Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Omnipotent Saviour

Where do I even begin? I can't find the beginning of this God-movement in my life. I have been praying for it; craving it. I have been asking my ultimate Master over and over again for a stretch of character and a growing experience in my relationship with Him. It is safe to say I believe I am experiencing that growth in recent times. The past weeks I have been left desolate from fellow friends and family, in which I found myself seeking out God more; searching for companionship with Him. I hate being alone. I can be in a room by myself for hours on end, but if I was not able to talk to God for any reason possible, it is certain that I would find myself in an insane asylum in no less than 10 seconds. This is the best way I could think of to express the illumination of my need for God and His constant presence. However, it is promised that even with Christ living throughout me, I will still experience something we call, "bad days." But with Christ, it is also certain that I will have the power to overcome and endure said "bad days." To-day was a bad day. Bad days, the worst kind, are the toughest. On the bright side of gloomy days, the opportunity for one's true colors to show is given. In my bad, terrible, and painful day, it was apparent that I am lacking a crucial little thing known to the realm of Christianity as, "faith." For some reason, sometimes I think I am strong enough to carry my burdens, as well as other's on my shoulders. Silly as I am, there is no possible way I can do so. It is only when God is holding my problems, pain, and tears in His hands, where I get my relief. It is only then, that I am able to reach the surface of the pool of water for that gasp of breath; life. Far, far too often I take it upon myself to get through life's daily struggles. But say, if I was meant to carry my burdens, and meant to rely on myself...why then, would I need God? This is exactly why I need to let it go. I need to let everything go; all my worries. I need to have the FAITH that my Saviour has called me to have. Another question I leave myself with is simply, What is the ever-loving point of me ever getting through any obstacles by the strength and will of God if I don't learn from them? What is the point if I don't learn that God is the only way out? I know, for a fact, that God has my life in His hands. He holds THE WORLD in His hands. Every situation, circumstance, and happening, He holds. He knows everything before it happens. So with this, I will add that I am finished lacking the faith in the situation my heart is breaking for at this moment of my life. 

My goal is to read this passage over and over until the meaning is embedded in my heart; in my life. I praise God for all He's done and continues to do. Even though pain comes in the night, I am promised that joy comes in the morning. And with that, I will be able to sleep to-night; worry free. 

Matthew 6:25-34
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

p.s. I bolded the sentence that is the guide to a healthy life with God. 

More to come,

Monday, December 27, 2010


Today, and lately for that matter, I have had a lot of time to contemplate and reflect my thoughts on life. And quite frankly, the end result is that I am grateful. I am so grateful for so many things, all of which are blessings from my God and Saviour. Mom and Angelica went to go babysit our friend's kids this morning, while Shannon and Kaitlin went to run some errands; this leaving just me and my dad at home. However, the entire morning he has been working away in the kitchen, making Greek yogurt. This leaves me to myself; alone and happily desolate. I spent the better portion of this morning laying in my bed, exhausted; vicodin can really do that to you. I know that my sleepiness and pure laziness is the healthy way to go about healing after surgery. So, for once in Rachel Elizabeth Barr's life, she will rest. And rest, and rest, and rest. I vow to rest until I am 98%. On the contrary, I do not believe that I should stop working just to heal, because I heal best by doing God's work, and by working at camp I get many opportunities to do so. In conclusion to that, I am working all week, and very grateful to do so. I complied a small list from the top of my head of what I find myself thanking God for the most. It goes a little something like this:

  • I am grateful for God. I am grateful that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I am grateful that I am His and He is mine; that He loved me even when I hated Him. All my gratefulness derives from my God.
  • I am grateful that God has blessed me with a family who loves me, puts up with my terrible attitude, (especially the past two and a half months), who takes care of me, understands me, and again, who loves me; who would do anything for me. The love my family gives me is a love I'll never completely comprehend. I'm grateful that they encourage healthy living; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I'm grateful that we use our differences to learn and expand our minds, instead of let our personal thoughts destroy and divide us.
  • I am also very grateful for my bed. I thank God every time I lay on it; I never complain about it. It is big so that means lots of cuddling with mom or Shannon or my dog, because since my surgery, I didn't want to be alone, so either of them kept my company a couple of the past nights. Since my surgery, I have only been able to sleep on my back, and couldn't imagine having to sleep on any other bed. My bed is also low to the ground, which allows easy access on and off, which has been very helpful since last week.
  • Along with my bed, I am grateful for my room, and larger than that I am grateful for my house. I have managed to come up with a very swell reason as to why I think it has been a very big blessing to have lived in such a small house with 6 large people for 10 years. My reasoning is this, if we have all lived in this small house for 10 years, and still love each other more than ever today, then that just proves our love we have for each other. Living in small situations with a lot of people can be tough, especially if you're like me, and you need some time alone once in a while. However, we sure did manage to do so. Therefore, I am grateful for small houses.
  • Another little one I am very grateful for is my dog. Granted, he can be a bit of high maintenance every now and then, but I love how intelligent he truly is. Even though he is an immature 5 year old, he really understands when it's time to be there for someone. He has really been there for me the past 2 months. I got very sick a couple months ago, and there he was, laying by my side, and sometimes on me; to be there for me. And this month he has done the same thing. Before my surgery I was somewhat in a slump, and depressed, and he wouldn't leave my side. After my surgery, he is still there for me, and insists on sleeping with me at night, and even take naps with me in the day time. He's such a cuddly little dog.
This may not have been a lot to be grateful for, and it sure is not the only things I am grateful for, rather, they are the things I have been most grateful for in recent times. The more I live, the more I become more grateful for fruitful things, rather than of fleeting, meaningless bits.
More to come,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harold Bullock’s Sharper Strokes

