Sunday, November 4, 2012

Calming the Tempest

24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (New Testament, Matthew, Chapter 8)

I heard it reported recently, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy that people on the east coast are considering voting for the reelection of President Obama on the basis of climate change. They have been convinced that Mitt Romney cannot change the climate, but that Mr. Obama can.

Really? Has the liberal media been THAT successful in their endeavors to portray this man as the Messiah? It is one thing to expect a political candidate to change the economy. He should have sound foreign policies, and plans for taxes and the deficit. But can we really expect any politician, even the president, to be capable of changing the weather?!

The last time I checked, it was the ACTUAL Messiah who could do that. Jesus, with the simple words, "Peace. Be still," calmed the tempest. His divinity and his faith allowed him to do this.

All of Mr. Obama's rhetoric cannot pause the rains. His Socialist Agenda will never slow the lightest breeze. His communist upbringing cannot thaw the snows, nor cool the ocean currents. The polar bear population will neither increase nor decrease simply at his word.

The only Word that can truly alter climates, can truly calm the storms, both within and without, is the only Name by which we can truly be saved. His is the Word which can change hearts. He is the Lord of Heaven and earth. Only Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

I had originally planned to write about the voice of wickedness in electing bad officials. But if the people allow this falsehood to continue, it is the voice of stupidity that is speaking loudest.

I am not saying that Mitt Romney is closer to God than anyone else. I do not claim that he will change the weather. But if any man suggests that any other man can do these things, including President Obama, that man is either a liar or an idiot. In fact, the Bible would say he is a false prophet.

Let's forget the hype and the rhetoric and put ourselves in God's hands. I would rather be there than anywhere else. Where men's hands fail, His will not. And to those people who are attempting to deify any human man, I say, "Shut up."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The State of America: Why the Devil Could Be Elected President

As I have watched the Presidential campaigns, and, more importantly, the reactions of the media, political leaders in our nation, and the people of the United States, I have come to a rather startling conclusion. If the Devil ran for office, he would be voted into the White House.

How could this be, you may ask. Well, regardless of the fact that we live in a predominantly Christian nation, and have a fundamental belief structure that is based on Judeo-Christian tenets, we do not, as a culture live up to the ideals we claim to uphold. So I would like to lay out here my reasoning behind my premise that Satan could be elected as POTUS.

Primarily, we need to examine both the personal character of the candidate in relation to the inherent nature of the majority of voters in America. To use the vernacular, it ain't pretty.

The Lesson of Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve ate the fruit to gain knowledge. The first promise the Devil makes is that if we vote for him, we will be better people. He warns us that by voting for his opponent, we may be racist, or sexist, or that we want to take away the rights of others. If we vote for him, we are smart, sensitive, caring people who only want to help. Our culture right now obsesses with looking good. You don't have to be good, simply look the part. Celebrities are touting a myriad of good causes while running their personal lives into the sewers. But as long as they sign their name to a charitable cause, or donate money to starving children somewhere, and naturally get their photo-ops in the process, then they must be good people.

Leaders and actors, politicians and activists all cheat, steal, spend their time whoring or engaging in drug-induced debauchery. Then they turn right back around and tell "normal" people that if we don't try to be like them in their oh-so-enlightened crusades for the betterment of the human race, that we are not being politically correct, and must, therefore, be stupid, or unpopular, or both. Satan would have us believe that if we don't vote for him, that we must be old-fashioned and outdated. Shame on us for not wanting to join him in helping poor sick kids all over the world, because we are so selfish.

And unfortunately, that ever-present desire in our culture to be popular and appear intelligent would mean that most Americans would check the "Devil" box on the ballot. And probably vote straight "Hell Party."

The Lesson of Cain and Abel

Most people do not want to kill their brother, but that is not what Satan would tell them to do right off. Cain had two fundamental issues that messed things up. First he was self-centered, and second, he thought he deserved to have things just because he wanted them. Satan told him the very thing he would tell voters: that if they would vote for him, he would give them everything they want.

