January 29, 2008

moral vote

It bothers annoys alarms me that I would even have to go down this path... that I would even have to try to explain that it is wrong to kill babies. I find it frightening.

Almost a month ago I was talking to my sons on the way home from school about life, the universe, and everything. (And I have to tell you, we have some great conversations on the way home. There just isn't anything like rolling down an old highway in a big old Chevy pickup truck with your boys. ) Anyway, Number One was asking me about which candidates I would vote for and why. He had heard some of the names the previous day and was wondering about this. So he asked me if I was going to vote for Barack Obama.

I thought about it for a moment. I really did. He doesn't know all that much about Republicans and Democrats, so I wanted to give him some solid understandable answer, so I replied, "Well. Mr. Obama believes that if a woman doesn't want her baby that she can just kill it..."

That was as far as I got.

Number Two snapped out of his daydream world with a look of horror. Number One's face took on this strange, angered look. They both sat there for a moment with that shocked look that many of us get when we get smacked with reality. Honestly, they couldn't believe it. They could not believe that there could ever be a person that would consider doing such a thing. It was a harsh reality to the evils of the world, and I HATED telling them about it.

I have warned them on many occasions that there are evil men in this world that would do evil things to children, but they never guessed that it could go that far.

I told them that the sad thing was that there are so many mothers out there that get lied to and believe that this is something that is Ok. They get convinced that they are not ready for a baby and their doctor tells them that this is OK. I could see the sadness in Number One's eyes as the world he thought existed slipped out of his fingers and out of his imaginations. He sat with the sickening realization that the world that he lived in included doctors who kill babies, mothers who ask them to, and presidents who make it possible.

We sat for a moment in silence, as my big ole truck bumped down the road when Number Two's face lit up with an idea. He says to me, "If they don't want the babies, we could just take them!"

"Of course we could." I told him.

Number One then adds, "But we still need to stop them. We still need to tell those mothers that it is wrong."

------------------------------

This is why I title these posts, The Moral Vote. I still believe in Life and Liberty and maybe even the pursuit of happiness. I still believe that I need to speak up for these things. I still believe that my one little vote says something, and I want it to say that all men and women have the right to live! People will always do evil, but that doesn't mean that we stop speaking what is right.

------------------------------

There has yet to be the nation that has crumbled because of its poor economy. There is yet to be the country that has fallen from its height because it didn't provide mandatory health care. I know there has not been an empire that came to its knees because of too many people wanting to live and work there.

And you can have whatever opinion you want on those issues! BUT...

There has been many a nation that has crumbled from the inside out because of its immorality, and more importantly because of its lack of compassion for the smallest and the least.

If a candidate does not hold to the rights of life for every individual, then don't kid yourself... It will affect every other policy that they support.

------------------------------

One final thought.

We lost Number Three. My wife can still tell you what age she would be today (Read more about her here). We know her name. We miss her, though we never knew her.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:14-16(ESV)

God knew her and had record of her in His book.

I find it offensive that I would have to defend her reality to anyone.

If you love life, say it with your vote. And stop being so selfish and defensive of your possessions, because every other issue boils down to exactly that.

January 27, 2008

The Moral Vote?

I could never... NEVER... vote for any candidate for anything if that candidate was not clearly pro-life. I am not much of a politically minded person, but that issue settles everything for me.

I equate the killing of unborn children with any other of the numerous genocides that have taken place throughout history. They are the same at their core. Someone, somewhere decides that a certain group of people are expendable and that society would be better without those people. So that someone decides that it would be OK to kill those people. It is a disgusting state of things when a country gets to that point, but it is the natural outcome of the humanistic philosophy that our children are constantly being indoctrinated with in the public school system.

It blows my mind, seriously blows my mind, that I am even typing this post. It seems so obvious to me. I would just as soon vote for a Nazi or a Communist as I would vote for someone who believes that individuals have the right to choose whether or not another individual has the right to live.

And the really crazy thing is that there are people who claim to be Christians who would vote for a candidate who is pro-genocide!