This is the last book suggested by my psyc professor, and my paper on it:

In Harold Bullock’s Sharper Strokes, he implements the way in which wisdom is obtained, how to gain it, and what it means to be wise. There are many benefits for attaining wisdom such as the profit of favor in God’s eyes, protection from bad decisions, a life of prosperity, the strength to deal with people and certain circumstances. Along with the benefits of attaining wisdom, come the detriments that do nothing less than damage one’s being and life. Failing to gain wisdom in one’s life only leads to death and destruction; one who does not seek wisdom, merely seeks pain and ultimate termination. In the realm of wisdom, there are two teams: pain and prosperity. Everyone who exists takes part in this realm. Those who seek out wisdom, find it, cherish it, and live by it, are those who are on the side of prosperity. The people who hate wisdom, disregard it, deny it, and rely on their own “wisdom” are on a sure path to pain which results in fatality.

What True Wisdom Looks Like

All actions are produced from motives; a drive was imbedded in human beings’ desires from the moment of birth. This force determines the decisions people make. The result will lead to good or bad, wise or foolish decision making. The motivation is determined by goals andgetting what one wants. People will do everything possible to achieve what they desire, if they want it bad enough. People do the things they do out of a motivation or purpose to succeed. The majority of people do not set out to fail, though that statement may not always be accurate. But those deeply yearn to succeed will succeed. In order to accomplish a goal, one must acquire the internal drive and the motives to do so. This requires a well-drawn out action plan; requiring a determination to succeed rather than fail. However, there are uncertainties that will be encountered in life; uncertainties which are not able to be prevented. Bullock addresses this scenario of occurring accidents saying, “Accidents and intervening circumstances potentially could rob us of success that we have worked hard to achieve. For that reason, some people refuse to act until the circumstances are exactly right to ensure success. They don’t want to waste effort and then fail. By refusing to start, they guarantee failure.” There is a strong need to stay on track and not let uncertainty of the future get in the way of potential success.

. Since decision making is inevitable in life, it is crucial to make certain the wisest path to travel. In order to make the best decision, one must havewisdom. One must also explore how a decision is deciphered; making sure each decision is thoroughly dissected and the result is completely meditated. How a person works out a decision plays an important role in the motives behind the actions. Analyzing the options of a certain situation may also be viewed as a judgment call. The order in which one precedes decisions is a result of whether they are wise or foolish.

A person should keep in mind, with decision making, the need to weigh the possible consequences. This would include achieving wisdom in waiting for the opportune moment to act on a right decision so that the decision leads to success, avoiding failure or further danger. Another concept a person must grasp is the understanding that their decisions are greatly impacted by the knowledge that they have of the ways of life and how it operates. In order to obtain this knowledge, one must have a foundation for life. When the bible no longer becomes a part of in one’s everyday existence, absolutely everything goes askew. The reason for this happening is merely because humans were not born with the knowledge to live life with true meaning; rather, true meaning had to be learned from living and deciding for one’s self.

As far as true and perfect meaning for life goes, there is no greater meaning than God. When one does not live for God, there is no meaning at all. This ultimately leads to no way of gaining true wisdom. Also, bad decision making occurs without the guidance of God. Without that wise guidance, one will find themselves drowning in a sea of failed relationships, pain and sorrow, and a sense of meaninglessness and depression. Many people turn to medications in an attempt to reverse depression, which only deepens the pain. Without God, people turn to anything to try and fill the empty void in their lives, failing every single time. What Bullock said about wise decision making could be no more true, “the way we answer the question “What is the best course of action to take in this situation?” does depend on our goals, the factors we discern in the situation, our understanding of them, and our ability (or lack of ability) to make a good judgment call. But, it also depends on what we think it the nature of “ultimate reality”.”

The ultimate reality is everything that people experience. Everyone is living for something since there are motives behind every action. Depending on what one is living for, gives them their meaning for life; whether its gods or God, people live to accomplish, or be accomplished by something. However, for those who claim they live for God, it is wise to live out God’s law, along with perceiving it to be true. Living for God and God’s purpose, under His law, Bullock says, “Will be a factor in shaping the consequences that come to us as we make our decisions about how we handle daily life.”

Wisdom requires more than just knowledge. All people, whether they have a lasting relationship with God or not, can attain knowledge. The only requirement for accomplishing knowledge is through education. Bullock states this “knowledge” simply as “collected information.” This is different from wisdom in the sense that wisdom does not merely gather information, but takes the information and applies it to everyday situations. Learning wisdom does not always come from experience, but sometimes it is a result from learning from a wise person’s experience.

