Category Archives: Love

My kind of vacation

For the second year in row, our dear friends from Texas (AJ, Laura,and #8) drove all the way to our home in South Carolina to spend a few days of their vacation with us and to celebrate our Independence Day together, blowing stuff up and eating lots of yummy food.  We laughed, shared memories and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Somehow this year, we started talking about Meyers-Briggs personality types and my brother-from-another-mother pointed out a simple description of the difference between Introverts and Extroverts.  I, being an Introvert, lose energy with prolonged exposure to people, even beloved friends.  He, being an Extrovert, replenishs his energy supply from being around people.

So, when I wake up in the morning, my batteries are fully charged because I’ve had a nice long break away from people (well, except for my beloved wife).  AJ wakes up depleted and needs company fast in order to recharge.  Basically, my brother is a vampire feeding off of people like me.  😂

Thing is that I love being around my friends and family, but I don’t really have this burning need to DO stuff.  I just love knowing they are near.  I do, however, need a plan or some milestones for the day – like what we’re going to eat or if I need to drive anyone anywhere or if we need supplies, etc.  Guess if you are a father of seven, much of this stems from necessity.

At one point during our weekend, I think a circuit just snapped in my head and I made a mess of the festivities, getting short with my wife and embarrassing myself in front of my friends because “I just needed to know the details of the plan!“. 

Sigh, thankfully my wife and our friends love me too much to hold a grudge when I get stupid.

Have you ever seen Weird Science?  There’s this scene where Gary and Wyatt are hosting this huge, rocking party and where are they?  Hiding out in the bedroom, taking some consolation that everyone else seems to be having a good time.  I can totally relate to them.  😁

But here’s how thoughtful and wise God is.  In all my quirks and oddities, my wife is the glue that keeps it all together for me.  She, being an Extrovert, can graciously host dozens of our friends at our home without batting an eye.

Well, the Fourth came and I was super excited.  I had a stock pile of fireworks all planned out.  And then, our friends brought even more!  They brought food, children, and most importantly, themselves.

I was a little nervous because of the rain in the forecast, but it cleared up just in time for the show.  God is good! 

The week was a huge success.  We had such a good time with our friends.  I didn’t have to drive cross country and enjoyed the comforts of home.  We blew up a ton of explosives.  AND, no police showed up!  (We’ve got a cranky neighbor that complains to them anytime we’re out in our yard after 9 pm).  

I am so thankful for all of you in my life.  Thanks for the best vacation an INTJ can ask for.

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A Father’s Birthday Wish Come True

Today’s my birthday.  Not a big deal for me, but I have a wife and 7 children, so it’s impossible not to celebrate.  But I was given one of the best presents I could ask for yesterday.

My 2nd daughter, Eva, turns 16 in 2 days.  She’s very thoughtful and kind, friendly to most strangers, and has a heart especially for disabled children.  Sometimes, I forget how much she’s grown.  Below is one of her writing assignments for her Christian Growth class.

When I read this, I was immediately reassured that we are doing something right, homeschooling our children, raising them in God’s Word, and teaching them how to express not just their thoughts but more importantly, their convictions of faith.  This is no longer her parents speaking and teaching.  This is her faith and life she’s chosen to follow.


Committing to pray without ceasing

“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy gave this command to the church in Thessalonica. (1Thessalonians 5:17-18) Why was this command so important, and is it still just as important? They, and other believers, were suffering imprisonment and persecution for their faith and spreading the Gospel message. Though the Thessalonians could not be with them in other countries, Paul, Silvanus and Timothy all knew they could be through prayer. The same goes for us; this command is for all believers today in this dying world, and will continue to be.

Committing to pray every day is important. It’s an appointment with God in prayer every day, for us to praise and thank Him, and intercede for others. It will take you a little bit of experimenting to find the best plan for you, but there are a couple of steps that you can take that might help you ease into it.  

1. Verbally declare your commitment.

You don’t have to announce with a megaphone in a town square, but it’s important to remind yourself (aloud) that you have to, and are going to have that time set aside today. Just like any other meeting, it’s important to be on time. Why should we strive to be on time for every appointment of our day, except for our appointment with God?

2. Fight all interruptions fiercely.

There will be times when Satan will try to slip little disturbances in the way of your appointments, but don’t let him! He knows that prayer is our greatest means of defense against his plans, and you should too! 

