29 April 2017

Jacky Jumps Out Of The Water

Matthew 13: 34

Analogies and parables are useful to compare something unseen to what is evidently seen.

But even with the most mundane of stories told, usually what is not experienced by someone cannot be understood by that person.

How does a fish tell another fish they've been swimming in water their entire lives?

How can the concept of air be explained to a fish who has never been out of water?

If a fish never experiences anything other than their watery environment, how can they be told (or expected to believe / understand) there is another world beyond their waters?

Here's a simple story:

A certain type of fish live in and around cover, between rocks and among plants in the ocean with other like fish.

This is their natural habitat.

They stay protected by being among the rocks and plants.

Every so often, a few predatory fish swim by.

One particular day, a group of sharks come by looking for something to eat.

All the prey fish take evasive action and begin to franticly swim in between the rocks where the sharks cannot get to them.

But one fish in particular, let's call him Jacky, isn't quick enough to get to the safe-haven of the rocks, and swims instead out into the open.

He's been warned never to this, and neither to swim above the rocks and plants, for doing so he becomes an easy meal for a faster swimming predatory fish.

Very rarely does a prey out-swim the faster and more aggressive predators.

The sharks begin to pursue Jacky and align themselves between the Jacky and the safety of the rocks.

Jacky can't swim directly back to the rocks, and he's not fast enough to swim around the sharks by trying to get past them.

Going to the left or the right will only cause the sharks to get closer and intercept him more easily.

Jacky wonders if he can swim over them.

He begins to swim up towards shallower water, figuring he's already in danger, he might as well have more space to maneuver in trying to out-swim the sharks.

The sharks are relentless and continue their hungry pursuit of Jacky.

Jacky continues towards the surface, never having been this shallow.

He begins to notice how much brighter the waters are becoming.

Shark after shark torpedoes for him with open mouths as Jacky does his best to turn and jerk just in time to miss their crowded shark teeth.

They get so close, Jacky can at times see the shark's previous meal still stuck between the jagged array of razor-sharp teeth.

Jacky has never been this close to any predator; these masters of the deep.

All the warnings he's heard from his scaly friends and relatives are ringing almost louder than his heart is beating.

As Jacky swims into shallower waters, the waters continue to be more illuminated, and now much warmer than what he's used to.

Jacky can also see how menacing these sharks look, their size even scarier than previously perceived from afar in the deeper murkier waters.

He isn't sure what is left to do, and notices as he gets closer to the brightness, that the water seems to have an 'end' to it; the surface.

He doesn't know what the 'surface' is; he simply notices there is more brightness beyond where the water seems to end.

Thinking if he was to now turn in a horizontal direction, he may give a shark an easy chance to snatch him.

Jacky continues swimming straight up in full stride.

He breaks beyond what seems like a 'barrier' and is now out of ocean's water!

The sharks lose sight of him momentarily, turning horizontally in search of Jacky.

Jacky notices he cannot swim anymore, so he stops flapping his tail.

For Jacky, he is not sure what just happened, but now feels a different sensation and reality than he's never felt all his fishy life.

Jacky wonders if in fact he was eaten alive and has passed into some trance.

The dry air pierces his gills and he can't breathe.

The air is drying his eyes, yet he can see what the surface of his watery reality looks like, and sees the expanse (sky) looks limitless.

He can tell that the sounds of the ocean are now gone, but he can't make out what he 'hears' now as he momentarily floats in the air.

He notices what seems to be the light source that makes the shallower ocean waters brighter, and he feels it giving off more heat than he's ever felt.

It is uncomfortable for Jacky this experience in the air; being outside his usual environment.

He does't see any sharks, so this moment of surprise is actually a bit peaceful despite the pains of the dryness, heat and inability to breathe.

After what seems like an eternity, Jacky's momentary 'flight' out of the water begins to come to end, and his trajectory is now headed back towards the surface of the water.

He notices the water and the darkness he is about to plunge back into.

Jacky's nervous; his world has been turned upside down and he can't put together what is currently happening to him.

The sharks, having arrived at the surface, are quite confused and bewildered from turning every which way and not seeing their meal.

“Where could that tasty fish have gone?” they wonder.

They are searching, looking beneath the surface in all directions and further below, unsure what to make of this disappearing fish.

Moments later, Jacky plunges back into the ocean's water, and this snaps him back into reality.

He is quickly reminded that he's not dead, and his shark trouble is still present.

This causes Jacky to make a fright-filled dash back to deeper waters in the hope of making it back home.

The sharks hear the splash and when turning to look in its direction, to their surprise their potential prey has reappeared, and is now pushing its way into the dark deep.

They again give chase, now more determined to eat this disappearing fish.

Being ahead of the faster swimming sharks, our scared little Jacky is able to out maneuver the sleeker and faster sharks, eventually making his way back home and out of sight between the safe rocks.

He returns to his familiar plants and rocks.

Jacky's friends and family are very happy to see his familiar scaly face.

They express how they thought for sure he was today's meal for a shark or two.

They ask him what happened.

Jacky begins to explain the drama as it unfolded, including in very specific detail his venture beyond the “great bright” (what the waters beyond their deep surroundings are called by his fellow fish).

As Jacky is describing his 'flight' beyond the great bright, and explaining that there is a 'surface' and that he pierced past this border, some start to sneer and complain, thinking Jacky is now out of its mind or simply making things up.

Some go as far as to suggest Jacky was simply hiding among some rocks the entire time and now simply wants to fascinate people with this tall tale.

Some others who are not so mean, yet still skeptical, dismiss Jacky's story.

They think he may be suffering some trauma from coming near-death when evading the hungry sharks.

Jacky is confused, hurt, and at the same time a bit frustrated.

He wonders why the other fish would think he is lying, or making things up, or out of his mind.

Jacky asks if anyone else has ever ventured beyond the safe-haven of the rocks and plants.

None can say they have, referring to the rules about not going too far past the rocks and plants.

They all in unison begin to recite their rules:
It is dangerous to go... beyond what we know 
Anyone who dares... is a meal without wares 
Whoever has gone... beyond what is known 
Never comes back... to tell what can be told
Jacky is also repeating this cadence, having done in chorus with all others thousands of times before.

Jacky now begins to question himself.

Did he really just evade several sharks?

Did he simply imagine it all?

What about the wild sensations of what he felt, heard and saw??

Was it all something his mind made up while hiding out among some rocks?

Did he just imagine the flesh of fallen fish between the jarred and sharp shark teeth?

He wonders if he could be so crazy as to make up such a fantastic story.

But he's sure of what he felt, saw and heard!

Jacky has never purposed a lie in his entire fishy life.

The only few times he did lie was when he was much younger, to not get in trouble, but he learned that more trouble and problems for others were caused when he did lie.

Jacky is certain he is not lying about what just happened.

