Nation?

Originally Posted July 4 2016

Has the term “Nation” changed from Old testament times to New testament times?

When discussing religion, people AGAINST religions usually are quick to bring up the extreme methods of dealing with people who turned against God… Stoning, eradication, etc. I will be the first to admit this is an area I have always struggled with this… It seems so disturbing at times to read about a sinner and their family being killed out and I am not certain if I will ever fully understand this side of heaven… This raises the question though, what impact does this have on our current day structure.

While thinking of this, I noticed an interesting difference between the nations pre-fall of Israel, and post fall of Israel…

Pre fall of Israel, we see the term “Nation” used in a very strange sense… It is a family… And a club almost…. We see people added to the nation when they share the same beliefs. (Abraham) We see people given the opportunity to leave the nation if they don’t agree with the beliefs (Joshua) These bonds are taken seriously, and as such, to defy them would seem to be a betrayal of the very nation itself… But then post fall of Israel and more prominently into the new testament and modern day, we see a change of what nations are. No longer are nations about ideals as much as about land area.

Many Israelites were held captive or lived in areas that held very different beliefs than their own. Who spat on their beliefs. Paul and the apostles actively went out into these nations by choice to preach to these people.

So did God tell them to kill all who refused to repent? No! In fact they were told to serve with the best of their abilities and quite often saved the nation they were in!

Is this a complete departure from how God had been working up until now? Actually no… If we read the old testament we see several times where similar reactions took place. Be it Abraham passing through other nations, or Joseph in Egypt… In fact for all the nations the Bible covers there are very few times God actively says “Wipe them out.” There is defending against the phillistines, and there is the taking of the promise land… But when it is not in defence there is another subtle hint. “God’s Wrath.”

God specifically tells the Israelites not to attack certain nations when His wrath is not ready… Why is this important? While it never goes into too many details of that nation’s spiritual history, it suggests that God had been actively giving that nation many chances to turn back to them.

God many times says he is angered or disgusted by the acts of a nation… But it is never because of the race of that nation. What does anger God is continued running away from him and what does disgust God especially are those who claim they know His ways better than the scripture says.

So how does this apply to modern day? You don’t really have that much control over your nation…. Maybe an idiot is being voted into leadership… Maybe politicians got trapped by their own manipulations…. Maybe laws are being passed that go against what you believe. So what do you do? Do you rise up against the government? Do you force the country to listen to you?

God says you are a citizen of that country. Respect its laws and love its people. God says give that country your very best and love the people in it. So realize it is not your place to control the minds of those around you. God allows nations to rise and fall. It is not your failure that causes bad things to happen but God’s plan to let His name be praised.

At the same time, remember you are FIRSTmost a citizen of God’s kingdom… You must respect the laws of the land and the ideals of those around you. You do NOT have to agree with them or live with them yourself.

Daniel prayed proudly when it was illegal, His friends refused to bow to an idol when it meant they would burn. The church refused to stop preaching Jesus when they were threatened a torturous death.

YOU ARE NOT A SERVANT OF THIS WORLD! YOU ARE A MEMBER OF A FAR GREATER AND FAR LARGER KINGDOM!

Do not let the demands of the nation you currently preside override the instructions of the kingdom you swore allegiance to. This world can only do so much to you. You serve a far more powerful God than the can even touch.

Amen

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Chaos

Originally Posted July 2 2016

Chaos; arguably the opposite of peace. It is the unsettling feeling of having nothing one can rely on or turn to. It spreads like a disease with chaos begetting more chaos. Not only does our world seem to be heading that direction with the major countries reaching turmoil after turmoil, and a post apocalyptic wasteland/dystopian future being accepted as pretty much the only future we have to look forward to, but on top of this there are those who would stir the flames to purposely strike and create more chaos like Ares of mythos.

As groups like ISIS, the Taliban, the media, ambitious usurpers, profiting from the repetitive stirring of trouble, it seems like peace is becoming a distant memory as people are on edge and beginning to question who and what they actually can trust anymore?

So how does one create chaos anyways? Ironically the easiest way is to let peace take hold.

Any con artist, or terrorist, or war mongerer will know that the easiest way to create chaos is to make the people doubt peace. People have things they turn to and rely on. The safety of their country. The trust of their friends. The hope for their future. To truly create chaos you must discredit but not destroy these things.

You must create an enemy who is indistinguishable from friend. Create a country they feel they must stay in but feel they have no control over. You must give them the hope that the future MIGHT work out, but make it seem so unlikely at the same time. If those lights of hope are snuffed out completely, chaos cannot ensue.

Humans are adaptable and hearty creatures. If given an enemy or a challenge they CAN and WILL overcome it.

Give them a solid enemy and they will unite to destroy it. Give them a destitute country or home and they will leave it and create a new home. Give them no hope for the future and they will go down trying to fight it. But keep that crumb of hope in there to keep them apathetic and scared to lose what they have left, and you will destroy them.

So why do I bring up such a depressing subject? Why talk about how to manipulate and torture other people? Because manipulation is a funny thing. It is one of the most powerful tools but only works when you think you aren’t being manipulated.

