Little Pleasures

Tonight, I went to a local coffeeshop for a poetry reading. I can sometimes get to go and I bring my poetry when I do. However, I love the teas that they have there and I have to order a tea every time. The one I ordered tonight came with a bottle of honey. I’m a peanut butter junkie and I love it when it comes with honey.

So I’m getting some honey in my tea and just thinking about this simple pleasure. It is one that we take for granted so often. G.K. Chesterton once said that he would explain the problem of pain when the skeptics he met explained the problem of pleasure. If all is an accident, why is there so much good in the world?

Why is it that that tea tastes so good with the honey in it? Why is it that a glass of water has that taste of a glass of water? We take it for granted, but that taste is always there. We savor it when we go out to eat at a fine restaurant. We know many people who have a chocolate craving who would practically kill for a Godiva.

What about other areas? How often do I ponder that God made women beautiful? I know people often say the physical doesn’t matter but guess what. It does! God made the physical and he made it beautiful. Why should I not admire the human female form? Of course, I am to respect it which means I avoid pornography or undressing her in my mind merely to satisfy my lusts, but why not enjoy it? He made her beautiful and intended that beauty to be appreciated especially as it points back to him. How often do I see a beautiful female and think “Wow. God’s handiwork is right there.”

What makes sexual intercourse so pleasurable? Now I don’t know this one from experience, but I am sure based on all that I have heard from those who are not virgins. This is a really good thing. There are times I think about what it must be like and I get so caught up in the wonder of it.

How about learning also? I was pondering yesterday that I could have all my time away from work and spend it all reading on philosophy and theology and it would STILL not be enough time. If only I had forever to learn all that I wanted to. Then I realized that I do! I can get to spend Heaven learning about the wonder that is God. If I am to enjoy that then, why not enjoy it now?

Walk outside your house and look at creation. Enjoy it. Ponder that God could have made the world black and white but he didn’t.  Realize the utter joy that exists and all of this is from the grace of God. As James says, every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above.

<> Take time to enjoy the world today. Pray that I will enjoy it and I pray that you will also.

Points of Light

I had a friend stay with me since last Friday. He’s a good Christian guy from another state. In thinking about him coming up here, I started pondering about Christians all over the world. We seem to live in a world where evil does run amuck at times. However, there are glimmers of hope. Jesus described us as a city on a hill.

I look out on the world in this way at times. I am in ministry but for now, I am not employed technically. Instead, I work a regular job that I don’t really care for, but I have to do. Yet as I walk around where I work, I picture a call going out. It is a call for warriors to stand up and fight the darkness. A small point of light shines then.

<> There are several such lights in my city and then many more in my state. All around the world, I think of several Christians answering this call. They are starting to stand up and raise their spiritual arms to take on the evil that faces them. They are willing to put their beliefs on the line in the cause of truth.

All around, this call is going out. Warriors are taking up arms. Heroes are going to fight. This is the epic battle. This is a battle that has been going on for as long as man has been in rebellion against God. However, take all these lights and put them together, and you do have a bright light.

As I picture that, the world seems to be a better place. I want to fight for Christ. How about you?

Taking A Stand

Tonight, I was sitting at a table outside the break room where I work and reading my book. Then, some of the guys I work with come by and before too long, I’m hearing all the kind of talk that I don’t really want to hear. However, I decide that maybe it’s time for me to have some adventure and make a bold stand and I simply pray that God will open up a way.

<> Before too long, one of the guys mentions going home and clicking some porn on his computer when he gets there.  Now I’m sitting there reading my book and not even looking and I just say “Why?” I get the reply of “Because I like naked women.” I then say something along the lines of “I don’t think you’re going there because of that. I think you like pleasure more and the lady is the object you’re using.” It will have to be accepted that I have no word for word memory of all that was said.

I do remember pointing out that pornography is simply a way to get fake women instead of real women. I was told by one that he had a real woman at home to which I just said, “Oh? So she’s not good enough for you?” Yes. I do enjoy riling people up at times and I’m willing to step on some toes if it’ll make people move.

It then got to why should I speak if I have never had a woman? At that point, I said that I was proud to have maintained my virginity thus far. I’m not saying that I’ve been a saint in the area of women all my life. God knows I haven’t.  I do believe though that I have a lot more respect today than I did in the past.  I know what it’s like to have really been in love.

Eventually it got to also if we’ve all watched porn or not. Now this to me seems like a silly objection. I don’t watch internet porn and I’ve been blessed to never have a problem really with that. However, I also realize that I have to remain strong for in case I boast, I could fall.

