Tag Archives: pain

Short Reflections On The Nature Of God

What is the nature of God?
What is the nature of God?

It can be said that it is easier to accurately define and completely understand the concept of infinite that to even begin to comprehend God. Something I have wondered about for quite some time is how did God decide what the 10 Commandments were to consist of? Did He arbitrarily decide that these 10 rules were the ones He’d support? Are they so practical because He said so? If so, even despite their correctness and practicality in practice, their necessesity in all productive human interaction, they’re still arbitrary, and it would seem that God is cheaper than He really is. But God is not arbitrary. Just as He gives purpose to everything and everyone, He Himself embodies purpose. For us it is His will that guides our purpose, for Him, there is no higher being to guide His purpose. He is self-contained, unneeding. Instead it is His nature that defines His purpose. God is truthful, therefore we ought not lie. God does not covet (though, arguably He has nothing to covet, all things belong to Him, and anything existing apart from Him is against His nature), therefore we ought not covet. The 10 Commandments are Gods best portrait of Himself in the form of His basic will for us. God’s attributes are to be our goals.

Nothing true can contradict the nature of God. This is the most powerful argument we have against falsehood in the church and among believers. If it is against the nature of God, it is not true. And the admonition that we dwell on whatever things are true takes on a whole new meaning.

God is jealous. He can bear no equals, whether percieved or actual. God does not accept any sin in any form, no matter the reason. Men can only see the outside, the physical manifestations, the actions. But God knows the hearts of all mankind, He judges intentions. This is both a relief and a burden. There are actions that are misunderstood and maligned, causing pain and suffering to the actors, but which stem faithfully from correct intentions. There are actions hailed as heroic, but which stem from motives unpure, capricious at best and malicious at worst. God is the Just Judge and He will determine the reward or punishment.

Voltaire said: “It took 12 men to start Christianity, and one will destroy it.” He was referring to himself. God replies: “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. (1 Peter 1:24-25 NASB)” And Voltaire died, and Christianity continues.

Why is the battle so fiercely arrayed against the Christian standing firm in their convictions, faith, and belief? Because we have the Word, Christ in us, and “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)”

Have We Forgotten?

With the elections of November 2006, the overall victorious party, the Democrats, claimed they’d been given a “mandate” regarding many issues, particularly the War on Terror. They claim the American people have spoken and that the only allowable course now is withdrawal and defeat. Though they speak specifically of the Iraqi War, their master policy is reflective of their general disenchantment with the whole war against terror. This belief in a “mandate”, the word du jour for giving credence to the questionably credible, does seem to be born out by the recent polls, as reported on CNN and the BBC, showing 2/3 of Americans don’t see a good plan for winning the War in Iraq.

While it is only barely debatable that the Iraq War is not going the way we’d hoped, not even complete failure is a viable reason for ever giving up, especially in this war where it is our homes, families, businesses, our way of life, and our lives themselves which are at stake. After all, this war began, at least this current phase, with the enemy attaching us, on our turf, killing our husbands and wives, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, innocents all. Even many jihadists agree that non-combatants, civilians, and innocents are off-limits to any kind of attack. But attacked we were, and though it has now been several years since that attack we vowed we’d never forget, it was neither the first nor will it be the last, the danger is little abated. Is there then reason for throwing up our hands collectively, defeated?

Liberals would say emphatically “Yes!”

The current strategy, according to liberals, is not working, and therefore we must tuck tail and run. Defeatism leading to disengagement, with the ultimate goal of isolationism. An island we will be, literally and figuratively. And we having cried “uncle,” the rabid dogs hounding us around the world will allow us a gracious defeat and will let us be, alone. A final Vietnam this will be, America will no longer find the will to project itself and then indeed others will take the reins of power in the world. Except for several things, but first: Where in our governing documents and illustrious history do we the people determine the minutiae of war policy?

We expressly give the President power to direct and wage war as necessary and as he sees fit to protect our interests. This is, in part, why it is so very important that there be people of Character in high office leading this great nation. There cannot be a part-time person of character, for if at the first change of wind that person reassesses and changes their position, they are not truly a person of character. President Bush, for all anybodies disagreements with him personally and politically, has not changed course. He has stated his goal simply: to defeat terrorism whenever and wherever it is found, and has not changed. Whether agreeing with him or not, one can know what President Bush will continue to do. And the job is not finished. Far from it. The very fact of our experiencing difficulties in Iraq should be cause for us to redouble our efforts, reaffirming the need for such a battle now, before it is too late. And resolving to continue the fight we did not start in order to destroy the enemy who would destroy us.

