When we believers struggle with the Holy Spirit in our lives, it doesn't mean we're fighting against God- not just against Him, anyway- it also means we're fighting against our own nature. Our war is a spiritual war, according to Ephesians 6:12
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Our nature as sinful people can't be trusted. On our own, we're weak. Our minds lie to ourselves, telling us we don't need God, we don't need redemption, and we don't need help.
But we do need help. And that help comes in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Over the last 20 years, I've learned a lot about God and Scripture. I learned a lot about Jesus Christ, and the early church in the book of Acts. But one thing I was hardly taught was The Holy Spirit. And the sad part is, i don't think it was intentional.
I think churches today fall into two main camps: those who completely ignore the Spirit's work in believers' lives, and those who overemphasize it to the point where even other believers think they're crazy. There seems to be no middle ground, no in-between. No common sense approach seems to have taken hold.
I'm just now, after 20 years in the faith, realizing that I knew next to nothing about the Holy Spirit. And that shouldn't be the case- certainly not in America.
What then, do we know about the Spirit? What does the Scripture say about Him? What is His role in my life?
I recently reviewed Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws, and while I tried to encompass as much about the book as I could, there's just no way I could cram everything I wanted to say about it into a single blog post. I promised my followers on Gab that I would delve into each of the Nine Laws individually, and so, we've come to Week One: The First Law.
The First Law is Survival
Simply put: if you're dead, you can't do much of anything. Therefore the First Rule of the Dark World is "you have to survive."
Is this in opposition to the Christian faith? Hardly. At the very core of Godly beliefs is the sanctity of life. We are created in the image of God, and so our very existence is a proclamation to the veracity and tenaciousness of life as we know it.
"But Sensei," I can hear you saying, "doesn't it also say in the Holy Word that those who lose their lives will gain it? And those who are first shall be last? Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?"
The Scripture says:
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25 (also in Luke 9:24 and Mark 8:35, emphasis mine)
Jesus very clearly says that anyone giving up their life for His sake will find it. And by "find it" Jesus didn't mean suddenly not being dead anymore. No, He means giving up your physical life for Jesus' sake means securing eternal reward. But the inverse isn't so clear: does Jesus mean if we try to save our own physical lives, we'll lose our eternal ones?
Over the last few days, I've been thinking.
Specifically, I've been thinking about what my life's purpose is. There's plenty of things tied into this, but the majority of it boils down to this:
If you had to define your existence with one driving statement of purpose, what would it be?
If you don't know, what are you waiting for?
And this is where I found myself after years of floating, like a leaf in the wind. I realized I had no real, solid purpose. I mean, sure, I had "purpose" but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. "Following God" only gets you so far, as that could look like any number of things. "Loving your neighbor" could be me, sitting on my couch, invisibly loving people from afar. What does "helping people" look like? Specifically, for me? What does "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" look like, for me?
I haven't really talked about it much this time around, but last week (July 12) was the 5-year mark since I was hit by a car and hospitalized while bike commuting.
It's been an interesting 5 years, I have to say. The first year was strictly physical and mental recovery. Year 2 was me proving that I had recovered, so I trained and did a 75 mile bike tour. Years 3-4 were mostly me being too busy to do anything bike-related. Year 5 was the year of the Comeback, with me starting to bike commute again, and eventually, getting my son into cycling as well.
It's been a very good process of therapy. I'm still not commuting as much as I'd like, but my situation is such that it's not really possible just yet. I am now riding group rides with Andy and building up a new (to me) legitimate road bike. I'll post a story about that on Friday, it's pretty exciting to be building bikes again!
I feel like I'm transitioning into a different era. I am juggling lots of responsibilities, and I'm trying to make solid choices. I'm spending a lot of time playing and working with the family. I'm laying aside most of my extracurricular stuff, and focusing on my health and my family: two things which can't be pushed off till later.
So, that means I've spent a lot of time riding my bike on the trainer, or in group rides, instead of commuting. This rubs my sensibilities the wrong way, but I don't have much choice.
I think this will be my last annual recap of the accident, though. The fact that I didn't even think about posting about it last week means I've officially moved on. From this point forward, my focus will be on where we go from here.