I am really sick of acting like I am some sort of back-woods red-neck for thinking this way. I challenge anyone out there to name a political issue that is more relevant, more important, or less destructive to a free society than this issue!

What would someone bring? The economy? Free-trade? War in Iraq? Border security? Illegal immigrant workers? c-mon people!

These all take a back seat to the issue of the killing of unborn children. Killing Children! That is what America has come to!

I don't believe that it is right to go out and kill the people at the abortion clinics. There is a better option to that. But I most definitely believe that it is important to exercise our right to vote, and vote for someone who at least believes that we shouldn't go around killing children that we don't want.

January 20, 2008

editing

I am editing some old posts, so if you use a reader to follow this blog, you may see some old post showing up.

I am considering eliminating all personal names from my blog. This seems an overwhelming task, and it would make more sense to just start a new blog.

I don't know what I am going to do yet, but I started the process of editing these old posts.

January 14, 2008

Life Accomplishment #3

(Given in no particular order...)

I am tops at something!

I had to take the Praxis Test in math, in order to get my SC State teaching license. I was really worried about it for a while, and especially when I saw the study materials. It covers every area of math that is offered at the highschool level: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Probability and Statistics. (And I may have left something out.)

I spent several days at Barnes and Noble, drinking some coffee and studying the practice books. It was well over a hundred dollars each time you took the test, so I knew that I couldn't afford to fail it.

On the day of the test, I told God all of the details and what would happen if I didn't pass. And even though He already knew, he patiently listened to my requests. I was sitting in the room, waiting for the test and listening to the other teachers in the room. Most of them were talking about how many times they had taken this particular test. I prayed some more.

Not only did He help me pass the test on the first try, I also scored in the top 15% of all the people who have ever taken this test. They sent me a letter and a nice little certificate, and I am sure that somewhere my name went into some governmental data base as someone to keep their eyes on. (At least that is what I tell myself.)

a new favorite


I have a new favorite lunch food.

It might look like your ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but don't be fooled by its appearance. That might be peanut butter, but it isn't jelly that is in that sandwich. It is a wonderful substance called nutella©. The label describes it as "The original, creamy, chocolaty spread."

Basically, if you make a peanut butter and nutella sandwich, it tastes like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup©. I wasn't for sure about the chocolate on the bread at first, but it is wonderful.

In my house I call it the Peanut Butter Cup Sandwich.

I don't know why I am sharing this with you, but hey... its a blog and people have shared much more pointless information than this!

January 13, 2008

My Brother

Alright. I need to tell you a story.

I already told everyone that I know in the flesh, but my blogging friends, I am sure, would like to hear this as well.

I was coming home from school last Thursday. It was just me and the boys in the truck, and we were delving into some deep conversation... as boys in pickup trucks tend to do. We were discussing what it means to be saved, and my five-year-old was asking all of the questions, trying to wrap his mind around it.

In the process of trying to explain this miracle, I merged into the story of Nicodemus, when he came to see Jesus at night. My oldest, had been quiet through most of this, but when I mentioned that Nicodemus had been confused about the "being born again" part, Number One says, "... I am not confused anymore."

"No, you're not." I responded. "You have understood this stuff for quite a while haven't you?"

And he has. He has been able to answer all of the questions for a long time. This has been the trouble for me though. There have been so many times that I have talked with him about this topic, and he has understood every word (he's very bright), but when it came to the question of whether or not that was for him... It was always a steadfast "no." Always said with a very stone-faced expression. No emotion.

I have said for the last few years that Number One wasn't going to get saved until he wanted to. There wasn't a soul that was going to talk him into it. Including me. And even though I didn't even realize I was doing it, I think that I was hoping that I could say just the right thing, or just the right word-sequence, or just the right thought-concoction to get him to choose God. To choose Christ!

I finally gave up. I knew that it had to be a work of God.

So, there we were in the pickup truck, when Number One says, "Daddy, when we get home, I need to get saved."