3. Develop a practical prayer plan.

Find the best time to have as your prayer time, and how long you have to pray. I enjoy basing my prayer plan on Dick Eastmans’ Scripturally-based Hour of Prayer, but again, it takes a little experimenting and practice to find what best suits you. I recommend setting aside at least one hour a day to pray when you first start out. You may find yourself at a loss of words at first, but this will give you time to fully enjoy having this appointment with God and God alone. After some time, you may find yourself wanting more than an hour a day! (You don’t have to pray for a whole hour straight; you could divide your prayer time throughout your day. Just remember to be consistent in your timing.)

4. Recognize the importance of your daily hour
 

Romans 10:13-14 says, ”For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Our prayers for our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, for the lost, for our leaders, and countries, make a difference. Even when you don’t know exactly what it is you’re praying for, “His (the LORD) ears are open to their (the righteous) cry” (Psalm 34:15)

Let us be “worthy of the calling” (2Thessalonians 1:11-12)! “For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1Corinthians 3:9) Let us work together to expand God’s Kingdom, and see other souls saved! Although we may lack opportunity throughout the day, there is always an opportunity to intercede for a lost soul in prayer. There is always an opportunity to pray for a friend, family member, stranger, etc. Let us take hold of this freedom and privilege to pray for others, and “pray without ceasing!” 

 

Wave That Flag

Once again, the flag burning debate has popped into the headlines.  Not sure what prompted it, but apparently your President Trump had an opinion to share:

A year in prison or loss of citizenship.

The obvious double standard that his fans seem to overlook is that Conservatives oftentimes defend anyone that burns an ISIL/ISIS flag. Or a Koran.  They stand behind their precious 1st Amendment and claim God is on their side.  These are the same people that laugh at French, satirical comics of Mohammed but cry foul when someone mocks baby Jesus or Mary.  It’s clear then that the rights protected by the 1st Amendment are not preeminent in their minds.  It’s only convenient when it aligns with their goal of preferential treatment for themselves.  The 1st Amendment is quickly discarded when any opposing values or speech claim rights to the same protection.

Liberals are logically inconsistent in similar fashion.  They stand up for anyone that’s not white, Christian, or ‘Murican.  They claim to fight for equality for the little guy, the minority view.  But they often get so wrapped up in the minority that they are willing to sacrifice the majority just to prove a point.  That doesn’t make a lick of sense either.  I’ve written on several occasions that equality is a farce and a mirage so I won’t get into it here.

But Free Speech aside, I’ve written quite a bit about the ideas of Imperialism and National Pride in the 21st century.  These flags we wave are designed to divide us and pit us up against each other.  Behind the flag, we take credit for things in which we had no participation, assume blame for atrocities we did not commit, and hate entire groups of people whom we’ve never met.  There are flags for clubs, religious denominations, sexual orientation, sports teams, professional associations, rock bands, corporations, and schools.  There are flags for cities, states, regions, countries, and continental unions.

Sure.  There are some that will claim the flag brings people together.  It doesn’t have to necessarily divide.  That’s all well and good if you agree with everything for which the flag stands.  But what if you don’t?  What if you are critical of some of the things that flag represents?  Well, if you’re talking to a die-hard flag fanatic, a flag-natic if you will, chances are you are now the enemy and just placed a target on your back.

Think about how inconsistently the American Flag itself is treated.  On the one hand, flag-natics will tell you that it should never touch the ground.  You should never leave it out in the rain (unless it’s specifically an all-weather flag).  It should be folded / stored / and retired in a precise, prescribed manner according to the code.  (Incidentally, when it’s time to retire a flag, you’re supposed to burn it.  You just have to have a little ceremony where you sing a song, recite your holy prayers over it, etc.)  

But with all this pomp and circumstance surrounding the idolatry of the national cloth, Conservatives don’t seem to mind if you fashion a bikini (or swimmers’ underwear) out of a flag.  You can make tablecloths and napkins that look like flags.  You can make shoes dressed to look like the flag.  I’ve even seen pictures of Muslims wearing hijabs (headcoverings) out of their Red, White and Blue flags (of course, this caused all kinds of confusing ruckus with Conservatives.)

And what should Christians think?  Can we, in good conscience, idolize the flag?  

