Quick Rant – U.S. vs Hitler 0n Education, Gun Rights

This is what I talk about when I mention public/national education = Hitler national education: Facebook post about Kitty Werthman, who survived through Nazi Germany taking over Austria.

America wouldn’t accept such a thing in so short a time, but we accept it now. We’re even seeing people (Obama in SOTU, anyone?) pushing for the childcare from birth idea. This is why I’m so against government teaching us anything that isn’t “necessary” (seeing as some people take offense to having an opinion on what is necessary, take it or leave it). I’m not a big believer that government bureaucrats in D.C. know anything about what’s best for the people and kids in Oklahoma or Texas or any other state. That decision should be left to the districts that the kids live in, and we should empower the districts to make those decisions, so their parents in the those districts have as much power in the process as possible.

(I’m actually against the federal govt forcing us to learn anything, but it’s so mainstream now that not many really care – but we love to complain about how our kids aren’t being taught the right stuff, how prayer, Christianity and ethics teaching were taken out of the schools [like in Austria, but don’t dare compare!] and how our teachers aren’t given the proper curriculum. Say thanks to your federal and state governments who waste all the money we send them but don’t even know our kids’ names.)

Speaking of: there should be a new rule regarding education spending. If you don’t know the kids’ names, you can’t spend the taxpayer money that is given to be used for them. I don’t care if that means firing everyone from the top down who doesn’t qualify and allocate all education funding to the teachers themselves. It will be better spent there, locally and actually on/for the kids, than anywhere else.

Also, gun registration and gun confiscation is the same story. We would never accept it as quickly as Austria did, but even now there are high-profile celebrities and politicians who want to go door to door and confiscate our guns. The argument, “I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but…” is rampant in America. For evil to flourish, all it takes is for good men to do nothing. And it’s hard for good people to do anything against evil people when all the good ones are disarmed.

I’m getting pretty tired of hearing how awful a person I am because I want to take our childrens’ education out of the hands of people who don’t know or personally care about our children. I’m awfully tired of listening to the anti-gun rhetoric that we need some gun control measures for the safety of society. Call me a fanatic, but I’d rather give everyone safety classes in school and a gun license-free when they hit 18 than see our rights regulated down to “barely existing.”

Don’t even get me started on the socialized healthcare movement her in the U.S.

What Should I Do For You?

God has been trying to show me something about myself for a long time. This is going to be about part of it. I hope that this very simple and basic concept (that I can hopefully work through efficiently, without ending up in a rabbit hole) helps others, too.

Read Mark 10:32-34. In this passage, Jesus is talking about what’s going to happen to Him: mocked, spit on, scourged, and killed. Stop for a moment and ask yourself: if you were going to ask Jesus a question right after this, what would it be? I would ask one of two (or both).

(1) “I know I saw You raise Lazarus up, but if you aren’t alive to speak to Yourself like You spoke to him, how are You going to raise Yourself from the dead?”

or

(2) “Ok, well, after that, what do we do first: go to the Pharisees to prove that we’ve been right all along or to the Romans so You can take their place as King?”

Those are the first two things I thought of when I tried to put myself in their shoes. But let’s read what James and John actually asked him:

Mark 10:35 – And there come near unto him James and John, the sons of Zebedee, saying unto him, Teacher, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall ask of thee.

Modern version: We want you to do for us whatever we ask you to do. That seems quite odd to me, but Jesus didn’t seem to think it too weird. His response in verse 36 was,
“What would ye that I should do for you?” or, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Mark 10:37-41 – And they said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy glory. (38) But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? (39) And they said unto him, We are able. And Jesus said unto them, The cup that I drink ye shall drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: (40) but to sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine to give; but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared. (41) And when the ten heard it, they began to be moved with indignation concerning James and John.

They asked for a position. They thought they had something to offer Jesus. When the other ten heard it, it seems like they got mad because they wanted the positions that James and John were asking for and Jesus decided not to give it to any of them. They ruined it for everyone. Everybody wants a position.