Let’s suppose though that I was an addict. Does that mean that if I say “Pornography is immoral” that I am wrong? No. It means that either I am a hypocrite or that I realize the gravity of what I do and I am trying to change it.  The rightness or wrongness of the action does not depend on the person’s participation in it.

I was surprised that I seemed to have a decorum of respect with those same guys later on throughout the day. I have made my stand and if I am asked again, I will be able to continue with it. I made sure also to not bring up my religion yet. Too often, people will immediately cast it aside as merely religious reasons. I don’t think those are mere reasons, but they do. That’s the point.

Part of me also hopes that it will come to that point and I might get even something like “How can you be stupid enough to believe that stuff?” Oh my. Never mess with an apologist along those lines. If there is anything that makes me come to life, it is theological and philosophical discussion, and having it with those who disagree is quite enjoyable.

Yet in all of this, I thought of my own prayer. My prayer that I have served for a number of years now and tried to live a good life and my one prayer that God will grant me someone to love like that.  Yeah. There are other desires of course. There’s the desire to know the lady in the physically intimate way, but there is a great joy in simply knowing the lady.

I thought of praying that God would grant me the object of my desire, however, I thought that doesn’t even seem right. A lady is not an object. She is a person. I pray he grants me one I can love. Maybe I know her already. Maybe I don’t. I do pray that he grants her to come soon though. Being a single man is hard. I am one with strong desires. I have a friend who once said “If your girl-attractiveness was any higher, it would cause a massive implosion.” Perchance he’s right. That desire though is also rooted in purity and a love of who a lady is.

Thus, I pray he grants her. I want to be as pure as I can be and while I don’t necessarily want to rush, I hope that it is quickly. Proverbs tells us that he who finds a wife finds a good thing and has favor from the Lord.

<> May I be a man with favor.

Praying For You

This has been an odd night. I was going to write on one thing, but that changed suddenly upon a conversation I had clocking out at the time clock. I was standing there waiting for the time to come down. (I am OCD and don’t clock out a second early or late if I can help it.) A kind older lady was there who has heard about my aspirations in ministry.

She asked if I was in school and I told her that I wasn’t. I told her though that I plan to apply to a seminary soon and I told her where it was. All of a sudden, I see her look up and say “Lord. If he wants to go there, get him there.” I had to pause for a second to realize what had been said.

When I realized it though, my heart did feel a burst of joy. I had somehow touched this lady in such a way that she wanted to pray for me and wasn’t hesitant to let me know she was doing so. She asked me to pray for her also as that keeps her going. Thus, to all my readers, pray for this lady. I don’t give out names in my blog, but God knows.

It is such a joy though to know someone is praying for you and I thought about how our stories were intersecting. It seemed like an adventure was beginning. I had the prayers of a saintly lady to carry me through. Now I know other people are praying for me, but it brought a unique joy that someone I don’t know well was doing so. We expect friends and family to do so, but those we barely know to care for us in such a way is dazzling.

It is well-known that I am a Smallville maniac. I could just imagine the word “SMALLVILLE”  flashing across in my mind and hearing “Somebody Save Me.” (That’s the show’s theme song.) Yes. This is an adventure beginning. This is the adventure of living and prayer is an essential part to the story.

<> Thank you kind lady for praying for me. May I remember to pray for you also for I am not the best in prayer I readily confess. May others pray for me and may I pray for them as well.

Every Woman

Where I work at, I have regularly seen a music video by Elizabeth Withers of a song called “Be With You.” In this song, there is the line of “Tonight I’m gonna be every woman in your fantasy.” I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded that men have active imaginations in this area, but I ponder if the idea of being every woman is a good thing.

I am of the opinion that as a man, I do not desire every woman. If every woman was what was desired, then by all means, go out on the street and start fulfilling that dream right now. However, it is not quantity that I desire in this wish, but it is rather the quality of the lady.

If a lady is focused on being every lady, is she really being the lady that she is meant to be? A lady is not to be under pressure to measure up to a number of desires in the mind of a man. She is meant to be the ideal. The more a man truly loves a lady, the less he will think that she must perform as much as she just must be. A lady is defined by who she is first and what she does is an outworking of who she is.

In fact, the reason you marry someone is because they are NOT every lady. They are married because they are that one lady. They are the lady that is the fairest of all. The Song of Solomon speaks of virgins and beauties in huge quantities, but the one that has been chosen surpasses them all. That one is unique. She is the one that the rest of the world overlooked, but the lover only has eyes for her. She is the diamond in the rough.

The idea of having to please puts undue pressure on the lady, and for that record, if she appraoaches the man with a similar concept, it puts undue pressure on him. What I say can go both ways, but I am just more familiar with the male point of view. I’m sure it would be a mystery why.

