Friday, November 30, 2012

Seal of GOD vs. Mark of the Beast: a study

(Copy-pasted in its entirety from www.thethirdangelsmessage.com - a wonderful site all should visit)
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The bible talks about the mark of the beast as the “mark of his name”. Some have concluded that the name of the beast is “The Papacy” or “The Pope” or “Vicarious filei die” and a few other names. The truth about the name of the beast is much deeper than this. And there is something far more.

The Name or Mark of the Beast

Since it is called “the mark of his name”(Rev 14:11) we can only assume that this name of the beast is written in the forehead. Since it is written:

Revelation 13:16-18 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

These verses describe the fact that the “name of the beast” is received in the “forehead” or in the “hand”. They also allow us to understand that the “name of the beast” is also the “mark of the beast” or the “number of his name” meaning that the name actually is symbolized by a number which is 666.

The Name of the Father The Seal of God

In the following verse we read about 144,000 who receive a name in their forehead:

Rev 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

And the rest of this chapter describes their work and the final controversy which comes down to two groups. One that receives the mark of the beast, or the name of the beast, and another that receives the name of God, or what could be described as God’s mark in their foreheads. (Rev 7:1, Eze 9:4)

Call Upon the Name of the LORD(Jehovah, YHWH)

Many today have read their bibles significantly, and they have seen many verses talking about calling upon the name of the LORD and assumed that this meant that they must say His name in the ancient Hebrew language. For instance, we are told that Abraham “called upon the name of the LORD(Jehovah, YHWH)”(Genesis 12:8). And many have said “Look Abraham used the Hebrew sacred name”. But this is not what it means to “call upon the name of the LORD”. It is written about Abraham:

Exodus 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH(YHWH) was I not known to them.

So let’s be straight here.
1. Abraham called upon the name of JEHOVAH(YHWH)
2. Abraham did not know God by His name JEHOVAH(YHWH)

It almost would seem like a contradiction if we weren’t reading carefully. So, if Abraham didn’t know God by the Hebrew Tetragrammaton(Sacred Name as many call it) YHWH or Jehovah, but yet “called upon the name of JEHOVAH”(Gen 12:8) or YHWH(Tetragrammaton) then what does it actually mean to “call upon the name of the LORD”?

Is it possible that many of those who have studied the pronunciation for years, never to come to the right conclusion have totally misunderstood what the bible was saying about “the name of the LORD”?

SHOW ME YOUR NAME?

This should be your cry. What is your name Father? Teach me your name? We have a document of someone who wanted to know the name of Jehovah? Yet he already knew how to pronounce the name. His name is Moses. Let’s look at the documentation.

In Exodus 6 we read again:

Exodus 6:2-3 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD(YHWH): (3) And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

I am YHWH. In Exodus 6. Moses clearly was told the name of YHWH. He knew the name. God told him directly. BUT, there is more to this, because after all of this in a later chapter Moses wants God to proclaim to him His name. To show him His glory, And here is the account:

Exo 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

Moses ask’s God to show Moses His glory. The glory of God is also known as His name as we see if we read the next verse carefully. Notice the answer Jehovah gives:

Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

God answers saying “I will proclaim the name of YHWH”. The name of Jehovah/YHWH is also known as His glory. This is what Father is saying He will show to Moses. The pronunciation of the name is given right there, but it’s something more.

Also, notice the characteristics God mentions he will show. “Mercy”, “grace”, “goodness”. This is what God’s name is. This is His glory.

Moses Behold’s God’s Glory, Name, and Character the Next Day

Exo 34:2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.

Moses is instructed to come to God to receive the 10 commandments on the mountain. And their God is going to show Moses his Glory. But here is what is said

Exodus 34:4-7 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. (5) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. (6) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, (7) Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Here the LORD who told Moses his name the day before, is “proclaiming the name of the LORD” to Moses, showing Moses his glory. He presents him with the ten commandments in stone, then talks about His character, listing the attributes “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…forgiving…”

This is what it is to proclaim the name of the LORD. Proclaiming the name of the LORD does not mean pronouncing it properly in the Hebrew tongue, it means reflecting the character of God. Let’s look more at what it is to “declare His name” according to God’s word to see that this truth becomes clearer as we study it.