Those who do not live for God are walking in the foolishness and darkness, while those who do live for God live in wisdom and the light. Living in darkness requires a person to deny God and His law, and live for themselves; by themselves. They have no ruler or god but their own being. Humans were not meant to live this way, but they were meant to live for a higher purpose than themselves and the world. To live in darkness, also means to live for the world; by the world’s standards, rather than God’s. On the contrary, those who live for God, in the light, live by God’s laws and standards, and are susceptible to gaining wisdom through a relationship with God. To know and love God is to know and love wisdom, and to deny God is to deny wisdom and accept foolishness. Bullock said about the light and darkness concept was this, “It is not just where we are in life that determines our ability to see spiritually, but which direction we are walking, toward the light or toward the darkness.” His statement could not have been better said, for it is true that the farther one strays from light, the darker the atmosphere becomes.

The only true wisdom there is comes from God. This is easily found in the bible, which first requires fearing the Lord. The barrier that lies between the human desires for godly wisdom is our predisposition that all are inbred with the desire to be self-sufficient, which started from Adam and Eve in the beginning. But along with God’s wisdom, comes others such as traditional wisdom. This is wisdom that was documented by “wise” men and passed along from generation to generation. Another kind of wisdom the world has formed is reason. Reason takes happenings and events on life and mixes it with logical reasons, or explanations of why it happened. Along with reason comes occult wisdom which is supernatural “wisdom” caused by misinterpreted demonic experiences; often times a result to mania. Within the last couple of hundred years, scientists have been theorizing that there is no God, then proving themselves wrong. They have found that without the existence of a god or higher being, life remains meaningless because they have no one to live for. With a meaningless life comes the result of no morals and no values. If one claimed to not live under God, then what would be considered their morals and values? They would be considered their own god, if they claim to have their own morals and values of life.

My conclusion is merely, you cannot attain wisdom without God, and you cannot have God without wisdom.

More to come,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feel Like I Only Post Essays and Papers During the School Year...

"Childhood Plays Crucial Role in the Journey to Adulthood"

