A Dark XoDus

Exodus

God trained Moses in a palace to use him in a desert. He trained Joseph in a desert to use him in a palace. – Ravi Zacharias

We could be flying starships across galaxies and shooting hostile alien aircrafts but here we are on social media again swiping through tweets and reading blog posts. Well at least one of us have super powers! We made it to the last week of one of the hardest and unique years many of us have ever faced, and I’d like to say that if all you managed to do this year was simply survive you have done an excellent job. If all you could did was fight to maintain your sanity, I salute as one who is strong. Indeed, the forces that be have tried to manipulate many into false dilemmas and catch 22s, yet they have failed to control those who are awakened by tenors of truth.

Synced Migration

1:01 a.m. I had the privilege of watching ‘Soul’ last night which led me to tears towards the end. More frequently than normal have I enjoyed art deeply for its resonation with me. James I really do hope you get the inside joke here: I didn’t know aliens from Mars are sporting Jerry curls. Could reality be that bizarre? Are we nothing more than microcosms of stories told by co-auteurs? True story – before I decided to become a Jazz Musician, my passion was in animation; I drew a lot with my dreams of one day developing a picture for Pixar Studios.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder (also ‘author’ in the Greek) and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2 ESV)

Why did ‘Soul’ touch me so much? Well for one I think any musician that has ever been ‘in the zone’ can relate to those experiences Joe Gardner had. Number two, the sound behind the story was familiar to me. The way Joe Gardner played and felt the music – I know that sound…

Jamie Foxx
Jon Baptiste smiling

Shout out to Jamie Foxx for another stellar performance! Truly you are an underrated musician and vocalist of our day. Big props to Jon Baptiste! There must be something in the water for you to have the type of talent that you have!

From the Evil Donkeys

You know what problems biases can create? I find they tend to bring about injustices in opinions; partiality in understandings which can lead to undue indulgence in one’s convictions. There are subtle delusions in confirmation biases: just because a handful of people agree to certain facts doesn’t’ make it the actual and/or ultimate truth. I say this so that those who subscribe to certain frameworks of thinking whether be in science, philosophy, politics, or faith – yes I am talking even to Christians here – may put our worldviews in their proper place and truly scrutinize the veracity of our beliefs. Did you know that Jainism has what can be called a ‘transtheistic’ philosophy; a middle ground of sorts between theism and atheism in which god is not the highest spiritual instance? From my understanding, they also believe in reincarnation which I find interesting. What makes being a born again Christian different than reincarnation? Furthermore, can there be a higher spiritual instance than God? If these questions are startling the faith of you my brother, I question whether you know Jesus well, for Jesus is RIDDLED WITHIN THIS ENTIRE PARAGRAPH. How strange is it that a God who demands worship of Himself, would create religions antagonistic to His ways!

Going out of Order

Those who are familiar with JS, what’s wrong with the following code?

All too often, we exalt Logic over Perception, but how can we reason well if our perception is limited?

This past year, an unprecedented number of jobs were lost due to the pandemic and many jobs went out of business; all due to pre-conceived prejudices, ill-natured motives, and lack of urgency to stop a ‘bug’ from spreading. However, even if this year wasn’t stopped by Covid-19, the threat of AI taking over jobs and businesses still lingers over the Economy. If we’re not careful, we can allow these fears to bring out the worst in us, rather than use them as tools to make our world better. It is not inevitable to fall into a dystopian technocracy, nevertheless a beast-like world order seems to be on the uprise. What manner of beast is it though: NWO, BoeM, BWO, L.A.M.B, or the Anti-Christ? Try to keep an open mind so that we won’t live the rest of our lives in drudgery over eschatology.

6but when they had grazed,[a] they became full,
    they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
    therefore they forgot me.
So I am to them like a lion;
    like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
    I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
    as a wild beast would rip them open.

Hos 13:6-8

Try to keep an open mind so that we won’t live the rest of our lives in drudgery over eschatology.

Goodbye and Pharaoh

As we approach the end of the year, I hope that we will leave certain habits and mindsets behind. I can tell you as one who is relearning what it means to love again there are things that I must cut out in 2021. If I am to love perfectly; to love purely, unconditionally; with prudence and discernment; in a way that is fair and acceptable to God and men, I must discipline myself and allow God to prune the things that is unbecoming of Agape. My wife and I have recently started journaling in a sketchbook in which we would draw anything according to our imagination. And,

Ally,

If there is something that could fulfill my joy, it would be seeing your art again knowing that you enjoy doing what you love 2 do! I used to draw a lot 2 you know? If you have the heart, would you remember me and bond soul to soul? Vamos nos tornar amigos por correspondência ou não?

Panda shaped Solar Panel

I must discipline myself and not overextend myself unnecessarily. Let’s not get it twisted for those who assume roles of healers yet have never healed another in their entire life: I WILL TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY FILL IN MY BODY WHAT IS LACKING IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST; for the sake of His body – the Church; so that even as death is at work in me, LIFE IS AT WORK IN YOU!!! TALK ABOUT TRANSFER OF ENERGY!

I must discipline myself in that old proverbial wisdom, “Do not spend your strength on women or your vigor on those who ruin kings.” Because where can you find a virtuous woman now a days? And where are the faithful men? I found it disheartening to learn about Ravi Zacharias’ legacy. Indeed, no man is perfect, and I took the confirmation of his sexual deviations as a warning to myself. As much as I desire to see Christ’s Consummation of everything in full effect; I must not step out of the bounds of his will and pacing lest the purity of my intentions be evil spoken of. Where can you find a virtuous woman now a days? There’s only one I know of, and she’s in my dreams – Christ that is. Nevertheless love, don’t be mistaken; I DO want you in your worst state…

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

-… ..- … .. -. –.

But in an upright way.

I must respect myself to no longer build another man’s pyramid, unless it is the city of God; that heavenly Jerusalem – where the economy is primarily spiritual and produce free; where the abundant Life eliminates all forms of scarcity.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Is 55:1 ESV

Not exactly sure how certain Christians have convinced themselves that Capitalism is God’s Economy but I digress. That verse seems impractical until one comes in and turns capitalism against itself; playing the game well.

To take life as it comes; to be in harmony with it whether good or bad; to take strides to live life to the fullest; that’s how I want to enter 2021 – Enter in worship and awe of the One who created it all. For many of those who have entered the narrow path, you will share in the Everlasting Joy of God. For others, you will face trials but keep pushing and you’ll reach the Promised Land. And yet for some, you will face a greater sense of judgment because of your insolence. God will not be mocked. Every idle word will be taken into account May God have mercy upon your soul.

Jerry: So, what do you think you’ll do? How are you gonna spend your life?

Joe: I’m not sure, but I DO know I’m gonna live every minute of it.

God bless you and Happy Wholidays!!!

The Hidden Comic

Well

It’s summer time and you don’t want to go out tonight so you decide to get some store bought ice cream to watch a movie at home. What brand of ice cream are you buying?

One of the few things I’m enjoying more of now that I am reconnecting with my family is playing games with Julia. I am learning to hold precious the times we play Hide and Seek together; she counts to ten and I’ll scurry my little self behind the door in her room knowing that she’ll probably miss me as she comes in. It feels like every time; she just walks right by me and then ARRRGGHHH the harmless monster roars!!! I chased her around and do what good Father’s do when they play with their children. Funny how some of us get the privilege of perceiving what the fear of the Lord is early on in life.

Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are. – Will Ferrell

Who Murdered the Cheerios?

