Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Dark Humor (Watchmen)





The total rejection of established laws and institutions.

Anarchy. Terrorism. Other revolutionary activity.

Total, absolute destructiveness to the world at large,
including oneself.


The denial of all real existence or even the possibility
of truth.

Nothingness.

Nonexistence.


It assumes that life is

"A tale

told by an idiot,

full of sound and fury,

signifying nothing.”


It makes virtue into

"an honorable form of stupidity."

It forces wisdom to become nothing more than

"mistrustful"

"contradictions."


Everything becomes nothing. Worthless.

In the end, it seems, there's only one guy left laughing:


"Edward Morgan Blake. Born 1924. Forty-Five years a comedian, died 1985, buried in the rain.

Is that what happens to us? A life of conflict with no time for friends... Violent lives, ending violently... We never die in bed. Not allowed.

Something in our personalities, perhaps? Some animal urge to fight and struggle, making us what we are? Unimportant. We do what we have to do. Others bury their heads between the swollen teats of indulgence and gratification, piglets squirming beneath a sow for shelter... but there is no shelter... and the future is bearing down like an express train.

Blake understood. Treated it like a joke, but he understood. He saw the cracks in society, saw the little men in masks trying to hold it together... He saw the true face of the twentieth century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it.

No one else saw the joke. That's why he was lonely.

Heard a joke once:

Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says 'Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. Says 'But, Doctor... I am Pagliacci.'" Rorschach.

The Comedian was the first of the Watchmen to die.
And, with him went his perspective.

Perhaps he was the only one of these heroes who was able to see the world as it really was. He knew that men lived, men died, people laughed, and people cried. There was nothing he could do against the violence, death, warmongering, and hate surrounding him. Still, he had had a life filled with orders that he had to fulfill. He accomplished things unthinkable to most men. And, perhaps worst of all, he enjoyed it.

Now, this wasn't your typical kind of enjoyment. It wasn't out of giddy laughter or playfulness. He didn't succeed by giggling and chuckling until his murder-count was through the rough. He survived because he saw the futility of the world. He recognized the meaninglessness behind it all. There was no merit or reason for death. There was no purpose behind wisdom, virtues, morals, or even life. But, instead of giving in and caving to the depression that nihilism should bring to any sane individual. The Comedian saw the world laughing at him in his futility. And, instead of crying or backing away, he chimed in with the laughter.

He became part of the joke.


But, even in his sick, twisted, corrupt, and perhaps accurate view of the world, he failed to find purpose. His lunacy lacked meaning. And, he was alone, lost in nihilism. This is the fate of all those who follow the patterns of this world.


If we live in a world where "The question of truth and the question of what is good cannot be separated from each other." And, "If we can no longer recognize what is true and can no longer distinguish it from what is false, then it becomes impossible to recognize what is good; the distinction between good and evil loses its basis."

When we take truth out of the picture, as nihilism does, there is no good. In fact, there is no bad either. Life just is what it is. Whatever that should be. And, we are just another part of the same bad joke.


All is vanity.

What does it mean to gain
by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes...

The sun rises, and the sun goes down
 and hastens to the place where it rises...

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full...

All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;

the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new'?
It has been already in ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be..."


"What is crooked cannot be made straight,

and what is lacking cannot be counted.

I have said in my heart, 'I have acquired great wisdom...'

And I applied my heart to know wisdom
and to know madness
and folly.

I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge
increases sorrow."

The more that we apply ourselves to know the things of the world, everything under the sun, the more we know its meaninglessness. Purpose cannot be found in this kingdom. It can never be accurately found or known in the physical because it is something metaphysical. It is the Logos, the Word, the Flesh of Christ. Here, His sacrifice, His purpose, His reason and meaning are the only grounds we have to cling to something more... something meaningful.

I admit, there are other idols out there. Aphrodite, Loki, and Mammon... the worship of sex, mischief, glutton  and money run rampant through our streets. And, those are only the most obvious. What about worshiping performing works? Worshiping learning and knowledge? Worshiping the way we worship?

These all come up short.

