Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Can we trust God?



Often, we wonder if God has abandoned us. Well the simple answer to that is "No." God never forsakes us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 6). Our tendency is to think that the Lord will always protect us from any unpleasant situation, and make our lives without problems. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. [However,] in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So we can live in the peace and the joy of the Lord.

There are many times when we wonder if God even listens to our prayers. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24. The trouble here is the current state of our hearts. Many times we think that God should always give us what we want. The trouble is, what we want may not be what we need. I have always thought of this every time I listen to the Rolling Stones (of all people!) say,

“You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need.”

This is true in the case of our Heavenly Father. He will always give us what we need. Sometimes the answer to our prayer is “No.” We who are human parents understand this well. We would be doing a disservice to our children if we always gave them what they want. They would learn that they can always have their way, and become spoiled brats as adults. The attitude in current society tends to feed this sense of entitlement. More people think that they should strive for everything they want, usually in the form of conspicuous consumption.

Jesus answers this in Matthew when he says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21. In other words, make the attitude of your hearts be not of gaining fancy cars, houses, and other indicators of wealth. It’s not that having wealth is a problem. It’s more that some people think that what money can buy will fill an inner emptiness, and this is very simply not the case. Jesus also says:

“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? [Yet] not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father[s will]. […] even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 28-31

He also describes how we need to depend on the Heavenly Father to meet needs.

Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles [those who don’t know him personally] seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6: 26-33

Again, the Father knows we need food and clothing and a place to live, etc. but if we make sure that He is the object of our energies, He will make sure we have all that we need. It is not that we don't need jobs and to provide for our spouses and our children, and have all the necessities in this life. It is where our heart is, and what we focus on. If we only focus on the accumulation of wealth and material things, we lose site of the One we truly live for.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. […] Everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Our Father in Heaven is delighted to give us what we need, even as we who are parents give good things to our children. But what the Lord is trying to tell us again, is that we need to seek him, and trust him for all we need. He even gives you the desires of your heart, so that you may use that gift to serve him with that talent.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.: Psalms 37:4

I’ve heard a story once that illustrates what it means to trust God:

“A tightrope walker gets ready to cross over violent, rushing waters. He looks at a bystander, and asks, ‘Do you believe I can cross the river?’ The bystander says ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you trust me?’ The bystander again says, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘Then get is this basket and cross the river with me.”

Jesus and Peter also illustrates this as He walks on water, and invites Peter to do the same.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14: 25-31

God never lets us down. We just lose sight of the one who loves us. He is always trustworthy:

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

If we put our faith in God’s goodness, and learn to let Him lead us we will know the joy of the Lord, who is always good.

The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path] Psalm 37:23

God is trustworthy: do you trust Him?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Find Your Passion

In this life, we all have to work in order to earn a living to support ourselves. That's a given. However, God gave us that one thing that we really feel passionate about. It says in Psalms 37: 3-4, 

"Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
  Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart."

This is hard for us to understand in this present generation, where everything is fast-paced, stress-filled, and electronically automated. Strife and tension are breaking out all over the world:

  • North Korea is ruled by a despot;
  • ISIS continues to perpetrate acts of barbarism, in the name of Sharia law.
  • Russia is sneakily returning to its old ways of conquering and taking prisoner.
  • Stress is the number one killer (or cause) of many of the deaths in the world.

The situation looks bleak: so what are we to do?

We have to have something to do in this world: a purpose and a fulfilling of that desire deep in our heart that the Lord has put there. Many of us have succumbed to the adage that says, 

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:9-11.

We must work, but must we only endure it? I believe that since the Lord gave us the desires of our heart, we must listen to those desires. We all have something in our hearts that we are passionate about: that thing that we truly enjoy doing, that energizes us; gives us great satisfaction, and most of all, is a task that doesn't feel like work. In other words, when we do it, we find great satisfaction and joy.

