Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Texas Independence Day!!! God Bless Texas!!!

Today, is Texas Independence Day. It's the most important holiday in this here land. If you're not from Texas, you wouldn't understand. We have pride in our state. Honestly, how many times have you heard someone say "I'm proud to be from Kansas!", "Thank God for Wisconsin!", "I'm a proud citizens of Nevada!"? Here in Texas we love our state. We might disagree on politics, football, even religion, but at the end of the day we are all Texans!

We've got it all down here in Tejas: beautiful women, forests, deserts, mountains, the ocean, farms, ranches, oil, big hats, bigger trucks, cattle, guns, crazy politics, great accents, better music, incredible food, every sport imaginable, the Alamo, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, world champion athletes, NCAA champions, military bases, and more beautiful women.

Here are a couple of music videos informing you of our awesomeness. If you're a Texan, sit back and enjoy. If you're not a Texan, be jealous. Be very very jealous.

[HT: Texas in Africa for above video]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Bible Question

I finally finished 2 Kings today, but I have a question.

In 2 Kings 24:14 we see that "King Nebuchadnezzar took ten thousand captives from Jerusalem, including all the princes and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and smiths. So only the poorest people were left in the land."

In that same chapter, verse 20, we see that "the Lord, in his anger, finally banished the people of Jerusalem and Judah from his presence and sent them into exile."

Then Chapter 25 opens with Jerusalem under siege and verse 21 says, in part, "So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land."

Then, in verse 26, after the assassination of Zedekiah, "All the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt."

My question is, how can Judah be exiled so many times? I understand that not everyone left because it says the poor stuck around, but the rest doesn't make sense to me. I ask because I could see how a non-believer would read this and say, "Hey, this is inconsistent. It keeps telling us they were exiled at different times, under different kings, by different people. If God is all-knowing, and this is His Word, it has to be consistent. They were either exiled at point X or point Y, but not points X, Y, and Z because it never says that they returned between those periods."

Ok. The end. Answers welcomed!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Music Video Time!

Over here, Bill posted a worship video. It's awesome! You should definitely go check it out. When it comes to songs, I'm all about the words. Music is just an added bonus. Before I got turned onto Christian music, I listened almost exclusively to country music because I found the lyrics and stories very life-like. I still listen to country every now and then, but I just can't get away from good Christian music. Some might consider it corny or ridiculous, but I am spoken to through songs. Too bad I have no musical talent of my own . . .

Anyways, I'm posting this video by Casting Crowns. The song is Voice of Truth. This was the best edition I could find online. The live versions were incomplete, but like I said, I'm all about the words. This song has always meant a lot to me. When I lived in D.C., I used to play it every day before I got out of my truck and went to work. Still, today when I hear it, I pause and think about how NOTHING can defeat me if I am with Christ. This song literally takes me to another place (which is kinda scary if I'm driving). It's almost like God flips on the "worship" switch inside of me when I hear it regardless of what I'm doing, where I'm at, or who I'm with.

Here it is. Just close your eyes and listen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Being Held in High Esteem

Our Men's Bible study group is going through Daniel. We are almost through! Last night we studied chapter 10. In verses 11 and 19 Daniel is talking to someone (Pre-incarnate Jesus, God, and angel, I don't know). Daniel is referred to as "highly esteemed" (NIV) by this being. I can't help but think about what it must be like to be considered highly esteemed by God. There is no recorded sin of Daniel in the Bible. (No, I'm not saying he never sinned.) I'm just saying that he was one of the strongest men of faith in the Bible. He was never afraid or ashamed to pray. He was willing to do whatever it took to serve God. You can't help but read about him and think "WOW!"

I guess I am just wondering, what does it take to be "highly esteemed"? How can I be looked upon with as much favor as Daniel? How can I be so in love with God that the angels talk about me and my faithfulness? I don't know that there is an answer, or that it is even possible. However, I hope that when I am old I can look back at my body of work here on earth and know that God holds my efforts in high esteem.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fathering Generations

I been reading through 1 and 2 Kings and have realized that the Bible has a lot to tell us about being a father. That shouldn't be surprising since God is our Father and men are to be the head of the household (sorry feminists).

Through 1 and 2 Kings there are many instances where the Lord saves Judah simply because David was faithful even though David had been dead for generations. There are also several instances where kings worshiped false idols just like their fathers did when they reigned. We also find lots of proverbs regarding how to discipline and raise children. The point is that actions of the father have a habit of filtering down to children who then send them down to their children and on and on.

I wonder what the world would look like if fathers turned to the Bible for guidance instead of the world, Dr. Phil, Oprah or a self-help book or class. Always the pessimist, I wonder what the world will look like in 50 years when my generation has grandchildren that have learned how to act from customs passed down from today.

P.S. I REALLY hope got isn't preparing me for fatherhood; at least not in the short-run!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Do You Do After Sin?