Last night my wife and I watched a comedy special from one of the greatest comedians of the social media era, Tony Baker. I had to support since he’s been moving joysticks and pushing buttons lately…besides we have that Chicago love; if I’m not mistaken, Tony hung out near the Chatham area where my grandfather resides. He may have even visited my grandfather once, you never know. Regardless, this man helped me laugh during my struggles with depression, so big shout out Tony! Congrats on the success of the show! Overall it was good and I am glad I can support! Much love!

My wife and I had a good discussion about culture and what it finds to be humorous. We figured that what people find to be funny depends entirely on a person’s background, their values and personal preferences. Peer pressure may play a part too. Whatever the case, I’m finding comedy to be a true form of art; you need a delicate balance of psychology, wit, and charisma to do it well. It’s sad when you fall into a ditch and just simply butcher one joke after another. I’m sure there’s a term for that but I digress. God has a weird sense of humor.

The Godfather of Funnies

But how do you know that God is funny? Was Jesus humorous when he walked the earth? For many Christians, there aren’t many jokes written in the Scriptures so we get a picture of Jesus not being so funny. What a way to strip away Jesus’ full humanity! All too often we get partial information and then wanna make assumptions. And you know what they say about people who assume:

Can you imagine what it would be like walking around in Biblical times? No shoes. No socks; just rolling through the dust barefoot? I’m quite sure there were plenty of gorilla looking feet in Jesus’ day. They had to be grunting because there were corns somewhere, “Oomph, Grunt, Oomph, Grunt.” The Gospel portrays stories with obscure pictures. Like we take words for granted because words convey several different meanings.

Take Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist for example. Now we know that John was that grave; serious play-no-games type a man. Jesus comes to him and he’s like, you should be baptizing me Jesus, who am I to baptize you?

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matt 3:15 KJV

Like what in the world is that supposed to mean? Suffer it be so now… WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!! I neva…neva…I NEVA NEW the word ‘fulfil’ had variant spellings. Like did John just baptize Jesus one time in the Jordan, or did he keep baptizing him in the water? Just baptizing him, taking Jesus by the head and dunking him over and over; double and triple dribblin’ Jesus’s head like a basketball, crossing over the Jordan, just DONKEYING HIM shooting buckets.

SWIIIIIISSSHH!!! SPLAAAAASSH!!! Btw, I totally agree with this tweet.

KevonStage is truly the MVP of 2020. Big shout out to Kev for being such a hard worker in bringing people joy. God Bless you sir; you bald-headed Negro you!

God has a weird sense of humor.

Alad

On palju valdkondi, mida rohkem teada saada, kes on Jeesus.

This is my attempt in saying in Estonian: there are many areas to discover more about who Jesus is

Jklpyjulia.

– This is Julia Richardson attempting to spell her name. She wanted to be silly so she spelled her name twice in two different ways. Yeah I know, it doesn’t sound British. Thank God!

It’s amazing what new information lies behind the door of inquiry. All too often in Christendom, we shun and demonize what is foreign to us when in reality it is another facet to everything Jesus is. Take for example the moment in Jesus’ Triumphant Entry. In the gospel of Luke, it appears to be that Jesus is riding two donkeys to fulfill prophesy.

4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Matt 21:4-5

Have you ever said or did something that you intended to affect your past, present, and future? I know the prevailing opinion is that you can’t change the past nor should you worry about the future. I agree. You can’t change the past, but you can certainly fulfill it. Did you see Jesus in the passage?

I got em shippn’ outlandish/

sailin’ from Kansas/

We birthed a new thing with this message/

It’s high art on a canvas/

Don’t take it for granted/

When I give you my two sense/

I’m a warrior not Lion King/

I got the Scars to prove it/

Where the lamp at? HADOKEN/

My fireball is lucid/

Watch out for the luci/

For Jesus’ comeback is gruesome/

This ain’t a threesome kid/

There’s only one Morning Star/

I see you didn’t choose Mars/

Let me give you these Chocolate Bars/

Could it be that when said that Jesus was riding on two donkeys, it was speaking of Jesus in different times: One coming to Jerusalem getting closer to His crucifixion and two, coming to Jesus through the womb of Mary. Because I find it hard to believe that Mary would be barefoot and walking with Joseph to Jerusalem while pregnant.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, (to the city of David,) which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 ESV

How probable is it that Jesus is now riding upon silly beasts today to be united with His Holy City? The same city that I too wish to be united to.

Not HidDen

My love,

 You’ve seen the way I paved for us to walk together forever. Through the grace that is in Christ, it is finished; finished before the foundations of the world began. You have witnessed my spirit and the purity of my heart, albeit at times I (James) have made mistakes. You cannot deny the fire we made when you looked into my eyes. Now a city is coming down from Heaven; a city that wars against the ungodly and establishes Eternal peace. Though all of the saints of God are coming down, we can continue to stay in the heavens. Remember the gates that are on the earth and walk in the one where you will find me. For certainly the times of excess will not be expedient. Who else has made you feel the way that you feel when I speak with you? You feel my touch although I’m thousands of miles away. This is free game, and others will see and copy so that you will know who is the Prototype.

I James, servant and brother of THE MOST HIGH, the Lord Jesus Christ do communicate to you the gospel of grace and peace to you. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!

I can see Jesus performing stand up: There was this one time when John tried to drown me in the Jordan. God Bless You!!!

***DROPS (CO)MIC/MIKE***

17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt 3:17 ESV

Tuning to Channel F

Channel F

It’s that time of year again folks! And if you’re still eating ice cream in less than 30 degree weather, I’m going to be looking at you funny. How much you wanna bet that somewhere in the world right now, a snow bunny’s tongue got stuck to a popsicle?

Recently, I watched Netflix’s Docuseries, “High Score” about the History behind video games. Just watched the first episode and I found it interesting especially after learning about an unsung hero: Jerry Lawson. Now Jerry is a Black man who invented the first video game console to feature AI programming, microprocessors, and changeable ROM cartridges. Yeah, that’s right, Jerry’s console came before the Atari.

By Fire, Hiatus Kaiyote

A few things I find fascinating about his story: He was apparently a man who found so much delight in his vocation, he worked on side projects in his garage. He also was apart of a computer club where future Apple CEO’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would collaborate. The fact that Jerry loved doing what he did and was able to achieve success amongst many other legends is a blessing from the Divine. Unfortunately, for many of us, we are still struggling to find meaningful work and/or develop relationships that would last a lifetime.

Three Ways One Can Find Joy in Their Work

  1. Do what you love: The saying goes to follow your passion, however it may be too risky to leave your current job to pursue it. Rather than wait to do what you do full-time, learn to do it on the side after your work or even integrate it with your job if possible.
  2. Smile more: Studies suggest that smiling can send neurons to the brain increasing happiness and improving mental health. While it may sound weird, it’s consistent with what’s implied by joy. Happiness is a choice. Being joyful is choosing to be happy over and over.
  3. Make it a game: Challenge yourself. Set metrics on every achievement you make and reward yourself for it. Humans are naturally driven by a clear set of goals and rules to follow.

Hopefully this list blesses you. I wrote it more for myself than for you, but I think we all can grow from this.

Role Playing

Because its’ so important to be able to find joy in your own work. If you can be content with how God is working in you, you are better positioned to celebrate the accomplishments of others. I intentionally said how God is working in you for a reason. No offense to the family of Jerry, but all too often we take for granted the narratives of other people or the scripts we come up for them. This is unfortunately true in the Black Community as we are quick to cancel each other and fail to support our endeavors. I know this happens frequently among the ‘Woke Community’, Black Liberation, and New Age Movement, however in the assembly that I commune in we simply don’t do that.