My passion is writing. I only discovered this 10 years ago, after having spent almost 30 years in the IT industry. I am retired (because of a disability) and write full time -- along with being a "Domestic Engineer." My mother always thought I should follow the old standard of working for a big firm for 40 years, and retire with a gold watch and a pension, which now is typically a 401(k).

That is well and good, but since I started writing, you could say I find it absolutely rewarding. My wife, Catherine, has always wanted to be a teacher, but was discouraged from doing so by her father who said, "You can't make any money doing that." There is more to life than making money. True, we need to be able to pay our bills, and have food and shelter. But sometimes, you have to take that leap of faith, and believe that you should do what God has put on your heart as your first desire, and he will take care of those things we need.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 31-34

In the end, you will certainly be less stressed, and get more fulfillment out of life.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17

Blessings,
Chas

Monday, April 10, 2017

Can Angels know Salvation?



This was the hypothetical question I asked myself before I started my first book, “Evie: An Angels Redemption.” Although there is no precedent for this, I do know there are two distinct types of Angels: those that have always faithfully served God, and those who, like Lucifer, the original Light Bearer, who became self-absorbed, and was tossed out of Heaven, along with a third of the angels:

Revelation 12:4: "His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth." This passage is often interpreted to mean Satan and a third of angels were removed from heaven to earth. 

In Isaiah 14:13-15, although the passage is primarily concerned with the King of Babylon, it allegorically refers to the fall of Lucifer.

“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the remote parts of the north.
 
‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
 
“But [in fact] you will be brought down to Sheol,
To the remote recesses of the pit (the region of the dead).

In Luke 10:18, Jesus tells the seventy about to be sent out,  […] I watched Satan fall from heaven like [a flash of] lightning.”

Again, in Ezekiel, 28:13-16, we are given another account of Lucifer’s fall, and the arrogance that preceded it:

You were in Eden,
    the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
    carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
    topaz, onyx and jasper,
    lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
    on the day you were created they were prepared.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
    for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
    you walked among the fiery stones.
 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created
    till wickedness was found in you.
 Through your widespread trade
    you were filled with violence,
    and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
    and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
    from among the fiery stones.

What is compelling about this is that Lucifer once dwelt on the Holy Mountain of God, and was “anointed as a guardian cherub.”

So, if a great and mighty angel can fall from God’s grace, are any who fell able to be redeemed? Well, the bible never makes mention of such a phenomenon. In fact, the verse I based my book, “Evie: An Angels Redemption” came from First Peter 1:10-12:

Regarding this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace [of God] that was intended for you, searched carefully and inquired [about this future way of salvation], 11 seeking to find out what person or what time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories [destined] to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that their services [their prophecies regarding grace] were not [meant] for themselves and their time, but for you, in these things [the death, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus Christ] which have now been told to you by those who preached the gospel to you by the [power of the] Holy Spirit [who was] sent from heaven. Into these things even the angels long to look.

So as far as I can tell, angels are very curious about the grace of God that allows those who are imperfect to be considered with sin or blemish (2 Peter 3:14), but they themselves have no need of salvation, as they are eternally in God’s presence, and live to serve us who have called upon his name.

I decided, as a story line to explore the possibility that an angel actually wanted to know salvation/redemption. She had to become human, and she had to adjust to the fact that she no longer had that direct connection to God the Father, as she had inherited sinful flesh: a self-centered will. I admit I used Literary License, and made a story that is not necessarily based upon Biblical truth, although a lot of Biblical truth is in it. I found, as I wrote it, that when an angels sees life from a human perspective, that angel’s outlook greatly changes.

Therefore, I leave it to you, the reader, to come to your own conclusions. This is a work of fiction, for the entertainment of the reader, and is not to support the idea of angelic redemption.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Learning to trust...

A while back -- about two years ago -- my wife, Cathy and I went over Matthew 18:18-20: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

The important thing to note, here is that we gather in the name of Jesus our Lord, for then, power is released, because he initiates the release of spiritual power, and then things that we bind and loose on earth will be bound and loosed in heaven.