There it was. The moment I had been waiting for. I waited until I got home and pulled him in my room real quick, just to ask him what was different this time. His exact words were, "Well Daddy, when you were talking in the truck, God just spoke to my heart." It wasn't me. It was HIM. I can't tell you the joy that I was experiencing at that moment.

We went out in the living room with the mommy, and after a few questions that I already knew that he knew, I said, "Well Son, this is between you and God. I am just going to sit here and listen in."

It was the most amazing prayer that I have ever heard. It was heartfelt and unscripted. He prayed from the heart. And my emotionless little boy began to tremble and cry as he told God he was a sinner... that he needed a savior. I hate to admit it, but my eyes are welling up just thinking about it.

It was a great moment, a moment that I will never forget.

He immediately began to show the first fruits of true salvation by spending the next hour on the phone trying to call everyone he knew. He started with the two women that have prayed for him (probably more than I have): my mom and my wife's mom. They were both thrilled.



I share all of this with you because it is a true praise. I have asked God so many times to save him. I would easily give up anything for the salvation of my children, and have offered my life to God more than once for that very thing. (Which I noticed that my wife said the same thing on her blog.)

So, for those of you who are my true brothers in Christ, I wanted to let you know that you now have another new brother.

To God be all the Glory!

January 12, 2008

show me your faith (2)

I have heard many people recently, with their warm fuzzy feelings, use phrases like, you know its "...the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord." They say it so casually and flippantly. It rolls off their tongues or clicks off their fingers as they type it on their blogs or their e-mails. The question I have is this... Do you even know what you are talking about?

James, the brother of Jesus, started his walk on the earth with no faith in Christ. He may have thought that he had faith in God, but as Christ walked this earth, it was put to the test. He didn't believe in God's living word.

After Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected, James became a believer. He became a prominent leader in the church, and wrote the book of James. You will be hard-pressed to find another book that pictures faith the way James does. He says things like this, "What good does it do to say that you have faith if you don't have any deeds? Can that kind of faith even save you?" It is of course a rhetorical question. The obvious answer is NO.

Real faith is an action producing thing. You can't have real faith without deeds.

Consider the words of James a few verses later. "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that --- and shudder!"

I would like to point out that the word "believe" is that same word that is found in John 3:16. It is the greek word pisteuos. It means, adherence to or commitment to.

He goes on to say, "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?"

I used to get confused about this verse. It seemed almost contradictory to the passages in Romans that talk about how Abraham was considered righteous by his faith, yet here it is talking about how he was considered righteous by his deeds. To understand this, you need to understand that the deeds were deeds of faith. Abraham was doing what God said. That's faith.

We have the same option. God still tells us stuff. We can go to the scriptures and find His words for every area of life.

  • You have kids? Are you bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
  • You have enemies? Are you loving them? Do you know what love means?
  • You have an unrepentant spouse? Are you still following in love? Are you doing what it says in I Cor. 13? Are you bearing all things? Are you believing all things? Are you hoping all things? Are you enduring all things?
  • Are you in a trial? (Who could say "no?") Are you showing joy? Are you exhibiting patience? Or are you just fed up and you are aiming for what you want?
  • You overloaded at work? Are you trusting God that He will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able to handle?
Just like Abraham, God gives us great opportunities to show that real faith.

There are some who, instead of showing genuine faith by doing the deeds of God, will set their sights on what they want and aggressively pursue it. The sad (and appalling) thing is when a person has set their heart on their own selfish desires and in their pursuit will justify their efforts as faith.

"I am doing _____________..." or "I am going for _____________... and I have faith that God will give me what I want."

I hope you can say as James says, "Show me your faith without deeds (of God) and I will show you my faith by what I do."

(All of the James quotes come from James 2:14-26)

January 8, 2008

Huckabee

I thought that this was really good. Very interesting ideas being presented.



(Thanks to Rick)

January 5, 2008

Through the Bible

Somebody already beat me to this idea, but I am going to go for it anyway.

