It’s Been a While

Wow, so it’s been a long time since I’ve been here. I wrote last year about how I wanted to blog more, and that went over like a lead balloon. It isn’t for lack of having something to write about. I think it’s because I’ve become a little more reserved lately.

I used to be ‘that guy’ who loved getting into an argument on the internet. I was always right. I couldn’t lose. I suppose I still have some of that in me, but I’ve gotten to where I’m pretty choosy with my battles. I don’t want this to be a place where I rant about different things..I’d rather it be a place where readers can come and find something interesting to think about or discuss. I’m thinking some of those things over.

I also have a few things I want to shout to the world about, but it simply isn’t the time. When I’m able to shout it from the rooftops (And I will, trust me), you’ll understand why. I’m sure most of you have given up on this blog…maybe it will come back to life fairly soon.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

A New Year, a New Beginning

A new year is always a good time to take a look at where we’re at and even get a fresh start. I’m not one to make resolutions really, but I do have a few goals:

  • I want to read through my Bible again this year. I’ve done it for the past 2 years now.
  • I want to blog more. I want to speak my mind more. But I want to learn to do it in a spirit of love. Not forsaking truth, but not tearing down either.
  • I want to take more photos. Most of these will go over on my other blog at Life on Snow Hill.

The new year is also a time I try to take inventory of my life and see where I need to improve, cut things out or whatever may be needed. I want to try to live closer to God and be more of what He would have me to be.

This blog has been severely neglected. I intend to fix that. Those of you who still read here will see more posts. I’m also going to try to get a fresh look, so stay tuned for those changes too.

Posted in Personal, Website | Leave a comment

Never Forget?

As most Americans are today, I’m thinking back to September 11, 2001. I remember beginning to hear chatter in the office at work, so I got up and started walking around to try to figure out what was going on. One guy blurted, “They just flew a plane into the World Trade Center!”

My first thought was that it was some small prop plane, the pilot of which lost control and crashed into the building. The Internet exploded with the news, and seeing the smoke plume rising from the first tower quickly changed my mind about what had happened from ‘accident’ to ‘deliberate’. The second plane obviously only solidified it.

I saw a nation come together in prayer, compassion, and even like-mindedness.

It didn’t last.

There are many things I could say about the politics of this nation and how they’ve affected us, but I don’t believe that’s where the root of the problem is. The root of the problem is that as a nation, we’ve turned back from God again.

When we got to a point that we’d emotionally recovered (I realize many who this affected directly never will recover. I’m speaking of the nation in general.) from the greatest tragedy this country has seen in my lifetime, we decided God had done enough for us and we ended our dependence on Him. While we’ll ‘Never Forget’ what happened, we forgot Him.

It’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing. As we study through the Bible, we see Israel turning their back on God time and time again. Destruction, famine, and wars came. The great thing about those accounts are that every time Israel turned back to God, He showed mercy and forgiveness. They still dealt with the consequences of their sin, but healing had begun.

When we kill unborn children, promote same-sex marriage and lose more people to drugs and alcohol, no one can say that this isn’t a wicked nation. America has turned her back on God. If we loved the Lord and followed Him like we say we do, we’d never allow some of these things to go on.

While I think of the events of September 11, 2001, I cry for our nation who is begging for the judgment of God to fall on her!

Posted in Religion | Leave a comment

Gun Control

Due to the recent tragic shooting at Sandy Hook in Connecticut, our all-knowing government is taking up the issue of gun control again. I’m fairly confident that our government officials know full well that banning guns or enacting laws to keep people from buying guns will only be effective for law-abiding citizens. They know that the ones who will use them for illegal purposes will get them anyway. I just wish some of you well-intentioned people would wake up and see that the most effective way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. And I don’t just mean police officers. If they’re in the right place at the right time, sure, they’re effective. But most of the time, they’re not.

It should be obvious to you that these mass murderers that choose to use a gun to carry out their deeds almost always choose a place where it’s illegal to carry a gun. I suppose they didn’t see the ‘no guns’ sign on the front door of the school or theater they chose to shoot up.

Yes, gun control is the answer. Take guns away from those who live by the laws so they’ll be disarmed. They become even easier prey to those who don’t abide by the law.

This brings me to another point – the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. It forbids the government from infringing on our rights to carry guns. The purpose of the amendment was to allow us as individuals to do what it takes to protect ourselves. To protect ourselves from the armed robber, from the nutcase who wants to kill dozens of people, and yes, even our own government.

I ran across an open letter on Google+ that articulated the argument very well. These are not my words, but they fit. It’s a long read, but well worth it.

