Thursday, December 9, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
In every dark crevice of the world, desolation resounds as a silent siren, wailing only in the ears of those in its close grasp. Opposition stands, attempting to blockade the work of the Almighty. Yet, His hands reach beyond the darkness, piercing the weak walls of the adversary. This is so through the perseverance of God’s soldiers, who stand brave and overpowering in their statutes. Amidst the gore-trodden battlefields stand the bold and faithful: those who embrace hearts bursting at the seams, filled with flame for the eternal cause of the Savior. Amidst the abhorred stains of evil’s sword stand the martyrs.
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3).
Paul, the greatest of all warriors for Christ, joyfully declared, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). Suffering the most unimaginable of torments for Christ’s precious name stands as a prolific agent of joy. Human beings are present on this unforgiving fragment of dust and waste for the length of the blink of an eye. This segment of God’s creation has been rendered destitute as a result of perversion by sin. It has been prostituted to the depths of hopelessness, where darkness spawns absent and despicable forms that aim to engulf love. Those bound by Christ’s ever-present adoration find themselves among the lost and oppressive at every turn. One mission has been assigned: share God’s overwhelming love with those who stray form the Creator. This one mission has been grasped to the point of near exhaustion; yet, the faithful do not waver, nor do their hearts falter. Christ is worth every ounce of earthly suffering, for the pain will cease, and its subjects will arrive at the gates of their Home, where Father will embrace child. The surreal picture of grace lies at the end of the road marked with suffering, and stained with the blood of the Savior. However, at this intersection lies a new road ceaseless in composition; a new road laced with joy and everlasting peace; a golden shore trodden with the treasures of God’s own heart. Why stake the short road for the everlasting paradise? All soldiers of Christ have a calling: share the Way, the Mystery, with the lost who have no way, and who dwell not on a mystery. The faithful must persevere as Paul did: “...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4). This character is vital when dedicating one’s entire life and being to Christ’s cause for love, for it bears witness to the lost, and thus instills hope in their darkened hearts. A fire should burn in the eyes of the apostle that acts as a torch which leads the way to a life that bears fruit for the Kingdom of God. Often, the mission must stretch beyond actions and words; it must expand and become resistance to suffering; it must become endurance that leads to a heart set on the goal ahead. Christians must persevere with joy, not in vain. It is an overbearing privilege to endure suffering and torment for Christ’s holy and precious name. He empowers the faithful to endure any amount of worldly hostility, for His sacrifice is worth every ounce of affliction that could possibly be applied.
A martyr is one who endures suffering or even death for the cause of Christ. A martyr dies to himself and denies himself before the throne of Christ. Martyrs span the globe; they are present in every depraved and declining land, surrendering their lives to reach the lost. They joyfully suffer incomprehensible endeavors while wholeheartedly setting their eyes on their Father.
Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani is a martyr. He has been sentenced to death by the Iranian establishment. As a leader in the Full Gospel “Church of Iran” network, Paster Youcef’s life has been dedicated to furthering the Kingdom of Heaven throughout a restricted nation. Multiple members of his church have been imprisoned, as well. His wife and children have received threats in association with his “crimes,” which include his refusal to heed to the government’s command that his son study the Quran. Eighty-three or more Christians present in Iran have been arrested within the year 2010. Paster Youcef is one among the thousands upon thousands who face death as a retribution for their professions for Christ.
As believers, we must continually pray for the oppressed. We must also be willing to face equal punishment for what we believe. Christ suffered for us. Is it worth it to cower down and denounce His name? He deserves it. He gave His life for us; therefore, He is worth our lives and comfort. He is worth our all.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
The world lies destitute, teeming with forces of evil and unforgiving oppression. We need something to ease the pain, something to grasp for contentment. Likewise, we need something to embrace us, to fill the overwhelming and bottomless void that consumes our lost souls. We need a presence to replenish and redeem us, to occupy the abhorred, garbage-filled rooms of our hearts. We need Jesus Christ. Our hearts have been destined to be the abodes of Christ; they have been formed with doors controlled only by us, His creation. He knocks eagerly, beckoning for us to give Him the joy of our fellowship. His desire is to reside in us and to lead us. First, however, we must let Him in with open arms, wholeheartedly motivated to give Him complete control of our souls and our earthly beings. Such a joy as this cannot and will never be rivaled by any force comprehendible by the finite human mind.
I invited Christ into my heart one evening. The joy of this redefinition of my existence wrought an overwhelming sensation upon my form; I was overcome by sporadic bursts of exultation at the constant unbelievable realization of my new life. I immediately felt His warm, comforting embrace; I felt His quenching presence in my being. I vowed to submit my life to Him upon that majestic display of His inconceivable capacity. I knew that such a vow required endless exertion, yet I looked ahead joyful, determined to strive for excellence through Him. Each room of my once empty heart requires remodeling. My mind is bound with the recognition that each area must be made perfect and hospitable, molded to His standards. To this day, I utilize myself, sacrificing the norms of society and pleasure, with the purpose of striving towards this goal. To this day, I seek the countenance of Christ, that His love may resound throughout the halls of my heart.
