Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Second Post In One Day

I know I just wrote a post about the music we sang in church (please go read that), but while I'm remembering to sign in here, I wanted to make another post.

I make music as well, and it's probably the kind of music most readers here would like. My only active project right now is an unblack metal project, Look Above You at the Sky. ("War EP" is war metal, "Victory" is symphonic.) I also have a few other older and more experimental songs here.

The reason I'm sharing these is because back in the day, music like "War EP" or "Reawaken the Congregation" are things that really would have helped me on my spiritual path, so maybe it will help others, too. Even today, those songs actually help me a lot. I truly hope you guys get something out of this music, and that it was worth taking up blog space to plug it here, and as always, may God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.


I like many different kinds of music, but my favorites are the really extreme ones - black metal, harsh noise, etc. Of course, I'm more careful about which bands/artists I listen to, considering that whole fiasco I've mentioned countless times, but the point is, I like my music loud and in-your-face. "Power" in music like that is typically conveyed by taking facets of the sound to further extremes - louder noise, faster percussion, louder vocals, etc.

I also noticed something during church tonight. It was the first hymn we sang, "The Old Rugged Cross". I found myself being very moved by that song, as I always am, but I noticed something different tonight. I was being moved by this song more than I was with brutal music. There wasn't a single scream, there wasn't a single blastbeat. It was just a piano, and a room of people of presumably varied singing abilities, some probably very off-key. The music wasn't written as a form of self-expression by those performing it. The lyrics to the song most likely weren't written as a result of emotions felt in some frostbitten forest, or in the midst of some depressive fit. Yet the lyrics meant as much to us, like we had written them ourselves, and the music still touched me. The power in the song came from the worship, from the meaning it had for all involved. It wasn't a matter of the sound (though I do really like the sound of that song), it wasn't a matter of trying to be more expressive or emotional than other people, it was the meaning that the act of performing the song had, the love we have for God, and the regret we feel for our actions. (Anybody who says they don't need to be forgiven has never taken an honest look at their own actions, believe me.) It was more than self-expression within some kind of scene, it was more than simply venting our frustrations on paper and throwing in second-person pronouns, it was us genuinely vocalizing our thoughts to God, speaking/singing to Him. It's a very powerful experience, and you don't need blastbeats or screams to understand it.

This is just something I thought about tonight, and wanted to share.

P.S When this post goes through, this post will go off the page, and it's an important one, so I invite you to look at it. Here is my obligatory plug for this post.

God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Like Drugs

It's absolutely true that the more you sin, the more distant you grow from God, and your emotions/psyche suffer as a result. First of all, how exactly do people explain this? It's not imaginary. It's observable. It's a noticeable phenomenon.

Do people think that the people of old, the ones who didn't even understand racial equality, somehow sat around and studied people to determine which behaviors altered their thought processes to a state which just somehow didn't feel like they were emotionally connected to a higher power, and then take these miraculously scientifically accurate findings and make religious doctrine out of them? What purpose would they have in doing this? If they wanted "blind followers" who didn't "question things" as people today commonly think, couldn't they have just invented a religion without taking the time to make it line up with actual observable phenomena in our world that common people wouldn't even have been able to understand anyway? This is besides the fact that this kind of stuff would have been completely lost on the people spreading it from the beginning anyway.

And besides other inherent truths.

But anyway, the effect sin has on us is fascinating, especially considering how people typically perceive it. Unbelievers claim that in adhering to pre-written doctrine, we are being "enslaved" by it (as if the fact that it is pre-written somehow negates its inherent truth). In fact, that's not the case. We choose to follow God, to answer His call to us; younger people may sometimes be pushed into it by their parents, sure, but they ultimately make their own decision no matter what their parents push, no? So they too are free, in their heart, to choose God. At the end of the day, they are not forced by any person to believe one way or another. They choose whether to answer God's call or not. People are all free to do this.

The second reason that "enslavement" claim is wrong is that it's just misguided from the beginning. Sin is what enslaves us, not God. God lets us choose. A state of sin doesn't allow for choice, because the devil is always pushing it onto you anyway. Freedom from sin is the best choice. With God, you read His word which encourages you to do good for others, and the effects go on for a long time, if not forever. With sin, you watch pornography online (and inadvertently actually support a corrupt industry that mistreats its workers!), get nothing productive done with your time, and have a temporary high that you will only lose and want again sometime later, and again, and NEVER be truly satisfied! With God, your heart is warmed to love others, and to reach out to them and help them. With sin, you sit in your house seeking material goods, mostly for yourself that will just go away when you break them or your house burns down or whatever happens, still watching porn (and still supporting a corrupt industry that mistreats its workers!), and growing bitter towards other people, doing nothing but dragging other people down for no reason! You don't enjoy the hatred, you don't enjoy the temporary highs you get from supporting corrupt industries or buying material items. You want a permanent high, and keep sinning in hopes of finding it, but you don't.