Just as the leaves fall in autumn and rocks erode beneath sea-waves, these gods fall away. Our appetites for them cease. They bear no real substance to sustain our souls. They are too defeated by nihilism.

But, One lasts. One remains. One has carried all of our meaninglessness and rambling on His bloodied back to bring purpose into the purposeless world. So that now we too can have meaning in our lives through Him. Through His Word, through His Love, through His gifts. There is Reason behind our lives, not just Chaos.

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain."

The Lord has watched over this city,
He has remained with His people,
and He has fulfilled His covenant through Christ.

If only those like the Comedian could have found the Purpose before it was too late.
Then, he would have found a whole different type of joy.
"For the joy of the Lord is your strength."



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Silk Spectre (Watchmen)



"No eye pitied you... out of compassion for you...


You were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred...

When I passed by you and saw you... I said to you... 'Live!' ... 'Live!' ...

You flourish like a plant of the field.


And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment.


Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown;


Yet you were naked and bare.

When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love,

and I spread the corner of my garment over you

and covered your nakedness;

I made my vow with you and entered into a covenant with you...

and you became mine.



I bathed you with water...

washed off your blood... and anointed you...

I clothed you... I wrapped you in fine linen

and covered you with silk.

And I adorned you... with gold and silver...

You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty...



Your renown went forth... because of your beauty,

for it was perfect

through the splendor that I had bestowed on you...


You trusted in your beauty


and played the whore...

on any passer-by;

your beauty became his...


And in all your abominations and your whorings

you did not remember the days of your youth,

when you were naked and bare [and I clothed you]...

[You] made your beauty and abomination,

offering yourself to any passer-by

and multiplying your whoring...

Even with this you were not satisfied.

How lovesick is your heart...

because you did all these things,

the deeds of a brazen prostitute...


Yet you were not like a prostitute,

because you scorned payment.


Adulterous wife,

who receives strangers

instead of her husband!


Men give gifts to all prostitutes,

but you gave your gifts to all your lovers,

bribing them to come to you...


So you were different from other women in your whorings.

No one solicited you to play the whore

and you gave payment,

while no payment was given to you;

therefore you were different...


I will gather all your lovers...

and will uncover your nakedness to them,

that they may see all your nakedness.

And I will judge you as women who

commit adultery and shed blood are judged,

and bring upon you

the blood of wrath and jealousy...



They shall strip you of your clothes

and take your beautiful jewels

and leave you naked and bare..."


Silk Spectre's past has been riddled with abuse and despair, sex and distrust, scandals and hate. She has sojourned through life not being able to confide in her own mother, ignorant to the identity of her father, and lost in a sea of violence.


It is no wonder that by the time of Watchmen, she has become a woman able to allow a man who may not have a soul to fall in love her, a woman who cheats on a blue god with a simple man, and a woman who would rather live behind a mask than face the pains of reality.

This is the same place that Israel has finds herself in Ezekiel 16. She no longer remembers her identity. Her covenant and her creator, her lover and her God, have become distant memories to who she has become. Lost in slavery, covered in blasphemy, and drowning in misery, the Israelites had become nothing more than a lost, beaten, and abused whore. Not even a prostitute, but a whore.

She had given herself away.



It might have been due to the pressure of literal and mental slavery, the lack of patience with the God of patience, or the lust of wickedness and the neglect of righteousness. No matter the reason, Israel has found herself far away from where she had started, loyal and loved.

She had turned on the only one who had ever loved her, the one who had always been there for her, the one who swore to continue to be there for her, the one who not only created her, but sustained her and more than once has saved her.

For that, she deserved nothing more than the wrath of her abused husband and the death penalty prescribed to an adulterous wife.

Before Christ, Israel had payed the price for her unfaithfulness. But, our God still refused to give up on His vow to His woman.

"I will make you stop playing the whore,

and you shall also give payment no more.



So will I satisfy my wrath on you,

and my jealousy shall depart from you.



I will be calm and will no more be angry...



