Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. When you are building a puzzle, first, you find all the border pieces. The ones with the flat sides – the edge pieces. Once you’ve completed the edge pieces or border of your puzzle, the best strategy to follow is to pick out major, easy to identify sections of the puzzle. Pull out all those pieces. Fit them together. Put them in their place within your puzzle. Then select out the next easy to identify section. Separate out those pieces. Put them together as best you can and put them in their relative position within the puzzle framework.

As you move along through this process of identifying specific areas of the puzzle and putting those in order in their relative positions, the overall puzzle begins to take shape. Not all at once… it doesn’t come together immediately. But over time different areas of the puzzle begin to form as you concentrate on them.

And after a while those pieces which at first you did not recognize as being part of one of the earlier sections, you start to notice patterns of where they belong. Pieces that are all one color, for instance, are really hard to identify where they belong. You start to notice shades of color difference that you hadn’t noticed before. Pieces of the sections you had already isolated and built but were missing a few pieces, you find those pieces mixed in with the hard-to-identify pieces because they just didn’t have that easy-to-find characteristic.

And over time the process builds on itself as you get more and more sections in order and put together, until eventually you’re almost picking up pieces and putting them directly in their places one after another.

Growing as a person is like this. When you find and identify the boundaries to build your life within that’s the beginning. This is like finding the foundation for your life. It gives you a starting place. You want to find the firm foundation that is true – that conforms to reality. We find this true foundation in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ.

Then you begin working on certain areas of your life and try to put them in order. It might start with your finances, your marriage, your work life, or your spiritual life. As you put the different areas together, your life starts to take shape. Getting additional areas under control and in focus and in order and productive starts to become easier. Unfortunately life is not completely the same as a jigsaw puzzle. For the puzzle there is finally a finishing point, a finite amount of time when you can put the whole thing together and say you’re done. With life however, although there is a definite finishing point for our lives, we never reach a state of being done on this side of eternity. We leave that to our Lord and Savior for the next life.

We can use this principle of focusing on specific areas of our lives, getting them in order as best we can, getting things in place and moving on to another area. This principle can help us move the ball forward in our lives toward reaching our goals.

Marriage Goal-setting Retreat

Goal-setting

Black Voters, Democrats, Republicans, and History

Ku Klux Klan members and a burning cross, Denv...

Ku Klux Klan members and a burning cross, Denver, Colorado, 1921

I recently enjoyed a segment on the The World and Everything in It with Alonzo Rachel giving a brief overview of black American history vis a vis the Republican party. I’ll include a brief synopsis below.

The fact is that it was the Republican Party under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln that paved the way for black emancipation from slavery. The Republican Party was actually a fairly new party arising from the growing popularity of abolitionists. It was the Democrats that actually seceded from the country and formed the Confederate slave holding States. After losing the Civil War, it was the Democratic Party that formed the KKK in order to violently kill Republicans both white and black and convince them with basically terrorism to stop trying to have influence in the South.  Decades later the opportunity for the civil rights movement was helped by Republicans who drafted the 1960s civil rights legislation during a session of Congress before LBJ, a Democrat got behind it. That civil rights legislation actually passed with 100 percent of the Republican vote but only a portion of the Democrat vote.

I agree that we have forgotten so much history. I recently was talking to a new acquaintance on a plane ride home. He mentioned how the Republicans had a lot of work to do to overcome their sordid past. He mentioned the KKK as one example. People need to be told that all that was from the Democratic party. Myself, I don’t hold to party loyalty. I hold to principle loyalty. I consider myself a Christian first, a conservative next, and a Republican as long as their candidates stand for Christian principles. Historically the Republican party has tended to stand for what is right. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation in the last 150 years. And there has been resulting slippage and confusion of direction. There are some changes that need to be made in the Republican party, but not in the liberal direction.

Alonzo Rachel also made a spoof of the recent ad celebrating the 4oth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. He makes it clear how abortion is welcomed by many as a racist practice.

National Right to Life Month

Abortion card001

Abortion card001 (Photo credit: John Ensor)

As we reflect on the 55 million missing Americans who were murdered in last 40 years following the legalization of abortion, where would our nation be if we had those 55 million people? …if we had 55 million more hard-working creative, productive, taxpaying citizens? Could we have discovered a cure for cancer? Maybe we snuffed out the life of the inventor who could have solved our energy crisis. Did we do away with a modern day Mozart or a 20th century George Washington? What about the over 100 million missing women in East Asia? With whom will those preferred sex men marry and raise families? And why couldn’t we pass a ban on sex-selective abortion here in America? Don’t we believe in equal rights for women even before birth?

