Friday, August 10, 2012

The Called

  Hey guys! I just had a moment of inspiration and threw this together. It's totally unedited as of yet, so I may polish it up, but I wanted to write SOMETHING, since it's been like, forever since I have. xD Anyway, tell me what you think!

                                                                       The Called

Out of the darkness, slowly they’re rising,
the spawn of Hell are called to more.
The wretched worms, in shadows, hiding,
they cannot fight it, they’re calling is sure.

These monstrous men, like animals, biting,
the very Hand that sustains; their black existence,
they scream and hate, lust not subsiding,
until pierced by blinding light, repentance.

Men left in death, for Hell fast riding,
eager to burn in miserable despair;
now suddenly see a new dawn rising,
and now commanded, “I saved you, My heir.”

The Hater’s laugh, now quickly dying,
turns to roar of wrath and despair.
For now he sees, lo, his prey is flying;
casting off cruel nets, without a care.

As light shines in, so painful, blinding,
it cuts away cruel Hater’s plan.
And further still, it’s whitened rays shining,
cuts deep the heart of wretched man.

He suddenly wakes, his heart, now changing,
this worm of heinous sins, being unmade.
And now, behold, a new force is rising!
Dead shadows, back from darkened grave.

My brothers, you see, the Knights are climbing.
Men called back from dead, blackened pits,
to serve and fight a more noble cause,
the murderers, now for justice, fighting.

Unheard. Unseen. Nets aside, they’re casting;
Monsters called back from the brink of death.
Handed swords, with “TRUTH” in blade, engraving,
and commanded, “Now, GO, filled with Life’s true breath.”

Unknown they live, and fight, still rising.
They battle death, and darkness, and he,
who did keep them so long, in suffering,
they also find like wretches, to set free.

God’s Knights you see, His Truth proclaiming,
Men of valor and grace, battling lies;
behold, His Word, God is now fulfilling,
“I will use the shamed, to shame the wise.”

Their greatest quality, nobility, shining,
comes not from strength or glorious fight;
but instead, His beauty, is most blinding,
when shining knight trembles, remembering his plight.

Not strong, not great, but called. Confounding!
These beasts turned legends, in heart and mind,
We think, “Great men, the world they’re lighting!”
When in truth, they are still worms, still blind.

No greater irony: See Darkness battles Light,
than inside of the heart of God’s own Knight.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finally...some thoughts from the CA Gathering....

Okay guys...I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have just now gotten around to actually writing it up and posting it. Tell me what you all think.
Basically, since going to the student conference in CA with all the CP! It's been quite crazy to see all God has been doing and working in my life and the lives of those around me. But attending that conference, and hearing what Mr. Cover, the speaker, had to say about life and how to live it...was worth every bit. That man really made me think about some important things, and how I intend to live my life.
Before I go on about it though, I wrote this. It was largely inspired by his wisdom, and my decisions and conclusions from his teachings...and very wise they were. It was good for me to write it out anyhow, since I intend to live this way.
At any rate...please, feel free to tell me your thoughts on it. It's going to be heavily edited, get the main idea. Take a look:

Life Resolution

Realizing that all things that have no eternal value are worthless and unimportant, and also realizing that “only what is done for Christ will last,” I feel it is necessary, and required, in fact, to put forth in no uncertain terms the purpose of my life, and how I intend to guide my every action, decision, and hope based on these few words.
The common belief in our world today is that your life is your own, to make whatever you please out of it. This is a lie. Especially as a saved believer in Jesus Christ who is Lord, my life belongs to Him, and is His property. Therefore, as Paul, who lived a slave to Christ, to do Christ's bidding, I too must live in that same manner, living and doing and being only what He would have me do, and live, and speak. Putting aside even that, life is merely wasted, except for what is done for an eternal, godly impact on the souls around us.
Based on this, I realize these truths:
1) My life must be dedicated as fully to serving the Lord, my family, and the world around me, respectively, as much as humanly possible.
2) The only things that will matter in the end being the work done in God's Kingdom, this should be my chief striving and end.

Based on these principles for living life, I will strive to live for Christ, my family, the Church, and human world around me. This will mean removing or minimizing things with no real eternal or important value, focusing primarily on things of spiritual, relational, and biblical importance, and above all, determining the difference between the two, the more important and less so. Everything that is not dedicated to the ultimate end of serving Christ must go, and everything else should revolve around it. It will also mean constant and continual evaluation and careful discernment.

I intend to accomplish these goals by doing these things for the rest of my life, in respective order of importance:

1) To live for and serve Christ, God Almighty, and His Kingdom
By preaching and teaching His Word, His truth, and the Gospel to all who will listen.
By living out faith in my life, being an example, and striving for Christ-likeness.
By serving, supporting, exhorting, and encouraging my fellow believers in Christ.
By personally dedicating myself to learning His Word and learning about Him.