For example, we really feel that God has put on our hearts to go to Houston. I liken this to when the Israelites were told to go into the promised land. God has put on our hearts that Houston is our promised land, and that we need not fear going into it, because He will defeat the enemies we face there, and he will prepare ahead of time the hearts of those people with whom we will interact: school teachers, business colleagues, where we live, what our jobs will be, what friends we make – we believe they will be mature believers who will provoke us to love and good works and to growing in God’s character.

We also read that we need not only faith in God’s word that He will accomplish it, but we trust Him to accomplish it. We don’t always see what He is doing, nor do we see the fruits of our prayers right away, or even for a long time. But we must believe that He knows exactly what we need, and what is best for us, so we must trust Him for the timing, and the details. This was likened to an analogy: if a tightrope walker asked you if you had faith that he could cross over Niagara falls on a tight rope pushing a wagon, you would most likely say yes. But if he asked you if you would hop in the wagon as he walked across the falls, would you jump in? That would require a much larger commitment: it would involve true trust.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:10-12

Blessings to you, an overcomer in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Pursuit of Women by Men

The man in King Solomon’s the Song of Songs said his love was beautiful, and worth pursuing. The woman delighted in being pursued, and extolled the handsomeness of her suitor. Romantic pursuit of a loved one is as old as time. Even Adam pursued Eve: when he saw her, he was amazed. You could say, he was ‘in love.’ In the following verse, the writer says, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.” (Genesis 2: 24)
In most other references to relationships between men and women, the Word usually indicates that a good woman is worth finding. It would follow, therefore, that men are looking for a good woman. In Proverbs it says, “A wife of noble character is her husband's crown…” (Proverbs 12:24) Proverbs also states that, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:14) Later, in Chapter 31 of Proverbs, it states, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”  (Proverbs 31:10) The theme here seems to be that men are looking for a good wife, and when they find one, they are blessed, because a good wife is given to the God-fearing man by the Lord, himself. Later, in Ecclesiastes, the Lord tells men to “enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this life … that God has given you under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9).
Now pursuit, in and of itself, according to Dictionary.com, is “to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.)” (Dictionary.com, 2015) In other words, pursuing something or someone is to go after them with the intention of gaining their affections. So, who does the pursuing in a relationship? Well, according to the above, men do the primary pursuing in a relationship. But in the words of the popular idiom, “he chased her until she caught him.” Men may pursue the women, but the woman can decide if she wants to be caught. William Cunningham doesn’t think it’s entirely true that it is the man’s job to pursue the woman. In fact, he states that, “…a man will pursue the woman of his dreams, however, the woman should also pursue the man of her dreams. The man and the woman will respectively pursue in different ways but both will still pursue.” (Cunningham, 2000).
Both parties are involved in pursuing a relationship, or the relationship does not stand a chance. The only difference is the way they pursue the relationship. Men may do more active pursuing, but the women do the subtle, or passive pursuing. In my opinion, both should be discussing the merits of the relationship before they decide they want to pursue marriage. After they have made a commitment to pursue marriage, then there is room for more romance. But even then, the romantic setting is always a springboard for building a real and lasting relationship. Men should pursue someone with whom they have determined to have a good foundation for a long-term relationship, especially after marriage; someone they can serve, and someone who also serves him and others. In order for you to find a good wife (or husband for the woman), that potential spouse must somehow catch your attention.
But what are they pursuing? Is it only romantic notions of a knight in shining armor, or a beautiful damsel in distress? Or is there more to it than that? The Dictionary defines ‘romance’ as “the display or expression of love or strong affection.” (Dictionary.com, 2015) I believe there is more to it than that. The motivation for pursuit should be love. However, ‘love’ is a much-overused word that is bandied about very liberally today, and needs to be refocused when it comes to relationships. Romance makes the relationship exciting, but there needs to be a foundation based on more than infatuation and attraction. There needs to be an understanding of the dynamic of the relationship.
Love serves, just as the Father in Heaven serves us, and Jesus came to this earth “…not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). Love that only serves selfish desire and demands will die on the vines before it even starts. Romantic gestures are born out of a desire to serve, and foster trust and comfort in the one being romanced. It is a selfless gesture that is for the good of the romanced. Its motivation is not for the gain of the pursuer, but for the best interests of the one pursued. Paul expresses this notion of ‘true love’ in Philippians: “…having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:2-4). The purpose of the romantic pursuit is to be sure you both are one in spirit and mind, i.e. have the same values, and are both serving God in your relationship.
The problem in most relationships is that we base them on the idea of finding our ‘soul mate,’ and idea originated by Plato in ancient Greece.  Gary Thomas decides to take this one step further, and says we need to search for a ‘sole mate,’ i.e. someone who partakes of biblical love with us. He says, “The most accurate definition of true love is found in John 15:13 (NASB): ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.’ He goes on to say that biblical love is not based on feelings but on sacrifice. In the Bible, men are called to “…act like martyrs towards their wives, laying down their lives on their wives’ behalf. (Ephesians 5:25).” Such love cannot be based only on emotion, but rather a commitment we choose to keep. It is not based on the worthiness of the one we love, but on the worthiness of the One who calls us to love: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19) (Thomas, 2005)