If our attitudes aren’t right, we equate position with power and importance. Therefore, if we’re given a position, we think that puts us ahead of people who don’t have that position. We seek position at work; if we’re the boss at work, we have power to make things happen. We seek position at home; if I can prove I’m right and she’s wrong, I’ll have position over her (at least on this issue), and power to make her do X. So, too, do we seek position at church and in His kingdom, as James and John did.

It’s not our job to simply fill positions in His kingdom. You may be given the title, but only God can give you the position, power, and authority to rightly use it. [Tweet that!]

Now, I want to show a parallel. Keep in mind the conversation between Jesus and James and John as we continue.

Mark 10:46-48 – And they come to Jericho: and as he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the way side. (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. (48) And many rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.

Bartimaeus’ first call to Jesus was for mercy. James and John called to Jesus for position. James and John each came to Jesus with a “me” attitude. Bartimaeus came with a “mercy” attitude.

How often do we ask for position when what we should really be asking for is mercy?
Notice, also, that “many rebuked” Bartimaeus. Why? They didn’t rebuke James and John for asking Jesus for something. They didn’t get indignant until after the answer came. These people expected Jesus to replace the current religious and political powers that be and put His own people in power. They were okay with the question from James and John because it was in line with their plans for Jesus.

I think they didn’t like the beggar’s cries because it wasn’t in line of their plan for Jesus.
They were on a mission to get Jesus to Jerusalem so He could take power from the Romans, the Pharisees, all the rulers. The beggar was just a nuisance, a distraction making too much noise. He was a problem, and they intended to shut him up. They tried to shut up “the problem” because they wanted Jesus to keep following their plan.

I wonder, how often do we silence the problems in our lives because we have other things we think Jesus should do? We bring Jesus into our lives, not to deal with our very real, spiritual problems, but to see if He will follow the plan we have set out for Him. We want Him to make us rich, or famous, or give us that dream girl, or to do all the hard work of witnessing for us, so on and so on. So we try to silence our own problems, make them go away, so no one else sees or hears of it. We just want Jesus to follow our plans.

So did these people. Trouble was, when they tried to shut him up, he just shouted louder. Good on him!

Let’s realize that trying to shut up or hide a problem doesn’t make it go away. It typically serves to make it get louder, worse. It’s not until we address it, or let Jesus address it, that it can be changed.

Mark 10:49 – And Jesus stood still, and said, Call ye him. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good cheer: rise, he calleth thee.

They called, he came. Now, how many of us do that?

While we’re at work, school, home, or Wal-Mart, and there is someone who needs Jesus but reaching out to them isn’t in our plans. What if Jesus is knocking on your heart, telling you to call out to them and bid them to come into Him? Do you make that problem part of your plan, like these guys did? They may or may not have wanted to do it, but they followed Jesus and did it. You may not want to, and you may think they don’t deserve it, but Jesus may be asking you to reach out and bid them to come, anyway.

That wasn’t part of the plan you had for Jesus in your life. You just wanted Him to give you a good job, good health, picture-perfect family, and a peace that passes all understanding until He returns, right? Reaching out to blind beggars and problems wasn’t in the memo, you thought.

Maybe it’s time we listen to Jesus. They did.

And, boy, did he come! Verse 50 says, “casting away his garment,” he “sprang” up and went to Jesus.

When you come to Jesus there will always be a casting away. Something must be thrown off of you. They put this there for a reason. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the Bible also says we will put on righteousness (Rev. 19:7-8) and Jesus (Romans 13:14).

He identified himself by his clothes, that’s why he cast them off. He knew that Jesus was going to change everything and he wasn’t just going to be some blind beggar on the side of the road. He cast off his old identity. We must cast off who we were and be transformed into the mind of Christ. There will always be a casting off, an old way or an old thing that must pass away, a garment to cast off, when coming to Christ. You want an anointing? Something will have to be cast off. You want your calling? Something will have to be pass away. You want to walk according to His will? Your identity will have to change.

[ Tweet This: “We must cast off who we were
and be transformed into the mind of Christ.”]

