There’s a Reason

I was doing my bible reading yesterday and I read a passage I’ve read many times, and, as frequently happens, God points something out to me that I didn’t notice before. The verses in question were Luke 1:6-7

“They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.”

This passage is talking about the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, who became the parents of John the Baptist. Everybody knows the story. The verse refers to them as “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” I mean, you really can’t get a better character reference than that. So we know based on verse 6 that they were believers, that they were following the Lord and living their lives for Him. In other words, they were not living in active sin, they were not rejecting the Lord, and they had great faith in Him. And that’s what makes the next five words so striking:

But they had no child.

In Jewish society, barrenness was seen as a curse from God. Sometimes in the Bible it actually was. Leviticus 20:20-21 says (for example) that if an Israelite went to bed with his aunt or his sister-in-law that they would both die childless. The main reason for this view about barrenness is the fact that every Israelite woman hoped to be the one who bore the promised Messiah. It was in this context that Elizabeth and Zacharias, two godly people, were living. They had not done anything to deserve their barrenness, and yet they were barren. God had His reasons (as He always does).

We are introduced to this couple in verse 5, are told about their faith in verse 6, and then learn of their childlessness in verse 7. The following verses tell the well-known tale of how the birth of John the Baptist was foretold and then accomplished. But I think sometimes we rush over the introductory verses without thinking about them. Zechariah and Elizabeth almost certainly got married at a young age, as almost everybody did in those days (many people believe Mary was only a teenager when Jesus was born). Think about Z & E getting married and starting a life together. A year goes by. And then another. Five years. Ten. And still no children. There’s no Clomid. No IVF. Only month after month of “no” from God. Finally Elizabeth goes through menopause. The Bible says they were “advanced in years” (literally “advanced in days”), which is a euphemism for “old.” But no children. The shame must have been overwhelming. A raw pain that gnawed away at her, always in the back of her mind: Why, God? I don’t understand.

We know she felt this way because of verse 25 where she makes a statement after getting pregnant, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men. She felt disgraced because she had no children, something we can deduce from the fact that having a child was what took the disgrace away. Finally, she had a child.

But the child came after years and years of disgrace, barrenness, and shame. And it wasn’t her fault. Verse 6 refers to their spiritual state AFTER the decades of shame. They did not let the situation make them bitter or affect their faith in God and His wisdom.

And there’s the application for us. Are you living for God but you still have problems? Is there pain in your life? Sadness? A great hurt that you are carrying around? God knows. He is aware, and He loves you. Sometimes He gives us things that are too much for us to handle so that we learn to rely on Him. So when you’re going through difficulties or struggles, remember that God has a plan, God loves you, and He will work it out in the end. Trust in His love and His wisdom.

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Term Limits

In 1947 the United States Congress passed the 22nd amendment to the US Constitution which limits the US President to being elected to two 4 year terms. I agree with this move.

Unfortunately they didn’t go far enough. They should have instituted term limits for legislators as well. There are too many people in Washington who are only there because being a politician today is good business. You get rich being a politician. There is money, respect, and power. And so it draws the wrong sort of people.

I propose that Senators be elected to no more than two terms, and members of the House of Representatives be elected to no more than four terms. That way Senators would serve no more than 12 years and Representatives no more than 8 years.

And so I wondered, if this had been made the law 20 years ago, what would our current Congress look like?

35 Senators would not be in office including Grassley, Murkowski, Feinstein, McConnell, Collins, Klobuchar, Schumer, Graham, Alexander, and Sanders (to name a few of the most popular).

186 Representatives would not be in office including Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steve King, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Hank Johnson (of capsizing Guam fame). That’s 41% of the current Congress.

The Senators not in office would be 17 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and one Independent (you know, THAT guy).

The Representatives not in office would be 53 Republicans and 133 Democrats.

Let’s make this happen, people!

