My Personal Declaration Of Independence

For too long I have kept silent on the things I hold most dear. And as such have allowed myself to stray and others to take them from me. No more. This is who I am, and no one has the right to strip these things from me. And I will live and die on these principles. Love it or leave it, this is who I am.

(Note: Read all these points as a whole, not as individual points. Otherwise, they will seem contradictory and not make sense. However, if you take them all together and think it through, they will make sense. And help you better understand who I am, especially moving forward.)

I believe in the One True Triune God of the Bible. Father, Son, Spirit. I believe that God created all things through His Son. Including man. Whom He gave free will to, who then used it to spurn God. As a result, God sent His Son to earth, of a virgin birth, to die as the sacrifice for sins, in our place. For those who believe, He sends His Spirit and grants everlasting life. He does not promise a life of ease, THIS life is not secured. It is the next life.

Every person has the right to do whatever they want with their life, body, mind, soul, and property; as long as they do not infringe on ANY other person’s (I include unborn children in this) life, body, mind, soul, or property. Anyone who does infringe is liable to have vengeance brought upon them.

I feel every man should live a life of honor. Stand by his word, earn his own way in life, and never do what he knows is wrong. Any man who does less, and does not work to change his error upon realizing it, is less than a man.

We are only human, we make mistakes. As such, I am always willing to be wrong. However, on the above points, I will never stray. They are who I am and what I believe to be true above all else. I will listen to your differing opinions even on the above points, but I will not change them. Corallaries, if’/thens, of the above are a different story. (Maybe I misunderstood a portion of the Bible, maybe I thought you infringed on my right and was wrong, or maybe I accused you of lying and was wrong.)

Last, but most assuredly not least. I will live and die by these things. And for your right to them as well. (Note, because of the second point, you may even differ from me on the first, and I will still defend your right to hold to that. Yes, my faith proclaims itself as the only way, and I believe it so. But I also feel you have your own choice to make, and I cannot and will not force you.) If I feel my right, or (especially) the right of those I call family to these things is being endangered, I will fight back. You will regret it. And you will lose.

I hereby declare myself independent of any authority that would seek to strip or endanger these rights. Amen.


Love In Action

So I am trying to kick my blog off with a new design, and with yet another attempt at updating it weekly. No idea how that will go, but let us see. This here post is in response to a few things some friends have said/written and inspired me. It may be a bit of a ramble, as I didn’t write it near as soon as I should have, so the thoughts are not as organized as they ought. But I will do my best…after another cup of coffee…*gets up and refills cup*

Just to tickle your interest, here are the Four Thoughts I will touch on:

1) God is Love/Love is God
2) Manifestation
3) What is Good/Evil?
4) Walking The Walk

Anyways, if you think through I John 4:8 to it’s conclusion…passages about love can be used to describe God. A lot of people use I Cor. 13 as the example for this, but I’m gonna be radical and different. I will use the Love Passage from Romans 12:9-21 since no one ever does. It is all about love in action which describes God pretty well. Here goes (make sure to read this as about God not Love:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary:

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

(italics added)

Pretty interesting eh? It really does describe God/Love in action. But to be honest, while this passage can be used to describe God, it’s purpose isn’t to do that. Its to explain to us how He wants us to live. Which is love, love, love, and more love. And it says to leave the dirty work (vengeance) to Him. Which brings me to my second thought…

God has many sides to Him, He is not just Love. He is also Just. Hence the part about Him taking vengeance in the passage above. However, it is interesting that He asks us only to love.

Why is that?

Well think about it: God made us in His image. However, whereas He would be a mural on the Great Wall of China, we are merely a postage stamp. We have many of His attributes, but in much smaller ways with smaller capacities to carry them out. And then after The Fall, our ability to live up to His Image was hampered even further. God knows we have the ability to carry out vengeance (just watch the news every day). But also knows that our smaller capacity and the easily corruptible nature of vengeance will fail to get the job done satisfactorily. It takes a lot of wisdom and knowledge to be Fully Just.

However, to love does not require that. Yes, our capacity for it is smaller than His. But love takes a lot less wisdom and knowledge (have you seen how well a small child loves?) and is not as easily corruptible (at least in the way vengeance is). You just love. That’s it. Go back and read that passage again. Only this time, don’t read it as about God…read it as about how you are supposed to live.

Now think on this: we are supposed to let people know about God. (Matt. 28:19-20) How do I mean this to be done?

