Monthly Archives: March 2012
This isn’t just a post. This is a post explaining a lot of questions that many Christians, and non-Christians, often have. And that’s what this week is going to be mostly featuring; the stories of our universe and the world we live in. Understanding the why and how and who of our universe is key to our lives, and that’s what this week is all about.
Firstly, love is a choice. It is not merely fate, and it is not predetermined. That’s why it’s such a big deal that Jesus gave his life for us.
Everyday we choose. Right or wrong. We choose who our love goes to. And that’s the way God wanted it, too. He didn’t want us to be forced into his ways, and especially not out of them, so he gave us the choice of love. Adam and Eve are one of the best examples of this. The Garden of Eden was perfect and fantastic, but God did not fully hide the two from the face of evil. He gave them the same choice as us. It just so happens that they made the wrong one.
The sad thing is, if they truly loved God, they could have at least asked him about it. We know that God will listen to us if we ask him, and though we may face choices everyday which may challenge us, there is one choice that truly matters now and always. This choice is simply to choose Christ.
We were shown the kind of love we should display when God sent his only son to us, reduced to a limited, normal, and completely human person just like us. And not only did he reduce him, but he sacrificed him. For me. For you. And for the world.
God showed us sacrificial love of the greatest kind, and we know that God saved us through this. Now, we are given an even more literal choice. Jesus died to redeem our sins, to wash us white as snow, but we must first acknowledge this and accept him to receive this redemption. This is our choice. We may choose to love God and serve him, to be with him and have a relationship with him as he longs to, or we may not.
We are sent to follow Jesus’ example of love. Not only does this mean that we love our “neighbors” and everyone in this world, but we must also love God. While Jesus is of the trinity, he had to trust in the Father’s plan as he was suffering–dying upon the cross. And he didn’t do that for nothing. He did it so that we didn’t have to chase after false Gods, he did it so we didn’t have to suffer without him. As his creation, we are made to worship God and to serve him, and without him in our very lives, our lives are not complete.
Love is a choice. Adam and Eve made the wrong choice–and kind of messed it up for all of us–but we don’t have to make that choice. We have the opportunity to choose Christ and be redeemed, as God wishes us to. And even more than that, we can tell others about this simple choice which has a powerful effect in eternity.
Do you have a question about Christianity or a topic you would like featured this week? Get in contact with us and we’ll make a point to feature your topic!
What would happen if a competition was put out, for anyone who wanted to, to swim from London, across the English channel, and then across the entire Atlantic all the way to New York City? It would be pretty much impossible for any human to do, whether it was Michael Phelps or Dara Torres, there is just no way to swim that far. That is, for us.
Just for the illustration, imagine that an average guy off the street competed against Phelps in this competition. They would only get so far. Michael Phelps might get five times as far as the normal guy, but he would still be only a fraction of the distance there.
Now imagine yourself there, swimming, on and on and on, and you know you’ll never make it. But this is what we do every single day of our life. Most everyone strives for perfection, to better themselves. And there is only one person who can actually reach the goal of perfection, who can swim across the Atlantic, or move mountains.
He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger.” Job 9:5
“He moves mountains”. He created the moon and the stars and the sun and the sky and every one of us. God is incredibly powerful, and he is unimaginable. He is incomparable to anything we know or have seen. He is so beyond us. In fact, they have a word for that.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.” Psalm 22:3
God is holy. This literally means he is set apart, that he is so different and incomparable to anything else that he is completely separate. He is the definition of good, of wholesome, of truth–of holy. God is untouchable.
People may put down God. They may not understand the astonishing depth and expanse of his magnitude, but he is always greater, higher, and more powerful than anyone or anything. People wonder why God isn’t more obviously here, doing things here and there all the time, but maybe we should first consider just how unthinkable God is and how we don’t really even understand him, before we question him.
Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty!” Isaiah 2:10
This passage is about as literal as it gets when it comes to fearing God. And honestly, that’s what the Israelites did–they feared God. But why did they fear God? Does that mean we have to hide in rocks from God?
