When did we toss this out the window?

Well I had a thought strike me today after watching some videos and so forth about all the things that christians are doing to help others and their communities. These videos were great videos well done and emotional. A song playing as we see all the things and people that are being touched etc. Usually followed by a plea from the pastor to to join them on sunday for services. What struck me after was a sense of self importance that these videos seemed to present. The entire thing seemed like a huge self pat on the back on the behalf of those participating in the videos.

Now Im not talking bad about what was being done or denying the fact that many people were helped and touched by these various “Ministries” or “outreachs” but why advertise about it and make huge deals about it after the fact?

As usual this is merely being brought up to make you think. A different way of looking at something we may have merely accepted as the way things are or should be. Maybe we have convinced ourselves that we have to “share these things with everyone” as means of testimony and or praise to God. However, I will present you with this thought for today.

When Did we toss this out the window?

(Mat 6:1) Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

(Mat 6:2) When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.

(Mat 6:3) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

(Mat 6:4) that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.

(Mat 6:5) And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.

Just a thought the next time you run across one of those kinds of videos about the latest local outreach or ministry…

Blood Oath

I was going through some files on my computer – looking for that gold nugget of inspiration that I know I wrote sometime ago — sadly I havent found it yet. I believe now its akin to the holy grail or Noah’s ark. Something that is not meant to be found but that will be looked for and sought after for ages to come. Many histroy channel shows will be written about it in the end.

But instead I found this… So I decided to share it .. It’s not finished but was part of the outlines and journals for the follow up novel to Ancient Darkness –  Even though Ancient Darkness is still being edited and finalized doesnt mean I’m not working on the next one..

Be fairly warned though this is just the rough sketch .. I copied it as it was from the file… No revision no editing — just the random story telling process at work.

It’s kind of scattered and broken but I plan on maybe using this further and developing it more.

 

I remember what is was like before. I knew who I was and what I was. Now I can only speculate as to what I really have become. It’s funny but we never really think about what we really believe. Oh we think we do. We tell others what we believe but in the darkest of nights there still lingers that sliver of doubt or question. The unseen stirring in our souls that wants to know for certain that what we believe is true and not just us believing what we are told to believe.

 I can recall that day in my mind over and over. The dark skies and rolling storm clouds rushing in. The winds ripping through the trees and the rain pouring down in sheets relentlessly, beating angerly against the ground. The lightning flashing endlessly ,as it  illuminated the blood drenched ground.

 The battle field was silent except the thunder crashing over head. I watched in silent horror as my entire world had come crashing down. I stood by helplessly, a victim of circumstance, or so I thought. My family was destroyed, my home wasted and desicrated by strangers. I had nothing left. 

 I walked amongst the dead looking at the faces of friends and foes alike.I wished at that moment I could share in their fate as well. I couldnt even begin to comprehend what was actually happening to me. I just remember saying that there was no possible way that the creator possibly exist. I was never a man of strong faith, but I had faith never the less. At that moment my faith cracked and shattered. I would soon realize it wasnt my faith that had shattered ,but my preconceptions of what and who the creator was. I looked around and saw nothing but death and a dying world. Darkness and evil lurked in every shadow and in every heart. We had been taught that the greatest evil that existed was the one called the destroyer. He was the one that ruled in the darkness from the depths of the underwolrd, plotting the death and destruction of the world. At that moment I realized that he didnt have to plot or even rule the darkness it existed in everyone of us.

 I feel to my knees when I came upon her body amongst the mud and water. Her beauty was still radiant, forever captured in death. The small child clutched in her arms wimpered in fear as he looked at me. I was speechless at first, the innocence in those eyes was profound. I reached out and gently lifted the child in my arms. He wrapped his blood stained arms around my neck with fear inspired strenght as he buried his face in my chest. I looked around but saw only darkness and death.

  I had no where to take the child, let alone anyway to care for him. I couldnt even begin to explain why I survived the battle while his mother had not.  The child never said a word as he whimpered in my arms.  As I stood there I suddenly felt the presence of someone else. I turned and shield the child with my body as I drew my sword. Standing there in the ruins of what I once called home stood a lone figure cloaked in all white. I thought for a moment that it was someone I knew but I couldnt make out any of their features from beneath the hood of the cloak.

