I realize those of you who read my blogs come from various backgrounds and represent competing belief systems. Of those who, like me, are Christians, there are still differing opinions on the role of prophecy in the present. I am a believer in Biblical prophecy and knowing God does not change I have trust that He still uses we humans as vessels to proclaim his messages. Simply stated I believe that prophecy is still very vital within those committed to Jesus Christ.
Not too long ago people were prophesying that if America did not turn its focus back on God, things were going to get bad. You can believe this means that God is passing judgment on our nation or you can believe that our turning away from God represents His blessings being blocked. Either way it is not a stretch for a Christian to admit that the more secularized our society gets, the worse things will become.
I believe we are now seeing the outcome of those actions. Let me be clear in saying that I do not believe God punished our nation or had a hand in any of the violent attacks in recent history, but I do think that one of the main reasons evil is flourishing in our nation is because we have ignored God. Please read 1 Peter 5:5-11 below:
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:5-11 ESV
As a society we are no longer clothed in humility toward one another. We exalt ourselves and are filled with pride. We no longer understand the meaning of humility. Think about it, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Where do you fit in that scenario? Since we have decided God does not exist, it is very difficult to cast our anxieties on Him so we either bottle them up or find someone to blame. Sober minded? Yeah right. We are not watching for anything because we have concluded the devil doesn’t exist. We have written him off as a figment of our imaginations. Since we are not watchful we don’t even notice him prowling and devouring us. We no longer resist the devil and we sit back in confusion as he destroys our nation. If we don’t turn back to God things will only get worse. You see we have two choices in life – serve God or the devil. If we are not serving God we are serving the devil and his reign is one of destruction. Compare our nation to the one that existed a couple decades ago. We have changed and things have worsened progressively. We are currently in a cultural civil war and I fear that we may be much closer to an actual civil war than most of us realize. We need to wake up America and turn our eyes toward God, repent and ask Him to heal our land. If you don’t, I fear you can kiss the freedom this nation has long celebrated goodbye.
Today I am posting the 3rd chapter of my book, The Night Terror. You can read the first two chapters here: Chapter 1 / Chapter 2
You can purchase the book here: The Night TerrorIf you have read the book, please share this blog with others on Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you use. Your help getting the word out is greatly appreciated!! Thank you, Tim. The Night TerrorChapter 3
Aaron Elijah Foster had led an exciting life. He had spent almost a decade as a good, highly decorated homicide detective in Chicago. During his years on the force, he had saved eight lives and helped solve twenty-seven murders. He was highly respected, but all that changed, when Susan was brutally murdered. He and Susan had been married for almost 12 years. In fact, the murder happened just a week before their 12th anniversary. After she died, Aaron lost his desire to work or to live. He could not bring himself to investigate more murders, knowing each one would be torment, causing him to relive Susan’s death.
The night of Susan’s murder, Aaron had heard the call go out over the scanner and rushed home. He was off duty and already travelling home with groceries. He was only a block away when he heard the call so he was the first on scene. When he walked into the
house, he saw the bloody body of his wife on the kitchen floor and the body of the assailant a few feet away. The assailant’s knife was on the floor next to his left hand and his body was lying in a pool of blood. Andy was kneeling on the floor holding his mother’s hand and a 9mm Beretta. Sobbing, Aaron broke down and embraced his son. Within minutes, a squad car and an ambulance pulled into the Foster’s driveway. Aaron explained that he had arrived home and discovered the assailant had attacked Susan. He said he shot the man, but he was actually covering for Andy. He knew it was wrong to lie on the report, but he wanted to protect his son from being questioned. Everything else about that night had escaped Aaron’s mind. The trauma was too much. He was never able to work homicide again.