Any intelligent human being may perhaps be sure to ask themselves at one point in their life how they became who they are today? Or rather, what journeys did one go through to get to the location they now reside in metaphorically speaking? One theory of what shapes a person into being can be found in Psychology: Core Concepts. The definition given for the nature-nurture theory states, “Simply put, nature-nurture interaction means that we are all born with certain predispositions (nature) that, if exposed to the proper experiences in our environment (nurture), can reach their full potential” (pg 231).  
The importance of having a strong, healthy foundation and upbringing in the environment at an early age is very crucial to an individual’s life. Children who do not have a good relationship with their parents or guardians are more likely entitled to a number of disadvantages in their future, due to trauma in their earlier days. These disadvantages and trauma can be caused under certain circumstances things such as a lingering sense of inability to prevent such an event, an unexpected event in which one was not prepared, a repeated event which causes a child to lack confidence and the sense of love for themselves, or if a child’s parents never taught the child their roles in society. One of the most impactful traumas can be most detrimental if it occurred in childhood.
Childhood Plays Crucial Role in the Journey to Adulthood
First, trauma during childhood, involving the parents or other legal guardian, along with surroundings and environment, can lead to future implicated problems. A child is vastly vulnerable and susceptible to permanent damage which can stay with them throughout their childhood, adolescence, and finally adulthood. Children more than often are unable to control or prevent tribulations and burdens that can be laid on them at an early age. A major misdemeanor and confusion which can erupt within the realm of parenting can be the way in which a parent or guardian would instigate the discipline and correction of a child’s misbehaviors. For example, if a child was told not to do something, yet they prolong to do it, a parent should intercept that manner of performance. It is not merely the importance of disciplining the child, but the way in which it is done. For example, if a parent gets out of control and begins to scream and yell irrationally and emotionally at said child, then the child will walk away with nothing but the lingering of confusion in how to feel at that precise moment. The child will not have benefitted from that experience. Instead, they will have simply learned how to deal with the next person who acts against their wishes; screaming and yelling irrationally and emotionally to get their way. They do this because that is what they have learned from their parents.
Often times a parent can confuse “discipline” with “totalitarianism”. Webster’s English Dictionary gives the definition of “discipline” as, “training; subjection to control; punishment.” While on the contrary, it also gives the definition of “totalitarianism” as, “political doctrine under which one group rules a state under a highly centralized government, allowing no recognition or representation to other parties.” In this same way, parents often times feel like they are correct and do not consider whether or not a child might not have been wrong. There is a very serious and high danger of mistreating a child with irrationality and a sense of totalitarianism. These dangers can lead to a separation between the connection of a child and their parent. In some instances, a parent will not act on a caring and loving level with the correct disciplinary actions; there needs to be a balance between disciplining a child too much, and not enough. In one theory, in order for a child to learn to act just and rightly there needs to be a firm distinction between right and wrong with nothing passive in between. There also needs to be a good remodel for them to follow after; to see then act on what they see. Another theory is that child need to experience wrong, in order to specify what is right. For example, one does not learn to ride a bike from simply just watching someone ride, but getting on that bike and figuring it out themselves how to operate the machine, the same thing goes with learning. It is frequently noted in human behavior that learning is best done by experiencing something, whether it is experiencing from a distance, or from personal experience.
Second, in the early stages of a child’s life an unhealthy fear can be born into their mind when the occurrence of an unexpected event, in which one was not prepared, ensues. This sort of unexpected event can be anything from the witnessing of mistreatment between spouses resulting in a divorce which includes verbal or physical fighting, or something along the lines of privileges being taken away due to a passive discipline towards the child. When a child witnesses endlessly the verbal abuse between their parents, they will begin to consider that the “normal” way to treat people. Some children will take this method in treating others with anger and apply it to their own relationships in their future; it is sometimes all they will ever learn from their parents on how to treat other people, which can cause a negative sense of selfishness. This is evident in most cases of adults who have difficulty in relating and caring for other people other than themselves. The reason they find the need to mostly care about their own being is because they more than often grew up feeling like their parents did not care for them, and in order to survive, they cared for themselves so that at least someone in their life would. If one is never cared for in a healthy, loving manner by the people who raise them, the results are more than predictable: difficulty with future relationships. Not only is this the result of witnessing the verbal fights and unnecessary arguments between one’s parents and the unpromising, false “need” to care for only them, but it is also a result from the repetition of a negative event.
This selfishness could also result from a divorce if a child takes on the responsibility of said divorce. An article off of a Harvard Medical School website makes this distinction very clear, “Teens develop a sense of self-identity with input from both parents as well as from the relationship between the parents. When divorce occurs, that identity is disrupted. As a result, the teen’s self-esteem may also be disrupted. During a traumatic divorce, an adolescent may experience hurt from the pain inflicted on either parent. This may lower his or her self-esteem and be an impediment to a future intimate relationship.” It goes on to list three important dynamics, “Parents have a profound effect on a teen’s self-esteem. Research has shown that there are three factors associated with good self-esteem in adolescents: acceptance by parents, limit setting clearly defined by parents, parental respect and allowance for latitude of action within the limits” ("Self-esteem," 2010).
  Third, negative reoccurring events in a child’s environment or the neglect of a parent, affect their future greatly, where it is evident that a lack of nurture is formed. Since children are given little or no responsibility for how and where they are raised, the effects show an accurate result in how they are shape in personality and ethics. A CPS group, (Child Protection Services), did a study to see what kinds of children were prone to future depression, which went along the lines of this scenario: “Neglected children reported more shame-proneness and more depressive symptoms than comparison children. Guilt-proneness, in contrast, was unrelated to neglect and depressive symptoms, indicating specificity for shame-proneness. The potential role of shame as a process variable that can help explain how some neglected children exhibit depressive symptoms is discussed” (Bennett, D). Having the shortcoming of being raised in an underprivileged and negative setting could include circumstances such as repeated events which cause a child to lack confidence. Contrary to the “selfishness” theory, a child could go another way and develop the lack of love or respect for self. This is mostly developed in females, but there are many males who suffer as well from this situation. A child who feels they are not loved has a better chance of developing one or more of the following including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), persistent misbehavior, social problems, suicidal behavior, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