As we teach our children in our classrooms, stop and think about the fact that each one of them is actually an abortion survivor …because for the last 40 years it has been legal to murder children in America.

Debating Poverty

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the 10/15/2012 presidential debate I thought that both candidates reached out to their bases and showed up with their debate faces on. I cannot say that either candidate was a clear winner, but Romney did a good job of keeping the his focus on setting out his plan and making the President answer for his record.

One of the most important points was made close to the end of the debate. Romney brought up the connection between poverty, education, the failing health of our nation, and marriage. Mitt Romney pointed out that a very high number of children are born to unwed mothers today. He mentioned that changing this trend would help improve life for women. Here are a couple more points I wish he had mentioned: This trend can find its roots in the “sexual revolution” of the 60s. We need to move away from that hedonistic, moral relativistic mindset. The majority of our prison populations come from fatherless homes. The majority of these young mothers quickly fall below the poverty line leaving their children living in poverty. Those mothers and children constitute a heavy weight on the American economy because so many of them end up on the welfare rolls.
What we really need here in America is a return to biblical values and commitment to marriage and righteousness in our personal lives. What we need is young men and women who are willing to deny their urges for selfishness, immoral sexual fulfillment, and useless distraction. We need young people who are strong in character that will choose to live a responsible life, marry, and lead families under God.

Freedom of Religion

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in t...

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does freedom of religion mean? Is freedom of religion a nebulous concept that must conform to the dictates of the government? Is it squishy? Can it be pushed to whatever size box the government allows for it? Obamacare includes a  mandate to provide abortifacient drugs. Many of us have problems with this from a moral point of view founded on our religion.  But we are private citizens. The HHS exemption only covers churches and some religious institutions. So has the president and his party decided that the freedom of religion of the private citizen is not important? What does our freedom of religion really mean?

 

 

It seems to me that if we can be forced to purchase medicine to initiate the murder of innocent unborn children, we have crossed a line of freedom of religion. If the intention of our founders was to consider sexual freedom on a par with religious freedom, wouldn’t we find it the first amendment? or somewhere in the Constitution? But we don’t find it because it isn’t there. The founders placed freedom of religion in a prominent location. But they didn’t raise the issue of sexual freedom. Do you suppose they didn’t have sex back then? Of course not. First of all, our founders knew that the area of sexual relations is governed by the Bible and trusted this area to the self-government of the people and the common law which is founded on the Bible. Second, sexual freedom leads to social chaos. Many of the social ills that we have in our country today can be directly linked to “sexual freedom”: 50 million Americans dead, epidemic STDs, single-parent families, poverty, crime, prison expansion, the growing welfare state.

 

 

What do you think? What should freedom of religion mean? On what do you base that meaning?

 

 

Chick-fil-A Follow Up

Bakersfield Chick-fil-A from the street

Bakersfield Chick-fil-A from the street

We enjoyed our chicken sandwiches and hand-spun peach milkshakes at Chick-fil-A in Bakersfield. We got there during the lunch rush and it was hard to find a seat. The server who helped us said their store had been quite a bit busier since the furor over Dan Cathy’s statement and Mike Huckabee’s support. I was glad to hear it. We stand with Cathy, Huckabee (and every state whose people have had an opportunity to vote on the issue) in supporting traditional marriage.

We’ll be going to Chick-fil-A again soon. I love those peach milkshakes!

Kudos to Chik-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A (Photo credit: Link576)

Chik-Fil-A and others who stand up for traditional marriage and the family have taken some hits in the last week but are standing their ground. They are setting a great example for the rest of us. The following is from an interview with Dan Cathy, Chik-Fil-A’s president and chief operating officer:

 

[Chik-Fil-A] invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.

It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.

“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

For full story go to Baptist Press News

Mike Huckabee has invited people to participate in “Chik-Fil-A Day” on August 1. This support has also been met with lots of support, but some angry opposition as well. My family and I are planning to dine at Chik-Fil-A twice that week. We hope you do, too.

 

Restoring Love

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Tri...