I have never done the 'read through the Bible in a year' thing. I have wanted to, have never gotten around to it, but I am going for it this year. I am using the ESV's site to tackle this. I subscribed to their One Year Tract plan through Google Reader, that way it is dropped to me on a daily basis, and I don't feel like anything is lost by reading it electronically.

I started on January 1st, and the first week has gone really well. I am really hoping to be consistent with this, not so that I can say that I did it, but because I believe that God's word is what it says that it is. I believe that it is living and powerful. I believe that it is sharper than any two-edged sword. I believe that it will pierce me. So, I read it, and I want to read all of it this year.

But back to my idea...

I thought the other day that I should randomly post some thoughts here from my Bible reading, and then I read this post, and I found out that I wasn't the only one with this idea. Well, even though I can't claim the idea as my own, I am still going to try to do it.

I am going to post a short thought here, just to get started:

Part of the reading is taking me through Ezra. I just finished teaching through some ancient history at school, so the story is also familiar from the secular standpoint. We looked at the Babylonian Empire and the Persian Empire, and it was interesting studying that in History because I had heard the Bible stories many times.

On January 3rd, I got to one section that talked about the rebuilding of the temple(Ezra 3), and I thought that the response of the people was very interesting. The people who had been there before the captivity wept when they saw the foundations of the new temples. It didn't compare to the one they had known. The younger generation rejoiced when they saw the new temple. They rejoiced that God had brought them there and that His house was being rebuilt. The author of Ezra points out that it was hard to discern between the rejoicing and the weeping, it was so loud.

What a memorable event. I am sure that day stuck out in the minds of those people for the rest of their lives.
10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.
It made me wonder at the Christian Church today. We rejoice in the good things that are happening. We rejoice in the Biblical teaching and the worship. We rejoice in the love that is shown by the church to the world. ...and we should. We should rejoice in the good that God does. But...

But I wonder if the first century church would rejoice with us, or maybe they would weep.

January 3, 2008

I Won!

Susan Wise Bauer writes history books. She is very good at it. The school I am at uses her books titled, The Story of the World for several of their history courses.

I read her blog as well. It is titled The History of the (Whole) World.

I was going through my Google Reader to see if anyone had posted any New Years posts, and I ran across hers. Her family had been watching the Twilight Zone Marathon that plays every New Years on the SciFi Channel. In her last picture you could see the TV and she says that the first person who could identify the episode would get a free autographed book.

I knew it.

Now I am getting a book!

Autographed!

She gave me the option of which book I could get. I chose the book titled The Well Educated Mind. I had been wanting to get that book anyway, but now I am getting it free.

Show me your Faith

Have you ever heard anyone talk about showing faith like it is some sort of fuzzy feeling they get. Some hard circumstances come along, and they want to move on, but they don't want to completely expose their lack of concern for God's ways, so they begin talking about having faith in "all of this." They speak of it like it is the thing that helps them to keep a stiff upper lip.

James says that faith is shown in good deeds. Faith is demonstrated in action. You can say that you have faith all you want, but if you don't have any works, HA! That isn't real faith at all. It is some sort of distorted dead faith. Faith is not keeping a smile on your face and hoping for the best. It is actually Loving your enemies. (That is following the true definition of Love. Not just some sort of feeling, but acting for their good.) It is being patient towards people. It is showing kindness towards all. True faith produces aggressive good works.

Sometimes people talk about their faith as their ability to see that something good will happen. The misquote the Bible and talk about how God works things for good. What they really mean is that they are hoping that God will get His act together and give them something that they think is good. God is going to work it all out. God will give them the husband they want or the kids they want or the car they want or the life they want.

The "good" that God is working out in your life is to make you more like Christ. So, to "show our faith" is not some inward feeling but an outward expression. It is patience for God's work. It is meekness and kindness. It is suffering for the sake of Christ. It is those who are pure in heart.

Forget the old ways that you were doing things. The ways of selfishness and show that you actually do have faith by participating in God's Kingdom.

Sorry for the rant. It was poorly put together, but it has been on my mind all day.