Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Matrix falls short when explaining evil

Betrayal over steak dinner

Although The Matrix bellows the standard New Age mantra of sinlessness, it undermines this thesis with Cypher’s betrayal of his comrades.

The major conflict is humans fighting against the machines, who personify evil — a not-so-original sci-fi plot. Deprived of solar power in post-apocalyptic world, the machines turn to cultivating humans in farms to supply their energy needs. A vast human population is kept docile in a holographic, computer-generated world. Only a few enlightened humans fight the machines in this world.

The nearly indestructible Agent Smith who suppresses the human rebellion.

The balance of the fight will fall to Neo, the foretold savior. But Neo doesn’t believe in himself. Most of the movie then is dedicated to him overcoming his lack of belief and

Morpheus tells Neo that humans are raised on farms to become batteries

accepting his fate as “the one.” The only evil is ignorance, a New Age philosophy with roots in Buddhism and Gnosticism, which is now embraced by humanists.

But a subplot undercuts the ignorance-is-evil myth. On the one hand, Cypher betrays the enlightened friends because he is tired of fighting and only wishes to return to the

Trinity

software illusion world of blissful ignorance. But he also turns Judas because he loves Trinity, who is attracted to Neo. Thus, jealousy undoes this major thesis of the movie. The roots of evil lie in many desires.

I like The Matrix because it’s not mindless. But it also shows that the anti-God crowd cannot adequately grapple with evil. We Christians believe that evil lies in the human bosom. If a person follows the Spirit of God, he will conform more to God’s image and manifest compassion. But if a person unbridles his passions, he will fall into evil. Because evil lurks in all of us, we need a Savior, who forgives and transforms us daily. Achieving a higher consciousness, whether induced by occult or psychedelics, is not the answer.

Continue To Pray For Our Troops

Originally posted on American Christian:

20121128-195048.jpg

View original

Useful

Ender was forcibly denied a normal childhood. He couldn’t play but had to train incessantly. He couldn’t make friends because kids were made into adversaries. His was a lonely road to pre-adolescent general.

His trainers did this because no one else could save the planet from the impending invasion of buggers in sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. Without Ender, the Earth doesn’t stand a chance.

Was it justified to deprive Ender his childhood? As with any classic, author Orson Scott Card leaves the answer up to the reader.

My major motivation in life is to be useful. Personally, this is greater than individual accolades, power or money. The Bible says God will greet us in Heaven with these words: “Well done! Enter into joy!” To serve God and people!

Maybe Mary and Joseph had plans for a happy, quiet life. But they had to give that up, because Mary had to give birth to the Savior of the world. They suffered scorn; she was pregnant before the wedding. They had to live in Egypt for a time. At the end of Jesus’ life, Mary agonized to watch the fruit of her womb die. She was useful to God.

What useful service will you deny to the world just because you want to conserve your life for you?

 

Hey, Coach!

Lighthouse Christian Academy lost every single soccer game last year. This year, it took us one minute to score our first goal, and we finished tied 2-2 against a team that won 8 last year. I’m ecstatic because I’m the coach now.

The kids can’t contain their happiness after the game

I have coached before, first on middle school team, then park league. Then I stepped back from coaching for six months. My kids were on other teams, and I observed the other coaches, who are better than I. One is a Scot with the highest level accreditation for coaching. I’ve eavesdropped and spied.

No use thinking I know it all. I can always pick up something new from others, even if it’s what NOT to do (like cuss).

I see that life coaching is in

We prayed with the other team before the game

vogue. I’ve always enjoyed having a FREE life coach: he’s called “my pastor.” As a generation has distanced itself from the church, people look down their noses upon the pastor and his unwanted advice. As a result, divorce has skyrocketed; kids are cutting themselves in unheard-of numbers as the home disintegrates.

Because we are a small Christian school, we have great players and total beginners.

I’m not saying I’m better than anyone; I just enjoy the benefits of being among the dwindling number of Americans who still go to church. A coach — a pastor — is there to bring out the best in you.

What do we need libraries for???

These are this year’s students.

Not this year, but last, I had a class in which no one had ever been to the library. Everything is on Internet, right?

They assured me I was wasting their time. Nonetheless, to the library I took them, and the poor librarian had the devil’s day trying to persuade them that more information is actually in books. (You’d think she were describing cave paintings from the reaction of those kids.)

Add some color to your drab life!

So here’s the college-preparatory secret: to do real research, you’ll have go to the library. Good ol’ wiki doesn’t cut it. There actually is stuff worth learning that requires you to get off your bu** — um, bottom — and pay a buck for the bus. You’d be surprised what you’ll find when you break out of your comfort zone.

You’ll be surprised what you find in the depths!

You might discover there’s worthwhile stuff in the Bible. Yeah, like how to reach maximum happiness (have a successful marriage, for example!) in what they used to call the “Good Book.” Nowadays, they call it the “Hate Book,” I think.