Jacky becomes sad for his friends and family.

He wonders that if they would simply venture up towards the surface, they may be able to peak their heads out of the water and see for themselves.

As he begins to suggest this, they begin to peck at him ferociously.

He loses some scales in the frenzied abuse for suggesting such a dangerous and lawbreaking idea.

Jacky swims away from the crowd as fast as he can...with some fish now laughing, some others angry with him and calling for Jacky to be banished or pushed above and beyond the rocks.

They threaten him to never mention this 'story' of his ever again, and warn him if they hear about it again, they will gather enough fish to push him away for good.

Jacky is wondering what he can do with himself now.

He can't simply deny what he has experienced, and wonders now what is more dangerous; speaking again of the facts of what he experienced first-hand, or being pushed away to become fish food.

One thing he does know; it is possible to escape the scariest predator he knows.

Another thing he knows, yet doesn't fully understand; there is a place beyond the “great bright”, and that place seems more peaceful than the hostile environments of hungry predators and indifferent ignorant fish.

24 April 2017

His Glory Found In Us

1 John 5: 5-9

Anyone who reads my writings can tell I have a high Christology.

As I see things, the Christology in the testimony is perhaps even higher than I can express in my own words...thus why it is best to simply share the testimony itself.

A convincing testimony congruent to the reality that Yeshua is One with the Father and is [the] God having come in the flesh, is found here:
“Here is My servant, whom I uphold, 
   My Chosen One in whom I delight; 
I will put My Spirit on Him, 
   and He will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out, 
   or raise His voice in the streets. 
A bruised reed He will not break, 
   and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. 
In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; 
   He will not falter or be discouraged 
till He establishes justice on earth. 
   In His teaching the islands will put their hope.” 
This is what God the Lord says— 
   the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, 
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, 
   who gives breath to its people, 
and life to those who walk on it: 
   “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; 
I will take hold of your hand. 
   I will keep you and will make you 
to be a Covenant for the people 
   and a Light for the Gentiles, 
to open eyes that are blind, 
   to free captives from prison 
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 
   “I Am the Lord; that is My Name! 
I will not yield My glory to another 
   or My praise to idols. 
See, the former things have taken place, 
   and new things I declare; 
before they spring into being 
   I announce them to you.” 
- Isaiah 42: 1-9
It seems in Isaiah 42, God isn't speaking of a separate individual, but speaking of Himself when He will appear in the flesh.

Notice the use of the term “glory” and how God declared He will not yield His glory to another or praise to idols (what men make or perceive as physical items to worship).

Earlier in Isaiah we read:
For to us a child is born, 
   to us a Son is given, 
and the government will be on His shoulders. 
   And He will be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Of the greatness of His government and peace 
   there will be no end. 
He will reign on David’s throne 
   and over His kingdom, 
establishing and upholding it 
   with justice and righteousness 
from that time on and forever. 
   The zeal of the Lord Almighty 
will accomplish this. 
- Isaiah 9: 6-7
Quite remarkable how a “child is born / Son is given” is called “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father”.

The child, is the Son, called Father.

Matching Isaiah's testimony with Daniel's testimony we can understand further what God intended to do when He was to appear in the flesh temple as Yeshua.

Yet what some may argue is; how can God declare not to yield His glory to another, or His praise to idols...yet men have worshipped and praised Christ?

Christ was 'seen' physically, something tangible at that time in Judea, yet God is Spirit and according to human understanding, is intangible?

What is the testimony predicting this paradox?
“As I looked, 
   “thrones were set in place, 
and the Ancient of Days took His seat. 
   His clothing was as white as snow; 
the hair of His head was white like wool. 
   His throne was flaming with fire, 
and its wheels were all ablaze. 
   A river of fire was flowing, 
coming out from before Him. 
   Thousands upon thousands attended Him; 
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. 
   The court was seated, 
and the books were opened... 
...“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His Presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 
- Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14
Looking again at the term “glory”, how did Christ express Himself (Christ) in relation to God the Father?

In what manner did God express Himself while in the flesh and walking the earth as Messiah?
After Yeshua said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: 
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Yeshua Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in your Presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave Me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to Me and they have obeyed your Word. Now they know that everything you have given Me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave Me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent Me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given Me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is Mine. And glory has come to Me through them. 
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be One, Father, just as you are in Me and I Am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me. I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are One—I in them and you in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent Me and have loved them even as you have loved Me. 
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent Me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” 
- John 17: 1-10, 20-23, 25-26
In order to continue a logical conclusion of what God expressed in Isaiah regarding His glory not being given to another, and Christ speaking of God giving Him (Christ) glory, and that glory being also given from the Son to the Father (and surprisingly even unto the believers), what can be realized regarding this testimony?

God is One.

God glorifies Himself.

God glorified Himself when He became Yeshua Christ.

Yeshua was glorified by God, our Father:

When he was gone, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. 
- John 13: 31-32 
Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 
- 1 Peter 1: 21
Many more places is the Son glorified, and declared to be Immanuel (God with us).

We see God being made fully known in human terms in the Son, and this knowledge being made complete.

May God's Holy Name (Yeshua HaMashiach) be forever praised, to the glory of He who revealed Himself for His own glory and our salvation.

23 April 2017

Has Christ Returned With His Kingdom?

Psalm 19: 1-3

Some may claim that Yeshua the Christ never returned from heaven as King, or that His kingdom (the kingdom of God) did not arrive as promised.

But what is clearly understood from the testimony does not always compute with the heart that is still unopened:
“For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done.” 
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” 
- Matthew 16: 27-28 
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” 
- Luke 9: 27 
And He said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” 
- Mark 9: 1
Did Yeshua actually return along with His kingdom?

Looking at Matthew 12 (before Yeshua was crucified), we read:
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 
- Matthew 12: 28
What can we conclude when Yeshua claims to drive out demons (evil spirits) by the Spirit of God?

Yeshua is teaching that wherever the Spirit of God is at work, the kingdom of God is there and present.

Looking at 'what', 'how' and 'where' the kingdom of God is:
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Yeshua replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” 
- Luke 17: 20-21
So just as Yeshua claimed to have the Spirit of God within Himself (a theological point Islam agrees with when labeling Yeshua / Jesus / Isa 'the Spirit of God'), we understand from Yeshua's teaching that the kingdom of God is not visible to human eyes, but is Spirit and thus exists within the believers.

When was the Spirit of God poured into believers?

Forty days after Yeshua rose from the dead and went into heaven:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 
- Acts 2: 1-4
Interestingly, Islamic theology seems to agree with this particular testimony when it testifies that Yeshua is the Spirit of God (manifested on earth in the flesh of the man Yeshua Christ, the Son of Man, called the Son of Mary in Islamic theology).

As Yeshua taught, wherever the Spirit of God is there is also the kingdom of God.