One year later, Aaron moved to Carbondale, Illinois. He applied for a job with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Park Ranger in Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. This was a far cry from working homicide in Chicago. Life was slower,
everything was more peaceful and the air was clean. He loved the outdoors and believed he had finally found a place he could start a new life. Nature seemed to bring him some peace. Listening to all the forest sounds—the water trickling, the birds chirping, the
squirrels scurrying—gave him serenity. He was enjoying the sights and sounds of nature when he met his second wife, Marcia. She was hiking one of the trails in the park. She noticed him working on a damaged sign and asked him some questions about the history
of the trail. She was gorgeous. As soon as Aaron saw her, he was intoxicated by her beauty. For the first time in years he thought he could love again. You could say it was love at first sight, but mostly he thought she was just really good looking. Aaron was a tall, rugged man who worked out frequently and spent much of his time outside,
so Marcia found him attractive as well.
Marcia Teresa Diego had recently graduated from law school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU C). She was Latin American and the youngest of three children having an older sister and brother. Southern Illinois had always been her
home. Her parents, however, had immigrated to the United States from Mexico and found work in the farms near Cobden, Illinois. They were very destitute. Growing up in a Hispanic family was challenging. They were very poor and made their living by working hard every day. Many people looked down on them. Marcia’s family had legally immigrated to the United States, but because they were Hispanic farmers, most people assumed they had immigrated illegally. Very few people offered to help the Diego family with one major exception. A local priest became close friends with the family. Marcia looked at Father Benjamin as family, calling him Uncle Ben. This embarrassed her parents, but Father Benjamin said he thought it was humorous. When Marcia was a little girl, Father Benjamin told her that he would make sure she could go to school and become whatever she dreamed of. Marcia said, “I want to make a difference when I grow up. I want to help out those who can’t help themselves.” Father Ben smiled, “I am sure you will do just that little one!”
Marcia had a very difficult life. Her older sister, Stephanie, disappeared and was never seen again. Her parents thought Stephanie had run away because she left the house after an intense argument with her mom. Because they never heard back from her, they concluded she had not merely run away but had been kidnapped or killed. The police had found one lead, but could never locate the suspect. It was as though he had also disappeared. After a few years, it was classified as a cold case, and she was presumed dead.
When Marcia turned 17, Father Benjamin kept his promise. He helped pay her way through college. It was their secret; Marcia told her family she had received a scholarship. Father Ben never said otherwise, he considered it a scholarship from above. Marcia did work as a waitress and paid half, but Father Ben paid the other half
of her expenses for undergraduate work and then law school. After her graduation from law school, Marcia was hired by a local law firm that specialized in offering legal services to the poor. When Marcia met Aaron, it was like her life had reached a pinnacle. Having lost his first wife, Aaron had become gentle. He didn’t seem to take life for granted and he treated Marcia like a princess. This all happened after that first encounter. That day
Marcia first asked for directions, but after talking for a few minutes asked Aaron for his phone number. “Mr. Foster, you have been very helpful. I wonder, however, if I could call you in case I have more questions, about the park, of course.” “Well, Marcia, you can call me Aaron. Since you would be calling me with questions ‘about the park,’ I see no harm in giving you my personal number.” They both laughed and exchanged contact
After a few calls and many texts, they went on their first date. Aaron was so nervous. He assumed that since Marcia was Mexican, she would prefer going to a Mexican restaurant. She was very gracious and accepted and they had a great time. At the end of the date, she asked if she could choose the location of the next restaurant. “Aaron, thank you so much for tonight. If we are going on any future dates, however, I must confess I really like Chinese food.” They both laughed and he agreed to take her out for Chinese next time. They began to date often. They went to see movies, went out to dinner and Aaron began to bring Andy on some of the dates. They were married three months after the meeting in the park. Marcia loved Andy and made every attempt to be the best step-mother possible. For several months, they operated like a perfect family, but as time went on things began to fall apart.
Working as an attorney was very taxing on Marcia who began spending more and more time working. Each case seemed to affect her personally. To escape the stress, she relied more on her friends and less on her family. She wasn’t intentionally leaving them out of
her life, she just felt like she couldn’t connect with Aaron as well as she could with her best friend, Brenda. “I have a very demanding job,” she would say to Aaron in defense of her late nights. Everyone knew that things were falling apart.
