Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dolphins WIN!!!!!!

Dolphins win the AFC East with a win over the Jets!

Some people may not like Bill Parcell's style, but there's no denying that he can sure make a difference.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!!

I could hear the cars rushing by outside every time the door opened. It was actually reflex more than anything else, but it gave me a chance to see who was coming in off of the busy street. Our church was located alongside a main street and I did not want to assume that every visitor that came in had the best intentions.

This time, it was two young ladies, teenagers, it seemed. One I knew; a frequent visitor to our church. The other, whom I hadn’t seen before, appeared to be the same age. They walked in and sat down. I went back to what I was doing .

This church was a small church, so every visitor was given the opportunity to address the church. This opportunity was extended to our new visitor.

She walked to the microphone and smiled. Then, I heard her speak. I was captivated, both by her maturity and her beauty. This was no teenager, this was a woman.

However, having broken up from a previous relationship a month earlier, I was in no hurry to start a new one. So instead, we became friends. That friendship grew, and right before I left for law school, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

I asked, she said yes, so she got a ring, and I went off to school. Halfway through law school, eleven years ago, we got married.

Baby, it’s been a great ride, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Thank you for being patient with me.

Thank you for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Most of all, thank you for these 11 years. I love you. Happy Anniversary

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus

I pray everyone has a blessed and joyous day today!

Merry Christmas!

P.S.:  I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25th.  It isn't the first time we've chosen to celebrate a birthday on a different day.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Abraham was told he would have children. He waited a decade and managed to make a mess of things. David was told he would be king, he waited decades while running for his life. Joseph was told he would rule over his family. His wait seemed like forever, and he lost it all in the process. Moses poured himself out to get Israel to the Promised Land. Yet, in the end, he died just outside its borders.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

What is this valley of the shadow of death? Often, we see the 23rd Psalm as a passage of comfort during some tragic time, and rightfully so.

But as I was meditating on the passage, it began to take an additional meaning for me. To me, the valley represents the time between the promise and fulfillment. This is where faith is tested, and where it sometimes dies. This is where our walk with God grows stronger, or is snuffed out entirely.

When we pray for healing, but she dies anyway. When we believe for a breakthrough, but still lose the house to foreclosure. When we are faithful in what we do, yet still get laid off. When we get passed over for a promotion, the car breaks down, our children act up, or the bank account goes in the negative.

That, to me, represents the valley of the shadow of death. This is when our faith in the divine faces the blur of the mundane. When our expectations of easy, swift deliverance fall to the request that we bear our cross. We fast, pray, tithe, do whatever we need, begging to be delivered. Instead, we hear God say:

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

That is the valley of the shadow of death.

Hanging over our heads is the nagging doubt that maybe, just maybe, this is the end. Maybe God does not intend to come through. Maybe I'm destined to remain broke, sad, disillusioned, or whatever else we feel.

So, we read Psalm 23:4 again. We read it for what it is. A promise that we will never be alone. When we see life at its darkest (which will mean different things to different people), God is there. He will comfort us and His hand will reach out to guide us. No matter what it may look like in our eyes or our minds, God is promising not to leave us. Rather than falter during the journey, we can draw on His strength for the trip.

And ultimately, it's the destination that counts. It's the hope that we will spend enternity with Him in heaven. Our issues here are momentary Our future with Him is eternal.

So, let's hold His hand as we walk through this valley together.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Cat

Someone asked me about my Stoeger Cougar. It's basically the newer cousin of the Beretta Cougar, made by Stoeger, a Beretta brand. Mine is in the .40 SW caliber, though it also comes in 9mm. It's what I use for daily carry (in a Don Hume holster), and I love it. Even though some have told me it's a bit big, I can carry it while wearing a t-shirt and no one notices. This is true even after I've lost 38 pounds.

Waking Up

I know it's been a minute since I've posted. I'm trying to take this whole idea of vacation seriously. I should have something to post later on today or early tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tossing Keys

I was in my front yard the other day, absent-mindedly tossing my keys in the air. Now, because of my job, I have a lot of keys. Add keys to the house, gun safe and locks, document safe, etc... you end up with a pretty big bundle of keys.

So anyway...I gradually kept tossing the keys higher and higher. Finally, at one point, I hauled back and tossed the keys as high as I could. As the keys were coming back down, I placed my hands in position to catch them.  A gazillion keys, sharp points spinning in various directions. Not a good idea.

Sin can be like that.  Sometimes we get in trouble not because we start off with a desire to sin, but because we flirt with the line so often that we lose sight of where we are. We start off with entertaining a thought. Rather than exercising control over the thought (2 Corinthians 10:5), we nurture and feed it, until it eventually breaks the barrier between thought and action. When we finally catch ourselves, it's too late and we're trying to figure out how we got to where we are now.

James 1:13-15 says:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James speaks of being lured and enticed.  He does not speak of a sudden fall, but a gradual sliding into disobedience.  This slide comes from our own desires. We will not be tempted with things that hold no sway over us.  Instead, it is our own desires that will be manifested in our thoughts.  The desire to sin is already there.  That is human nature.  It is no defense to say that if we were meant to be free from sin, we would not have the desire.  

Instead, we must strive for self-control. We cannot give in to all of our desires. We must bring our desires and thoughts under God's control and trust Him to help us obtain the victory. Otherwise, uncontrolled thoughts will give birth to sin, and sin will separate us from communion with God.   And although catching my keys will not kill me, living a life in sin will bring forth eternal death and will ensure eternal separation from God.

I'm getting a headache

Why, please tell me?  Why is Congress meddling in the BCS system.  Several Congressmen want to pass legislation to force a College playoff!  

It's not like they're getting anything else right.  Do they really need something else to do?  Are they bored?      

