Paula's Blog

April 27, 2013

Touching picture of God’s love

Filed under: How we relate to God — applecherrypipz @ 11:56 am
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Here’s a touching picture of God’s love, bringing out all-encompassing, personal and intimate aspects of His love.

gods-love

April 20, 2013

The song of an elf

Filed under: How we relate to God — applecherrypipz @ 8:49 am
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I prance through the forest,

gaeity in my feet, delight in my hair,

My smile brilliantly shining in the summer air.

The trees bow towards me, the flowers beam at me,

and birds chirp merrily in the verdant green.

 

I lift my elfin hat to the sky,

and pause to stare at the unlimited cloudless blue.

How short a life have I!

This elfin state of mine.

 

Afterwhich I come across a lake,

that reflected a mountain high and wide,

I lift my elfin hat to the sky,

how small a life have I!

This elfin state of mine.

 

I look left and look right

There is no one in sight

but my own horse, Benny is his name.

I lift my elfin hat to the sky,

what a lonely man am I!

This elfin state of mine.

 

I gallop across the green grass plain

and settle on a mossy hill,

looking out at rolls of green pasture

My legs are too short to run, I wheeze, I pant.

Nature is far too strong for me!

Aye, this elfin state of mine.

 

What a joy, what a privilege,

I proclaim, I see God’s mighty work

and who I am in contrast,

This elfin man in the magnificent green

with his horse and but half a penny.

 

The birds chirp merrily,

as I prance on, singing,

“Ah, this elfin state of mine!”.

imagesCACTSKB7

April 13, 2013

How to have heaven in our hearts

Filed under: Bible verses,How we relate to God — applecherrypipz @ 12:41 pm
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Heaven may be generally thought of as a place that is difficult to experience in this lifetime, this mortal world of ours, and is instead a place to be longed for. In this entry, I explore a way to have heaven in our hearts in the here and now. This is a follow-up to my previous post, The Language of the Heart.

In his classic devotional book titled The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, English Puritan pastor and author Richard Baxter (1615-1691) wrote:

“Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven? Why dwell we not there in constant comtemplation?…Bend thy soul to study eternity, busy thyself about the life to come, habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thyself in heaven’s delights.” (http://bible.org/illustration/hearts-set-heaven)

A way to have heaven in our hearts:

Where Is Your Treasure?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do no break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Chasing after material pleasures and earthly goods unnecessarily, tends to detract us from the true riches that are of a heavenly nature.

Learning to appreciate heavenly goods with our hearts is a sacred art, which I believe can bring one lots of joy and bliss.

For heaven is our home.
“Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.” 2 Cor 5:3

“Treasures in heaven” means living and following God’s ways (http://bible.org/seriespage/where-your-treasure-matthew-619-24).For example, loving your neighbour as yourself- demonstrating an act of kindness, forgiving someone of a sin.

Just think, practising ‘heaven in our hearts’, this way, we can experience heaven, right at our fingertips.

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3cloud_heart

 

 

April 6, 2013

Blog Carnival update!

Filed under: How we relate to God,Philosophy — applecherrypipz @ 8:25 am
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My entry “How the theory of evolution can harm one’s faith”, is in this month’s edition of Faith and Philosophy. Go check it out! 🙂

The Language of the Heart

Filed under: How we relate to God,poetry,Relationships — applecherrypipz @ 8:09 am
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God, do you hear the language of my heart?

Beating away
rhythm to an intelligent pulse
sometimes fast, sometimes slow
sometimes loud, sometimes soft,
Whispering “I love you, I love you.”
“I live for you, I live for you.”

Words cannot express what it is saying,
it beats to a rhythm, to a purpose higher than its own.
It sings the songs of angels,
it tells of great wonders.

With every moment in time,
it weaves a tapestry of voices, of emotions
From deep within my soul and spirit,
reaching up and touching God’s heart.

It speaks of a language far away
a country often spoken of
a wondrous people,
a kingdom,
heaven.

The language of my heart…

—*—
If you have any ideas of what the language of the heart may mean, please leave a comment!:)

March 30, 2013

How the theory of evolution can harm one’s faith

In this entry, I would just like to touch briefly on how the theory of evolution could be subtly harmful to one’s faith.

God’s creation helps inspire faith in God. For this, there needs to be an underlying philosophical framework of creationism instead of evolution.