Aaron and Andy were almost at Devil’s Canyon Lake, a secluded area within the Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. Not too much activity took place in mid-October, but Aaron wanted to check on some college students who were camping in the park. When they arrived on Friday, Aaron made sure they didn’t have any alcohol and checked them for signs of drug use. They seemed clean, but he figured that just the fact that it was guys and girls could spell trouble. Sometimes that combination can be intoxicating enough,
especially when camping near a lake. Aaron had asked one of the other Rangers, Kevin, to periodically check on them. Knowing there would probably be some activity, he wanted to prevent them from harming themselves during the night.
As they approached the campground, the first thing to catch Aaron’s attention was skid marks on the road. Parking his truck on the edge of the highway, he climbed out and started to tell Andy to stay inside. Aaron had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t even noticed Andy was sleeping until that moment. Deciding not to wake Andy, he locked the truck doors and walked over to the skid marks with his flashlight in hand.
He followed the skid marks and realized they led off the road. He walked to a tree a few feet away and realized it had been hit by something. Approaching it, he shined his flashlight on it, revealing traces of red paint. His pulse began to race as the sense of urgency increased.
As he looked down the embankment, his flashlight beam bounced off something metallic; he realized it was the wheel of an overturned car in the gully. Running toward the car, he recognized it was a red Mercedes—Marcia’s car. Growing faint, Aaron continued to rush toward the car and slid as he approached it. He got on his stomach and looked into the car. Deflated airbags were everywhere and a roll bar had automatically deployed when the car flipped. He had trouble seeing because everything was so dark, but he could tell that Marcia was not in the car. He felt some type of liquid on the ground and dipped his finger into it. Examining it, he realized it was blood and concluded Marcia must have sustained some type of injury. He could only imagine the condition she must
be in, if she was even alive. “I can’t think like that,” he told himself,
“I must find her.”
Looking for a great Christmas present? How about purchasing a book for that someone special?
I have just the right book to offer - The Night Terror by Timothy McSwain. ;)
In case you have not purchased the book, I will be posting a the first three chapters through this Wednesday. That will give you a chance to check the book out for yourself. To purchase a copy - hard cover, paperback or ebook - go to this link: http://thenightterror.weebly.com/
The Night Terror
By Timothy McSwain
Friday, 11:53 pm
Gripped by intense fear, Aaron could barely breathe.
Ducking behind a tree, he remained as still as possible, trying
to keep his heart from racing as he breathed shallow breaths while
attempting not to be heard. Cold sweat streamed down his forehead,
dripping from the tip of his nose, covering his lips with the taste
of salt. Holding his knees tightly, he tried to steady himself as he
crouched, cold and motionless.
A wind whistled through the trees causing Aaron to cringe; it
reminded him that something destructive lurked in the darkness.
To calm himself, he tried making sense of the events that had taken
place. Time had become indefinable. The terror and adrenaline
soaring through his body created an energized agony. “What is that
thing?” he pondered. He had seen many strange oddities in his life,
but nothing compared to this. His mind kept replaying the image
of dead bodies drained of their blood by this vampire-like beast.
He steadied his breathing, trying to calm himself. “I must keep my
senses. Andy is out there somewhere and I can’t let this thing kill
him,” thought Aaron. He knew his son must be scared to death and
he was determined to find him, no matter the cost.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted. He could hear
something whispering his name but knew no living person was near
him. He could barely see something rustling in the bushes a few feet
away. A loud shriek broke through the darkness, overpowering the
whistle of wind. Aaron could see two eyes eerily glowing, appearing
as bright red orbs enveloped in a sea of darkness. Heart pounding,
body soaked with sweat, he moved as fast as he could. The creature
was moving much quicker and Aaron soon felt its breath on the back
of his neck. In an instant, the creature dug its claws into Aaron’s
shoulder. Feeling his flesh tearing as he plunged to the ground,
he screamed, knowing no one was there to hear it. Managing to
turn on his back, he realized he had made a big mistake: those eyes
were peering directly at him, piercing his soul. Aaron felt vexed,
doomed and panic stricken as he attempted to force the creature off
of him, to no avail. As he flailed, he felt one last jolt of pain before
unconsciousness set in.