I will remember my covenant

with you in the days of your youth,

and I will establish for you

an everlasting covenant...

and you shall know that I am the Lord,

that you may remember and be confounded...



when I atone for you

all that you have done,

declares the Lord God."


God's continued faithfulness has done more than just forgiven us for our adulterous ways. He has remained true to His word. He has not only kept His promise, He has secured us with buying eternity for us and atoning us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

And, unlike Israel, we can remember. Although we were naked, He clothed us. Although we rebel, He forgives us. And, although we run from Him, He finds us.

Even in this screwed up world, there is still one thing person who remains true.

And, He shouts out to us, "Live!" "Live!"

His eye pities us. He allows us to flourish with His continued sustenance. He clothes us with righteousness. He bathes us in Baptism. He cleanses us from our dirty ways. And, He adorns us as His beautiful and only body and Bride.


"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jer. 31:3.










A Ravi Letter



Dear Friend,

If you’ve followed the itinerary, I had planned to be in Australia for ten days of meetings in the latter part of January. By God’s grace, those meetings went extremely well. We were in three cities: Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth. The turnout was incredible. There were never less than 1500 people present and in every instance, the auditorium full with overflow capacity opened up. I am amazed again to see how many young people come to these meetings. Students from various backgrounds are the principal audience and always want a time for questions. At the last meeting, the altar was crowded with every square inch in the front taken with people kneeling in submission to the Lord. It was a beautiful sight to see hundreds at the front. Even the engagements in Melbourne, at one of Australia’s largest churches, saw a packed crowd for both meetings.

Prior to Australia, I did an open forum at UCLA and, along with Michael Ramsden, answered questions for an hour. Then we lingered another hour with a huge lineup of students waiting to talk. The Lord is blessing these efforts and we are privileged to be in the thick of such evangelism.

Thank you for standing with us, and thank you for all your support and encouragement. The year continues with opportunities and challenges.


Ravi Zacharias

PLEASE PRAY FOR RAVI AND THE TEAM

Ravi will be speaking to cadets and soldiers at the United States Military Academy at West Point next week at private events. Ravi will also speak at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando, Florida, and will address the topic "He Is Risen Indeed."

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More Ravi Zacharias:

Critical Thinking

Letters

Videos


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Everlasting Man | Eastern Philosophy

"The lover of myth is in a certain way philosophic, since a myth is composed of wonders." Aristotle Metaphysics 982b


"There is indeed in such an image something of the soul of Asia which is less sane than the soul of Christendom. We should call it despair, even if they would call it peace. (p.64)...

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Another important tradition descends from Pythagoras; who is significant because he stands nearest to the Oriental mystics who must be considered in their turn. He taught a sort of mysticism of mathematics, that number is the ultimate reality; but he also seems to have taught the transmigration of souls like the Brahmins; and to have left to his followers certain traditional tricks of vegetarianism and water-drinking very common among the eastern sages, especially those who figure in fashionable drawing-rooms, like those of the later Roman Empire. But in passing to eastern sages, and the somewhat different atmosphere of the east, we may approach a rather important truth by other path...

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China is a society that has really chosen to believe in intellect. It has taken intellect seriously; and it may be that it stands alone in the world. From a very early age it faced the dilemma of the king and the philosopher by actually appointing a philosopher to advise the king. It made a public institution out of a private individual, who had nothing in the world to do but to be intellectual (p.83)...

Confucius was not a religious founder or even a religious teacher; possibly not even a religious man. He was not an atheist; he was apparently what we call an agnostic. But the really vital point is that it is utterly irrelevant to talk about his religion at all.

Confucius was not there to bring a message from heaven to humanity, but to organise China; and he must have organised it exceedingly well. It follows that he dealt much with morals; but he bound them up strictly with manners...

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Philosophy and mythology seldom came to an open rupture. It was not only because there was something a little frivolous about the mythology. It was also because there was something a little supercilious about the philosopher. He despised the myths, but he also despised the mob; and thought they suited each other. The pagan philosopher was seldom a man of the people, at any rate in spirit; he was seldom a democrat and often a bitter critic of democracy. He had about him an air of aristocratic and humane leisure; and his part was most easily played by men who happened to be in such a position (p.84)...