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Designated Survivor

My wife and I watched this show when it premiered in 2016. It was a very interesting political thriller involving a major attack on the government of the United States that thrust Kiefer Sutherland’s character (playing the Secretary of HUD) into the oval office as President after everybody in front of him in the line of succession was killed by a bomb. It was a good show, with spies, secret plots, machinations, drama, and moments of levity sprinkled in. The characters were engaging and you couldn’t help but root for the President’s success. The show ran for two seasons on ABC and then it was canceled.

Fast forward to this month. We haven’t had Netflix for several months, but signed up for a free trial that was available, and I noticed that Netflix had picked up the show and just released a third season of ten episodes. My wife and I started to watch the first episode last night.

I say “started to watch” because it was horrible. It’s like Netflix took a gourmet meal and poured vomit all over it. We couldn’t even finish the episode. They decided that the show needed more cursing (we hit three F-bombs and quit watching). As I did more research, I found out that now they’ve decided to make main characters gay (because we all know every single show now has to have gay characters, even though gay people are 2-3% of the population). There’s prostitution, sex, profanity, transgender characters, disgustingly crude references in conversation that I won’t repeat here, and they’ve turned the President, who in the first two seasons was a kind of “every-man”, into a white male version of the liberal savior who cares about all the liberal issues and none of the conservative ones. According to the reviews I’ve read online he spends the whole ten episodes fighting against the Republicans and the Democrats are strangely absent.

It’s sad that Netflix (and the rest of Hollywood) feels like this is the kind of garbage that we should be “entertaining” ourselves with, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. As I peruse the rest of what is available on Netflix right now, the only thing of value are the good shows I’ve already seen, and the Disney content. So no, we will not be paying Netflix a dime and will be canceling this subscription.

The older I get, the more I notice the world moving further and further away from what is decent and right and good. It’s like they are daring each other to be as shocking and ungodly as they can possibly be. It only makes me long for the return of Christ. Even so….

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Minnesota’s 5th District

I keep seeing this thing on Facebook and other sites claiming that the only reason Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is in congress is that President Obama sent 70,000 Somali refugees to the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota.  The people that post this nonsense are assuming a lot of things. For one, they’re assuming that 100% of these 70,000 people are of voting age and they ALL vote Democratic. 

First of all, the numbers are wrong.  Suffice it to say there are only 69,000 Somalis living in the entire state.  The 5th district itself only has 58,000 residents born in “Sub-saharan Africa.”  That certainly includes Somalia, but many other countries too. 

Then let’s get to the population of the district. The census bureau says that, as of 2017, there are 721,389 people in that district.  Only 343,358 of them voted.  Now that’s 48% of the total number of people.  I’m sure some of those people are not of voting age, but that’s still thousands of people not voting.

Even IF there were 70,000 Somalis living in MN-5, and IF they all were of age, and IF they all voted Democrat, there were still an additional 197,703 people in that district that voted Democrat. And the Republican challenger got 74,440 votes.

So now we get to the crux of the matter.  The problem with Minnesota’s 5th district is not that there are too many Somalis in it, it’s that there are too many DEMOCRATS in it. The last time that district sent a Republican to DC was 1960. Pick an election from that point on, and the Democrat candidate beat the Republican challenger by double digits every year. Seriously, I looked. Between 1863 and 1962 the Republicans won that seat in all but three elections. But for some reason the tide turned in 1962, and the DFL party won 52%-48% and they haven’t lost since. Most years the DFL candidate gets around 70% of the vote in that district.

Here’s a breakdown of the election results by percentage since then:

YEAR  D% vs R%

2018        77-21
2016        69-22
2014        70-24
2012        75-25
2010        68-24
2008        71-22
2006        56-21
2004        70-24
2002        67-26
2000        69-23
1998        67-28
1996        64-28
1994        62-37
1992        63-28
1990        73-27
1988        72-25
1986        73-26
1984        70-27
1982        66-29
1980        70-26
1978        62-38
1976        71-26
1974        74-25
1972        66-24
1970        57-42
1968        58-42
1966        60-40
1964        62-38
1962        52-48

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