Pity…

I actually noticed this by accident.

Okay I lied. It was a miracle that I noticed this, and I am very grateful to God that He showed it to me. 🙂

I was meditating on this Psalm, and was struck by the beauty of its promises and truths, but was also struck by the oddity of the word choice in the KJV in verse 13 (http://bit.ly/9vJLku).

“Psalms 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”

Why ‘pity’? The context is comparing us to God, and how weak and frail we are, so the regular meaning for ‘pity’ fits in fine… but it still stuck with me.

So I looked it up in Strongs, and sure enough it had the ‘regular’ definition: compassion, mercy, etc. Very nice. (http://sir-emeth.com/bible/?T=OT&N=7355) It even has the word ‘fondle’ in there, which conjures up some beautiful images of our Father holding and loving us.

But.

The next word in the Strong’s concordance caught my eye. (Like when can I ever read just *one* word in a dictionary?)

Pitieth (the original word I looked up) was raw-kham’ (a verb). The next word was rakh’-am (the noun). Same word, two different accents, two different word forms. But the meaning made me weep.

http://sir-emeth.com/bible/?T=OT&N=7356

The Hebrew language and culture is built upon vivid word pictures, analogies, and similes. That is how they think. That is how they create their words. And the word for pity in the Hebrew…

Means…

Womb.

Because it *cherishes* the fetus.

Think about it.

God. The sovereign Lord of the universe and Savior of the world. He is as a womb to us, and we are as fetuses to Him. That is the word picture that David painted in Psalm 103, and that is the image that would have come to his hearer’s minds.

Wow.

We are absolutely helpless, incapable of sustaining ourselves, feeding ourselves, protecting ourselves, growing ourselves, or anything. We are utterly dependent upon God and His grace, which gives us everything we need and much more. He is a comfort, a protection, our source of life, our all, our universe. He is all around us.

We are in Him.

Your Turn!

Most of the time on this blog I sit here and talk and talk and talk, and you guys listen (sometimes, when you are being nice). Sometimes you even comment (in which case, as I have said before, you are awesome: most people don’t take the time to put the effort out)!

This time will be different.

This time it is your turn!

I want to know what you think on Abstaining from All Appearance of Evil. I will get you started, but I will mostly be wanting to interact with you in the comments.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Most of you probably agree with this verse. Even non-Christians generally do. But there is something that is commonly missed: who gets to define ‘evil.’ If you let the other person define evil, then you are really in a sticky position. Of course the logical and clearly Biblical answer is that God defines evil. But how does that make a difference?

I am asking you that question. Your turn!

Validation, an Awesome Movie

If you haven’t noticed, I love movies. Period. Even movies that are from worldviews that are absolutely opposed to mine. I just like movies.

But this one I love.

I absolutely think it is one of the best short films I have watched, and I think you are absolutely missing out if you don’t sit down and watch it sometime. It is only about 15 minutes.

It teaches beautiful and important lessons in a beautiful and striking way.

So without further ado…

Validation.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao]

Love it doncha? 😀

What do you think? How has this inspired you to live your life differently?

And you are awesome if you comment. Seriously. You are. Most people wouldn’t take the time to do it. Most people just drop a ‘thanks’ or something like that. Even those people are awesome. But you guys who comment on my posts with great thoughts (that often times put my writing to shame)…

You.

Are.

Awesome.

😀

A New Look for Holy Worlds!

We are very excited over at Holy Worlds, my site dedicated to Christian fantasy writing. We just went over 100 members on the forum! This is a big milestone for us, and in honor of the occasion, I put into place a few special changes.

The homepage, the blog, and even the forum header all got new looks!

But even cooler than that, we have our very first promo video up on the homepage, and on youtube! Check it out below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2uElzj0rdM]

Let me know what you think of the video and the new looks everywhere in the comments!

Shë Yösaoi – The Sylphs

Well now, it has been a long time since I last made an installment in this series…essence page for sylphs

Shë Yösaoi. The Masters of the Air and Winds. Second-born of the tribes of Ithelak. Ancient in lore and thought. Lost from the middle spheres of the world for centuries and millenniums. Remembered only for their last great act: their treachery in the Great War.

