donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

When the darkness is your best friend

In My two cents and Christian Opinion on January 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Ge 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

In going to Sunday morning service today, the pastor talked about breaking the out of the prison of loneliness.  I could really relate to this message, and there were a few thoughts that really stood out to me.

He talked about loneliness, and gave what I thought was a great definition.  He states that loneliness is the absence of or the intense longing for the companionship of people who really care for us and who long to be with us as much as we long to be with them.

Using his definition one can experience this in the multitude.  Loneliness is so undesirable, so contrary to the design of God, and so powerful a state that needs to be filled.  That even after God had created Adam, had given him a purpose, and placed him in an idealic environment where every material need could be satisfied he still lacked one thing to make his life complete—companionship.

It shows me that no matter what we gain in the world.  No matter how wealthy we become.  Our innate need for companionship is basic to who we are.  I learned from today’s lesson that solitary confinement which we have all heard of; is used as a punishment.  Now there is nothing new here, but think about that for a bit, and let that sink in.  Loneliness even within the prison system is used as a punishment.  Being alone, in isolation, lacking the comfort from a person who cares for you as much as you care for them, and who wants to be with you— is to be in a prison.  Think about that.

2_Vital Connections_TI now have a better understanding of such scriptures that say blessed are the peacemakers.  Peacemakers help reconcile people.  They fight against the trend that increases loneliness. Broken families increases loneliness, our living arrangements (suburban living I’m speaking of here.) can increase isolation and loneliness.  We plug our ears, and check into our iphones so we are not bothered, increasing our isolation.  Speaking of trends, one of the internets powerful abilities is its ability to help create community.  Often people do not understand how someone can spend hours online talking with people.  It is because so many of us are lonely.  Lonely in marriages, at work, in our various communities, and comes a technology that allows people to ‘connect’ with someone of like passions and who looks forward to seeing them when they come online.  It is easy once we understand how deep loneliness can be how many of can of us can fall victim to such entrapments, or on a positive note find companionship.

The pastor talked about how to circumvent this with natural remedies, build relationships with new people, family and friends.  I do not want to “repreach” his message.  Of course, the ultimate cure of the deep longing of our hearts is reconciliation with God, to connect with him and thereby empowering us to truly connect with others.

The forbidden fruit is nothing more than knowledge that we were not meant to experience.  Some fruit is vey tart and bitter.  Let not loneliness be something that prevents you from reconnecting with God, family, and friends.  Ask yourself who can you be a friend too to decrease the level of loneliness in their lives.  Which family members, which friend, can you reach out to?  If you realize you are alone.  Reach out to God, and ask him to reconnect with him, and then begin to make reconnections and new connections.  Above all, I encourage you to not let the darkness be your best friend.

D

To be poor in spirit.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

desperate days_t_nt

In a recent worship service the pastor talked about our need to be totally reliant on God.

Needless to say I have not always done a great job of that in my own walk.  But nevertheless, I find that the lesson is still refreshing to hear.  Recently I received an understanding of a scripture that for many years has eluded.  Perhaps I never studied it as fully as I should.  Maybe I simply was blind to its truth before now I don’t know.  All I know is that I get it now.  And it’s a doozy…at least to me.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I’ve often wondered what that means.  I’m living in the 21st century and in the day when I hear terms like “Google it”, “Twerking” and “hashtag” the phrase “poor in spirit”, just doesn’t come up in my everyday experience.

The word poor here comes from a Greek word ‘ptochos’ which comes from the derivative ptosso.  It means…

“(to crouch); akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):–beggar(-ly), poor”

Now I’ve seen beggars.  Most of what I’ve seen has been homeless individuals as I speed near exit ramps holding signs that state “Hungry, will work for food.”  I’ve had beggars come and ask for a dollar.  I’ve seen them huddled in blankets cold with a tin cup, pressed against the back of buildings to keep warm.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant image that comes to mind.  Perhaps that’s why I have found myself running from such a condition.  I mean who wants to beg?  It’s probably one of the most adverse circumstances any of us would want to find ourselves in.  To be in such abject poverty, and a state of insufficiency that we must plead for the help of someone else.  But this Jesus person comes along and says yep.  Your blessed if that’s the state you are in, ‘in spirit.’