On the subject of faith James McConkey wrote: “Faith is dependence upon God. And this God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends.”. J.B. Stoney agrees by saying ” I believe the Lord allows many things to happen on purpose to make us feel our need of Him.”. (http://bible.org/seriespage/faith)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”. Rom 1:20 (NIV)

God’s creation magnifies God by showcasing his transcendent qualities, thus throwing light on our dependence on God, an important aspect of our faith.

Skii-Switzerland-Mountain-HD

For example, seeing this picture of a mountain through the philosophical framework of creationism, I am reminded of God’s “invisible qualities” of majesty, power and greatness of a transcendent nature. One needs to know that we are created, that this world is God’s creation to see these transcendent qualities. By being starkly aware of how small we are in the grand scheme of his creation, we realise our dependence on God the Creator.

Antithetically, seeing it through the framework of evolution, we do not see its utterly transcendent qualities, but simply as a random incident of chemistry and motion. It points to the simple instinct of survival and a persistent theme throughout evolution, “the survival of the fittest”. This takes us away from God-dependence to self-dependence. This is possibly one of the destructive and harmful influences of the theory of evolution can have on faith, which can subtly creep into the church and society.

We need to have an underlying philosophy of God as creator and one who created this world, to redeem this aspect of our faith.

Note: I am not utterly condemning the theory of evolution, it could be true in some aspects, would just like to point out a harmful influence it can subtly have.

—*—
This post is also in the blog carnival, Faith and Philosophy.

Why has so much contemporary art become boring?

Filed under: How we relate to God — applecherrypipz @ 7:47 am
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“The making of art is a spiritual journey and it is crucial that the spirit that accompanies it is healthy. A spirit that seeks only to shock and transgress for no other reason that to provoke controversy and hence fame is an ill spirit. Similarly a spirit that evokes a work that is so empty of content that it may receive all projections is ill.

The proclamation of the death of God killed off any idea that there exists moral or aesthetic values. “All that is left is the conflict of arbitrary notions of taste.” This means that there can be no art criticism because there is no criteria from which to make criticism. Thus there can now no longer be a discussion about the value of art, one must leave all judgments open because the person beside us may hate what we love. This vacuum may be easily exploited by the artist who wants to make a name for himself; enter the artistic charlatan. Who is going to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes now that Robert Hughes is dead?”

Do visit this article http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14006 !

March 24, 2013

Christ and Culture

Filed under: How we relate to God,People — applecherrypipz @ 8:37 am
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Here are some thoughts on this blog and it’s relation to culture:

First, I would like to introduce some famous thoughts from Richard Niebur.

Niebuhr was, by training, a Christian ethicist. In this capacity, his biggest concern was the way in which human beings relate to God, to each other, to their communities, and to the world. Niebuhr’s theological ethics can be described as relational. His greatest ethical treatise is The Responsible Self, published shortly after his death. It was intended to be the seed of a much larger book on ethics. His sudden death prevented his writing this work. In The Responsible Self, Niebuhr dealt with human beings as responding agents. Human beings are always “in response” to some influence, whether another human being, a community, the natural order or history, or, above all, God.

His most famous work is Christ and Culture. It is often referenced in discussions and writings on a Christian’s response to the world’s culture. In the book, Niebuhr gives a history of how Christianity has responded to culture. He outlines five prevalent viewpoints:

Christ against Culture. For the exclusive Christian, history is the story of a rising church or Christian culture and a dying pagan civilization.

Christ of Culture. For the cultural Christian, history is the story of the Spirit’s encounter with nature.

Christ above Culture. For the synthesist, history is a period of preparation under law, reason, gospel, and church for an ultimate communion of the soul with God.

Christ and Culture in Paradox. For the dualist, history is the time of struggle between faith and unbelief, a period between the giving of the promise of life and its fulfillment.

Christ Transforming Culture. For the conversionist, history is the story of God’s mighty deeds and humanity’s response to them. Conversionists live somewhat less “between the times” and somewhat more in the divine “now” than do the followers listed above. Eternity, to the conversionist, focuses less on the action of God before time or life with God after time, and more on the presence of God in time. Hence the conversionist is more concerned with the divine possibility of a present renewal than with conservation of what has been given in creation or preparing for what will be given in a final redemption

—*—

I suppose my blog deals with topics related to “Christ tranforming culture”, of a reformative nature. How can we transform culture? Culture, defined by Oxford dictionaries, refers to

  • 1the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively
  • 2the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society

I would like to add, what creative ways can one live that relates to culture in this way? One way is self-help, which this blog seeks to do: showing Christ’s relevance, through art forms like philosophy and literature, in our lives.