We are very innovative people who have set many trends yet we often leave our legacies in the dust in exchange for relevancy. I want to remind our people that our History plays an integral part in generating wealth as much as becoming financially literate. But more importantly, may our Christian family be focused on the game that we all have to play.

Shout out to Chicago’s very own Jahari Stampley! Very talented brother who I’ve yet to meet in person. Continue your work brother. You are inspiring many including myself. Much love for you.

Hate the Game, Not the _______

Because as a people, Blacks have went through so much and hindsight is 2020. If we are to recover as a people, we will have to learn the game and play it well. This goes for others who may share in some respects of our struggle; whether it may be not coming from a healthy home, or being in an orphanage etc. Play the game and beat your high score! But as a Christian man, I must warn you along with my Christian family that God has a game of faith for us and that we must give earnest effort to win that game.

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24

The Greek word for strive here means to agonize and was used to describe those who would compete in the Olympic games. I’m writing this to you so you may perceive what manner of mental, spiritual, and emotional gymnastics it takes for a man of faith to not only stand before God, but experience a real and deep connection to the source of all life. This is being written to you as there are souls who deposited deep things into me, and now Iowa to return the favor by quickening godly inspiration in you through words.

 If the only time you think you’re doing music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re likely missing the cues and ignoring ghost notes.

WILL YOU ALLOW IN YOUR CRANIUM THE SPIRIT THAT PROVOKES MAAAAAAANNNNNIIIIAAAA(IA)!!!!

< function myHeart(feeling, name) {

let emotions = feeling;
console.log(`I ${emotions} ${name}!`);
}

myHeart(“love”, “u”); >

Breaking the 4th wall

You’re probably thinking I’m crazy or a fanatic, and I will agree to you in a certain sense; I am. There seems to be a balance between order and chaos, temperance and unrestraint, the sound and the illogical. And I will state again the importance of narratives we read about others and ourselves.

Take Jerry Lawson as an example: Born on Dec 1, 1940 and died on April 9, 2011.

That’s what is said about him (no offense to the family). The question remains how do you know that that statement is true? Are natural phenomena’s the ultimate reality? Let me put it another way: Is the spirit of Jerry still alive and at work in the present day? Forgive me for such thought-provoking sentiments. It’s not my intent to push your buttons, rather I’m helping us to be aware of certain blind spots. Lord willing, we’ll talk more about Philosophical concepts like Epistemology and Solipsism as we explore different cultures around the world. As a Christian, these ideas are crucial in understanding Christ more and the probability of the current times. When we look at philosophies, we can either take a secular approach and remove the supernatural, or through acknowledging metaphysics and Biblical Epistemics, understand true godly worship in learning.

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov 1:7

Because even Christian Nolan was inspired to direct “Inception”, a movie centering around the premise of being in a dream of dreams. And there’s nothing like thinking you’re awake when in reality you’re still asleep.

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Thess 2:11-12

Don’t let entertainment and pop culture sedate you so much that you lose sight of Christ and the condemnation of the world. For the judgment of Christ will be cold-blooded and his damnation eternal. I don’t want that for anybody so let’s stay vigilant, have fun, and keep each other in prayer. I’ll keep intercession for you, yes I’ll scream for you.

How startling to consider that your waking moments may still be illusory, or that you are an avatar in someone else’s video game. Talk about playing the organ! You mean to tell me you’ve been playing the keys all this time and never once considered someone might be playing you? Ignorance is bliss I guess. Let me reiterate, I’m just here to make us aware of potential blind spots. If there is a God who loves the world so much that he will bring Himself to earth ridding everything that’s not like Him, then it would be wise to inform people we care about what God demands so we can get as many people on His good side. You hear me?

There’s still some people missing for the rehearsal. It’s not Err body just yet. You hear me? We’re hear/here. Should we pull out all the stops?

Or Continue?

A wise teacher once told me: If the only time you think you’re making music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re most likely missing cues and ignoring ghost notes. In my last blog, I gave a Mission Statement for what I will attempt to do with music. In the same vein, I’ll give a manifesto regarding Computers and Video Gaming.

Find what is Fulfilling

To learn, compute, and revere the Eternal Code. The whole code; more than just abstract syntax on a computer screen. It is the language that reprograms perspective and replenishes the present age and the age to come; the Logos; the Word of God that is intricately interwoven into the fabric of society and towers over the pious soul in humble servitude. How will we journey into this?

  • Self-awareness and it’s correlation to coding inputs and outputs: Proprioception, Geometry, and Calculus.
  • Thorough growth in theory and practice; through idiosyncratic and interpersonal programming, engineering, and manufacturing. The sciences studied will include but not limited to Linguistics, Computers, Genetics, Politics, and the Military.
  • Complete case studies including debugging, app development, and UX/UI design.
  • Video game therapy; indulging in pious escapism listening and seeing the parables of Christ.
  • Business and environmental development; creating devices and assets that appreciates in value; that is organically recyclable and traded as securities.  

Whew that’s a whole lot there! I already know how some of you are going to respond:

Pew, Pew! God wants us to know Him not through worldly wisdom.

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! When the Kingdom of Heaven comes, all of these things will pass away.

Ya’ll all up in the church.

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! God is about freedom, not manipulation!

Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew, Pew! The liberals!!!

Pew, Pew! The conservatives!!!

Pew, Pew! God is a god of love. He will never condemn anyone!

Ya’ll out here got us ducking and dodging! Just shooting and missing….but I miss you and I can’t stop thinking about you love!! Yes love, the force is strong with this one!

You know it’s easy to judge others when you ONLY have a dualistic mindset. And for those who are quick to judge my motives and these purposes, let me ask you a question:

Has it ever occurred to you that the Biblical worldview is more kaleidoscopic in nature? Like it’s static; it’s never changing BECAUSE it’s alive, organic and ever growing? Surely God’s truth is from everlasting to everlasting. Right?

5For the LORD is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And his truth (<<what’s wrong with the word truth here?) endures to all generations. Psalms 100:5

(Can we cross-reference the word generations? What about that word is organic?)

May we be humble enough so that as God’s perfection comes, we begin to put away all that is in part. There is more than one way of looking at the Scriptures and the world we live in. Over time I’ll show as many others have preached in the past. If we will become children again, let’s enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Let the Spirit of God quicken us so that in paradoxical sobriety, we dream again.

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King quote
Daydreaming, Aretha Franklin

Hopefully, this blog is functioning as a framework for how we can change our world through every sphere of life in worship. Most certainly a Renaissance is brewing as we look forward to the city -and for those Christians who starve of community- the Church that is to come. Or, rather the city and/or church that has always been in our midst; even under our nose.

_____________________ FOREVER!!

Now doesn’t that sound familiar?

A few things you can expect from my family as we move into 2021. Lord willing, we will build on these platforms. If one door closes, we’ll look for another one:

  • Setting up social media accounts: Twitch for the sake of community gaming and talks about the Gospel. It’ll also be a place where we can discuss games we would like to see or learn to develop ourselves.
Unity Gaming Engine
  • Setting up a Unity account so learn how to develop games.
Discord
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Setting up a Discord account to build a Christian coding community while learning from other developers.