So naturally my logical thinking mind is “what’s this ‘in spirit’ thing?

After studying out that the word; ‘spirit’ comes from the Greek work pneuma, which roughly means breath.  I must admit that my understanding simply didn’t get any help there.  It wasn’t until later that it clicked for me that Jesus used what had to be an idiom.  A an expression that could not be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that had a separate meaning of its own.  Similar to such phrases like, “A Dime A Dozen”, or “A Piece of Cake”.

So what does “poor in spirit” mean.  It means to be totally dependent on the sufficiency of God.  To look to him for sustenance, fulfillment, sufficiency, and resources.

There are numerous scriptures that communicate this truth of the believers need to look to and rely on God.  Everything from Matt 4:4 “man shall no live by bread alone”, to when Paul communicates in 2 Cor 12:9.  “my grace is sufficient for you.”

Oh and these are just a few new testament scriptures.

This theme of dependence on God is one of the central messages of Jesus: that we are in need of God, a savior and that we are powerless (i.e. in abject poverty) without him.  What’s interesting is the contrast to the person who is “poor in spirit”.  I happened to find it, and the person, nay a whole group of persons are described by Jesus very clearly in Revelations 3:17

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

This was the comment to the Laodician church.  Interesting huh?  Those that know this text know Jesus’s feelings about them.  Words like regurgitation come to mind just to jar your memory.

No wonder I have had a hard time finding the meaning of this phrase.  Between my own life and society around me.  I’m stuck in a morass of people who are comfortable in their own self sufficiency and who don’t realize their true condition.

It’s amazing to me when I can look at my life and see how easily one can move to dependence on something other than God.  Kind of just gets ya doesn’t it?  Laodiceans…sigh.

Are you poor in spirit?

Sometimes you do not need to know. You just need peace.

In Personal on June 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Several years ago, I lost my younger brother to violence.  It was unexpected as all tragedies typically are.  I was also in the midst of dealing with my own personal demons as well.  My marriage was teetering on the brink of divorce, and in the midst of my own troubles, my family now looked to me to help console them during this troubled time.

My family asked me to do the eulogy, and I officiated the entire funeral and burial service.  As an ordained minister, it was my duty to comfort the bereaved.  The matriarch of our family had asked me to do this, and I was not going to decline.

I was grieving myself.  Hurting…wondering if I could ‘pull it off’ per se. Wishing my brother and I had spent more time together.  Dealing with who this murderer was that took him.  Why it had happened?  Why did God let it happen?  I did not feel ‘qualified’ to speak to anyone really.  Not with all that, I was struggling with.  Why I was being selected during this trying time in my own life to speak to my family?

I searched for answers.

In searching to find understanding the Lord, lead me in his word and specifically to Philippians 4:6, 7.

Php 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Php 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

In my own search to ascribe meaning to such a horrible event, the knowledge about there being sin in the world, and my understanding of how Satan is a real force left me little comfort during this time.

I found that in spite of my searching nothing this side of Heaven would give me what I needed to come to grips with such a useless and senseless killing.  It was then that I realized, and saw one of the truths of this scripture.

Simply, that there is a peace that passes understanding.

When we are in trying times and when we seek out meaning and ask why me?  The reality is that sometimes there is silence to our inquiries.  Nevertheless, I believe that God is never truly silent, we just cannot often hear over the static of our emotions and own minds.  Yet here in this scripture God gives us an answer.

We need the peace that passes our understanding.

We need this type of peace that can bring silence to our questions and make our heart bear the unbearable again.  In the same way, that lift can supersede the law of gravity likewise the peace of God can supersede our need for understanding and give us consolation during difficult times.  It’s a special peace in that it comes from God.  This peace has two key ingredients in that it accomplishes two things.  Two powerful balms we need desperately when we are hurting and asking why.

This peace, ‘keeps’ our heart and our mind.  Which is a good thing because, when our hearts are hurting and broken, and our minds riddled with doubt, and questions: believe me you need something to help hold it together.  This does the trick.

So when you find yourself asking why, when you are struggling to find meaning where there seemingly is none.

Stop it.