For that is their goal whether we leave or not. The militant, radical, extremist Muslims, or Islamo-Nazis or Islamo-Facists, who began this war have a very public goal which they are not loath to tell, yet which we seem to have forgotten, it would seem. That goal is shouted by radical Imams (preachers or prayer leaders) and written officially as Fatwahs (edicts) and published to their adherents around the globe. America is the Great Satan and it and other nations which do not submit to their extreme Islamic theology, philosophy, and government must be destroyed, period. For them there is no discussion, no arguing the points and possibilities of peaceful coexistance. If we give up in Iraq and the other fronts of the War on Terror we are signing our own, our childrens’, and out entire futures’ death warrants. They will be utterly defeated or they will rule the world, there is no third option for them, and therefore there isn’t for us either.

So then, the only choice for us must be to continue to face them in classic American projectionism. To battle evil is the calling and constant duty of the good. Evil at different times and places takes different faces. Consider the World Wars of the last century. What if we’d given up because too many were dying? What if we’d accepted defeat at the hands of the Nazis? It is likely all of Europe would be enslaved to this day by them or another despotic regime along with most or all of Africa and the East. Prior to our engagement in that war it was the Republican Party arguing for isolationism against engagement, just to show how times and ideas change.

Just as in the World Wars, others are depending, both admittedly and unadmittedly, on our success. The United Kingdom continues to be our staunchest ally, showing classic British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh pluck and courage and an indomitable spirit. Mr. Blair has perhaps been more eloquent in his defence of the War and has used his bully pulpit more often explaining the rationale for our continued involvement in this fight than President Bush. Spain has given up after suffering great pain and loss of its own on its own shores. Instead of steeling its resolve as the London Train Bombings did for the United Kingdom, Spains’ Madrid Train Bombings broke the resolve of Castilla. Regardless of the allies individual or collective spines, though, if we fail, Spain will once again become a Moorish conquest, and this will not be an Islamic Kingdom such as that of the Moors of old who valued art and learning and to whom we owe a great debt for their careful preservation and translation of many priceless works of knowledge and beauty.

So if America were indeed to falter and fail, and retreat within its borders, who would then take the lead in the world? Who has the strength and ability, and more importantly the moral fiber and the national will?

There are few countries indeed who do not have the desire to lead the world the way America has led. The relevant question really is not would they, but could they and should they. The UK has perhaps the nearest moral fiber (nationally) to America. Willing to take unpopular stands around the world in what they see as preservation of good. However, by size they are physically unable to produce enough to lead economically. A leading nation must be able to produce enough to be nearly self-sufficient if necessary. They must be an economic powerhouse challenging all others to give it weight enough for it’s word to mean something. The European Union has shown it does not have the moral fiber to stand against evil at crucial times. Like the UN, when it comes to actual meaningful action, the EU is hampered by it’s own universality, someone is always involved with the enemy and therefore no one can do what must be done. Further, being based on “old-world” economies, it does not produce or consume enough, even collectively, to give it’s word weight beyond it’s member n ations.

In Asia, both China and India have the size, and economic and political/military might and/or potential. However, China is hampered by an immoral, communist quasi-dictatorship, and even if democracy or some less greedily repressive and philosophically backward form of government than comunism were to take over immediately, the people would not soon be ready for world domination and protection. India perhaps has the best chance of becoming a or the world dominant nation, post America, but even they suffer under a socially restrictive religion, social order, and government.

African and South American nations suffer almost universally under corrupt, despotic governments and appear too busy enriching their own upper crusts illegitimately to worry too much about their being the trailing end of the nations of the world. Russia seems unable to throw off cronyism and corruption in business or the siren song of a communist government.

Those nations among our allies in the Middle East have their hands much too full trying to set their houses in order without offending any of their geographical or theological brethren, and many of them officially support ideologies as destructive and evil as any of their more violent neighbors who we’re now in struggle against

So that leaves America. Oh, and not to offend anybody, but who’s heard anything out of our northern neighbor Canada recently? I’m told it’s a beautiful place and the people there are special and nice and kind, but they appear to be content, in a global perspective, being frosting, a whole lot of white stuff, on top of the United States. That and trying to win the title “More Socialist Than France While Still Drinking Beer (Wine Is For Sissies).” So here we are, the lone strongman holdout against the encroaching darkness, to whom all others cling. Some more grudgingly than others. But this is what we are fighting for, the whole world. This is the responsibility that comes with being the nice big kid on the block: We have to face every bully. And if we don’t win, this particularly bully is a rapist.