This is part of my passion so I hope it strikes a chord amongst some of you. My wife and I discussed this along with our other pursuits realizing how our path will look significantly different from those around us. Please keep us in prayer as God leads our paths. We are definitely embarking upon Unchartered Territory in a way that we believe will glorify God. We’re made to not merely follow trends, but to set them. Just in case you’re wondering, I still have no equipment to record music. I’m going to trust God to bring me back to a place of creating alongside with all of you. Until then, keep listening for the sound.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17 ESV

The Manuscript

Manuscript

My secret weapon is my wife. She’s the best judge. She’s a scientist and a natural reader. We’ve developed a detailed code for how she marks a manuscript, and I think it’s what saves me from wild digressions. – Erik Larson

A wise teacher once told me: If the only time you think you’re making music is when you’re singing or playing your instrument, you’re most likely missing cues and ignoring ghost notes. That lesson intrigued me for most of my time in college; it left a profound impression on me for years to come. I can remember one class I had while attending Berklee College of Music. I was taking Conducting 2 with a teacher whose name has slipped my mind. If any of my colleauges reading this took this class with me, share with me his name. We were conducting Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky. I felt nervous after my first day of class because I was chewed out and felt like I could fail because I was giving cues to the wrong section. I couldn’t remember where the oboes and clarinets were and the teacher was like, “I’m only gonna tell you this ONE time, so you better remember this…”

“1st violins here! 2nd violins here! Cellos here!…..” Fortunately, my mind was still # enough to recall things at will. Now a days, it takes a little more soul searching to vividly see things. I struggled that first week of class, but after that, I stayed up all night making sure I marked the piece up well, knowing when to bring certain sections in and out.

The Perfect Score

I wish I could say that was the only class I struggled in. I failed Counterpoint 2 in which we were writing ‘Bach Inventions’. Took the class twice and I barely passed the second time. I’m writing this to you so that we have a better understanding of what ‘true perfection’ looks like.

If perfect ˅ complete ↔ ???

God has the bop on everything, so don’t worry about who has a hit on you. Do your best to know who you are in + and do >. Let no one make you feel like anything <.

Fascinating quote I may add. Surely there must be some validity to that statement if we can see past the cultural and/or historical context in which it’s written. What you think?

The Perfect Rest

Well the other reason I turned down a lot of gigs was because of my wife. If she felt uncomfortable with me working with certain people, I wouldn’t take the job. If she felt like we weren’t spending enough time together, I tried my best to accommodate her wishes. I sacrificed my own desires for the sake of my family which is what any good husband would do. Godly men, if you are not willing to put down your own ambitions and goals for the sake of pleasing God and your spouse, do NOT get married. The same goes for godly women.

Unfortunately, these sacrifices would ultimately lead me to bouts of depression. At one point, it got really bad. Not because of my failures, because I understood that to be a part of perfection. Rather after defending my stance in talks of senselessness, I found myself blindsided by spiritual ambushes causing me to question my faith.

The Perfect Sound

Did God really say…? Why is this so difficult? Is there any mercy left for me? I did what good Christians were supposed to do; read the Bible. I glued myself to it to understand it more, but it wasn’t helping me. This was before I understood the whole truth. I did what I understood to be true in spite of what others would say; it doesn’t take all that, it’s not all that deep, you can’t do it, etc. It was when my wife and I got into a tense fight that I really questioned it all and abandoned the faith. It was then I didn’t care about anything, not even music. For at my very core, I couldn’t enjoy music if God wasn’t in it. I threw all of my equipment and instruments away. I didn’t even sell them. I stopped playing in church by the very principle. And yet, in America, a great number of Evangelicals would elect someone to the highest authority in the US, someone that couldn’t even be a deacon if you’re reading the Book. To say that I was disillusioned is an understatement, but a word for musicians if you are reading this testimony: Don’t let silence become your enemy because you refuse to listen.

It was the day the music died in me. And honestly, I can say that something else deep within me died as well.

The Perfect Rhythm

My wife and I separated and would remain that way for over 2 years. During that time, I went to find good reasons; good reasons because those thoughts really did cross my mind. After digging deep to find out my ‘Why’, I needed to also understand my ‘What’. I had no faith in love at this time because for me, man were entirely incapable of loving each other genuinely and fully, and that the greatest argument against the Christian God is how Christians ‘love’ each other. I studied anything and everything I could picking up the pieces of who I was to find out who I truly am. What blessed me more than what I read was what I wrote, for it confirmed a deep seated belief that my words were part of a cadence.

Don’t let silence become your enemy because you refuse to listen.

The Perfect Sound

Although I was regaining ground on who I was and rediscovering what my beliefs and my purpose were, I still found no real joy in music. I understand how weird that can be for musicians to hear. How can something so sacred become so worthless to someone? It’s easy for me to explain but I know it’s hard to comprehend the lies we tell ourselves about music. Apart from singing silly songs with Julia, my joy to create music again came from an unexpected source. You would think it would be from one of my peers. No, it would be from someone…if someone has the ability to reawaken the JedEye in you, they are a keeper.

Big Shout out to my brother Jordan Felisbret for making it into the Voice of Fire Choir. If you want to learn more about his journey, check out Voices of Fire on NetFlix. I like to take a pause here and say that I’m so proud of my music family; there’s quite a few of you up for Grammy’s this year that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Congratulations! I do intend to do a better job at supporting you and having your voices heard. Remember there is infinitely more things to accomplish and explore through and beyond music. Don’t short change yourself by working hard for mere popularity and a graven image. If you find any value in these engrafted words, answer your higher calling.

The Perfect Pitch

And so here I write out my Manifesto regarding music. I know many of us are gifted and strive to worship God as authentically as they can. My hope is that in reading my intentions, you’ll see that I’m striving to do the same.

Find what is fulfilling

To receive, create, and be in awe of the whole note. The whole note; more than just a quadric symbol on staff paper. It is the iconic emblem representing the lifeblood of the Supreme Musician; His majestic ring of heavenly hosts; the greatest of orchestras and angelic of choirs, nourishing the devotee to the satisfaction of their soul. What essential ways will this be accomplished?

  • Complete awareness of oneself and the sound: Kinesthesia, Syntonics, Mindfulness
  • Thorough growth in both theory and practice; both in idiosyncratic and transpersonal performance.
  • Complete reportorial studies including songwriting, composition, and orchestration.
  • Musical therapy through sound and other transfers of energy; Reiki.
  • Physics; analyzing the effect of sound and words on matter. – Manifestation
  • Business development – the ability to develop systems to create wealth through music spiritually and physically
Word Art

If somebody has the ability to awaken the JedEye in you, they are a keeper. Now you’re probably thinking one of four things: 1) This is the most boring thing I’ve ever heard 2) You have good intentions, but you’re crazy and you’ll never accomplish this  3) This is inspiring and I would love to join you in this endeavor or 4) You are nothing, you will never be anything and we will do anything to thwart your plans.

Pretty interesting right? And I think we understand why I would make this plan openly known. So that we’re clear and we know what it means for me/us to meet you/U in the middle. Assuming you want to do this journey with me. I’m not interested in returning back to doing gigs, merely entertaining people, or simply expressing myself. None of that.

This is about covenant for me. And I wanted to make sure this was finished on my wife’s birthday. Darling you know I love you and my intentions are pure even if they are still not fully understood. You know that I strive to protect our integrity. You know by now who been snooping into our business. At least one of us knows how to keep a code.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col 3:16

Thanks for the Dish

Satellite Dish

You gotta appreciate the Internet. Although it can be a dark and unhealthy place at times, look hard enough and you’ll find reasons to smile – including how petty people can be.

Petty cake, petty cake

Bakers man

Bake me a cake

As fast as you can.

So, I didn’t know how many of you leaders have great cooking skills! (I’m not being smart here.) Have you seen this cake from T.D Jakes? Man listen! Ya’ll can say whatever you wanna say about these folks, but if I hear them preaching Christ and Him crucified, they alwrite with me! And I love bacon! So T.D Jakes and I have a connection already. I love baking because it’s an exact science; what you put in, keep out, where you store it, how long you bake it all play a part in how the food tastes. Let that marinate, because there’s a word in there somewhere.