Settle your heart and mind, and tell God the despite failing to understand, that he grant you an anxiety free mind, and bestow on you the peace that only he can give.  A peace that would protect, shield, comfort and stand as a sentinel against any and all things that would bring you into anxiety and distress.  That both your heart and mind during rough times be liberated from the paralyzing hurt that can come from difficulty and pain.

To those that are hurting, and or know those that are.  I pray that the peace of God would rule in your heart, and that you might experience the reality of this promise.

If you have something meaningful to add, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Regards,

D

The Third Heaven

In Look what I did!, My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on May 29, 2013 at 5:03 am

The Third Heaven

Hard Cover Book cover

The above is my selection and the below will be for limited release.

THE THIRD HEAVEN BOOK COVER

I’m very excited and think they turned out great.  Can’t wait to get a hard copy in my hands.

Stay tuned!!

D

Controversy is Christian: Am I romanticizing Lucifer?

In Controversy is Christian on May 4, 2013 at 2:19 am

A viewer of my kickstarter project saw the above trailer and stated the following.

“I must say you have made a VERY interesting trailer. Did you make that your self. I assume the footage is from video games and stock footage but the music, text and all is pretty impressive.

The question I have though is aren’t you afraid that this is romanticizing Lucifer? I ask because prior to being saved I had a crazy interpretation of the Bible in this ultimate struggle between Good and Evil. Long story short my version of Lucifer was much like Anikan Skywalker (assuming you have seen Star Wars). It sort of made me sympathetic to the “dark side” if you will. Now that I am saved and actually read the Bible I have a completely different take on things however, you trailer (as good as it was) kind of reminds me of how I use to see things. So what I am asking, how do you think this will benefit the 16 – 21 year old version of myself that imagining things like this”

Here was my response.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the trailer. I took me quite a while to put it together. Yes it is from various elements of footage that I’ve ‘stitched’ together. If you think that was impressive imagine what I was able to depict in a 400 page novel! I love the story and I think it came out great. You’re just getting a taste of my story telling in the trailer.

I think the question is a great one and its one I have given a lot of thought too. The Bible makes it clear that Lucifer was perfect in all his ways until iniquity was found in him. Ezk 28:15

For those of us who accept the literal interpretation of the Bible Lucifer is a real person, Anakin Skywalker is a fictional one. This is ultimately a fictional account of the life of a real person, and depicts his falling from power and his eventual demise. When you think about it, we hear about this type of thing daily with all manner of persons unfortunately.

Anakin eventually found redemption, no such situation exists here. Lucifer is clearly shown to be judged at the end of time, and my novel shows him in that state at the very beginning. I would encourage people to take a look at my prologue in the book. The novel clearly starts with where Lucifer is destined to be. The series simply addresses HOW he arrived from point A to point B.
I don’t believe telling his story takes nothing away from the central message of the Bible which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ.

You can read the prologue here.

https://donovanmneal.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars-prologue-reveal/

I don’t think it romanticizes Lucifer to talk about the fact that at one time he was good. It simply is a statement of fact. I do not want to make him into something he is not, I’ve tried to share an entertaining tale from a Christian perspective that a believer could ‘get with’.

What is the real story to me is how someone who held such position in the kingdom, who was so close to God, who was created in perfection and lived in perfection could acquire a level of dissatisfaction that could be so contagious that it resulted in such a schism that a third of angel kind rebelled? That I believe is the story of interest, and the story in this first of what is to be three books in the series.

If anything I hope it can be an object lesson and a warning to all of us, and foster a deeper love of the Bible and bring the scripture to the forefront of peoples mind, via literary entertainment. Similar to the Left Behind Series.

I hope you feel comfortable supporting the project.

Highest Regards,

Donovan”

So last time I checked the word romanticized means to treat as idealized or heroic.  I’m not sure how that’s portrayed in the trailer or even the prologue.  But it is an issue that I had to address when writing the novel.

So my question to you guys is this?  Has what you seen so far romanticized Lucifer?

You be the judge.

The Prequel to the Bible is Here!

In My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on April 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

Would you partner with me in a dream? 

For years I have watched movie makers and novelists write best sellers, of epic tales of far away places.  I have always dreamed that God would one day use me to speak to the world in a gripping tale of like manner.