Don’t hate the Bible! It’s still good and got great stuff useful for your life here on Earth! And, yes, it also talks about life after Earth, in case you’re interested! Break out of your comfort zone and crack the Bible today! Read a bit. Ask God to give you the revelation as to what it means. Start with Mark; it’s the story of the Main Dude in the whole Bible.

Happy reading!

 

What’s the greatest feeling?

Photo thanks to PatriciaDDrury

On the verge of my wedding, an older friend told me the three happiest moments in life were: marriage, the birth of child, and becoming a grandparent.

Harrison Sommer, former a trial lawyer, opined that the greatest feeling is relief. When he wins, he gushes relief — he will get paid; the stress and uncertainty is over.

Photo thanks Climb St. Louis

I vote for forgiveness. It is something like all of the above-mentioned emotions.

Being forgiven is a part of love, more mature than falling in love, more undeserved than  having a baby or a grandchild. Not everyone who feels love, experiences this subgroup of special love called forgiveness.

It is a compounded relief. Relief is when you’re sweating it out to see if you get it. With forgiveness, you simply don’t stand a chance to get it, but you get it anyhow.

I have been forgiven by my wife. And that is how we are still married today, 22 years later. Anyone can fall in love. Anyone can leave (married) love to go experience the immature rush once again, thinking that’s all there is to love. Not just anyone gets the special privilege of forgiveness and getting a chance to continue with the choice of your youth.

Of course, God’s forgiveness on mankind, available instantly, is the most powerful. If you haven’t yet experienced it, by all means, do so today. He sent Christ to the cross in order to forgive us our sins. All we need do is ask.

 

It’s pouring out!

Thanks Deviant Art for the stunning photo!

Your life is being poured out.

On what? Paul poured his life out for others… for something of eternal value. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you – Phil. 2:17 NIV.

Today many are pouring their lives out on the pursuit of material goods. Others on the pursuit of health. For partying. For sport. For pleasure. For enjoyment. Lives are constantly being poured out.

Each man chooses to pour out his life on what he esteems most valuable. The number of days are finite. Through improved health, we may extend our lives. Even so, it will eventually end. When you are done, what will your life have been poured out on?

Will it be something worthwhile? Nobody wants to think about the last drop. But wisdom is to think about it before we get there.

Get into the habit of faith

To form a new habit, willpower is more important than self-esteem. In his book Willpower, Roy Baumeister demonstrates that willpower is key to success in college, success in life, longevity and health. The possessor adheres to an unshakeable determination to achieve his goals.

If you’re accustomed to a dreary day of negativity, make some practical changes: Introduce or lengthen prayer time. Sprinkle your day with the Word of God. Arrest negative thoughts and force yourself to assume the best. Audibly confess the opposite of what gets you down. Continually go up to sit on God’s lap and tell your loving Father your struggles.

It’s amazing that willpower is akin to faith. They’re overlapping circle graphs with a significant shared region. This is the overcoming spirit of which the Bible speaks.

Is it possible to go from pessimism to belief? I am one who emigrated from the country of unbelief and unhealthy depression. I journeyed to the land of faith. Transforming my outlook has transformed my life. So I encourage you to get off your “but” and become a person of faith.

Eternal Savings

Originally posted on 116 Boyz:

Eternal Savings

The one and only true savings each one of us needs. Thank you Jesus!

View original

Climbing without ropes

Like Spiderman, climbing sensation John Bachar moved quickly up the overhanging rock wall, sometimes sustaining his entire body weight with just a couple of fingers. And he did it without ropes.

When I caught up with Bachar in 1988 for interview on the dangerous sport called free-soloing, he philosophized about the freedom from cumbersome protective gear. He waxed about feeling at one with nature. It was a rush, other-worldly, like a drug.

An amateur rock climber myself, I made no plans to try it. Too many times, I had “popped off the rock” — insider lingo for losing your grip — and been saved by the combination of harness, rope, anchor and belay.

After years of feeding off the intoxicating sensation of brushing with death, Bachar fell fatally in July of 2009. Many other proponents of this extreme sport have similarly died. It would appear foolhardy to shun safety while scaling 100- and 1000-foot rock walls only for bragging rights.

Not only do I use ropes, I also go to church. I see in this body of believers a safeguard. The day I come crashing down, I have brothers and sisters to bear me up. I’m always “on belay.” (I personally am incredibly prone to crashing down.)

Others prefer to unencumber themselves of the church, to go it alone in life. It may feel restrictive, but that same restrictiveness is a safety.

Punk-turned-pastor Steven Ferandez took over my church in Guatemala

Diane, Steve, with Stetson and Faith

By Hanna Jones, LCA sophomore

SANTA MONICA – Actually, it was a moment of great personal pride when police officers handcuffed and arrested Steven Fernandez out of his University High School classroom. All his classmates would fear him even more. At 15 years of age, he was a full-fledged thug.