Get out and ride. Doesn't matter where.
I've been thinking about death a lot lately.
Not by choice, mind you. It just seems to be popping up everywhere. Family members, movies, TV, the news, books. Someone dies and I think about it. In fact, three famous personalities- Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, and Alan Rickman (all who were the same age as my dad, coincidentally) died in the past week or so.
As a believer in Jesus Christ- who was able to look Death in the eyes and overcome it- Death has an interesting role to play for me. It's not the end of everything.
Even so, losing someone you love is always sad. Being afraid to lose someone you love is even worse, as you relive it over and over again in anticipation. We meditate on the possibility dying, and in doing so, I think we tend to overlook the significance of the actual life that did (or could) end.
Death is significant, but only because it marks the end of something that was significant.
In other words: If life wasn't important, death wouldn't matter. Our modern funerals are known for celebrating the departed's life; remembering the good memories and things associated with it.
How hard would it be for us to celebrate this while people are still alive? Why is it that we mourn with regret, only when it's too late? What would it look like if we celebrated the lives of our loved ones every day?
After a bit of work, I decided to apply for author status on goodreads.com so I can organize my bookshelf, and let you- my faithful readers- know when I have more writing projects coming up. You can visit my Goodreads author page here.
Since I'm not going to waste a whole day's blog post on that short announcement, here's a few thoughts I've been chewing on:
After an excellent discussion about yesterday's blog post, I've decided to write a daily creed that I can recall, to help me keep my focus. I haven't written it yet, but I will be working on it over the weekend.
Also, I've decided to dedicate my Saturday mornings to writing on my novels. In 3 hours, I can get several thousand words written, and though it's not as fast as I'd like, it's as much as I can commit to right now.
My exercise routine has been on hold for 3 weeks. That's right, I haven't done anything. What I have done is reclaimed my sleep schedule. It's going to be a struggle.... it may be a while before I get back to bike commuting, unless I can move my work hours. Getting up at 4:30 just isn't working. It's affecting my mental state in a bad way. I will go back to it at some point, but for now, sleep is more important.
I've been fighting car problems, too. Nobody wants to hear about those, but let's just say, I had to rip the whole interior out of my Saturn because of water leaks in the sunroof. The '65 Rambler needs a brake cylinder seal replaced before I can drive it again. And since I'm not riding my bike, I'm left driving the gutted Saturn.
Creativity-wise, I'm starting a new project soon with my friend and fellow author, musician, and ADD Mastermind, JohnnyHow. Can't give much detail on it yet, but it's going to be fun, random, and in all likelihood extremely crazy. And did I mention random?
Fun times ahead! Stay tuned, kids!
This will cover the Adrenalinn III effects pedal, by Roger Linn designs. Since there's so much to this thing, I'm going to break it up into sections. The first thing we're going to look at is the built-in amp models.
Not only does this pedal have 40 different amp sounds (including bass amps), each one has (3) tone controls, plus drive and a drive "boost" control, so you can actually get a lot more than 40 sounds out of it. When you add in different pickup configurations, you can get almost unlimited tones out of it.
Here's the list of amps (the RLD ones are from Roger Linn Design, not modeled off of a specific amp):
Why do I think supervillains are cool? It's not because they're evil. It's not because they're rich (although that doesn't hurt). It's not even because they're people I necessarily want to emulate. I'm not a psychopath, and I don't really like hurting people.
The hero never really comes into their stride until they have a worthy nemesis. I always enjoy watching a good supervillain, because I know the battle they bring is going to be epic. After a while, I started to notice that the really good villains have a lot in common, and I got to thinking about why they're so cool, even if they're bad. Why then am I so obsessed with supervillains? Because you can learn a few things from them, even if you don't subscribe to their philosophy of World Domination©.
So without further ado, here's my list of 7 things I think are cool about Supervillains that most heroes don't have.
I was sitting at work, building time standards. And I just felt the need to worship. I'm sitting there, cutting and pasting stuff, and I'm listening to P&W and I'm worshipping... just waves of grief and remorse and joy and longing and thankfulness washing over me.
I'm so unworthy. My heart is restless.
"Your grace is enough.... Your grace is enough for me...." If only I could get that to sink into my head.