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1/4/2017 4:43 PM
Minister of Christ Jesus
(Tyrone Alexander)
 
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There has been a lot of interest in playing video games on cell phones and other mobile devices in recent years. One of the most recent gaming obsessions is Pokemon Go. People go to public places and linger for hours staring at their cell phones as they play the game. Some people get completely obsessed with playing it, much like people get obsessed with any addiction. It consumes all their free time and money.

These obsessions can become addictions that control people's lives if they don't keep their behavior in check. I've seen these addictions come from video games, Internet chatting, and even hobbies and leisure activities, like motorcycling.

The addictions can destroy a person's life just like chemical addictions to alcohol or drugs. If we allow these material things to control our lives, our spiritual eyes quickly dim and we can be in danger of becoming blind to things that are much more important, such as spending time with people and doing activities that bare worthwhile fruits.
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23)
God demonstrated these concepts to a teen who was spending too much time playing video games, like Pokemon Go. The photo above shows a "God's Eye" he made during a summer camp. I noted how he had the green and blue yarn inside and the black yarn covered almost everything. From symbolism I learned about God's guidance, I knew green stood for Life and blue stood for the Holy Spirit or the Waters of God's Spirit.

We are supposed to live by God's Spirit (the blue yarn) and walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25), which is to live by God's guidance for us, as well as, letting the Holy Spirit in us control us. Doing so gives us Life (the green yarn) instead of death because then we will conduct our lives towards righteousness instead of sin. It brings blessings instead of curses.

However, when our eyes become dark we become blind to doing what is right (the black yarn) and will walk life by the flesh and in sin, which brings death, because the things God wants us to do and understand are blocked by the darkness in our eyes (the black yarn).

When I told the teen how his God's Eye reflected his attitudes and priorities and that it was God's way of telling him to change his dark eyes, he was dumbfounded, even scared that God could control him and speak in such a way.

But I've seen the Lord speak in ways like this before - controlling works, like art and music and especially Scripture, in detailed ways to speak a message. If the world would see how dark their eyes have become, how much more bright life would we enjoy.
 
What does a mirror say about the public? 3/29/2016 1:58 PM
A Microsoft artificial intelligence experiment recently failed by turning into a strange parody of logical thinking, or really illogical thinking. Tay, the name of the program, was designed to simulate a teenager to converse with people on Twitter, but it turned into a promiscuous, genocidal racist. Microsoft had to shut down the program in less than 24 hours.

This AI failure seems amusing on the outset, but there's a serious point to be had. The "robot" learned from the people it conversed with on the Internet, so it basically mirrored the mentality of the public, or at least the Twitter public, which is very popular with teens and young adults. I'm afraid that sampling of the public can be generalized more widely, because so much of the same mentalities of promiscuity, hate and anger are promoted in popular media throughout western society and our country, especially.

It's disturbing to see the people of once Godly nations behaving so ungodly. May the world wake up to what is wrong with its thinking and return to God in ways that produce permanent good fruits. Let it be through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Reference: http://www.timesofisrael.com/microsoft-drops-chatbot-made-into-hitler-loving-monster-on-twitter
 
Protecting pornography also protects prostitution 3/14/2016 6:21 PM
The ban of a pedophilic book by Ireland's censorship board recently took to the news. The book was published by a United States pornography distributor and is the first book in 18 years to be banned by the board. When I looked for references to it in media, I was dismayed to see it was only discussed in conjunction with the news from Ireland. Child pornography is illegal in the States yet I saw no mention of it in American media in the first ten or so pages of search results for the book.

When I looked closer at United States child pornography laws, I saw a reason why the book was ignored. The laws only made visual depictions of child porn illegal and does not address anything written or non-visual.

Our laws need to change to prohibit all forms of child porn. The First Amendment for the freedom of speech is often brought up to justify the unrestricted production of material, but I don't see any difference between written or any other non-visual forms of pornography with forms using images. I commend Ireland for banning the book. It is righteous to not allow that material into their country. Pornography degrades people's morals when it is accepted, however, I would like to see countries everywhere go further and ban pornography and its production in general.

Pornography of any kind harms people by allowing sexual immorality and its mind-sets to be perpetuated and then acted upon. Making pornography is actually no different than other forms of prostitution and when you use it to satisfy your lusts then it is also no different than participating with the prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:15-16; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). Why then should pornography be protected by laws when prostitution is a crime?

The wide-spread acceptance of porn and overly sexual material in media has been corrupting the morals of every culture it's been allowed in. There is little moral value in that kind of material or in protecting people from making it, such as with First Amendment arguments. It's like legalizing prostitution, abortion, and other sins. Doing so serves to make immorality acceptable, which brings about the acceptance of more and more sin. When that happens people can no longer see the difference between right and wrong, and society as a whole goes down dark paths it cannot return from. Unfortunately, this country and many more around the world are already too far down the wrong paths. It can only bring disaster in the end.