Her flowing dark hair glimmered in the light of the full moon
as she sped down the road near Devil’s Canyon Lake in her red
Mercedes roadster. Marcia Foster, a local attorney, had recently
left a party. She felt a kick from the alcohol in her system but
was confident she knew her limit and felt completely comfortable
driving. She loved the feel of the wind blowing through her hair
and the exhilaration that speeding down the road gave her. For a
moment she took her eyes off the road and looked at the sky above
and inhaled the brisk night air. Turning her attention back to the
road, she noticed something or someone in front of her car. Marcia
was driving fast, too fast, and the alcohol had impaired her senses.
Marcia jerked the wheel hard to the right, sending the car into a
skid, spinning out of control. The car collided with the tree and
careened into a ditch. The overturned Mercedes landed just below
the road near the entrance to Devil’s Canyon Lake. As it impacted
ground, Marcia saw a bright flash of light. For a moment she could
feel the blood oozing from her head, but it was only for a moment,
then the world became dark and cold.
Saturday 12:02 am
Aaron opened his eyes. His was still dizzy and his mind fuzzy.
He began to process where he was. He still remembered the creature
and felt extreme pain in his back and head. He squinted his eyes,
trying to see something. Still on his back, he focused on what he
assumed was a branch above him. The odd thing was that it seemed
to be spinning in a circle. As his eyes began to adjust and his mind
started to clear, he realized it was his ceiling fan. He knew he was
in his bedroom but couldn’t understand why he was lying on the
floor. Although his experience seemed real, he rationalized that
it was merely a dream—no, a nightmare. There was still a sharp
pain in his shoulder, as if the creature’s claws were imbedded in
his flesh. He looked around and felt his shoulder. His lamp was on
the floor and shattered into hundreds of pieces, apparently from
him knocking it over when he fell out of bed. There were shards
of ceramic embedded in his back deep enough to cause bleeding.
He slowly stood up and stumbled to the bathroom to care for his
Turning on the light, he stared into the bathroom mirror. The
bright light caused his head to ache even more. As the mirror began
to come into focus, he realized he even looked battered. Although
his face was black and blue, he was not totally surprised; this was
not the first time Aaron had dealt with night terrors. In fact, he
had been dealing with the sleep disorder on and off for almost three
years. What bothered him most was the intensity of this particular
nightmare. He had self-inflicted wounds before, but these were more
severe. As he stood staring into the mirror, the sharp pain in his back
reminded him of why he had rushed to the bathroom in the first
place. Grabbing his first aid kit, he retrieved his antiseptic, gauze
and tape. Removing the shards of ceramic from his back proved to
be the most difficult part of the process. He considered going to the
ER and having a doctor tend to his wound. That would mean
explaining how he injured himself; however, he felt that it seemed
weak to go a doctor for something so trivial. Turning his back to the
mirror and twisting, he was able to remove some of the larger shards
by hand although it was the ones near his mid-back that proved to
be impossible to dislodge.
Realizing he might have awakened Andy, Aaron rushed to
his son’s room to check on him. Andy had the gift of sleeping
through a train wreck, so Aaron was not totally surprised to find
him sound asleep in his room. He took a moment to stare at his
13-year old son sleeping peacefully. It was good to see Andy so
serene, considering how tormented his life had been over the past
few years . . . .
Facebook has influenced our vernacular more than any of us realize. Even the words ‘friend’ and ‘fan’ have taken on different positions in our understanding than they had a few years ago. At one time a friend was a person you physically knew, someone with whom you talked and shared your deepest secrets. Today a ‘friend’ may be someone you met online and really know nothing about. You may share a common interest our you just want to look popular so your ‘friended’ another person. Historically a fan has been someone who admires another person. They know much about the person in whom they admire but they don’t really know that person. Once again Facebook has somewhat redefined that word. If someone has too many friends, they create a page instead of a profile. People become ‘fans’ of that page. It’s really just a way of saying you have so many ‘friends’ that you can now only have ‘fans.’ It’s all confusing really. Now I am asking you the question: “Are you a friend or a fan of Jesus Christ?” With today’s definitions my question can seem quite fuzzy, but I am asking the question using the traditional definitions.