I also think the lady lowers herself. She is truly the object of his desire, but she is not just an object. The man does not just seek an experience. He could get that on the streets. The man seeks a lady. He does not just seek any lady either. He seeks her.  The “performance” is an outworking of who she is and while he could be with anyone else, he would rather be with her.

<> Ladies. Always  remember this. You are to be who you are. You are not to be that supermodel on television or that singer on the CD or anyone like that. You are to be you.

<> And if you are loved, that will be treasured.

Because he cares for you

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I really love this verse. I especially love the order that this verse is written in.

Notice that it does not tell us to cast our anxiety on him so that he will care for us. Why do we cast our anxiety on him? The reason is given. BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU! He already cares for you so you cast your anxiety on him.

I wonder how many times we stop and marvel at that thought. God cares about us. No. Not just us. God cares about you. Christian. If you are reading this realize this. God cares about you. Your actions are not what is being discussed. What is being discussed is that God cares about you?

 But I struggle with this sin! God cares about you. But I have doubts and fears. God cares about you. But I just don’t know where to turn. God cares about you. But I don’t know if I care about him. God cares about you.

So if this is true, then take that anxiety to him. What is causing it? Is it a problem? Is God not omnipotent. Is there a situation that he is incapable of handling by his power?

What about omniscient? Is there a situation that God doesn’t know the ins and outs of and that he might mess up and choose the wrong decision on?

Ah! What of omnibenevolence. Does he really love you? Will he really work this to your good? I believe this is the hardest one for us to believe. It is easy to believe someone exists. It can be hard to believe they love you.

It is true though. Consider this now. Socrates said in his apology that no evil can happen to a good man. What did he mean? He meant that evil is not what happens to you, but it is what you bring about in yourself. The evil actions of the soul can harm you, but being put to death cannot harm you.

So what of God? Is he going to do evil to you? Certainly not! Will he allow you to experience evil. Yeah. He allowed his Son to. Why should you be exempt.

 The Son never ceased to be the Son though. He remained pure in the face of evil. If God allows you to undergo evil, he has a good reason for doing so. It would be worth trusting.

Dear friend. The Potter loves you and he has made this invitation. Cast all your anxiety on him because he DOES care for you. He wants you to come. Why don’t you?

Good friends

I’d like to write on the value of a friend tonight. I have one visiting me tonight from out of state to stay here for a few days. We’re both theological geeks who love apologetics and RPGs.

Aristotle said a lot about friendship as one of the key virtues. It was the only one he had nothing negative to say about. While he had a golden mean for the others, he had naught for this one.

I find the value of friendship in that you share a common bond. It is more than just interests. Your friends get to know you as you are and you have a place where you can reveal yourself to be as you are.

Have you ever seen that thing on how a good friend knows your romantic history, but a great friend can blackmail you with it? A good friend asks for a drink, but a great friend helps himself? That kind of thing comes to mind.

It’s just such a blessing that we don’t go through life alone. Now some people might say we have God. Well yeah, we do. God didn’t intend for it to be just us though. Even Jesus had friends as he walked this Earth.

Every time I have spent with friends I look back on and never regret. Yeah. I could be reading a book or listening to an apologetics MP3 or something of that sort, but this is time made with friends.

I always treasure my friends. Make sure you do as well.

Wandering the Dungeons

I recently bought a copy of Final Fantasy VI Advance. I’ve played the Final Fantasy games for years and I was eager to get a copy of this one to go back in time and relive a great game from my past. I was pondering last night though why I enjoyed it so much, particularly as I’m in Dragon’s Den, a new dungeon designed just for the Advance version.

I found that as I pondered it, that it seems that life is a lot like that. I wonder how many times it seems we’re  wandering in a maze trying to find the right way to go. Along the way, we do face enemies. Some of them are pretty simple and we face them time and time again. Some of them are complex and we want to run and can’t always do some. Sometimes we can, but rarely do we succeed.

Scattered throughout though are various points of rest. There are times that you are allowed to take a break from it all. There are places where you can be by yourself and not have to worry about the threats of the outside. Unfortunately, one can’t advance while staying in safety, but such is life.

There are also numerous treasures along the way. Wandering the dungeon doesn’t just lead one to facing hard times in life. It leads one to finding great valuables that you might not find anywhere else. It is like being the child at Christmas again opening up the gifts to find what new stuff you have to add to your collection.

Let’s not forget something else though. There are friends with you. In these dungeons, the best character can go through with the best abilities, weapons, armor, and items, and he won’t stand a chance if he’s alone. There are no place for lone rangers in the world of adventure.

One important distinction must be made between my view and the naturalistic worldview. In my Christian worldview, there’s a reason one is in the dungeon to begin with. One is there seeking some greater good. It might be to eliminate an enemy or find a valuable item for a greater good, but there is a cause.

