Society Vs. Nature

Before I begin phase two of my Society Vs. section, I have to ask that you not think that I’m bashing all the teachings of society. I’m aware there is great reading material, music, movies, and organizations that are helpful and encouraging. What I’m aiming for is to share what I think is bad about society, and be one of the many voices that say it needs to change.

What is the difference between what society teaches and what comes to us naturally? Where society is different from nurture, there is no difference between society and nature. What is natural? Love, sex, anger, revenge. As children, we start out as some of the worst human beings. We lie, cheat, and steal from each other. We also hit and scream. we’re selfish, unkind, and anything bane you can imagine. It’s not until we’re taught morals by our parents that we become decent.

When you think about what you see in media (TV, music, reading material, etc), is being a better person the lesson it is teaching you? I don’t think so. The only thing it’s doing is giving you the option to do the wrong thing or do the right thing. This, of course, comes with a price. You can eat a fatty meal that’s not good for you, but is cheap. However, you can buy a salad and water for twice the price. By buying this line of health food, you lose weight, yet it’ll cost you your bill money. You can go outside and ride your bike and enjoy the scenery. Sitting on your butt with a controller and a pack of Oreos is the other alternative.

Most music is ruining the minds of everyone. Artists are singing about taking advantage of woman (and men), and treating their loved ones like garbage. They mention drugs, money, racism, hate, and meaningless sex. They openly say that this is cool and don’t realize that they’re changing the mindset of those who adore them. Even if you listen to a song because the tune is catchy, you may not know the words or what it’s about. You still hear the words and they feed into your subconscious.

These are just a few examples of the things that we learn as we get older. We’re brought up hating ourselves. we’re being told what we should look like, how we should carry ourselves, what we should wear, and how much money to spend. We’re told the order of our lives: Go to school, go to college, find a job with your degree. Then we date, get married, have kids, go on vacations (that we can’t pay for), retire, and die. But during all of this, we’re judged by others because we don’t live up to the standards that society is setting for us.

We’re pressured by our parents because they are so worried about us not living up to those standards. We’re scared that we’ll make a mistake because according to society, we need to look and be perfect. Then when we have a meltdown it’s for attention, it’s our fault, and we’re childish.

So here’s what I purpose. Let’s stop living up to other people’s standards. We should stop trying to impress people. You eat that cupcake because you want that cupcake. Watch that show because even though it’s not awesome to me, it is to you. Buy your clothes from thrift stores. Not because you can’t afford the designer line, but because thrifting is an adventure. Wear those regular clothes because they look great on you!

If you want to play that video game, do it. However, if you want to go outside do that, too. If someone tries to change you to fit their standards or puts you down because you’re different then you don’t need them. Love is fearless and sometimes that means letting go because it’s in YOUR best interest.

Everyone is important. We all have a purpose. Imagine every person you’ve ever met and how different their lives would be if you never existed. But you do, and that’s why you have to go and live your life without the standards of other people. Let’s focus on what we want and don’t want. Let’s focus on finding who we are. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s hard, too. But the reward is happiness and that’s the ending you want.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

Quest Cape

When I started playing again almost a year ago, I knew what my crowning achievement would be: the quest cape. In my earlier blog post I explained what this was (a cape and hood that you earn after completing all the quests). Around Thanksgiving last year I decided to finally go for it, so I found out all the stats that I would need to complete all the quests and binged it. I got my wood cutting up to 71, my cooking to 70, my smithing to 65, and so on. After two months of mad skilling, I got Runescaped out. I took a break for a month. Every single time I logged on I just couldn’t focus enough to complete quests.

But I  got back into it and within another month I had all 245 quest points, and for those of you who play I know what you are thinking. “245? There’s supposed to be 246.” Yeah, you’re right. You can imagine my agony when I went to the wise old man about buying my cape and found out that there was a whole other thing I had to do involving my least favorite quest, “Rag and Bone Man.”

Rag and bone man is a quest where you help this random guy out by collecting and cleaning special bones from monsters. To collect them you have to kill the monster. To clean them, you have to put the bone in a pot of vinegar and boil them over an iron spit (ONE AT A TIME). The whole point is that this guy is a loon that tells you he’s collecting them for the Varrock Museum. Who knows!

Even though you finish the quest you aren’t actually done. There’s a whole other part of it called “The Wishlist.” You read a piece of paper on his door that has a list of twenty-seven different creatures that he wants bones from. So I went all over that game killing these monsters until they dropped me my bones. Talk about painful! I did get a cool bone bag though. It’ll never get worn as long as I have my cape.

But I finally got it and I wear it with everything. Unfortunately, I found out that they are coming out with Monkey Madness 2! So now I have to get level 60 hunting, 70 slayer, and 70 crafting. Ugh! More information about that one will come as soon as it’s completed!

Here are some screenshots of me completing a few of the quests.

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And here’s me enjoying my quest cape:

2016.05.04_02-30-28 Ranged Level (65) Smithing Level (68) Slayer Level (51)

 

Runescape Memes Part 1.

So my mind blew up today when I discovered Runescape memes. I don’t know why I never thought that any existed, but I’m pretty mad at how much time I’ve wasted looking at other memes. Some were funny and some were very cool, so I thought I’d share a few that I saw today.