There are different conditions and levels of neglect. The well-known type of neglect is not taking care of something. Another form of neglect can be a mental abandonment. If a child is not able to connect on a mental level with their parent, then loneliness sets in. In some forms of loneliness, children will learn to turn to any form of stimuli they can grasp, no matter how artificial or fleeting it may be. If the sense of loneliness and abandonment linger as they grow older, they will more than likely turn to drugs, promiscuity, and violence for stimulation or to fill empty gaps in their lives. An article on teen drug abuse states this importance, “During adolescence the brain is still developing. Drugs interfere with natural development.” It is highly dangerous to allow a child to stray into the need to use drugs as stimulation or escape route from reality. The article goes on to say, “The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that, when fully developed, will be used to make decisions that require judgment and consideration of long-term consequences.” It is crucial to not permit or overlook a child’s internal feelings, because in the long run, can affect their entire life.  For example, in females a main source of escaping problems, such as that of a damaging relationship with their father figure, can often times lead to poor decision making in a future relationship.
Faces of the Adolescent Girl read that, “the beginnings of loving relationships occur in infancy and early childhood when the daughter has, ideally, experienced unconditional love from her parents” (Kovar, 1968). Females are often times led in a type of quest with the hopes of finding the loving father figure, or in some case a loving nurturing figure, which is crucial to learning how to have healthy relationships with people. In most cases this leads promiscuity because their sense of what “love” is has been perverted and twisted into a false image of what kind of love they are in desperate need for. Females are also more likely to be attracted to older men who are attracted back. If a female who has had a painful past with her father growing up, sees an older male taking interest in her, she is more than likely going to express her attraction back, since she never had her father showing an interest in her. It is more of an unconscious psychological motive which spur s the attraction, rather than the attraction in and of itself. Kovar goes on to say in her book, Faces of the Adolescent Girl, that a female with a bad relationship in her own home, “comes to learn that relationships since they involve another, are always problematic, and never completely unconditional.” This is what an adolescent girl would believe if she never experienced that unconditional, healthy love from the people who raised her.
Kovar expands on that thought saying, “A girl’s relations with parents and siblings are soon interspersed with relations to peers.” This statement has proven to be accurate, not only with females, but the opposite as well. One will never know how to love if they cannot perceive that they, themselves, are loved. If they never see what a healthy, loving relationship looks or feels like, then they will never know for themselves. For any child, it is also crucial for parents to make sure their child is not engaging in the emotional of feeling of abandonment. Abandonment from a child or adolescent’s family frequently leads to a negative behavior. The negative behavior is often linked with the need and desperation for attention by their parents. This behavior then leads to one to inevitably search for relations; someone they can relate to; other “abandoned” children or adolescents. When a group of negative-behaving people gather, the outcome does not result in something friendly. It results in just a group of hurting, negative feeling people. To counter-act that kind of behavior and emotions, there needs to be an interception of a positive figure. However, to prevent this from occurring in a child’s life, the right care and procedures need to be acted on. Reality needs to have an apparent distinction if one hopes for their child to attain any achievement in life. If there is no reality and everything is also candy-coated, or if everything is twisted into fantasy, the results are not too promising for a positive outcome. An article which talks about the nature-nurture theory, Lynne Griffin explains this system of reality in an understood and easily comprehended mode, “The danger of painting fictional characters with a jumble of different facial features, eye colors or statures is that many writers end up with caricatures, or two-dimensional models that rely too heavily on stereotypes. Traits, quirky and distinct, along with inner motivations, set characters apart, making them your own.” A child is more prone to having a sense of implanted racism within their mind if they are never exposed to the truth if diversity. However, the child needs to not merely just to know the diversity between people, but diversity within life in general. A child needs to know the reality that in order to attain accomplishment, a good work ethic and a strong sense of motivation is necessary. In order to prevent a child to become stereotypical and discriminative, Griffin goes on to say, “We are, of course, born with genetic traits, like the color of our hair or shape of our eyes. Most of these traits, mapped out by your biology, affect more than your appearance. Biological traits set you up to act in particular ways. They have the power to compel you to do things that are, at times, automatic.” The importance of this statement is needed to understand everyone is different; no one is better than another one just because of outward appearance.
Last, if a child’s parents never teach the child their roles in society, damages in their future are more promising than not. In a book titled, Adolescent Development, the author gives an example of the relationship between child and their parents stating, “The ambiguous status of the adolescent gives rise to such concerns as achieving greater independence, being misunderstood of judged by unfavorable stereotypes, and having more rights and privileges and fewer responsibilities imposed by parents.” It goes on to add the problems child grow into adolescence having to deal with, “Such problems as achieving economic independence, assuming the approved sex role, and preparing for family life present special difficulties. Adolescent problems are intensified if the development tasks of childhood have not yet been thoroughly mastered” (Hurlock, 1973). A child will have major difficulties in understanding their roles if their parents does not raise them to know.
The base and foundation of a person’s inner most being is affected greatly by their surroundings and environment in which they are raised. It is important for a parent to expose their child to responsibilities that they will have to endure in the future, in order to ready them for the outside world. If a child is never taught these things, such as, taking care of themselves and others, being able to work in a public environment to earn a supporting income, and making sure the child does not grow up to be apathetic to society. Parents need to teach their children how to contribute to society and to teach them the “give and take” system of the world if they expect their children to grow up to be the least bit successful. In order to prevent future apathy, the parent should depict motivation to succeed in things and to be able to give just as much as they take from society.
In an article which was performed by Iowa scientists, a research was done to prove nature-nurture has a slight form of inaccuracy. The article reads, “The challenge young children face when they encounter a new word has also been used to bolster nativist claims. When children are told a new word and shown a visual scene that contains unfamiliar objects, there are an infinite number of possible meanings for the word. But children are very good at figuring out which object in the scene the new word refers to. Given this amazing ability, researchers have suggested that kids have an innate ability to consider only some of the possible meanings of the word.” This explains about how children will be able to follow their common sense to figure certain things out for themselves, but they will never be able to figure it all out on their own; there needs to be a sort of teacher or example for them to follow and learn from. Children need to be taught at an early age the way things operate, but also they need to be able to make some discernments of their own. Robert Polmin wrote an article discussing the ability for a child to be taught to teach themselves. In his article he stated, “Heritability does not imply immutability. Nonetheless, the pervasiveness of genetic differences suggests that we must reexamine the role of education. Instead of thinking about it as a way of countering genetic differences among children, education might profit from accepting that children differ genetically in how and how much they learn. Understanding the nature of intelligence is compatible with the current trend toward personalized education.” This explains the belief that the way children learn depends of one’s genetic strength in certain areas. Some children are stronger than other children in certain areas, and visa-versa. To promote a child’s learning ability, it is crucial for them to start their learning experience from the moment they are born, and never be denied of an opportunity to learn something new about the world.