As crazy as it sounds, I feel the need provide a proper definition of these two terms.
(These are my definitions, not Webster’s)
Friend: A person with whom you share your life. This is a person with whom you feel comfortable sharing feelings, affection, secrets, joy, laughter and even pain. A friend is someone who will not only allow you to share your life, but they will share theirs with you as well.
Fan: Someone who enthusiastically admires another person. A fan will learn about the object of their admiration and sometimes follow that person. A fan does not typically know the person.
Anyone who knows me (is my friend) is fully aware that I am an advocate of studying about God. They know that I believe we need to understand why we believe what we believe and how science and history define who God is. I am fully aware that science and history point toward God and not away from Him despite what others might claim. That is a strong part of my spiritual DNA. Scriptural reference for doing so: 2 Timothy 2:15 AMP - Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
I truly believe we need to study about God, but I think we too often spend our time knowing about Him at the expense of truly knowing Him. Gaining a large amount of head knowledge about God without truly taking time to know Him personally is the same as being His fan instead of His friend. I think the world is full of fans of Jesus Christ, but I often wonder how many friends He has. I also often wonder if I fit more into the fan category.
Here is the thing: If you are a fan, you get to learn about the person and dream about their lives without actually being expected to do the work required in a friendship. For all of us who has ever had a friend or been a friend to someone else, we realize it takes work. Sometimes that friend may need you to console them or even help them on a project. They may want to talk to you about things that make you feel uncomfortable or tell you stuff that is just out of your league. You’re friend may also lovingly challenge you to stop a destructive habit in your life. Friendship takes work and commitment while being a fan can be exciting. I’m not saying that fans are not committed; some fans will follow celebrities around the world and spend much time studying that celebrity. They do this, however, for personal motivation not to benefit the celebrity. It’s self focused because following the celebrity gives the fan a sense of joy and sometimes a rush of adrenaline.
I think we often like the rush we get from following Jesus. I think it’s what the disciples experienced throughout much of their time with Him. When Jesus was crucified, they ran. It was no longer fun to follow a man who was being executed for the things he said and did. I think that for the most part the disciples were not Jesus friends until after He rose from the dead. That was when they each made a commitment to follow Him unashamedly.
Being a fan of Jesus Christ is much more fun than being a friend. When we have a personal relationship with God (i.e. friendship) much is required on our parts. It takes work and commitment. God asks us to do and say things that make us feel uncomfortable. He shares things with us that we would rather not hear and challenges us to change and become better human beings. It’s hard work! I think many of us are more comfortable knowing about Jesus so we just follow Him from a distance, hoping He doesn’t ask anything difficult of us.
I consider myself a friend of Jesus but sometimes act more like a fan. I’m tired of being His fan because that is not what He wants and it is not the loving way to respond to the God who loved me so much that He gave of Himself to have a friendship with me. I am committing to do the work to become a better friend of Jesus Christ. What about you? Are you his friend or just his ‘biggest fan?’
James 2:23 (NIV) - And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
John 15:9-17 (NIV) [Words of Christ] “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
I am sure today’s title has generated many different reactions. Some of your reading this blog are in agreement while others disagree with the statement. Over the next two days I am going to unpack this idea. I am going to explain some of my life experiences and talk about how I know that God exists. Today’s article is going to focus on one of my personal encounters with the Creator of the Universe and tomorrow I will be talking about the difference about knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Him.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
I know God exists because I have a relationship with Him. I have personally witnessed God’s hand in my life. I have seen and witnessed miraculous events including supernatural healing, angelic visitations, prophecy and the freedom of salvation. I can no more deny the existence of God than I can deny the existence of my earthly father. God is tangible in my life and He gives me peace, direction and even correction when I need it. I have many stories of how God has moved in my life, but there is one that stands at the forefront of my memory when I reflect on my encounters.