The second-born of the race of creatures that God created to call His children, were twins one of another. They were white in flesh and hair, and their eyes were a clear blue like that of the edge of a white cloud mirroring the sky. Their joyful voices and laughter cheered all who heard them, and they made many childish songs that are now regarded as supreme works of genius and art. Their names were Aoæma and Omiei.

They grew rapidly, and soon outstripped Ëlwëth in height and in prowess in climbing, for they always loved the high places. They often climbed together in the mountains and trees, rejoicing in the feel of the wind in their light hair and on their limbs.

Gradually as they grew older, they came to love each other in more than just friendship and siblinghood. At last in their maturity they were wed to each other, and loved each other yet the more.

When the time came for the gifts of God to be given to the tribes, they were blessed very greatly to their liking. They were given great ability in song and speech, and in the powers of the Aurein, such that they were able to lift themselves up into the air and climb to great heights unreachable before. They were also enabled to command the air to form itself into an invisible solid at their bidding and design, either by will or by song. They used this to build great bridges and stairs in the mountains that opened up great regions to others not as agile and able as them. They were also gifted with a keenness of sensitivity to the weather, and were able to predict what would soon occur with ease.

When the rebellion took place, they shrunk from combat, and hid in the mountains, but were seduced by the Dwarves in the end to the side of darkness, and were broken in the ensuing war. After the Deluge, they retreated to their fastnesses in the mountains and came rarely to the middle sphere of the world, preferring to live in liberty from the confines of society.

When the Great War came, they withdrew even farther, not daring to make any appearance lest they became involved. But even they could not avoid it in the end, and they joined the Elves on the request of the Zidain, the Wizards. But soon after they engaged in the battle and won great victories for the right side, they fell away and tried to set up their own empire, and were tricked by the Men into aiding the cause of darkness, though they knew it not. They became hated for this, and for breaking their oath to help in the war, and they fled to the mountains, leaving little trace of their involvement, except in legend.

They dwindled gradually to weakness, even in their own heights. But they remained pure from mingling the longest, and thus maintained their power, and became known as hermit magicians who hated people and cast trapping spells on unwary explorers of the mountains. But these were rarely true, and they liked most to live in simplicity and peace on their mountains, tending their cattle and living with the wind and their voices.

This is a long-awaited article on the 5th of my 7 tribes in Ithelak, my world. I am not sure when the next will come out, but I hope it won’t take as long as this to write. 🙂 If you want to read the rest of the series, follow this link:

http://siremethmimetes.wordpress.com/tag/tribes/

Let me know what you think! And feel more than free to ask questions. I love to talk about my world. 😀

Riverdancing!

Hello all!

Found this really neat video of some good riverdancing… with the girls in long skirts! I thought that was pretty awesome, so I am sharing it with y’all. Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7l-lKq2Y4o]

I Am In Love!

I like to put riddles in my statuses, and yesterday was no exception. I posted a short, 42 character message to twitter, buzz, and facebook, and sparked an explosion of responses like none other. The status was this:

“I have a girlfriend; I am in love; she is perfect.”

Some who knew me very well immediately concluded, rightly, that this could not be taken literally.

Others were not sure, thinking that I might possibly, somehow be serious.

Some guessed that the ‘she’ was a new technology, an animal, a boat, a car, the Church, and any number of random and incorrect ideas.

Most were frantic for me to reveal the answer, a couple were bright enough to actually figure it out.

It was very fun.

But now is the time for me to reveal the answer.

She is a ‘her.’ Not an ‘it.’

She is not human.

Nonetheless she is my girlfriend, nonetheless I do love her, and she is perfect.

Her name is:

Wisdom.

Go ahead and kick yourself. 🙂

Proverbs 4:6-9 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 8:1-11 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Wisdom is represented as a gracious woman throughout Proverbs. She is said to have been there with God before time began, and to have worked with him in the creation of the world. And we are commanded to love her, to embrace her, to dedicate ourselves to her.