In my audacity to think big, I believe God placed in me almost 8 years ago the desire to tell the story of the fall of Lucifer.  To use my imagination to weave a tale of wonder, angles, God, and battles involving the angelic host.  Now after all these years I am approaching the finalization of that dream.

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is the novel that has taken me 8 years of work.  I am asking if you would be willing to help me by adding your support to this project.

I have started a KickStarter campaign showing how you can specifically help and am emailing everyone I know to share in the novels success.  You can find the link here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744195552/the-third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars

I’m offering some great rewards for my supporters and hoping you will join me!

You can find the complete details and what I am pledging to you as the creator of this project here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744195552/the-third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars

The novel is done.  However, to make it a success commercially I am in need to some professionals to assist me in the areas of copy editing, cover design and marketing.  Your contribution will allow these challenges to be met.

Here is the brand new trailer for my book!

You have been a supporter of me, and I want to thank God in advance, for your taking the time to join with me in helping to bring this novel to commercial realization.  I believe this is the year, and with your help it will happen!  I’m looking for YOUR support.  Would you help me?

​Remember: the prequel to the Bible is here!

Controversy is Christian:Guns & Gun Control

In Controversy is Christian on April 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

heston

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep  stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So today’s topic of choice is Guns and gun control

Yep I put it out there.  I’m not skeered. 🙂

As a Christian, not an American, not a republican, not a democrat.  What should be my take on gun ownership?  You TELL ME.

Now before I have people make assumptions about me and where I’m going, let me tell you a few things.  I do not own a gun.  BUT I want one.  I have voted republican all life, but I did vote for President Obama.  I am a conservative Christian.  (How do ya like me now?)

Oh for those that wonder, I’m college educated with a graduate degree.  I’ve lived in urban and suburbia, I’ve had my home broken into several times and have witnessed gun violence personally, and have had my own brother violently taken from me due to gun violence.

So I figure for those that need to put me in a box…good luck with that one.

So here’s my take on WWJD.  I think as an American, yep I have the constitutional right to own a gun.  No doubt about it.  Hey as I already mentioned I actually do want to purchase a handgun at some point.  I understand that government does not like an armed citizenry.  I get that historically, and the idea that we should not fear government is naïve to me.  Especially if you believe as a Christian that one day there will be a government headed by an antichrist that has the ability to control all that is bought and sold.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelations 13:14-17

So this scripture says NO man.  Not just Europeans, not just Asians, the above would have to include Americans too.  So the idea that you should not have to be afraid of your government is simple naive to me if you hold to the belief in this scripture.  There is a day coming.  When those who live under this rule should be afraid.

So as an American if anything this scripture should make me just say they will have to take my gun before they put a mark like that on me.images (2)

But then I’m confronted with a simple scripture like this.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Matthew 26:52

So Jesus tells this to Peter after Peter defends Jesus from being taken away to a bogus trial, to protect leaders positions, and government interests.

So how do we practice this scripture in our modern life?  We do not carry swords around today.  But let’s face it.  Swords were the guns of Jesus’s time.

So what we if changed this verse a bit and said “all they that take the gun shall perish with the gun.”  No how do you like it?

There is no indication that Peter was a violent man.  Although the Bible does not tell us Peters skills in swordsmanship perhaps this was his first time using a sword. In fact, wasn’t he justified?  Who can go wrong defending someone like Jesus?  Isn’t that what we need guns for to protect us from those who would seek to do us harm?  I mean here is a representative of the government coming to arrest Jesus, and at least one disciple picks up arms to defend their Lord.  I can relate to this.  But Jesus rebukes Peter, and undo’s the violence Peter had done.

Rebukes Peter, and then undoes the act of violence a disciple has committed in his name.  Think on that for a moment.

What does this say to us?  What meaning does it have for us as modern day Christians?  I find myself reminded of scriptures about not resisting evil.426286_246011435488353_1026417449_n

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Mt 5:39  Then jesus talks about giving my stuff away…pssft..really?  Ugh sometimes I just don’t want to read some scriptures, they are like mini ‘inconvenient truths’..lol

Man I wish that verse was not in there because sometimes people need a good slap on the cheek.  Just saying.

Hey but it’s there so now I got to frigging figure out how to incorporate this in my life.

This following Christ thing can be hard.