(No. As you may have guessed, we are not called to hide under rocks out of fear.)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Now I don’t usually whip out the King James Version, but this translation phrases this verse better than any other. It tells us that reborn in Christ (with “the spirit” God has given us) we are not people of fear any longer, and we are not meant to live that way. And that means the verse from Isaiah doesn’t mean we have to be afraid of God. It actually has a very different meaning. It means we need to live in total respect for him; that we need to put him completely first. It means that you need to be in awe of God.
If something is majestic, it makes you have respect for its position or stature. Dictionary.com defines ‘majestic’ as “of lofty dignity or imposing aspect”. Clearly, God is of lofty dignity, and he is certainly imposing. Having fear of the Lord means that we don’t imagine him as the harmless tooth-fairy who magically brings us everything we want and need, because that is not what God is. We have to recognize that he is imposing, he is powerful, and he is even more dignified than Queen Elizabeth. And that’s something that comes right along with being infinite and all-powerful. The God we serve is not just a big “hunk o’ love”. As we’ve been looking at this week, he is a lot more complex and incredible than we could have ever imagined.
God is so great and mighty we can never imagine it. If you think you can imagine all that God is, go read Revelation and your mind will be quickly changed. I was reading Revelation myself earlier today and I was amazed at the description of God’s throne in chapter 4. It is very important that we all learn of God’s great glory, and just because we don’t always see it on earth doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly great and powerful. The Lord is majestic beyond belief (yes, I listened to Petra). We have to let that be none to the world–but first among ourselves.
Today, a press event in San Francisco revealed a number of new Apple products, including the iOS 5.1 release, iTunes 10.6, a new 1080p Apple TV, and of course the new iPad. Apple presented the device about 1:23 pm this afternoon, and every minute after that we will all be waiting until the preorders begin on March 7th, but more importantly the release on the 16th. This new iPad is just about everything we all expected, and is really an incredible device, but has yet to be given an official name. Here’s the quick-take on new features:
- 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution (HD Retina Display)
- 4G LTE and 3G supported ($629 for 4 GB), or WiFi only ($499 for 4GB)
- A slight .6mm thicker than the iPad 2
- Dual-core A5X central processor
- Quad-core graphics processor
- Hotspot support
- Siri voice control
The iPad has us all drooling once again, especially as we are all impressed by the dedicated four-core GPU, but there are no features which make us all tear $600 out of our bank accounts for that 3G/4G/LTE version quite yet. There is hope for the wallet with the reduced iPad 2 price of $399 (16 GB).
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, if there is anything God is, I would personally consider him to be just–before anything else can describe him. Yesterday’s post on how God is jealous is now followed by how he is ultimately just.
I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. I will not look on you with pity; I will not spare you. I will surely repay you for your conduct and for the detestable practices among you. “‘Then you will know that I am the Lord.'” ” Ezekiel 7:3-4
Before you panic, close your browser and run for the hills, you should probably know that this verse does come from the prophecy of Israel’s judgment through Ezekiel, something which happened just, you know, a little while back. Nevertheless, we will be judged in the same way exactly, every sin being repaid. The difference today is that we do of course have a distinct advantage–Jesus Christ died to redeem our sins for us. Despite this advantage all people still must pay the price they owe, and God will ensure that as we can see above. It may seem a bit harsh, but God must be fair. It’s kind of a Yin/Yang situation…only completely different. God has to allow there to be evil in order for there to be love (see The Story of His Love).
The Lord Almighty is the judge of all. He is very straightforward when he says “I will judge you” directly. We are entitled to be judged like all others in the world. It’s only right that we have to suck up to everything we have done, although, contrary to what the below quote says, I don’t believe that God will truly hold sin against a family if they repent.
Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”” Exodus 34:5-7
If there is any message that gets preached way too much it is the stereotyped God-loves-you-and-has-a-plan-for-you message, referencing Jeremiah 29:11. But God is way more complicated than we can imagine and surprisingly enough there is much more to him. This week, our Geeks on Faith posts will be all about the often forgotten characteristics of God, starting today with God being jealous of you and me.
We usually wouldn’t think about something like this. The very Lord of All and King of Kings gets jealous over me? Oddly enough, yes.