This in my 12 page paper for Psychology 101

More to come,

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Road to Reality

I read this book because my Psych Professor recommended it. I would have to say it was pretty great and eye-opening. My report on it.

The Road to Reality is an inspirational book which poses many philosophical questions, concerns, and thoughts for the Christian life-style in America. The author of The Road to Reality, Dr. K.P Yohannan, is the founder and international director of Gospel for Asia. It is an organization which makes it possible for the Gospel of the Bible to be shared with those in hard to reach areas of the globe. Yohannan’s sole purpose for writing such a book is to depict the problems which many Christian Americans are not fully aware of. Among the issues of how a follower of Christ should life their life, include concerns such as materialism, freedom not being appreciated, division, evidential confusion between reality and media, misuse of currency, arrogance, preaching a “candy-coated religion”, corrupted minds of society, a dead prayer life, and a major problem of self-sufficient living.

It is evident that the human mind is never fulfilled over ownership of materials. People today, who have less access to material goods, for example those in Third World countries, have little or nothing at all. Every day is a struggle for them to survive. They are not standing in front of a mirror for hours on end to make sure their appearance fits the standards of America’s society today. They are not indulging in food every two hours, or even under stress, because they do not have the access to. When someone does not have something, they are more likely to be grateful for something that is free and eternal. This gift would consist of the free eternal gift of Christ in their life. Yet, even in his book, Yohannah could see the ignorance in America’s religious leaders. He said of one circumstance while explaining to the leaders about a dying world in need of Jesus, “Consumed by the bountiful provisions of their culture, it was difficult for them to comprehend the situation in the sin-blighted countries of the Third World.” These leaders had no idea that what they had in their life, as far as necessities go, was far more than a large population of the world would ever experience.

American Christians so often take for granted the freedom of just knowing that Jesus Christ came to the earth to save lost souls. They also take for granted the wealth in America; being blind to the sight that with all the money they consume on unnecessary materials, they could be saving a lost soul as the perfect alternative. In America we distort and pervert circumstances which were made to be holy. An example of this would be Christmas, or as Yohannah puts it, “Christmas Irony.” A question Yohannah poses on the subject of the irrationality America portrays this once holy celebration of Christmas, “Why did these people who had everything, still want more?” He said this about consumer products. The question reveals rationality and truth; the answer was simply put, Americans can be selfish people. America can easily be described as “Me Nation.” Though many citizens have been raised in a Christian environment, they still hide in their comfort or “safety zones”. But God did not create Christians so that they could create their own view of Christianity and what it looks like to follow the Creator God. God already had in mind what a Christian was to look and act like, and how their lives were to be lived. Followers of Christ were not created for the earth, they were created to carry out the Gospel, no matter how uncomfortable certain situations could get. They were not created to be served by the world, but to go out and serve the world in complete and utter humility. In order to do so, one must put their “comfort” aside and allow Christ to work through their lives.

The next problem posed in many Christians of today is the spiritual dichotomy, or division, as opposed to unity Christians are called by Christ to encompass. What has been divided is what one does, contrasted to who they are; their identity. Christians have unintentionally deserted their identity in Christ in exchange for a meaningless, worldly identity. Yohannah described what America portrays being “born again” as opposed to what exactly it truly means to be born again, saying, “Thus, the false religion of popular Christianity does not ask us to internalize the passion and mind of Christ, to surrender our egos, to lay aside our flesh, take up the cross and begin a lifestyle marked by submission to the will of the Father as He did.” It is apparent that there are problems in the realm of Christianity in America if believers have so many gateways to draw nearer to Christ, yet there is obvious disregard towards a God so loving.

The mass media consumes so many lives at an exceeding rate. Along with the media controlling the majority of America, comes poor time-management and prioritizing skills. It is merely pathetic to witness the access Christians have in America, yet do not even make the slightest attempt towards appreciation in this fact. America has a vast amount of knowledge of God, yet knowledge without works is meaningless. If one does not make their knowledge of something useful then there is no rational point to retaining that knowledge to begin with. Christians are called by a loving God to go out and make an influence on the world, instead of letting the world influence them.

Conferences and church events are put on to raise money for church wants, not necessities. Some leaders in the church have missed the point entirely. There is no importance of investing in the appearance of a church, when there are billions of dying souls in the world who need Jesus. The point is not to raise money for an improved church building; the point is to raise Christians for eternity. It is crucial that Christians do not lose sight of the Savior when getting wrapped up in dollars-and-cents decisions which make no spiritual difference in a person’s life. On the contrary, God is not necessarily interested in people giving money to missions, but instead, He is more interested in Christians living the life of missions. This means living to share the Gospel with lost souls; this is the purpose of life.

The next misconception of Christianity is simple: arrogance. Many Christians practice “infant” Christianity, where they are always seeking comfort in the world, but do not take the opportunity to go out and be uncomfortable to spread the truth of God to surrounding neighbors. Yohannah is spot on when he discusses this problem, “A look at our church activity calendars reveals not a body of givers, but a society of receivers.” He emphasizes the “Me” dilemma that is revealed throughout the American nation.

Many Christian pastors and leaders of today in America preach in hopes that they do not say the “wrong thing”, or something that has the potential of offending someone sitting in the pews. This satanic way of teaching God can easily cause severe spiritual deceits in a person’s heart. When teaching the truth in God’s written word, those who hear and are offended and usually those who are living in defiance of the truth; this is a very frightening place to be at in life. If one denies Christ, he too shall be denied. In fear of people experiencing discomfort from the truth, many pastors candy-coat the truth so that they will not offend anyone. The bible was written as a whole, and no part of it was meant to be disregarded. This is one reason why it is so difficult for some people to go out and enlighten lost souls of life after death, because they are afraid they will make that person uncomfortable. But Christ was meant to be shared, no matter how uncomfortable one’s flesh may become.