Priorities Of Preservation

There is a push today to limit human suffering, to prevent any pain from occurring at all. This cringing drive is so rabid that a father sues his daughters’ school when she is stung by a bee on the school yard. There are schools refusing to allow recess, there are schools sanitizing their play equipment, removing anything which may remotely cause any risk. The schools don’t have a choice, the parents will sue them out of existence if their children encounter the slightest discomfort.

This issue here is contained in the fundamental difference in perspective cause by a proper understanding of mans inherent value before a creator God. A humanist will not

Compare this to the lifestyle lived by many Christians seeking to save the soul and the mind. In God’s design the body is temporary, it dies, but the soul is immortal, it is freed from the body by death and lives forever. To a Christian, more important than the body is the soul. A Christian may be called to give up their life, literally or figuratively, to save peoples’ souls. A Christian does not discount the value of a body. You find Christians at the forefront of most of the humanitarian efforts around the world, seeking to protect the bodies of millions of human lives, regardless of whether or not those being protected are Christian or not. The Christian seeks to preserve the body because under God we are all equally valuable, and because the body is the corporeal home of a soul which either needs saving or has a life to live and purposes yet to accomplish.

The world seeks to preserve the body, while summarily dismissing the mind, allowing anything whatsoever to creep its way into the receptive, untrained recesses. And even then they desire to allow anything we want to be used on our body, so long as we do the choosing. We can choose abortion, we can choose drugs, we can choose tattoos, just so long as we do the choosing. It is a matter of control. God is God, He holds choice in His hands. He allows us to choose all the time, but there are many times He chooses for us,for His glory, for our good. Mankind does not want God to choose for us. All of nature are God’s tools, and He wields Nature for the furthering of His plans. As we seek to limit the influence of God over our lives we will find Nature rising up and thwarting our plans, exerting His control over us.

I love butterflies. I have lots of experience with butterflies. I worked over the course of 2 or 3 consecutive summers for a local butterfly farm in my home town. We bred and raised monarch butterflies and sold them for weddings funerals, graduations, research, etc… There is a crucial stage of every butterflies development when the caterpillar has grown to the right maturity level it crawls to the underside of the leaf in the wild or our special rearing containers in the lab and in a weird jerking dance encloses itself in a chrysalis. The caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis, a fundamental change in it’s very nature and emerges and beautiful and brilliant butterfly. The escape from the chrysalis is one of the most important passages in its brief life. Without this struggle the butterfly will die. With the metamorphosis complete the chrysalis turns transparent and the orange and black wings are scrunched against the body in the little space left by the bulging abdomen of the butterfly. The butterfly braces itself against the chrysalis wall and pushes until the skin of the chrysalis breaks at the butterflies shoulders. The butterfly pulls itself with great difficulty out of the chrysalis shell and hangs from it, pumping its wings slowly it pushes the fluids from it’s distended abdomen into its wings, inflating them slowly until they are stiff and straight.

If the butterfly were to fall too easily out of the chrysalis, it would not have the strength to pump its wings full of the fluid. The stunted wings would hang limply in a bundle at the doomed insects side and it will die. There is not an option here. The butterfly either engages in an intense and painful struggle or it dies.

We as humans need pain and need struggles to grow many times. Pain and discomfort serve many purposes and there is no way I can explore all of them here. Pain can mean we’re human and we live in a physical world. It is a sensation, a feeling. A bee sting means that we offended a bee and he is willing to give his life in order to offend us a little. Pain can be a warning. A hot stove burns us and we are careful not to put out hands there again. Pain can be growth. The aches and pains of childhood as our bodies stretch to new and unfamiliar heights are not bad, but merely a sign that we’ll not be looking quite so far up at the rest of the world very much longer. Pain is not bad, it is an indicator, a sign.

And yet, in spite of the necessity and normalcy, the elite of our culture push for protection of the body. Control.

The Christian perspective is different. The soul and the mind are more important because they exist eternally. The body is just a temporary home.