“lower your sword… I mean you no harm” the voice was soft almost a whisper, but it seemed to echo louder then the thunder and pouring rain. I lowered my sword some but remained ready.

“who are you?” my voice barely audible above the howling winds. The figure remained silent as he slowly turned lifting his arm to point to a portal shimmering behind him.

“Do you know what lies beyond this portal?” The voice whispered as I realized then the voice was actually in my head.
“No” I answered honestly.

At this point I had nothing left to loose and my own life meant very little to me.
“Beyond lies another life for you… a life of second chances”

  Something in the voice this time made me pause for a second. It wasnt a trick but it was a choice, something inside told me as much.

“Second chances at what?” I noticed then that the rain had stopped I looked down to see the child was missing. I turned frantically to see if he was near. I looked at the figure in anger and suspicion. If this stranger had hurt the child in way or form I would make them pay with their very blood.

“Where’s the child?” I asked through clenched teeth. My anger was rising I could feel the power surging through me, it was a power that seemed born of rage and anger always seething and twisting  just below the surface of my concious mind.
“Calm your self… the child is safe. He was sent away to a better place then this.” The cloaked figure motioned pointing at the field of dead bodies around us.

“You better explain yourself…” I couldnt believe a word at that moment my mind was suddenly confused and unfocused.

“Look here…” He pointed to the ground. I walked over and saw a body there lying face first in the mud. The armor looked familar and I bent down fear slowly rising in my mind. I paused as I turned the body over. I feel backwards in shock and merely sat there staring. The face of the corpse stared back at me vacantly. I looked at the figure next to me and then back at the corpse. The face that stared back at me was my own.

” I dont understand…” I whispered my anger and rage slowly seeping away.
” That has always been your problem…  child. You never understood what was before you and what it was you had been called to do.” The figure knelt beside me a sense of peace washed over me as if I was being covered with warmth and love all at once.
“who are you?” I asked, but I knew the answer anyways.
” You know who am … I am the voice of the one that has always loved you, not because of what you did or didnt do but simply because the one loves all his children.”
“am I dead?” I whispered, and realized it was probably a dumb question.
“yes..but not for long, You have a choice.” The voice looked at me directly and all I could see was blinding light.

 I couldnt believe it. I suddenly felt shame and guilt washing over me. I turned from his face and stood. Who was I to be given a second chance. I should be on my knees in worship and pleading for mercy, but instead I was standing here trying to hide and find anywhere to run to.

“even in death you are still the same… but then thats why He choose you. Some are ruled by their thoughts others by their hearts. The mind and the heart are in constant war with each other.For many this war tosses them back and forth like a boat on the ocean.” The voice sighed and I turned to look at him in amazement.

“I always believed that we were created exactly as we are and nothing we can do can change that.” I was shocked as I realized the boldness in my statment. I was questioning the voice of the creator one of his highest stand emissaries. The leader of the creators heavenly hosts and armies.

“You were.. but with two natures a fleshly one and a heavenly one. The choice as to which you would follow in life was yours to make. But that discussion is for another time. Right now I have a job for you.” The voice stood and walked over to me.

“The first and second born races have made their choices and the world has suffered for far to long. The third born races can not withstand them alone. A time of great darkness and evil had descended upon all of Shadora. You have been chosen to set things right. The voice and hope of the creator in the darkness. A blood knight washed in blood and empowered by the creator himself. You are death to those that crave evil and sustain themselves off of the suffering of innocence. You are deliverance and a breathe of life to those in need.” The voice looked at the portal and slowly walked toward it.

  I stood there silently and didnt say a word at first. I had to many questions though to remain silent.

“Why does the creator need me to do the things that you should be doing… the things that you seem to be better equipped to do.” The boldness in my statement seemed to come from deep with in me. I expected to be destroyed right there and then. The voice would simply destroy me for my insolence and questions.

“It would seem that way.. but the creator in his wisdom knows that mortals would simply not understand and in time forget what he had done. He works through mortals instead empowering them and moving them in demonstrations of his love and power…his will is to rescue, redeem, deliver, help and restore…” The voice paused as if he was listening to another unheard voice.