I will dedicate my entire life, to these tasks.

2) In keeping with Scripture and service to God, to live for, serve, and edify my family.
By living in my current state as a brother and son who exemplifies Christ to my family
By serving my parents, sibling(s), and offering support, godly exhortation, and aid.
By eventually having my own family (not realistically believing that I have the gift of singleness), and growing, raising, and serving my future family in all godliness and love.
By loving my future wife, with my entire being, and protecting, providing for, teaching, supporting, encouraging, and serving her, putting her life and well being before my own, and edifying her in Christ, teaching her the Scriptures, being an example of godliness, etc.
By loving my future children, and raising men and women of God, by lovingly protecting them from evil and temptation, by serving their needs and wants, their lives being more important than mine, teaching them in godliness, Scripture, and conduct, supporting and encouraging them, exhorting and disciplining them, and dedicating them to the Lord and His work, continuing the cycle ordained since Adam and Eve for each generation.
By dedicating my life to overseeing their spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being, through teaching, discipline, example, support, exhortation, encouragement, love, and prayer.
By making my family the single most earthly priority I have, in my time, effort, strength, wisdom, and ability.

I will dedicate my life to striving to keep these above principles.

3) In keeping with Scripture, and serving Christ, I will serve, edify, and support the Body of Christ, the Church.
By teaching to, preaching to, and exhorting the Body of Christ by proclaiming His Word.
By offering encouragement, support, knowledge of His Word, exhortation, accountability, and attention to my brothers and sisters in Christ, for their edification.
By esteeming the their lives as more important than my own, and dedicating time, strength, and effort in serving them.
By taking care of my brothers and sisters in need in spiritual, emotional (as much as wise and possible), and physical needs when those needs need fulfilling.
By being an example of Christ-likeness to the Church to the best of my ability
By placing myself in the service of my church, and the whole Church, furthering His Kingdom, meeting the needs of those within, and giving the glory to Christ.

4) By serving humanity and the world around me by the betterment of lives, the improving of the culture and society, individual welfare, and primarily, by being a light to the word of Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel.
By the proclaiming of the Gospel, Christ, and God Almighty to the world.
By serving others as Christ did, in spiritual, physical, and emotional needs when edifying and godly.
By seeking to improve the world around me politically, socially, and culturally, in physical welfare, spiritual salvation, and leading by example.
By using my abilities to use as many venues as possible to promote biblical values, godly principles, and good, pure, just things to the eyes and ears of those I can reach.

I will spend the rest of my life striving to abide by this standard, live by these principles, and otherwise glorify God, further His Kingdom, and serve my one and only Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I will put all of my skills, strength, mind, heart and abilities to this service, to their fullest ability, stretched to the limit, until my work on this earth and in this life, be accomplished. Solo deo Gloria.

~Alexander Perry Reese
Phil. 4:13


Monday, February 13, 2012

My Homeland

I sit currently here in the house of my most excellent friend, Sam Cover, writing this post. The house is filled with young guys from all over the nation, other CollegePlus! Students who are here to attend the California Gathering in a few days. We’re staying here for another day or two before driving down to the Sacramento area, where we will attend the conference proper.
Right now I’m in a small town named Ellensburg, Wastington, just about as far away from my home as I can get! It is beautiful, in a very haunting manner…cold, Yukon-ish looking mountains, nothing but black and white with a few clumps of trees here and there.
It’s been a lovely trip so far. I’ve spent a lot of time in fellowship with some of the most godly young men I know alive, and it’s been a new experience to see the mountains of the far west. I have yet to see the Pacific Ocean, though…perhaps I will before the week is out! We shall see.
While I spent the past year traveling and seeing more places than I believe I have otherwise in my entire life, I’ve been able to see a good deal more of the country I live in. From Minneapolis to Tampa, Philadelphia to Seattle, I believe I’ve seen a good deal more of the kind of people our world is made of, though let me be first to admit I’ve seen nothing yet. But even the tiny slice that I know a little more of now teaches me.
I honestly did not think very much about my home, not too long ago. This isn’t to say I disliked it, by no means, nor did I not care for it. I simply took it much more for granted than I do now. Having never really been very far out of my own land, I didn’t realize the distinct qualities of the South, and it’s people and culture. I knew other places were different, but I didn’t realize the high value of my own beautiful home.
I’ve seen a fair amount of other beautiful places now, but I’m coming more and more to realize now about my own self: I’m a southern gentlemen. Distinctly. My accent may not testify to it, but it is my home. I love it’s people. It’s culture, and land. The balmy, sunny, fairly arid world of gentle hills and massive forests, from the coast to the mountains, it more beautiful to me than any city outline.
I love the people, all friendly and agreeable, and the general lazy, slow moving atmosphere for everyone’s attitude. Most people are not in a hurry here. After seeing the chaotic streets of Chicago and Philadelphia, and the frantic, almost idiotic pace of Californians, it seems a much quieter, simpler way of living. The culture of easy going farmers, accented gentlemen, living in quiet, stately towns and villages is something I’ve grown to appreciate as well.
Now…I suppose I’m still not much of a Johnny Rebel, or a Confederate, by any means. Still again I imagine I’m not a patriot, I definitely have some convictions against a few aspects of the Southern Cause (though the North was certainly no better). Would I have fought for the South? I don’t know, probably not. But right or wrong, I do love this place. And I’m happy to have it as a home.
I’m often enough out of place here, this culture not being known it’s deep thinking scholars or people like me who fanatically try to live out crazy dreams. Generally the atmosphere here is to continue life as it always has been, and it’s certainly not a bad life. But I love these people, and this place, and I am certainly one of them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thoughts On Debate