 

——

An Open Letter to Members Of Congress…

IS GUN CONTROL A ‘RIGHT’ OF THE GOVERNMENT?

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess and carry firearms.

In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions officially establishing this interpretation. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the [Supreme] Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as; self-defense. In dicta, the Court listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment.  In McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.

One would presume that these two decisions would bring an end to the argument of the 2nd Amendment.  It, unfortunately, does not.  Therefore, it would help to further look into statements made by the Supreme Court & the ones who have so placed us, the ‘People’ at odds with one another, The Founding Fathers.  In order to do this, we must first look at the 2nd Amendment as written;

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

One can clearly see that it was not written in modern English but rather, in the English of the day.  In the Heller Case, a portion of the Supreme Court Opinion by Justice Scalia can be quoted to clarify the Courts opinion of the meaning;

“The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Again, one can clearly see that the intent of the Supreme Court is to guarantee “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms” and that, this ‘Right’ “…shall not be infringed.” To further clarify the decisions and to debunk the argument that the 2nd amendment doesn’t apply to modern weapons, we can once again grab a quote from the Heller Case;

“Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment . We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997) , and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001) , the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”

Again, one can clearly see that this statement reinforces the fact that “…all instruments that constitute bearable arms” are ‘protected’ by the 2nd Amendment along with an individuals ‘Right’ to bear (show) them. This, would mean inclusively that ‘We The People’ also have the ‘Right’ to own such ‘Instruments’ (guns). Sadly though, this is not how proponents of ‘Gun Control’ interpret the 2nd Amendment (not that it matters). For what matters is what our Founding Fathers wanted for us as a Nation and for us, as an Individual. This forces us to take a look into what the Founding Fathers believed. The easiest way to do this is to use quotes from their writings in their own words.

John Adams (1735 – 1826) 2nd U.S. President

_”To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.”

“Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would. Nor is there anything in the common law of England … inconsistent with that right.”_

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) 3rd U.S. President

_”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

“I hope, therefore, a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the Federal government as they are already guarded against their State governments, in most instances.”

“Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

“The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.”

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”_

Samuel Adams (1722 – 1803)

_”Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.”

“The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”_

James Madison (1751 – 1836) 4th U.S. President

_”Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…”

“A people armed and free forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression.”

“…The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”

“The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.”_

These quotes could go on for page upon page. That, would be pointless. The point of showing one these quotes, is to show that the Founding Fathers in every aspect meant for ‘We, the People’ to be armed at all times and at all times, bear those arms.  Obviously, this will not work for every Citizen as some lack the Good Intent, the Fortitude or the Mental Capacity for such things.  Proper training by law enforcement would suffice in finding out who is capable and responsible enough.

I beseech upon your commonsense to educate yourself of what this Nation, as a group of Free Individuals, was meant to look like by our Founding Fathers and recently guaranteed by the Supreme Court of The United States of America. Then, to make the Right decision regarding Guns.

I was born into a Nation that Guarantees me the Right to Defend Myself, My Family, My Friends, My Property & the Helpless.  Please, do NOT take that Right away because of fears, idiots and bad decisions.

— A Concerned U.S. Citizen

*P.S.
PLEASE, if you agree, share this openly & with your government officials.*

Posted in Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do I Need Help?

Something I’ve always been taught, and even seen in my own life, is that it’s so easy to see the mistakes, wrongs and shortcomings in others while missing those of our own. If we do notice an area of our own lives that needs attention, we tend to reason our way past it without making any of those much-needed changes. Why is that? I believe it has its roots in pride. Wicked, selfish, arrogant pride.

Recently something was said, not directly to me, but it felt like it hit a bullseye right between my eyes. It woke me up to the cold, hard fact that I wasn’t doing everything that I could possibly do to serve my Lord.

My problem is that I find ways to excuse myself. “I’ve worked all day and am too worn out to put much effort into study.” Yes, I have to work. I must provide for my wife and home. But the truth of the matter is, when I get off work, no matter how tired I am, I’ll put forth the effort to do what I want to do.

Had I become so selfish and self-centered that I couldn’t give of my time to the Lord? Isn’t that one of the easiest things to do? Just spend some time with Him in prayer and Bible reading? Isn’t that the basics that we teach that are mandatory for Christian life?

I had been reading. I had been praying. But when I became honest with myself it was apparent that I wasn’t doing nearly as much as I should. This is fundamental! Because of my failure and laziness in these areas, I know that other areas of my spiritual life and responsibilities to my home and my church have fallen far short of what they should be.