The library serves as the designated study area of my abode. Within its thick walls lie the inner workings of my mind: my creations and my thoughts. It is a room congested with books, which collectively house the thoughts conceived by my deplorable imagination. Pictures line the short walls, excreting an ardor of pessimism and woe. As I accompany Christ in His tour of this particular room, I never cease to doubt my stability of sanity. I am constantly reminded of my faults of mind and comprehension. My human nature often binds me with my authorization. I am embarrassed to allow my Savior to view such horrid remnants of my past; and I am humiliated as He views my wretched composition. In order to maintain my peace of mind, I must be willing to redefine my standards each day. I must be willing to refill my library with literature that brings honor to His name, literature that, when utilized, will yield blessings of eternal value. Every thought conceived in my mind must be held captive by the joy I seek in God.
The Dining Room
The dining room houses each of my desires; it is where I indulge in the necessities of survival: nutrition, or the lack thereof. It is the place where I quench my thirst and satisfy my desires. Unfortunately, many of the dishes presented in the dining room are of worldly origin and classification. Secular food is acceptable, as long as it remains neutral, as opposed to dissenting; secular food must be intertwined with an immense amount of food that supports my walk with God. I must indulge in spiritual food that only makes me hunger for more of God’s presence and love. This room, as well, reveals embarrassing aspects of my character that are in dire need of reformation and assistance.
The Living Room
The living room serves as my zone of comfort, my retreat from the sorrows and commotion of the world. This room has, by name, been set apart as a residence in which Christ and I can fellowship and grow closer together. When I take time to leave the hectic “necessities” of the world, this time with Christ proves to be an incredibly soothing and sensational experience. Unfortunately, however, I do not always set such time apart for this. I often lose focus of the goal and the necessities of Christianity, for it is more than a status: it is a relationship. I find myself straying away from Christ, and, as a result, the fruits of our fellowship wither. Despite my inconsistence, Christ remains faithful. He sits and waits for me to come in. Each time I throw my selfishness aside and see this, I am overcome by incessant tears. I must constantly realize the love He has for me; it does not wither as does mine. It is vital that I set my focus on Christ and immerse myself in the actions that reap favors of eternal value.
The workroom lies within my basement. It is the place where I apply my knowledge and imagination and create miscellaneous devices. My talents and skills are implemented in this room. The fruits of my being lie on the workbenches, strewn out for all to see. The sad thing is, my work reflects minuscule amounts of effort. It is quite humiliating for me as Christ views this. I should, according to Christ, work to my fullest ability to create products that further the Kingdom of Heaven. I must let Christ work through my hands, which are desolate in skill compared to His. I must let His spirit consume me so that I do not become discouraged. If I give my whole self to Christ’s embrace, His work and purpose will be effectively furthered.
The Recreation Room
The playroom is the area designated for friendly associations and jubilant gatherings. It often serves as my personal vault, in which I hide my unGodly affiliations. When Christ asks to accompany me on my escapades, I often leave Him at home, promising to spend time with Him later. Each time, I feel desperate and horrible. I rightfully feel as though I have attempted to run from God. Of course, this yields nothing of value; it only forces the degradation of my soul. This room constantly requires remodeling. I know the most fruitful of events will only come when I spend time with God. He must be ever present each time I embark on a mission, seeking enjoyment. As a result, He will transform my character gradually, and I will serve as a better witness for His name.
The Hall Closet
The hallway closet stands constantly enclosed, bearing secrets that only my being is aware of. The door remains closed, remote from the world’s reach. I protect its contents behind lock and key. Every once in a while, I will add or remove something from this dungeon. Unlike me, Christ refuses to forget this mystery that I so often strive to overlook. He refuses to leave the mess unattended, left alone only to build up and burst forth from my tongue. Its contents could ruin me and deprive me of my happiness if exposed. I am always in desperate need of a reformation and cleansing of this labyrinth. With its remnants dispersing an ardor of putrid wretchedness, Christ alters His path so that He can save Himself from such misery that would come upon viewing the closet’s contents. We constantly must collaborate in order to rid my heart of these atrocious aspects of my character. Hidden issues constantly eat at the soul and diminish the influence that I try to maintain for Christ. That is why it is so vital that these are addressed.