In this way, sinning is a lot like hard drugs. I don't do physical drugs, but the similarities are clear anyway. It's bad stuff that will do really bad stuff to your psyche, maybe permanently, and depending how careless you are, might actually kill you, but at the same time, it's addictive. It looks fun. It'll make you look cool to other people. Hard drugs are bad for you for these same reasons. Superficially it's just stuff that "makes you feel good" or "helps you relax", or something (even though with physical drugs, you'll probably buy them from someone who doesn't know how to make them properly and you'll have a really bad time right from the beginning anyway!) but in the real world, they're deadly, are often a "gateway" to doing even worse stuff, are addictive, and will only leave you with a temporary high that you'll never be able to keep up without dying. The same happens with sin, but even though it does affect you physically/mentally in many ways, it's largely spiritual. And it's addictive, and you don't want to be addicted to that kind of stuff.

God sets us free from that. We're humans, we still mess up, but with God's guidance and salvation in Jesus Christ, we can turn down those drugs, we're not stuck in that addiction anymore. We see what leads to that permanent high everybody wants, and it's not anything sin can give you. Difficulties arise; the devil still tries to sell us, and others, his poorly-made drugs that he lazily concocted in his basement, but if we keep up that faith for one short lifetime, we'll have an eternity to be happy. Heaven isn't like drugs, that only work for awhile by deceiving your psyche but then leave you wanting more, it's a world of clarity and truth where goodness, and no evil, will be. That's the world we have when we get rid of those drugs we do in our hearts. And you can only do those drugs for so long before you die. Now is the time to get over that addiction. Turn to God. Turn to Jesus.

God bless you all, according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Emotions vs Truth

A lot of people seem to use subjective emotions when thinking about truth. You know what I mean... "I feel sad about something, so God must hate me". Or, "Priests sure do get caught committing lewd acts a lot, I don't like that so I don't like Christianity"..

But that kind of attitude can't be present. First of all, the actions of people do not ever negate the idea they are presenting. I could tell you that there is a heart beating inside of you and that you even have lungs, even though you have likely never seen them personally. However, I could also then, for example, frame you for some kind of felony and then steal your girlfriend. Actually, my moral conscience wouldn't allow me to do that, but anyway, if I were to do that, you'd probably be a little ticked at me. I'd be a pretty terrible person if I did that. However, that doesn't mean that what I said to you before about your heart and lungs somehow suddenly isn't true. You know very well that if your body didn't have those things, it wouldn't be able to survive. Just because a jerk said it, doesn't mean that basic biology is suddenly altered. And it's the same thing with theology. Too many people take the un-Biblical attitude of certain (people who call themselves) Christians and think that it somehow objectively changes what the Bible itself plainly states. It's a flawed perspective. You can't take the actions of somebody and attach them to logical thought.

Second, too many people also misunderstand God's love. Life will not always be perfect, but that does not mean God doesn't love you. The evidence of God's love is Jesus' sacrifice and the ability for you to go to Heaven and be in eternal happiness. If you are going to Heaven, most of your happiness won't be here. It will be in Heaven. Good and evil are allowed to exist here, and you are given a choice to accept which one you want to be aligned with. The one who stands firm until the end shall be saved. This isn't your, our, perfect home; this is the battlefield. I've explained this before. Your home is where you go when you are done here.

These are only two examples, but they're big examples, and it truly bothers me. People are talking from opinionated viewpoints about factual truths. You can't let emotions like this get in the way. Experiences and news stories can't affect your perception of truth. Remember that facts exist independent of your emotions. Sometimes even I feel emotions that cause me to feel doubt; but these emotions are temporary, and even if they were theoretically permanent, they don't negate the basic facts of our world. Don't be surprised if, even if you can accept these facts, you don't fully understand them. You should absolutely try, but sometimes something will still seem confusing. In cases like that, pray with sincerity. You would be surprised how many answers God has in store if you're willing to ask for them and are willing to have true hope and faith in Him answering you.

I truly hope and pray that you will all get something out of this post. God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

By the way, if you're still confused about something here, chances are it's explained somewhere else on this blog. Why not take a look? Also, here's my obligatory plug for this post, which is also worth reading.