The most memorable event was during a time of prayer. I was alone in my room and had just finished a time of prayer and worship to God. I laid back on my bed and stared at the ceiling. As I stared above my bed, three angelic figures appeared over my bed and were circling overhead. I was filled with awe, not fear, as I stared up at those beautiful creatures. It was at that moment that I clearly heard God speak to me. He said, “Do not be afraid, I am with you and I have sent angels to protect you.” I felt that God was soon going to call me to do something that would challenge my faith and that He was assuring me that He had my back when it came time to make that decision. The next morning I arose and opened my Bible, the passage I opened up to was Isaiah 41:10 which states, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
At this point I was fully aware that God was trying to tell me something. It was not too long after that in which God called me to work as a short-term missionary in Honduras, Central America. Seven months after marrying my wife, Julie, we went to Honduras and worked as missionaries for a period of three months. Many miraculous and wonderful things happened during those three months. That trip became the foundation for what has become a very strong marriage. It accomplished more in shaping our future as a family than I could ever explain and it all started with one miraculous encounter with God.
God cared enough about my future to transcend the barriers of the supernatural and our supposed natural environment in order to communicate a simple message. He wanted to let me know that He is there for me in the midst of everything I face. This doesn’t mean that my life has been without trials. Trials are a part of the human experience. What God did promise was that He will always be there for me, even in the midst of those trials.
You see, God is really real and there is nothing we can do or say to ever change that fact. No amount of education or philosophy will ever change the fact that we were created by a higher power. No matter what we believe, truth has always existed, continues to exist and will never die. God is really real and that is just a fact we need to all accept. When we do, great things happen.
Since the Scientific Revolution entering on the heels of the Renaissance and the subsequent Enlightenment movement of 17th and 18th centuries, the Western mentality has taken on a unique way of thinking. You can read pieces of pop literature and other works from each time frame and see a shift happening in the very words you read. It is in light of this, that I would like to issue a brief challenge for your mind. Has the "Age of Enlightenment helped or harmed our understanding of Reality, Morality, Spirituality, Philosophy, etc.? In many ways, there is not doubt we are much better off than our ancestors due to scientific advancements and medical progress. In other ways, it seems we have lost our sense of being and a knowledge of our place in the universe. Since we are the product of the Age of Reason, many of the advantages from that development shape the way we think today. In fully acknowledging that, I will explicate a thesis that articulates the disadvantages that our modern and post-modern mentalities would tend to find disagreeable.
"One cannot prove by scientific means, that a supernatural being can exists." The very basis of this statement is true. There has never been an empirical study that can prove the existence of a supernatural being. However, there is a major fault in this line of thinking. That fault is this, the typical Western mind has been conditioned to think the highest disciplines are the sciences. Here it is often presumed that fact and truth are synonymous, therefore all truth must be found by verifiable facts (empirical evidence). The modern mind has set up the scientific pursuits as the highest of all disciplines. It is the basis for thinking in terms of medicine, space, physics, etc. It is also the foundational stone to atheist and agnostic epistemology. There is one undeniable truth to this basis--One can never answer the question "Why" with science alone. It can only answer "How." With the overarching assumption that only that which is empirical can be considered true is very minimalist and limited with regard to the spectrum of knowledge. People follow that way of thinking to form a logical strand to Theism and Intelligent Design--see below:
All Truth/Reality must be the result of Empirical evidence.
The absence of Empirical evidence=Not true/Not real
One cannot prove Empirically that Divine Beings exist, therefore they do not exist.
But there are other disciplines that play into a fullness of knowledge, which Scientism is vastly inadequate in its contributions.
The basis for scientific study is the ability to recreate results repeatedly to verify them. The scientist would quickly find himself ill-equipped to prove or explain the meaning of life. Why some people fall in love and marry other people...Why societies take on the forms they do...Why language develops the way it does (Note: to this day, linguists are still at a loss in explaining the meaning and origins of language).