Pastor George Neos who made such an impact in Pastor Steven’s life. He’s with his wife, Bethany, and son.

After getting out of juvenile hall on counts of armed robbery and vandalism, he had a hard time finding a school to enroll. His grandfather, a born-again Christian, was given responsibility for Steven by the court and enrolled him at Lighthouse Christian Academy, a ministry of the Lighthouse Church.

He hated it.

Bristling at just about any authority, Steven hated then-principal George Neos. Seething with street rage but lacking street smarts, he threatened the principal. A hulking 280-pound behemoth from Dartmouth University’s national winning football team, Neos just chuckled.

Once, Fernandez jumped on Neos’ back and grappled his neck in a chokehold. But Neos just whisked him off his back and slammed his body against the wall. (Such non-standard academic occurrences have not been seen since at LCA.)

Eventually, Neos’s tough love broke through. At the same time as being a principal, Neos was a pioneer pastor and invited Steven to his church. He even let the repentant street hoodlum stay overnight in his house. Steven became a Christian and began to turn his life around.

Diane and Steve were announced in June at the Tucson Door Christian Center Bible conference

Out of high school, he married a Bible study leader and headed up the Lighthouse Church’s Thrift Store, an evangelism disguised as retail. He learned to smile.

Now, with two children – Faith and Stetson, he has taken the plunge into ministry. Ordained a pastor in June 2012, Steven is now assisting in the Guatemalan church pioneered for 16 years by Lighthouse son, Mike Ashcraft, who now teaches at LCA. Guatemalan Pastor Ludving Navarro needed some help since his wife is due for a hernia operation in coming weeks.

“The challenges just keep getting bigger,” Steven said. “But I never forget where I came from and how I very likely would have died, had not God intervened. Moving forward is easier when you remember where you came from.”

_________

This article first appeared on LCA’s website: http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com

 

Have a pie-ous holiday season

Actually, I love Thanksgiving. It’s the one holiday where you gorge until you think you’re going to pop.

At my church, they were talking about growing in pie-ity. I was real interested in this. I’m going to ask Mom if in addition to pumpkin pie and apple pie if we can have chocolate cream and cherry pies. That would be a good way to become more pie-ous Christians.

No, this is not me, Manuel. But I certainly can relate to this guy. Thanks to my friends at the 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project for the photo.

They also talked about giving during this time. So after I’m done eating all I can, I’m going to ask Dad if we can send the leftovers to the poor children of Africa. I think that would be a good way to show our thankfulness, giving away the leftovers.

Sometimes it’s real easy to forget all that God has given us. For example, if my parents relent and buy me Black Ops 2, then I’ll be really grateful. I might even praise God — if they buy it for me. I’m going to be on my best behavior.

I DO have a good attitude.

Pretty much everyone has been annoying me about my attitude. First let me say, there is nothing wrong with my attitude. Second, to prove to you all how appreciative I am, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I grated a whole block of cheese. So anyone can plainly see that I am “grate – full.”

Piano movers and piano players

Tex and Luis, after the blow to the nose.

A complete soccer team has its burly bruisers and its exquisite finesse players who can deliver a ball directly to the feet of a goal-scorer through a forest of opponents.

So Tex smashed Luis at high school practice today so hard that his nose bled out of both nostrils. I had to remind him to take out competitors, not teammates. Of course he did it unconsciously; without thinking the football player manifests.

A good soccer team is like the church. Everybody’s talents compliment and complete ministry in the church. No one’s is superior, nor inferior. We need people. Reaching out over the blogosphere is fabulous, but sometimes you need flesh and blood right nearby. I have prayed for other bloggers, but sometimes I need a church member to fix my washer. It is the combined effort that wins games.

It is the combination of so many different people that makes the church triumph over Satan. Surely, the church is guilty of so many crimes (judging others, drama, for example). I don’t like its ugly moments, but there’s nothing to take its place. Church is like marriage: detractors abound, but nothing better has every replaced it.

Letter to the Editor

A wimpy gifting

Pastor Charles was talking about how each Christian has at least one gift from God, and how we all need to use our gift to help out in the church. As I was listening to the sermon, I realized I must have the gift of criticizing.

The church really needs someone to whip everyone into shape, so immediately after the service I marched off to let Sister Winnie know that as the cleaning lady for the church, she was doing a very poor job. I pointed out a certain area that she had left dusty and disorganized from Saturday.

She broke out in tears, but no matter. I went off quickly to tell Elder Eli that his Sunday School teaching was particularly boring and that he ought to add more jokes into it. I turned my back on him eager to continue using my gifting from God. I found Walter and told him his tie did not go with his pants. Timothy was right there listening, so I finally told him that the way he laughs annoys a lot of people in church, and that he should learn how to laugh like a normal human being.