Jesus declared His NAME or His Character

In John 17, Jesus talks about the Father’s name. And he again likens it to His glory, and declares that His glory, or His goodness, or His character has been shown to the world.

John 17:4-6 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (5) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (6) I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Jesus manifested God’s name. In all the 4 gospels Jesus never once used the sacred name. There is no record of this, but yet he manifested his name. The context of what this means is clear. It’s about “the work” that he was given by the Father to do.

Notice Jesus talking about Father’s love.

John 17:25-26 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (26) And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

This is what is meant by declaring the name. The name can be declared without uttering a word from your own mouth, just by doing the good works of Father with your hands. And by doing them with that mind of Christ, known as the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2)

The Mind and Spirit – Name in the Forehead

Clearly, the issue of receiving the mark of the beast, all comes down to whether you will receive his character. Not the name of the Pope, or the literal Hebrew letters of the Father’s name written in your forehead, but rather, the Spirit you will receive, the mind you will accept.

Deuteronomy 6:5-8 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.(forehead, mind)

This love of God with all our heart, and keeping his commandments will reflect the glory of God. It will proclaim and declare the name of God. And this law that we are to teach our children diligently is to be written not on tables of stone, but in our hearts and minds. What good is it on a stone, if it isn’t in our heart and mind. (2 Corinthians 3-4)

Here we have God’s mark. His seal of his character. About Abraham, we read that he “proclaimed the name of the LORD” but yet didn’t know God “by his name JEHOVAH”. The name was in his forehead. He accepted the seal of God’s character.

Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

It’s a seal of faith. And he kept God’s commandments.

Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Abraham declared the name of the LORD. Abraham gave glory to God. In the three angels message the class of people that will not take the mark of the beast, have all the characteristics of Abraham.

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him;

How do they give glory, and what is different between them and those who take the mark of the beast?

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

These are Abraham’s seed, and they will receive the seal of Righteousness by faith. The character or name of their Father written in their forehead. They proclaim the name of the LORD by doing his commandments by faith. The faith of Jesus.

Conclusion:

Now there is much more to say on this topic. However, as a foundation to understanding this important topic, I want to conclude with a few points. The name of Father is his character and is much deeper than the using the sacred name(YHWH). Using the sacred name is a non-issue to God. And it does not mean you will receive an extra blessing, or nothing of that nature. If you trust God’s word as it reads, this is faith, and this is what God desires. Simple trust.

The name of the beast is the character of the beast, and the number of his name is 666. A number that is incomplete, a number that represents the character of the beast as we have clearly learned, but it is also “the number of man”. People, who receive the name of the beast and number of his name, will receive the character of the beast and the number of his character.

777 is a representation of the character of God. It is not something that has to do with the Latin name of God, or the beast, calculated in Roman numerals.

Revelation 13:17-18 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

The words number of “a man” should read “number of man”. It is the number of man. And his number is 666.

At creation man was designed to work 6 days. But as for the 7th they were to rest. This rest was symbolic of entering God’s rest by faith. Man cannot achieve what God can do in them by works, thus they must rest at one point and allow God to work in them. Man cannot work on the 7th day, and symbolically, man cannot be 777 by works but without entering God’s rest man is 666.

Rest is something that is done by faith, not of works lest any should boast. Those who do not enter God’s rest, do not enter “because of unbelief (Eph 2:8, Heb 3:18, 4:6,10). And it is the same for those who take the mark of the beast. They fall short of 7, only getting to 6 without rest in God, not realizing that they must rest at 7 and allow the Father to complete them in the same sense that he completes the week.

So they who take the mark of the beast “have no rest”. They don’t accept the Sabbath more fully:

Hebrews 4:4-6 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. (6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

They don’t understand, they have no faith and abide in unbelief. And like those who take the mark of the beast, which will include many, many who keep the Seventh-day, just as it did in the time of the Hebrews who did not enter God’s rest, we are told:

Revelation 14:11-12) … and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (12) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

God help us to receive His name by faith, to realize what it is, and how it is received, and to recognize the deeper truth on this issue. That it far surpasses the latin name “Vicarious filei die” translated to Roman numerals. This isn’t what those who take the mark are going to receive in their forehead.

