RHYMER OF GOD SERIES: food for the soul repackaged (#7)

The Rock Fortress

rich man on moneyWoe unto the Rich!

Christ did not come to save the rich and famous:
 esteemed, arrogant, and self-righteous.

Like a doctor would not come to see those fit,
but those who need him because they are sick.

He has compassion on the hungry and thirsty,
not on those who are full and have tons of money.

Christ came to save the poor in spirit:
the humble, whose sins they readily admit.

Woe unto the rich! for you have received your consolation.
Enjoy, laugh to the fullest now, for you shall weep and mourn.

ref: mt. 19.23; lu. 6.24-25; mt 5.3-6

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Entertainment vs Enlightenment

las vegas    vs   enlightenment

Sometimes, it is necessary to wander off in the wilderness first in order to appreciate a clear path.

I was an on and off drug addict, alcoholic, and chronic smoker for some ten years of my younger life. On the side, I was a casino gambler from time to time. I enjoyed baccarat (a card game) and the slot machines very much. Video games was one of my pastimes too, especially when I am both broke and under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The reason I was doing these was because I wanted to be diverted from years of dreary everyday routine of going to and fro from work. I thought to myself “Is this all there is to it”?

Why does a person need to entertained? One of the most common reason is casual boredom, ennui being at its highest level; or not just having enough worthwhile things to do, or just plain tired of everyday routine, called the “rut”. To be entertained is to be amused or diverted; to be shifted from a dull or lethargic existence to a more disporting, transporting, and engrossing one.  

Most common forms of entertainment:

  • Alcoholism – This is beyond just loosing up or relaxing. This is habitual drunkenness, the highest level of which is taking a shot of liquor or a bottle of beer to awaken up in the morning. 
  • Cigarette smoking – Probably to while away dull hours, or just have something to do; or to amuse oneself while thinking of the next thing to do. 
  • Drug abuse – An escape to an altered world because normal existence has lost its appeal.
  • Revelry – Wild entertainment:  partying and merrymaking; includes nightclubbing, going to loud rock concerts, etc. 
  • Games – This includes casino gambling and the like; card games, slot-machines, etc. Computer gaming has to some degree become addicting. It has ballooned into a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years because more and more need to be entertained.
  • Violent sports – Do we need to see people hurting each other to win a “sports” game?; or watch two men or women brawling and knocking each other out to unconsciousness because we need to be entertained. These are just some of the forms of entertainment available in our society. There are many more mankind has innovated and invented to keep up the varieties to choose from (at same time keep the money flowing). Extreme sports is just one of themDo you need to risk life and limb to get a rush and entertain at the same time (and be glorified too, huh)?

I can understand why most people in the world do not want the truth. No, they don’t want it – especially the truths of God. The are busy.They would rather be entertained: watch sci-fi movies, read some magical fiction novels, listen to the latest Hollywood celebrity news, rumors and gossips, or go to nightclubs, etc.  In today’s world, entertainment has taken over enlightenment; and in the absence of the latter, more and more means of distractions or diversions are required to keep the insatiable minds occupied.

What is driving someone to seek more and different means of diversions? Why is he or she not at peace? What is he or she looking for? Could emptiness and darkness be the deeper, subtle cause why a person resort to entertainments? Could the absence of alternative knowledge be the cause also? Or both?

People do things because those are the only things they know to do. There is some kind of blindness in our society. I can relate to those who are experiencing these things because they happened to me.  

Let us go to the Bible, our source of enlightenment, and look at the insight and advice of Solomon, an ancient wise king:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding”. (Pr. 4.7 KJV)

Solomon was speaking in this instance of how his father, while he was yet a young boy, advised him concerning a matter: that wisdom and understanding is the principal, or foremost thing in this world. 

Now, how do you get wisdom and understanding? Here is his tip:

“The fear of the LORD, is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction”. (Pr. 1.7)

The LORD God is the source of all understanding there is in this world – and to fear Him is just the beginning of it. There is no other God but the God of the Bible. Everyone has to get back to Him, if you want to be enlightened. No matter what we do here, we cannot separate enlightenment from God, our Creator. He who made us knows what it is all about. He who said “Let there be light…”(Gen. 1.3) knows what enlightenment means. It practically indicates a “clearing up” – that is, an appearance of light amidst darkness.  