Mitt Romney was taken to task for something he said in what he thought was a private conversation. He said that 47% of the people in America were out of his reach. Why? Because they had bought into the idea that if they voted for his opponent, things would continue to be handed to them, without any effort on their part. Someone else suggested that Mr. Romney's number was low, and that the actual percentage was closer to 49. I suggest that secretly that number is far higher than anyone suspects.

As a culture, Americans are lazy and suffer from entitlement issues. And each generation is worse than those that preceded it. If someone had suggested, a hundred years ago, that women would be getting pregnant again and again simply so their welfare checks could increase, our great-grandparents would have thought it was a work of fiction from a twisted mind. They would have laughed if someone had posited that entire communities could earn a living without actually needing to work for their income. Yet now, in our age of entitlement, people are living on government funds, while buying their designer jeans and fancy smart phones. Tobacco and alcohol sales don't hurt when someone doesn't have a job. In fact, they sometimes increase.

And the bootleggers of yesteryear have nothing on the drug dealers and sex-sellers of modern times. But Satan would tell us that if it feels good, then we must be happy, and if we are happy, then whatever it is must be okay. Legalizing substances that cause harm to the body, mind, and community sounds bad. He would simply tell us that if those things were legal, then fewer people would be considered criminals. In one stroke he would cut the crime rate. Of course, if you legalized fratricide, then Cain would have been just a good old boy with one less brother nagging him.

The Lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by raining fire from heaven, because they were too wicked to allow to continue. But before he did, he agreed that if Abraham could find even 50 righteous men, he would spare the city. Abraham bartered with the numbers but was unsuccessful in his search. When the people in the city found out he was there, they wanted to kill him. Lot offered them his two virgin daughters in an attempt to buy the cooperation of the mob. The wicked men refused the offer, threatening death to Lot and his family when angelic rescuers saved the day.

The devil does not compromise, but he will make you believe he will. He will convince you to perform heinous acts under the belief that they are preferable to a worse transgression. Satan will promise safety and security for everyone, but only at his will, and only after paying a great price. Once he is through with his argument, not only would most of our American culture make the sacrifices he would ask, but they would thank him for making them commit to the change. But that is only half of the lesson.

The other half of the lesson is that of the cities involved. The American culture is quickly becoming one of debauchery and lasciviousness. Just as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, we have created a modern culture of sexual deviancy, and it has become such an inherent part of our society that it is no longer seen as a choice but a birthright. Those choosing such lifestyles are almost seen as a separate racial division. And to speak out against their choices is to court accusations of discrimination and intolerance.

The devil will promise that any choice you make is perfectly fine, regardless, or rather, in spite of previous claims of depravity. And the American society is entirely willing to accept this lie, because of the issues we not only maintain with entitlement, but also because it would give us the perfect way to excuse our guilt. Satan would get the support of these voters because he would offer them a way to blame someone else for their sins.

The Lesson of Temptation

When Jesus went into the mountain to pray, Satan came to tempt him. Although Jesus never gave in to temptation, the devil continued his efforts, offering food, riches, and power. Jesus understood that those things pale by comparison to righteousness and the blessings of heaven. The continuation of temptings came because although Satan understood those things as well, he also understands human nature better than anyone. He failed because Jesus was more than human. We are not.

Satan's next election promise would be that by electing him, we could gain our deepest immediate pleasures. He would not promise happiness, for even the devil knows that wickedness never was happiness. But he would offer us pleasures. He would offer to appease our hungers and appetites.

Our American culture is obsessed with the pleasures of the flesh. We glut ourselves in every base and vile perversion, while gorging ourselves to the very edge of death. We believe that just because we want something, that means we should have it, regardless of the cost, whether to us or someone else. We do not want to hear that we should not have something, or do something. We want to be told that we deserve whatever we want. Voters would choose Satan because he would offer instant gratification and delayed cost, or no cost.

The Lesson of Credit

The devil would also win the election because he could convince us that debt is good. People all across the nation, and even the world, believe that in order to be a complete person, you must have debt, must have a good credit rating, and must be making payments.