Manifest
verb (used with object)
3. to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh.
4. to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant.

We should live in such a way, that God is made clear to people’s understandings, beyond a doubt! And since the best way we are able to reveal God’s image in us, according to our abilities and capacity, is to love…THEN LOVE! Read the passage above often. Read I Cor. 13 often. This is how we manifest God in this world. Let God take care of the rest, as He has the wisdom and knowledge and power to know what/how to do the rest. Loving? Manifest it. Live it. The more you work on being love in action, the more God will enter into your moment to moment life. May we all be so dilligent.

So…yeah…Not as organized as I’d like. But it kinda spilled out. :) Hope it makes you think. Comment and let me know what your thoughts are! Share links on your facebook for others to read! Subscribe as well please. Thank you!

P.S. Yehuda: my answer to your question of what is good/evil may already be evident to you by now. But let me succinctly summarize it: Anything of God, of Love (in action) is good. Because it reveals God in this fallen world. Anything not of God, of Love (in action) is evil. Because it veils God in this fallen world.


Open Letter To Everyone

So I found out I can post to my blog from my phone. Tho I can’t do anything other than write text. I can’t wait until I get my computer back up and running again. I want to post regularly. In the meantime I have a roleplaying game campaign and a novella I plan on working on writing. And once my computer is fixed, I am going to purchase a domain name and build myself a website, from scratch because I want to learn how. It will be my new blogsite and for everything else I feel like posting. That way I won’t spend all of my time on facebook. :) I’m kinda rambling, lol. To all of my friends back in Oregon, I miss and love you all. I can’t wait to see you all again and eventually move back. I’ll be visiting some time during th holidays I am sure. All-in-all, I just feel lonely out here. But I’ll see y’all again eventually.

Until next time.


“…and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:10-39 is basically a three section passage. verses 19-25 contain reasons and ways to persevere, verses 26-31 are some serious warnings about abandoning the Christian fellowship, and verses 32-39 are kinda like a pep talk to those who are persevering, to help them to keep on keepin’ on. Right now I am going to focus on the first section.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV)

As I said, this passage speaks of some practical reasons and methods to persevere. I am going to take it in a little bit of a chopped up order.

Reasons To Persevere:

1. Confidence To Enter “The Most Holy Place”
In all of history, no one but the high priest, and then only once a year and under special requirements, could ever enter God’s presence in the innermost chamber of the temple. But now, by Christ’s sacrifice of His blood and body, we can. Each and every one of us, at will. He was the only perfect sacrifice possible.

2. We Have A Great High Priest
Sometimes it is best to let the Bible speak for itself: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV)

3. He Who Promised Is Faithful
(I Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6; II Tim. 2:13)
What God says, He will do. So if something is promised in return for our perseverance, we can be assured that it will be done.

4. The Day Approaches
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (I Thessalonians 5:1-3, NIV)
No one knows then it is. When that Day comes there will be no more time to work, play, sin, love, nothing. All that will matter is who we believed Jesus to be (faith) and what we did with that belief (works). Will we be among those who persevered with the belief that Jesus really was who He said He was, and then lived it? Or will we have squandered our hearts and lives? Time may be short. And even if not, it is best to make the most of our time here.

Practical Ways To Persevere:

1. Draw Near To God
This one comes with four conditions to be possible. And may also be the most important way to persevere. For by drawing near to God, we can draw strength for everything else.
a. A Sincere Heart (Ps. 51:16-17)
We must always strive to know that we mean it when we say “I believe,” and not be lukewarm or fake (Revelation 3:15-17).
b. Full Assurance Of Faith
The reasons for persevering that are given above are great reasons to be full of faith. But if not, remember what Jesus did for us while on earth, and still does today. And think over in your heart and mind the facts of the matter. Remember: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
c. Hearts Sprinkled From A Guilty Conscience
Christ died that we may keep “no record of wrongs,” even against ourselves. (I Cor. 13:5b, NIV) Guilt only holds us back.
d. Bodies Washed With Pure Water
We must allow ourselves to be purified by the Holy Spirit from sin. Pray, read your Bible, do everything you can to fill yourself with the Spirit and rid yourself of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

2. Hold Unswervingly To The Faith We Profess
Don’t stop, don’t reverse, don’t turn. Keep at it. This is the heart, the very meaning of perseverance. Not. Quitting. No matter how hard it gets, how lonely you feel, or how strong you think you are on your own.