So according to Scripture the kingdom of God had arrived firstly when Christ walked the earth, and continues to be poured into the hearts of those who believe Yeshua is Lord (and are thus baptized with the Holy Spirit as the Gospel declares).

Notice that some time after the Holy Spirit (Yeshua's Spirit) was poured into men's hearts on the Day of Pentecost, Saul later called Paul (who previously persecuted the church) actually 'sees' Yeshua on the road to Damascus:
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a Voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” 
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 
“I Am Yeshua, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 
- Acts 9: 3-6
The misunderstanding in the claim that Yeshua has not returned is like saying Yeshua has been doing nothing in heaven for 2,000 years.

But we understand God is always at work and nothing slips by God's knowledge and vision.

It can be argued that Yeshua has been judging people as King since He rose into heaven and sat on the throne.

The dead have been raised from earth, and all things are now in a spiritual context, no longer in a physical understanding:
And when Yeshua had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His Spirit. 
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Yeshua's resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 
- Matthew 27: 50-51
Regarding Yeshua being the Spirit of God, may your heart understand the following as it is messaged:
If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 
- John 14: 15-18
So on the Day of Pentecost, about 40 days after the flesh of Yeshua rose from the dead, Yeshua returned to His disciples as the Spirit of Truth / Holy Spirit / Spirit of God.

Yeshua returned as the Comforter / Advocate / Spirit of Truth...as was written long ago:
For to us a child is born,  
   to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.  
   And He will be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
- Isaiah 9: 6

Yeshua is much more than a mere human being, despite taking the form of a man.

Yeshua is what has been revealed from Above since the beginning...and so much more.

Yeshua is Lord.


22 April 2017

When Murdered & Murderer Are Called Martyrs

It is sad and shameful when any human being is slain by the hand of another human being.

Laws written by man's hands justify wickedness and call it justice.

However, no notion from men can Today justify the taking of life by another.

By doing so, one places themselves in the seat of Judgment, and only One resides thereupon.

Though some men may argue that they are that One's representative on earth, whether viceroy, king, prophet, messenger, etc., the One revealed to be King over all and who holds all authority in heaven and earth has declared and established otherwise a better Way.

An example of how a human desires taking God's place is found in capital punishment; the government killing a murderer.

Aside from evidence of a duality on the earth between old world adherents and new covenant followers, the manner one conducts themselves depends on their measure of faith, if any.

Do they believe, follow and imitate the Prince of Peace, or believe, follow and imitate human nature?

Full faith in and complete submission to God allows the believer not to take matters into their own hands, but instead staying at peace while allowing God to bring about His justice either in this world or the life to come.

Yes, it is easy to declare these ideals when the world's governments express both dimensions exemplified in the old and new covenants.

What is paradoxical is how some men, whose faith is weak or unfounded, somehow protect those whose faith is founded on the Rock and who proclaim peace to all.

It is easy to speak of high platitudes when religious men do, say and write rules and allowances that are indifferent to the Word's clarity....even making adjustments and claiming it to be revealed from Above.

These are the matters that seem logical and 'just' to the hearts and minds of men, but God has provided something a new Way.

Yet, if Yeshua / Jesus / Isa is the Word of God (God intellectually expressed), then the Messiah's example shall be the example imitated and held onto, all excuses put aside.

In some confounding way, both the wicked and the weak in faith uphold a structure that provides a semblance of divine providence, albeit fractured and poor.

Fractured and poor meaning; the purposes are siphoned and expressed through mankind, and confounding in the outcome of such brokenness and what seems like 'chaos' and 'intrigue'...yet good and justice seems to eventually prevail, on earth as has always in heaven.

What about places where the new is still working its way into the old; the new wine replacing the old?

The culture that has been heavily influenced by the Gospel is multifaceted.

We see various forms of the faith transmuted through a myriad of human representations, and despite perceived 'differences' in writing or outward perceptions, somehow they are one as He is One.

Since God is One and has not changed, how can the covenant He made previous with mankind be fulfilled and also replaced by a new covenant?

There is written not a single covenant since the beginning, but several (and in this case, a new covenant replacing one called 'old').

Does this constitute 'change', or completion of one manner of living with the entering of a new manner of life?

Similar to how a child eventually grows into an adult and matures (or at least we hope), we are called to put behind us childish ways and manners in order to become wiser, more patient and less petty.

How can men understand an unchanging God when they perceive a changing of the rules?

If the rules have been completed and fulfilled, the empty spaces being filled up completely, why does the heart still beckon for a fleshly manner (eye-for-an-eye retaliation)?

The Spirit calls one higher, to deny the flesh's weakness.

How is someone who knows not the Spirit begin to live according to the Spirit's teaching?

It doesn't seem possible, and such thoughts as mentioned herein are ridiculous to the heart and soul who isn't filled with the Spirit of Holiness.

Many men make judgments when looking at others from the outside, but what has been declared from the mouth of God?
Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 
- Ezekiel 18: 23
This verse from the prior covenant (which again has been fulfilled in and through Christ) is mentioned because it seems that many people still live their lives according to the flesh, and thus the eye-for-an-eye way of life.

Men take matters into their own hands and think they are doing God a service when slaying other men.

In the fulfillment of Christ, where Christ obeyed perfectly the law as no typical human being was able to because all men are typical and thus fallible, we now follow the decree to love one's enemies despite that enemy's hostility and ignorance of love and of the new reality of life.

How was Christ able to fulfill the law in a perfect manner if Christ was a man / human?

By and according to the Spirit which initiated the Messiah in Mary's womb; by and according to the Spirit which spoke through Christ's human body; by and according to the Spirit which gave life to the fleshly body of Christ in the resurrection; by and according to the same Spirit who now animates countless believers who currently reside on earth and continuously fill heaven's pasture.

If the perceived enemy takes our life from the earth, what becomes of our soul now that it has been released from the body?

If we believe our next moment will be with He who is One and who calls us all to be one with one another and with Him, why do men even consider fighting when this is the very passage the Soul of the Righteous One from Above experienced?

He who proclaimed the Word by which all men will be judged was passive when He had every right and authority to condemn, judge and eliminate the enemy in the flesh of others.

Did He not forgive, while hanging on the tree, the very people who were putting His flesh to death?

The man who was innocent of any charge and accusation, who never uttered a malady nor trespassed on another, who never trampled the consciousness of Holiness, responded to violence with love and forgiveness.

Shall not we who profess His Holy Name have the same attitude in heart and mind?

His immediate followers continued such a Way and such continue to do so up to this very Hour.

There was a time a martyr was one who committed no act of aggression towards another, nor was employed in such a vocation where acts of violent or aggression were allowed or justified, but was killed for what they held in sanctity.

That is still the truth-filled definition of that term.