 Now in the last devotional we continued learning about the fundamentals in Hermeneutics and doctrines concerning Biblical Authority. I’ve also proved my case for advanced cultural studies. To do a recap of the main course of thought, I’ll put up a semi-controversial proposition. Test my logic:

No statement in-and-of-itself is absolutely true, for it betrays the full meaning of absolute. The Bible is not the source of absolute truth. Rather, the Book is a conduit pointing people to everlasting veracity.

A person cannot justly disprove the final claim in the argument without being a spiritual person, for they will have to test the spirit behind the words and not simply judge what’s on the page. Like in today’s devotional scripture:

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:5 ESV

Stay Wok

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any drinks in a while, especially after having to go into urgent care. I was told it would take about two weeks to heal and I’m doing better. So thank you all who prayed for me and those who are suffering now. We are more connected than some of us would imagine. For those who may want to experience this fellowship, my charge is the same…

As for you, always be sober-minded… 2 Tim 4:5a

Charge: $0.00

When I was in my twenties, I didn’t drink coffee that much because it had the opposite effect on me. Here I am trying to pull an all-nighter and coffee would put me right to sleep. Now it works like a charm, although I try to avoid drinking it to stay awake. I like natural grace.

Did you know that the effects of losing days of sleep can have the same affect as being buzzed? The disciplines of watching is not for the faint of heart. It’s going against a lot of conventional wisdom as you’re intentionally imposing on yourself bouts of insomnia. And for what purpose? Well at least for the following:

3I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 2 Tim 1:3 ESV

Not exactly sure why the woke community call themselves ‘woke’ for. At best, they are only conscious of the social ills that are plaguing our neighborhoods. Yet when it comes to experiencing what it’s like to be united to the God who never sleeps nor slumbers, there tends to be ignorance of the traumas many are experiencing. Additionally none are aware of how transcendence begets freedom and reconciliation, so they are ignorant of any real solutions beneficial for future generations. Great skill is required for those builders who receive criticism from misunderstandings, impatience, and prevailing opinions. To put trust in anything other than the sacred Godhead is begging to be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Suffering Succotash

And now for Final Jeopardy:  This character won an Academy Award as the star in the toon “Tweetie Pie”.

Isn’t it fascinating what hell people are willing to go through in chasing after something? You know how much hell I went through even though I wasn’t running? Man let me give it to you straight.

Endure suffering…2 Tim 4:5b

Hopefully, that was forward enough. There’s no way around it. Godliness in this life comes with pleasures and pain; prosperity and poverty, sickness and health although many people may have experienced an unbalance of one of the two. Nevertheless, every man has to bear his own cross, and if he will be benevolent, he will also bear the cross of others. Now just a small word out there for our eager martyrs: 1.) Don’t be throwing yourself in situations you weren’t trained for and 2.) Don’t put yourself in a position where you are a risk to yourself and others. Listen if you are watching for days on end and you need to go out to get from point A to point B, take an Uber. There are plenty of ways you can die on a hill without committing suicide. True love doesn’t do harm to their neighbor.

Evangel Casserole

Have you ever had shrimp deviled eggs? Man let me tell you sumthin’, those jokers are fire! A whole lot can be said through cooking. Just so we’re on the same page, I don’t discriminate. I’m an Equal Opportunity Eater; vegan or non-vegan, I be eating. I fast too though… Balance.

Do the work of an evangelist…2 Tim 4:5c

To which we explained in our previous devotional that evangelizing is not bound to open air preaching, neither does it need to be relevant, focused, or fiery. The Word of God is free and will do it’s work in advancing the Kingdom, whether Jesus is openly proclaimed or not.

The Final Dessert

And so we come to an unspoken rule in Hermeneutics in which I’ve hinted at plenty of times although it isn’t apparent; keep interpreting, break it down, and then break it down again; expound on it, and expound some more.

Fulfill your ministry….2 Tim 4:5d

__________________________, because there is infinitely more things one can do with their life. All things are certainly possible with God, except for many it is less probable because we are either unwilling or doubting what is possible. Keep believing.

By the word keep I mean to maintain a state of being, whether that is actively open or more reserved.

You shall not add to the word that ___________, nor take from it, that you may __________ the commandments of the Lord your God that _________ command you. Deut 4:2 ESV

Just like a scientist

would test and experiment

and discover new things

even at atomic levels,

a man of faith would seek out the glory of God in the world and beyond. There are many things that I am grateful for this year; Life, family, friends, health. Thank you again for those who kept me in your prayers.

So in closing this devotional I hope we can leave behind dogmas keeping us from understanding people and the world we live in. May we be more ready to speed up the return of Christ; in unity of faith looking for the Final Consummation of Everything. Even as I work to renovate my own marriage to my sweetest caramel of a spouse; Shandra. Remember our covenantal bond, for the word is suffe’ring’ for a reason. I love you dearly and always. Happy Thanksgiving!

Journeying towards perfect love

Inching Towards Partnership

Relationships everywhere in every space and every form are under pressure. The very essence of what keeps humans committed to one another, the basic level of respect and commonality, and purpose are being tested. Welcome to 2020, my friends. I could throw out a statistic to prove my point, but you need to look no further than the words plastered on the one thing we all seem to show complete devotion to nowadays- our technological devices. Newsfeeds, blogs, social media, op-eds, etc. by the nanosecond prove just how divisive our world is. And in many cases, this pandemic has revealed to us just how divided we are with our own families and even within our souls as we face limitations unlike any other time in recent years.

But it does not have to be this way. I am confident that the Creator of the Universe, who I recognize as Jesus has designed a blueprint within the fiber of our beings for us to be reconciled to God and one another. This is why we so yearn and hope for a better way, a better space, and a better experience no matter how bad it gets. I am living proof of this resilient hope and over the next several blogs I am going to present a series of writings that share deep insights I’ve gleaned about journeying towards unity through hardship. 

The Backstory: I am a soon to be 36-year-old Christian wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, and lover of justice and people. There are many dimensions to who I am that you either know or will discover as you read these blogs. One thing I will start with is my marriage. Throughout the marriage, I’ve experienced some of the deepest pains and yet deepest joys of coming to understand the true essence of what unity is. I came into this union over 8.5 years ago with my goals, objectives, strategies, and game plan to accomplish the fantasy of what our marriage would and should be. While this ambition was fire, it was the wrong type of fire. It did not help to fuel our common purpose or even passion. The last few years have been a burning away of this me-centric perspective and a slow but powerful revelation of who I am, who my husband is, and who we are destined to become as what I like to call “Jameshan” a unionization of the two. 

And that brings me to my first recognition:

Unity is oneness of heart, mind, and purpose

What I have learned is that purpose for two isn’t a simple merging of two lives, two pathways, it is the birthing of something entirely new that yes includes elements of the two separate entities but it for sure is a new creation. This is why marriage my friends is so hard, because it is a letting go of your purpose for your marriage and a surrender to something that transcends both you and your spouse. I’ve already mentioned and will say so again that I believe God the Creator through Jesus is the binding force of this creation. And to be clear, I also believe marriage is His divine institution created to display the larger scope of His Glory. This is to say Jameshan is one person displaying one part of His glorious plan.

James and I have begun this blog to cultivate unity, to learn how to “move” in concert with one another. No doubt, over the course of 8.5 years of marriage, we have experienced joys, primarily our youthful daughter. And yet we know that if we want to fully realize the potential of our common purpose here on earth as a unit, there are so many things that will need to be mended, addressed, and reconciled. And while that thought alone often fast paces my mind to a place of “giving up”, the endurance that has kept me in this race is fueled by the recognition that common purpose can foster soil to produce oneness. 