Notice, James and John didn’t try to change anything about themselves. Instead, they tried to sneak a change into Jesus’ plan. The people around Jesus all tried to dictate what His plan was supposed to be by trying to rebuke the beggar, but Jesus called the beggar – and the beggar changed who HE was to come to Christ.

It’s not about what Christ can do for you, but what you need to do to meet Christ where He is when He calls for you where you are.

Mark 10:51 – And Jesus answered him, and said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? And the blind man said unto him, Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.

He asks, What do you want me to do? The same response He gave to James and John. The beggar asks to receive sight, and Jesus gave it to him. Why? Because of his faith. He trusted Jesus. While James, John, and everyone else trusted in their own plans for Jesus, this blind beggar just trusted in Jesus. It’s time to just trust Jesus.

Jesus had an enormous destiny. He had a great, big purpose He was heading to. He was going to die for billions upon billions. He didn’t just die for all future sin, but for all past sin, also. This was such a magnanimous calling. It was, and is, the single greatest act ever committed. Jesus was on His way to perform the greatest miracle ever performed…but He stopped for this blind beggar.

Whatever your problem is, it’s not so small in the eyes of Jesus that He won’t stop His plans and change your life. [Tweet that!]

Trust in Jesus. He wants to do something for you, just like He did with James and John, and the blind beggar. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned disciple who walks with Him each and every day or a blind beggar on the side of the road who just happens to be in the right place today. Maybe you used to be a disciple, but life kicked you in the face, and now you’re blinded & sitting on the side of the road. He is here to meet you at the point of your need. Call to Him, tell Him your need.

He is bidding you to come – run to Him.

Seeking Restoration? He Will #RestoreMore.

I have a very simple concept in mind for this post: what does it mean as a Christian to be restored? This is very personal for me, because I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life trying to restore the man I once was. I used to be a prayer warrior, even though I had no idea what that really meant. I used to study the bible thoroughly and daily; then I walked away. Oh, for the most part, I didn’t show it at first. It was evident to myself, and to God, I’m certain. I made a series of huge mistakes, but my testimony isn’t what this is about so let me move on and say this: restoration is very important to me.

We all know what restore means, but let’s just cover it quickly: “to bring back into existence; to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition.” However, therein lies the rub. That’s what it means (I got it from dictionary.com!), yet here I am. I pray, I study, but I live my day-to-day life in a miserable existence. I have no joy, it seems.

I hope it’s okay to be this vulnerable.

God gave me my son back and you may have no idea what that means because you may not know me, but it is huge. I’m unemployed, but God has provided. God has planted me at an amazing church. God has done innumerable things for me. I recognize this, and give Him glory for them all. Nevertheless, I wake up in the mornings and struggle to even get up. I take my son to school and, most days, crawl back into bed already defeated by the day before me.

How many of you feel the same way? Maybe you go to work, but still feel defeated. You do all the things you think you should: pray, read, witness, serve, reach out. Regardless, that feeling of defeat looms in the back of your mind.

We had an evangelist last Sunday and his wife got up to speak first. She said that God told her that what He wanted her to tell us was: restore. He wants to restore. I started thinking about that and I concluded that I didn’t know what it meant. I knew the dictionary definition, but I didn’t know the biblical definition.

So I went looking.

I learned recently about the concept or law of first mention in the bible. So, just for kicks, I searched in my E-Sword bible for the word “restore” and the following is where restore is first mentioned.

Genesis 20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

Backstory: Abraham comes to a place called Gerar. Fearing his life, he tells Abimelech, the king of Gerar, that Sarah is his sister. The king takes her, and then gets a dream from God to restore her to Abraham, her husband. He does, but that’s not it.

If we use what we think of restore, he would just give her back to Abraham and be done. But, look at what he really does.

Genesis 20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

God demands restoration and, in order to obey, Abimelech gives Sarah back, plus a ton more. This isn’t the only place in the bible where the word restore is used like this. Let’s go to the book of Luke.

