PeppermintJess
Bible Reading—Genesis 2

So here we go! Genesis 2!

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis%202&version=CEV

So, I think I remember reading in one of my religious classes that one of the traditional/habits of the Old Testament authors to recite things chapter after chapter things that they already wrote down. I guess it’s like what tv shows do before a new episode (Previously on Once Upon a Time:…). So we start off with God blessing the seventh day, as well as making the plants grows not by means of rain, but by streams brought out from the earth. 

Then it jumps into the literal creation of man. This is probably the craziest part of Creation for me…God just took a bunch of dirt and made Adam. I mean, wow. We’re made of dirt. If anyone has got pride issues, and needs to take another look, just read Genesis 2:7. We’re made from dirt….yyeeeaaa. 

But then we get something awesome to counterbalance that humbling physicality: the breathe of God! God breathes into us and brings us to life! Wow. 

Another thing I find fascinating is the geological locations within the Bible. Like how the author knew exactly what was meant when it states, “The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there.” First off, whoa, did he create Adam and then fly the disorientated guy to another location on Earth?? O.o Poor guy. lol. Second, Eden being the east doesn’t mean much to us nowdays, but I wonder what that meant in regards to whoever was writing Genesis (probably Moses). 

Anyways, so then it is described to us that God made this place called Eden very beautiful with cool trees and fruit. But in the middle of this garden, he put two trees: one the Tree of Life, the other the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

This I find interesting. Because it specifies that the tree of life was…well, the tree of life. What was the purpose of this tree? God didn’t make us out of it…and we didn’t need life, cause He breathe into us. Was it for if we died or something? But we didn’t know death…hmm. Interesting. I’ve never noticed that before. I mean, it serves a kind of anti-purpose for later, cause He banishes us from the garden so we can’t EAT that tree, and be immortal in sin and suffering. But why was it there before the fall…If anyone has any ideas on this, let me know. I’m curious haha. 

Anyways, so there’s the two trees. God explains then to Adam NOT to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He warns him that if he does, he will surely die. I’m going to assume that Adam knows what death is. God wouldn’t tell him not to eat of something that would kill him, and leave out the detail of what it means to die. 

After this instruction/warning, God states that Adam should not be alone, and decides He must make the man a partner. Funny enough, at this point, God brings all the animals before Adam so he can name them. I think it should be noted that God was not trying to get Adam to partner with the animals (really guys…). Rather, he was reinforcing the concept that Adam indeed desired a partner. This wasn’t just a concept from God, but rather, Adam looked at the animals while he was naming them and probably kept noticing how they all had mates to keep them company and to bond with. This probably made him lonely. Perhaps further it was to get Adam to realize that God is looking out for him, and realizes his desires even before the man himself realizes them!

So God then makes women: out of man’s ribs. That I can’t figure out. So if anyone has any thoughts on why God made women out of man’s ribs, shoot me a message. Maybe only God knows His reasons. lol. 

Anyways, God presents Eve to Adam, and Adam gets REALLY excited. lol. It states he exclaims: “Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her woman!” This would indeed be exciting for Adam. He’s spent most likely A VERY LONG TIME (in order to name ALL OF THE ANIMALS) in the garden, ALONE. I’d be going crazy from being so alone at that point in time. So I bet he was excited to have someone to bond with, to love on, to be loved by, etc. 

So after this, the Bible states that this is why a man will leave his father and mother: to marry a woman, so that the two may become like one person. 

Then the Bible makes it a point to state that although they were both naked, they were not ashamed. This has always confounded me. It’s not like they couldn’t see their own bodies. Perhaps they just didn’t see the harm in being naked? (lust and infidelity wasn’t a problem at this point, so there truly wasn’t anything harmful about it). Later though, they become ‘aware’ of it and cover up. I guess it’s just hard for me to wrap my mind around a state of mind I will never know in this life: being unashamed when naked in front of others. 

Well, that was fun! Thanks for joining me in this adventure, and I hope you take some time to talk to God after reading this. I bet he gets excited when we read about Him and His story. Remember that He loves you, and that will never change. :D

The Meaning, The Creator, and the Wandering Soul
I’m having that time, moment, day when I reflect on what it means to be alive, to bear meaning, to experience anything and everything. I find it hard to find identity in who I am, who I’ve been, who I want to be, who I need to be, and who I will end up being. Finding my purpose in my life seems so nebulous, and yet I have the answers spouted at me from all directions. 

My parents say my identity and purpose is found in God.

My boyfriend say we were put here to live life happily and to be happy with others.

My God tells me I”m here to love others as I love myself, to bring Him glory, and to love Him more than anything else.