Since when did this become a matter of national legislative importance?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Roger Goodell's Utopia

Give me a break!!

Roger Goodell has simple advice for NFL players:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a simple mantra when it comes to players feeling the need to carry a gun: Avoid those situations. "The real issue to me, is when the players feel they're unsafe, they shouldn't be there," Goodell said. "So get out, don't be there. If you feel the need to have a firearm to be someplace, you're in the wrong place."

Are you kidding me??

Richard Collier (Jacksonville Jaguars) gets shot while in his vehicle outside an apartment complex. Link Should he have stayed home?

Sean Taylor (Washington Redskins) gets killed in his home! Link Should he have stayed outside?

Steve Smith (NY Giants) was held up IN HIS OWN DRIVEWAY!!! Link Should he have moved to Mars?

So, Goodell's solution--Don't stay home, don't stay outside, don't stay in your car.

What is this notion that trouble will never find me? News reports are replete with stories of people going through their lives in an ordinary, law-abiding manner, only to have that interrupted by some scumbag with destruction on his mind. Check out this collection: Link

Under Goodell's paradise, players should avoid the outdoors (where shootings and robberies take place), vehicles (100% of carjackings take place in vehicles), and indoors (home invasions, shootings, robberies).

Well, sir...where do they go?

So, I surrender my hope for peace and a quiet day to armed lowlifes who have zero regard for my life or that of my family. So I stay away from civilization because someone might get hurt. It amazes me that people think that someone who has no respect for laws against stealing, hurting, or killing will suddenly have respect for laws against guns. They respect no laws, no boundaries, and will look for any opportunity to create a victim. They are predators and will act accordingly. We are their intended target.

In Luke 22:36-38, Jesus knew that His time on earth was drawing to a close. He knew that He was about to leave the disciples. He knew that there would be violence and that they would be responsible for their own defense. So His advice?

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.

Luke 22:35-38 (ESV) (emphasis added)

Take your money, take your bags, and if you don't have a weapon, sell your coat and buy one. Then, the disciples mention that they have, **GASP** weapons!! Jesus says, in effect, "That's good."

Unless, of course, you are in the NFL. There, good vibes are all you need.

PS: You know, I don't mean to pick on Roger Goodell. He was instrumental in rolling out the new NFL Personal Conduct Policy and has worked hard to clean up the NFL. I just hope he realizes that no amount of hard work will clean up society. We will never live in an utopian society. The Bible makes that clear. The best we can do is be true ambassadors for Christ, live our lives to please God, and do right by our families--yes, even to the point of defense.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Seeker Sensitive Baby Food

So funny, yet so sad.

Those who know me well know my feelings about the whole seeker sensitive movement.  I have a problem with watering down the Gospel, just to make it more attractive to unbelievers.

That's like making life preservers out of downy pillows.  Sure, you'll feel a whole lot better, but you're still going to sink.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stress Relief

I was finally able to go to the gun range this weekend. Work has been so busy, that I have not been able to go as often.

My friend invited a few others to come, including a first time shooter. There were five of us in all, and since the range was packed, we were given three lanes to share. I had three guns (Stoeger Cougar 8000, Luger P08, and a Ruger 10/22 rifle). Three others in the group had Springfield XDs (two compact and one full size). We shared the lanes and the guns and got to send a lot of lead down range.

For my Ruger 10/22 I used two Tactical Innovations TI25 magazines. One of them wasn't adjusted well, so it did not function as well as it should have. That's not the magazine's fault. I had fiddled around with the adjustment screws and threw off the alignment. The other magazine functioned flawlessly.

These friends are all involved in security in one way or another, so they were pretty knowledgeable and safe. Even the first-time shooter did well. All in all, a good day at the range and a whole lot of stress relief.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No stinkin' wonder!

No matter how you slice it, parents and teachers are the custodians of our future. We set up our future (for our children) by the decisions we make today and how we train our children for tomorrow. In effect, our children become a reflection of what we believe and how we act.

That's why this report card from the Josephson Institute is depressing. Here is their introductory paragraph:

Josephson Institute's 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth is based on a survey of nearly 30,000 students in high schools across the U.S. The results paint a troubling picture of our future politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals.

I'll let you click on the link to get the actual numbers, but just note that dishonesty among students is rampant! Furthermore, in some categories, students of private religious schools are more likely to be dishonest than their classmates in non-religious schools! That's enough to set me on a huge tangent--another subject for another day.

How about that! No wonder our markets are going down the porcelain Jacuzzi. If our children reflect our values, we are seeing the results of our way of doing things. As our financial markets are reeling due to rampant dishonesty, we are raising children that will continue our dubious legacy. It's a frightening look at what we will be facing in our future. These are our future leaders, the advisors to our future leaders, and those who will hold our future leaders accountable.

1 Corinthians 1:18 says:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

It seems that the more we abandon Biblical principles of morality, honesty and character, the faster we head to into a future we may not be prepared for.*

*Note that I refer to the Biblical principles themselves. I mean actually following the principles. The study underlines what should be obvious. Sending our kids to a religious school does nothing to combat the principles they are learning from us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feels like Fall

To all my neighbors:

Please accept my deepest apoligies. I know that the wind is blowing the leaves off of my yard and onto yours. In fact, it's been so windy, you folks are collecting more leaves than I am. I deeply appreciate your efforts to rake the leaves. Especially since you have few trees of your own.

Look, this will be a week of early mornings and late nights. For the next four days, I will leave the house before you are awake and I won't be home until after you are all asleep. But come Saturday, I will take care of whatever leaves are left on my yard. And I promise to do that before I head to the gun range to unwind.

Unless, of course, it rains again.