And yes, we are commanded to consider her as our sister, our kinswoman, which is well within the limits of the definition of the word ‘girlfriend.’ 😉

Wisdom is valuable knowledge or skill (Prudence is knowing how to avoid evil), plain and simple. People try to give it other meanings, but they aren’t really supported from the Biblical use of the word. The Wisdom character in Proverbs, if you really study her out, is one of the attributes and aspects of God Himself.

God supplies our every relational need. He is our Father, our King, our Brother, our Betrothed, and… our Sister. Pretty cool.

So, what are your thoughts? How can we act out this very interesting relationship with Wisdom in real life?

A Call to Arms!

About three years ago, I went to a boy’s home in Tennessee, called the Shenandoah Ranch Academy. It was for struggling teens (oftentimes runaways, addicts, or worse). I needed it.

The nine months I spent at the Ranch contained some of the hardest months of my life. They also contained some of the best. Several were both.

The regulations there were strict (among the most prominent was the outlawing of all interaction with girls. Period.), but we needed that. The guys there and the staff became some of the best friends I have ever had (have amazing friends, so that is saying a ton). They loved me, and I loved them.

But many (most) of the guys hated the Ranch. It was hard. It was difficult. It was constraining. They ran into every rule. They got into trouble.

I didn’t. At least not as much. I loved the Ranch.

When I went into it, I had a mindset that was new to me: I had forged it through many prayerful and tearful nights and days in the weeks previous. I was destroying my whole set of habits, attitudes, and worldviews, and re-building from the Bible up. One of the principles that I adopted was that I would obey my authorities, regardless of whether I thought they were right or wrong. That decision carried me through the Ranch, and I rarely got in trouble.

But it wasn’t me that did it. It was God. Just weeks prior I had been stubborn, rebellious, filled with wickedness and despicable sins. The difference was that I had been saved. God was doing dramatic and wonderful things in my life.

The staff there guided me in my life, forming new habits of humility, honesty, and strength. But mostly diligence and persistence.

Their Biblical teachings and counsel were invaluable to me, and carried me through a lot.

The Ranch has gone through a lot of tough times. Over time directors have come and gone. Boys have come and left. The campus has changed. The rules have changed.

But something has stayed.

It is a place where parents can send their sons to be helped Biblically, and where they really will be helped.

I left to go to my family, and we left to go to Ireland, and I miss the Ranch. I still keep in contact with my friends there, even those who have left (insofar as I am able). I call back and encourage as I can. I do this because they are special to me, and I want to help them.

So why am I telling you all this?

Glad you asked (now I am starting to sound like a salesman).

One of the crucial roles at the Ranch is that of Dorm Monitor. This vital part of the staff is a mature young man (over 21, so he can drive the van) to help lead by example, tend the grounds, and monitor the dorm. The guys need someone who is like them who they can look up to and model their lives after. They need someone who knows where they are and who has overcome. They need someone who is a spiritual and a physical leader, who will not cow to their whims.

They need a rebelutionary.

I was blessed to be there when a young man named Phil Dunlop (actually one of the sons of the author of the Terrestria Chronicles series, and yes, I did meet his dad. 🙂 ) was dorm monitor. But he is away at college now, and they need a good strong dorm monitor.

I told the Director (his name is James Scott, a friend who is like a father, an uncle, and a grandfather all in one to me) that I would ask my rebelutionary friends to see who would like to offer to take this job.

It pays. It is hard.You would need to go live in TN, hopefully for at least a year. It is definitely worthwhile.

If none of you guys are able to take this opportunity of ministry and service, pass it on to someone you trust. Help me help these guys. They need to hear our heart’s cry: the battle call of the Rebelution.

If you have any questions you can comment, drop me an email at sir.emeth@gmail.com, or email Bro. James Scott at shenandoahboys@gmail.com. You can also call him at (423) 618-4090.