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Trinity River in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Restoring Love event in Dallas, Texas is another example of Christians taking a stand and showing what is good and attractive about being a Christian and following God’s ways. Restoring Love is an example of how Christian service, charity, and compassion can and should meet all the needs that the government attempts to fill with welfare programs. Volunteers will distribute food to the hungry, repair houses of the elderly, take part in community clean up efforts and so much more.

The catch for us Christians is that if we are not willing to step up and be the church with acts of Christian love and charity, we have no business demanding that the government get out of that area. If we in Christian love will live out our faith and put feet on our worldview, that will be a sweet and inviting fragrance to the lost. And just in case it isn’t, as in the case of people like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund are on call to defend our place in the public square.

Teavangelicals: Taking Back America

David Brody’s new book The Teavangelicals: the Inside Story of how Conservative Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America describes the high degree of support between conservative evangelicals and Tea Party groups. In fact, Mr. Brody states that Tea Party organizations are made up of about 60% conservative evangelicals.

The shared goals between libertarian fiscal conservatives and conservative evangelicals make sense to me. While liberal nanny state programs seem to help the poor on the surface, welfare actually has a dis-incentivizing effect, hurting the poor in the long run. Making citizens dependent on government only overburdens the economy. These fiscal policies are not moral. Our nation is being overwhelmed by debt and obligations which our economy cannot supply. We’ve taken on trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities from  promises politicians made but had no funding source. Of course, over 50 million taxpayers murdered in the name of women’s choice hasn’t helped matters much either.

So I’m thankful we seem to forming a kind of coalition. Some people feel strongly that we need conservative fiscal policy and smaller government to turn our country around. Others feel the same way while being concerned that the moral fabric of our society is frayed with the push for so-called same-sex marriage and the prolongation of the abortion killing fields.

The Republican National Committee’s campaign literature for Romney almost exclusively discusses fiscal issues. My wife and I wanted to find a group that has a broader conservative approach. I am supporting Romney now as the conservative candidate to beat Obama in November. At the same time, I want more air time from our side on the moral and religious battles our nation is facing.  One example of a group that spans this gap is The Faith and Freedom Coalition. In our home we’re contributing to this organization because they are pushing for socially conservative as well as fiscally conservative policies. You might want to check them out as well.

Traditional Marriage on the Ballot in Minnesota

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of Minnesota are voting on an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as  “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Sound familiar California? We had a similar vote about four years ago. It passed, but an activist judge struck it down. Our battle is somewhere in the appeals stage. I hope your vote goes the way it has for every state where the people have had a chance to vote. In other words, I hope traditional marriage wins out.

A sermon by John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis came to my attention this week. While he didn’t come outright in favor of the proposed marriage amendment, Dr. Piper preached a sermon directly on the Biblical basis for marriage and laid out a number of Biblical principles to help his flock think through this issue. I will include the main points of his sermon here because he sums up quite succinctly some of the best thinking on this battle of our culture war.

1. Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.

2. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex marriage, and it would be wise not to call it that.

3. Same sex desires and same sex orientation are part of our broken and disordered sexuality owing to God’s subjection of the created order to futility because of man’s sin.

4. Therefore, same-sex intercourse, not same-sex desire is the focus of Paul’s condemnation when he threatens exclusion from the kingdom of God.

5. Therefore, it would contradict love and contradict the gospel of Jesus to approve homosexual practice, whether by silence, or by endorsing so-called same-sex marriage, or by affirming the Christian ordination of practicing homosexuals.

6. The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through his Spirit to live lives pleasing to him in their disordered brokenness.

7. Deciding what actions will be made legal or illegal through civil law is a moral activity aiming at the public good and informed by the worldview of each participant.

8. Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.

Main Points of Sermon, “‘Let Marriage be Held in Honor’ Thinking Biblically about So-called Same-sex Marriage”, John Piper, June 16, 2012.

Even though Dr. Piper says not press the church or her pastors into political activism, if more pastors would simply lay out the Biblical framework as he did, Christians would be much better informed in their values and voting. This is much closer to the Black Robed Regiment that David Barton talks about than what I hear on Sunday. If you have a chance to read or listen to the sermon, I recommend looking over point number 7 carefully. Dr. Piper puts the issue of codifying traditional marriage into very clear terms.

What do you think of John Piper’s stance? Are there other points he should cover?