Recently, and especially in light of the past few months of various conversations I've had, an interesting realization struck me that I felt I should write out in full. And frankly, once I got a better understanding of what is taking shape in many a circle of knowledge.
Today we have lost the art of discussion, differences, and debates. Yes, hear me out on this one.
A major theme among people today, and especially within the church, is the idea of the necessity of unity. And also the need to avoid disagreements and differences at any cost. So often you hear something along these lines, “I don't do debates/arguments because 1) It gets nowhere, or 2) It just creates discord among people.”
Putting aside the massive move towards post-modernism that has taken shape in our world, with everyone almost literally running away from any kind of open and bold stance and differing opinions. No one seems as if they can hold a firm, pointed view on anything without compromising it for the sake of someone's feelings, or simply avoiding stating thoughts altogether on some subjects for fear of causing divisions.
We have become afraid of disagreements. What is wrong with this? Let me be the first to day that personal anger or slander against another person is wrong, without a doubt, and any discussion or debate that deteriorates into a personal slashing festival is absolutely ungodly to the highest degree. Above all, we must preserve unity and avoid harming any brother or sister in Christ.
But since when has having a firm belief in something, stating it, or debating it hindered that? Since when has having a discussion about any contentious topic become a source of discord and division? Since we became stupid, essentially.
If you look at history, and particularly within the church, we were a people that thrived on differing opinions, discussions with different viewpoints, and even debate at times. Offering different viewpoints, opposing ideas, or simply discussing differences or any topic has become somewhat taboo in our world these days. Back then, it was an essential part of education!
And rightly so! While we must avoid personal anger and slander, we lose so much for avoiding disagreements and conflicting opinions! For one, think of all the information you lose. So much of your education is lost. The academic necessity of being exposed to different viewpoints is something I shouldn't have to tell you! No education is good until it has been exposed to differing knowledge, tried and tested. Being made aware of other ideas besides your own, of opposing arguments, tells you about other people, their lives, and beliefs.
Secondly, healthy debate and discussion teaches you to defend and carefully examine your own beliefs. Anyone who has been challenged on their viewpoint knows this. Only when your arguments are attacked by an opposing idea do you really have to dig to come up with a defense, or better, the truth. Debate teaches you not only other ideas and exposes you to other worldviews, but also teaches you to defend your own, and well. You why you believe what you believe!
And finally…so much knowledge is lost! Without academic debate, educational study and discussion, and ideas with counter-ideas being created and studied, we lose the art of speech and debate! And such an art it is, a science and an art! The satisfaction of a well placed argument, carefully worded speech or beautifully spoken idea is something I don't need to convey to you. Besides it's beauty, the importance of academic debate to sharpen and educate yourself can't be overestimated!
Now of course, I often see people that honestly cannot debate. These days, let me be blunt: We are such a pathetically weak people. We cannot have a disagreement or difference of opinion without either hotly defending it, taking it personally, or compromising to agree. People simply can't seem to disagree without getting feelings involved. Becoming too angry and hurtful, getting frustrated at constant disagreement, or simply avoiding conflict. Is this healthy? No, not at all. But I think this is more due to immature, uncontrolled people than to the practice itself, don't you think? A honest debate, speech, or study does not need or mean a personal hurt or hit, or some pride issue of ours. A perfectly logical, scientific, even artistic discussion can be had without letting personal feelings and agendas get in the way.
So why do we fear this healthy activity? I believe in general (myself included,) we need to grow up, and get real.

Phil. 4:13

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

America, Rights, and Entitlement.

With elections drawing close, and as we live through this period of fast moving, unusual political and social movements, it is interesting to see the human race, and particularly the American people, taking pains to point out their depravity. In the past few years, most especially, the insanity of things has reached a stage that makes our nation and our people not only the laziest people on earth, but the most entertaining. I can only imagine the other nations of the world looking on and laughing.
Yes, be warned: This is a rant.