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The princely sage is Gautama, the great Lord Buddha. I know he is not generally classed merely with the philosophers; but I am more and more convinced from all information that reaches me, that this is the real interpretation of his immense importance. He was by far the greatest and the best of these intellectuals born in the purple. His reaction was perhaps the noblest and most sincere of all the resultant actions of that combination of thinkers and of thrones. For his reaction was  renunciation...

The great Gautama was the only one of them [philosophers of nobility] who proved he could really do without his palace (p.85)...

Those who seem to be nearest to the study of Buddha, and certainly those who write most clearly and intelligently about him, convince me for one that he was simply a philosopher who founded a successful school of philosophy, and was turned into a sort of divus or sacred being merely by the more mysterious and unscientific atmosphere of all such traditions in Asia. So that it is necessary to say at this point a word about that invisible yet vivid border-line that we cross in passing from the Mediterranean into the mystery of the East...

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Christendom does believe, for Christianity does believe, that man can eventually get somewhere, here or hereafter, or in various ways according to various doctrines. The world's desire can somehow be satisfied as desires are satisfied, whether by a new life or an old love or some form of positive possession and fulfilment...

For most of Asia... It is no longer merely a rather topsy-turvy sort of world; it is a wheel. ... they have been caught up in a sort of cosmic rotation, of which the hollow hub is really nothing. In that sense the worst part of existence is that it may just as well go on like that forever (p.86)...

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Reincarnation is not really a mystical idea. It is not really a transcendental idea, or in that sense a religious idea. Mysticism conceives something transcending experience; religion seeks glimpses of a better good or a worse evil than experience can give. Reincarnation need only extend experiences in the sense of repeating them... His successive lives need not be any more than human lives, under whatever limitations burden human life. It has nothing to do with seeing God or even conjuring up the devil. In other words, reincarnation as such does not necessarily escape from the wheel of destiny, in some sense it is the wheel of destiny (p.87)...

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I can understand that Buddhists might resent the view that Buddhism is merely a philosophy, if we understand by a philosophy merely an intellectual game such as Greek sophists played, tossing up worlds and catching them like balls. 

Perhaps a more exact statement would be that Buddha was a man who made a metaphysical discipline; which might even be called a psychological discipline. He proposed a way of escaping from all this recurrent sorrow; and that was simply by getting rid of the delusion that is called desire.

If once a man realised that there is really no reality, that everything, including his soul, is in dissolution at every instant, he would anticipate disappointment and be intangible to change, existing (in so far as he could be said to exist) in a sort of ecstasy of indifference. The Buddhists call this beatitude... certainly to us it is indistinguishable from despair. I do not see, for instance, why the disappointment of desire should not apply as much to the most benevolent desires as to the most selfish ones.

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The mind of Asia can really be represented by a round 0, if not in the sense of a cypher at least of a circle. The great Asiatic symbol of a serpent with its tail in its mouth is really a very perfect image of a certain idea of unity and recurrence that does indeed belong to the Eastern philosophies and religions. It really is a curve that in one sense includes everything, and in another sense comes to nothing. In that sense it does confess, or rather boast, that all argument is an argument in a circle. And
though the figure is but a symbol, we can see how sound is the symbolic sense that produces it, the parallel symbol of the Wheel of Buddha generally called the Swastika [originally a positive Eastern symbol before Nazism borrowed it].

The cross is a thing at right angles pointing boldly in opposite directions; but the Swastika is the same thing in the very act of returning to the recurrent curve. That crooked cross is in fact a cross turning into a wheel.

Before we dismiss even these symbols as if they were arbitrary symbols, we must remember how intense was the imaginative instinct that produced them or selected them both in the east and the west. The cross has become something more than a historical memory; it does convey, almost as by a mathematical diagram, the truth about the real point at issue; the idea of a conflict stretching outwards into eternity. It is true, and even tautological, to say that the cross is the crux of the whole matter. 