But religious people confuse the laws of men with the law of Christ, and justify themselves to be acting “in defense” when the teaching of righteousness calls them to be at peace and depend on God, as Christ did until His flesh perished.

Some people call their violent men 'martyrs' according to some very logically human reasons, but these are still based on the old manner of things, the eye-for-an-eye manner of life, which sadly for them may ultimately end in eternal death.

Where does one begin to point out the confusion when concept, culture and community promotes violence and killing as somehow being God's allowance in responding to violence or killing of others?

One answer could be the new wine has yet to be tasted in the hearts of many people still living under old covenant hostilities...and such a notion exists the world over, not only in certain regions.

I share this news article to point out what I see as confusion regarding what a martyr is.

That term can be argued to mean what best suits anyone's mind and heart.

I don't point to this article to scapegoat a cultural backdrop that seems to confuse what a martyr is, because every single culture on earth Today portrays contradiction and hypocrisy through their government and most of its leaders, secular and religious alike.

Here are two quotes highlighted:

“This was against all human and Islamic values.”

“Some were searching for the bodies of their martyrs, others didn’t know whether the person they were waiting for was dead or wounded.”

In speaking about martyrs, the speaker is Gen. Dawlat Waziri of the Afghan Ministry of Defense, and the martyrs he speaks of are the Afghan state's soldiers who were praying in a certain place when they were slain.

What is conflicting is that those who carried out the slaying of the Afghan soldiers consider the soldiers as apostates, thus a justification for the soldiers being killed off.

The killers, in this case religious Muslims calling themselves Taliban, most likely did not consider those they killed to be martyrs, but justifying their murderous actions as a path to martyrdom for themselves.

But both groups of men, the murdered and the murderers, are in the business of killing one another.

Weren't the crusades also an example of such contradiction and hypocrisy?

So the example isn't one-sided, or speaking to one religion or culture, but is pointing at each one of us and how we view ourselves in relation to the rest of mankind.

Does your religion or secular view allow you to kill another man for justifiable reasons, or any religious or secular reason?

If so, then your religion / culture has been taught by mere men, not the God who loves, forgives and raises people from the dead.

If Christ fulfilled the prior covenant God made with Moses, and thus that eventual religion was also retired when the law of Moses was fulfilled, then the eye-for-an-eye has also been retired.

Can you hear God speaking to your heart?
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. 
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 
- Luke 6: 28-36 
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 
- 2 Corinthians 5: 16-19

20 April 2017

The Flesh Died: Clarity Between The Quran & Gospel

Let us explore ancient messages and find out if they actually agree or disagree.

The caveat in doing so is, despite evidence historical and empirical, the matter of faith (believing something to be true) is sadly not something that can sometimes be logically or rationally attained.

With this in mind, let us look at the Gospel and the Quran regarding Christ (Yeshua / Jesus / Isa) and the issue of Christ physically dying, resurrecting and rising into heaven.

It seems both testimonies are in agreement, but not as men have been told.

The 'issue' is that the death and resurrection testimony is refuted among atheists and most religious groups outside followers of Christ; groups of people including the majority of Muslims (or mainstream Islamic doctrine).

Certain Islamic scholars have already arrived at the conclusion that there is no textual message issue, but one of interpretation regarding Jesus' death.

Not everyone is a scholar or even researches the things they believe in beyond what they are taught / told to believe among their religious circles.

In focusing on certain points from the Gospel and Quran, I'm not going to discuss the entirety of the source verse, but simply the issue already mentioned.

Looking at the Gospel first:
I Am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me—just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and One Shepherd. The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” 
- John 10: 14-18
It is common mainstream theology that Christ died for the sins of the world (those specifically who would believe), and rose again to life on the third day.

Looking specifically at the part of Christ laying down and taking up His life, we see it expressed in terms of Jesus' choice.

We also see the word “command”, which seems to convey an order or rule from the Father.

We read Christ express there is a choice in laying down His life, and then mentions it to be a command from His Father.

Is the Father commanding Jesus to die, or is the command expressing Christ having authority to make the choice?

Please read the passage from John 10 again.

Now turning to the Quran (while not going into whether it is inspired or not in this article), and knowing the Arabic name / word for Jesus is “Isa”, let us read:
Recall what time Allah said: O 'Isa! verily I shall make Thee die, and am lifting Thee to Myself and am purifying Thee from those who disbelieve, and shall place those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection; thereafter unto Me shall be the return of you all, then I shall judge between you of that wherein ye were wont to differ. - Al Imran 55 (Quran 3.55, Daryabadi translation)
There is much to derive from this verse, but we're going to focus on the first part.

While not every English translation of the Quran uses the phrase “make Thee die” when translating the Arabic transliteration “mutawaffika” in this particular verse, it is has been argued in scholarship that the translated term means “cause thee to die” in every other context found in the Quran.

For further insight, please read this exploratory by Islamic scholar Geoffrey Parrinder.

As to what men have explained regarding verse 3.55, notice how such explanations are not explicit in the Quran, but are elaborated at length with human efforts.

There are several explanations and opinions regarding 'who' died in place of Jesus (according to Islamic beliefs).

But we see an order depicted in 3.55...read it again.

Looking at another verse from the Quran regarding Jesus' death, let us read:
And for their saying: verily We have slain the Messiah 'Isa son of Maryam, an apostle of Allah, whereas they slew Him not, nor they crucified Him but it was made dubious unto them. And verily those who differ therein are in doubt thereof, they have no knowledge thereof; they but follow an opinion; and surely they slew him not. - An Nisa 157 (Quran 4.157, Daryabadi translation)
In context, verse 4.157 is talking about the supposed boasting of the Jews regarding what they did to Jesus, or what they believe to have done to Jesus; kill Christ.

Is the issue “they but follow an opinion” talking about Jesus being alive after their attempts to kill Jesus?

Is it an issue of faith that Christ rose to life after being killed, or did they doubt that they killed Jesus?

The crucifixion was obvious; the death witnessed by Jews, Romans, disciples of Jesus and others.

The issue mentioned in 4.157 seems to be about Jesus being alive after being publicly executed.

I think this is why the point is stressed in 4.157 that they did not in fact kill Jesus, and were wrong in thinking they succeeded in their plans.

Christian, Roman and other secular sources from antiquity have confirmed the historicity of Jesus' death.

The existence of Jesus, and the crucifixion, has been a hotly debated issue in scholarship that has been resolved with near-universal acknowledgement.

How then can verse 4.157 be brought in line with the Gospel and what the Quran literally states regarding Jesus and death?

A prominent Islamic scholar, Mahmoud M. Ayoub, wrote the following:
The Quran, as we have already argued, does not deny the death of Christ. Rather, it challenges human beings who in their folly have deluded themselves into believing that they would vanquish the divine Word, Jesus Christ the Messenger of God. The death of Jesus is asserted several times and in various contexts. (3:55; 5:117; 19:33)
Verse 4.157 seems to be expressing how some had the wrong idea when thinking they could kill the Word of God and Spirit of God (Jesus / Isa).