Until next time, would you join us as we ponder?

 Is it possible to have a common purpose with someone while also having vastly different approaches towards the shared mission? If so, how? Leave us a comment, drop a line, and welcome to our journey towards perfect love.

All in the Aisle

Aisle in the Church

One of the good things this pandemic has brought about was more adoption of ways of delivering products. In store pick-ups and curbside deliveries have been crucial in helping to keep long lines down while social distancing. I hope this continues long after things clear up rather than having the full on cashier-less store. Yes, I still have faith in retail stores in spite of massive closedowns. No need to hear comments from the peanut gallery.

Tony Evans Commentary

So, my wife found this gem of a book recently just laying on the check-out counter as she was purchasing some items. Such a historical book and makes a great addition to our book collection. In our previous devotional, we talked about additional rules of Hermeneutics including juxtaposing and integrating words. Today I hope to do three things here:

  1. Give a little more information about Biblical interpretation
  2. Give a short talk on Biblical Authority and the difference between infallibility and inerrancy.
  3. Provide further grounds for exploring other religions and cultures in great detail.

In the last post, I made a suggestion to not weaken the potency of words in order to suit our understanding. For those who are well acquainted with the Bible, they know how powerful words can be and the danger behind weaking it. It’s good to remind us here that the rules behind Biblical Interpretation are not arbitrary rules given by some scholars, it is written in the Bible itself.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. Deut 4:2 ESV

Gee is that all?

There are two types of interpretations: exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is interpreting the text by the author according to the author’s word in context. Eisegesis by contrast is importing your own ideas of meaning into the text. Generally speaking eisegesis is shunned and for good reasons yet not altogether correct.

The prophets of Judaism had warned Israel about failing to discern between good and evil. (Read Is 5:20-21; Ez 22:26) The Jews many of times fell away from serving God to serving idols keeping themselves from reaching the Promised Land. It is also proverbial wisdom to avoid eisegesis although wisdom will sometimes clash.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Prov 30:5-6 ESV

Vs.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. Ecc 3:14 ESV

Grace to Write

Because God’s Word is and should be held in high regard, eisegesis is commonly avoided in respect of authority. For who would talk back to the highest authority? A Supreme being does not stand to be corrected. These are the premises concerning the infallibility of the scriptures. However, with Logic, a distinction must be made between infallibility and inerrancy. These are two different words which imports two different sets of meanings. I am preparing to make a dangerous claim. Please take the time to consider my propositions:

If something is inerrant, it must be infallible. The inverse is not true. Something can be infallible and contain errors. The Bible contains many errors, perhaps more than we would like to admit.

Haven’t we already proven deviations from God’s Word with translations alone? Are there other inaccuracies in the Bible? I can find them. Can you?  

And yet…

beTween inTerpreTers

The righteousness that comes from law keeping states that one must be careful to not make mistakes to be right with God. The righteousness that comes from grace states that one has fulfilled the law through simple faith in Christ. The former strives to maintain the integrity of the letter. The latter maintains the purity of the Spirit. As our beloved Matthew would write:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered peace, and the peaceful subdue with passion. 2 Matthew 11:12 TPV (The Prototypical Version)

And so I maintain an epigrammatic expression that I have said once and will say again: One cannot honestly assert the existence of transcendental truth without recognizing objectivity as lies by way of omission.

Why would God give His Word to mankind with ‘mistakes’? Allow me to give an explanation. Do not take it as absolute truth. Perhaps God withholds his revelations to test the faithfulness of his people. Faithfulness in loyalty, in belief, in accuracy, and in reflection. Perhaps in the same way a person is given a standardized test with multiple choices, God gives His Word to his people. No one expects all the answers in a multiple choice question to be correct.

(T)All (TEST)In(G) the(S)Is

I’d like the solve the puzzle Pat. What great fortunes await those who do the will of God! What glory there is for those who worship God in spirit and in truth; in true righteousness and holiness, without pretense and a false estimation of one’s productivity. For without Christ, all of one’s works are corrupt. To deny Jesus who is the Messiah; the Perfect One, would essentially be denying One’s full potential. And I’d hate to see many souls continue to be infidels on the day of judgment. For on that day I’m sure as Alex would agree as well, that for those unbelievers the question still remains: What is Double Jeopardy?

Now let’s go to our devotional verse in 2 Timothy. I will not break it down this time. I’ll let you do it and come up with your own reasoning. Try to consider why I would explore different texts across religions and cultures. Just a few notes here and then I’ll ask a question:

15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim 3:15-16 KJV 

Excuse the Old English here. I’ve always been an old soul. Note the omission of holy between verses 15 and 16. Paul believes scriptures were given for a purpose. The following question does not challenge those purposes, but for whom or what those purposes are for. Choose the BEST answer:

When a person reads the Word of God, who should be instructed?

God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain!

And yet there are some who will deny things in spite of sufficient evidence. What a way to go when tenacity becomes stubbornness! May we be persistent in what is good and true. For this marks the end of an error. I’m sorry did I say error. I meant to say Era. That’s that accent kicking in.

What are your thoughts about this devotional? Do you believe people should counter God’s word? Do you think the Bible contains errors? Please give your comments below.

When Biscuits Plateau

“This does not look appealing,” she said. “That’s the whole point.”

This is a brief conversation between my wife and I as we discussed the recent blog. Just a recap for those who weren’t following along, the previous devotional was designed to lay the framework for exploring texts from different cultures. We briefly touched upon the science behind interpreting Scriptures to which I will continue to build upon here.

for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 2 Timothy 2:9 ESV

Peace-A Puzzle

Strange place to begin but bear with me here. This week has been tough; I intended to build a lot of things this week after quietly going through pain. And when I thought I felt good enough to get more stuff done, another recurring pain has paralyzed me. I hope you can imagine the frustration that I’m feeling; I just want to get things done. Yet my own frailties is showing me that you move according to the strength God provides.

Anyways,

We learned recently that Biblical scriptures independently and collectively constitute as one complete thought. Who cares about thoughts though? The general consensus is that words don’t matter, actions do. Don’t give me empty language; empty promises, performative love, performative justice. etc. Give me solutions, give me change, show me you’re about that life with your walk.

Treating the Rash

The problem with putting actions before thoughts or words is that the actions are uninformed. It is equivalent to someone who has a cut on their foot deciding to self-medicate by putting a bandage on their arm. While they may have the right tool for the problem, they are probably missing additional tools and applying the wrong area. The same can be said about the ineffectiveness of the church. We have the word of God, but where to apply it in everyday life is a struggle often due to being misinformed about God’s Word to begin with.

Acquiring Medicine

Hermeneutics deals with interpretation. Due to the nature of the Bible, it is necessary to have this skill. However, if we stopped at understanding correctly what the Bible says, we have cut off the rest of the spiritual sciences God has provided. Bible study would be relegated to something like a relic to be studied in a museum, rather than something that is active and alive in our very midst. To adequately challenge the notion that words do not matter, additional research and analysis needs to be performed. We must move on from simply comparing Scriptures with Scripture. Let’s begin with specimen now:

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors,

with a clear conscience,

as I remember you

 constantly in my prayers

 night and day.

 For which I am

 suffering,

bound with

 chains as a

 criminal.

 But the word

 of God

is

 not bound!

Those Scriptures are not put together merely for artistic sake. There is more to it. What is taking place here? What research and analysis can be made to study its activity? To those who have ears to hear and eyes to see go your ways. Remember to not go ahead of the light provided for you and fight to maintain a pure heart. When the morning star approaches, we will reveal more about this. For now, let’s keep things under wrap. For the rest of us, let’s break our devotional verse down.