Science cannot prove I was depressed last week over spilling my favorite coffee after I left the coffee shop. They can make inferences, but they can only trace the chemical reactions in my body without definitively proving the immediate event precipitated that chemical reaction. Science is also ill-equipped to prove that Napoleon marched 600,000 men into Russia and returned with about 6,000. They also cannot prove any other event in history--because those events cannot be repeated and recreated through thorough testing. Science is still ill-equipped in explaining what some philosophers have called the "Ghost in the Machine." (that which makes us as humans operate)--let alone the development of morality and ethics-the innate sense of right and wrong.
One of the disadvantages of our "Age of Reason" is that we have hailed empiricism as the ultimate in knowledge and keep it unaccountable to the other disciplines, like history, philosophy, music, religion, etc. There are many ways of knowing and empiricism is only one in a spectrum of others. So one major deficit of our Modern Man is that his ability to gain fuller knowledge is hamstrung by the almost worshipful reverence for scientific facts to which all other forms of knowledge are mere schoolyard games that have little bearing on the pursuits of reality.
When we open the door to other forms of knowledge, we may find a higher sense of existence and a fuller life. We may even be able to create categories in our head for the supernatural. And who knows, that may lead us into another "Age of Enlightenment" where all spectra of knowledge are harmonized, not monarch-ized under one dictatorial form, leading us to a better knowledge of ourselves and of the meaning of life.
Just a few thoughts for the evening.
May the Peace of Christ be with you.
The Cross is the iconic symbol for Christianity throughout most of the world. The Apostle Paul mentions the Cross of Christ in his epistles. Along with its sister symbol, the Crucifix, the Cross is a constant reminder of the sacrifice Jesus, the Son of God, paid to offer redemption to Mankind, who had gone astray so many generations prior.
In the Crucifix, the cross depicting Jesus on it, we are reminded of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, who bore our iniquities. It also hearkens back to the sacrificial lamb of Yom Kippur-the Day of Atonement. The Crucifix is the enduring symbol of where those things that are not honoring to God in our lives belong--Crucified with Christ.
The Cross, depicted without Jesus, represents the finality of Jesus' mission. He is no longer on the Cross, but seated at the Right hand of the Father. The Cross represents our lives emptied of our sinful nature. It also represents in some ways, our current state of awaiting the Resurrection of our own lives into the glories of Heaven, much like what happened to Jesus after His Resurrection.
There are doubtless other meanings to describe Jesus' work on the Cross, but these are a few that have been held throughout the centuries of the Church's existence.
May the peace of Christ be with you.
The Night Terror is now available. It is currently available in hard cover, paperback and ebook formats. It can be downloaded onto a Kindle or iPad and is currently not available on the Nook. I am looking into why it is not available on the Nook and trust that will be rectified soon. The trailer for the book is also now on YouTube thanks to Kelin Field. You can see the trailer below. To learn how you can purchase a copy, please click on this link: The Night Terror.Please help get the word out by pasting this blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, MySpace, Digg, ChimeIn or other social networking site. Thank you for your help.PS. I will be on vacation for the next two weeks and the guest bloggers will start posting tomorrow. The first guest blogger will be Todd Williams, so stop by and check out his post. Have a great weekend. - Tim
I’m a reader and a writer. Although I enjoy nonfiction on occasion, I truly am drawn to fiction. Nonfiction stimulates my mind and typically causes me to obtain new information or challenges me to grow. Fiction also stimulates my mind and fuels the creative side of my brain. When I read a book about leadership I get an information dump on leadership principles that I may or may not put into practice. When I read fiction, I am often propelled to utilize cognition. I try to figure out who committed the crime and how they managed to get away with it. I put myself in the protagonist’s shoes and visualize how I would respond in the same scenario. Those who state that fiction is a waste of time have never truly allowed themselves to be enveloped by it. Fiction can be very helpful at increasing your critical thinking.