Also to proclaim your name to the world, to give glory, to allow your law to be written in our hearts and minds so that our hands are clean and they show your works.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Isa 56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

The hand shows our works. And when our works are unrighteous, the hand may reveal a mark. The mark of the beast or the name of the beast. But if our works are righteous, the name of the Father will be seen in our foreheads, which is His character seen in our life, and if they do have that character and name when Jesus comes, then their destination will also be marked in the forehead“New Jerusalem”.

Revelation 3:11-13 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Resist Attraction

I believe in organically cultivated relationships. Get to know someone under mundane circumstances, befriend them gradually, understand the SWOT slowly and maybe blossom into love muuuch later. Long stretches of this road may look like the much-maligned "Friendzone" but nothing good comes fast and easy. Patience wins the marathon.

The whole "love at first sight" rainbow-themed rose-tinted fireworks arrangement strikes me as genetically modified love. Artificially inseminated with primal desire, incubated in pretentious dates, needing life support when the excitement fades, shaky at best, likely dangerous. (I've been both victim and perpetrator, so I ought to know by now.)

This is not to say that I have saintly transcended instantaneous lust in the age of makeup. That struggle continues. A man's eyes are prone to be ensnared by elaborate cons as long as Photoshop tools avail in our sisters' dressing tables and wardrobes. Actual authentic 100% lovely-looking lasses also roam the earth turning beholders' necks. I have already ranted so much against the consequences of fashion that I loathe repeating myself here now.

Alcohol also predisposes men towards carnal gratification. In Proverbs 23:33, The Bible says after you have become drunk,"thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things." Ever seen how a drunk gazes at the strange women who avail themselves? The Bible knows all about that. Goes on to say "a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit" (v27). At first I equated  strange woman with whore, prostitute, harlot;. Unfortunately, today, many glorified and overrated strange women operate under the guise of a wide variety of socially accepted (nay, celebrated) roles.

Back to topic. Granted, visual attraction is a major element in the establishment of any relationship. can't deny the fact that beauty is that which arrests the attention in the first place. I'd just like, one day, to be able to approach a lady with something along the lines of "I admire your character and comportment and I like your wit and humor. Your looks are an added bonus."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Status Report

The rain is trying to be funny. I was NOT going to post this one, I was rushing off to go and play football instead. But just when I got to the door, the heavens unleashed a torrent that descended with with lightning and thunder. In Kisumu when it rains it pours. Now I hope the lights won't go out mid-typing as well because that will just be hilarious.

Dear reader, please try to ignore the fact that this post is an afterthought, a less-favored plan B. Speaking of plan B, I've been thinking hard about getting one. I'm at that age where confusion and existential doubt reign supremely. Career, relationships, hobbies, interests etc  are all aspects of a man's identity. I think I bury myself in reading, drawing, writing, blogging, music and football because when I allow my mind to wander, I become my own worst critic.

Right now my major interests are the Bible, World History and the relationship between them especially today. My findings? I'll tell you this: the truth is stranger than fiction, much more gripping than any novel. Besides, if all else leaves me behind and I go out of touch with fashion, gadgetry, career, entertainment etc, I want to stick with the Word of GOD.

That said, I plan to post entire webpages here, wholesale plagiarism, because the spiritual truths contained in them are critically important for this age. I recommend the site Bible Explained to all and sundry, especially for the more symbolic and prophetic aspects of scripture. Any time a verse defeats my comprehension, I dash there, and I have never had reason to gripe. You won't regret it.

Oh, look, the rain's over already. Perhaps the soccer pitch isn't too wet. Goodbye.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Footballer’s Guide to Love

Between soccer and love, parallels exist, albeit crude ones. (I must declare my fanatical soccer-playing at the outset so you know this is not an “objective” blog post.) Besides, my own observations and experience with Victoria FC provides all the evidence necessary to support such a claim.