Thank you so very much for passing this on!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Eternal Focus

Greetings, and welcome to another guest post! This time I got Tim Sleeper from The Young Heretics Club. We have been friends for a little while on the internet, and I always enjoy hearing his perspective on random, and not-so-random, issues. So without too much ado, here is his article on Eternal Focus!

——–

When Jay asked me what my thoughts were on focus, it seemed like a joke. I was thinking about suggesting something else to write about that was more interesting and “theological”. But, I decided to stick with the topic I was given. Even though I knew all there was to know about focus, I studied it out anyways. What I found blew my mind. Here are only a few facts to get started:

  • The word “focus” does not appear in the Bible
  • The words “focus” and “concentrate” have different meanings
  • Ironically, the application of “focus” (depending on the definition) is very broad

I thought for sure Paul mentioned focus at least once, I have used the words “focus” and “concentrate” interchangeably, and I thought the application of focus was very narrow. Turns out I was wrong (put that in your record book). This subject gets very deep, but I will try to present as much as I can. However, it isn’t very detailed, so, please take what I say here and study it out for yourself.

To start, I have to define the word “focus”. I also mentioned “concentrate” is different from “focus”, so I will define that as well. There are different definitions for focus, and I think all of them have some application in the Christian’s life, but for this post I will focus on one of the definitions. Put simply:

Focus means to “pay particular attention to”

Concentrate means to “focus all of one’s attention or mental effort on an object or activity”

By definition, “concentrate” indicates an intense form of focus.

We got definitions out of the way, the next question that needs to be asked is “how does focus relate to the believer?” Valid question to which the answer is both simple and complicated. It’s simple as to who we focus on (Christ), but it’s not so simple as to how that focus plays out in its application. To answer the question, I will start out by mentioning that our concentration is on God. God is the creator and author of all things. He owns us. Our concentration, therefore, goes to Him. As a result of that concentration, we focus on His will and His will is to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, I think it reasonable to say our focus is to be on Christ. Now, I don’t get this from only looking at it logically, there is also Biblical support for it.

This brings us to Philippians chapter 3. In Philippians 3 Paul is saying that he counts all his gain as loss that he may gain Christ. Paul doesn’t want his own righteousness, he wants the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ that he “may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” Philippians 3:10 (emphasis mine). We are to be conformed to the death of Christ. That is our primary focus.

To whiplash to the next question, “what do we focus on and what distracts us from our focus?” The answer to what we focus on is found in Philippians (again)! In chapter 3, verses 18-21 Paul is comparing two different kinds of people: followers of self and followers of Christ. For the followers of self, their end is destruction (Phil 3:19). For the followers of Christ, their end is life with Christ in heaven (Phil 3:20-21). We focus on the end, not the here and now. If we focused on the present, following self would be almost irresistible. Instant gratification, easy life, wants fulfilled, etc. However, if we focus on the end, following self may seem attractive at first, but we then see the end to that lifestyle and walk away. Following Christ certainly does not give you instant gratification, but an eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ has no comparison and is worth all sacrifice.

When I first started writing I was going to give the example of types of media when it comes to distractions from our focus. Instead, I am going to give an example that is a little more inclusive and is (in my opinion) the root of all sin…PRIDE. The unholy trinity of “me, myself, and I”. In everything we do we are faced with two options: follow what God wants, or follow what we want. Ask yourself “how many times have I backed down on doing the right thing because it was hard, uncomfortable, inconvenient, etc?” Man’s natural lean is to serve himself. Do we not eat when we are hungry or sleep when we are tired? Our natural bent is to see to it that we are comfortable. That greatly distracts us from our focus on Christ. Jesus said in order to follow Him we have to deny ourselves. Our focus matters…BIG TIME! We can take the easy road and focus on self and lose our lives in the process (what a great deal), or we can take the narrow way, lose our lives, seek Christ, and gain our lives. We cannot not focus on the perishable and the here-and-now. We must focus on Christ and the eternal.

Hopefully that all made sense. I had three pages of notes and wish I could share them all. For discussion, what are some other distractions you can think of? Why is it important that our minds (focus) are to be on the things above?