We were reading the following passage in Hebrews at the assembly a few weeks ago.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

(Hebrews 11:13‭-‬16 NKJV)

http://bible.com/114/heb.11.13-16.NKJV

These verses are in the middle of the so-called Hall of Fame of the faithful.  I don’t know why American Christians don’t seem to understand the simple, yet crystal clear, statement made in Scripture.  And in the New Testament, no less.  

As Christians, this world is not our home.  Our primary citizenship is a heavenly country, not America.  We reside in these lands as sojourners.  Within our arbitrary borders, there are people that do not share citizenship to our heavenly country.  Conversely, we share citizenship with other Christians that live beyond our flag-based borders.  As Christians, we have more in common with other Christians in Canada, Mexico, China, Nigeria, Russia, Iraq, and Israel than we do with non-Christians (atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Humanists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons) that reside in the United States.  

When we bomb, spy, steal from or overthrow governments in countries with different flags than ours, we are most likely doing that to some of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When we point drone strikes or nukes at our so-called enemies, we are taking aim at fellow Christians.  

And even if there weren’t a single professing Christian in the lands of the Other Flags, how does the Great Commission of Christ, to go forth and make disciples of ALL the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, reconcile with your platform of Nationalism?  

Brethren, don’t let the politics of the flag entangle you into fruitless and empty philosophy.  Our only allegiance should be to His Kingdom come.  When we buy into the Us vs. Them debate, we not only kill fellow followers of Christ, but we hinder our one calling from the Master to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.

 

 

 

Trigglypuffs, Toilets, and Tolerance

No shortage of news to discuss. If you care about the elections, which I don’t, every day there seems to be more finger pointing, name calling, skeletons coming out of the closet, and oh yeah, violence amongst the most rabid sycophants defending their leaders (or tearing down their opponents). I’m just as guilty I suppose (except for the violence). I do take more than a smidge of pleasure in poking fun at the loyalists and exposing just how completely irrational the 2 party system has become. Some people in the Liberty movement (I call it a movement because it’s definitely gaining widespread attraction and attention) get angry or advocate even more violence which I never understood.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve given up on voting because 1) we should have no other king but Christ, 2) the act of voting is pointless because the system is completely corrupt and bought, and 3) even without the corruption, I am no longer able to trust that the majority should be empowered to determine what is just or unjust simply because they outnumber the minority.

What’s interesting about Liberty is that once you get it, once you understand the most fundamental concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), it’s very easy to navigate a seemingly complex world of moral tests. (Go Google the NAP or read some of my previous posts on it, but essentially, it comes down to Christ’s 2nd greatest commandment – love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it.)

Now, I can hear my Christian readers chomping at the bit accusing me of elevating the NAP to some sort of new New Testament and that couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s Word should always be the standard by which moral determinations are made. But I can think of very few examples where the NAP actually contradicts Scriptural truth. And in those rare cases, absolutely, the Bible is preeminent. If you’re still not convinced, I would turn your objection back on you who hold Americanism or American Christianity on a pedestal (aka the religion of how ‘Murica is awesome and everyone else sucks. You know, because God is American.)

I had a couple of interesting exchanges on Facebook, and it was abundantly clear that Liberty is not something that is universally accepted as a virtue. Maybe it was 20 – 30 years ago. If you asked the average person on the street whether Liberty was important or good back then, you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone that would disagree. Today, the question is more often than not met with “well, it depends” or just “no”.

And that’s a problem.

What’s ironic is that these people that fear and curse Liberty will oftentimes tell you it’s too dangerous to let men be completely free, that men need to be controlled or monitored or protected for their own good. By whom? Other men, of course.

If you don’t have school-aged children or haven’t been keeping up with college campuses (or even public school K-12), you’d probably be shocked to learn just how far this indoctrination has spread. Safe Zones, Trigger Warnings, and Cultural Appropriations Vigilantes have become part of the fabric of higher education. And this is not the Political Correctness we endured through the 80’s and 90’s. This is “don’t disagree with the liberal mob or we will cut you” thuggery. And it’s not just limited to the students. Who do you think is feeding this insanity?

Which brings me to my favorite example of this cancer of late. Brothers and sisters, I give you – Trigglypuff.

giphy

I don’t know anything about her other than what I’ve seen online when her rant went viral. Apparently, she’s a college student who came to protest some controversial guest speaker named Milo who has ticked off progressives around the globe. She’s also an outspoken critic of fat shamers (a critic of critics, if you will). The reason I bring up Trigglypuff is because her modus operandi is typical of many progressives today that oppose Liberty. They claim it’s their right to Freedom of Speech to protest haters, racists, and misogynists. Yet, their mission is to prevent others their same rights to speech. (The theatrics of her protest are just a hilarious bonus, exemplifying the crying, whining generation of cupcakes.)

If you embrace Liberty, how do you reconcile ugly speech, racism, and vulgarity? You realize that you don’t have to agree with someone’s verbal diarrhea in order to stand up for their rights to it. What’s the alternative? Simple. Keep censoring and someone will someday determine your voice needs to be suppressed or silenced because the mob doesn’t like what you have to say. That includes religious speech, scientific discovery, artistic expression, and political discourse to name a few.

J.K. Rowling, the author of all the Harry Potter books, gets it. I don’t care for her novels, but she’s absolutely right.

The other story that’s dominated the news, particularly in the Carolinas, has been the controversial toilet wars. Who can use which facilities seems to suddenly be on everyone’s minds. So much so that artists, performers, sports teams, and businesses have either canceled or threatened to back out of plans to do business in NC. I don’t want to dwell on the legal gymnastics because as you know, I don’t care about the system. The point I’d like to make on the whole fiasco is that this really comes down to Liberty and Property Rights. If a government entity comes in and arbitrarily decides your business MUST allow someone access to ___, you’ve already lost me. Doesn’t matter the issue. So when I hear about Obama or the governor or some dude wearing a dress telling a private business owner that they must bake a cake or perform a wedding or let anyone that wants into the bathroom, my response is basically – take a hike, not your concern or jurisdiction. That’s between me and my customers and no one else because my business is my property. It is not owned communally.

Again, what’s head scratching to me is the response from the celebrity progressives. They don’t like the law, so what do they do? They exercise their right to choose not to do business in the state of NC. In other words, they seem to completely miss the irony that they are doing exactly what businesses are seeking legal protection to do as well. If they were logically consistent, shouldn’t these artists be forced to provide their goods and services to NC despite their objections, in the name of fairness and tolerance? But why start being logically consistent now?

Which brings me to the overarching realization I’ve had. See, boomers and gen-Xers have been led to believe that Liberals / Progressives are supposed to be people of tolerance and acceptance. They might even remember a time where hippies stood for non-violence, embracing the ideals of people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, or MLK. Those days are long gone. Progressive, entitled millennials are no longer the people of tolerance and non-violence. They are, in fact, a fascist hate group, completely intolerant of dissenting opinion and totally open to violence in the name of achieving their causes. The sad truth is, most of them can’t articulate what their cause actually is or how they plan to get there. They really haven’t thought it through because, well, they’re entitled. Someone else will probably figure it out for them, right?

So where does that leave the rest of us?

Fortunately, there’s still hope. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Liberty is catching on. More and more people who see the mirage progressives chasing today are realizing that the only sane, rational, consistent, and achievable road to progress is Liberty. People must be allowed to choose how to live, what to eat, where or whether to work, and to reap the benefits and consequences of their choices.

The same is true with the staunchest conservatives. More of them are recognizing the futility of throwing everyone in jail or bombing anyone that doesn’t agree with them, particularly when it comes to victimless crimes. They grow weary of endless wars and policing the entire world. But most importantly, they recognize (due in no small part to the ‘choices’ they are left with the elect come November) that morality transcends the broken system of government control we have in place today. There are other options. There are alternatives to falling behind party lines.

Stand up for Liberty. Justice, equality, compassion, and peace can only be achieved through Liberty. Without it, there can be none.

My Public Apology

I have to make a public apology to a couple of friends.  My last post, which I’ve since removed, was not meant to out anyone, defame, or humiliate.  I don’t mean to sound like the Godfather, but it wasn’t personal, it was business.  

I did not ask for permission to post or quote conversations from Facebook into my blog, and my friends felt like a trust had been broken and betrayed.  

I can get shortsighted in the heat of debating ideas.  And though I am pretty good at separating the differences in ideas or values from the friendships I’ve formed, I can easily step over the line and hurt feelings when there was no malicious intent.

That’s no excuse for betraying a friend.  And for that, I am deeply sorry.  I don’t want you to regret sharing your ideas with me or challenging me.  I have much to learn from all of you, so please forgive my lack of social graces.  I will try to share the passion I have for Liberty and my Faith without slamming those that are closest to me going forward.