Solomon’s father, King David, clearly expressed it:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path“. (Ps. 119.105)
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”. (Ps. 119.130)

The Bible, the word of God collectively, is a light. He then sent the personified Light, His Son:

“…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life“. (Jn. 8.12) 

Quit being entertained by this world. Get out of the wilderness:

“…for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth“. (Jn. 12.35)

And see the big difference:

  • An enlightened person would rather pick a hobby or sport than get drunk or drugged.
  • An enlightened person would rather save or use money wisely than squander it away in a gambling facility.
  • An enlightened person would rather teach or share goodness and righteousness than spread the current showbiz rumors and gossips.
  • An enlightened person would rather do a regular housecleaning or some home improvement work than spend his free time in bars or computer game shops.
  • An enlightened person would rather watch a video on upgrading one’s skills or learning a new business than watch a showdown between two mixed martial artists.
  • And the list goes on.

An enlightened person chooses a form of entertainment that is healthy, useful, and creative, because he already knows his priorities and what really matter.

Would you rather be entertained by this world, or be enlightened? The choice is yours. (This writer has obviously chosen the latter – otherwise, this article would not have been possible). 

Boundless Horizon: The Eternal Mindset

The Rock Fortress

horizon 3

Are your thoughts confined within the limits of this world’s horizon? You have the option to free your mind: by discarding the temporal mindset most of humanity have – and think eternal.

A person, while yet living, must come to a realization that he or she is a little “eternal mind” being, a piece from the original, great Eternal Mind Being (God). This will greatly benefit him or her in day-to-day living by means of understanding and peace.

God, the Creator of the universe, our world and everything in it, made only one creation that is in the likeness of His own image: mankind (Gen 1.27). Only mankind closely resembles God. Naturally, we are not referring to physical form or image here, for God is an infinite Spirit and has no material form. We are talking of intangible likeness. In essence, man is both…

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Resilient Energy

sun-2

Have time and events in your life worn you down? Do you want to bounce back and be alive again?

Look at the sun: its hot, bright, burning  energy emit sunshine and warmth to the whole world. Its power is unceasing and unblinking; it is on all the time for as long as humanity can remember. Just when it is setting down on some countries’ horizons, it is simultaneously on the path to rising up on others’.

The sun is a great physical manifestation of the Creator’s constancy and faithfulness. The sun is always there, which means God is always there. He set up the sun, along with the moon and stars, for us; thereby, establishing the solar, lunar, and stellar systems of the universe (Gen. 1.16).

The sun is also a great example of resiliency: in the sense that it sets down at the end of the day, leaves the scene for darkness to come; but thereafter, rises up and shines again after dawn. It faithfully shows up again after every rainfall or snowstorm,too. It is a “springing back” up after going down cycle, which goes on and on. 

Resilience:

One of the word’s meaning (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus) is: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change and misfortune. 

This is a trait, especially children of God have  that others don’t. Adversities, difficulties, or just plain unexpected, unseen circumstances or events come and go; but after each time, a child of God “bounces back”, and consequently, stronger or better than his or her former state every time. This writer terms it as “resilient energy”: power that comes back on after lying low or shutting down.

Analogy with a power plant:

power-plant

There are types of power plants: coal-fired, hydro-electric, nuclear, etc. These plants run for good, as long as the need for their services. Their purpose, as their names imply, is to provide electrical power or energy to the population. They feed on raw materials depending on what types they are. For example, coal-fired type feeds on coal; hydro-electric on falling water; and nuclear on uranium. Periodically, they undergo maintenance shutdowns, partially or wholly, to keep its optimum working capacity.  Afterwards, they go back on running again.

Similarly, at times, we wear down due to work, stress, unpleasant experiences, etc. We do not stay down though. We turn back on again because of the inherent resilient energy in us. Because we are in the flesh, we take breaks to recover or recuperate. But as always, the recurring strength is there. 

Let us look at the declarations of a prophet named Isaiah in the Bible:

“Has thou not known? has thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding”. (Is. 40.28 KJV)

This is the reason why the sun does not run out: because its Creator and maintainer “fainteth not, neither is weary”. If  our Creator tires out, the sun simultaneously fades out. 

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strengh”. (Is. 40.29)

The prophet Isaiah was referring to the humble people who seek and rely on God, who do not have their own strength. 

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary; and the young men shall utterly fall” (Is. 40.30)

The people implied here are those who rely on their strength. In the long run, human power will not last.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint“. (Is. 40.31)

We are talking about continual energizing and re-energizing here by the same Source who maintains the sun! What more could one ask for?

