I don’t want to make a scene by spitting it out in plain sight, but there’s no way I can swallow this bite, much less eat the rest of the piece!” I looked around, desperately searching for a tree I could discreetly get behind and clear my mouth without being noticed. Having found one, I then needed to find a way to ditch the remains of that vile pretender without incident. Thank God there was a trash can handy, off to one side! I quickly made use of it and proceeded to rinse out my mouth with sweet tea, again and again.

The shock of that horrible experience was so severe that I was not sure, at first, if I was up to trying a different piece of pie. But my hankering for lemon meringue pie soon brought me to my senses, and I was soon rewarded richly for my bravery (with a different pie, of course!). And what was the lesson learned? Things are not always as they seem!

You may be wondering what kind of pie looked to me like lemon meringue and made me gag. I don’t know, but my best guess is that it was either a pie crust filled with deviled egg filling and topped with meringue, or some version of vinegar pie topped with meringue. Got any ideas?

(To read more of my short stories, click HERE)

Why this Evangelical Christian Voted for Trump (and Will Again)

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Why this Evangelical Christian Voted for Trump (and Will Again)

James R. Aist

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” – Jesus

I rarely write about politics, although those of you who follow me on social media know that I am, one way or another, regularly outspoken on this topic. But, this is presidential election year again, and once again the very soul, core values and identity of our nation are at a crossroads. Many in the world of Christian evangelicalism are still staunchly opposed to President Trump, primarily because of his past sexual sins and his continuing, coarsely worded and often harsh, comments and tweets. Those who support Trump can’t understand why any Christian would not vote for him, while others can’t understand why any Christian would vote for him. It is my assumption that both of these opposing positions are based, ultimately, on the biblical instruction to not be condemned by what you approve (Romans 14:22b; see also Romans 1:28-32).  In addition, it appears to me that many evangelical Christians who oppose Trump have embraced false narratives (e.g., racism and misogyny) promulgated by the anti-Trump MSM concerning some of Trumps actions as President. Perhaps the most egregious of these lies is the accusation that Trump created the policies of separating families and caging children at our southern border. The truth is that children were already being caged there in 2014, during the first Obama administration (click HERE), and the Trump administration was forced to separate and hold immigrant children, temporarily, for their own safety until parental relationships could be confirmed (click HERE). Now, I am not naive enough to believe that I can win anyone over to my way of thinking on the matter, but some of you might, nonetheless, be interested to know what my perspective is, and why. The following is the short version, trust me.

At first, my support for Donald Trump was more of a disdain for Hillary Clinton than anything else. She promised to continue the legacy of Barack Obama, which we conservatives had suffered through for eight long years: a militarily weak, apologetic America, animosity toward the Bible, Christianity and Christian values, high praise of Islam, overt support of sexual perversions, open borders and endorsement of the globalist end game (one-world government), etc.  Moreover, I was familiar with the several scandals Clinton was involved with and did not believe that she possessed sufficient good character to handle the power of the presidency appropriately. Then, I compared the political platforms of the Democrat and Republican parties, and I quickly realized that the Republican platform was much more aligned with my Christian beliefs and patriotic values than was the Democrat platform. Next, I began to listen carefully to the positions Trump was taking on key issues, such as lower taxes, religious freedom, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, abortion, regulated legal immigration, voter registration and a strong America, and it became clear to me that Trump was the clear choice, despite his past moral failures and ongoing coarse and harsh language.

But then, the infamous videotape surfaced of Trump speaking very crudely and offensively about his sexual exploits of women that occurred more than 10 years earlier. I believe that it was primarily this revelation that caused many evangelical Christians to become firmly anti-Trump. At first, Trump proclaimed that he had nothing to apologize for, which served to solidify the anti-Trump stance of these evangelicals, and for good reason. Meanwhile the liberal, mainstream media (MSM) was having a field day, feeding the public frenzy over this scandal. They were eager to report and replay this videotape in an effort to convince evangelicals to abandon support of Trump, on the basis of moral failure. They were also eager to perpetuate the false narrative that Trump is a racist, because he opposes open borders. But, predictably, they were far less eager to publicize what happened next.

Donald Trump confessed and apologized publicly for his despicable, past treatment of women (click HERE). He also made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ (click HERE). And, the conservative press began to point out Trump’s more recent attitudes and actions toward women, which were anything but misogynist. Sadly, those who were depending on the MSM to cover the whole truth heard only a steady barrage of the liberal, anti-Trump narrative.

