Even though artists of all kinds claim to put their hearts and souls into their works, it will only confuse you, for example, if you try to discern a painter by his paintings. His masterpiece may be the master because of its iridescence; it may display a hundred different perspectives through his single face.
When we begin to reflect Christ, the Bible, when more understood as being centered around Christ, seems to be potentially every man's biography regarding God's promised experiences and truth for him - his individual, unique path of humbling oneself before the Lord and then being exalted by the Lord back into his true and righteous personhood. Many followers may speak of it merely to try to change other people (before changing themselves), but the prophets speak of it as a living word which miraculously tells their very own experiences.
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We tend to think that refusing to exalt Christ is staying true to our self-will and personal freedom when really we are condemning ourselves. Sure, we can pretend to stay true to ourselves, but if you want to talk about reality, all of that is completely trivial if this life is an island and He's the only pilot with a plane and a flight plan.
If life is music, I sometimes feel as though I was born on the off-beat of the song, and I love it. As Christian numbers reportedly decrease in America, my love for Christ feels as though it increases. I must be honest about such strange feelings: I now want to be thought unfaithful about as much as a bougie aristocrat wants to be thought a hobo.
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Love is without a doubt the laziest theory for the meaning of life, but when it actually comes a time to do it we find just enough energy to over-complicate life again. Any devil can love, whom he himself sees as, a good person who has treated him well, but to love also the polar opposite is what separates love from fickle emotions.
To me it seems that too many young women of this time share the same creed. 'Live, laugh, love, be nothing but happy, experience everything, et cetera et cetera.' How monotonous, how useless this becomes. What about the honors of Joan of Arc, Beauvoir, Stowe, Xena, Princess Leia, or women that would truly fight for something other than just their own emotions?
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Deceit for personal gain is one of history's most recurring crimes. Man's first step towards change would be thinking, counter-arguing, re-thinking, twisting, straightening, perfecting, then believing every original idea he intends to make public before making it public. There is always an angle from which an absolute truth may appear askew just as there is always a personal emotion, or a personal agenda, which alienates the ultimate good of mankind.
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Part of God's work in his people is synchronizing the heart and the mind thus providing freedom from the deceit of emotion-based beliefs. Emotions are changing while truth is absolute. They don't believe simply because it sounds good, or deep, beautiful, happy, fun, cool, simple, or intelligent to them; but because it's true.
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Joy, like love, is an impenetrable, God-given state of being. The distinctions between joy and happiness and love and affection are important ones under the notion that happiness is an 'iffy' emotion, a highly dependent feeling both aroused and destroyed by external conditions apart from God. And the distinction between love and affection is parallel to such.
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Oftentimes in a society when people of a certain type, whether individual or a group, are subconsciously portrayed by the media as abnormal, they also slowly, subconsciously become enemies of that society due to feelings of cultural guilt. Ultimately by this the inflated media is an enemy of its very own cause.
In the modern Christian attempt to take a stand as Christ did, and maybe for others, win the approval of the world, the Christian will often think that it consists of targeting and demoralizing fellow Christians and only fellow Christians. It is one thing to stand against religious hypocrisy when one sees it, but it is another to go on snorting at anything or anyone who might seem 'too Christian' to us. The irony is that by doing this we are further advocating hypocrisy and 'half-hearted Christians'.
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I often ask myself, 'Who would Jesus vote for?' Then I start to think that he wouldn't vote at all; however, it would not be out of apathy or disinterest, but out of perfection and light. As a miracle worker, I think he would, by the power of God's teachings, the perseverance and the truth, influence in a modern sense whoever is put into office how to best serve his fellow men. One, like his skeptics, may find that impractical. But there is a message in that no man in power can slow the momentum of the will of God, and the miracles of his teachings will be forever victorious.
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History does seem to repeat itself hence it's mindboggling to still hear the 'avoid all negative people' speeches from, of all people, supposedly important spiritual teachers. Ironically, their congregations would probably be the ones hiding their faces from the accuracies of truth speakers like Christ. Now, Christ was the complete opposite of negative, however the danger is that truth is often misunderstood as negativity by those who are constantly taught to only seek flattery.
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As followers of Christ, we are to be careful not to remain victims of the many cultural presuppositions of who he is, and what he teaches, insofar as taking for granted our own caricatures of him. Let it boil in both mind and heart the question, 'If Jesus were to appear today, how many of us would actually recognize him and his teachings (or would it simply be a recount of his first visit)?
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The aim is to love God because the pure heart loves loving God and because the true mind knows He deserves it. Unlike the accusations and beliefs of the critics and skeptics, it is neither an obligation of duty; nor a fear of damnation; nor a wish for power; nor a desire to appear more righteous than others; nor because God needs it; but because through all love, truth, reason, faith, honesty, and joy in and beyond oneself and the universe, He is worthy.