Theologically speaking, it was the flesh that was killed and perished, not the Word and / or Spirit of God, which are eternal.

However, just as in the case of Lazarus in the Gospel, and other writings in Islamic literature, Jesus rose Lazarus to life after being dead four days.

It was then the flesh that was pierced and perished, while the Spirit and Word of God continued despite the flesh.

The flesh was made alive again by the authority Jesus was commanded to have by the Father.

Considering the faithful stance that Jesus rose from the dead and proceeded into heaven shortly thereafter, verse 4.157 then makes logical sense when focusing on the argument denying Jesus continued to live after being killed.

For further interpretation and understanding dilemmas regarding Islamic views of Jesus' death, look here.

Now looking at 3.55, this testimony is then complimentary to the Gospel declaration that it was God's plan all along to allow Jesus to die, and then raise Jesus up:
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” 
- Acts 2: 22-24
The Jews and Romans of that time thought they killed Jesus forever, but what they didn't understand (and many people still don't Today) is that Jesus was witnessed alive after being dead and later rising up into the sky.

This is the testimony of the Gospel, of which the Quran seems to agree with when clearly interpreted according to the prior writings of the Torah and Gospel.

18 April 2017

Religious vs Righteous

2 Corinthians 4: 6-7

2 Corinthians 3: 17-18

Can you tell the difference between a religious person and a righteous person?

I think the world is full of religious people.

You can see them according to how they dress, how they speak and how they sometimes tell you how wrong you and are how right they are.

What about righteous people?

Do any exist?

I think the world is also full of righteous people.

They are not easily found according to how they dress, but you can sometimes tell by their manners and their choice of words...especially in difficult and challenging situations.

From a righteous person you may learn about how wrong you are, and what the right thing to do is, but perhaps not from them telling you directly as the religious person would, but in other ways.

You learn by observation and through experience from the righteous person...how to be righteous.

You also learn by observation and through experience from the religious person...how to be offensive and think oneself to be doing the right thing.

We learn about how wonderful grace is from observing both the righteous and religious person.

How is this so?

Through the righteous person, we can experience grace extended from them to others (or, better said, from God through them and onto others).

Through the religious person, we can see how God is gracious to them despite their arrogance, their ill mannered ways, and how they misrepresent Grace Himself.

We can learn what grace actually is when learning to imitate the righteous person according to how they are gracious to others, even those who don't seem to deserve any kindness.

We can then learn how to be gracious to the religious person when it comes to handling their blindness and impatience.

But how do you tell the religious person that they are in no way righteous according to their manners, their choice of words, their attitude and their misrepresentation of He who is full of grace and truth?

I don't think it is possibly done in words, for if the heart is not receptive to a kind correction, they are more concerned about pointing out what they perceive to be wrong in you.

This is the joy of the religious...while the joy of the righteous is to silently pray for those around them while always extending gracious words and kind action.

If only the world's observers can see clearly that the religious are attempting to imitate the righteous, and they only way they know how is by trying to pull all that is outside within...yet it is the other way around with the righteous.

Christ revealed this:
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Yeshua replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in within you.” 
- Luke 17: 20-21
If only the observers who are seeking God can tell the difference between religion and righteousness.

One attempts to teach the other (religion teaching righteousness), but those who actually traverse such paths know how false this idea is.

Religion is a residual effect left over from the wake of righteous paths.

17 April 2017

Anything Less Would Be Uncivilized

Romans 3: 31

How wild was the “wild west”?

How “civilized” is the world today?

How an era, people, government, etc., is viewed is dependent on how they are depicted in the news, popular media and how historians write about them.

The words used can cast a dark shadow over an entire people, and those words may not always be accurate or even honest.

Accurate statistics, on the other hand, usually portray a clearer picture despite popular opinions or popular forms of art (movies, novels, some history books of the world).

Similar to first impressions (first impressions not always being 100% accurate), a single narrative of any person, or a certain time in U.S. history, doesn't always paint a complete and truthful picture.

When exploring 'how' life was in the frontier lands in America during the expanse west of the Mississippi, many people have in mind what is usually depicted in popular films.

Hundreds of movies have been made that give the viewer an impression that at almost any moment a gun fight would break out.

The manner the natives were perceived by frontiersman and colonialists were usually exaggerated and overtly bias.

Both movies and some history books show natives of the Americas to be villainous and wild, yet the nature of the dynamic between the ancient culture of the native and the modern manners of the immigrant colonialist was usually one-sided.

Encroachment into native regions was usually justified, and when agreements were broken or altered for yet another time, the native's grievance was usually met with more violence 'because of' the native.

The strong always have their way with the weak, and history has shown this to be the reoccurring way of the world.

This is a typical repeating reality of this world's history.

So, was the “wild west” truly rampant with outlaws, murderers and such?

Was it more dangerous in those days 150 to 200 years ago west of the Mississippi than our modern and seemingly more civil times in America?

Was society possibly more lawful and thus more ordered and respectful of life than today?

Yes and no.

I think the overall civilizing of the entire world is headed in the right direction with certain hiccups and setbacks (wars, genocides, riots, etc.).

The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth vs Reality is great article to read for a narrative adjustment (must read for a historical adjustment regarding U.S. history narratives).

Here's an important news article that explains the ups and downs of the homicide rate, and why the fluctuations.

Look at Figure 1 (page 12 of 15) at this link to see an interesting graph showing a dip in the homicide rate in the U.S., and then a return to the previous trend...this particular paper is what the news article is based on.

Read that article to find out what some people suspect as “why” the rate dropped...and why it returned.

And what about the rest of the world?

How are people behaving in the age of the internet, rights and liberty?

Look at the list of homicide rates of most countries.

Scroll down to the large chart and toggle / click the arrows below “Rate” to see the lowest rated countries, then click again to see the highest.

Although the mainstream news media highlights murders and disasters on a daily basis (being part of their business model to attract viewership), the world has examples of people living at relative peace with one another, even in America where people of a multitude of backgrounds have been arriving to its shores for several generations, yet the homicide rate is not as extreme as in other places.

Could it be the focus on law and order?

Could it be the opportunity to seek out a decent living for those who make the effort?

Could it be upward mobility regardless of heritage or background?

Could it be the education?

Many may be the answers.

What do you think?

15 April 2017

Audible Poetry Speaks Timeless Reality

The following song, like so many other poems put to music, speaks about Today, as it could speak of the many yesterdays.

The patterns of humanity seems to be a constant friction emanating from an inner struggle showcased on a world stage.

The solution Today, as has always been in days past, is to love, forgive and not wrestle over what is temporary, even our mist-filled lives.