Let us be like the sun that rises up every morning and after every storm; and like a power plant, whose raw material feed is the Spirit, that keeps churning out power and energy, regardless of time. 

So, If any one out there is tired and worn out, and feels the passage of time is dragging him or her down –  pray and seek the Source of endless energy that you may bounce back again forevermore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Lose Patience is To Lose the Battle

 

duel

To lose patience is to lose the battle“, thus said Mahatma Gandhi, the chief leader of the Indian independence movement during the time of British-ruled India.

Well, you may not be battling any empire or anyone, but you may be battling your own impatience and growing restlessness inside. Impatience can make you irritable and your blood pressure surge, defeating your composure. Impatience can even make you lose your temper and go wild. It can also make you sulk in a corner and throw in the towel.  

Have you failed in your endeavors before and are now losing it – I mean, your patience? Or are you just starting out fresh and want fast results? Or are you in the middle of some difficult work and feel like it is not going anywhere?  Relax, my friend, for that is not the way it works in this existence of ours. 

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience“, Ralph Waldo Emerson concluded. Emerson was a prominent American essayist and poet who lived in the 1800’s. He was a nature  observer and learned many things from it. He must have mused on its “pace”- like how the sun rises up in the morning, then comes noontime, afternoon, dusk, night, midnight, dawn, then morning again; or how there are different seasons in a year: like there must be summer, then fall, winter, and spring; or how animals, like humans, start out as babies before becoming full-grown. He must have noted how there must be a pace or a succession of measured movements or stages at certain periods of time, on living things or not. 

There is no  royal road to anything, one thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures“, explained Josiah Gilbert Holland, an American novelist and poet who also lived in the 1800’s. 

Things do not come instantly or in a matter of days. Let us go to the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”. (Ec. 3.1 KJV)
” . . . a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Ec. 3.2)

If you want to reap your own apples, you need to start at the beginning, which is planting first the seeds. Next, you have to water daily the seeds and remove weeds that grow around them. You may need to apply ground fertilizer, if necessary. In short, you have to cultivate them. It takes time before it produce a stem, then blossom. It will some more time before it bears its first fruits, then more time before they ripen.  

If your time-earned apple tress get withered or choked by the thick growth of weeds due to your negligence, what are you going to do? You have to do something about it, right? You have to clean their area and start watering them again; or if it’s too late, plant another set of seeds. That’s how patience works. If a storm destroyed them, you just have to do all over again. The next time around should be better because you learned a thing or two from the past, and you would be able think of other ways so that those regrettable things don’t happen again. Whining and ruing is okay, just don’t let it go beyond a couple of days, for it is not going to help at all.

A failure could be a way for redirection:

“. . . a time to break down, and a time to build up“. (Ec. 3.3

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time“, declared Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Let us look at the Bible again:

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing”. (Ja. 1.4)

Patience can’t be obtained overnight. It must be exercised or practiced like you  would build up muscles in a workout gym, but can eventually be perfected

Diligence or persistence is a product of patience. A person persists or perseveres because he has patience, otherwise he or she would have quit already.  

Let us listen to what Jacob Riis, a Danish journalist (1849-1914), had to say concerning patience:

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.
Yet, at a hundredth and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before”. 

 

stone-cutter (2)

See? Patience connotes not only effort, but also time. The following is a related input from Albert Einstein:

“I think and think for months and years, ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time, I am right”.

Whatever have happened in the past, or is happening now, or will happen next, don’t stop or quit. Just take a break and refocus. You will get there to whatever you are trying to achieve. If you are not trying to achieve anything, at least just go on with life. After all, 

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof . . .” (Ec. 7.8)

Let patience prevail and perfect its form, and beat that enemy within. 

Finally, a word from Benjamin Franklin, an American inventor, statesman, and one of the founding fathers of the United States:

He that can have patience can have whatever he will“.


THE PHILOSOPHY OF CHRIST

Philosophy is defined in Webster’s Dictionary, among others, as “a particular system of principles for the conduct of life”.

and, “the sum of the ideas and convictions of an individual or group“.

Well, here is the main idea and conviction of Christ:

philosophy of Christ

If we can just follow this pure and simple philosophy, then we wouldn’t have a need for the rigors of a religion!

*CHRISTIANITY, IN ESSENCE, IS NOT A RELIGION, BUT A PHILOSOPHY.