Romans 12:1 came to mind during all this stuff going on in this head of mine:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The least I can do for a God Who sent His Son to become sin for me and suffer the punishment for it is to live for Him! I know this. I’ve even preached it! I thought I was living it. I’d convinced myself it was enough to spend a few minutes a day reading and praying for my own personal devotion. After all, I was tired from working all day.

By God’s grace, and most importantly, His strength, no more will I succumb to the temptation to be lazy in attending to my own spiritual well-being, and in turn will work harder to fulfill my responsibilities as the spiritual head of my home and the youth director/Sunday School teacher at church. I don’t want to make excuses any more. There are none.

Posted in Religion | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah, the smell of turkey, dressing, pecan pie, sweet potatoes, gravy and all sorts of other side dishes filling the air… Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, time with family and friends, football, eating until we can’t possibly eat any more, football, black Friday shopping, football, leftovers for days, and more football. That must be what Thanksgiving Day is all about!

Not so fast… America as a whole has forgotten what the word Thanksgiving itself means. To give thanks. To be grateful. To show gratitude. But this day was set aside for even more than that.

In America, a day of thanksgiving was commonly observed to give thanks to God. Yes, there was a lot of food. There wasn’t always football. Friends and family often gathered together. Their main purpose, however, was to give thanks to God. Yes, to God.

You see, without God, none of us would even be here today. He is the Creator. Without God, I wouldn’t be able to provide for my family. He gave me the abilities and talents that I have to be able to perform my job’s duties. Without God, I wouldn’t have the promise of eternal life. Without God, I wouldn’t have a nice place to live. Without God, I wouldn’t have been raised in a good family. Without Him, I would be nothing. Yes, I am truly blessed, all because God saw fit to bless my life.

Our forefathers knew this. They depended on God. Today, we call on Him either when we need something from Him or when it’s convenient. Personally, I’m reminded more and more that I’m totally dependent on God. Nothing I have, or nothing I can do has anything to do with what I could take care of on my own. God provided and allowed it all.

So today, and always, I want to be thankful to God. I want to show Him my gratitude and, consequently, live a life for Him. It’s the least that I can do in return for all He has done for me.

Posted in Religion | Leave a comment

Great And Marvelous

From Revelation chapter 15:

3: And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

4: Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Ron Hamilton wrote a song based on these verses. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites. For the last few weeks our church has been practicing for the Christmas program, and this song is a part of it. The more I hear the song, it gives me more of an understanding of how great God truly is.

His ways are so much higher than ours. His thoughts are incomprehensible to us.

When we’re overwhelmed by all that’s going on around us, or when the task God has given us seems unachievable, God knows. Not only does He know, but He understands. The great thing is, it doesn’t stop there. He provides strength, mercy and grace for us to keep going.

Another thing that’s great about how God works is that when things seem to be just falling apart for us, He’s still in control of it all, and is working it for our good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

Just remember, God’s ways are just and true. His works are great and marvelous. When He has His way, He will shine. It’s up to us whether or not we’ll allow Him to shine through us. His ways are so much higher than ours. Will we let Him work through us? Will we let Him work in us?

Posted in Religion | Leave a comment

Biblical Conspiracies

No, no, not the kind you’re thinking. Not the kind where people say the Bible is just a bunch of stories that man came up with and put together to fool all of us ‘poor’ Christians into believing something that isn’t true. Most all of you that know me know where I stand on the Bible – it is Holy, infallible, inerrant and perfect.

The kind of conspiracy I’m talking about is the kind we find recorded in Matthew 27:62-66, and 28:11-15. In the first passage, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and asked him if they could set up soldiers at the sepulchre to prevent the disciples from stealing Jesus’ body and claiming He had risen. They called Jesus a ‘deceiver’, and didn’t want His final, most important claim to appear to be true, so they guarded the sepulchre to keep the disciples away.

What’s astounding to me is that they were so blinded by their disbelief that they didn’t even stop to consider the possibility of His actual resurrection. Of course, there is nothing they could have done to stop it, but they were so concerned about a possible conspiracy about His resurrection that they didn’t even consider it.

We know how the story goes – Jesus rose! There was a great earthquake, and an angel descended from Heaven and moved the stone away from the door of the sepulchre, and sat on it. The guards were scared out of their skin and fainted. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulchre and found the angel there, sitting on the stone. He told them Jesus wasn’t there because He had risen as He had said.

In the second passage I mentioned earlier, Matthew 28:11-15, the guards went to the chief priests and told them what all had happened. Knowing that Jesus’ promise of His resurrection had been fulfilled, they were bribed to tell anyone who asked that the disciples had come and stolen away His body while they slept.