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

“I restore him,” pay attention, “fourfold.” Okay, giving four times what was originally taken doesn’t fit our human narrative of what restore means. Wait, there’s more.

Proverbs 6:31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

Restored sevenfold.

2 Samuel 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

Restored, plus food forever.

2 Samuel 12:6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

Restore fourfold.

2Kings_8:6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

Restored land, plus everything it yielded since she left.

Restore is used many more times and it is used in the definition we normally accept, but it is used far too many times to mean “bring back the former, PLUS some” for me to ignore it. Does this mean I’m suddenly restored? I don’t know, but I’m going to claim this promise: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25)

Perhaps we don’t experience the restoration of joy because we are trying to be content with what we once had when God wants to Restore More than we lost. Join me in claiming the promise God gave through Joel, the same promise of restoration you can find throughout the Scriptures. Let’s live our lives never doubting the promise to Restore More, and its fulfillment in our lives. Let it be a foregone conclusion: “Jesus has restored all unto me, and more.”

Go, live, be restored – and more. #RestoreMore

Residual Oil

I was at work last week and a very peculiar thing happened. But first, just a bit of background.

I run a Finn Power machine at work. The express bender in the playlist (which you see if you clicked the link) is a newer version, but you get the idea. Mine uses hydraulic oil to run all the parts.

So, last week, the machine started leaking oil all over the panels. We found a leak in a steel pipe that makes up a part of the hydraulic line. After we thought we fixed it, we started the machine back up to check and make sure it was fixed. If it was, it wouldn’t leak. If not, it would. When the machine started bending parts, there was oil on the parts still and I said something that made me think about my relationship with God.

“What if that’s old oil from the leak and it’s not leaking now but that’s residual oil?” They asked me what I meant.

“How do we know if that’s old oil or new oil?”

It reminded me of that story in the bible about the ten virgins that brought oil in their oil lamps, but five of them didn’t bring any new oil to put in when the old oil ran out.

The idea that we all need new oil in the lamp to be ready for the groom to come can be sobering if we really focus on the ways it relates to us. Are we relying on residual oil from yesterdays’ refill? Is that enough or will our light go out before He gets here? Have we refilled our lamp today?

It may be hard to tell, since the wick can burn without the oil, just not for very long. We can pretend to be Christian. We can find ourselves just going through a ritual of repetition so it looks like the lamp is burning, but there’s no oil inside. Sometimes I find myself praying the same words as I pray every time I pray. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized I say them ritualistically, as if the mere mention of the words were suppose to oblige God to respond. We know better than that, though. The Lord searches the heart, not just the action. We go to church for what reason? To fulfill our Christian duty and try to oblige God to give us a promotion at work? Sometimes it feels like it. Let’s be honest. How often do we go to church and find ourselves not paying attention to the preaching or the singing? Maybe we’re not really praying? Or maybe it’s just been me. We put our church faces on at church, but it’s not a true reflection of who we are or what we feel inside. Are we just burning the wick without the oil?

Perhaps there is some leftover oil in the lamp that isn’t soaking into the wick. You know it’s there, but it’s just not connecting with the wick. You know, when you can look into an oil lamp and see that there is some oil left but you still need to refill it anyway? Here’s another example: soda from McDonald’s. There is some Dr. Pepper left in the cup, but you have to tilt it just right or push the straw down through the ice a little more to get to it. It’s that same effect that causes a lamp to have the tiniest bit of oil, but still not light the lamp. I’m talking about people who go to church and they know God is calling them, or they feel the tug He gives us all, but can’t respond. You take solace in the fact that You can feel Him and that He still loves you, and maybe sometimes you go to the altar to pray, but when you go home it’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything more than shoot a small prayer or read a couple verses every day – if you do even that at all.

There’s no condemnation here, because I have been there and revisit more often than I’d like to, but we can’t afford to lie to ourselves anymore.

I know I’ve kinda zig-zagged my way to this conclusion, but this is the point of this post:

Is the oil in your lamp old, residual oil or is it new oil? It’s time to be ready.