In other words the cross, in fact as well as figure, does really stand for the idea of breaking out of the circle that is everything and nothing. It does escape from the circular argument by which everything begins and ends in the mind.

But while many fancies might be used as figures of the truth, the truth itself is abstract and absolute; though it is not very easy to sum up except by such figures. Christianity does appeal to a solid truth outside itself; to something which is in that sense external as well as eternal. It does declare that things are really there; or in other words that things are really things [something many (including current) philosophies deny]--In this Christianity is at one with common sense; but all religious history shows that this common sense perishes except where there is Christianity to preserve it (p.88-89)..."

"The rivers of mythology and philosophy run parallel and do not mingle till they meet in the sea of Christendom...The truth is that the Church was actually the first thing that ever tried to combine reason and religion (p.71)..."

"I spoke once with an Indian missionary who told me that the Eastern mind has an inveterate tendency toward amalgamation. He said Hindus upon hearing the Gospel would smile and say, “Sub ehki eh, sahib, sub ehki eh!” (“All is One, sahib, All is One!” [Hindustani speakers forgive my transliteration!]). It made it almost impossible to reach them because even logical contradictions were subsumed in the whole. He said that he thought the reason God gave Israel so many arbitrary commands about clean and unclean was to teach them the Law of Contradiction!" William Lane Craig

The Watchmaker (Watchmen)



Jon Osterman's father was a watchmaker and he expected to become one as well. But, after Hiroshima, he knew there was more potential in studying Nuclear Science. A lab accident turned Jon into a glowing, blue, super-powered being. He was soon contracted by the United States under the name of "Doctor Manhattan."

He is the only member of the Watchmen who possesses real superpowers.


These powers changed Jon from being an average, slightly nerdy, scientist to a being beyond any human capacity. His powers took a toll on his life that no one really saw coming. They say, "It's lonely at the top." And, in this loneliness, Jon began to lose his humanity.

Whenever the movie Watchmen is brought up, most people say, "Isn't that the one with the naked blue guy?" Manhattan's appearance is extremely unique, not only to the film, but even from our perspective. There's a glowing nude guy walking around. And, he's unstoppable. That's a scary thought. But, did you know that Manhattan's bare for a reason?

As Manhattan becomes more and more distant from humanity, he loses more and more of his clothes. Before the accident, Jon is always seen in a suit. He's professional. He's clothed. But, after he accidentally enters a sort of godhood, Manhattan goes from wearing a black super-suit to wearing almost no clothing at all. And, by the time his girlfriend walks out on him, he's completely naked (besides public appearances). His mind has seemingly left humanity all-together. And, he goes off into self-imposed exile on Mars.
Just think of it, going from almost nobody to becoming a god... Of course he would lose his humanity. His power is supreme over matter and time. He becomes disinterested in man. As Aristotle supposed, Manhattan seems to go on to consider things that are worth his consideration. As a god, he understands the world as only a god could. And, he goes on to consider only godly things, namely himself and the cause of his existence.





As Manhattan contemplates his course, he comes to one final conclusion: The Watchmaker. There is a dangerous step in between Atheism and Christianity: Deism. There are those who believe in a god. But, they think he must have moved away. After, he set the world into motion, it became self-sufficient. It no longer needed him. So, he moved on. And, the world, like a watch, kept on ticking.


If that is the case, we've stumbled upon more questions than answers. We may run into Dawkins' pestering question: "Well, then, who created the creator?" But, anyone who has had a minute amount of philosophy in their schooling should be able to answer with Aristotle's first cause: There must be something without a beginning in order to set everything else into motion. In the long line of cause and effect, there needs to be a first domino. Not only that, the first domino has to be set off by the person's finger or other outside influence.

It is evident that there are effects all around us. And, the most solid solution to these effects is a first cause. Still, Aristotle leaves us at the same place as the Deists. Even with a first cause, the creator-god, we come up empty in the present.

Something that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, hardly seems to be relate-able in the present. In fact, it would seem that an ancient and distant first cause would have almost nothing to do with us here and now... let alone even consider us in his thoughts.