He would tell us that since we have no concept of trillions or even billions of dollars, we should not worry about it. That it is not only acceptable, but that it is to be expected. And in our culture, we would accept his word, even if it be uncomfortably accepted. He would gain votes because Americans don't want to believe that we can fail. Our national ego believes that we are beyond reproach and above failure. That sort of thing only happens in countries that are not as good as ours. Where people are not as good as us.

Satan would tell us that no level of debt could topple us. And our conceit would convince us to trust him. Worse, some of us would maintain disbelief, but would refuse to admit it, because we would not want to have those who follow the devil mock us. This different type of conceit would keep us silent.

The Lesson of 5th Grade

Satan lies. We know that. He hides his lies amidst truths and partial truths. We know that also. Politicians lie. We know that. They hide things from us all the time and tell us they do it for our protection, or some other such lie. We know that as well as anything. But we still believe them. We ask ourselves constantly why that could be. The answer is quite simple. People are stupid.

None of us have all the answers. And we can't. Not even remotely. Even politicians who claim to have all the answers don't have them. But we want to believe they do. And more importantly, by expecting our leaders to be all-knowing, we renounce the responsibility of knowing. Most Americans are perfectly blissful in their ignorance. We don't want to become educated in some matters, because knowledge adds duty. And the last thing most Americans want is added duties and responsibilities.

Satan would tell us that we don't need to know anything. He would promise to care for our needs as he sees fit, and that any information we gained would be either incorrect, dishonest, or simply superfluous. And since we really don't want to bother ourselves with the effort necessary for our education, we will simply continue in our bliss.

The Lesson of Politics

The truth of the matter is, however, that the devil will never run for political office. And there are several reasons why he won't. First, he doesn't need to. So many politicians, in every city, county, state, and nation of the world, are already doing his work, that there is no need for him to actually take the reins himself.

Second, he accomplishes so much by being behind the scenes that he would actually lose ground if he came into public view. Millions of people know the devil seeks their souls, but they almost don't believe in him. Not really. And this is because they can't see him. Plus, they already believe his lies. If he became a politician, less people would listen to him. Less people would succumb to his temptations.

Thirdly, to validate his own existence, he would in so doing, validate the existence of God as well. The American people profess a belief in God. Many of them actually do. But the media, including producers in Hollywood, would have us believe that only fanatics believe in God. They show us in movie after movie, show after show, that the villains are the religious people. Whether knowingly or otherwise, they further Satan's lies by trying to indoctrinate the youth of America in immorality, drug and tobacco abuse, and alcoholism. They promote the lies that pleasure is happiness and that they are entitled to everything with little or no effort on their part. If Satan ran for office, and people could see him and hear him, they would start to wonder about God. And that is the last thing he wants.

So the devil will never campaign for the presidency. He doesn't need to, nor does he really want to. But with the state of things in America right now, if he ran, he would win. Children would sing songs about him, Hollywood would proclaim his greatness, and the power-hungry around the world would flock to please him and ally themselves with him. And anyone who spoke out against him would be touted as insane extremists. Nobody would take them seriously. After all, if the American people elect a president, we couldn't possibly have made a mistake. Admitting errors is not in our nature. Only committing them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

For My Son, On Finishing Last

My oldest son recently commented on FB that he has determined that the saying is true that "nice guys finish last."

I have been thinking about this ever since I read it, and tonight my thoughts solidified. As with everything here, I will speak without apology, but here is what I have determined on this subject. SkiTl, this is for you....

I decided that what needs to happen is first, we must decide what a nice guy is. And then we have to determine whether we are, in fact, one of them. You must decide this. I cannot decide it for you. But you must decide honestly, then you must take responsibility for your decision. When I was a little younger than you are now, I had a similar outlook. It took meeting your mother and falling in love with her to make me see who I was, and who I was willing to become.

Let's talk first about the Not-Nice Guy. Let's say he is one particular guy, and we will name him ... ow about Rick? Rick is one of those guys who, according to the theory, is going to finish first. Why is that? Who is Rick? First, he is selfish. He only cares about his immediate comfort and pleasure. He may finish first, but that is only because he only concerned with finishing first, and he will finish alone, leaving pain and suffering behind him.