Humor me. I daresay that love is at the center of the football game; otherwise it all makes no sense at all. Twenty-two men kicking one inflated leather ball around? Utter madness. Football’s greats have been people who loved the game enough to spend years, decades, in training. But their love for the game overcompensates for the lacking rationale. (Of course, a fat paycheck jumpstarts motivation.)

I will attempt to frame technical aspects of the game within the corresponding love scenario. Granted, I have been single for quite a while now. A reader may feel convicted to point out that I therefore do not qualify to talk of love, as though potential employers and their demands for “experience” have not already driven me up the wall. I encourage such to sit down and argue with me later in the comments section. (“You wanna step outside and talk about this one on one, like men?”)

Kidding. Here goes. *Whistle blows*

Possession: the team collectively strives to keep the ball. It is a basic winning strategy – one can not score goals without the ball. Similarly the lover must strive to “keep” the beloved at all times while protecting him/her from the concerted attempts of worthy rivals to dispossess him/her by all means, including two-footed tackles.

Passing: by spreading the ball around, possession is preserved. Naturally, every individual player dreams of stunning the crowds with a spectacular solo effort. Practically, however, a reasonable player usually sees a better positioned teammate and relinquishes the ball to him despite his own strong cravings for stardom. There’s more to any pass than cold strategy; there is also an implicit trust that the receiving player is fully capable of making a positive contribution. Besides, if you give a pass, it will come back to you sometime, right? If you love something, set it free, yes? Therefore, if you want to receive more, give more. This is love.

Finding space: Players thrive when they break free of their markers in preparation for incoming passes. You will not see a player fighting his opponent physically, overpowering him and afterwards taking the ball. That’s a direct red card. Rather, intelligent space calculations and movements are made to minimize contact with opponents and maximize possession. Each player runs into his own area of unobstructed turf as he best judges fit; consequently, teammates end up spread out. Therefore, if you are in love, just get your own space and permit your beloved as much space as they need, alright? None of that neurotic clingy-possessive business, okay? Then things will work.

Dribbling and ball control: requires skill and passion. The player understands and cooperates with the ball in order to maneuver it as he will. That is my definition of “the zone”: where ball and player are on a superior level of alertness together. Similarly with love: ideally, there is to be “one mind” between two – shared goals, basic understanding, synergy. This makes obstacles fun to overcome; passes between opponents find their targets accurately, and goals become rewarding.

Yes, I DO think too much. My unlikely parallels between soccer and relationships end there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A. W. Tozer: "The Incredible Christian"

“The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth he finds that after his conversion he is not at home here. Like the nighthawk, which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the very society into which he was born.

“The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. That he may be safe he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he starts down he is on his way up.

“He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strong. Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but when he becomes rich his ability to enrich others vanishes. He has most after he has given most away and has least when he possesses most.

“He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow.

“The paradoxical character of the Christian is revealed constantly. For instance, he believes that he is saved now, nevertheless he expects to be saved later and looks forward joyfully to future salvation. He fears God but is not afraid of Him. In God’s presence he feels overwhelmed and undone, yet there is nowhere he would rather be than in that presence. He knows that he has been cleansed from his sin, yet he is painfully conscious that in his flesh dwells no good thing.

“He loves supremely One whom he has never seen, and though himself poor and lowly he talks familiarly with One who is King of all kings and Lord of all lords, and is aware of no incongruity in so doing. He feels that he is in his own right altogether less than nothing, yet he believes without question that he is the apple of God’s eye and that for him the Eternal Son became flesh and died on the cross of shame.

“The Christian is a citizen of heaven and to that sacred citizenship he acknowledges first allegiance; yet he may love his earthly country with that intensity of devotion that caused John Knox to pray: ‘O God, give me Scotland or I die.’

“He cheerfully expects before long to enter that bright world above, but he is in no hurry to leave this world and is quite willing to await the summons of his Heavenly Father. And he is unable to understand why the critical unbeliever should condemn him for this; it all seems so natural and right in the circumstances that he sees nothing inconsistent about it.