Our Story, From Matthew’s Eyes

She was smart, beautiful and funny, and most of all, she loved God.

February 11, 2007: Sunday morning I walked into Sunday School with the other Young Adults at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church. It was my second week back after being gone just over two years in California.

I had met the church and felt at home and accepted and appreciated back in 2003, and with that knew that I was to relocate at least for a while to Chicago after spending a few more years at home. After spending just over 2 years back in California, I returned to Chicago at the end of January 2007 and thanks to the generosity of friends church family in the area I was putting down roots.

Little did I know where those roots would grow and how my life was to change. Soon.

Back to that Sunday, February 11th. In my visits back to Chicago while living in California, I’d met some new members of the Sunday School class, students at Moody Bible Institute who were able to drive out to the suburbs for Sunday services at Brainard. It was good to see these people again in addition to the regulars and long-timers.

The Moody students had brought friends this Sunday. One young lady, in her first semester at Moody, had been searching for a church she could feel at home at while attending school, had taken advantage of her friend’s extra car seats, and was visiting the church for the first time.

The quiet, beautiful girl did not return for a few weeks.

When she did visit Brainard again, I made a point of talking with her for a few minutes. Making her feel welcome, I told myself.

It began as a friendship, nothing special. But I quickly moved beyond an average interest in her.

This was a Godly woman, beautiful, caring, very loving. All that attracted me very intensely. I had to get to know her better.

And so I did. Grace visited family in Washington for spring break. I missed her those weeks she did not come to Brainard.

I had offered to drive students to church from Moody when they needed extra seats, and one beautiful spring day they took me up on the offer. Three students needed a ride and so I went out early Sunday morning to pick them up. Due to the beautiful weather, the two others decided they were going to ride a motorcycle out to church that day, leaving Grace to ride with me by herself. She was not exactly comfortable with this situation at the outset, being alone in a car with some guy she hardly knew. But it was that or miss church, and I’d already driven out, so to not make a scene, she got in the car.

We began talking and found we had similar standards and backgrounds, and we both liked country music.

That afternoon several of us spent the afternoon at my apartment eating lunch, playing games, listening to music, relaxing. Grace and I continued to talk and get to know each other. I drove her back to school too, and said goodbye.

Over that spring the associate pastor and his wife invited several college students over for extended times of fun and fellowship, watching movies and entertaining their young boys. Grace was able to take some time off studying to attend one of these, so I volunteered to pick her up from school and bring her out to the suburbs so she could spend time with us.

The other Moody students had come out earlier in the day and so again I was able to spend time just with Grace, getting to know her better.

We also spent a Saturday helping some other students move to an apartment off campus. While there were others around, I sought out Grace and helped her and asked her to help me in specific tasks. I was twitterpated. And I believe she knew I was possibly interested in more than friendship.

Our friendship continued to grow and as the semester drew to a close I was trying to decide if I should ask her if we could move into a potentially romantic relationship or talk to her dad first. Various things led me to decide to speak with her dad first, but as I drove her and a mutual friend to the airport that morning in early May I bit my tongue.

Our parting was awkward as our relationship was possibly changing and yet neither of us had mentioned it to each other. We parted with an awkward side hug and I drove to work while she winged her way home to Dallas.

Earlier in the semester she had given me her cell phone number but had informed me her phone was broken and so I had not called her. As she left for the summer, she left a few boxes of things which would not fit in the summer storage at Moody which I was to take to the associate pastor’s house for storage. The boxes had her home address.

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Louisville, Kentucky and trying to work up the courage to call her or her dad. I still wasn’t very sure of her interest in me and I feared rejection. So I decided to try and talk with her one more time, just to gauge her possible interest.

Leaving Louisville late Sunday afternoon for the long drive back to Chicago, I called her. I’d used the address on her boxes to look up her home phone number in the phone book online. And now the phone was ringing.

Her mother answered.

“Can I speak with Grace, please? This is Matthew, a friend from Chicago.”

The phone call and the trip went quickly, all 4 hours of both. And I had my answer. We still had not talked specifically of our relationship, but I knew that if it was that easy for both of us to spend 4 hours talking and with similarities between us in standards and beliefs, I knew I wanted to pursue this lady.

The next day I called her dad. I spoke to him on Tuesday and asked if I could begin courting his daughter.

Over the next few weeks he asked me questions regarding my views and opinions on various matters and eventually told me he and his wife would allow me to court Grace.