So, Trump did, in fact, confess and apologize for his past moral failures and has subsequently demonstrated appropriate respect for women. Moreover, he did make a profession of Christian faith, contrary to the anti-Trump narrative which even some evangelical Christians continue to believe. And he has strongly and consistently supported many Christian values and practices as President. What more can any evangelical Christian fairly demand of a political candidate? After all, Trump ran for President, not Pastor, of the United States! And what would the genealogy of Jesus Christ look like today if God had not forgiven King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11)? Surely we can all agree that Trump’s past moral failures were despicable, but can we not agree also that he has upheld many Christian and conservative values in his actions as President? Isn’t it Christian to forgive past sins and move on? And didn’t Jesus say, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7)?

Since Trump was first elected, the Democrat party has drifted much farther to the left than it was before, calling for higher taxes, a socialist government, forced governmental funding of abortions, legal abortions of even babies born alive, open borders with unregulated immigration, confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens, governmental control of religious speech and practice, surrender of U.S. sovereignty to globalist ideologues and overt governmental support of sexual and gender perversions, to name a few. In view of the fact that our next President will be either Donald Trump or a Democrat, I have this question for evangelical Christians who still refuse to vote for Donald Trump, in 2020: “How can you, in good conscience, not vote for Trump?” In my view, to vote Democrat has become unthinkable, all things considered, especially for an evangelical Christian. And please, look beyond the now ultra-liberal MSM to inform your political views! You’re apparently missing a lot of relevant and important truths and facts. That said, I will staunchly support your right to see these things differently than I do, and I refuse to cause division in the body of Christ by accusing you of failing to demonstrate the love of God to an unbelieving world by opposing Trump.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind us all of a much higher calling than the one to “not be condemned by what you approve” (Romans 14:22b). That higher calling is to love one another, no matter what our differences may be. In fact, there are no less than 20 New Testament verses that command us to love one another! It is by this love for one another that unbelievers will know that we are truly disciples of Christ (John 13:35)! So, let’s not compromise our Christian testimony over something as worldly as who to vote for in 2020. Far more important than that is who or what we are putting our faith and trust in: is it Jesus, or is it worldly governments? The Apostle Paul gave us a clear and practical instruction in this regard when he wrote, “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:19, italics mine). Certainly “all men” includes all evangelical Christians!

Along these same lines, you may also be interested in recent articles appearing in christianpost.com (click HERE) and americanthinker.com (click HERE).

(To read more of my articles with a biblical viewpoint, click HERE)

God Still Makes a Way!

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God Still Makes a Way!

James R. Aist

“But the children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea. And the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Exodus 14:29)

Sometimes God calls His chosen ones to embark on a mission that will put them in harm’s way, only to provide them a way out. Perhaps the parting of the Red Sea is the best-known example of God providing a way out for His people (Exodus 14:21-31). But, to further illustrate this point, here are a few more examples from the Bible of how God has made a way out, when it appeared that there was no way: 1) A prostitute named Rahab hid two Israelite spies from the King of Jericho and gave them a way of escape from certain death (Joshua 2); When King Herod had purposed to have baby Jesus killed in Bethlehem, God sent an angel to Joseph with a warning to flee with his family to Egypt until it was safe to return (Matthew 21:13-15); and 3) When King Herod had Peter put in prison and bound, God sent an angel to remove his bonds and walk him right out of the prison, in the presence of the guards, thus preventing Herod from having Peter executed (Acts 12:6-11).

With that backdrop, I have a story of my own to tell, in which God clearly revealed His hand in making a way for me to miraculously escape a cleverly conceived plan to put me in harm’s way. So that you can more fully appreciate the miraculous nature and extent of this escape, allow me to provide a brief backstory. In the early 1990s, while I was a Professor at Cornell University, I sensed that God was calling me to speak out about the gay agenda. Now, I was already quite familiar with the tendency of gay activists to use force and violence to bully their opposition into surrendering to their demands, even to the point of fire bombing a pastor’s home with his family still inside! Nevertheless, I agreed to embark on this project with the understanding that God would protect me from harm. With that understanding in mind, I did extensive on-line and library research to find out if there were scientific studies of homosexuality, as well as exactly what the Bible did and did not have to say about it. I found out that nobody was really born gay, that unwanted homosexuality could be overcome, and that the Bible repeatedly and consistently condemned homosexual sex acts as sinful.

With that information in hand, I began a local ministry (dubbed “AHA”, for Alternatives to Homosexuality Anonymous) to share these facts with members of the Cornell and surrounding communities. As expected, this ministry was met with outcries of bigotry, homophobia and gay bashing, along with threatening and lurid phone calls to my home phone number, hateful messages written on campus sidewalks and formal complaints to the Cornell administration seeking to get me fired. During the peak of these personal, public attacks against me, there was a clever trap set to corner me in my office and confront me face to face, with the local media invited to show up and publish explicit, front-page, pro-gay articles with me as the culprit. This trap set for me and how God provided a way of escape is the main focus of this article. Here’s what happened.