When I gave my entire being to Christ and devoted my life to Him, I tried to make myself a better example by embracing Christ’s character. He resided in my heart, but there was something missing: I had not allowed Him to take over; I had not handed Him the key. Only when this is done can Christ work in me.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The overall corruption of society concerning moral laws is significantly and abundantly illuminated in the story. This unethical and even nefarious corruption encompasses all of humanity, and there is no escaping it. As the protagonist embarks on his journey of freedom and escape, he is further introduced to the hideous and ruthless components of both humanity and society. His impertinent awakening constantly harasses his ideological and moral compass, which he barely even possessed in the first place, and forces him to conjure up reasonable explanations for wrongdoing, thus creating a loose system of self-conceived morals. There is no decently educated being with a knowledge of absolute truth in within the boy’s vicinity who is willing or able to foster his curious needs and teach him during these vital times of complicating discovery. This truth of societal corruption is presented as an inevitable and detrimental aspect that unfortunately exists. It is presented as a fair warning, and the trials of the protagonist are shown to exhibit the difficulties of it all; and these trials must be heavily observed, for they speak volumes that allude to present-day application. The vitality of having an earthly mentor and, more importantly a relationship with the Heavenly Father, is communicated. Without this guidance, one may become left to form inaccurate explanations for good and evil and, therefore, become corrupted and weak in his or her views, leaving a means by which external situations, specifically fallacious laws and trends, can penetrate the mind and thus affect the heart and its condition. Worldly society, as a majority, is entirely selfless and turned away from the Face of the Almighty. Humanity must be wary of prejudiced and unreasonable logic, as it affects all things within its reach; individuals often possess two sides of a moral viewpoint, consequently causing unreasonable bias and discrimination, and society, as it is affected by the people within it and above it, often overlooks fair and moral justice. The world is teeming with hypocrisy. Although the facts prove to be considerably pessimistic, they are vital, for they are nothing but truth. Both sides, positive and negative, good and evil, must be known, for both sides affect the amount of success in all situations. In an excerpt from 1 Peter 2:13,14, humanity in its entirety is commanded to “Submit to civil rulers ‘for the Lord's sake.’ ...[and] obey [the laws of the land] or stand condemned before God.” However, in Acts 5:29, which states, “We disobey only when obedience to civil law would involve us in disobeying Divine law,” it is clarified that Divine law, which is God, governs and exists above all physical laws. Despite the corruption of the world, humanity must persevere and look to the omnipotent and omniscient Face of Love, in order to successfully preserve the spirit and mind.
The profound presence of the discovery of equality by a young soul within the pages of the story exist to outmaneuver all hints of prejudice in existence today. This story was written during the struggles of slavery and intense, heated discrimination; blacks, which were considered property that produced blood and sweat as standard fruits of labor, were loathed and degraded and placed beneath all of humanity. Therefore, the pure fact that this revelation of a young mind has been documented as literature is truly revolutionary in every element. A true view of humanity and society as it was in the era in which racial oppression existed to a maximum extent is immensely valuable, for it depicts the evolutions of racism; and such knowledge can and shall be applied today, for, as long as evil is present, prejudice will be toiling and flaming amongst the land. Human beings must recognize the values of equality and overlook prejudices, which have become so imminent in society, due to individual hatred, and view all of humanity with an eye of peace and acknowledge the uniformity and value of life as God created it. Genesis 1:27 proclaims, “So God created man in His own image...” Through God, all men have been created equally, possessing equal value and being equally loved by the Savior. Humanity is commanded to treat others with consideration of this truth. This problem that surfaced and bled to infect parts of humanity must be avoided and countered with the love of Christ. A pure heart cares for all, despite physical differences and behavior. The young protagonist of the story is convicted of this very truth. During his adventure, he is accompanied by a runaway slave. Throughout the entire escapade, the slave is referred to as one man’s property. However, as the runaway continues to speak and interact with the young campaigner, his equality becomes evident, especially when he talks of his family and the love he has for the boy, and the protagonist is pummeled with the revelation that the two are equal in value and spirit. Judgement, which is out of place for man, and discrimination is an abomination of the law of the Lord. All of humanity must embrace Galatians 5:14, which says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This love is life as it should be, and it is God’s glory defined.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1 and 14 clearly present and shed light upon the incredible truth that Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior, who is fully God, came to dwell on this earth in human flesh. Considering they are One, He therefore possesses the characteristics of our Father and the Lord of all; and throughout His life on this earth, our Savior illuminated these characteristics in all that He did. He was, and is, and will forever be perfect, after all. Any human being with a healthy conscience and a sane, sound mind would surely have the desire to follow in these steps and be as Christ, wouldn’t they? Christ undoubtedly inspired an innumerable amount of people in the way that He presented Himself; He also willingly and obediently died to save us from our deplorable nature and sin. Again, a question comes forth: Why would anyone turn away from the opportunity to accept such a marvelous Savior, and thus emulate His nature? The questions never cease; but neither does unfailing His love for us. I desire to obtain every single characteristic of Jesus Christ, of course. This, however, is simply impossible, for I am not a perfect, eternal, all-powerful being. There are three characteristics of Christ, however, that I most of all desire to illuminate throughout my life each and every day; these include humility, patience, and a loving spirit.