I was planning a trip down to Missouri by then to see her for a weekend. She was working at Child Evangelism Fellowship’s headquarters outside St. Louis.

June 15th, 2007: The Friday before I drove down to see her, when we were having what by then was a regular evening phone call, I told her I’d been talking to her parents about courting her (she knew that already) and I asked her if she was willing to court me.

She said yes.

Over the summer she traveled to New York to work with children in the projects and other parts of the city, returning to Missouri and then Dallas in August, where I spent a week meeting her family and friends and having fun together.

We flew back to Chicago together: her to begin classes and me to get back to work.

Through the semester and now these months together I grew to appreciate more and more her strength, her tenacious love, her sense of direction and purpose, and her Godliness. Not to mention her beauty and her spirit, her consistency and organization. I knew rather quickly that she was definitely the one I wanted to marry.

Apparently she knew too.

After a winter trip to California meeting my family and friends and receiving further counsel from my parents, I began seriously considering marriage to this wonderful woman God had brought into my life.

After an intense period of counsel, thought, and prayer we were still unsure when the best time would be for our wedding to occur and our marriage to commence: Whether to marry this year or after she graduates in 2010.

Grace and I decided to have a period of time where we were to not contact each other but to spend that time seeking the Lord’s will and answers in our lives.

Ending Valentine’s Day, 2008, these 7 days were painful but rich, and we both, individually, felt God leading us to marry this year.

In the church parking lot, on February 25, 2008, 1 year and 2 weeks after we’d first met in the Sunday School classroom not too far away, I got down on one knee and asked Grace if she would marry me, be my wife and the mother of our children.

She said yes!

American Texan and I will be married August 2nd, 2008, in Dallas TX.

See our website at MattLovesGrace.com

10,000 Lies

UN Execution

Does the truth we find in this humor scare anyone else?

I’ve had the following images floating around on my computer for a while, waiting for me to actually post them. It seems to me, in their attempt to paint the liberal and Democrat as the loving, caring, truly human leadership, anybody with a mind will recognize the fallacies and dangers of the blanket statements made in this children’s book.

Children reading this book will be cursed with the feeling there is actual truth to be found in the ideas. They will accept without thinking the lies of socialism and liberal socio-political theory and practice.

Read and weep for America.

Always Safe

What parent wants their children to hurt?

What parent tries to protect the children from the pains of life?

What parent can?

Public Safety Workers

Laudable.

But given the current state of Political-Business relations, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say: “Democrats give the Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Unions the tools they need to keep dead weight and stupid policies in place hampering the heroes efforts, abilities, skills, and desires to serve as they are called”?

School

And I would want my children to go to those war-zones, indoctrination facilities, stupid-makers, great-levellers of the people they call schools?

I know what they mean is that we can all go to college. But 1) where is that a constitutional right or a universal requirement, and 2) aren’t there plenty of great colleges for cheap?

There are plenty of jobs in which one can work their way up to a comfortable level of pay which require no college. And the government has neither interest nor right to take money from those who aren’t going to college to give to those who are.

Maybe if there were less “free” money floating around from the government, the cost of education would come down, and only those dedicated and intelligent people would stay in teaching as it became less of a lucrative career option.

Share Toys

Democrats are government, not Mommy. This is a legitimate role for Mommy, not government.

To the extent that Democrats seek to usurp this role, they confuse the nature of society and culture. This is immoral.

Sick Earth

Pompous, self-aggrandizing, megalomaniacal do-gooders!

Show me someone who believes this and I’ll show you someone certifiably insane.

First, there is no proof the Earth is “sick” with Global warming. There is proof there are regular and natural cycles of warming and cooling, and there is not proof we are even in a warming cycle.

Second, the temerity of the writer and those who agree with him in assuming a political party which has existed a mere 200 years has the might to enact significant change in an entire planet which they believe has existed 4.5 Billion years.

Someone call the nice men in white coats.

Teachers

False.

The truth is, Democrats make sure schools cannot fire bad teachers. Democrats make sure children know all about condoms and how to have sex with each other, leaving it to the parents to teach reading and writing and true morals.

Individually, Democrats are generally caring people. But are they busy loving people to hell?

UPDATE:

These are not parodies, these are selections from one of two books for children:

Why Mommy Is A Democrat & Why Daddy Is A Democrat