He turned red with anger, but, hey, the truth hurts, right? I was looking for Sister Martha to tell her to stop judging others when my dad caught up with me and pulled me out to the car by my arm. He gave a big lecture about not hurting people’s feelings. But I told him that I was just exercising my gifting. He was pretty mad at me.

So, here I am, trying to figure out where I went wrong. Boy, just when you try to do something right, everyone doesn’t know how to appreciate you. Here’s what I say: A prophet is not without honor except in his own household.

Need a confidence booster?

Midfielder Gerrard

Comeback king Steven Gerrard rated himself a modest 6 out of 10 before facing Sweden in a friendly. He was lauded for humility.

By contrast, Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic boasted he’s a 10 and then backed it up with a mind-boggling overhead kick from an acute angle that has gawkers jabbering about “best ever in history.”

from 30 yards

Nobody downgrades Gerrard, who got his 100th cap for England, but his performance was lackluster. And nobody is criticizing Ibrahimovic’s behemoth ego after his astonishing performance.

I never believed in myself because there wasn’t really anybody around me as a kid who believed in me. My self confidence bloomed late, starting in college. Just for me to accept the challenge to pioneer a church in Guatemala was a huge step of self confidence/ confidence in God.

Get around people who will build you up, not tear you down. Hopefully, you can find such people at a church. People who tear others down are insecure themselves; they feel better about themselves cutting you down.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another — Pr. 27:17 NIV.

This is one of the uses of the church, that like-minded believers would encourage you and share talents and attitudes with you to make you better. Ideally this support network is a far cry from the hypocritical society painted by many.

We live in an age when growing droves are leaving the church. Has it lost its relevancy? Pundits may prattle, but reform, not replacement, may be the order of the day.

DELAYED ANSWERED PRAYERS MAY BE DUE TO SPIRITUAL WARFARE SO YOU MUST PERSEVERE!

Originally posted on weepingintodancing:


Prayer is a wonderful gift. At the drop of a hat we can be standing in the throne room of God. He is never going to put us on call waiting. He hears our cries immediately. He may not answer our prayers in OUR time but they will be answered, one way or another.

We need to remember there is spiritual warfare affecting us at times. Prayers can be delayed. Don’t forget to pray for a hedge of protection around you or those you love.

Daniel 10:10-13
A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since…

View original 86 more words

Impact God

Aphrodite doted on Paris for his beauty. Zeus loved Hector for his courage. God is a glaring contrast to the chaos of the Greek pantheon. When He declares Himself “holy,” He is saying He is different. “I am NOT similar to false gods.”

So what does God like? He likes FAITH. From Abraham to Daniel, He gets excited about people who believe Him. The problem with the Israelites in the desert was NOT their whining so much as their lack of faith.

You won’t hardly find Jesus marveling over someone’s personal uprightness. Nor their “sound interpretation of scripture.” Nor their “acts of righteousness.” Over and over, Jesus admires just one thing: faith.

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. — Matt. 8:10 NIV.

Publicists teach how in marketing to impact. But what impacts God? Stand-out faith. He is drawn to it. He searches for it. He responds to it. He gets disgusted when He can’t find it.

In the verse above, a Roman gentile — despised by the Jews — garners the open admiration of the Jews’ Jew, Jesus. The gentile — supposedly an outsider to the business of God — earns higher marks than the insider, simply because of faith.

It’s easy to NOT believe. When you pray for finances for your ministry, stir yourself to stand-out faith.

The hardest thing

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the Unite...

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945.

The easiest thing is to quit.

It requires no courage, no effort, no optimism, no reassessment, no analysis, no second attempt, no positive enthusiasm, no uphill battle.

My soccer team practiced on the beach

So much of Europe just surrendered as Nazi tanks rolled in. They didn’t even try to fight for their homeland. But England was whipped into resistance by Winston Churchill. He said: Never, never, never, never, never give up! He promised the Nazis war by air, war by sea, war by land — on the beaches, over the plains, in the forests, in the cities, room by room, if need by, until the last Nazi fell or withdrew.

I coach a high school soccer team. We are small school, so there’s no talent pool. A few are good, another few are athletic, some are total beginners. We go up against some really good teams. Last season, a typical loss was 10-1. This season, some players have already decided that we have lost.

If you KNOW that you are going to lose even before your feet touch the field, then you WILL fulfill your own prophecy. No wonder some of the kids goof-off at practice, crack jokes and skip training. It’s all pointless, anyhow, right?

I think David saw possibility where others saw only death. He wasn’t afraid to take on a 9-foot tall giant named Goliath. And he took him out.

Quitting may be easy. But it provides no reward, no satisfaction, no triumphalism, no heroics, no solace, no hope, no joy. There’s nothing better than winning by upset. To get that, you have to believe in yourself.