First of all, I certainly have a strong desire to exemplify Christ in practicing humility. Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus Christ ultimately longed to serve out of uncomprehendable love. He basically lived in poverty, travelling from home to home; this is not the standard impression of how a king should go about. Jesus could have easily obtained riches and limitless wealth. Rather, He exercised the natural selflessness that He so perfectly possesses, and focused completely on the mission given to Him by the Father. Christ did all these things out of humility. He was entirely selfless. He joyfully contributed every ounce of His time to His people; whether He was preaching to them, healing them, or even praying for them. “...but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” As Philippians 2:7-8 states, Christ Jesus redefined humble as the world knew it; He brought forth an overwhelming realization of the unfathomable love He has for His people. He voluntarily endured a tormenting death for us; He laid down His life so that we can now have free salvation. I hope to continue to become more and more selfless and compassionate, for one can never be too humble. This would be an incredible witness to many people who come into contact with me each and every day. I hope to continue to inherit the heart of Christ and empathize with those who are suffering, or even simply show God’s love through my humble actions.
Furthermore, I long for the patience Jesus possessed. We have been commanded to be patient. For instance, in Ephesians 4:2 we are to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” We are to be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Jesus was faced with a great number of instances in which He had to be patient; His patience was tested constantly. He dealt with oppression, demons and even suffering. However, there is a different side to this testing of patience. Jesus’s patience was also tested when He was faced with the sight of pain. He is entirely compassionate and He most likely has a nearly over bearing desire to heal all suffering. However, this was not done every time He laid His holy eyes on it; He had to stay with the Father’s plan and not deviate from it. This could mean leaving the moment and gazing into the future of a person’s life and seeing God’s plan being played out. God may use the person’s suffering for the overall benefit of them and other people; perhaps as a testimony that one day will lead to millions of people giving their hearts to God. I desire and strive to exercise patience constantly as Christ did. In having patience, I can be a light and show the patience that Christ applied daily in His life on earth. Having patience with others honors God and allows others to see the heart of God. Having an immense amount of patience is a tool used for successfully avoiding anger, which, in turn, provides more room for joy in the heart. 1 Corinthians 13:4 states, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Love is patient. Christ, himself, is love! Therefore, we must be patient in love, and we must be patient as love is patient, as Christ is patient. We must be as Christ is in character.
Likewise, I strive to love as Christ loves. I cannot even begin to fathom the love that our God has for us. The slight realization of it constantly overwhelms me and forces me to redefine the normality of my life and my purpose; it forces me to rethink how I act towards God, myself, and others. Christ’s love is like no other force I have ever experienced. It overpowers and convicts. Christ, Himself, is love. 1 Corinthians 4: Love is patient; Christ is patient. With Christ’s love, we are made righteous unto the Father. Christ’s love showers over us and protects us. Through His love, we are sanctified, redeemed, saved, and made good in God’s sight. What could be better than being totally accepted and loved by our Heavenly Father? What on this earth could be better than being made holy in His precious sight? This truth is amazing. Christ humbled Himself out of love. Jesus took our place on the cross. In reality, we are deserving of death; we spit in the face of Jesus and play games at the foot of the cross every time we sin against Him; we are so terrible as to take advantage of His sacrifice. Yet, He took on our sin head on and defeated it. He replaced us; His hands suffered the penetrating nails; His face painstakingly endured the permeation of the razor edged thorns that were meant for us. Jesus took on this death willingly to save us; it was His plan (John 10:17-18). This humility and love cannot be fathomed by the human mind. Christ’s sacrifice is the ultimate illustration of love. Why can’t we love everyone, considering the fact that our Savior suffered agonizing death for us out of love? We desperately need to take after Jesus in this and follow His example. This corrupted world craves something, anything, that could relieve suffering; it is screaming for an intervention. The resolve is simple: It needs love. Christians are to show Christ’s love to all people; it should multiply and spread to every corner of the planet, and reach every individual. It is part of the great commision to which we are called. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8. We are commanded to love: ”My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life on this earth. From then on, He has never ceased to show His amazing character. Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit, Three in One. Thus, Jesus has the magnificent character of God. I strive to emulate as much of this divine character as humanly possible. All things are possible with God (Philippians 4:12); this is to say that without Him, I would be nothing, and I would be condemned to the pits of hell with no way out. But Jesus is here, and He is everything. He selflessly gave His life in order to save us from eternal condemnation, and with Him, it is possible for me to be Christ-like. Jesus does not require from us what he does not already manifest in his own person and life. He makes it possible and attainable. Once we accept Christ, we are made righteous and holy in our Father’s sight. I only long to be good enough, but that does not matter; for, in His sight, I am His portion. Of the infinite, amazing characteristics of Jesus, I long to emulate three more than anything else: His humility, or selflessness, His patience, and His love. In doing so, I desire to be a light for Christ each and every day of my life to every one I see. In 1 John 2:6, John commands us to “...walk as Jesus did.” That is my goal.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Hey. I just wanted to give a little update for those who actually read these things.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
Woodrow Wilson once said, “Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.” Compromise is an agreement resulting from each party reaching a mutual concession. A leader is one who guides and represents those under him in the most advantageous way possible. A leader does not always compromise, specifically when it is best for those under him. He has a character consisting of attractive qualities, which, when utilized, become beneficial to those he cares for: those under his leadership. In the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, there are two quality leaders who rise above the opposition: Marcus Brutus and Caius Cassius, who are both influential members of the Roman society during this time period. Throughout the tragedy, however, Brutus, the protagonist and tragic hero, proves to be a more effective leader because of his honor, his confident, honest, and trustworthy character, and his selflessness, mostly concerning those under his influence and position.