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14
God is described as to have the very name of “Jealous”. It makes sense when you think about it: with love comes jealousy. We should all know that God loves us unfailingly and unconditionally, and with that he is jealous when we don’t give him any of our time or devotion.
The first thing I think of when it comes to jealousy is a ridiculous social drama all the way from 7th grade. What unsettled me most behind that stage was a girl who would simply not lay off me. She didn’t really talk to me or send me desperate love notes, she would simply stare at me. This girl, constantly, would follow me and stare at me and stalk me; she was obsessed with me. It got to the point where all my friends wanted to help, so we huddled up and came up with a plan–the kind of plan only middle school students could. Our plan was to make the girl who was so obsessed with me think that I was unavailable (Yes, at that time I understood very little about girls…even less than now.) Of course, I wasn’t actually dating the girl I wanted to yet, and she didn’t go to the school. Alternatively, we thought of the bright idea to ‘decoy’ the stalker. So, I pretended that I had a girlfriend who wasn’t really my girlfriend. It seemed to work for about the first five minutes and then it was clear it wasn’t solving the problem. But, like any good social drama, it came down to the show’s closing party. It all ended when the obsessive girl was found crying in the bathroom. Though that wasn’t even the real end to it all, I learned a lot about how not to handle a girl, and it eventually occurred to me that the girl who had stalked me had only been made more jealous.
God’s jealousy is a little different. He isn’t jealous over our spouses or girlfriends or boyfriends, and he doesn’t exactly stalk us either, but he does want us to spend time with him and to be devoted to him. He wants us to love him as he loves us. The Lord Almighty wants you to care about him and live your life for his glory and purpose.
Trust is injured with a few words. It’s delicate and fragile, and yet it’s breaking is something we see everyday–if we don’t experience it ourselves. People are constantly injuring or being injured, and the loop of pain and causing pain continues.
We are told people are cruel and will be this way in Isaiah. The prophet is inspired with countless messages and predictions, and this specific verse comes from a prophecy on God’s judgment of Israel. He says,
People will oppress each other–man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored.” Isaiah 3:5
I love the simplicity of the line above, saying, “people will oppress each other”. It really goes to show that cruelty is a fact of life and of nature that we have to learn to deal with. I was once told that “there is no such thing as bad people, only hurting people.” Every criminal, murderer, abusive father, or anyone who injures others is not evil, they simply have not received the redemption and life-changing power of Jesus Christ in their lives. And this is the power, the truth, that we must give all people.
This post is about two scenarios. The first is you or me being broken. The second is about everyone else in the world who is broken; the people we are sent to help.
The first step for us is accepting the truth that people’s oppression has existed and will exist always. Nonetheless, God’s redemption for us is available always, and his assistance is always ready, 24/7, to move in our lives. When we need it, when simply aren’t strong enough, God will absolutely move in our lives. There is another side, though. He also wants to make us stronger, and as we trek on through difficulty, trusting that he will come through, we are strengthened in spirit and in our relationship with God. In layman’s terms: trust God. The same applies to others, those saved and those not saved. As I described in yesterday’s post, when we faithfully believe in God, he supplies us spiritual (and physical) protection. Those who trust in the Lord are blessed.
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him…” Nahum 1:7
And not only does he care, he guards, protects, and supplies everything they need. The Lord cares for all, and he wants to have a relationship with all. Everyone can trust God. He will never break your trust or anyone else’s. That’s why no matter how broken anyone is, they can always come to the Lord.
It’s a dangerous world out there. And I’m not talking about just getting jumped or your house being broken into. There’s even greater threats.
Everyday, we face dangers of the spiritual type, and they tempt, torture, and beat us down. These things we face are often harder to deal with than physical threats. Nonetheless, there is security to be found in this difficulty.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
We are given protection by God in a supernatural way. When we believe and trust in him “through faith”, we are “shielded by God’s power”. Now, if you read yesterday’s Geeks on Faith post, you’ll remember that God has infinite power we often underestimate. That very power is there to protect us from the countless attacks on us. We are protected from ongoing attacks all around us–almost like a forcefield.