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There is a greater Christian faith than one which settles for the temporal happiness, and that is the augmentation of faith. The more faithful you become, the harder the obstacles get; but the harder the obstacles get, the tougher your spine grows; and the tougher your spine grows, the less dependent you are on man's approval. I came to know this about Christianity when valuing faith before comfort.
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God is not a God of confusion, although at times one's judgment, for a period, may become clouded in the mi(d)st of one's growth process. I stopped fooling myself into thinking that Christ is always for the cool kids and never for those upright and uptight religious people everybody hates.
What I admire about the modern atheist is not at all his logic, but rather his gift of imagination. There will always be the cartoon versions of Christianity further perpetuated by the extremist atheists who do not possess the humility to ask real scholars and theologians its difficult questions. There is little doubt that the atheist has the bigger imagination: the first reason is due to his persistent caricatures of what constitutes a Christian; the second because of his belief that most of his questions are actually rhetorical. From this I can infer that, instead of laughing at one another (the Christian at modern atheist immaturity and the modern atheist at Christian stupidity), we would have a better chance at productivity laughing with one another as we all dumb down what we don't understand.
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If life is music, I sometimes feel as though I was born on the off-beat of the song, and I love it. As Christian numbers reportedly decrease in America, my love for Christ feels as though it increases. Yes, somewhat strange indeed, but in all honesty: I now want to be thought unfaithful about as much as a bougie aristocrat wants to be thought a hobo.
I will admit that we as young rebels always wanted fundamentalists to understand our take on their religion, but rarely, if ever, the other way around. The fundamentalists are the real artists. If you saw only a masterpiece of an original painting and someone threw a splash of red across it saying that their version is better, you would be offended too.
There is a difference between criticizing people and criticizing a people's uninformed ideals. That is, unless one defines himself or others by their ideals, then he is offended, and usually offended secretly. Because oddly enough, this person is the same person quickest to resort to dismissive name-calling, such as 'bigot' or 'zealot'. And oddly enough, he is always the one, the 'open-minded' one, who adamantly protests for, not only himself, but others not to listen to any type of scholarly theological truth inherently for the sake of his own personal, moral beliefs.
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The Christian should never have to put others down in order to feel good about himself. Instead, he can simply check out the media's insistent portrayal of Christianity and feel grateful that he isn't as deceived as the masses who really swallow the garbage. Ignorance is ultimately how people put themselves down, and the mere Christian who knows what entails the mere Christian is ultimately free from such.
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Christianity, like genius, is one of the hardest concepts to forgive. We hear what we want to hear and accept what we want to accept, for the most part, simply because there is nothing more offensive than feeling like you have to re-evaluate your own train of thought and purpose in life. You have to die to an extent in your hunger for faith, for wisdom, and quite frankly, most people aren't ready to die.
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Senses of humor define people, as factions, deeper rooted than religious or political opinions. When carrying out everyday tasks, opinions are rather easy to set aside, but those whom a person shares a sense of humor with are his closest friends. They are always there to make the biggest influence.
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To be honest, one can only feel glad that so many modern iconoclasts consider Christianity to be full of exceptionally hypocritical, religious zealots - it's biblically accurate and a prophecy fulfilled. The old smoke screen is one of Satan's favorite tricks. He conceals the authentic. He has a persistent strategy of targeting those who remind him of Christianity because he fears those who remind him of Christ.
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The typical atheist rebels against God as a teenager rebels against his parents. When his own desires or standards are not fulfilled in the way that he sees fit, he, in revolt, storms out of the house in denial of the Word of God and in scrutiny of a great deal of those who stand by the Word of God. The epithet 'Heavenly Father' is a grand reflection, a relation to that of human nature.
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The study of Scripture I find to be quite like mastering an instrument. No one is so good that they cannot get any better; no one knows so much that they can know no more. A professional can spot an amateur or a lack of practice or experience a mile away. His technicality, his spiritual ear is razor-sharp. He is familiar with the common mistakes, the counter-arguments; and insofar as this, he can clearly distinguish the difference between honest critics of the Faith and mere fools who criticize that which they know nothing.
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When you're socially awkward, you're isolated more than usual, and when you're isolated more than usual, your creativity is less compromised by what has already been said and done. All your hope in life starts to depend on your craft, so you try to perfect it. One reason I stay isolated more than the average person is to keep my creativity as fierce as possible. Being the odd one out may have its temporary disadvantages, but more importantly, it has its permanent advantages.
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It's neither judgment nor judgment according to the status quo that we have a problem with, but rather judgment according to God's Word that we have a problem with. We sharply dress ourselves, go out into the world, shape ourselves, our personalities according to the world's standards and preferences, allow ourselves to be made dull by the world and its desires in order to appear successful and happy and attractive in the eyes of the world. We love the world's judgment but we hate God's judgment. Absurdly enough, the one that really matters, the one out of the purest of loves rather than a mere contract in hopes of mutual gain, is the one which we so adamantly try to shut ourselves off from.
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