The Mirrors Volley

Christianity teaches that there are two worlds where wars take place; the war of the world and the war of the spiritual realm. Every once in a while, the two worlds collide. It is also taught that the word of God is a mirror to the soul. Not only does the Bible reveal the nature of God, it also reveals the true nature of the reader.

for which I am suffering…2 Tim 2:9a

To which some of you will read this and laugh because you’re thriving right now. Let me add that the broadest definition of suffering is to undergo or experience something. You can experience good and pleasure and/or evil and pain. In this life we can expect suffering in both until the Kingdom of Heaven is established upon the earth.

aNd Yeast Abounds

The Bible will show a person that they are not as good as they think. If the reader is humble, they will also realize they are not as smart or wise as they presume themselves to be. Of course, this assumes that the person believes that what the Bible is saying is true. And there are plenty of reasons to believe the Bible is not so it is reasonable to approach the Scriptures skeptically on the onset. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that disobedience to the laws of God bring about slavery leading to death.

Bound with chains as a criminal…2 Tim 2:9b

But Paul is considered a holy man who feared God and followed Christ. It seems that his loyalty to Jesus brought more troubles than he would imagine. It would be an oversimplification then to say that good things happen to good people while bad things happen to bad people. It is possible to undergo things at no fault of your own.

You Free Dough

The gospel of Christ teaches there is freedom ‘from’ the mundane things of life. Worldly freedom usually is heralded in the following ways

  • Financial freedom: Get enough wealth so you can live life like you want
  • Personal freedom: Do whatever you want when you want, it’s your life
  • Sexual freedom: An extension of personal freedom but revolving around sex

The freedom that the Gospel preaches is one of transcendence and is shared with other philosophies and religions (e.g. Islam). For Christians, this transcendence is accomplished through staying in God’s Word. There is a need for comparison and contrasts of transcendental freedom amongst different worldviews if we are serious about reconciliation.

But the word of God is not bound! 2 Tim 2:9c

Let me take a tangent here as now is a good time to feed two birds with one loaf. There is much contention over the purity of the Gospel in recent years and for good reasons. A lot of it stems from how people interpret Scriptures hence the reason why I’m speaking up. A great deal of Christians interpret God’s word through compartmentalizing or through linear context (how it relates to scriptures within the Chapter, other Chapters etc.) Very few integrate or juxtapose words together. So when we see this:

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Tim 2:4 NIV

Many people will get the idea that true Evangelism requires total abandonment of all worldly concerns preaching Jesus at every chance they get to others. While that notion is correct, it is only a partial truth. If Paul thought that Christians shouldn’t get involved in any worldly affairs, why speak of civil matters in the next two verses?

Perhaps the suffering that comes through proclaiming the Gospel isn’t necessarily only being on the front lines as an Evangelist, behind the pulpit, or street witnessing. Perhaps there is a war zone just as violent in Evangelizing as there is in attending your business or working for corporations. It may be possible to proclaim the Gospel through your work, with or without saying a word, with or without speaking ‘Christianese’ (Christian jargon). Is the word of God only proclaimed from a certain political party? Is seeking the welfare of those marginalized or promoting policies that benefit all against the call of the gospel? There is so much more I can say about this as so I hope you can see a plausible reason to exploring texts in different cultures. For certainly there are levels to this. Let’s not emasculate the potency of words through our narrow views of understanding.

My heart goes out to all those who are going through tough times right now. I want you to know that someone out here cares and is going through right alongside you. I just came out of urgent care yesterday after going through excruciating pain for the past couple of days. Didn’t think I’d get on here and receive more bad news. Remember, for all of us who are in Christ we are one body. We’ll continue this devotional soon. Love you dearly.

Has this devotional been a blessing to you? Are you suffering and in need of prayer? Want more insight into how words are juxtaposed or integrated together? Please comment below and share with others.

Serving Grate on a Plate

I never want to be the one who takes things for granted whether small or large. I learned so many things from paying attention to details that have been largely rewarding albeit not tangible to others. One of the things I want to do in the coming years is begin a devotional for my Christian family for the sake of restoration, unity, and reconciliation. I am going to begin this John Piper style with exploring texts. However, I’ll be exploring scriptures a’cross’ religions. In the same fashion, I will explore sacred and secular lyrics from different cultures. Now today’s devotional will stem from the Bible and I won’t begin to truly get deep in other doctrines until the grounds have been set for why I’m doing it. I want to avoid -if possible- the unjust claim of Universalism (although the term really doesn’t bother me).

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 2 Timothy 1:3 ESV

A Whole Peace-A

If its’ not clear why I will explore other religions in great detail from this passage alone, things will become clearer later on in subsequent devotionals. For personal discipline, I’ll build the grounds for belief around this letter. Now I don’t want to bore you with my knowledge of Hermeneutics as technical as it can get. Let’s just say that I regularly analyze data and can come up with at least 7 different ways of looking at information. As a general rule, Biblical interpretation is done by comparing scripture with scripture; whether that is within immediate context or remote passages, the Bible both compartmentalized and in its entirety is one complete thought. Without skills in critical thinking, one will not walk away from the Bible understanding why some people are Christians, why others think or act the way they do. People who have no real understanding of others have no place to give any form of judgment. Yet unsound opinions are the terrors of the day. Hello?

Statement Kombat

When looking at two different scriptures, we’ll often find tension as the Bible is full of paradoxical truths. For example:

I thank God whom I serve…2 Timothy 1:3a

Vs.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25

Vs.

If God made everything, how can there be man-made temples? If God doesn’t live in said temple, how can He be omnipresent? The Prototype 11:11

And so forth…

Lost in Translation

The second important rule when encountering data is understanding the linguistics. Unless you are fluent in the author’s language you’ll need an interpreter. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. If you’re not reading the Bible in those languages, you’re encountering an interpretation. The Bible has many translations which can be classified into two categories:

  1. Word for Word: attempts to give the most accurate word equivalent in today’s language. e.g ESV
  2. Idea for Idea: attempts to give the general idea for the sake of cultural relevancy. e.g The Message

Keep in mind when you are doing a Bible study or any other study for that matter that you may be receiving second-hand information rather than the original source. For example:

as did my ancestors… 2 Timothy 1:3b

Vs

ἀπόπ ρόγονος

Literally meaning ‘from my forefathers’. Now I’m no real stickler for grammar or linguistics as I code switch depending on whom I’m with. However, when analyzing language, syntax matters as it conveys different connotations depending on word usage.

‘As’ implies something is being done to the same or similar degree.

‘From’ implies something starting at a place of origin or a place of separation.

Both renderings held together imply mysteries that are unfortunately too controversial in Christian circles today. To keep from straying away from my original purpose in writing this, I will stop explaining those nuances here. Instead for those who may want hints to the hidden insight, I will for now point you to a scripture later on in the Chapter:

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 ESV

A Silver Ware

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be financially poor than be spiritually broke. One can redeem the other, another is useless if you want to reach true maturity. There is an awakening left for Christians who are ready to arouse from their slumber; an illumination of the soul that has the capacity to comprehend things beyond normal limitations.

With a clear conscience…1 Tim 1:3c

All too often, our attempts at morality stifle our relationship with Christ. Not that ethics doesn’t matter, rather we are often hindered by arbitrary standards of right and wrong which is based on human traditions, not developing true self-control, and inconsistent with the freedoms afforded to us through Jesus. I find it funny when people try to throw such moral codes in my face.