3. Spur One Another On Towards Love And Good Deeds
Sometimes we will find a brother or sister in need of some kind advice, or even some gentle prodding. We all have our moments when we become lazy or indecisive, and it is our job to help each other out in these moments. I know if I was having one of those times (and I kinda am now) I would want my brothers and sisters to say something about it to me. And then there are times that parts of the body stop working, or even start damaging the surrounding tissue with the cancer of sin. These are the times when rebuking, teaching, and correcting come into play. (Matt. 18:15-20 ; II Tim. 3:16-17)

4. Do Not Give Up Meeting Together
The Greek word used for “give up” means to desert and abandon. We should meet together as often as we can. Whether it be in church, homes, coffee shops, the park, or even facebook if necessary. Don’t cut yourself off or you will not have the support you need. Your faith will shrivel like a raisin. We were never called to a life of solitude. Remember: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (I Cor. 12:26, NIV…read verses 12-30 tho, good stuff)

5. Encourage One Another
If all members of the body were to push each other on, rooting for one another, we would be able to do so much more than we are now. We each should be cheerleaders for our brothers and sisters, and they ours.

Conclusion:
Always keep these reasons in the forefront of your mind. Don’t stop, and don’t give up. I know, first hand, that it can feel pretty dire sometimes and you just want to quit. But don’t, please don’t.


A Good Lesson To Learn

In Genesis 4:7, God says this: ” ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’ ” (NIV)

Something that has been on my mind lately, and especially today, is that life is tough. It’s hard. Even as, ESPECIALLY as, a Christan. It is so easy to quit, and infinitely more difficult to persevere.

But then there is passage, from Hebrews (10:19-39)

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For,

‘In just a little while,
He who is coming will come
and will not delay.’

And,

‘But My righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.’

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (NIV)

If you would, read those words again, and let them sink in. Think over their implications. Over the next while, for my own study, I am going to go through this passage, breaking it down to learn what it means for me. I’ll post my notes here, for others to read, in case it helps them as well. In the meantime, I encourage you to take 45 minutes out of your day to watch this sermon. It’s by Mark Driscoll, about the cost of discipleship. It’s very closely related the above passage and what has been on my heart lately. It will definitely make you think about how you are living.

Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who Is God
Part 63: The Cost of Discipleship
Luke 14:25-35

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”


OK, so most of you who read this blog (actually, I am guessing all of you) know me on facebook, and therefore know that I am now residing in Texas. I am currently writing up a list of goals to keep up on or to meet while I am here, before I move back to Oregon. One of those is to write more regularly. For now that means posting at least once a week on both of my blogs (this one & Food For A Pilgrim) as well as journaling at least once a week. Maybe my fiction and poetry will resurrect during at some point. But for now, I believe this is a good start. So, starting next week, I will begin posting. I hope everyone reads and comments as often as possible. I hate to think that my blog will never get read. :)

For now, I will leave you with this passage that touched me today (thank you, Summer):

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”

(Romans 13:8-14, NIV)

It kind of sums up the character development I would like to see in myself while I am in Texas.

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Nanny State Liberation Front

So, for my oh so few subscribers who might not also be on my facebook, I had to post this:

Massachusetts Screws Restaurants

(My post on facebook) OK, so, as a food industry career man, this REALLY pisses me off. As in, makes my blood boil and angry. While I can understand the reason, this is way to overbearing of the government…They should just have the restaurants post minor allergens on the menu…I know I am going to when I have a restaurant. AAAAAAARRGGH!!!!!!!!

(My post on the article’s originating site) Yeah, seriously, what IS next? Maybe they will have retired government workers form a special task force to hold our dicks while we pee. (If you can’t tell, this pisses me off…And I work in restaurants.)

Yeah, I’m upset.


Touch Me Lord

Touch me Lord, by the power of Your Name
Touch me Lord, and let me not seek fame
Touch me Lord, and take away my shame
Touch me Lord, and I’ll never be the same


Facebook Poetry

Wrote this over about a week’s time, one line at a time, as my stati.

—–

Are we all telling the same story?
Are we all on the same stage?
Are we characters of the same cast?
Or are we each from a separate, torn page?

—–

Take it as you will.


Melancholic

Driving down the highway, the clouds gather and darken. The rain begins to pour. The wind picks up as I gather speed and weave in and out of traffic…Such is my heart. My soul is wracked with the sobs my body refuses to release. Oh, how many times must You break me before I stay put? Like a moth to a flame, draw me to the lamp of Your love.


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