So what about you?  Don’t talk to me about rights, and the constitution.  What would Jesus do?  Would he be endorsing your packing? Give me your thoughts.

The Prequel to the Bible is coming!

In Look what I did!, My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on April 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

On Monday 4-29-13 at 10am I will making a major announcement on my novels progress.  The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars.

I want you to be a part of what I’m doing and relish in the success of the book.

I will be debuting on that day the brand new teaser trailer for novel right here on my blog!

I promise you.  You will not be disappointed!

The prequel to the Bible is coming!

DImage

It’s resource Monday but on a Thursday! Duotrope

In Its resource Monday!, Uncategorized on April 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

trumpet-sounding

Ok each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I would like to present…drum roll please… https://duotrope.com/index.aspx

Let us give them a hand shall we!

Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, submissions trackers, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers we list.

You need help in finding which publisher or agent might be best to solicit too.  Look no farther.  Per their site, “We offer a robust search feature to help you find the perfect match for your piece from thousands of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets.”

What more could you ask for!  For 5 bucks a month, you get a wealth of information available to you.  Hard to beat that, and you start off with a 7 day free trial.

Thank me later!

 

D

 

 

 

Controversy is Christian: Does finding intelligent life ‘out there’ threaten Christianity?

In Controversy is Christian on April 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So here’s my question for this week’s blog post on Christianity and things controversial.

If we found intelligent alien life on other planets; how would that impact our view of God and the Bible?  Does it threaten Christianity at all?

If the Bible is God’s word to man, then would it stand to reason that God might have a different book for another species?

Would Christ’s death on the Cross have efficacy for the Romulans.  (I’m serious)  Christ is called the last Adam.  (1 Corinthians 15:45)  Not the last Regallian.

“When Christianity spread throughout the West, the Ptolemaic system became very widely accepted, and although the Church never issued any formal pronouncement on the question of alien life,[111] at least tacitly, the idea was aberrant. In 1277, the Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, did overturn Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence). Taking a further step, and arguing that aliens actually existed, remained rare. Notably, Cardinal Nicholas of Kues speculated about aliens on the Moon and Sun.[112]”  Wikepedia

Here’s something to mull over.

Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks, states that coincidence can be completely ruled out by the science of probability. Of this science of probability, Stoner says of eight prophecies that “we find that the chance that any man might have lived and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.” Now maybe that seems possible. Not completely unlikely. But for one man to fulfill 48 prophecies, Stoner says the chances are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.”

So here we have the chances of Jesus fulfilling all these prophecies as well…a really big number.  And we will claim that he is the fulfillment of these astronomical possibilities.  So if the odds of this being true is something we can believe is it so hard to fathom the possibility of ET?

There is an equation, called the Drake equation that gives us some idea of the odds of finding intelligent life.

When you  look into research by Professor Andrew Watson and keep Drake in mind the chances of intelligent life emerging is low – less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years.

So when it’s all said and done we might not be alone after all.

Now assuming we find it; and some say God forbid that we do: because were up poops creek without a paddle. As in all likehood they will probably be more advanced than us.  (Remember Columbus and the Indians?)  Think Independence Day people.

Will the gospel apply to them?  Forget intelligent life.  What if we find ANY life on other worlds.  Again how does this alter our view of God, and Christianity?  Should it?

I would say it doesn’t   The Bible was written for man to man.  Not from God to the Romulans.  But again hey maybe the scripture that deals with those who have not heard the gospel applies to aliens?

Romans 2:12-15 it states, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”)

The Bible teaches we all have inherited the sin of Adam. Romans 5:12 states that “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

But that means sin didn’t come from Regulus.  So this scripture wouldn’t apply to our alien friends.  Would our evangelism efforts be limited to humans?  Should we even evangelize Romulans?  On what grounds?  How should Christians then look at behavior where Aliens co-habitate?  What if they have more than one spouse?  What if they engage in same sex relationships?

Angels are extra-terrestrial life are they not?  So the Bible wouldn’t apply to them.  They have their own codes and laws don’t they?  After all they can leave their first estate.  There’s no indication from the scripture that angels have ceased from falling or don not have the ability of free will where they cannot fall.  Why not other species?

Yeah, yeah your thinking…not in my life time.  It will never happen.

Ya never know…the Rapture is not here yet.

 

D