“The cross-carrying Christian, furthermore, is both a confirmed pessimist and an optimist the like of which is to be found nowhere else on earth.

“When he looks at the cross he is a pessimist, for he knows that the same judgment that fell on the Lord of glory condemns in that one act all nature and all the world of men. He rejects every human hope out of Christ because he knows that man’s noblest effort is only dust building on dust.
“Yet he is calmly, restfully optimistic. If the cross condemns the world the resurrection of Christ guarantees the ultimate triumph of good throughout the universe. Through Christ all will be well at last and the Christian waits the consummation.

"Incredible Christian!”

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Improve Democracy

USA recently extended the incumbent’s term. Kenya will go to the ballot next year (2013). Both are democratic, at least nominally. Still I insist: As far as democracy is concerned, we have been duped. Still, it seems the ballot is here to stay, even after it has speedily evolved into a blatant charade in which none of the characters on offer are good prospects for the future.

I hereby recommend a far-reaching improvement to the voting process.

Every voter should cast a “double-edged vote”: one “positive” vote for the preferred candidate AND one “negative” vote against the least favored candidate. This will create two sets of data: the most popular (directly liked) and least popular (actively hated) candidates, which data can then be ranked in order of (un)popularity. The winner will thereafter be declared to be the one who strikes the best balance between
  1. being reasonably popular and
  2. NOT being viscerally hated by a significant segment of the population.
Hence, one may lose the popularity vote and still stand a chance. However, winning the “we actually hate you” vote, especially by a landslide, earns automatic disqualification from the job of Commander-in-Chief, no matter what margin with which the relevant aspirant won or lost the opposite tally.

The way I see it, practical results of such a ballot measure could be numerous and beneficial.

The “two-horse race” election scenario will collapse in such an environment. Supporters of the top two contestants will unfailingly vote against their biggest opponent. Big coalitions will automatically disqualify one another. And the vote-splitting stratagem, since it is impotent in the negative vote scenario, could actually work against its architects. A rational aspirant will therefore avoid the established parties (political Augean stables), opting to run for office at the helm of a reputable (or at least harmless) political party! While this presents the possibility that an anonymous nondescript might “pass between" the big shots and clinch the reins of power, this is a better deal than giving a divisive character a White House/State House address.

A winner thus produced will not polarize the nation, as Kenya’s 2007 post-election debacle very nearly did and as America’s 2012 poll aftermath threatens to do. Remember that the negative vote serves to disqualify the divisive character, which definition fits both horses. (Some of the current secession-minded Americans we are hearing about found that the re-election was the last straw. It’s not a racism thing. Another blog post will examine this.)

Third, and most tantalizing, the “double-edged vote” would compel politicians on the campaign trail to cut out posturing, swallow their pride, talk conciliatory and plead with the citizens. “If you won’t vote for me, then please don’t vote against me!” Wouldn’t that simply be spectacular to hear? Then we would scrutinize their track record, and they would be ill at ease and really sweaty.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fragile Feminine Beauty

Men can afford to walk around looking rough-edged without the least qualm of conscience. Compared to them, the ladies are a delicate lot. If the feminist movement is doing all it can to eradicate the idea of inequality, the fashion industry is undoing their small steps with giant backward leaps. This insight came to me suddenly, as I beheld a well-dressed lady. Her dress was as colorful and as beautiful as the petals of a flower. Her hair was well made, she carried herself with pride and dignity, as if conscious that she was decorating the place by her mere presence.

I concluded that it takes a lot of work to keep a lady looking presentable. Let us not enter into the touchy politics of adornments, enhancements, struts, props, and weaves. Those fit into a much larger picture than just outward appearances - a real-world, wordless parable which conveys "handle with care". Think about it. If women were to expose themselves to the elements as recklessly as men do, they would be worse for wear and it would show. Their beauty is paired with fragility. I'm not saying there are no women boxing or pulling handcarts, neither am I defending lazy diva behaviors. Moderation is the answer.