When you sin, and you know you are sinning, yet continue to do so, what is the correct proceeding for getting back with God? Do you run immediately to Him? I want to say yes, but I would feel like a super hypocrite. It would be like getting drunk and then driving to an AA meeting. Or do you wait until the memory of the sin has dissipated a bit, so you can concentrate on God and not what you have done wrong?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Financial Crisis: Go Away!

It's been a while, but I've been uber busy. Anyways . . .

Regarding the current situation in the nation, I'm not gonna lie, I'm scared. I don't know if I'll have a job 3 months from now. I'm no longer single, so it's not just me I have to worry about. My wife works at a small private high school, so if things get real bad, the entire school could be expendable. (Why pay to send your kid to school when they can get a public education for free?) Needless to say, I'm a bit worried.

I have faith in God. I really do. As a matter of fact, my faith couldn't be stronger. But if my school loans get called in and I'm unemployed, bad times will be ahead. I know I'm not alone. This guy is on an unwanted, unpaid vacation and this guy is trying to sell his house.

I know I shouldn't worry. It does no good. I also know God will provide, but I can't help the fact that things are rough for a lot of people. I don't want to be one of those people. I've been in school my entire life. I have little money and few assets. Wiggle room is not something I have a lot of.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ticked at Congress: What's New?

This absolutely infuriates me!

Two days ago, news came out that the stimulus package included money to go to birth control. I'm not anti-birth control, but I am anti-wasteful spending. Then, I read the above article and find out that the stimulus package originally included money for sod at the National Mall and still includes $335,000,000 for STD prevention. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for STD prevention (although abstinence never fails, FYI), but this has nothing to do with the state of the economy.

I am so furious right now. All we have heard from BOTH sides of the aisle is that the nation's economy, indeed the world's, is in a tailspin. Millions will be losing jobs, homes, etc. Regardless of whether or not you think the government should intervene, I think we can all agree that they should not waste money on things unrelated to stimulating the economy.

Here is a pdf of the actual House bill.

Here is a website that give you contact information for your Congressman. If you support the stimulus package, that is fine, but let your Congressman know that they need to quit playing politics with people's lives and start stimulating the ECONOMY. If you're against the stimulus, email, write, or call them and tell them why.

It just angers me when we are told our world is crumbling, then see our "leaders" toying with us and spending OUR money or their own pet projects.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well . . . it's the end of an era; the Bush Era. Some are happy, some are sad. I'm going to spend a few moments to reflect on the past and project on the future.

Here and here are a couple of blogs that have done similar. Not surprisingly, I do not wholly agree with either or them.

It should be no surprise that I am a conservative. I detest neo-conservatism (which is neither neo nor conservative by the way) as well as party loyalty. I like to think I am loyal to ideas, not political parties. That's why I am not very popular amongst Republicans or Democrats. I actually have an ideology.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

1) This day saddens me. Not because I love President Bush, but because I am a nostalgic person.

2) Bush dissapointed my conservative ideals. I don't know why people who claim to be conservative love him so much, nor do I know why people who claim to be liberal hate him so much. You'll see why I say this in a moment.

3) He spent waaaaay too much money. He was NOT a fiscal conservative.

4) He expanded government in waaaaay too many areas. No Child Left Behind, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, his prescription drug program, the PATRIOT Act . . . and the list goes on. All of these were liberal ideas, yet liberals hate him and "conservatives" love him.

5) His foreign policy team was considered among the best ever at the time of its creation. Unfortunately, his foreign policy decisions did not turn out as well as he had hoped. However, all is not lost.

6) One thing NO ONE gives Bush credit for is the dismantling of Libya's WMD program. The day the U.S. invaded Iraq, Libya contacted British intelligence and asked them to set up a meeting with the U.S. to talk about relinquishing its WMDs. Libya did so without ANY promises from the U.S. delegation. This was a direct result of the U.S.'s desire to challenge authoritarian governments that possessed WMDs.

7) Invading Iraq was probably a bad decision. However, if anyone tells you for certain whether it was right or wrong is talking to you from a partisan point of view. The truth of the matter is that we just don't know how Iraq will turn out. It could be a great, fluorishing democracy for years to come, or it could become as horrible and despotic as every. No one knows. If they claim to know, they are speaking as a partisan, not a matter of fact.

8) I admire the fact that President Bush was unflappable given all the flack he took from his adversaries. Many, many, many people were downright hateful to him. Most attack him personally, not politically. I find such behavior absolutely ridiculous and frankly quite unintelligent.

9) Bush is also a man of faith. I admire him for that. Is/was he perfect? Absolutely not. Has he represented Christ well while in office? At times absolutely, and at others no, but that is no different than most of us.

10) September 11th changed President Bush. Everyone likes to rag on him, but can any of us say how we would have handled the situation differently? Probably not. If we did, it would be post-hoc. Undoubtedly, Bush was dealt a raw hand on 9/11. The people thought he did well, so they re-elected him. Even if we don't agree with his post-9/11 policies, we must always respect the fact that he had to deal with more in the post-9/11 world than any of us ever have or ever will.