Please let me know if you think that my blog can transform culture in more ways, and/or what you wish to see more of in this blog! E-mail me at applecherrypipz@gmail.com or leave a comment, I am waiting to hear from you! 🙂

March 19, 2013

“Intellectual beauty”

Is there something within us that craves for a much higher intellectual plane, something that can be called intellectual beauty? What is beautiful about our intellect? Is it something sublime and transcendent, nearly deified by Shelley?

This lyric hymn, written in 1816, is Shelley’s earliest focused attempt to incorporate the Romantic ideal of communion with nature into his own aesthetic philosophy.

Does the phrase “intellectual beauty” refer to the working of the mind or intellect, or the intellectual idea of beauty? Suppose intellect and beauty were demonstrated to have a close relationship in this poem.

The meaning of intellectual in the poem, according to The Oxford anthology of English Literature 1973, refers to the 18th century meaning “beyond the senses”.

It seems in a way deified by Shelley, as it shows him working to incorporate Wordsworthian ideas of nature, in some ways the most important theme of early Romanticism,into his own poetic project and connecting his idea of beauty to his idea of human religion, thus making that theme explicitly his own.

Is it primarily our intellect that differentiates human beings from animals? Perhaps this poem has implications for ideas of evolution and creation that seek to explain what humanity is in scientific terms. How can we apply the ideas in this poem to our own attitudes towards academia, education and related areas?

I suppose what I gain from this poem is learning how to admire the relationship between intellect, beauty and religion, just as one admires natural beauty. It’s just another aspect of God’s creation! I have also learnt how to appreciate Romantic ideals of beauty as defined by Shelley, something connected to religion that has transcendent qualities. Isn’t it great to have ideals from time to time!

Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
By Percy Bysshe Shelley  (1792–1822)
I

THE AWFUL shadow of some unseen Power

  Floats though unseen among us,—visiting
  This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower,—
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,         5
    It visits with inconstant glance
    Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,—
    Like clouds in starlight widely spread,—
    Like memory of music fled,—        10
    Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.
II

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate

  With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
  Of human thought or form,—where art thou gone?        15
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
    Ask why the sunlight not for ever
    Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,        20
    Why fear and dream and death and birth
    Cast on the daylight of this earth
    Such gloom,—why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?
III

No voice from some sublimer world hath ever

       25
  To sage or poet these responses given—
  Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Heaven,
Remain the records of their vain endeavour,
Frail spells—whose uttered charm might not avail to sever,
    From all we hear and all we see,        30
    Doubt, chance, and mutability.
Thy light alone—like mist o’er mountains driven,
    Or music by the night-wind sent
    Through strings of some still instrument,
    Or moonlight on a midnight stream,        35
Gives grace and truth to life’s unquiet dream.
IV

Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart

  And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
  Man were immortal, and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,        40
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
    Thou messenger of sympathies,
    That wax and wane in lovers’ eyes—
Thou—that to human thought art nourishment,
    Like darkness to a dying flame!        45
    Depart not as thy shadow came,
    Depart not—lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.
V

While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped

  Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,        50
  And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I called on poisonous names with which our youth is fed;
    I was not heard—I saw them not—
    When musing deeply on the lot        55
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
    All vital things that wake to bring
    News of birds and blossoming,—
    Sudden, thy shadow fell on me;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!        60
VI

I vowed that I would dedicate my powers

  To thee and thine—have I not kept the vow?
  With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned bowers        65
    Of studious zeal or love’s delight
    Outwatched with me the envious night—
They know that never joy illumed my brow
    Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free
    This world from its dark slavery,        70
    That thou—O awful LOVELINESS,
Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.
VII

The day becomes more solemn and serene

  When noon is past—there is a harmony
  In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,        75
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
    Thus let thy power, which like the truth
    Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply        80
    Its calm—to one who worships thee,
    And every form containing thee,
    Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.

March 18, 2013

What does it mean to be human? – Ravi Zacharias’s take

Filed under: How we relate to God,Identity,People,Philosophy — applecherrypipz @ 2:23 am
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As our moral sensibilities seem to drift further and further apart, we must ask ourselves, “What does it mean to be human?” For, as Ravi Zacharias, Christian thinker, writer, and speaker, reminds us, upon this definition all else hinges.

http://www.veritas.org/Talks

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