I have a small sister; our youngest sibling. In her energetic childhood days my brother and I forged her into a tomboy, taking her to soccer games, high-speed bicycle-riding daredevilry, hard-sprinting chasing games and all. We always ensured she was on our team; she dribbled confidently between boys and scored goals freely, she was our pride and joy. Several times she ventured to confront bullies twice her age, the lucky ones got away with harsh verbal reprimands, one endured the awkward misfortune of being attacked by a little girl. Such a vigorous childhood wasn't always easy on her, since all those neighborhood football games were played on tarmac roads, so that a fall meant the flesh of the elbows and knees earned a bloody mincing. She got quite fast, tough and strong as a result. I was certain that she was fittin' to become the next Marion Jones.

Now little sister is not so small anymore. She has slowed down and parted ways with the tomboy in her - by and large. Wants nothing to do with exercise. Though occasionally one will hear her telling enamored boys "Nitakupiga!" Otherwise, she is coming of age with beauty and refinement. Plus fragility.

The point? Youth fades away, but while it lasts, it is beautiful. Our days of vitality are a blessing which deserve to be made the best use of - not with that YOLO foolishness.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cult-ure

“Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy.” Ravenhill

Pastor Ken Smith (twitter @projectpeter) explains what this means.
"Especially in the western societies, we have drowned ourselves in entertainment. This quote was in "Why Revival Tarries" written in the late 1950's or Early 60's.... think of today. Cell phones with text and mini-computer systems, computer systems, video games, movies, television, baseball, basketball, football, Auto racing, Tennis, Music, Concerts, etc. etc. etc. Even today many churches put on quite the show. At the end of the day we mention how we just don't have time to pray. We don't have time to study God's Word. Our joy comes in our entertainment now... we have no real desire for the things of God beyond wanting the blessings of God without sacrifice."
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Behind the facade of glamor and hype, pop culture breeds despair. It is ever in flux; its bewildering plethora of "pop idols" has a high rate of turnover, its goalposts shift constantly, whether in pursuit of the latest electronic contraption or status symbol. Such rootless nomadism of purpose serves only to dizzy the seeker.

The hedonistic philosophy behind 21st century culture is a yawning chasm filled with the mirage of substance. Whosoever seeks to establish themselves within it will fail - the foundation can not hold. The worldview is functionless: pretends to derive meaning from passing fads designed to distract. Appetite for vanity only grows as it is fed. Greed for recognition and status can not be satisfied.

This is the anatomy of perversion. Darwin theorized evolution and Neitsche concluded that God is dead, adding their voices to a long list of history's atheists, and denying divine purpose to the human equation. The same mindset permeates our politics and entertainment. Its logical conclusions are that all things are acceptable, and morality is a hindrance to progress. Very shortly, such "science falsely so called" was widely disseminated by agents of darkness. Today, pop culture grooves to the refrain "Do as thou wilt" - do what you want (because allegedly there is no moral obligation.) What have the results of such frame of mind been?

Because there is no restraint, the culture is at once addictive and oppressive.
People strive to stamp other people under their boot, eager to impose their superiority, simply to attain status. Even many who preach unity go to great lengths to set themselves apart from "the common man." Who wants to be hoi polloi? Don't answer that.

Humility is rejected while the objective is to steamroll rivals into the dust and utterly humiliate them. Consequently, lots of resentful people itch for the chance to get even, craving the means with which they will avenge the indignities imposed upon them by their lack of means. Those who concede an inch do it only to give way to the bigger dog, biding their time impatiently.

Life is mistaken to be the sum of who you know and what you own. These become weapons of conquest, treasures to ceaselessly pursue and hoard away. The fittest survive, the weak take their frustrations out on each other. Oppression prevails. The law of the jungle is transplanted into human society.

Despair buds and grows in the latent emptiness of outward abundance. Little wonder the tale of modern society is broken homes, loneliness and suicide.

In contrast, blessed is the people whose God is the LORD! All this foolishness does not ruin their lives, for they do not subscribe to such flawed "logic". JESUS is the way.
ROMANS 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.