First of all, Brutus tends to be a better leader than Cassius in that he is an intensely honorable man. He holds a high position in Roman society: a politician. However, he plays more roles successfully throughout the story: as a husband, a military leader, a servant master, and a friend. He is adored by those around him, including Julius Caesar himself. He is influential and well respected. Brutus initially joins the conspiracy because of the deception Cassius manipulatively forces upon him; however, he has selfless intentions. He does everything for the people of Rome. Brutus says, “I love the name of honor more than I fear death.” (Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 82-89.) He knows he is honorable, and so do those around him. Mark Antony speaks of Brutus’ honor multiple times during his speech at Caesar’s funeral. Although he is against the conspirators, he willfully admits that Brutus is one of the most honorable men in all of Rome. Casca excitedly states that Brutus “sits high in all the people’s hearts.” Cassius deprives himself of the ability to be as honorable as Brutus. This is revealed in his galvanizing suggestion to murder Mark Antony along with Caesar. Brutus, being an honorable man, strongly denies this proposal, saying, “[Their] course will seem too bloody.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 162.) Another example that exemplifies Brutus’ honor is that of his reasoning behind their conspiracy. He respectfully says, “Let’s be sacrificers, but no butcherers,” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 166) and he states his desire for the conspirators to be “called purgers, not murderers.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 180.) In other words, he wants their legacy to be left as a good one; one recognizing them as healers, not heartless monsters. During the execution of the conspirators’ plan to assassinate Caesar, Caesar is stabbed by each of them. Brutus is the last to pierce the flesh of the desperate, dying Caesar; after he takes his blow, Caesar, in disbelief, says, ”Et tu, Brute?-Then fall Caesar!” (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 77.) This Latin phrase translates into “And you, Brutus?” At this action of Brutus, Caesar is overcome with incredulousness. Brutus has been his friend, and they have never had anything personal against one another, for Brutus is an honorable man. However, he joined the conspiracy for the good of his country. Brutus tells the servant of Mark Antony, who seeks to know if Antony will be safe upon his arrival to the Senate house, where the conspirators have just killed Caesar, that “[His] master is a wise and valiant Roman; I never thought him worse. Tell him, so please him come unto this place. He shall be satisfied and, by my honor, depart untouched.” (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 138-140.) As a result of Brutus’ honor, he will do no more than he is presumed to do in order to stay honorable and to honor others.
Furthermore, Brutus proves to be a more effective leader in his outward illustration of his confident, honest and trustworthy character qualities. Throughout the tragedy, Cassius and Brutus disagree on very significant decisions. One disagreement occurs when Cassius wants to include Cicero, a wise acquaintance of theirs, in the conspiracy. Brutus fears that he will be a burden; he knows from personal experience that Cicero is upright in behavior and therefore too difficult to work with, due to his inability to successfully work with others in accepting ideas other than his own. In this, Brutus is entirely confident and overpowering, as a leader should be. Cassius and the others easily give in. Another disagreement between the two concerns the assassination plot of Julius Caesar. Cassius feels strongly on his own opinion and suggests that they “let Antony and Caesar fall together.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 161.) Brutus intuitively responds by saying, “Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius, to cut the head off and the hack the limbs, like wrath in death and envy afterwards; for Antony is but a limb of Caesar.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 162-165.) Brutus shoots his assumption towards Cassius that Antony will not have the ability to properly function and retaliate if Caesar is annihilated, for he is only a part of Caesar, not a full, blown out threat. He intends to curtail the violence as much as possible, so that the act may appear honorable. Brutus takes initiative and confidently states his opinion and analysis. Once again, Cassius and the others agree and yield to his argument. Another disagreement between the two occurs during the meeting at Brutus’ house. Cassius inadvertently calls for an oath, or swearing of their resolution to their conspiring cause. Brutus is convinced by their honest faces; he feels that should be enough in such a serious matter. Brutus and Cassius disagree on a battle plan, as well. By this time, the triumvirate, or ruling body, which consists of Antony, Octavius, Caesar’s heir, and Lepidus, is moving in with a plan to avenge Caesar’s death and directly combat the armies of the conspirators. After the flame of Cassius’ and Brutus’ argument, which is lit when Cassius accused Brutus of wronging him, is acclimatized, Brutus proposed that they make a strategic move to approach the armies of Octavius and Antony presently. Cassius immediately responds with a sheer rejection of the idea, and, when asked for reasoning, says, “‘Tis better that the enemy seek us; so shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers, doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still, are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.” (Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 196-200.) Brutus responds with a self-conceived, shrewd description that captivates those present and flaws their perceptions, specifically Cassius’. This intelligent, strategic machinery present in Brutus’ mind and the ways which he comprehends methodology all insinuates his dominant leadership on the battlefield; this is but another key aspect of a person that, when combined with the other present aspects of Brutus, creates an ideal leader. Once again, Cassius and all other parties are fully submissive to the wise Brutus’ ideas. Brutus is entirely confident in his decisions, and he is obviously trustworthy and honest, for those around him accept his reforms without question.
Finally, Brutus is presented as a more desirable leader due to his selfless ambitions, more prevalently concerning those under his position and influence. Brutus feels that Caesar is too ambitious, and is therefore a threat, especially if he becomes king. From the beginning, Brutus feared Caesar’s crowning. Brutus states that he has nothing personally against Caesar, but he inquisitively reasons with himself constantly, and arbitrarily persuades himself that it is best to conspire against Caesar and abolish him as a threat to Rome. The fact that he is quite selfless is presented in his motive for such an act; he states that it is for the “general,” or the people of Rome. He cares for the people of Rome, obviously; enough to kill for their safety and well-being. Brutus is also thought to favor an established republic. This gives the people a say in government affairs and development. Also, Brutus’ compassion is unleashed when Cassius promotes his proposal to kill Antony along with Caesar. Brutus does not agree at all, saying that Antony cannot rise without Caesar. Contrarily, he argued to keep Antony safe and offer protection and friendship. When Antony’s servant arrives at the Senate house to attain information on whether or not it is safe for Antony to make an appearance, Brutus says to the servant, “Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman; I never thought him worse. Tell him, so please him come unto this place. He shall be satisfied and, by my honor, depart untouched.” (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 138-140.) Brutus also lends Mark Antony the privilege of speaking at Caesar’s funeral in the market place. Cassius, however, does not agree with Brutus’ decision; Cassius fears Mark Antony deep inside himself, and he is afraid of being oppressed. With this decision set, Brutus cannot speak the last word, and thus cannot calm the plebeians; rather Antony will utter the last word and enrage the plebeians and persuade them to avenge Caesar’s death. During the deliverance of Brutus’ speech at Caesar’s funeral, he justifies his act with heart-felt, righteous cause, saying, “If there be...any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love for Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 17-22.) Brutus truly feels for those below him, especially due to his honor. He cares for Rome and the good of the people, and he joins the conspiracy for the honest benefit of the people of Rome.
These things, honor, confidence, honesty, trustworthiness, and selflessness, a leader must possess, or he is not a leader, rather he is a ruler. A ruler exercises dominion, while a leader guides by example. Leaders set the standard of greatness for their followers to emulate. Leaders literally illustrate the way in which people should go. In Psalms 32:8, God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will counsel you with my eye on you.” To this, we are to submit; a person should seek God’s guidance so that he can lead according to God’s will. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.” In this, God desires for everyone to be leaders in a sense; and for everyone to act according to His will. In the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus attempts to emulate a leader, and he accomplishes his goals for the most part. He truly overpowers Caius Cassius in his leadership. Brutus is entirely honorable, he strives to be honest and trustworthy in everything, he is confident and ready to take on anything, and he is selfless and positively ambitious in his actions to help others. John Maxwell once said, “A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”
During the Industrial Revolution, there was an irrepressible appeal for labor. Due to this demand, many families moved from rural areas into cities in search of stable occupations for a means of providing for themselves. However, everyone was immensely discouraged once they arrived, for the conditions were much more atrocious than anyone ever expected. The urban areas to which they migrated had a standard: poverty. Poverty spread like a disease throughout; it held no mercy upon anyone, and it was ruthless. As a result, desperate families, which were extremely prominent, hurriedly sent each and every functional member of their family to work in these abominable working conditions, just so they could attain the upmost necessary fundamentals needed for survival. This meant that even young children were forced to work. This proved to be beneficial for the factory owners and managers, however. This entrance of children into the industrial system provided for cheap labor; this was undoubtedly appealing to factory managers. In this, they took advantage and overworked, abused and underpaid the children without any remorse whatsoever. This continued for a long time before anyone made a dramatic, lasting attempt to stop the inhumane acts.
The conditions in which the children were forced to work were atrocious and perceived as outrageous by the sane human mind. They were physically forced to work; they had no say in the matter; and they were punished if their “work ethic” did not meet the benchmark. The factories were often improperly cared for and disease easily spread throughout in the unsanitary, enclosed environments. The machinery that the children often worked with was dangerous. Children would lose their limbs and other body parts to rotating, or sharp, machine components. The colossal machinery proved to promote accidents, which would often kill the children. They were also involuntarily drafted to repair the machinery; this was more easily approached due to their small size, which allowed them to fit into small areas that older men could not fit into. There were men and older boys who oversaw the children during their work hours. If the children slipped up, they would be punished and humiliated. The children were beaten and verbally abused. The punishments were radical and led to permanent health problems. On many occasions, boys and girls were pulled out of their bunks and thrown into the factories with their clothes, often for no reason, just to make a statement concerning lateness. Although the factories often housed the children, there was no provided safety, and the “assets” presented for the well-being of the children were highly insufficient.
These children, who were often employed as young as six years of age, worked unreasonably extensive shifts for hardly any pay. It was common for young children to work for up to 19 hours in one day, with only one break hour. The labor forced upon the children resembles that of slaves. The jobs also differed as a result of the age and gender of the children. The girls mostly worked at textile industries, for they had a “gentler touch.” Also, the youngest employed children were sent to work in the textile industry. The older children, specifically the boys, were sent to do the more rigorous work.
Although many people in the industry strongly embraced and practiced child labor, there were many others who despised it, or called for more acceptable working conditions. While the factory owners and managers attempted to justify the horrific practice, saying it was beneficial for the economy, the advocates of the practice attempted to make reforms to change the system. Even the parents had to accept it, because they desperately needed the income. However, in 1833, Parliament passed the Factory Act, which limited the amount of hours a child of a certain age could work. It also established a set age; factories could only hire children older than nine. The activists even went further throughout the early 20th century, working hard to establish more rights for children.
Conditions for those in factories, specifically children, worsened more than anyone could have imagined. The cities proved to be awful environments compared to rural areas. Harsh treatment, neglect, abuse, disease, and dehumanization were entirely prevalent throughout the cities in the 20th century Industrial Revolution.
This is a simple essay I did for an English class a while ago. I just want to share my interest in traveling.
Traveling is an incredible and unsurpassed method by which an individual can learn and gain experience. It is an effective way to experience new cultures, interesting people, and never before seen geographical features, otherwise known as God’s extraordinary creation. Traveling is compelling, and therefore adored by many. The act of being in a different place, surrounded by different people, cultures and landforms is intoxicating in itself. Although I have not travelled far from home, I have obtained a great deal of information concerning people and their cultures, and the geography that surrounds them from the areas I have visited. The experiences I have been carried through while traveling are unmatched in my eyes. This only makes me wonder what I am missing; it makes me wonder what I have yet to see in this world. These reasons, among countless others, define the intensity of my desire to see the world and what lies within its unforgiving and rewarding settings. However, if I were to pick a single location to which I would travel over any other, I would, without a doubt, pick Rwanda. Rwanda is a nation that lies in the eastern part of Central Africa. I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I could learn more about the history of the nation, experience the cultures, geography and people, and help people in need.
First of all, I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I could acquire knowledge concerning the history of the nation and its people. I have an immense interest in history, especially that of Rwanda. If I were to travel to this country to learn, my main focus would be the Rwandan Genocide of the summer of 1994, where almost one million human beings were killed due to irrelevant, untrue racial hatred that sparked between two historically relevant people “groups”: the Hutu and the Tutsi. Although a majority of each claims to be different than the other, they are completely the same; they just have different names. This topic catches my interest above all others. In order to broaden my knowledge concerning this, I would visit historical sites relevant to the subject and document first-hand accounts by talking with survivors and others who experienced the catastrophe. In doing so, I would fulfill an eagerly burning desire that I have to reach out to others and further understand what they went through, although an inconceivable disaster such as this could not possibly be comprehended by one unless they experienced the suffering first-hand.
Likewise, I would choose to travel to the great nation of Rwanda so that I could experience the cultures, the people, and the geographical features first-hand, and capture the essence of the overall beauty that the region has to offer. I absolutely adore experiencing new things, especially new cultures and surroundings. The culture of Rwanda is, of course, far from similar to the overall culture of America. This is what makes it so interesting. Anything different from what we are used to experiencing in our own lives is attractive, in a sense. New surroundings and cultures ignite curiosity in our minds. This is what makes travel so insanely gratifying to me. Learning new cultures and interacting with new and interesting people definitely contributes to developing a new and respectful admiration and understanding of this world we live in. Also, taking in the beauty of Rwanda’s geographical marvels, such as its innumerable, widespread hills, sheds light on the glory of God, which is revealed in His creation. The people of Rwanda, as a whole, are said to be among the friendliest on the face of this earth. All of these extremely beautiful descriptions of this place draw me closer and increase my desire to visit.