Rather than accept Jesus’ resurrection, and believe on Him as their Savior, they did everything they could to cover up His resurrection. Why? Really, we can only speculate, but I’d imagine it involves pride, power and control, among other things no doubt.

How many people do you know who haven’t received Christ as their Savior? Sure, their pride, their own self-attained power and their supposed control seem to get in the way a lot of times. But how many have possibly never heard a real, clear presentation of the Gospel? We may be surprised to find out how many haven’t heard the good news! How about we share it with someone?

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Just a Game!

There is a lot of commotion today about the firing of UT Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bruce Pearl. 95-99% of the comments I’m reading back Pearl, and want Athletic Director Mike Hamilton fired for firing Pearl.

Pearl

Pearl committed NCAA violations, then lied about them. He lied to the NCAA of all people. He called all of the parties involved and asked them to lie as well. After he was caught in it, he apologized in a tearful press conference. Days later, he committed yet another violation. He left UT no choice.

Some say he did nothing that all the other coaches don’t do – he just got caught. What a lame excuse. That is no different than Clinton being caught with Lewinsky and lying about it. I heard many say the same thing: “All the presidents have had mistresses. Clinton just got caught.” So that makes adultery ok? Hardly. Pearl should go. UT needs better morals than that.

To those who stand behind Pearl, I question your ethics. If I cheated on my timesheet at work, then lied about it when I was caught, I’d be fired on the spot. I wouldn’t even have a chance to commit a second violation. No one would stand up for me, as they shouldn’t. Why should a basketball coach be treated any differently? It’s just a game.

Hamilton

Hamilton has shown a lack of oversight in the athletic department. Kiffin committed violations and then skipped town, now Pearl is committing violations. Hamilton doesn’t seem to have a handle on things.

Should he be fired for getting rid of Pearl? Not in the least. Again, Pearl should go. Should he be fired for his lack of control? Maybe. The people that can make that decision are likely taking a look at that very thing.

What I Think…

It’s just a game. There is way too much money spent on a game. There is way too much emphasis placed on a mere game.

I’ll be one of the first to agree that important life principals can be learned from team sports. The problem is, way too many people, especially young people, are getting caught up in the sport itself rather than those lessons. Their lives have begun to revolve around that game. The game takes away from other things that should have a higher priority in a person’s life.

Shun responsibilities at home for a game? Many don’t give it a second thought. Skip church to go to a game? Many see it as a no-brainer on the side of the game.

In the end, the game itself is completely useless and unimportant. Fire Bruce Pearl? Fire Mike Hamilton? Who cares? There are more important things in life than who coaches a basketball team or who heads up a game department.

Come on people..It’s just a game. Get your head straight.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy New Year!

Philippians 3:13-14:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Ever since the attacks on our country on September 11, 2001, I always consider these verses at the turn of the year. One reason was to sort of try to ‘purge’ my mind of it all – I had gotten so tired of hearing about it every single day. Another reason was that I simply wanted to move past it. I wanted to put it behind me and move on. It was an awful thing, but life had to go on.

The New Year always seems like a great time to stop and reflect on the past year, and look ahead to what the next year will bring. That’s another reason I love these verses. I haven’t arrived yet – my life’s purpose isn’t yet fulfilled. The past is done, good or bad I can’t change it. I can focus on the things that are coming, and by God’s grace and with His help I want to glorify Him in it. May God help me to keep my life’s focus on Him, and on His purpose for my life rather than my own wishes and desires.

What is my New Year’s Resolution you might ask? I don’t have a ‘resolution’ per se, but I do have a couple of goals. One is to actually slow down and enjoy life rather than run through it so busy I don’t have time to stop and breathe. I feel like lately my wife and I have kinda had to say ‘hello’ in passing rather than being able to spend some time with each other. That will change. Any time someone asks me how things are going or how I’m doing, I always have the word ‘busy’ as part of my response. That will change. This doesn’t mean I’m going to turn lazy this year. But it does mean that for the sake of spending time in God’s Word studying or just reading, or spending time with family, what can wait until tomorrow will wait.

A goal I had last year that I failed miserably at was posting a daily verse, and occasionally some thoughts on it. I’m rededicating myself to that goal. Somebody out there help keep me accountable – if I miss one, let me hear about it. I need more discipline in this area, and intend to improve on that in a big way.

I hope everyone’s New Year is one that is filled with God’s blessings! Let’s make the most of it for Him!

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment