Category Archives: Love

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.

 

Thoughts on Marriage

I know many of my readers have been married much longer than I have, so I feel a little silly giving any advice to you. Of course, Marriage isn’t necessarily just about longevity as it is about depth. Feel free to correct me, young and old alike, where I need to be set straight.

My wife and I celebrated 16 years of marriage in the Fall. We got married, by today’s standards, at a fairly young age right out of college, though I would argue couples should get married even earlier (another topic for another day). It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. There have been countless times we’ve hurt each other, said things we’ve regretted, acted selfishly or tested the limits of our patience. There have even been times family and friends have encouraged one of us to consider throwing in the towel.

If you knew us while we were dating, many of our friends would have said we made the most unlikely couple. You couldn’t pick two people that were more polar opposites. Even in college, my wife was sophisticated, cultured, and refined. She appreciated things like art, fine dining, history, and literature. She loved entertaining and showing hospitality. Friends would gather in her apartment for coffee breaks and delicious treats at all hours of the night.

I, on the other hand, was rough around the edges to say the least. I hated school. I loved to party and eat fast food. I had a lot of anger and resentment in my heart toward the world, demons I still wrestle with today. I got through high school thanks to Cliff Notes and always taking the path of least resistance. I love Rock and Roll, especially music from the 70’s and 80’s. My wife couldn’t name the 4 Beatles before we got married.

But God put Jenny in my life for reasons I’ll never completely fathom. A former co-worked once told me “you know, you should never play the lottery. You’ve already hit the jackpot once. You’re never going to get a second.”

Amen.

I believe Marriage is an institution that was ordained by God. Now before my non-Christian readers get all twisted, let me explain. I DON’T believe God has given authority to the STATE to decide who should be allowed to marry. I’ve written numerous times that the State should get out of the business of sanctioning marriage altogether. For that matter, I also don’t believe anyone should get in the way of 2 people wanting to make the commitment of marriage to each other. That’s between them and God.

So what is it that has made our marriage survive (and even thrive) all these years?

The thing is, I didn’t marry my wife because of her looks, although she is very beautiful. But as my grandmother always said, beauty is fading. Eventually, we all turn out to look like dried up grapes.

I didn’t marry my wife because she had money. We both started out broke.

I didn’t marry my wife because she promised me a lot of children. Readers will know that when we first got married, she didn’t want to have any at all.

I didn’t even marry my wife because she was already an unbelievable cook, though I won’t lie, it’s SUCH a nice perk. I haven’t had Taco Bell in years and I used to live on the stuff.

When we were dating and talking about marriage, the one thing we knew was that our priority, our PURPOSE in life, was to love and obey the Lord. As long as we were willing to obey Christ no matter where He would take us, we knew that everything else would follow.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13.

The only other thing we knew was that Marriage meant forsaking all other people and things. My job as a husband is to put my wife second only to Christ. That includes giving my wife preference over my career, my finances, my health, my hobbies, my friendships, my casual acquaintances, and even my children. Now, this doesn’t mean I can’t have hobbies or friends or a career. It simply means that they have to be secondary or tertiary considerations after Christ and my wife’s wellbeing.

This is something, by no means, I’ve mastered. I still fall short and have to be reminded when I neglect my duty to my wife. And when I do, I’ve repented countless times and asked her to forgive me. My wife is gracious and quick to forgive.

We have been told by friends that we are a fun couple. Fun, as in, we seem to have a good time together. We enjoy each other’s company. We make each other laugh. We genuinely embody 2 individuals that have become one flesh.

But we are still distinct. We have different interests and tastes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard young couples break up because they have different interests and I think “if I had to like everything Jenny enjoyed and vice versa, we’d be doomed to boredom“. Now there are some things we enjoy doing together. But we certainly don’t have everything in common.

The core of our Marriage, our dedication to following Christ and putting each other first, will always remain the secret to our success. If you can get that part down, the rest will fall in line.

A word on intimacy. Next to finances, this is an area that leads more married couples to divorce than any other. Scripture instructs us that we should never withhold physical intimacy from each other (1 Corinthians 7:1-5) for so many reasons, not the least of which is to quench the temptation to look elsewhere. I’ll just say that this is such an important part of married life for both men and women. I can’t speak from any empirical evidence, but I get the feeling that married couples are not sharing enough intimacy with their spouses.

Talk to your spouse. Let her know your needs and desires. If you can’t talk to her about it, then who can you talk to and what does that say? If you are too tired or too busy, then you are not forsaking all others for your spouse’s needs. Make the time. Turn off the TV or the computer earlier. Put the kids to bed earlier or get a sitter. Do whatever you need to do. But do not sacrifice this critical part of your marriage.