My mind tells me I’m meant to strive to be as best as I can be, and to push others to do the same

And my heart just doesn’t know what all of that together should look like, and often gets lost in the wandering. 

I know that the answer is somewhere stuck between all those realms, in a place similar to the space between pages, like when you can see through a page of words to the other side and can see the next page’s words backwards. I have all the answers, and yet I can’t quite paint the picture. So much has gotten in the way…

Yet, some would argue those very things are just a part of my story. But are they? Is being estranged from your loving, connected family part of my path? Is dating a man who is so different from me meant to be a part of my future? Do I truly have what it takes to be a counselor to broken souls when I am convinced time and time again that we are broken souls in a constant array of repairing and mending?

These are not so much doubts as they are just blunt, honest questions I ask God everyday for reassurance on. I don’t know what my future is supposed to look like. I think my parents had a cookie cutter plan for what it should have been, and I know God for sure had a path for me to follow. What I can’t figure out is if I am going the right direction. Turning out to be gay kind of threw alot off course, mainly with my family. But through my family, I kind of suffered relation-wise with God.

I look at other gay Christian couples and see their growth, their efforts, their ambitions, and their walk with God. Can people see my relationship with God? I don’t think so, and this makes me sad and scared. I think God would be disappointed in that. I want to be that man that strives everyday for His Savior, but I fall short of this everyday. I look at porn, I lie, I judge, I worry, I panic, I complain, I fight with my bf, I yell, I cry…I have so many short-comings. It is hard to feel loved by a God of such magnitude in holiness.  

I just need God to try and pick me up again. I need Him to chase me down and hold me for a while, and then I need Him desperately to give me the destiny and identity I was meant to have. I’m weary of this transition period, and I want to move forward in life. 

I need my meaning, my Creator, and the answers meant for a wandering soul. 

Bible Reading (Genesis 1)

So I’m going to start going through the Bible and posting hopefully once a week about the chapter I’m reading. I will dissect it as best as I can; please take into account I am do not know Greek, or every single little background detail. I do know some because of my academic influence and upbringing, but otherwise I will just read it as a layman. Also, I will leave a link to the chapter for you to easily access.

 Genesis 1

Link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201&version=CEV

So here we go! The beginning of time. So I know some people take alot of Genesis, and the Old Testament for that matter, to be allegorical and metaphorical. Meaning that they are just stories meant to describe an idea of God and the beginning of all the universe. Perhaps that is so, but I choose to take all interactions between God and our world as literal. 

Therefore, I see quite a beautiful making of the universe happening here in Genesis! The very first few verses leave us in mystery as to what exactly everything looked like while it was in transition. Verse 2 says the earth was barren and was under a roaring ocean covered in darkness, but that God’s Spirit was moving over the water.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall (although I couldn’t even be that…flies didn’t exist yet lol) during that. To feel the waters around, bustling and moving restlessly, and then to have God pass over in power and glory. 

Then all the sudden He just speaks. I don’t know what God’s voice sounds like…but I imagine someone with as much power as God would have a voice of thunder and roaring rain, of sweeping gesture and grand implications. And what does he say? He demands that light make an appearance in time. And it does! Imagine being in these turmoil waters, wondering if life and hope existed…and then a grand light from the heavens bust forth, sweeping over the universe. 

After creating this light to give vision to what He was going to make, God decides to separate the waters and create some sort of dome over the earth. This is very interesting as this is the dome that probably provided a insurmountable of rain during the flood of Noah. I even think there’s a verse that says the dome collapsed during that event but don’t quote me on that. lol. We will eventually get to that story and can verify that. Regardless, there was now a dome covering the earth…and I think that would be a strange site to see as we are accustomed to clouds and open skies to gaze up towards nowadays.

OR perhaps this is simply a concept I’m misunderstanding. Perhaps it isn’t a dome, as God does call it sky…I don’t know. haha I wasn’t there. 

He goes on to create land, the ocean (by means of separation of the waters), and the vegetation on the land. Later he makes the moon and sun, dispensing this great light he created earlier and molding some of it into these two ‘powerful lights’. 

When He creates the sea creatures and birds, it’s interesting that verse 22 says he blessed them, commanding them to populate their domains. I don’t know why, it’s just interesting to read of God blessing something and speaking to it other than a human being. Especially since it doesn’t give that detail to the land animals, who He creates next. I don’t think it means he didn’t bless the land animals, but it’s just an interesting side note. 

Then He decides to make us! This single decision is why you and I even exist. It is why you and I can feel happy, loving, loved, joyful, excited, aroused by a lover, able to run through a field and feel content…and so many other wonderful things. 