Why should men pursue women?

As I said, women appreciate being pursued: it makes them feel valued and special. If they are truly precious to the men pursing them, wise men will always make them feel valued, precious, and special. Being romantic is something that women appreciate more than men, so as a general rule, men should ‘romance’ the woman they are interested in. It will show that they are in earnest about pursuing her. This should continue after the man and the woman marry, as well, because women have an innate desire to be pursued, which doesn’t stop after the wedding day, but, in fact, should increase.
I believe that the spouse must be pursued both before marriage and after the wedding day, as previously stated.   This pursuit is active and involves many things that you may take for granted. Helping your beloved with chores around the house; making her feel safe and secure and well-taken care of. Does this mean that the man should always be the primary breadwinner? This has always been the traditional model, but in some cases, the woman is the primary breadwinner, while dad stays home and plays “Mr. Mom.” But even then, that does not mean that the man should not pursue his wife romantically. Romance for one woman is not necessarily the same for another. But in cases like the one of “Mr. Mom,” even then things that are considered romantic may be as simple as make sure the affairs of the house are taken care of: kids, bills, meals, whatever.
This, of course, does not forgo the traditional ideas of what is romantic. I have found, that sometimes being romantic is making time for each other, especially when there are children involved. It is a natural tendency for husbands and wives to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: jobs, kids, church, activities, etc. at the expense of spending time with each other. But what the spouses need is to be constantly feeding their relationship, and that can only be done by having the time to communicate: to share thoughts, ideas, dreams, and kinds words together.
Even though men may traditionally talk less than women, and then about non-emotional issues, I think men would be wise to learn the fine art of expressing their feeling and their inner thoughts to their wives. This, in a very real sense, is pursuing and romancing you wife. She appreciates communication above all else, and works at great lengths to foster this communication. According to an article in Focus on the Family about dating your spouse, the main purpose of communicating with your spouse is “to share your hearts and to be vulnerable.” This forgoes the worries and the stresses of everyday life we face, like administrating our households and solving problems. In order to keep up with what your spouse is currently going through, and always find out new things about your spouse, we must foster closeness and intimacy, even in the midst of life’s everyday challenges. (Focus on the Family, 2014)
Then there is just plain old-fashioned ‘romance.’ These are those gestures husband make (and wives as well to their husbands) to show their brides just how special they are to them. A thoughtful act, non-provoked and creatively thought of by the man alone, are the most appreciated. This primarily involves learning your spouse, and knowing what she has expressed as desires or wants. Keeping track of such things shows her that you are truly interested in her, and that she is special enough to you to be shown kind and thoughtful gesture of love. It could even be something as simple as saying, “I really like your outfit today. The colors are pretty and work well on you.” And then, there is that old standby: “I love you, baby.” But this might need to be accompanied in why you love her, especially after many years. And I find that my wife has taught me something profound. She has told me that roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day only go so far. She reasons, ‘…if you haven’t shown me how much you love me before Valentine’s Day, then February 14th is just another day.” Of course, my wife loves to tell me what she want on Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion. If your wife is willing to be this generous, the jump on it, gentlemen!