Rick will also finish first, because he has taken the easiest path, the quickest way he sees to finish. And he will celebrate the fact that he finished first, bragging about it to anyone else who finishes, and mocking those who come after him, or have still not fished.

Rick, however does not realize that finishing is not the same as winning. He mocks those who are still going because deep down, he fears what they represent. And what they represent is the fact that the race we are running is not a sprint, but a marathon. He took the easiest path and reached the finish line, which was only a short distance away, while avoiding the rest of the course, with all its trials and wonders.

See if the "Nice Guys" are right, then Rick is an irresponsible, childish, selfish jerk. And the truth of the matter is that the nice guys ARE right.

Our nice guy we will call Norman. Seems like a decent nice-guy name. What does Norman do hat makes him different from Rick? Norman goes to church on Sunday. He doesn't go because he has to, but because he wants to be a better person, and he knows he needs a weekly fill-up. He goes because he knows he can't run the whole race on his own, and there are other marathoners there who can help him, not to mention the help he needs from the original Nice Guy Himself. Who better to understand his needs? This means Norman also prays. He knows what Rick doesn't: that nobody finishes the race quickly, and nobody does it solo.

Norman also show self-discipline. He knows that the only person he has power over is himself, but that he has to always be vigilant. He can never give in to his inner Rick. He knows that would ruin his life.

Norman goes to school. Not so he can be rich, but so he can be better. He studies hard, and he tries to learn what he can. Grades are good, but knowledge is better. He knows that eventually, his efforts will pay off. Not necessarily right now. That is Rick talking. Norman is in for the long haul.

Norman is a hard worker. He listens to people. He cares, and is understanding. He uses kind words and is tactful. He helps other people. All of this helps him become a man who can love with his entire being. That is what a real man is.

Where all Rick is looking for is potential sex partners, Norman is seeking one life partner. She will be the person Norman can be with and make happy. Rick is only interested in his own pleasure. He will always try to "finish" with girls. Norman wants one girl who will never be finished with him.

Because of that, Norman tries to meet "Nice Girls." He will most likely meet them at church, but if not, will take them there. And they will want to go with him. Rick doesn’t care if a girl is nice or not. He is only concerned with what they can do for him. Norman wants one who can do great things for their children.

Rick is irresponsible. Norman takes responsibility for all his actions, so chooses what those actions will be with great care.he does not want to regret anything. This is what Rick fears the most. He fears responsibility. He knows that if he becomes at all like Norman, he will have to acknowledge that he has not been very nice. And he does not want any responsibility. He also knows, deep down what Norman also knows, but he is afraid to admit it.

The biggest truth that Norman knows is that winning means NOT FINISHING AT ALL. Rick wants to finish and be done. Norman wants to keep going. Norman will stay on the right path no matter how hard it gets. He will never finish, because the course never ends. While Rick is sitting and congratulating himself on finishing first, Norman is miles down the road, experiencing wonders, and even pains and heartaches. He will stay the course. He will fight the good fight. And when the true "End" comes, he will have won. He will win the prize, and be able to say he made it the whole way.

Rick will never be happy. He will find pleasure wherever he can get it, but never true happiness. Norman will find strength. He will find wisdom. And he will find happiness. But mostly, he will find that it was true that he did not finish first. And he will know that he was never meant to do so. He knows it was never about that in the first place.

I know you are discouraged right now. We have all been there, trust me. I may not know every detail of your life right now, but I know discouragement. There are ways past it. But success will never be found by avoiding the things that truly matter. It takes work. It takes effort. And it takes reaching out to the Lord, because he does know every detail. He knows what it takes. I am not perfect; never claimed to be. But He is. And with His help, all things are possible.

Don't worry so much about whether or not nice guys finish last. Worry about whether or not you can be counted as one of them, and work on you. Make YOU be the best thing you ever made. When you can reach that point, the girl who has been making herself good for you will be standing right where she should be. Will you be there to see her? If you aren't where you should be, you might just miss her. But if you are, you will see that being a Nice Guy isn't so bad after all...!