A crucial component of spreading Christianity is through the youth of today. Though sadly, America has spoiled the youth of today which is dragging them away from the big picture. There is an immense need of God, and the sharing of Him throughout society. The focus should not always be on what an adolescent wants to hear. Sometimes it is important for them to hear something that is accommodating to their walk with Christ, no matter badly one wants to stay ignorant. Americans consult other Christians for support and advice when they should be consulting God, the One who is in control of everything. Christians sometimes wonder why God is not showing up in their lives, it is merely because they are not including God in their lives. Often times Christians are so out of touch from God, that they no longer can conceive that they are wrong about something in their life. The easy solution to proving if God is evident in one’s life is to take a step back and realize all the blessings that have come from Him above.

Prayer in the Christian life was not meant for one to manipulate God into getting what they wanted. Many Christians want to know why God is not “answering their prayers” and this is simply because they have perverted the true meaning of prayer. It is a divine communication between the Christian and God. Without prayer, the relationship a Christian shares with their Savior, struggles to survive. It is very crucial to hold onto a close bond with God in order to know His will, which results in obedience to His will. They are to respond to God’s will and purpose for their lives, and not waiting for God to respond to what they want. One might ask themselves, how could people live a life with blessings and not look to God as the true giver? Christians are not being reminded enough that they were not created to live a happy, wealthy, healthy, painless life here on earth. Instead, they were created to be the body of Christ, while He is the head. The head controls and guides what the body does, meaning they are to fulfill the desires of God. The image of this obedience would look like this: to live as Christ in this world. 1 John 4:17 reads, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” Christians were created to love so that others will be able to taste the even slightest amount of perfection in Jesus.

In order to live as Christ lived, believers need to follow the guidelines written in Galatians 2:20 which reads, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In order to live an authentic life for Christ, Christians need to die to self. This means to lay aside all fleshly desires in exchange for God’s desires for their lives. God desires a relationship with His people; He desires for His people to grow in spirit and then go out into the world and share all that He has provided. For many Christians in America, this would be considered an inconvenience. Yohannah used an example of abortion in America: When a couple “is not ready” for a baby, or “it would be inconvenient” for them, they simply cut it out of their lives by killing it. It is this kind of selfishness that thrives among many Americans today, which makes it difficult for so many to receive the selfless in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In order to live an authentic life for Christ, Christians need to die to self. This means to lay aside all fleshly desires in exchange for God’s desires for their lives. God desires a relationship with His people; He desires for His people to grow in spirit and then go out into the world and share all that He has provided. For many Christians in America, this would be considered an inconvenience. Yohannah used an example of abortion in America: When a couple “is not ready” for a baby, or “it would be inconvenient” for them, they simply cut it out of their lives by killing it. It is this kind of selfishness that thrives among many Americans today, which makes it difficult for so many to receive the selfless life in Christ. Suffering under Christ’s name is promised; it is promised that the Christian walk is not an easy one; it cannot be walked alone. Christ is needed every step of the way. This would be to deny the flesh and drop all that one has, in order to follow the life God has in mind. In this scenario, the Christian gives up their life in exchange for new life in God. The desire of wanting God more than anything this world has to offer plays an important role. There is victory over the world when one is living for Christ, and living to please Him. Everything apart from God should be counted as loss for there is no lasting confidence in the flesh, 1 John 4:4 reads, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Christians in American society allows themselves to have a psychological mid-set that they can achieve anything great without God. They achieve things that may appear great to the world, but the purpose is not to do great things for the world, but for the Creator. Americans pose a desperate need for World Evangelization with the Gospel. God commanded His people in the bible to go out and share with all who have an ear. It also obvious that a Christian must live separated from the world; to live in the world, yet not of the world. To live a life in God’s standards, believers need to reverse their modern day process of thinking in order to experience spiritual reality. They also should take some time off from the worries of the world to wait upon the Lord; not just to pray to God, but to pray with Him; to go out and live the will of the Savior, in hopes of building a strong, healthy, and eternal relationship with God.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Byrds Ain't Got Nothin' On Jesus

About three months ago God laid on my heart the desire to do something to reach out to people my age. At first I had no idea what He had in store for me, but I was excited to be used to bring Him glory. So I kept it between me and God and prayed about for a solid two months. After that I threw it out in normal conversation with some acquaintances, and we planned on inviting high school kids for a bible study the upcoming Friday. Let me tell you, God has really shown Himself to be true by carrying out His will for me in this period of life. Just this small study has impacted me greatly, and was a definite answer to my prayers. He knew exactly what we should read from, and showed us exactly what to apply to our lives. He's expanded my view of His beauty and truth. So, for the past three weeks, we've been indulging ourselves in the very awesome book of Ecclesiastes. And from the three weeks of studying it, God has without a doubt spoken to us all. Last week we focused on Ecclesiastes 3, and here's a little overview of what we read:

Verses 1-8 show us how there is a time for everything. Every action, every emotion. But it's not just timing that makes this an important passage. It's GOD's timing that makes it important. God has a time and place for everything, and His time is perfect. (I hope whoever has heard Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds knows that the majority of the lyrics derived from these eight verses in Ecclesiastes :)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace."