Why aren’t they? 

Why don’t men pursue the woman much any more? The concept of a ‘liberated woman’ has given women the impression that they either don’t need or don’t want men to pursue them. They have just as much right to pursue a man, and take on a more masculine role in the relationship. I will not argue that women are as smart if not smarter than men, especially since they think with both their logical and intuitive sides of their brain. According to an article in Rosetta Stone’s Fit Brain Blog, “Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.” (Niu, 2014)
However, I do think that the female of the species appreciates being loved, and cherished, and taken care of. Probably because men created and joined the corporate world, the job has become the mistress, and men have neglected their wives for a long time, thus creating a backlash among women, which started the now famous “Woman’s Liberation Movement.” Women can pursue whatever they want to do in life, but they still have a need to be cherished by men, and men have neglected this responsibility to their great detriment.
Pornography is another reason men do not romance women. It has created a fantasy world of false intimacy, and women have become ‘sex objects’ rather than real, wonderful people, and sex has been substituted for real love. I believe porn has had a very detrimental effect of relationships between men and women in general, and especially in the way men see women.
Further, according to an article in Focus on the Family, “Porn is always available, never too busy, and always inviting. It doesn't criticize, doesn't require foreplay or patience, isn't dependent on "feeling close," and never has a headache. When a guy is engaged in this type of sexual outlet, his sexuality becomes centered on his immediate needs and demands. The prospect of working through the messy issues of marital intimacy is pretty unattractive.” Porn destroys intimacy in relationships, and gives a false substitute, which takes men (or women) away from pursuing their mates, and, instead, leads them to pursue a fantasy. (Slattery, 2009)
But at the root of the lack of romance and pursuit of their wives, men have succumbed to the lies in this world. Selfishness, in the form of all sorts of pleasure, has devalued relationships in general. No longer are many young people (and older people) interested in long-term relationships. Too may have fallen for the lie that ‘it is all about me,’ and this applies to both men and women. No relationship will work or be worth anything more than a moment’s pleasure if we don’t remember that love gives and does not take.

Proverbs 18:22

Proverbs 18:22 states, “The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable, and receives a pleasurable gift from the Lord.” It first states that a man will look for a wife, and not vice-versa. It also implies, taken in conjunction with Proverbs 31, that a man who finds a wife of great character, and with a servant’s heart, finds something ‘more valuable than rubies.”
It also states, that this kind of gift come from God, who is mentioned here by name, indicated by the small capitalization of the word Lord. This was originally written as God’s name, Jehovah. In other words, God himself, will personally guarantee that a good wife is a gift from Him. There can be no greater blessing than to receive a gift from the Father in Heaven. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” The Father in Heaven is always good, always desires the best for us in abundance, and encourages romance!





Note: all scripture references are from the New International Version Bible.