God states, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us.” I think that’s an interesting sentence. It means we were for sure made in His image. We were meant to be like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We were meant to counsel our younglings in the ways of life, to be sacrificial and loving towards everyone like the Son, and to be spiritually minded and aware like the Holy Spirit. 

Also notice his initial commandments to us. Because Adam and Eve did not know sin, He had no need to command them against doing certain hings and to command them to love Him. They already could feel the love of their Father and returned the love. Instead, He is simply instructing them to populate the earth, so that they could feel what is like to have a family, and the joy that comes with raising kids. He also knew we like adventure and to do things, so he gave us a quest to rule over the earth—explore it and invest our time in learning all there is about this world that God created.

So that was fun. I look forward to writing more of these. It’s like simply observing and reflecting on a story. I mean, that’s exactly what this is. Haha. Of course, as things get more morally involved, I will have my own opinions interjected, but we all do that with anything we are passionate about. So hope you enjoyed this, and hope you go on this journey with me! Keep me accountable to do it consistently! lol

 

INFJ

Myers Briggs Type Indicator: INFJ

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality questionnaire, in which people respond to 126 questions in order to obtain a type profile about their personality and the behaviors associated with the traits that come with that personality. It is a fairly common personality test, and over 2 million people a year take the test for various reasons (Myers, 2010). The test is affirming in positive, encouraging statements about how one’s generalized perspectives on life are utilized and experienced.

I have taken the test numerous times throughout my educational years. The first time I took the test was in a Leadership class I participated while in high school. I found the class, as well as the test, to be very informing and intellectual concerning one’s goals and dreams in life. At the time, the test helped me focus on who I was as a person when it came to my unique personality and behavior. I remember my teacher at the time warning us though that it was normal for the results to change over time as we grew older and changed into adults. Perhaps for some it did; as for my results, they have stayed consistent to this very day. Since that first evaluation in high school, I have taken the test for simple fun and curiosity. The test is overall encouraging and reveals little of the negative side of what accompanies each personality combination. Although this can boost one’s self-esteem, I have often wondered if it might also be enlightening to perhaps balance it out with a little more insight as to that particular side of things with each test result.

As of 03/03/2012, I am still an INFJ for all intents and purposes. Although I have changed in maturity and responsibility, my generalized personality and the way I perceive life has remained constant and consistent. What can be generally gathered from this personality is the privacy, strong emotions, and introverted lifestyle that an INFJ experiences and enjoys. For myself specifically, I scored 44% Introverted, 38% Intuitive, 38% Feeling, and 56% Judging, leading a test result of being moderately expressed in each of these areas. Interestingly, INFJ’s are rare. According to Dr. David Keirsey and his survey of this personality type, they make up ‘little more than three percent of the population.’ (Keirsey, 1998)

As I read the in-depth description of the INFJ personality by Dr. Keirsey, I found myself in agreement with his assessment. There are some who take these tests and disagree with the outcome, but more often than not the test results reflect somewhat accurately the person who took the test. Personally, I have always found the test to be very accurate when describing my personality and behavior traits. The INFJ is ironically known as the ‘Counselor’ personality according to Keirsey’s perspective.  He mentions the fundamentals that make up the Counselor in his first paragraph, pointing out that Counselor’s deeply care about others and with helping them with their problems, do well with one-on-one interactions when doing so, and sometimes need moments of quiet and solitude to recharge after long periods of socializing.

Dr. Keirsey states, “They (INFJ’s) are highly private people, with an unusually rich, complicated inner life.” I found this statement to be powerfully true in my own life. I tend to keep to myself with my personal matters, even with things that most people would see no reason to keep private. It is interesting to note how Keirsey points out that despite this intense privacy, a Counselor’s inner life is still rich and complicated. He goes on to explain that in everyday life, as well as at their jobs, Counselor’s are very poetic. “Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language.” (Keirsey, 1998) I am very imaginative, and write poetry every week when I am alone and thinking about my experiences of the day. It is my way of venting my pent-up emotions and feelings, and helps me perceive life in more clarity. Keirsey then makes his final statement on how an INFJ is able to read people’s emotions extremely well because of how in-tune they are with their own. “Counselors are highly intuitive and can recognize another’s emotions or intentions…” (Keirsey, 1998) I find this to be true in my own life, although there have been times where I have incorrectly assumed or read another’s intentions or feelings. Nevertheless, in all honesty, I find myself very keen on what other people are feeling, even if they are trying hard to hide it.