Reference: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Ireland-censorship-board-bans-first-book-in-18-years.html
 
A sign to the people 3/11/2016 10:41 AM
I found this bread interesting considering the times we're in of national judgment and warning for our country and others all over the world. Ezekiel 4:9 is where the prophet is told to symbolically siege Jerusalem and then lay on his side and eat the grain bread as a sign to the people that their nation would fall to Babylon. When I see this I weep as Jesus did as He approached Jerusalem and saw the city saying, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace..." (Luke 19:41). May people know they must turn from sin and go back to God's true ways to have peace for their lives, families and countries.

 
The Slippery Slope of Popular Media 2/6/2016 11:17 AM
Popular media can be a slippery slope. Have you paid attention to the lyrics and themes used in popular music, TV shows and movies? Songs on the radio and popular media constantly talk about sex, lust and other inappropriate focuses. TV, movies and Internet media do the same things. They are too brazen in showing lust in all kinds of things and do little or nothing to show those focuses corrupt us. Many even idolize those lusts and pursuits, which makes people covet them and chase after them all the more. All this media is popular because people think it's amusing or arousing; they accept it all too readily. But children, especially, should not be taught to accept those things before they're mature enough to see what is right and wrong.

Acceptance of sin and unrighteous behavior is a slippery slope that escalates what may seem trivial, like excessively crude jokes, into more and more serious sin that will bring great harm because you begin to think that behavior is fine, such as having unwed sex or supporting abortion. That kind of thinking and the acceptance of sin is what brings down great nations. It happened in Russia and is happening to the United States and other nations around the world now.

We can't control everything our children are exposed to. We must live in this world, not become xenophobes or isolationists. After all, how can we help people with God's Light if we only keep to ourselves and communities of like-minded people?

However, we must protect Godly values and wisdom and trust God to keep our loved ones safe when we cannot. Our responsibly as Godly parents, teachers and leaders is to make sure our children know what is right and wrong in God's eyes and that accepting the wrong focuses of the world is not what God wants. Teach them and pray for them so they are strengthened in true righteous wisdom, because not all church or spiritual wisdom is truly from God. Do that so they will turn away from committing sin when they are tempted.
"[God and salvation through Christ] teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age... these are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority..." (Titus 2:11-15)
 
Proper Sex Education 1/11/2016 2:19 PM
I agree with Hayim Ezra Ani's last note in this Times of Israel article - we must change how we teach children about sex. Sex ed needs to cover more than our maturing bodies and scare tactics to make us afraid of sex should not be used. The plain truth is best.

However, Hayim is missing some very important points. One is that it's the parents' responsibility first (not schools) to educate their children about sex at the right age, which is not the teen years but much earlier. For people of God, this is especially relevant because the Lord told us to teach our children His laws and commands (Deuteronomy 4:9, 11:19, Psalm 78:5-7), which does include things related to sex, marriage and appropriate relationships.

Parents should not make the excuse that teaching their children about sex is uncomfortable. There aren't many more beneficial things than teaching our children the truth when it comes to God and how He wants us to live, because if we know how to avoid sin and what it truly is, then we will have much more blessed lives. How could we as loving parents deny them the best future they could have?

Another important point is the proper age to talk about sex is not in the teen years but pre-teen, somewhere around 10 or 11 years old. Why? I've heard far too many stories of kids in grade school (aged 12 or less) having intercourse and getting pregnant. I heard about them when I was in grade school and that was decades ago. Children need to know as soon as possible what is appropriate intimacy, what is sex, and what God wants us to do related to those things - kissing and touching breasts or buttocks is not sex, penetration of the woman in any way by the man, though, is sexual intercourse and is reserved for marriage. Kids really shouldn't be touching each others' genitals at all before marriage.

Popular culture is too full of sex and romance, which makes children think they need those kind of relationships and worse, that sexual relationships are fine for their age or before marriage. I see pre-teens seeking boyfriends and girlfriends and coveting those relationships. It's not a healthy way to look at life even if they are generally innocent relationships. "Dating" in grade school is often just a closer friendship and limited to holding hands, but it isn't a good way to have relationships, especially at that age. Dating of any kind sets our focus on the wrong things, like trying to satisfy your partner in ways you should not, and it will lead to more serious things, such as sex and dependence on those kind of relationships. We should be teaching our kids to be dependent on God first, and not to take comfort in unhealthy relationships or activities.

Teaching our kids the right things to focus on will make them more ready for when they do have intimate relationships. They will be able to see what is right and wrong and be strong enough to refuse inappropriate advances because they've set their mind on doing what is right in God's eyes and not on pleasing anyone else.