Struggling Develops Strength

MustardSeedBudget.wordpress.com:

There are people I know who need to read this!

Originally posted on blog:

Excellent perspective to get us through hard times.

View original

Setback? Step forward!

Why do they call it a “setback” if in reality is a necessary step to move forward?

The king of setback is of course Joseph. He dreams of greatness and leadership. Instead, he narrowly escapes death and winds up a slave. If that weren’t bad enough, he then is thrown into prison. He spends some 20 years in forced labor and then as a convict.

But the dude never stops dreaming. In fact, he interprets dreams. Overnight, he’s freed from jail and set upon a throne second only to Pharoah. He orchestrates a seven year famine survival for nations and brings the fledgling nation of Israel down the the Egyptian incubator. Four hundreds years later, they’re a few million, ready to take possession of the Promised Land.

Every step was necessary. Any one of them could have caused moaning. Discouragement could have overpowered the poor kid’s heart. But Joseph maintained perspective! They shackled his hands but never his heart.

Don’t despair with today’s setbacks. In reality, they are steps towards tomorrow’s successes.

Silence Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Golden

Originally posted on Thoughts on Theatre:

View original

Whadda we need missions for anyway??

I don’t see why we have to do missions. I mean, isn’t God in control of everything anyway? So He can take care of giving those people the gospel. I’ve learned He’s sovereign. That’s a big fancy word which means He does whatever He wants and nobody can stop him.

And while I’m wondering, why do we have to evangelize? People can see a Bible any time they want to. Even if they don’t have one at home, when they go to a hotel, they can always find a copy in the drawer. So it’s their problem if they don’t read it.

Our church just sent Pablo and Frieda to the foreign field, and I’m pretty sore. I’m going to miss them. Pablo was a young adult that I really liked, a cool guy who led youth group. He would always talk to me and be friendly. Who cares about the foreigners who don’t have Jesus? That’s their problem. This is not to mention all the money that will be spent over there. It’s a waste.

Veteran’s day reminders

Originally posted on Just Cruisin 2:

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. A day to honor
those of us who have served, or are serving
in our military. Thank you for keeping
us free, and Happy Birthday to the Marine
Corps.

We will mention just two things in this
post and close with a quote. While these
two things may not be important to you,
they are very important to us.

The first concerns those of us who fly
the flag at our homes. On Veteran’s Day
the flag should be flown at half-staff
until noon.

If you have a fixed pole, you can put
a black ribbon above the flag but below
the finial. The ribbon should not be
more than 10% as wide as the flag, and
twice as long as the flag.

It should be tied in the center with a
bow so the two resulting parts hang down
as long as the flag.

And…

View original 201 more words

Most offensive political cartoon yet

Originally posted on The Closet Pundit:

The LAMEST of our generation are the Christians who continue this type of political bashing on Facebook.  Way to go guys – you’re doing a great job of showing Christ in you to those who aren’t saved.  I’m sure they’re all lining up at churches around the country so they can be Just Like You.

View original

Thanks to all who served

Originally posted on bluebird of bitterness:

View original

The BIGGEST EVER next big thing

The biggest ever NEXT BIG THING rocked the market with its appearance 2,000 years  ago. This teknon, this logos, totally revolutionized the world, and there has been no turning back. Consumers rushed to get it, but because retailers refused it, they snapped it up mostly on the black market.

Then as unexpectedly as it appeared, the phenomenon died — though only for three days. When it came back, it exploded with unprecedented growth. Jealously guarding their monopolies, competitors unleashed law, courts and mafia-like hardball to successfully drive it underground. Still it prospered.

The old systems were hopelessly outmoded. Who would want to limit himself to the mainframe in Jerusalem when now anyone, anywhere, anytime could have immediate and personal access?

It made forgiveness of sin just too easy. Who would want to sacrifice an animal for every stinking sin? Inferior models were even subsequently offered, but who wanted them? They actually made forgiveness harder to attain.

This big thing had free apps that weren’t advertised. Not only did consumers get Heaven, they also discovered it brought abundant life. Forget about talking to Siri; you could now talk to God. As for directions, it helped you navigate the quickest route to happiness. It had an app for a satisfying marriage, a joy-filled life, a purposefulness, wisdom. Better than social media, it brought you live friends (in the church), people who liked YOU, not just your posting or your tweet.

Do you remember this next big thing? It was Jesus. And He has never been replaced by a newer big thing. He is still just as good as 2,000 years ago. You won’t find Him at the Apple store. You’ll find Him in a simple prayer of opening your heart to Him.

People do that

MustardSeedBudget.wordpress.com:

This applies to me. Maybe it will encourage you!