As usual when I post a song, I like to interpret either a single speaker (monologue), or dialogue (perhaps between God and a man), or several speakers.

In the case of this song, I'll suggest a dialogue between God and man, but I won't identify my particular interpretation of Who is speaking to whom and when... although some lines may be obvious regarding who the speaker is.

Enjoy the visual here while reading the lyrics here:

Every where is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies;Tell me where is sanity? 
Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more. 
I'd love to change the world - but I don't know what to do,So I'll leave it up to you. 
Population - keeps on breeding, nation bleeding,Still more feeding economy. 
Life is funny, skies are sunny, bees make honey,Who needs money? Monopoly! 
I'd love to change the world - but I don't know what to do,So I'll leave it up to you... Oh yeah, 
World pollution, there's no solution, institution, electrocution,Just black and white, rich or poor, them and us,We'll stop the war! 
I'd love to change the world - but I don't know what to do,So I'll leave it up to you... and Good Luck! 
- Ten Years After 

13 April 2017

Each Man's Mind Is A Universe

Psalm 107: 10-16

Each man's mind is a universe.

I searched for this phrase thinking it to be someone's previous quote, but didn't find it anywhere.

I'm sure I may have heard it somewhere before, or a version of it, but if not...you read it here first ;)

I think the phrase speaks to many things.

Most importantly, I think, it speaks to any individual's view of the world, themselves, the meanings of things and so forth, they hold dear to their heart and perceive as true.

Yet one man's truth, when compared to another man's truth, can differ quite drastically, even when the same words are used to describe their perceived truths.

At least this is the case in a free society, but I think it also exists in society's where your opinion is not openly accepted (or expected to never be expressed), yet even in such places the mind and heart are apt to ponder ideas beyond the formulas and methods of others.

In philosophical circles, ideas build upon and tangent away from previous ideas.

A new idea, or fresh and unique perspective on life, is a rarity because some people believe all ideas (and their counterparts) have already been expressed.

Is this the case?

Where is the actual Way?

At least in philosophical circles, the effort to find new ideas is encouraged and welcomed, and there is a base of logic that men can refer back to when considering 'new' ideas.

Not so much in certain religious circles.

Perhaps in clerical circles, discussions can be expressed and shared between men who have done their fair amount of searching, study and semantics.

But among the laity, there is quite a fog of misconception that is a byproduct of inferior identity and external features; only by repeating the manner one explains their belief can an accord be welcomed.

Same could be said about political circles, where two mainstream views of life have been deduced: capital and labor.

For the religious, and especially in places where plurality of concept is a death sentence, repeating the already formulated ideas is how one stays safe and in good standing...yet the inner soul can still communicate its yearnings and desires to the ears of Whom they reach.

This is found in almost all religious organizations the world over, regardless of name.

The attempt to 'change someone's mind', when they have already resolved to believe, accept and repeat any particular decree, dogma or doctrine they perceive to be true, can be an effort in futility.

Since we are speaking of people, every so often an individual is found to be searching; to continue searching for more depth even after finding, is a part of Life.

It isn't so much having the aim to 'change someone's mind', but more so to encourage them to think, to be open to new information, to grow along with the manner all of life continues to grow (despite dying and receding elsewhere).

If it wasn't for variety in people, in their thoughts and eventual contradiction, how would we be able to identify what is 'different' or 'contradiction' and thus pursue the journey in finding what is Truth if we do no have evidence of what is false?

Learn from the differences in life and aim for unity through peace, even if those who oppose you are taught to never be at peace with your open heart, open mind and open-armed embrace. 

10 April 2017

Greatest Human Identity Conceived

John 1: 12-13

The process of human growth is extraordinary at times.

The journey to discovery of what has always been present, yet not fully understood, can be quite exciting.

The manner the insights pour into one's heart and onto one's consciousness can be painful at times, peace-filled at other times, but necessary and purposed always.

Painful in the sense that the mind's perception experiences growing pains in adjusting from a prior paradigm; a perception previously limited, now growing from through the cracks of its purveying shell.

For some people, this is quite painful and at times causes disillusionment...even denial that sadly can be perpetual.

The disillusionment can be embraced, or looked forward to by some people, while for others it can wreak havoc on their long-held beliefs, ideas and opinions (things previously believed to be fact / truth).

A phrase that comes to mind is “cognitive dissonance”.

I think each person the world over has experienced such episodes to some degree during their life.

Perhaps this is a typical byproduct of living...especially for those who are always striving to grow, learn, adapt and pursue the truth of all things amongst the confusion of opinions claimed to be fact.

For the individual that tends to consider they already know it all, or their view of the world is correct and all others are less than correct, perhaps the stress or discomfort is more extreme.

The safe haven of denial is a constant for them...and here we can identify a genesis of psychosis.

For some, their perception and understanding of God allows them to kill another human being and be justified...while the opposite is true for other individuals.

We see these reactions in people holding onto the various aspects life; politics, economics, religion, etc., called correct, proper and 'good' for some, ridiculously clueless, ignorant and wicked by others.

We see this when people attempt to conform to an identity that is not natural, or derived from the opinions of men.

This is one typical product of religion...and religion does not equal God nor provides full revelation from God.

A typical example I've made while discussing these thoughts in person with others is this:

I used to say “I am Cuban” because that is the place on earth my parents came from; or more clearly, the name of the land on which they were born.

Why are people identified, called or labeled according to what some place on earth is called / named?

What if that place were called “Scuba” instead of Cuba?

What if, for some reason in the past, the island was called “Scuba” and people go “Cuba” diving in the waters off the coast of Scuba?

I and many others with similar self-identifiers would be apt to call ourselves Scubans.

What if the island was called by another term, such as ScratchyItchyStan?

Then historically, it would not have been the “Cuban Missile Crisis” that people were freaking out about, but the “ScratchyItchyStan Missile Crisis” instead!

To conclude, that island has been called various terms in times past...and may be called something else in the future.

The same is true about almost any place on earth that man has stepped foot on, inhabited and named.

So, am I a Cuban before I am an American... or either of those terms / ideas prior to being a human being...or something else?

I wasn't born on the Cuban island, but somewhere else.

I was born in a politically identified entity, labeled a “city” called “SilverLake”, in a politically identified entity, labeled “county” called “Los Angeles”, in a politically identified entity, labeled a “state” called “California”, which happens to be found on a political map and according to geographical coordinates in a political entity, labeled a “country” called the “United States of America”.

Many people go to war believing in so many faulty external identities, killing others on the other side of a political (imaginary) line, fighting against another identity that happens to also believe in their labels and political entities.

But before all of these ideas and perceptions of men came to exist, you and I are human beings (which is yet another identifying term made up to label something, in this case our fleshly bodies).

But what are we really?

And what is the sum total of our ideas, or even just a single idea?