I will make a few last statements in agreement with the other two articles that accompanied my test results. In his review of the personality INFJ, Joe Butt stated, “INFTs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden…INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of ‘poetic justice’ is appealing to the INFJ.” This struck me hard, as it is very true in my personality that God has given me. My mother and teachers throughout my life have always taken note and stated to me that I have a strong tendency to befriend the outcasts and bullied members of my fellow classmates or peers. I find myself fueled by a sense of justice when I dwell too long on the terrible things done to those who cannot readily defend themselves, even when those that cannot defend themselves may have deserved it or had once been the bullies. No matter whom it may be, if the victim is truly in pain and cannot defend against a merciless attack, I find my heart on fire and my emotions strongly involved.

Butt also went on to state that INFJs are not easily led on, and are usually very suspicious. This is both a strength and a weakness in my life, as this suspicious part of my character leads me to have a hard time trusting those I need to trust. This can be a good defense mechanism that keeps those who would wish to hurt me in relationships at bay. At the same time though, this is one of my biggest obstacles to overcome in a friendship or romantic relationship. Even after I have given my heart to someone, I do not trust them with it, and I am constantly suspicious of their motives, their actions, and the true meaning behind their words. 

In conclusion, I very much agree with the test results for my personality assessment. Although I have not touched on the weaknesses of my character as much as I may have wanted to or should have, I feel that the generalization of being an INFJ has been sufficiently summarized.  I find the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to be fairly, if not very, accurate in his findings on my specific and unique personality.


References

Butt, J. (2010). Idealist portrait of the counselor (INFJ). Retrieved from

http://typelogic.com/infj.html

Keirsey, D. (1998). Idealist portrait of the counselor (INFJ). Retrieved from          

http://keirsey.com/4temps/counselor.aspx

Myers, D. (2010). Psychology (9th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers

The End Times

Does anybody ever wonder about the End Times anymore? And no, I don’t mean like watching The Day After Tomorrow, or 2012 (the movie). I mean about the times spoken of in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Does anybody ever think or meditate on that? 

Understandably, it is hard to read that book and not come away either extremely stressed or worried, or extremely confused and skeptical…perhaps even a mixture of both. Revelation is a book of metaphors, analogies, prophecy, and visions. It is a book that is impossible to decipher successfully because God has not yet revealed what the entire book means. Some take it literally, which leads to skepticism by those who do not believe such things as dragons, angels, curses, the stars falling, or heavenly plagues to be real. Others take it all as metaphorical symbolism, meaning that what is said in the book is not meant to be literal, but instead has a second, more philosophical meaning. 

In other words, it is like no other book in the Bible. It is full of mystery, suspense, visions of angels with damning scrolls and demons that scour the earth and end mankind. 

Now, this blog post is not going to be me trying to decipher this amazing, fantastical book. Rather, I am going to take the time to explain why this book is extremely relevant to Christians, and how I wish to make you more aware and focused on what it contains. So although my following thoughts won’t further state the word “Revelation” in them because I will paraphrasing from what I have learned from the book, my thoughts originate with that book in mind. 

Before I dive in though, I will mention here that many are in debate and disagreement on whether the End Times are upon us, are coming soon, are in the far distant future, or a few select believe that they have already passed (the latter which I strongly believe to be false and inaccurate). With the exception of the latter belief, I see these other distinct conclusions to be non-absolute, as no one has the answer to the true timing of the End Times. I personally believe that they are in the near future…not quite upon us, but approaching more quickly than I think people are aware of. Why I mention this is because I believe, regardless of what you might conclude about when the End Times might be coming, it is still important to prepare for them, and to always have them in mind. Although it is important, and often said, that living in the present is important, and even Scripture supports the absence of worrying about tomorrow, it is still vital to meditate and be prepared/preparing (which are completely different from worrying) about the times spoke of in Revelation. 

One more thing worth mentioning is the the debate about the Tribulation times, and whether or not Christians will be present on earth for such times. It is a never ending debate, with both sides having very valid arguments and points. My position on that is this: would you not rather be prepared for the worst, rather than hoping for the best (that God will take us into heaven before the Tribulation times)? Because if one is right about God taking us before then, then those of us who have prepared for those hard times have lost our time, but not our foundation. Instead, for those who are hoping to be spared such trialing times, if they are wrong, they will be in for a long, hard road when they are faced with the realization that they have to go through all that. 

So now to my main point, which ironically will be shorter than all the introduction to it. It is important for the Christian to prepare spiritually for these coming times… especially those who have been polarized in western culture (which includes myself). We are used to a world of comfort, of lack of life and death trials, and have never had to face the decision to deny Christ and live, or die. Yet, these End Times will produce such dire circumstances, and if we have not already committed in our heads and hearts what we will do when such a situation arises, then our foundation will crumble like the man who built his house upon the sand. 