Originally posted on Hello World! :

Too-many-people-undervalue-overvalue--large-msg-133268730164_large

View original

From a literature fanatic’s perspective

I loathe bad books. I drop them if the first paragraph is bad. On the other hand, I can re-read a good book seven times. I ponder it, extract its life’s lessons and determine to be a better person. I marvel at ambiguity, subtlety and irony, not infantile didacticism.

My 10th grade lit class just finished Heart of Darkness. The poor kids struggled through, but by the end, the light went on, and I hope they are better persons for it. The other grade read Ender’s Game, an easy book but also with some powerful truths. So far this year, the kids have studied Romeo & Juliet and Homer.

But there is one book whose literature remains unequaled. If Shakespeare is the uncontested king of English literature, this book is the universal emperor. It is the Bible.

You can re-read it all your life, and it will never lack depth. It will never cease to spout truths about human nature. It doesn’t gloss heroes’ despicable lapses. It belongs to the realism genre. It belongs to most every genre. Every classical author alludes to it, detractors feel the need to discredit it — and that’s not bad because on-going research eventually answers their criticism and shores up its validity. Attacking the Bible is flattery.

The worst thing you could do is ignore it.

Repressive regimes ban it. We have a free society (thank God!). We can freely read it without the government looking over our shoulder. While others long to pry open its pages, we leave — it would seem — long to conform to repression. We leave them shut.

In addition to  holding keys to wisdom, this book also holds the key to eternal life. Thank you for reading my blog! Won’t you take a moment to read God’s blog (the Bible)?

Originally posted on Two-Minute Tune-Up:

It is not just an emotion.

It is not just a state of mind.

It is not just meaningless dreaming.

Hope  is a game-changing, power-building life-force that hovers around and lurks within our grasp at any and every (even devastatingly discouraging) moment…especially when the air is knocked out of our dreams, the floor falls out under us, or the darkness descends upon our light.

When we look ahead with hope, we join the ranks of the brave men and women who have refused to give up, who have fought until death, who lived without self-pity, and died without regret.

View original

Originally posted on TRUE Strength:

The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You
were made for greatness. – Pope Benedict XVI.

Be great – TRUE Strength

View original

The darker it gets, the clearer the Light becomes

Today I’m filled with buoyancy. The Gospel is now going to advance more than ever because apparently it is receding.

Our nation is becoming darker. Every day, there is more sin: the murder of babies, sexual sin, legalization of drug use, etc. But instead of bemoaning this “decline,” I rejoice. The

What’s the message of this pot? People need this message!

deeper into sin people get, the more desperate they become for answer to the anguish of their souls.

So, let us Christians pray and not whine. Let us outreach. Let us purify our message, eliminating hate. Let’s show love to homosexuals; after all, they are just sinners like the rest of us, not any worse than me and just as needy. Let’s stop being Pharisees condemning to Hell a world crying out for God’s love. Let’s stop trying to legislate morality and show people a better path with our testimonies.

We are on the brink of great revival. Do not blog doom and gloom. Bend your knees and pray. Go on outreach. Hug a sinner. Invite him to coffee. Talk to him and show him he’s a human being.

Allison has some interesting points to weigh in on the question of God

Proof of God and The Bible

November 6, 2012 by There’s a frog on my Sprocket!

I have a friend who once compared my belief in God to someone believing in leprechauns. The catch is if I did in fact believe in leprechauns I don’t think he would have spent much time trying to convince me they don’t exist. However, he did spend a lot of time trying to tell me why there wasn’t a God.

I think the difference is that leprechauns don’t threaten how he defines himself. The catch is that as a Christian, even though I didn’t agree with his view that God did not exist, I accepted and loved him as Christ instructs us to do. I really never tried to change him, yet he always wanted to change me. I don’t assume all atheists to be this way but in this case it was baffling.

He asked, why someone so logical, as he viewed me to be, could believe in something so ridiculous. My reply was as follows.

When I was young and my sister disappeared I was baffled for a while. If their was a God,I thought, why would He let this happen? As I got older this was sometimes replaced with anger at Him. The fact that I was angry at God confirmed His existence. Some of this study was inspired by a man who helped a dear friend of mine. I shared this originally with him when I thought he may have needed it most. I hope I repaid a little of what he gave me and my friend.

These are various pictures from her blog.

But for me being angry at Him simply wasn’t enough. Like almost everything that I’m not sure of, when I reached an age where I could understand I study the facts. No real historian debates the fact that Jesus walked the Earth and taught the teachings of The Bible. Now, some say he was just ‘a good man’. To that I wondered, if Jesus is just a good man then He lied. Because when the apostles asked he declared He was the Messiah. (I could quote the scripture but that’s not the point) And in my opinion good men don’t lie. So that theory doesn’t hold water to me.

So, if he wasn’t lying then he was crazy. But crazy men don’t make such great points and instruct men to lead such valid lives. Also his teachings are inspirational, thought out, loving and without flaw. Not the rumblings of a mad man.