But how do we access this power in our lives? The answer is our faith. Just because God is protecting us doesn’t mean we won’t go through trials. We have to remain true to him as he remains true to us, praying, believing, and maintaining our faith and our relationship in him.
I was looking for a good subject for today’s Geeks on Faith post, and I looked on my favorite bible reference site, BibleGateway.com. Normally, I skip over the Verse of the Day, but today I really liked it. It reminded me of a song…
Yes, Daft Punk. Ok, so it’s not how you normally think of God, but when you think about what the song says and how we describe God, it makes sense. God is the epitome of perfect in every way. He is better, faster, and stronger than any human being, and we can’t match up to that (no matter how much we work out to inspirational music).
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
There are countless verses talking of God’s supremacy, his strength and greatness, and it really is an easy concept to forget. Being conscious of his ability to intervene and change us inside and outside is important to all of our lives everyday. It’s a short message, but considering we can’t even begin to fathom an infinite God, it only makes sense that we forget God’s strength so easily, and that is what we need to prevent.
He has a plan for you, even if you aren’t better, faster, or stronger than anyone and if there’s anyone that can help you achieve in your life and find fulfillment–it’s God.
This week has been huge with Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress being earlier this week. We previously covered the first two days of the show, and here we’ll wrap it all up. There’s a lot to talk about in technology today, so we’d better hop to it. Look below for the best and baddest of each category.
- The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 makes previous Android tablets look like child’s play with its 10.1″ 1900 x 1200 pixel FHD Super IPS+ display with a wide 178° viewing angle. The new frontrunner tablet from Asus comes in two versions, the first, a WiFi version with a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip clocked to 1.6 Ghz, the other variant with a 1.5 Ghz chip and 4G LTE campatibility.
- Another promising tablet is theSamsung Galaxy Tab 2.0, having both the 7″ and 10.1″. The 7-inch offers similar specifications like their dual-core 1Ghz CPUs, but the major difference is that there is no micro-SD slot like the larger tablet. It is also notable that the 10-inch tablet offers an astonishing 7,000 mAh battery, while its counterpart has only 4,000 mAh. Nonetheless, these batteries could be a game-changer combined with Samsung’s new competitive pricing.
- Huwai surprised everyone with its new MediaPad 10 FHD, a tablet reportedly headed to the US and Europe and not only Huwai’s home in China. The tablet’s design befits the uninspired black-slab aesthetic, but it’s specifications are impressive.
- Samsung also has a somewhat interesting offering using the S-Pen technology from the Galaxy Note smartphone. The Galaxy Note 10.1 ICS tablet offers technology perfect for writing on and with your tablet, along with productivity applications such as Adobe Photoshop Touch. The new Note offers a dual-core 1.4 Ghz chip, and otherwise predictable specifications.
- The Samsung Galaxy Beam is the first major phone to be released western end of the world that is fully integrated with projector technology. The phone manages a thickness of just under half an inch (12.5mm), and can project a 640 x 360 pixel image about 4ft (about 1.2m). The phone has satisfying specs with its 4″ screen and dual-core 1GHz. The only phenomenal thing is the amazing 6GB of RAM included presumably for the projector.
- The only Windows Phone from MWC we haven’t covered is the Nokia Lumia 610. The smartphone isn’t a flagship device, but rather a mid to lower-end competitor with a very impressive design. It has a meager 256 MB of RAM, and could be a sign to fragmentation in Windows Phone, given some apps require a little more power under the hood. Given Nokia’s close work with Microsoft, it is expected that some issues will be addressed in the upcoming two-part Tango update for the platform. Horsepower aside, the device is nice, and could be a strong competitor for lower end markets and third world countries, strengthening the platforms worldwide presence.
- The Lava Xolo X900 is a device which is the first to present Android ICS on a Intel Atom Medfield powered device. The 1.6 GHz chip sets it apart, along with its NFC, HDMI, and HD recording and playback. The India-based company Lava has done something currently unprecedented in processor technology with Intel, and it will be interesting to see if it becomes more popular.