When someone turns out to be a con artist, or a terrorist, or a madman… usually people say “I never would have guessed it! He/She seemed like such an average and decent guy/girl!” And why on earth not?? I mean that’s the most basic rule of manipulation. Unlike teasing which relies on you making someone take you too seriously and then making a fool out of them for it, manipulation relies on you putting someone at ease, and feeling it would be foolish to question their motives. Whether this be by playing an interested party in their life and interests, or playing on their insecurities of looking naive such as in the Emperor’s new clothes, the more reason you give someone to believe you are a decent person, the more heinous things you can do behind their backs without them noticing.

That being said. If this illusion is to be broken, and someone is to question the intentions of said party, then suddenly the truth begins to come to light. Whether this be by too few contradictions in what they do (As is common of someone who tries too hard to deceive) or too many contradictions to just be coincidence… all those things you simply brushed aside as paranoia begin to add up and become clear to you.

We are in the midst of a war right now. And I don’t mean the cold war, the war on terrorism, or any civil war… no… this war is much bigger and much larger than simply the kingdoms of man fighting together. There is a war waged over humanity itself. God fights for us because He loves us. The devil fights for us because God loves us and it’s the easiest way to get to God.

This world has hit a patch of chaos… whether this to be the usual bicentury switch over of world powers, or just a rough patch who knows. But still chaos is happening. Mankind has become proud and foolish… fighting amongst themselves instead of uniting. The world powers are wavering crippled with debt, secrets, double talk, and stress. The people crave sensation and things to react to, yet feel no desire to act or grow. Anger and excitement have become the driving force for most emotions. People question who is friend and who is foe even within their own towns. Scapegoats are created and witchhunts are organized. The concept of “the path to adulthood” has been blown to smitherings by debt, expectations, and a dead job market. And so we stand and watch as everything we once learned to rely on and lean on absolutely destroyed…. but we are not dead.

Know that even if the world stands against you, the God who created everything stands behind you. Though people will fail you, the kingdoms will fall, though what illusions of strength you have will fade away, God is! God was! God always shall be! He is the absolute. He is here for your benefit! He is here if you turn to Him!

Chaos comes from the destruction of what you feel you can rely on. Thus the only way to properly combat chaos is to rely on the one thing that could never be destroyed.

We are at war. But it is not a war of destroying the enemy. It is a war of discovering Him and learning friend from foe!

Limits of Mythology

Originally Posted June 30 2016

I think one of the major qualms I have with most mythologies (fictional and real) is that they usually depict gods as simply powerful humans.

What do I mean by powerful humans? I mean that they will have powers that defy logic or understanding, or human ability, yet in the end they are either indifferent on humans, trying to support them though have a temper, or will try to manipulate humans to their own will.

If a human were to be given the powers of these gods but still remain with the heart of a human, they would still be human. Power is a mighty tool, but not a reason to bow down or worship someone.

If I was armed with a butter knife and found out my opponent came with a tank, yes I would submit and do what they wanted. But my heart? My heart would still be looking for a way to overthrow them. This is why, I think, atheism and agnostic beliefs are so popular in fantasy stories. Because who would actually want to worship and follow such beings? They’re more like spoiled toddlers wielding assault cannons than gods!

But in a way it makes sense. It is considered a law of reality that something is incapable of producing or understanding something equal or greater than itself. Think about how much we still don’t understand about the human body or brain in spite of millennia of study. So it makes sense that a human’s picture of a god would be a human capable of things they were not.

For a god to be truly worshiped however, it has to be something beyond human… Not simply powers beyond human, but a heart beyond human as well.

Such a being is impossible to consistently make up unless you were told by something outside how it should act. Believe me, as a writer I see even my most ideal characters painted with the personality of who I am.

It’s reasons would be simple and clearly stated, yet also hard for us to understand as they would be so unlike anything we could imagine. It would tell us to live ways that seem to go against our understanding of how the world works, yet their paths would line up straighter than even our own instincts.

Though that being said, such a being would be impossible to accurately make up and write, as in order for there to be a being who is great enough to be worshiped, it would have to be something greater and wiser than you. You cannot search greater wisdom through your own wisdom. Wisdom is not gained that way. You can organize your thoughts and draw conclusions which feels like wisdom, but that wisdom still comes from things and interactions outside of yourself.

To see such a god written about therefore would be very hard to take lest it had some truth to it…

Pride the Ultimate Poison

Originally Posted June 29 2016

Beware of Pride the ultimate poison.

If you want to catch a liar, what do you use? Pride. Make him feel he’s getting away with it, let his confidence grow, or hit him in areas he is most proud of. Pride is always the area where the greatest chinks in armor lie.

How does a great man fall? By being told he is great for too long. Once he begins to believe it, that he knows all there is to know, or that he is someone people look up to, he becomes blind to his own faults causing them to grow at a rapid rate.

Knowledge is a powerful tool, but partial knowledge is deadly. A person who gets caught in his folly is in trouble, but there is greater pain in store for the person who gets away by dumb luck. To get away with a half thought out idea is a greater punishment than to be caught in your actions. The more you get away with something the more you feel you can push those boundaries. When your actions finally do catch up with you, all those times you got away with it comes down on you like a hammer.