As the elections come near, everyone starts to once again pay attention to the thing that makes us, as Americans, different and unique, and our greatest national tradition. Every four years, people from one state to the next buzz about various political figures, the media, poll figures, and every kind of social and ethical issue in our world today. We also sit back and watch contenders for the various offices debate over them, and make our judgments accordingly. You know what I mean. We're Americans. This is what we do.

Though recently, in the past couple of years, I recently realized a pattern in all of these movements and political/social events that all seem to push for the same thing.
We all know of the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. In short, the movement was a group of broke college students, bums, and many outright freaks protesting that they were being deprived of goods and wealth because of the corruption of corporations and the government. In other words, they felt these evil, powerful organizations were oppressing themselves and the nation by hoarding wealth for themselves. And more importantly, demanded that they share.

Now, I heard every opinion and side to the issue I think existed, from the most radical supporters to the most disgusted reporters. And it seemed the nation had mixed feelings about it. Some supported it, some shrugged and went on, and some groaned and told them all to get jobs. But mostly, I saw many people condemn the movement, for varying reasons. The people were greedy, spoiled, or perhaps just ungrateful.

Such a movement is simply unbiblical. It demonstrates nothing more than ingratitude, greed, and a poor idea of “rights” they are delusional in believing they have. I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but you don't deserve anything but death and Hell. Furthermore, I have my doubts about if these protesters were in the other side's shoes, if they were the rich, powerful CEOs and government officials…would they not do the exact same thing, and hoard the wealth? They've already demonstrated greed well enough.


This post is not just a rant on the ingratitude of these people. Generally, this movement is considered liberal, socialist, and far left on the political scale of conservative estimate. Right? The liberal student crowd, of course.

But I recall something else. Let's look back perhaps two or three years. Anyone remember the Tea Party movement? Somewhere around the last election period, all over the nation the Tea Party movement developed, mostly of angry conservatives, irritated families and also some outright freaks. The movement's bottom line was this: The government must be changed and people's rights must be reinstated, rights such as rights to bear arms, rights to rule the government by the people, and definitely, to protest being taxed so much. Less taxes, more rights, and less government was the core belief of the Tea Party people.

Sound familiar? Exactly.

Brothers and sisters, this reeks of the exact same core mindset that disgusted people with the Occupy movement. Entitlement. Ingratitude. And definitely a major misunderstanding of people's “rights.” In all frankness, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Tea Party movement, and many other movements in the past recent years all demonstrate this same human, depraved quality of feeling as though we “deserve” something, either from the government, other people, or businesses. Whoever it may be. We're being mistreated, and deserve better. And I notice it usually has a lot to do with money and their lack of it, both for Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street people.

And these, the Tea Party personages, were considered the far right, conservative, radically republican/libertarian people. Interesting how both left and right, politics and society, really center on the same mindsets. We're Americans.

These two come principally to mind, but I can think of other movements too in recent years. The feminist movement. The socialist movement. Various voices in Congress, or every other commercial on television. All of these send the same message: You deserve better. You have rights. You should be free and allowed to do thus and so, whatever it may be.

Excuse me, but a few Scriptures come to mind.

“Do all things without complaining or arguing.” - Philippians 2:14

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” -Romans 13:7

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and unholy.” -2nd Timothy 3:1-2 (emphasis added)

I thought that the entire understanding of the Gospel, and of Jesus Christ Himself, was that we deserved nothing? Nothing but Hell and punishment! We are commanded to avoid ingratitude, to respect and love fellow men, and especially those in authority and in government. What part of 'undeserved life and grace' did we decide to disregard?

While I see this as a human problem, throughout the world, it has especially taken root here in America, where we are so concerned with rights and money. Since when did human beings have “rights?” Since when did human beings “deserve” anything? Since when were we entitled to any kind of standard of living? We have so much forgotten that we live by undeserved grace. We do not deserve anything, nor have any rights or claim on any material possessions! Especially material possessions!

The people of this nation, and the world, would do better to stop living and fighting for their rights, and demand what they believe is their just due. Because if we were given our justice, we would all be in Hell tonight. I thank God that we do not, or should not, live by rights. We live by undeserved grace. And that alone.
Therefore, liberal or conservative, right or left, let us stop fighting for our 'rights,' and live by grace. We are not entitled to anything. If the very air we breathe and food we eat is a undeserved gift from God Almighty, then let us rely on His faithfulness and mercy upon us, instead of fighting over 'rights' we do not deserve in the first place.
If the early churches of the New Testament could submit to a hateful, persecuting government that burned Christians alive and threw them into lions' dens, if they could scratch a living off of rock because they were shunned for their faith, could trust in God to provide for them, and rejoice at the opportunity to give away all their goods and wealth to serve their brothers and sisters…surely, SURELY, good brothers and sisters, WE can strive to live by gratitude, peace, and grace.

God bless,
Philippians 4:13

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