Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Narrow Way

If God has called you to really be like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag on themselves,
on their work, on their success, on their writings,
but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you daily, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of providing your needs day by day out of the unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored, and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God will let others be great, but keep you small, He will let others do work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work for Him, and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an Infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as he pleases with his own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word; and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over His peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

William Marrion Branham

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Off with the Movies

Life is often best appreciated by recognizing the futility of a whole bunch of hyped-up things. It doesn't do much for motivation, at least not in the ways motivational speakers make it out to seem. But too often, light bulb moments release you from the dilemma at hand instead of solving it. Yeah, I know, it sounds escapist, but wait until you realize you can switch off the TV instead of deciding between a sleazy ("passionate") soap opera and a violent ("action-packed") gore-fest.

Life is also often about realizing that one is a less-than-perfect most of the time and an idiot the rest of the time, sorry to say. The movies make it look like everyone is basically a good guy in a bad circumstance, except of course the evil-laughing/mean-scowling bad villain. This is humanist philosophy at play: everybody's good and if everybody does their best the universe will be perfect. But its a lie they put in the movies in direct contradiction of the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD. They even go a step further with the latest breed of sympathy-for-the-devil movies, in which the lead actor is a social misfit with a taste for blood, heathen manners and versed in obscene vocabularies; but the director goes ahead to weave the criminal's tale so as to elicit the viewer's sympathies.

I read somewhere that when one enters a movie theater, his/her guardian angel waits outside. I can't say I've abstained from watching movies of late but I must confess I can see why that would be the case. The danger with fantasy arises when it distracts its addicts from real and present dangers. While daydreaming about fictional superheroes saving the world or them-against-the-world-type highfalutin romances encountered on screen, the enemy as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Indeed, the very act of watching the movie is the enemy mauling your vigilance. One begins to say "Peace and safety" whereas sudden destruction could suddenly fall upon one. And even the blind can see that sudden destruction in the pipeline: the ascendant despotism disguised as democracy, the decline of economies everywhere, increasing militarization, assaults by our governments on human rights and freedoms, the sacrifice of privacy for security, the resurgent political church... the movies aren't preparing us for any of this.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Arrested Development Theories on Relationships

This blog is full of personal views; it oscillates wildly between redacted narratives of my life, philosophical musings, spiritual discussions, Biblical passages and critiques of just about anything. In keeping with that erratic trend, today I delve into introspection.

DISCLAIMER: The world is still ending. Stay focused.

According to certain psychiatric models, I may be suffering from arrested development at a critical stage of my social progress. Allegedly, we all reach an age when the dilemma is "interaction versus isolation;" just when the last noxious fumes of adolescence are clearing off, yet overlapping with whiffs of the coffee scent of adulthood. "Isolation versus interaction" must be a bigger dilemma among introverts like myself. It seems like that is just the stage where I am stuck at like a college senior who is afraid to graduate because college is more lively than corporate conformism. But the same psychiatrists say failure to overcome "Interaction vs. Isolation" an increasingly common epidemic in this era of social media and I can see why.

These academic deliberations would have meant nothing to me if I hadn't already identified trends in my own life that support their claims - I think psychiatry is a meddlesome scam, but this once they seem to be on to something here. Correlate "Interaction versus Isolation" with the dating game and one quickly comes up with a theory for the plunging marriage rate (citation needed) and the skyrocketing divorce rate (confirmed). Stay with me.

I've been in a few relationships; each time I imagined myself the star of the show. But here comes the arrested development part: the minute we come to the edge of the precipice, when things become real, and it's time to take a dive, then the Isolation vs. Interaction dilemma fills my mind - and then I see problems and run away. I chose isolation. So say the shrinks.

Or... Perhaps there's another way of looking at it, which a friend of mine's love experience exemplified. 

Courtship is designed in such a way that the man is supposed to hunt the lady - ideally. You can tell me about this being the 21st century but its still men and ladies in it. Now my buddy Baddy liked a certain beauty and pursued her diligently. Men are strong because they are supposed to survive hardships such as rejections and embarrassments. Courtship is such that often one party - the man - does aggressive self-marketing towards another party that is inclined towards raising roadblocks in the way of love, however enthusiastic about the whole prospect of an eventual relationship she may be. She protects herself by stringently testing him in a fiery crucible. Maybe nowadays not so much but a few good girls are classics like that.

Just bear in mind that at this stage the lady has got the power. Like Eveready. But eventually, as in my friend's case, love won the day and she fell for him. Problem is, "I got the Power" was still echoing in the head of the lass. So she strutted into his life with the airs of a colonialist; "You wanted me here and here I am, let's see what you're all about then." Begins to scrutinize his mannerisms and impose curfews. And those intrusive calls asking where he is and what he's doing and who he's doing it with. 

Unaccustomed to being subject to anyone, Baddy the eternal bachelor's nerves frayed suddenly, and he opted for Isolation, ditching the lady in an unspectacular series of deliberate acts of neglect. And I understood why. Us men, some of us like to be free and unattached; unaccountable to no one but GOD and ourselves. But now I could see the problem from a fresh perspective, since it did not involve me directly: these teething problems are hardwired into the format of courtship. Thus I advised him to go back and market himself all over again, and this time to be patient with the new tyrant in his life, because he's the one who filled her head with those undemocratic ideas in the first place.

"Once you bring a woman into your life, she will attempt to dictate it. Don't fret. While she is still giving orders, quietly close the door, ensuring she remains in your life, and then you can have your power struggle."

I could use my own advice.