Aristotle called this a final cause. It was the purpose to which something existed. Does our life have a final cause or are we just wandering the dungeon merely because we are wandering it? Another question we as Christians must answer at some point is why we’re here to begin with.

Such is not the best analogy at this point though. This world is not a dungeon. It is dangerous and it is painful and hard at times, but there are far more treasures here than there are enemies. Which one you see the most of I find tends to rely on where you begin your journey from.

So what is your final cause then? Are you here for the greater good of bringing glory to God, or are you wandering around aimlessly? If the former, are you doing so? If the latter, maybe you should see if there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Talk Shows

During my first fifteen minute break on the job, I happened to go in the break room to find that everyone was watching a talk show. Now some, I don’t mind watching, but a lot of them just seem to chase after the most unbelievable in human behavior.

Chances are, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sex, lies, and videotape takes on a whole new meaning. Every man seems to be one who is cheating on his girl with as many women as possible and sadly, the women seem to think the best place to discover the truth is on national TV.

Of course, the audience always eats it up. There’s always a booing for the one they think is the bad guy and a cry when they hear that X has been cheating with his girlfriend’s mother or something of that nature.

You know what bugs me the most? I heard an older co-worker back there saying “This is America.” Unfortuantely, in many ways, I think he’s right. I think our moral depravity has reached that stage where we tend to celebrate the limits we can go to.

Imagine standing up on such a program and saying that you are an evangelical Christian who believes in Jesus Christ. You would be laughed at to no end. Stand up though and say you’re a homosexual activist or a married couple that found liberty in sharing sexual partners, and you will be honored as heroic.

I fear that what I see is a microcosm. These are sadly real people involved. These are lives that are being hurt and this is all done on national television. Maybe some people do mean well, but I am skeptical.

If anyone wants to see the fruit of the sexual revolution and the moral relativism we have today, I think there is no other place to go to. I am saddened at what I see being said everywhere in America, and yet we Christians seem to be afraid to say what we ought because someone might get offended.

I would say some people need to be offended. The only way you can get some people to move is to step on their toes, and it’s time we Christians learned that we need to start stepping. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. We will march for our cause, or we will be marched over.

The problem of the a priori rejection of miracles

I have been pondering this for some time. It seems that a lot of people of the skeptical persuasion like to rule out miracles from the onset of any investigation. Is it any shock if you approach a book like the Bible with the presupposition that miracles can’t happen, that you’re going to have to explain away a lot of the gospels or allegorize it as teaching “deeper truths” or just say it’s inaccurate?

Let us take a skeptic. This will be a man who has spent his whole life crusading against the supernatural. One day though, an angel appears to him. This man is skeptical at first, but the angel does not go away despite any attempts to think it a hallucination and this angel also tells him something about his life he’s never told anyone or ever wrote down before. He is told something no one else would have any way of knowing.

This man then goes to his skeptical friends. He wants to tell them that he’s convinced that some theistic belief must be true. After all, he’s seen an angel. Now we get to the problem. How is he going to convince his friends who are of the same mindset as he that he has seen an angel?

If he says “But I saw it!”, he will be told “Sure you did. You were just hallucinating.” “This angel told me something no one else would ever know!” That will get him “It was just a projection of your self-conscious.” If he says “I’ve always been reliable and honest in what I say to you!” He will get “Yes. But this time, you’re obviously mistaken.”

<> If the supernatural is ruled out a priori, then there is really nothing that could be said that could convince someone of the skeptical mindset. No matter who you are, as soon as you appeal to the supernatural existing, it will be “explained away.” G.K. Chesterton once said we accept the testimony of a little old lady on mundane events but as soon as she says she’s seen an angel, we refuse to accept it.

Now someone might say that I as a Christian will only accept miracles in my religion. That is not the case. I am open to miracles in any religion.  They could be done by powers or opposed to God or they could be ways of God revealing himself to people in those religions that will turn them to him.

So why do I accept biblical miracles? Because the accounts are close to the times, the miracles are absolutely essential to what is going on in the story, and the accounts are accurate in the ways that I can test them.

Compare this to the miracles of Islam. Mohammad is stated as saying he didn’t need any miracle as the Koran was the miracle. The accounts are written generations after he died and they are not seen as essential to his ministry. Could some have occurred? Maybe. I have reason to be skeptical though.

My only complaint here? That the skeptic is not being fair. If you want to be skeptical of miracle claims, go ahead. To rule them out a priori though is begging the question and it is no shock that if a man rejects miracles as impossible before studying the Scriptures, that he will reject them as nonsense.