Do not say “It is easier to apologize than to ask” do not feel “It’s easier to apologize than admit there is a threat.” Do not live with the expectation of getting away without being caught for your actions. When they finally do catch up with you you will hate your past self for not taking the minor discomfort and leaving you to deal with the massive clean up.

So how should one live? How do we live with confidence but not pride? Good question! 😛

Personally I would say it comes from realizing you were made for an important purpose. That you are full of potential and CAN accomplish great things in even the smallest of actions… but at the same time always maintaining that perspective that you are small… very small.. broken… and needing to constantly strive to improve.

Chase after God. Not Glory. Seek Improvement. Not Apathy. Realize that a huge part of accepting yourself and this world is never giving up on the potential you were made to be!

Messed up Broken People

Originally Posted June 20 2016

God uses messed up broken people.

I am not perfect…. Yes I know that is pretty obvious… I have a temper, I can be kind of lazy, I’m terrified of doctors, medicine, crowded rooms, and phone calls, I’m often too fast to say what I shouldn’t say and too slow to say what I shouldn’t, I use hyperbole, I hate criticism, I cannot work within a system or turn off my brain enough to simply shut up and follow instructions, I am too devoted to spending my time doing things that have impact in others’ lives and not enough in looking for things that look after mine, emotions that should be shown I have trouble showing, emotions that don’t matter show to easily, I am eloquent and wordy in writing, and silent and awkward in speech.

The list goes on… I have faults… More faults than I can count… In fact I am probably far more familiar with my faults than I am my good parts…

But focusing too much on faults causes us to stop… To become fearful… To feel we cannot accomplish anything or be of any use until these faults are dealt with. It is too easy to bog yourself down with how much you can’t do when you forget the obvious fact that God can!

I am not saying we should accept who we are by not seeking improvement… No that is not accepting. That is the psychological equivalent of sweeping dust under the rug.

To truly ‘accept’ who we are, we need to take a different route than the hoards of memes might tell us… To accept who we are we need to accept that we are not perfect, that we need to improve this or we will hurt ourselves as well as those around us, but at the same time, we need to realize that we have a purpose.

God created you and He made you good. He made you for far greater things than your human nature says you are worthy of. Do not feel you cannot go anywhere in life because you are not yet “good enough.” You will never be good enough! It is humanly impossible to be good enough! But God still uses us!

He has used murderers, adulterers, thieves, liars, the corrupt of every kind of way you can imagine…… And a donkey… And He not only helped them grow away from where they were headed. He let them change the very world around them too.

Just remember, we are following God, not waiting for Him.

Logic Vs World

Originally Posted June 16 2016

I don’t think one can use logic to deal with world issues anymore…. Or to be more exact, logic directed directly at world issues will not have the effect you hope for anymore…

Our world has become so saturated… We call them “hate” crimes but I find so often that hate stems from fear. Fear of what we don’t understand… Fear of who we can trust to make us understand, fear of who is lying to us, fear of who is manipulating us. Are our family and churches enlightening us to a manipulative media? Or is the media enlightening us to our primitive and cultish family and churches?

A lot of people deal with this by throwing away logical arguments all together focusing on discrediting their opponent instead of strengthening their own argument. But that worsens the problem, not improves it.

To improve it, we have to go back to the basics… Understand who we are, how we work, what our purpose is. As a Christian this is fairly easy, as we have God and the Bible as foundational absolute truths we can compare each thing against. However I realize there are a (highly patient with me) number of my friends who believe that there are no absolutes… That this whole world lacks in meaning and purpose save for what you make of it yourself…. For you…… Honestly I am sorry but I cannot think of any explanation or comfort within your ideals.

I do not preach God because I am paid to… Or because I am bound by duty… Nor am I being forced to say anything…. I preach God because so help me it is the only way I find this insanely complicated and backwards world makes sense! And it pains me to see my struggling friends who do not believe, but asking me to comfort without God is like asking me to make your bed of nails comfortable with good intentions. I cannot do it! So help me I am not the smartest man in the world, but it boggles my mind to try and come up with any genuine comfort to give you that you will accept.

However, should you have that foundation. Should you know our purpose, should you begin to understand our origin, things begin to make sense.

What matter is there to what others say? It matters not if they contradict each other so long as they not contradict the foundation. Yes people do things we would not do… But that does not mean you cannot understand why. It simply means you have further knowledge and understanding as to why not.

Once you understand your opponent you begin to respect and even love them even though you hate everything they do and stand for. You realize their identity is something greater still

The Fruit is GOOD

Originally Posted June 15 2016

I think there are few verses more alarming than the realization that as Eve took of the forbidden fruit she found that it was “Good”

Think about it… Think about what this means… Something human beings inherently knew and felt as “good” sent the whole world in a spiral?

How often do we question God or the Bible because what the world says sounds “better” or “good”?

The truth is that as Christians, if we are to make God the god of our lives, He must first most be the judge of what is good and what is bad. We cannot hold onto the ability to usurp that decision when we don’t agree with it like rebellious teenagers.

God knows more than you do. God loves you more than you do. Trust God more than you do!