“Many of my own had thought the same way as you have. In the end it ruined them causing them to rise up and try to become that which they could never become. If we, those who have seen the creator and been in his presence for countless ages were so weak, how much more do you think mortals would be?”

Telling of a tale only a few remeber

” What you are about to read is the telling of a tale that only few remember and as time passes must be passed on from generation to generation. I am not worthy to tell this tale. However, I feel compelled to do so. If you could please forgive my assumptions and exploitations as I merely want to convey to you what I feel about the ones I call family. I marvel at the great deeds that they have done as I pass this on with great pride and hope that you also will see what I have seen in these people. Honor , Loyalty, Courage and above all else family…”

“Kithalic Monsaic ~ Guild Scribe for Wintersbane ~”

preview

When you set out to tell a story you never imagine that the story would suddenly start telling itself. There are days I sit in front of the pc just looking at what has been written and wonder where do I go from here? The story and the world have gradually grown and expanded to an entire universe of history and characters. At this stage in the publishing the reader may not see it but the world of Shadora is huge full of histories and legends. Many of them I don’t even know where to begin telling the story from. I wish that you could see the world of Shadora as I do as a world that I simply look into and tell you as an observer what I see and hear.

I sit wondering which road should be taken and which story do I tell next. The plight of Shadora rests upon the shoulders of only a few, but the untold stories of thousands exist. I want to break out at times and tell you the story of Iceforge and the history behind it, or the day Forge and Rastain met. I want to tell you the tale of Azzorrians day’s in the academy of the arcane and the mysteries and horrors he experienced there. These are just a few stories that could fill volumes of books just by themselves.

The question still remains though “what’s the message or meaning behind the story”. Is it a spiritual one? Is it a moral one? Does it reflect something from our world or from our past? Each time I’m asked these questions I simply have no answer. Why? Because I don’t think about those things as I write the story. I’m a story teller the story in and of itself is the reason for telling it. Are there spiritual and moral statements? Or is there reflective imagery of the world around us? I can say those all exist, but that is not the reason or the essence of the tale. They are elements of the world around the characters and just as in life these elements will change and even contradict each other.

Human’s have this need to find meaning in everything. It must fit with in our ideals and concepts of the world around us. We destroy that which doesn’t agree with us and lift up that which does. It’s a sad truth but the moment we perceive anything challenging our way of thought we instantly set out to destroy it. I have used many different ways of thinking in telling this story some are reflective of my own thoughts others are not. In the end they are there as elements of the story to move it along and give the characters substance or lack of substance.

Even beyond those stories there exists the real stories the adventures and good times in the world of warcraft, Dark age of Camelot and Guildwars. The real people and characters that inspired many of the characters. Wintersbane as a guild had existed for years as a family of online friends. So I decided thats what I will do. I will tell you the stories behind the stories… the character and people behind the characters. Hopefully in the end you will see what I have seen for so many years being a part of wintersbane.

Even though they are scattered and flung across the vast universe of  various online worlds they are still family. The guild may have long since died out and moved on but in the minds of everyone that was apart of the guild the stories and adventures we experienced will live on.

Jinx the evil dog and a lesson in grace and love

My Dog Jinx isn’t evil she’s just very high strung and a tad bit crazy. She’s young so we give her the benefit of the doubt, well at least I do. When we adopted her the first thing Dorothy said to me was…

“That dogs evil looking… she will be nothing but trouble.”

Well we got her anyways, even after being told she was a bit high strung and had a few “behavioural issues”.

So the other night while writing an email I mentioned something about Jinx and earlier today I recalled it while reading.

In the email I wrote that we adopted her as family knowing full well her past and concerns for her behaviour. The more we love her and the more we work with her the more improvement we see in her.  However, we love her regardless simply cause of the Dog she is. The kids fell in love with her the first day.

Jinx

So after a bit of thought I realized this is how God relates to us. He has accepted and loved us regardless of who we are. We spend so much time trying to measure up to what we think God expects  of us that we forget he loved us while were still sinners.

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  

Why do we spend so much time following dead religion based on law and death?

Why is it that we try to make ourselves acceptable to God when we never had to in the first place?

Why is it that we fail to see that we change and become new creations in Christ not because of what we do to earn his favor and grace .. but because of a direct result of his love and grace.