Verses 10-13 start with Solomon saying God gives His people things to do; occupation. It's how we do the jobs, or tasks, with a good attitude to honor God, not ourselves. The last part in verse 13 tells us to have joy in serving God and to enjoy the things which God's already given us.
My favorite part of the passage is verses 16-17 because it says that even if it seems as if evil is taking over at some points in life, it is so vividly important to remember God's perfect timing. Like I said before, everything God does is in His perfect timing. Timing that I can't even comprehend. I can recall so many instances in my when I felt like the world was suffocating me and blurring my vision so that I could barely see my Savior, but then, in the blink of an eye, there He is, coming to my rescue. God takes us out from wickedness or suffering at the precise and accurate time. He takes the phrase of, "just in time", to an entire new level. This is an awesome reminder. Sometimes I need to remind myself of God's perfect timing in times where I'm feeling anxious or unsure about my future. I know God has a plan for me, and I know that He'll carry out His plan when the time is right. So basically I have no excuse in the world to be afraid.
The ending of the chapter, (verses 19-22), was a relief in the sense that, no, we're not animals. But, without salvation we may as well just be animals. The only thing that separates us from being animals is that we have souls, and they don't; we have perception of eternal life, and animals don't.

Now that we know for certain that there is eternity set before us, as Christians, I think we need to step back from our busy lives and remember why we're here, who created us, and what we live for. Because it's all going to eventually be the outcome and result of our lives.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Team God vs. Team World

I really don't know how to start this. And I'm not certain where it'll lead, and where it's going to end up. Lately, to be honest, I've been having a hard time in the sense of relation towards other people. I love people. I would consider myself a people-person. But it's not there recently, that sense of relation isn't there. And I'm talking about my peers, kids my age. People I once was close to, but have taken a different route, seem to be falling into a deep, dark hole. My perception of Christianity is like this: As Christians, we're all on a team together. Captain? That would be God. And we're in this constant battle everyday against our opposing team, the world, who is led by the world, or Satan. And daily, our goal is to strive for Christ, and show Him through our actions and words, and slowly, but surely winning the hearts of the opposite team. So now picture this, your teammate on Team God deliberately betrays you and goes to Team World. How do you feel? Probably nothing less than betrayed. Come on! We're supposed to be a team here...we're not supposed to ditch our team. Our team is who we are. Well this is how I feel lately towards some of the people in my life, even some people that I used to be very close to. And it's sad. And it hurts. And it frustrates. The passage that's been on my mind lately comes from 2 Timothy 3:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
I believe everyday we are sinking further and further into the pit of the end times...and I witness more and more corruption every single day in our society. The world has become a very dark, fallen, and hideous place. This is such a good passage to refer back to from time to time. I know for sure that it wakes me up a little bit when I read the words God so carefully picked out to put together in this fraction of our manual to life, the Bible. The more I see people from Team God slipping away, the more I feel being pulled back with them. There is no way that I want to be pulled back the slightest, so I make sure I throw some cold water on my face, so to speak, in these moments where I'm feeling abandoned by part of the team. No mortal can force someone on God's team, it's their choice whether they're going to choose Team God...or Team World.
Verse 9 is crucial and it reads:
but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
Sin, my friends, HAS CONSEQUENCE. Everything we do, here on earth, whether it's good or bad in the sight of God, will reap whatever it has sown. So what are we to do? Live a righteous life and have the mindset of that one day all of our actions will be revealed to everyone. So living a righteous life now, on earth, is crucial. There is no righteousness without Christ. So how would one expect to be righteous without Christ? You say you're righteous, but are you consistently following Him? Or are you living for the world? You can't live for the world and expect to be righteous....
Next, we come to verses 10-12:
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
I love this. THIS, I relate to. Paul wasn't saying, "woe is me, woe is me!" No. He was reminding the people who followed Christ that God was with him every step of the way. And I completely agree. Couldn't agree anymore. I've been there, and you probably have too! We all have. In the times where we feel our lowest, and feel like there's no way out, bam...God opens our eyes and we see that He never even left us. And He lifts us out of our troubles so gracefully, beautifully..and let's see, verse 12 proves my point just now:Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
To wrap up the passage, Paul writes in verse 13:
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. This, I'm sure we've all witnessed. And someone who is bad, without proper help, will go from bad to worse. We should watch out for this in people, as Christians. We should love on them and help them come back into faith in Christ. What I'm worried about is the generation to's super important that we do all that we can to focus energy into the youth who will be leading tomorrow before we know it.
Verses 14-15 coincide with what I was just saying:
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
At one point of my life, probably around age three or four, I began memorizing scripture. But I didn't just pick up a bible and start reading on my own. My parents took me to Cubbies, and from there I moved on to Sparkey's and so on. It was AWANAs, and I loved it. It definitely made a huge spiritual growth in my earlier years, and I still, to this day, remember verses I learned years ago. I held onto that knowledge. But AWANAs isn't just for youth. Memorizing scripture, the Bible, "God Breathed" words, is helpful for everyone.
Here, we come to two of my favorite bible verses to this day, verses 16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
GOD'S WORDS ARE REAL. The Bible isn't just filled with stories of events that happened forever ago...No. It's a manual and guide for this life for those who put their faith in God. This verse? It really helps clear some things up for me. It's pretty straight to the point. God wrote the Bible for a purpose. What's the purpose? WE ARE. God wrote it for us, His people. Reading His word, applying it to our lives, meditating on it, promises a positive outcome. A life with God in this world is worth it.
Sometimes I'll fall and end up tangled in Team World, I won't deny it. But then God pulls me up, fixes my injuries, hydrates me, and throws me back into the game. He's the ultimate coach, and one I'll never stop playing for.