What were the most ancient of identities?

What were the earliest labels men gave to each other?

What is our natural identity and most proper label?

Is how you see yourself the same as how others see you?

How important it truly is when we fill in a blank properly.

What do you fill-in when you have a blank space like: “I am _______” ??

A man named Moses asked a particular question to a Voice who claimed to be God and Creator of all things known and unknown.

That question and answer:
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 
God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ ” 
- Exodus 3: 13-14
Moses (circa 1200 B.C.), who asked that very important question to God, was a descendant of Abraham (~ 1800 B.C.).

Interestingly enough, there was another similar answer...from someone who was both hated and loved for all they exemplified.
“Very truly I tell you,” Yeshua answered, “before Abraham was born, I Am!” 
- John 8: 58
What, then, is found in identifying with Yeshua as the I Am?

How do we approach a proper, true and factual identity when considering God revealed Himself to mankind as Yeshua Christ, as history depicts?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full... 
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” 
Again His Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone Him, but Yeshua said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?” 
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 
Yeshua answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the One whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I Am God’s Son’? Do not believe Me unless I do the works of My Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 
- John 10: 10, 27-38
Do you see what your proper identity is in relation to God?

We are created like Him, according to His likeness, while on our own we are not complete...and perish like mere mortals apart from Him (men choosing to separate themselves from what God had intended for them: to be unified, to be one with Him).

Going even further, what is our ultimate relationship with God, our completion, our unifying identifier?
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I Am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One—I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” 
- John 17: 20-23
As you can read for yourselves, your identity is beyond any human conception of earthly ideas.

May all humankind put aside their faulty ideas, opinions and dividing identifiers, and clothe themselves with the very glory that is given from Above.

May this be done in His Holy Name: Yeshua.

08 April 2017

Approaching Romans Chapter 1 Verses 26-27

This article speaks to nature and natural order as observed by human beings.

This article does not equate animals to humans, nor humans to animals, but uses animals as examples to explore the natural order in both humans and animals, while pointing out some unnatural tendencies of human beings.

This article is speaking of a very controversial subject that is highly emotional, political and confusing for many people, although the controversial aspects of the topic are not seen as such controversial by some, but as something else.

This article should be read in its entirety, and read again. . . .

How do you convince the house cat who thinks its a lion...that its really a house cat?

Since the two are very much alike, would it be more bothersome for the cat than for the messenger to mention it?

Would it be okay to let the cat think its more ferocious than it really is knowing it will stay indoors all its life?

Maybe if the cat could reason as the human, perhaps it would be wise and cautionary for such a discussion to happen just in case the cat would ever venture beyond the safety of the house.

The cat and lion are very similar, with similar traits and habits; size being one difference despite the many likenesses.

Consider the male and female felines, both cats and lions.

The lion (male) and the (lioness) female are very similar while having unique roles and features.

Much the same way in humans, the man and woman share many common traits and habits, yet have unique differences despite the many similarities.

I am not sure if the lion and lioness ever traded roles since their inception, with some lions becoming or acting like lionesses and vice versa.

Somehow humans are determining or identifying a variety of roles and relations beyond the male / female constant...and I think the lines of rationale continue to be blurred.

Humans can learn a lot from the animals.

Animals can remind us of our basic nature.

Nature shows us that procreation among humans occurs only between a man and a woman...but some have gone in search of other methods to reflect and resemble the natural order they saw growing up or as realized throughout history, and view their external efforts as conforming to the natural order.

Some men perceive themselves as something else or in a different role, as do some women...and the family unit is taking on a new manner.

How society will adjust, or be adjusted by such things, will soon be realized.

Looking at animals again, let us consider two creatures that are very distinct?

How do you convince the mouse who thinks its an elephant...that its really a mouse?

Since the mouse has many natural predators, as opposed to the elephant that has very few, a long conversation may be needed to help the mouse come to terms with its reality; its image, role, nature and perception of itself.

If animals could talk, what would they say about themselves and about the world around them?

What would the animals have to say about human beings?

Some domestic animals, especially those pets who are treated similarly or seemingly better than some human beings, may have mostly praise and wonderful things to say about their owners and whomever pays proper attention to them.

Would the animals be confused when observing some human behavior if they were able to rationalize as some humans can?

Would the lion understand why some men are attracted to men and not women?

Has the lion been limited by its simple mind (as compared to a humans complexity and capacity for understanding) in exploring other possible gender varieties among the tribe of lions?

Has nature evolved as some suppose, or has environment (society, cultural norms and direct human interference) nurtured a variance from the natural order?

Consider these 12 intermingled species through adoption.

Read the circumstances, the human understanding and involvement to how those 12 varieties came together.

Most of the animal examples are by the guidance and influence of people, which harkens to the reality that man has dominated all animals the world over in one way or another...even taming the most wild and dangerous of animals...and also speaks to an environment producing such a result highlighted at that web page.

Not all men have dominated their inner struggles, fears, insecurities and the pain that others have done to them...but instead have been dominated by them.

The manner a cat, or a lion, pounces on its prey is not a matter of decision, but of its nature.

The lion usually does not reason away its desire to devour a meal, nor would it typically ignore an empty stomach in order to make a friend out of a potential meal.

Mankind is unique in its position in the world, although humans resemble most animals in many ways.

Like many animals, people have two eyes, two ears, two hands and feet, etc..

But the human has reason, a rational mind and so much more.

Although man has a nature that causes him to find a meal when hungry, man has a mind that allows him to decide what particular diet he will consume (depending, of course on the options).

Depending on an individual's perception and understanding of themselves and the world around them, some individuals can accomplish very amazing things and seem invincible...while other individuals have a very small view of themselves and seem susceptible to others.

Upbringing, socializing and abuse among other factors are still being researched.

Some of us may have been close to either (or both) extremes and somewhere in between, or perhaps we've perceived ourselves on such a landscape, or at least observed others.

Much how an animal can be weened and grafted into a usual group, despite that animal's training and imitation of other animals, that animal never ceases being what it actually is.

I think the same can be said about a human being regarding their sex, gender and role.

What, then, can be said about the man who thinks he is a woman, or claims to be a woman locked inside the body of a man?

What can be said about the man who lays down with another man and says this is the same as how a man lays down with a woman?

Studies show that there is more going on that previously regarded; possibly childhood socializing, or abuse, trauma, and other factors.

Science describes how the vagina, not the anus, complements the penis.

Can such an obvious reality be resolved when confused?

Perhaps not for certain individuals who perceive their choices supersede their nature, or their nature allows for their choices to be correct and not to be questioned, but accepted as 'normal' and 'acceptable'.

Perhaps also not for certain cats and certain mice, if cats and mice perceived themselves as something else.