People loose perspective. They get caught up in what this world has to offer them, or tempt them with. They forget the bigger picture: that they have a King to serve, Who is coming back one day, but it will be too late in the moment to figure out how to respond to Satan’s attacks and minions when they threaten ones life. Such a decision must be made before hand, and it must be something a Christian is prepared to make EVERY DAY. 

My advice and counsel is this: be prepared. Christ commands that of us. He warns that those who are not ready will loose their faith and crumble under overwhelming opposition unlike anything western culture civilizations have had to overcome in a personal face-to-face confrontation. The End Times will require much of the current-day living Christians. My question now to you is this: If these events in Revelation started happening tomorrow…would you be ready?

Are you prepared to follow Christ unto death?

A sobering thought, but if you can say yes to that question, then you will have made more rewards in heaven then anything in this life can possible come close to. 

Talk to God about this my friends. It will not be a waste of your time in the present. 

Who I Am

What makes me ME? What makes me like everyone else, yet distinguishes me as different as my own person? What are the little parts that make up my soul? What of my past has made me the me of today, and what in the present is going to become part of that past tomorrow?

I love the autumn time. The leaves decide to put on a parade of colors and take joy in their last moments thriving with life. The weather decides to show mercy and gives us a comfortable temperature of cool breezes, a warm sun, and avoidance of freezing or burning days. The bugs are obliterated or decide to disappear to their version of hell for the remainder of the year (….I hate bugs…..except butterflies). And I can wear sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, jeans, and fedora hats, and feel sexy. 

The sea has called my name many times. When I walk on top of the sandy shores, and listen to the waves lap the ground, and the seagulls are lost in their own world, I wonder about my future, I wonder about my life, and I wonder about God. I listen to a deeper silence that becomes a Voice, and I hear unspoken things spoken by He who was before the silence existed. 

I enjoy theater, even though I have done very little of it. I like pretending to be someone else, to become a different person with a different past, a different future, different reactions than I share.

Music is very important to me. My soul follows its rhythm, and my emotions sing along. My soul intertwines with the instruments and the words being spoken, and the story being told. My favorite artists are Taylor Swift because she writes about her relationships and is honest, Owl City because he knows what it means to write abstract poetry, The Fray because they are Christians who tell it how it is when it comes to life and how hard it can get. Other favorites are Brendan James, Mat Kearney, Peter Bradley Adams, Kris Allen, Imogen Heap, Kelly Clarkson, David Gray, Red, and Colbie Caillait. 

I crave for honesty and truth. I hate hiding secrets, and hate when people hide things from me. I even cringe at white lies…I would rather you be honest with me. Of course, I don’t like bluntness, because there are gentler ways of being honest. But truth is important to me, as it is hard for me to trust others fully. Lies are one of the few fears I have in life. They scare me.

I am an introvert. I love people though, and I thrive off social interaction. But if I am put in a group of three or more, I become quiet, very self-conscious, and can be easily overwhelmed. I rather enjoy one on one interaction, and when I make friends, I am extremely loyal and open with them. Some people think I am an extrovert because I can get very talkative, but that is because they haven’t seen me in a large group or around alot of strangers. 

I love books…although I don’t read as much as I used to, I still love them. I am at home at Barnes and Noble. I love the coffee smell, and I also like to smell book pages (that’s not weird right?….RIGHT???) My favorites are fantasy fiction. Favorite books and series are The Wheel of Time Series, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, any book by Nicholas Sparks, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, The Hunger Games, and The Kingkiller Chronicles. 

I am very morally driven, and I believe in right or wrong. I am a Christian, and my walk with Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me in life. I grew up in a large family, and all my immediate family members are Christians. My parents taught me what faith, commitment, and the meaning of life are. 

I am also gay. But I am not your typical gay man. I do not go clubbing, I am not promiscuous, I do not party, and I believe in treating a man honorably, and not like a thing to objectify. 

I care about people, especially those who have had to face the more tragic things in life. God has blessed with me a relatively easy life, and sometimes it is hard for me to imagine the horrors of this life. But my heart goes out to those who have to live with that in their life, so I feel I have been called to the ministry of counseling. I hope to help point other to the ultimate Comforter and Counselor, Jesus Christ. 

So these things are small things that make me up. There are many other things, but these are the forefront of my mind, and they play large roles in my life. I hope that my vulnerability has started a relationship of trust and openness. On this blog, you will find the inner thoughts of a young man who is trying to stumble along in this life, all the while holding the hand of his Lord, Who has gone before me, and knows the ME in me better than I do