If Jesus wasn’t mad and wasn’t lying then He is The Son of God as He declared. The whole water to wine, healing the blind, walking on water and raising the dead kinda proves this. Now, you may say there is no proof He did those things.

Well I looked into that as well. The first four books of the New Testament are personal accounts of the life of Jesus. The men who witnessed the events of His days on Earth claim all these events and much more to be true. Of course they could, all eleven and Paul be complete liars.

I examined that notion as well. How many people do you know who would or have died for a lie. Well a few have I’m sure but did they know it was a lie? Since the apostles claim to have seen the life of Jesus first hand, then if their accounts are lies, well they would have known it. So, eleven men died deaths such as being stoned, run through with a sword and being crucified upside down because they stuck to a lie? I’m to sensible to believe that notion.

Of course they could all be crazy. So twelve crazy guys following another crazy man all saw the same hallucinations and then somehow sensibly recorded them tying them perfectly into the accounts told be the prophets of the old testimony. That I simply can’t buy.

All of this leads me to the only conclusion that I can logically come to. Jesus was born did walk the Earth and do the things the apostles tell of. He couldn’t possibly be simply a good man or prophet, for by His own account that makes Him a liar. As I said He said He was The Messiah. The Bible is accurate because men died horrible deaths because they refused to deny what they witnessed.

In the end Jesus being the Son of God leads to only one possible conclusion, for Him to have a Son, He has to exist. Thus, I know there is a God. There is as much proof of God as their is of Alexander The Great and Kahn and Helen of Troy.

There is a lot about religion that I don’t know. There is a lot I’m not sure of. But I have no doubt that Jesus is Christ.
*** MustardSeedBudget’s note: Allison’s perspective is especially noteworthy when one takes into account that her sister, mentioned here, was either kidnapped or ran away from home, causing traumatic grief to the family. Her life experience gives added credibility to her arguments.

Daniel’s secret

Anybody who attains wild success these days, writes a book and explains the “secret.”

The Prophet Daniel was second in power in the Persian empire, trusted like no other counselor. More than just competent administration drove him to the top. His secret was prayer.

Three times a day, he neglected his insanely busy schedule to make time for God. This is an important reminder to us Christians who are trying to advance the kingdom of God. A recent survey found pastors pray on average only seven minutes a day.

King David, likewise, sought God’s face as a #1 priority. When he failed to do so, he fell into

sin. Christ also needed time alone with God. The busier they were, the more the Biblical heroes found time to pray.

This is difficult because it is counter-intuitive, especially here in America, where we are barraged by the message that time (working time) is money. Make (more) time for God today.

 

Atheists ought to chill out

Why are you so obsessed? If there is no God, why do you attack Him so vigorously? In essence, you are dealing blows to nothingness.

I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. And I don’t waste my time trying to discredit her. She simply doesn’t exist. I don’t care if someone believes in her. I suppose if someone affirmed her reality, I would be amused. But I wouldn’t get mad.

It makes no sense to shoot darts at  “nothing.” Really, it smacks of personal vendetta. Something bad happened to you in life, so you exact revenge on God by energetically denying his existence. Do you also kick the door when it closes on you? No one ever launched a military assault on empty space.

In reality, your vitriol, your fetish, only legitimizes God. If there were nothing to antagonize, everybody would go home and leave alone.

You don’t bother me at all. I just wonder at you.

 

The ‘screwed generation’

Millennials

That’s what Newsweek called millennials in July. It’s makes me sick.

The premise is all wrong.  Millennials — the latest generation — are NOT going to achieve the home or lifestyle of their parents. For the first time since WW2, a shrinking middle classmeans kids won’t exceed

Hey! Wipe that smile off your face! Newsweek says you can’t be happy!

previous generations in material wealth.

So they’re screwed, Newsweek says. As if money were the key to happiness.

Why does no one question the premise??? Money is NOT the key to happiness. We can be happier than

That’s much better! Cry for less money!

our parents with less money. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.

The artist is happy, though nearly starving, because she does what she loves. The humble blogger is happy, though not a famous author, because he does what he loves. Happiness derives from family, from marriage, from a

Ok, seriously, go ahead and enjoy life.

satisfying usefulness in life, from a passion pursued. But the media hammers incessantly that bucks bring joy. There have been millions of miserable millionaires.

Do what you love and don’t buy the line that you should be unhappy just because you have less. It’s baloney!

The Master said: Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions — Luke 12:15 NIV.

Christians are the bad guys now

This is me! I’m with Andres in Guatemala. (From some people’s reaction, you’d think I were Ben Ladin’s successor!)

Whoa! That was creepy!

I was handing out invitations at a park to our Miracle Healing Crusade. Somebody cut me with biting words: “I don’t believe in that nonsense! You’d better not hand those out to the kids. Mine are playing here.” (I wasn’t giving them to kids.)