Jinx is loved cause of who she is  — not because of what she does or doesnt do… she’s bad and at times she’s really bad. But we love her unconditionally .. we discipline her from time to time ( ok daily ) but that never changes the fact that she is loved and is part of our family.

The everyday common things

It’s the everyday common things that we forget to stop and consider. We are always striving to find happiness and meaning in life. We always think one day I’ll be happy.
“If only I got the better job”
“If only I had that house I always wanted”
“If only I..

“If only”, the most damaging of all phrases that anyone can embrace. What this does is it mentally prepares us for unhappiness and failure. Nothing is never good enough and we forget the common things in life. Happiness is found in the common everyday things that we take for granted.

The laughter of our children.
The loving embrace of the person we love.
The very fact that we are alive another day.

I could go on and on listing the common things that are truly blessings in our lives that we simply ignore. How many times have we taken for granted our children, spouses, girlfriends, friends and family?

We all have problems, worries and anxieties that seem to overwelm us and drag us down. Storms that seem to well up suddenly and toss us about like a piece of wood washed up on the shore of some lost and forgotten island. We get so wrapped up in the things that are going wrong in life that forget to see the larger picture. Problems will come and they will go. Just like a storm they come roaring in and disappear just as fast. They leave behind a wake of devastation and ruin. We are left to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild again. The next storm comes roaring in destroying that which we so painstakingly had started to rebuild leaving us wondering why and raging with clenched fists at night sky. We blame God or deny him all together.

Where do we find the release and help we need? Some have tried religion thinking they are turning to God. They only end up finding out that they feel as if he’s farther away then he was before. That’s cause we are trying to please him on our own strength through our own actions. We try to add to Christ’s death and salvation on the cross through human means. We forget that he was there all along right beside us. Suffering with us, holding us as our souls cry and our hearts bleed.

“But you don’t understand…”

Of course I don’t, your problems affect you differently then they would me. The same is true for my problems and how they would affect you. The one thing that doesn’t change is that God has and is and will be there through it all. The problem is our expectations. We expect God to act and respond in a certain way for a certain situation. All we end up doing is creating an Image of God that doesn’t truly reflect who he is. God knows what we must endure and what we most not endure. Somethings are for our own good, even though they are painful. In the end they are designed to bring him glory through us and our lives. Our weaknesses and failings and strengths.

The common everyday things are designed to show us that he is still in control and that life does have meaning and purpose. The meaning and purpose though is not aways what we expect it to be. If we could just sit back and look at life through God’s eyes we would simply fall to our knees and thank him endlessly for his grace and mercy. Stop and look around. Really look around and see that God is everywhere.

The lyrics of the song you just listened to… Slowly and quietly touching your heart. A line or phrase that makes you think. The gentle breeze that lightly caresses your cheek as you stand watching the sun set. The person that smiled at you as you walked through the door to grocery store. The gentle touch of your dog as they lay their head on your lap. Completely content on being there with you regardless of what you are or have done. Unconditional love that reflects the heart of our creator.

The sleeping child content and peaceful. They trust and believe with all their heart that in the morning Mom or dad will be there. Hope held on to and clung to like a precious gem. That innocent faith and trust that seems to get lost eventually as the harsh winds of life come roaring through suddenly one day.

We dont realize what we have till its taken from us. I urge you to look around and open your eyes to life and all that is around you. God lives in the common everyday things that we simply need to become more aware of…

We are flawed so God Winks…

What kind of title is that ? I know that’s what anyone reading this most likely is thinking. Which is very good my job here is done then… end of post

 

OK.. so its not the end of the post. My weak attempt at humor but not the end of the post. Actually its a combination of the titles of the last two books I read.

Flawed by Design – By Martin Zender

When God winks at you – By Squire Rushnell

Neither one of these books is related in anyway as far as topic is concerned but put together it created a very interesting way of thinking about things for me.  I’m the kind of person that has always desired to read and study things. The more I studied something the more I wanted to know about it from all sides. 

So this is not a book review persay. I stink at that kind of thing, instead its mainly my thoughts and impressions when combining these two books into one line of thinking on the subjects as it pertains to my life and way of thinking. So take this for what it is.

Lets start with the basic summary of each book.