I also write both nonfiction and fiction. Most of the nonfiction that I write is on my blog. I pour my creative juices, however, into writing novels. I am often drawn to read and write fiction based upon supernatural elements. This can include fantasy, mystery, thrillers, suspense and even horror. Being a Christian, I sometimes find myself in the midst of intellectual controversy. I believe that both good and evil exist and God created the world in a certain order. I really don’t want to read or write a book that promotes evil or demeans God. Reading books pertaining to the supernatural can be topsy turvy when viewing it from the Christian World View. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 states, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (ESV)
“Abstain from every form of evil…” Christians need to be cautious about what they become entangled in but this doesn’t mean a Christian should abstain from reading books that contain supernatural elements. We need to be cautious, however, about what we are putting into our brains. I am a fan of the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Their books are filled with fantastical creatures that don’t truly exist but these creatures propel one to imagine and see things from a different perspective. There writings are overwhelming good and carry wonderful messages about friendship, perseverance and sacrifice. They are truly inspirational. I also enjoy reading books from Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Their books tend to be darker and cause the writer to not only see things from the protagonist’s perspective but the perspective of the antagonist as well. Their novels still maintain an overall positive outcome where good ultimately triumphs over evil.
As a writer I often find myself a quandary. I greatly desire to write about the supernatural but I also do not want to compromise my faith. The great thing about fiction is that it is simply not true. Most readers understand that point and are willing to enter the world the writer creates. In some ways this can be very freeing because there truly are not constraints when writing fiction except for the limitations of one’s own imagination. On the other hand, however, I do have a Christian perspective on life and I don’t want to pen words that will contradict what I believe to be true. That world view does create a list of boundaries for my writing. Having boundaries is often a good thing in life. Telling a child to not touch a hot stove is a good boundary. It can also be a good thing in writing fiction because it can give one direction when creating a storyline.
My writing does contain dark elements, can be scary at times and does include interaction with supernatural characters. It also contains hope and does not betray Jesus Christ. My Christian faith is interwoven into my writing because it is my identity. I don’t believe this weakens my novels but in fact strengthens them. You will soon have the opportunity to read my first novel, The Night Terror, and judge for yourself. Do you ever find yourself struggling with how to stay true to your faith and follow your passion? - Tim
I am going to be completely honest and admit that I am going out of my element on this one. I am by no means an expert on prophecy and will not do the subject justice in this short blog. What I will try to do is explain what it is in simple terms.
Dictionary.com defines prophecy as the foretelling or prediction of what is to come. I will add to this definition and define prophecy as divinely inspired knowledge of future events. I am no Noah Webster, but I think my definition more clearly states my understanding of what prophecy is. I don’t believe anyone can know the future without first being divinely inspired. One can look at circumstances and make a prediction based upon assumptions of what could happen. They may even predict things correctly but that is not prophecy. The difference between prediction and prophecy is knowledge. A prediction of the future is a simple guess whereas a prophecy is knowledge of what will happen.
The Bible is loaded with prophecies. The coming of Jesus Christ was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. I keep this blog short don’t have space to list all of these prophecies but I want readers to understand just how accurate they were. To learn more about Biblical prophecy and Jesus Christ, please follow this link: http://carm.org/prophecy-bible-and-jesus
I also believe and have witnessed that God still gives prophecies through people. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 states, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
I not only believe that God still speaks to people and gives prophecies as well as the other gifts mentioned about. I have personally witnessed these gifts and operated in some of them. I have seen people suddenly obtain knowledge about things in my own life that they had no way of knowing. I have witnessed people tell of things to come in specific detail and later witnessed those things coming to pass as they stated. I have personally witnessed demon possessed people who were delivered from those demons. (For those who would state that it was a mental disorder, you would have trouble believing that if you were there.) I have spoken in other tongues and given the translation. I have also been supernaturally healed. I have even seen angels.
Some people who read this but do not know me will think I am a lunatic, but I can assure you that I am as sane as any another typical human being. What is different is that believe God exists and have chosen to follow Him. I am not perfect and I fail, but because of the grace of God I have been able to see miraculous events in my life. You can too! Ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and accept his gift of grace. It’s the first step of a miraculous journey. You may one day receive a word of prophesy yourself. Are you ready? - Tim