The Setup

I received a phone call in my office from a young woman by the name of Ariel, a Cornell student. She said that she wanted to meet me in my office to discuss my AHA ministry and help me understand why they wanted me to cease and desist. So, we agreed to meet in my Cornell office the next day at 1:30 p.m.

The “Mole”

About a half hour before the meeting was to take place, I received a phone call from a young man who was also a Cornell student. I had never even heard of him before. He said that he was a member of the Cornell Young Republicans Club. He also had signed onto the e-mail list of a gay activist student group, so that he could function as a “mole”, as it were, to monitor the group’s e-mails and upcoming campus activities.

The Plot

The Mole informed me that I must vacate my office before the 1:30 meeting with Ariel, because a group of gay activists was planning to gather at the lower campus, march straight up the hill to my building, trap me in my office and make demands to the College and Cornell administrators that they forbid me to speak out further concerning homosexuality. The appointment with Ariel was a set-up!

The Counter Plot

The Mole wanted to come to my office ahead of time and escort me surreptitiously to a safe location of my choosing on campus, circumventing the pre-determined route of the gay mob. So, I decided that the best place for me to escape to was the office of my best friend, Bill, a fellow Christian professor. When the Mole showed up at my office door, I immediately noticed that he appeared to be dressed and groomed more like a liberal gay person than a conservative Republican. He said he did that so he could join in with and spy on the gathering mob on lower campus without being outed as a mole! I also noticed that he was accompanied by a middle-aged gentleman dressed more formally, in a tan business suit. It turns out that the Mole had taken the liberty of informing the Campus Police of the mob’s intentions, and they dispatched this Detective to accompany me on my journey across campus to my place of refuge, just in case I was spotted trying to get away and things got out of hand!

The Escape

So, off we went, at about 1:20 p.m., to skirt around the route of the approaching mob and arrive safely at Bill’s office. Once inside, I thanked the Mole and the Detective for their help and protection, and they went on their way. Bill and I then settled in to chat about what just happened, and to wait patiently to learn what the mob did when they found out I wasn’t there. Later, I learned that they were demonstrably upset and surprised that their trap had been foiled. So, as to not be totally frustrated, they decided to invade and occupy the Departmental Offices instead, where, for more than six hours, they held the Department Chairman and his staff hostage while they made their demands to the higher administration, in my absence. Moreover, the gay activists failed to get me fired.

The Point

God still makes a way, when there seems to be no way out of the peril you are in! He will see to it that you are able to accomplish the task He has called you to do. And, in this case, He made good on His promise to protect me from harm as I conducted the AHA ministry.

Truth be told, my friend, we are all born into a world of great peril. “What peril?”, you may ask. The peril that the Bible refers to as the “law of sin and death”: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). But God has provided a way out of this “sin problem”, and His name is Jesus. God ordained that the death of Jesus on the cross would pay the price for our sins (Mark 10:45), and we need only believe in Jesus to be saved from an eternity in hell (John 6:29). Now that is a way of escape that none of us can afford to pass up! Have you let God save you yet?

(To read more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)

The Gospel of John 3:16

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The Gospel of John 3:16

James R. Aist

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)

In the New Testament, the word “gospel” refers to the “good news” that Jesus brought to mankind by way of His sinless life and effective solution to our sin problem. The fulfilling of the Great Commission by those who are saved – by grace through faith in Jesus – requires that we share this good news with unbelieving sinners so that God may also save them.  There are several sets of scriptures that have been identified that can serve as a guide to sharing this good news, perhaps most notably the “Romans Road”: Romans 3:10 and 23; 5:12; 6:23; 5:8; 10:13; and 10:9-10, in that order.

Not long ago it struck me that if one is looking for an inclusive, yet concise, summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one need not look any further than John 3:16. This one Bible verse contains all of the skeletal elements necessary to present the Gospel to an unbeliever; just add some details, and there it is! Or, if you are a pastor or evangelist, it presents an excellent outline for a powerful sermon series.

To show you what I mean, let’s take John 3:16 and insert, in italics and parentheses, pertinent key phrases: For God (the doctrine of “God”) so loved (the “love of God”) the world (the doctrine of “man”) that He gave (the substitutionary death of Christ) His only begotten Son (the incarnation), that whoever believes (God’s supernatural gift of saving faith) in Him should not perish (eternal suffering with the devil and his angels in hell), but have eternal life (everlasting fellowship with God in heaven).

I don’t know about you, but I see the makings of an eight-part sermon series right there! And when you’re finished, you will have presented a wonderfully amplified version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with John 3:16 as the springboard! Whether you are preaching or sharing the gospel privately with a friend, you may want to include also a discussion of John 3:17, which completes and confirms the points made in verse 16 by explaining the purpose for Jesus’s coming into the world: that the world, through Him, might be saved. Now that is good news indeed!

(To read more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)