Lastly, I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I can help people. Rwanda is stricken with widespread poverty, just as many other African nations. AIDS is also prevalent here. This region has been affected by war and conflict for many years. These all started with racial tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi people. The Hutu extremists, which often includes the government army, hate the Tutsi. Back in the colonial era when the Belgians had control of the country, they put the Tutsi in control over the nation. The Hutu had accused them of stealing their land and abusing them, This is what sparked these lifelong racial tensions that overpower and haunt Rwanda today. Even though the genocide of 1994 is long over, there are still hatred groups in existence. All of these factors cause this nation to be in dire need of help. Although the government is stable, and the president is effective, the people continue to be plagued by the past and disease. Therefore, there is a need for help. Many organizations are centralized in this nation. This, over all, would have to be my main reason for wanting to travel to Rwanda. I love helping people more than anything, and this nation, among many others surrounding it, needs it.
In conclusion, these three reasons, which include learning the history of the nation, experiencing the culture, geography, and helping people, define my reasoning for wanting to travel to Rwanda. Rwanda is a beautiful country by description. It is tremendously attractive to those who love new things. The history of this nation is complex and interesting. It defines the country’s status today. The cultures throughout the region are beautiful and divergent. The people are kind overall, yet few are purely evil and full of hate. This contrast is incomprehensible. These qualities are what make Rwanda so amazing. These qualities are what fabricate my yearning to travel to Rwanda.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” - (Genesis 1:26-27, NIV).
This truth from the Word of our Holy and Heavenly Father sheds light on the fact that we, human beings, were created in the image of God. An image is a replication; it is a representation of something. Not only are we created in the image of God, we are, in turn, created in the likeness of God as well. This means that we are like God; it means that we resemble Him in the fact that we, as humans, share some similar characteristics with our Creator. However, we do not posses every quality that God possesses, of course. Human beings, let alone any other creature, do not posses God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, righteousness, divinity, or perfectness. In fact, we posses nothing relatively close to such characteristics. However, we do posses similar qualities. These qualities that can be claimed by most humans are nothing compared to those that God possesses, but they are close; though they are simply not as intense and perfect as those claimed by our Heavenly Father.
We, as humans, have souls, which allow us to form a deep, personal relationship with our Savior and Lord. We also have free will, meaning we have the ability to choose which path we desire to follow: the narrow path leading to life, or the wide path leading to death. We can either pursue God or the world of evil. God does not predestine who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and who will not. He gives us the ability to be decisive. Although God is inviting us to embrace Him and guiding us to follow Him, we are the ones who must decide whether or not we will follow. He does not force us to do anything. Two other characteristics that we have in common with God are those of wisdom and knowledge. We are the only part of God’s creation that can successfully comprehend right from wrong, good from evil, and to make intelligent choices that will determine the outcome of a situation. We, as human beings, also inherited the ability to obtain knowledge to a complex extent that surpasses that of any other creature. In a sense, man is almost too intelligent for himself, in that he has acquired a magnitude of knowledge over time that any one individual could not possibly oversee or take in. As human beings, we can also comprehend an overpowering and consuming sense of compassion and love for others. However, this love cannot match the intensity of God’s love for His creation.
We were once apart from God, spiritually and mentally opposed to Him due to our evil behavior. But we have been reconciled by God through Christ’s physical body through death and suffering in order that we may be presented as holy in God’s sight, without blemish. This truth comes from Colossians 1:22-23. Once we are saved, the cleansing blood of Christ flows upon us and covers us. Our Father is pleased with us. Our lives are free of condemnation, as Romans 1:8 proclaims. Because of this, God sees Jesus in us since we are identified with Christ. Jesus has presented us as holy and pleasing to God. Because of Jesus’ death, there is no accusation against us, the saved, from God. This goes along with us being created in the image and likeness of God. We are shaped and fashioned in His likeness so that we may be pleasing to Him once we are reconciled with Christ; so that we can worship Him and glorify His name. We are His children. Therefore, we are supposed to run to God; we are supposed to run Home to our Father. As a child is born in the likeness and resemblance of his daddy, we are the children of God, created in the likeness of our Heavenly Father.
This quality of being created in God’s image and likeness is an unimaginably satisfying and incomprehensible honor that we humans cannot even come close to deserving. As a result, we must not take advantage of Christ’s immense sacrifice to save us. God saved us because He loves us more than anything. He desires to have relationships with His children. We must embrace our Father and obey Him by living the brightest lives we can live; meaning, we must be examples for Christ and show how amazing it truly is to have a Savior that loves us more than can be conceived by anyone. We must be examples so that others may know the joy that comes from having a divine romance with our Savior and Father. We must lift our hands and live out loud to show our satisfying love for Christ. This is the rejoicing honor, not responsibility, that comes from being a child of God created in His image and likeness.