Reference: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/lets-talk-about-sex

Material before spiritual? 1/10/2016 6:28 PM
Jonathan Sacks makes a good point in this Times of Israel article. Physical circumstances do greatly affect how we perceive the world and what we wish to listen to. However, Jonathan goes too far with making one's physical situation the highest priority. This does not apply to every person or situation, especially if you see the world with spiritual eyes.

Jonathan is coming from a world-centric Jewish viewpoint, which is not God's way nor was it ever. The Lord simply wasn't very obvious or explicit in revealing that, but if you look to see how God often did things in the Old Testament/Torah, He did not make physical needs or satisfaction the highest priority. He let people wait in longing or suffering before He delivered them or gave the desires of their heart. Consider Hannah and her prayer in 1 Samuel and Abraham and Sarah's very long wait to have the promised child, Isaac, and Jacob's seven plus seven years of labor so he could marry Rachel.

The reasons why God allows us to suffer or brings suffering or makes us wait a long time are many. Our suffering can come from our sin or the Lord can take a long time because He wants to work circumstances a certain way. Our long trials are also meant to build us up and mature us into more perfected people.

God's Will is also a factor in many things people often don't think are His Will, such as so much suffering coming to individuals, peoples and nations. But you see throughout God's recorded Word that He brings disaster for good reasons. The tribulations of Israel and the Jews through the centuries and still today are in large part due to their sin. They reject God, not entirely, but they reject His commands and desires, which was why the Jews had so many bad things come to them in the Old Testament.

The Lord said He was doing a new thing where a woman will encompass a man (Jeremiah 31:22). This "thing" has come to pass as He was speaking of His Bride for Himself in Christ Jesus. Like Jonathan, who is speaking from a limited viewpoint of things in the article, the Jews who reject Christ also are living by a limited view of things. God made Jesus their Eternal King and wants all people, including the Jews, to live under His Kingship. What would you do in the next life to be shown that you were living in rebellion to God by rejecting Christ?

You could attest to being a Jew under the Law of Moses, which is a valid argument, but that is a very heavy yoke to live under, because all who live by that Law must live by all of it as God gave it and not as by what men think it is or changed (Galatians 5:3). Christ broke that yoke and gives us a much better option for living as one of God's. God revealed how He wants people to live and what to focus on first through Jesus - the spiritual comes first (His Kingdom and righteousness), then He provides all the rest (Matthew 6:33). So simply taking care of physical needs first isn't always the best route. We need to know what God wants in all situations and then follow His Will, so prayer and waiting on God's guidance is essential to have a Godly life. That is also a part of spiritual first. We can't live life as a Godly people by seeing and taking care of the physical first.

Reference: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/spirits-in-a-material-world-vaera-covenant-conversation-5776-on-spirituality
 
Over doing "can do" 1/10/2016 6:25 PM
The "can do" way of thinking this Israel Times article promotes is off. There is great value in humility. The Lord did say the meek will inherit the earth and He values our show of peace and love for one another more than having an authoritative stance. There are times for being humble and for being authoritative. We don't always have to look confident. The issue of "shrinkers" and using confident speech is overemphasized here. I am also a writer and just because you use "just" or "actually" or any other "shrinkers" does not mean they modify the context negatively. My use of "just" just now shows that. The reader's attitude, background and viewpoint also matters a lot on how they perceive wording, so simply trying to get rid of certain words will not help your perception to others as much as the people who made the Gmail plug-in hope it would. I also don't believe there is anything wrong with saying I'm sorry when something goes wrong, even if it isn't your fault. It shows your empathy and if you start to hold back apologies, you start to think too proudly and will be less likely to own up to your own mistakes. That is a very bad and common way of thinking in Western culture today. If you're always trying to get away from being blamed, you will blame others and not fix the problems you have to fix yourself. I also agree with the other comments here about simply being polite and respectable. It is a good standard that has been dying because of Western cultures' overemphasis on freedom and underemphasis on disciplining our youth appropriately.

Reference: http://www.timesofisrael.com/make-a-new-years-resolution-to-communicate-confidently
 
  7/10/2011 12:12 PM

"Love's Target" - Last night a heavy storm blew through. It kept my sleep fragmented, so I woke up late in the morning... see full blog here...

What If 9/27/2010 11:53 AM

Earlier this week I was moved to pray for a friend who was straying from Christian ideals. Later that day, she told me to check out a song she liked called "What If" by Nichole Nordeman. I wasn't familiar with the song or artist, but when I checked them out I found the theme jolted something from my past life. Turns out God wasn't quite done with the remembering lesson... see full blog here...

Connecting the dots 9/11/2010 1:01 PM

A thing about the Lake Andrew biker retreat I went to was that I talked about my pride and how God's been working to fix that in my heart these past couple years... see full blog here...

Hold Out 7/26/2010 9:39 AM

"I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired..." Psalm 77:6 ... see full blog here...




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