From his harshness,

Let’s protect our children (from the “evils” of Christianity?)

you’d think I was passing out the first hit. For corruption of minors, I would soon be arrested. The First Amendment had been suspended. The reaction of some makes you feel like Mara Salvatrucha. “Steer clear of that man, Johnny! That’s a bad man!”

Has American come to this?

(Admittedly, Santa Monica and West L.A. are extremely liberal and anti-God.) It used to be that the

Maybe what people don’t like is that Christianity is a straight and narrow path. Photos thanks to First Touch Earth.

Christians were the good people on earth! Now, are we the evil ones?

My pastor was healed of leukemia a few years back. If you don’t think we’re the scum of the earth, you’re welcome to come to the Santa Monica Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Nov.10. It’s worth a shot, especially if you’re terminal or chronic. The “nonsense” might work. You’d be surprised.

If you think we’re Hitler, forgive us.

Sock water

They call it sock water. The idea is that the Guatemalans make coffee so weak that it approximates the post-laundry runoff.

I like STRONG coffee, you know, the kind that approximates black ink. When I sip a cup, I want it to feel like

Don’t want no weak coffee

heavyweight punch. My body pulsates, my mind sharpens, the spoon dissolves, the aroma causes furniture to levitate.

Strong coffee has saved my marriage! Without it, I mumble and grunt to my wife. With it, I am a chatterbox! She likes to talk with me. She doesn’t like a Neanderthal grunter husband.

Are your prayers STRONG or weak?

Oh yeah!

Don’t get me wrong. Some prayer is better than no prayer. And I’m not quite ready to say God prefers espressos. But maybe your prayers, honestly, are more unfeeling religious duty without much zing. Distill the caffeine jolt of faith!

If you like weak coffee, don’t be offended. The comparison is meant to encourage better

May the froth be with you!

praying, not insult your tastes! Cheers! Drink up!

Cookie philosophy

Those cookies were so delicious that I, a UCLA undergrad, wanted the whole bag for myself. But as I hoarded and ate, I realized the Diddy Riese cookies from Westwood just weren’t so good all by myself. They were much tastier if I ate them (shared them) with another person. Selfishness and greed ruined the treat.

Cookies are the vehicle to philosophy??? What is true of cookies is true of finances, of everything you have. When you share with meaningful people, when you share with a meaningful cause, it makes your life much more pleasurable. The reason why Scrooge is such a powerful persona is because he resonates with so many people.

Share today! Don’t wait for the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to visit you. Break out the stash of cookies and spread around the happiness. Whatever your wealth, whatever your talent, it will be tastier to you if it is shared.

 

Within reach

After years of excessive fasting and heroic service to humanity, Gandhi agonized over his “fleshliness.” Achieving nirvana is virtually unattainable in Hinduism.

In Islam, you can never know if you have pleased Allah enough to make paradise. In Buddhism, you have to approximate monasticism.

And by contrast, in Christianity, God plops the answer right down in your lap. That’s because we are made holy not by anything we do but rather by what Christ do on the cross for us. This does not mean we flout righteousness. It only means that God has built over the chasm separating humanity from the Divine.

So answers to prayer do not require accompanying works of righteousness. You don’t need burn candles or crawl on your knees painfully over the cement plaza. You don’t need “vain repetitions” that “pagan use because they think that only that way can they be heard” (Matt. 6:7). You may fast while praying but should not think you won’t be heard if you only pray and don’t fast.

All you need is faith.

If an answer to prayer does not come immediately, assume that God is working patience in you. Do NOT assume you have to perform “works of righteousness” to turn God’s frown into a smile.

In Christianity when you pray, the answer is within reach — unlike any other religion. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24 NIV (caps mine).

Undiminishable riches

I LOVE this photo!

A theologian said God’s resources are so unimaginably vast that no matter how much you take, you cannot in the least reduce the sum of them.

So when God says “no,” it is NOT because He doesn’t have. It may be the request is bad (like a baby who demands more ice cream than is good for him: “I WANT!”). Or it may

Step up your ministry today — through prayer. (Thank you to whomever I stole this photo from. I forgot who you are to give you credit. You have awesome photos!)

be that His “no” is really “wait.” God wants to build patience and character in us, so He doesn’t respond instantly.

Jesus is unflinchingly unequivocal: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you – Matt. 7:7 NIV. A resounding “yes!” will greet every request. But He doesn’t say when.

I track the success rate of my prayer requests. Sometimes I downright dumbfounded: everything I asked for. I asked for more students in the school where I teach, and He answered. I asked for finances f

Add some bite to your effectiveness! Pray!

or my church, and He answered. I asked for a certain troubled youth to come around to Jesus, and He answered.

You may think prayer is for grannies who have nothing better to do. I think prayer is greater efficiency than spinning your wheels in sand. At your disposal is unlimited wealth. You can only exploit it by praying.