Flaw by Design – Think your sins are ruining God’s plan for your life? Think again.
Here’s a link to the back cover of Martin’s Book  Flawed by Design.

I’ll let you follow the link instead of me writing it all out simply to give credit where credit is due.

Now lets look at Squire’s book –

 When God winks at you – A surprising answer to prayer comes at just the right moment. Could God be showing you that He cares about the details of your life? Best-selling author SQuire Rushnell says these silent little miracles are godwinks. 

Here’s a link to the summary of this book – When God Winks at you

Ok each author has gotten his link and their own words about the books – remember I said this isnt a review of these books.

So here I am standing at work looking at the pond in the middle of the business complex on my break, enjoying the sun and the breeze thats stirring over the pond. The geese are milling about at the waters edge, doing what geese do ( being annoying and pooping more then should be physically possible). My attention is drawn to the island in the middle of the pond, which is really just a chunk of rock and dirt with some weeds and what I think is grass. And the phrase pops in my head “we are flawed so God winks…”

 

I think about it for a bit and a smile crosses my face. We are flawed no one can argue that, most silently agree. Some will argue and say well its our “duty” or “cross to bear” to rid ourselves of these flaws and press on to “perfection”. I wont get into all the debate over the theological points and counter points to those doctrines and how each different denomination of christianity plays those out. That’s not my intent here. Instead its to simply get you thinking about these things and hopefully spur you on to searching out the answers for yourself. I will however point you to a few things to get you thinking for yourself and questioning as well.

 Every person in the bible was flawed, a sinner full of sin and far from perfection. David, Abraham, Paul, Peter, etc. Everyone of them sinned and sinned and well sinned. Never did any of them reach perfection, nor did they beat themselves up over what they did. Maybe its cause they knew this to be true —

(Pro 24:16 ASV)
For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

In the end though God moved them to great things and used them in great ways. Was it depsite there sins and or weakness or because of  them ?

(2Co 12:9 ASV)
And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 
Ok – I just used those verse’s not to prove a point but to get you thinking. If we cannot challenge the way we think and believe from time to time then we will never move forward to the place God has intended for us. It’s easy and its comfortable to say  ” I believe and know what I know because I was told so“.. Because what fun is there in learning it ourselves? Right?

Ok .. I got sidetracked- that’s cause I’m a storyteller by nature… Writing something like this tends to be scattered simply cause my mind wanders and says  “Hey !!!! Im over here!!! hello….. can we get back to fighting dragons? saving damsels? something??? Please!!!”

So now we are thinking ok God can still use me and work through me despite my flaws and weakness. It’s not that I’m this horrible person and God is disappointed in me but instead that he’s working through me to greater things because of those flaws and weakness. Ok so now we will stop there and move on. Martin can explain all the details of this better then I can and like I said this is merely my thoughts based on reading these books. And believe me the world in my head is a strange one so lets just move on before something happens.

I’ll pick this up in the next post – and hopefully it will be less scattered.. My intent in this post was to simply get you thinking about God and hopefully crack open the bible and give it a look see.

Gaming – My one form of escape and relaxation

Well – gaming has been one of my favorite forms of escape and relaxation. The current game I play is world of warcraft . So I included the rss feed here at the blog as well for anyone that enjoys the game.

There is one thing that I would like to at least chit chat a bit about in regards to gaming. Like many things it can become an obsession and in the long run actual become harmful to your own personal life.

Everything has to be done in moderation – you have to know when to play and when not to play. Above all else the game should never, never ever take precedence over your family or anyone else for that matter. I learned that its easy to get sucked into the game world and actually find it consuming your thoughts and life. This my friend is not good. You can never let anything consume your life that much. My advice is to step back look around and evaluate whats really important in life. A game will eventually die and fade away in popularity. You may make a few friends in the game but life long friends? ones that will stick with you through thick and thin? Is a game worth family and the love of some one close to you? What about your kids if you have any?

I enjoy gaming specially with my son and it has been a time of great father son bonding as well. But I learned you have to live life and the only way to really live life is with family and friends in real life. Never forget that family above all else is what matters the most in life. I think God looks at the way we treat our families as a reflection of what is truly in our hearts…

(Luk 6:45 ASV) The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.