But with human interaction and influence, perhaps we can understand why a mouse may think it is an elephant...and why, applying the same logic, a man may think he is more of a woman instead of a man, or feels like playing the role that a woman would naturally play.

We are called to invite into loving arms those who suspect themselves to be such as these.

One wouldn't dismiss their pet cat for their lion-like ambitions, right?

Neither should one dismiss their fellow human being who perceives themselves outside what is the natural order or what is indifferent to their views.

Wouldn't we, if we were the ones with such perceptions, like to have people accept our humanity and treat us kindly and loving despite their reservations with our self perceptions?

06 April 2017

Viable Interpretations

John 12: 23-33 [for our benefit]

      Christ appeared in the open 
   “violence and fortune had its end in you 
      all you would enter therein 
         the soul, like me, will never 'die'.”
These words are my best interpretation of the singing I hear from a song I like.

I have yet to find the actual lyrics, and the singing 'sounds' (to me) like what I wrote.

Interpretation is key.

People are interpreting things all the time, mostly by default, according to their programming, their preconceived notions and their upbringing (cultured strata).

And one's interpretation of the world, of the things they believe, of what they perceive as ethereal and inspired from Above, has the power to build or destroy, plant or uproot, eventually fully live or fully die.

You've noticed the image included in this particular blog post.

What do you see?

How do you see that picture?

It is a digital code made visible, correct?

The photons used to interpret the actual image that was captured is very different from what your eyes are telling you you see.

Digital's predecessor was film.

By light and shadow being somehow 'imprinted' on a piece of film, a 'negative' image is realized.

Then light is shown through that negative image to reveal the 'positive' representation of what was initially 'seen' by the camera (or the person capturing the image).

I'm speaking about more than mere photography's science.

I explain all this not to say that these are the initial thoughts that passed through my particular mind when I saw the concrete imprint.

I initially see the obvious: an imprint of leaves on branches from a stem that fell on freshly laid concrete.

I placed the fallen leaves and branch to stage the picture for the sake of this writing.

As for what I see, my interpretation is according to my previous thought processes, my learning (what I've been taught, actually), and my choices in thinking about certain things and not about others.

We individually do this all the time, right?

It seems like second nature, a manner of default activity, what we do.

But we can always go further...and that, I think, is what we were made to do...if we choose to.

I see and think of Christ.

I can't help but go further into processing such thoughts and notions.

I wonder if I've always been like this, or maybe it is more often due to my age, life's new chapters opening up before me.

Only He can firmly give the precise answer whereas I may simply arrive at a close conclusion.

Looking at that piece of ground, I see how Christ appeared in the open.

I see how the leaves, branch and stems had their time of life hanging from a tree, much how Christ also had his time sojourning on the earth...and also hanging from a tree.

For our benefit Christ appeared and lived, and died a violent death...which was also provided towards our eternal benefit.

So also will violence and fortune end in you.

We, like those leaves, will also enter therein...our journey on earth will have its end; a fulfillment.

Notice how the imprint of the what was living is left in the cement for all to see, and for perhaps a time much longer than the leaf actually lived.

This is also what has occurred through the world Christ left in His wake.

Practically all the world has heard the testimony of Christ's Gospel, and for those who have heard and believed the good news of what Christ accomplished on our behalf, we are grateful to find that the soul, like you and me, will never die...although the leaves, stems and branches will surely perish as will our fleshly bodies.

In your observing of life, the world and even yourselves, consider the manner of interpretation you are processing within yourselves.

For those who've been gifted the faith that allows you to accept that Christ died and rose again to life, this is the Power that has been vested in you:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 
- 2 Corinthians 10: 5

05 April 2017

Building And Breaking Life's Dams

Man has invented many useful things that assist life on earth.

For some, life has been made easier due to innovation.

Consider the invention of the wheel and how that idea continues to be replicated into newer things.

Perhaps shortly after the wheel, someone made something which can be affixed to a pair of wheels, allowing for heavier things to be pushed or pulled around.

In due time, animals were used to pull yet heavier loads...and bigger and arguably better achievements were realized by humans.

We now have mechanized motion with a possibility that one day all animals may be retired from labor.

Even the wheel has the possibility of being retired with the invention of magnetic rails and newer technologies.

Yet, with almost every new idea or thing man comes up with, there seems to almost always be a negative consequence...or several.

Let's take the idea of a dam.

Dams have existed for thousands of years.

As the centuries passed, the use of dams have brought about great agricultural growth and other positives.

Because of a dam and redirecting water flow, cities were built and people began living closer rather than along a river.

Read a historical summary of several civilizations regarding water flow, dams and irrigation systems here.

The ability to increase water volume at a particular location benefited those who lived near and upstream from the dam.

What about people who lived further downstream?

There are several outcomes causing detriment [please click and read] to humans, animals and the ecosystem to those who are not benefitting from a dam.

I wonder if dams may have contributed to some places becoming desert wastelands, or regions where droughts would become a constant.

Maybe I'm exaggerating, or maybe all things are connected even in a fragmented / insignificant way.

The same scenario regarding dams can be juxtaposed or compared to other parts of our lives and situations on earth.

Consider the manner politics have played out throughout history.

Water is an increasingly political issue.

Notice how the wealth of some individuals has a tendency to influence politics and a society's value set.

Even the opinion of a wealthy person, never mind the manner they acquired their wealth or what they are actually proficient in, is like a dam that stops up the flow of rationality and critical thinking...or consideration towards other human beings.

When the entire world economy crashed (or as some say experienced a 'recession') in 2008-2009 and credit ceased being issued (lending of money stopped for a time), only very few people and businesses received preferential treatment with new loans to assist them towards solvency or to continue functioning...and the mass majority suffered and lost a great deal.

The bubble that deflated was for many a shocking realization that a dam was recently erected and the water ceased flowing as had before.

It's a great idea to build a dam when you are going to be nurtured from that effort, or your wealth will exponentially increase due to such an effort.

It is difficult to argue against life's dams when you and almost everyone you know is enjoying such an abundance of water.

Life has a way of teaching us about things and ideas we build, while the cost of such valuable machinations of mankind is typically paid by other people and nature in the long run.

Sometimes, the things that somehow break the natural flow of things, water in the case of a dam and credit in the case of economic fraud, is easy to justify while ignoring, minimizing or being ignorant of the detrimental affects.

When those downstream show up to complain to the dam people, the dam people may have a difficult time conceiving what the fuss is all about when they've been swimming in deep waters where a shallow river once flowed.

Those downstream, now having a mud stream carrying little to no nutrients, do not have the ability to invent another water source for themselves.

They now have some hard choices to make, usually from a list of limited options.

The choices are not always easy (move towards another flowing river, move nearer to the dam, fight the dam people, dig a well, or something else).

Be sure not to be one of the dam people unless your dam idea is absolutely without liability or a detriment to the natural world (human, animal and earth).