Additionally, there needs to be a critique of the New Age movement, namely the God Consciousness movement which tries to distinguish their doctrine from previous religions, not truly knowing all what those religions practice and teach. Can we see the inconsistencies? Yet in Christ, an overarching harmony brings it all together.

The Standard of Piety

As God’s ways are perfect, His perfection becomes ours through His Spirit as he demands it of us. God’s demands according to the Law will always condemn us, but through grace, it gives us acceptance, hope and power to overcome what was previously impossible to accomplish.

as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 1 Tim 1:3d

I’ll openly admit, I don’t pray for anyone like that. To my own shame, I don’t love anyone like that, not even myself. A sign of perfect love is constancy which is consistent with the implications of having a clear conscience. I made it a point to grow in fortitude of mind over the summer. Slowly but surely, I have been making significant progress. I hope to finally live up to the truths of the words thankFULL and grateFULL.

Because you O Lord are always praying for us, smitten and grateful for us your creation. Thank you for the peace to be united with you in certain respects. Have mercy upon our souls; forgive our debts and do not remember our iniquities. Impute the righteousness of your Son upon us. Give us the grace to overcome all that is ungodly in our lives while we minister your presence amongst ourselves and the world around us. Amen.

How beautiful is the nature of God! While there are many other things about his nature revealed in this passage that is mysterious and dubious, I hope this serves a greater revelation of the will of God concerning humanity.

What are your thoughts about the devotional? Are you thankful? In what ways can you be more appreciate of life in its totality? Please leave a comment below.

This Pet’s Catalogue

It was inevitable that in doing this I should arrive at new results, and it is perhaps understandable that in the end I have felt impelled to present these results not only in the dry form of a catalogue, but also in a more connected and personal one. – Alfred Einstein

I was caught off guard when she brought her in the house. We had not too long ago talk about our mice problems and possible solutions to keep them out – and here she is – wandering about with her soft black eyes scurrying around the place. “Her name is Hannah,” Shandra said with her playful smile. Now I’ve turned down my wife’s request for getting a puppy hundreds of times and I wasn’t so sure about how I felt about feline security as an addition to the family. My reasoning was that my history with cats weren’t the best; I got scratched in the face, splints in the web of my fingers, and even fought over banana pancakes. Furthermore, I felt slightly disrespected in Shandra getting the cat without discussing it. As it turned out, Hannah was a terrible hunter and the winter cold seemed to keep the mice at bay. Nevertheless, Julia was enthralled with her presence. And nothing could be more satisfying than watching my daughter get a sense of warmth and peace when Hannah is around. I too, developed a deep connection with her in a fitting way.

Scheduled Fruition

6:04 p.m.:  It’s fascinating to see how initial plans evolve over time.

12:01 a.m.: Because things hardly ever go the way it’s designed.

3:10 p.m.: How you prepare for success is directly correlated to how you define it.

9:15 a.m.: Are you more concerned about results, or the journey and progress made to achieve it?

14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 1 Tim 4:14(a.m.) – 1 Tim 4:15(p.m.)

Personally, I struggle with being too hard on myself for not meeting deadlines. I hate being late and having to switch gears if inconveniences arise. Another pet peeve of mine is last minute stuff; last minute favors, last minute planning, last minute hustling etc. Over the years I’ve become more understanding as abrupt changes could come as a result of unforeseen circumstances. I also know that everyone doesn’t think on the same plane as I do which is why I tend to stay out of controversy. My thoughts about Ice Cube is this: I’d rather see a celebrity make genuine attempts at bettering our community than make platitudes about justice. There’s nothing like speaking ill of a system while benefiting from what it oppresses. Whether you think he has good intentions with bad judgment, a bold leader who can use his platform for political change, or being a tool for a political party just remember there are at least 2 sides to every story. There’s no need to be flippant fighting over banned pancakes.

Delayed Syllabus

3/1/1650 BC

I used to pride myself on being patient. I would say that it was my strongest personality trait. I’m learning more and more that true patience is eternal and there is still much virtue to grow in. At what point do we think we should stop being faithful? Are there things or people we should put a timeline on? Are those things and people concerning others or ourselves? Is it practical to commit to unconditional loyalty?

4/10/1650 BC

I am reminded of Israel as Moses went up the mountain to receive the Decalogue. They were in the wilderness outside of their comfort zone; no house to stay in, no food to eat or drink, possibly in danger of undomesticated animals. I understand the mixed feelings they have for this Supreme Being; one who is so powerful that they are set free from bondage, one who plagued Pharoah with supernatural disasters and parted the Red Sea but is now waiting again for Moses to come with some law.

10/19/2020 AD

I understand because it’s not readily apparent that God’s acts are not one time events, they are constant. I can believe this because I know for certain that my heart is designed to think of time non-linearly. I mean what does it really mean to be in a moment? Didn’t that moment just pass as you are reading this? Are you now trying to anticipate the next moment? That’s how I look at the 10 Commandments. Its spiritual implications transcend the times as it foreshadowed the promise God would have for all His people through Jesus.

12Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Ex (8:12p.m.)

CCCLXXIV

Adonai,

We have been shattered to pieces; our families are broken, our country is divided, and our world is in decline. There are many who are battling resentment and depression and corruption because of the injustices that surround us. We ask that you open our hearts according to your Spirit. Make us willing to receive your teachings as we approach critical times. Separate and isolate us to make us more like you. Give us grace to see past the corruption and enter your Promised Land-not in some form of escapism, but in stirring up your tender mercies in the steadfastness of Christ. May we no longer be byproducts of dysfunction. Amend the laws that makes us progenitors of poverty. For you are the Prince of Peace and Lord of Justice. Your truth extends from generation to generation.

Amen.

Tallying Darlings

While some of us have already given birth to a new chapter in their life, the rest of us – me included – are still laboring for greater dimensions in life, love, and godliness. For me this is all about evolution being conformed into the image of Christ in all of His glory. I look forward to a new era of Christendom where the faults of previous generations will not go unchallenged; where true restoration will happen amongst His people, and a quickening of Christ’s return coming through His exaltation in and through our lives.

However, I also understand people needing more tangible expressions of justice and mercy. It’s one of the things my wife and I have been discussing for a few months now and have decided to be true business partners in cultivating this amongst ourselves and in the world. We are looking to partner in Economic Development across the country, redeeming culture along the way while journeying to manifesting perfect love. Yes, this is our little baby and just like Hannah, we’re dedicating the first fruit of our endeavors to God. We invite all those who may want to partner with us to prepare yourselves for our expedition. All we ask is that we may remain open-minded, respectful, and honest in our dealings with each other.

10 – year Projection

  1. 1Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  2. 2Are you single? Married?
  3. 3Are you going back to school? Teaching yourself? Have a mentor?
  4. 4Are you emotionally and mentally stable?
  5. 5Are you in good shape? Are you more laid back?
  6. 6Are you making impacts on community development?
  7. 7Are you becoming politically aware and speaking to your political leaders?
  8. 8Do you have a job? What is your career growth? Will you consider intrapeneurship?
  9. 9Are you owning a business? If so, what are your key products or services you’re selling?
  10. 10How will you invest your time, talents, and resources to enrich yourself and others?

Because while 10 years can go pretty fast for some, for others it can feel like 10 centuries. Isn’t that right Dave? You know how I nip things. It’s amazing how things are comin’ full circle. We’re running victory laps. Stop sleeping on us Millennials.

Bond Compari’sons’

  •  Treasury Bond: $100
  • .75% yield
  • Maturity 10 years
  • Our Bond: Priceless
  • Infinite yield
  • Maturity Timeless

Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and not moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:33-34