11) Relating to the last point, there can be no doubt that President Bush loves his country. I cannot forget the many tear-filled speeches he gave following 9/11. The man loves his country and acted in ways to protect it. We should not fault him for that. We can question his actions and policies, but we need to remember that he did not want anymore American blood spilled on our soil.

12) Politics has been hate-filled during his entire administration. A lot of that comes from the 2000 election and a lot comes from the relationship between Clinton and House Republicans during Clinton's Presidency. I hope we don't experience that during Obama's Administration. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for people to give up their beliefs. I'm asking for people to be civil as opposed to the vitriol we have seen the past 8-12 years.

13) I don't fear Obama as much as others (and remember, I am a real conservative). He, just like GWB, will do what he thinks is best. No, I will not like all of his policies. I may not even like more than a handful, but he is the President of the United States. He deserves our respect.

14) There is no way Obama will be able to accomplish everything people are expecting of him. If he can't manage expectations, he will not win a second term.

15) Given Congress' far Leftward tilt, if Obama and Congress legislate from the far Left, he will not win another term. If he keeps Congress moderate to moderate slightly Left, he will be toast as will many of the Congressional Democrats.

16) And finally (unless I come up with something later), we ALL need to do what these two men are doing. We need to pray for our leaders. Pray for soon-to-be President Obama. Pray for his discernment, leadership, and wisdom. Pray that Obama relies on God. Many have questioned his faith, so make sure you pray for him. Pray for all those in government who make critical decisions for us.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yup, I'm At It Again. I'm Asking For More Prayer.

Again I am here asking for prayer. My wife and I are both ready to leave this area and our current jobs/lives/etc. I have begun applying for some jobs in Washington D.C. and should be hearing from them very soon. I have some connections that are working on getting my resume past the bureaucrats and into the hands of people who actually make hiring decisions, so that is a plus. I am extremely excited about the jobs and am able to put forth a very competitive resume.

My wife says she has a peace about the idea of us leaving. She has lost her desire to teach and is ready to do something else. When my wife says she "has a peace about . . . " that is usually a good thing. She always lets me know when we are doing something to upset her "peace". As for me, I have not been this excited about the future in quite some time.

I ask that you please pray that my resume finds its way into the hands of the right people for my future. My wife and I are working under some budgetary and time constraints, thus making things more difficult, but we are also looking forward to what God has in store for us.

Thanks to those of you who have been praying for us over the last several weeks/months. I appreciate you and your prayers.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Life Driven By Prayer

Yesterday while I was driving through town I saw a church sign that said "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" I thought it was ingenious. So often we rely on prayer when we are in trouble. How many of us use prayer to guide our path as opposed to using it to get us where we want to go?

I try to let prayer be my steering wheel, but I fail miserably. I think it is because I don't always know how to let prayer guide me. Praying in a time of need is incredibly easy. Even people who attend church twice a year believe in prayer when they they are in trouble.

How can I learn to pray for guidance? What do I need guidance in? How do I know that my answers come from prayerful consideration instead of hopes, dreams, and a little prayer here and there? What does a life look like that is guided by prayer?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Seem To Have Misplaced My Spiritual Gift(s)

I continued my reading in Matthew today (I'm slow. I know.) and read the parable of the talents. This one really got me thinking today. Do I use my talents like the first two servants or like the third?

Honestly, I can't answer this question. Why? Because I have no clue what my spiritual gift(s) is(are). I mean no clue. I do know, however, it is not music. I really don't even know what my non-spiritual gifts are. I'm good at a lot of things, but I don't really excel at anything.

Perhaps I should make a belated New Year's resolution to figure out what my gifts are and to invest in them. I most definitely don't want to be a "wicked and lazy servant" of God (Matt. 25:26). I want to be the guy that doubles, triples, quadruples my talents for God. I just have to figure out what they are.

The journey continues . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hold the Beans Please

This isn't meant to be a political blog, but sometimes I just can't help myself. More accurately, sometimes government can't help but to get themselves on here.

If you didn't see this post by Steve, it talks about possible gas tax hikes.

If that wasn't bad enough, now there is this. They want to tax livestock because they put out greenhouse gases!!!! If you ask me, the most dangerous gas to mankind is emanating from politicians these days.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Update on Congressional Pay Raises: A Hat Tip to Congressman Barrett (R - S.C.)

A couple of weeks ago I posted this about Congress getting a raise during the current recession. I find it completely ridiculous. However, all is not lost. South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett is giving the extra money earned from his raise to Interfaith Ministries because, "lawmakers should not be earning more during these poor economic times." You can find the news clip here.

This guy is a REAL leader. Charities often suffer in tough economic times. It's awesome to see him step up.

I have always thought that Congressmen should work pro bono so as to make sure that only those who want to serve their country are in office. It will never happen, but I hope that other Congressmen follow Rep. Barrett's lead and donate their raises to charity.

If I had my hat on, I would tip it to you Mr. Barrett.