We are left to ponder, stupefied, just like Manhattan.

There would seem to be no reason, no purpose, no explanation to anything... let alone, everything.


Here, again, we've made one fatal mistake. We've made a god in our image. We've created something arrogant enough to go and contemplate itself, a creature prideful enough to forget about those beneath him, a being so perfect that he has no room for the imperfect. We've created a monster.

Could a (morally) perfect being really ignore its creation?

Again, it is not God who has turned his face away from us, but we have turned our faces away from Him. We haven't readily accepted His own revelation. His gift of understanding Him (the Scripture).

And, we have come to our own, far-fetched conclusion. As Manhattan has already stated, "If there is a God, I am nothing like him."


In reality, God never left. You heard me. Never. The same One who was there at the beginning has continued to work with His creation. He has revealed Himself on mountaintops and burning bushes, still small voices and booming clouds.

Most importantly of all, He has revealed himself through Jesus Christ. He has not only remained present in Being and Spirit, He has became Man. And, in his manhood, He did more than just direct us back to Himself He became the only sacrifice suitable for our permanent redemption. Through His payment, His human suffering death and resurrection, we have become as children of God.

Imagine how much of a sacrifice it had been to be God and become Man. Then, think of the blessing that it is now to know that we are children in God's eyes. He does not go off to ponder vague things, thinking only of Himself. He thinks of us. Just as a parent loves, cares for, and protects their child, He does for us. Just as a father instructs, encourages, and forgives his child, He does for us. Just as a mother bears, nurtures, and strengthens her children, He does for us.

And, here, we have the answer to perhaps the most important question: Why? It is a loving mercy, a caring grace, a heartfelt forgiveness, that God has remained faithful to us. This doesn't only answer the question of why He has remained, why He has sent His Son, and why we are now able to limitlessly love one another... This is the answer to why we were made in the first place.

He is outside of time. He remains consistent. His love remains consistent. He loved us even before time existed... before we existed.


But, still, we flee from Him. Like a smothered child, we take his grace for granted. We insist we can do without. Although the perfect being, the only pure person, God Himself, has become incarnate, lived, died, and rose for us, we turn the other way.

And, in doing so, we lose our humanity.

This reminds me of another man who had lost who he was:

"For a long time he had worn no clothes," like Manhattan he had forgot what it was to be human. He had lost his grip. He had lost most hope. "He had not lived in a house but among the tombs." He was as the dead, certain of his finality. "When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice,

'What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.'

Jesus then asked him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Legion,' for many demons had entered him" They feared Him. And, they listened to Him. These are demons we're talking about.

"Even the demons believe--and shudder!"

We must be careful. We must not be swayed by Atheist or Deist philosophies. For, if we are, we become more like Satan than God. And, more like demons than humans.

We were made in God's image. To know Him is to better-know ourselves. (Or, at least, who we should be.)

We were naked. He is the one who first clothed us. And, He is the one who re-clothed us with sanctification bought by the blood of His Son. He is the one who formed us into who we are. He is the one that has given us our humanity. But, not only that, He has bought us our eternity.

He is the one who stepped down from heaven to save us from our own filth and impurity. He cleansed us from the ashes and dust that we are. And, He has allowed us to be something more.

We must not only know God in a rational or empirical way, we cannot only believe that He exists, that He created everything, that He is God. We must also put our love and faith, our hope and trust in Him. He is our Father and our guide.

And, we are His children, His love, His heart, and His Bride. And, we belong with Him.

From Filth to Purity (Zechariah 3:1-5)




“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’

Picture yourself as Joshua. You have been quickly pulled out of the fire like the brand that fell in. (God reached into the secular world and pulled you out as one of His own.) You are stained with the filthy garment of sin which is all you’ve known. Jesus Christ, as the angel of the Lord, stands before you defending you from Satan and all else who would oppose you. He takes off your rags and gives you pure clothing. You now know Grace.

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes"

(Verses taken from Zechariah chapter 3 and Rev. 7:9.)