Works Cited

·         Cunningham, W. R. (2000). The Christian Marriage Series, Part 2: Finding Your Mate (Vol. 2). Pursuing the Truth Minisries.
·         Dictionary.com. (2015). http://dictionary.reference.com. Oakland, CA, USA: Dictionary.com.
·         Focus on the Family. (2014). Dating your Spouse: Unwrapping the Present. Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA: Focus on the Family Publications.
·         Niu, A. (2014). Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men. (R. Stone, Ed.) Arlington, Virginia, USA: FitBrains.com.
·         Slattery, J. (2009). The Impact of Pornography on Marital Sex. Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA: Focus on The Family.
·         Thomas, G. (2005). Soul Mates or Sole Mates. (F. o. Family, Ed.) Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA: Boundless.org.
·         Zondervan Press. (1971 - 2015). New International Version Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: Zondervan Press.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

PENTATONIX

I just recently discovered a group called Pentatonix. You can read about their beginnings on their website, PTXOfficial.com, and see many videos about their start on "Sing Off" Season 3. They have made many videos of their songs, which are just as creative as their songs and arrangements.

One thing I really like about them is their amazing harmonies and their even more original and creative arrangements. I'm not one who usually listens to the radio, especially to what the kids listen to, but the songs they 'cover' sound very interesting. I have always been one who really loves harmony, and they do it very well. The main harmonizers are the three main original friends who sang a lot together: Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, and Mitch Grassi. The bass of the group, who sometimes sings melodies reminiscent of Bing Crosby, or men of that ilk, sings very low bass notes, and amazingly smooth lead melody lines. The group is rounded out by the beat-boxer and sometimes fifth voice, Kevin "KO" Olusola, who is an accomplished musician in his own right, playing the cello, saxophone, and voice (usually a tenor/baritone, but not averse to singing as high as Scott Hoying. He also makes videos and recording with two other ladies in a group called Triptyx. Lately, he has released his own EP, 'Renegade.' It's certainly worth a listen. 

Now, no one sings quite as high as Mitch Grassi, who is labeled a 'counter tenor' but is really more like a alto/high tenor. His voice can be anything from under Kirstie's voice, to sometimes higher. He can do whistle tones with ease as well. One interesting thing about Mitch is that he is left-handed, which means he leans towards genius -- think of all the greatest renaissance men: Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Paul McCartney, to name a few, and he is in good company. One quirk of his that I can relate to is imitating the sounds of inanimate objects, like a marker pen on a marker board. That is    oddly interesting. Yes...I am odd too, but only creative people like me would understand that. <grin>

If you haven't heard this group, check them out. Their music is catchy and infectious, and they can take music from almost any genre, and make it sound good. They certainly have my thumbs up.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One more moving by the muse...

This was written from Michael Lington's "Memphis"

MEMPHIS

[0:18]
The clock says that work has wound down
so I'm headed towards downtown
to my favorite spot on Beale Street:
music, friends and something good to eat

[0:34]
Can't miss what I don’t have
But I’m feeling kinda sad
So I paste on a smile.
Don't know what I'm running from
but the setting of the sun
lets me stop for a while.

[0:50]
Then the lights of the town
make me stop and look around:
I’m in Memphis.
Something floats towards you
Smoky meat and Barbecue’s
in the air.

[1:08]
Be it Jazz or Blues
in the music you choose
it surrounds you.
You can move your feet
to that lazy southern beat;
dancing close

[1:24]
Then this girl walked right up to me
I could swear she saw right through me.
She looked deep down in my empty soul;
It was clear I'd just lost all control.

[1:40]
So she came up to me
said, "I don't think you see
what you're really looking for."
I swear I was spooked
and it wasn't a fluke;
I ran for the door.

[1:58]
"Run away little boy
but you'll never find joy
when you're hiding.
See the One who loves me
wants to set your heart free
from the pain.

[2:14]
When you give up control
Let him live in your soul
you’ll stop running.
And his joy will not cease
when you've truly found peace:
Let it go!"

[interlude]

[3:20]
So I turned and looked
Her smile had me hooked
and I asked her,
"Just what did you do
for this Joy that’s in you
Is it real?"

[3:38]
She smiled and said
"Free the thoughts in your head
He will lead you
Lay your burden down
when it falls on the ground
you will see.

And the road that once had you bound
will lead you to town...