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We all know about the random event where a troll named Flippa appears and offers the chance to play pinball. However Runescape’s version of pinball isn’t what you would normally think it is. Her famous line, “You like hitting things?” Is perfect for when she appears during combat. I laughed pretty hard at this one. Plus, random events always show up at either the best time or worst time. There’s never been an even middle in my experience.

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The caption that was under this when I saw it on Facebook was, “I don’t know who this kid is, but keep preaching!” For those who don’t know what “bots” are, they’re a program where your avatar can play the game without you having to hit any buttons.  I laughed at this because I remember when I would take tests in school and put random stuff down when I didn’t know the answer. There is always a huge amount of bots chopping down all the yew trees, fishing, spinning bow strings, or doing some other skill that interferes with what we real players are doing.

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This meme had me rolling. The funny thing about old school Runescape is that you had the option to change your face features, but the graphics were so bad that you couldn’t tell the difference. 

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I just want to throw it out there that I absolutely hated this quest. Whoever wrote the quest was not a hero. They were somebody that thought it’d be funny to tick people off. It took me seven hours to complete Mourning’s End Part 2. Most of that time I was trying to cross an agility obstacle on a wall and kept failing. The thing that made me mad was that you need level 59 agility and mine was level 60. I expected to fall a few times, but not thirty in one go. Another player told me he had 56 agility and used potions to boost his level. He only fell twice. I thought I was going to lose my mind.

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I laughed at this one because of how true it is. When I was in middle school my motto was “School, Runescape, repeat.” I also laugh because woodcutting (and fletching) were my favorite skills when I played in middle school.

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I wanted to add this one because of how cool this is. I think one day when I graduate college I’m going to try to make a cape for what I major in. (Although it’d be cool if I could make a real life quest cape). I wonder when he plans on trimming it.

Curing Writer’s Block

What is writer’s block? It’s that lovely moment when you are either in the middle of writing, or about to start, and you hit a brick wall (figuratively speaking). No ideas will come  to you and you can’t find the words for any idea that you may get. There are people who have told me that writer’s block isn’t real because there is always something to write about. Yes, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Writer’s block just means that you need to take a step back to gather your thoughts and refuel your creativity.

So how can you overcome writer’s block? It varies a person to person. I’ve compiled a list of different methods that usually help me, and that I hope will help you, too. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours going through this entire list until you’ve completed each one. Doing that would overwhelm you and make you dread the list which would actually stunt the creative flow.

Day Dream. 

Stop what you are doing, lay back, and relax. Whatever you are trying to write came from an idea that originated from your imagination. All you have to do is tap into it. Just picture the scene in your head, and then play out every scenario until you are able to decide which one works. Ask yourself: Who are the characters? Where are they? Is there a conflict (what is it)? What are they saying? You’d be surprised at how helpful it is to your creative senses when you take a moment to just focus on the idea.  This method is usually my first step because of how easy it is (as long as you are able to ignore any distractions around you).

Write it down (optional). 

I added this because it’s important to write your ideas and daydreams. There is nothing worse than trying to remember what you wanted a character to say. This method is great because you won’t have to worry about forgetting. Also, if you write it in chronological order, then it’s a checklist that you can refer back to. I do this a lot when I outline a chapter.

No Distractions. 

Going back to comment I made at the end of method one, a lot of the time there are distractions. Children are around, housework to do, stuff for work, and the weight of the world on our shoulders. It’s crazy that one of the easiest ways to get our creative flow going is by having No Distractions. I have this problem a lot since I am around my nieces and nephew all the time. There’s constant talking, moving around, the TV is always going, and noise.

They argue, cry, yell, run, and jump. The dog and cat are always at odds with each other and want my attention. They won’t leave me alone until they get it. I am always pushing one away, being a mediator between children, and doing something they need. There are time outs and sometimes I have to raise my voice. This house is pretty hectic as anyone who has children in their house knows. It’s difficult to take a moment and focus on writing when there are so many things going on at once. Whenever I decide to write I can’t have anything clouding my brain. I need it finished before I even consider plugging my flash drive into my laptop. So if you find a messy space distracting, you need to clean it.

Listen to Music. 

Wonderful things come from taking the time to listen to music and really feel the words you are hearing. Everyone loves it when they hear a song and can relate it to their own life. Songs can remind you of a friend or family member, or a boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes even a memory from your childhood. Music brings distant emotions to the surface and allows you to find the inspiration for what you are writing.

It helps us to describe emotions in what we’re writing because we are able to recall it to us. Just about every Skillet song fits one of my stories, where every Within Temptation songs fits another story. Some of the events in my books wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t heard certain songs. Music is an overall wonderful way to get those creative juices flowing so you can get to writing. It’s almost like the inspiration never ends because every time you hear it you will think of something new.

Read

A somewhat longer method to finding inspiration is to Read. A poem, a book, or a short story is a huge help in creating your own. When I first read Harry Potter I realized that writing was what I really wanted to do. I love books like Divergent, The Giver, and Hunger Games where it talks about societies that have changed because of a gruesome history and the selfish acts of people. Those changed my life and how I view the world. From those, I am able to create my own. As your point of view changes, so will your characters’ points of view. They will change your story more than you will. Just remember to not plagiarize.

Taking Breaks

I’ve found that Taking Breaks are very beneficial to writing. I’m not talking about a ten-minute break here and there so you aren’t constantly looking at a screen (although those are important, too). I mean taking a little break from writing to rejuvenate your inner need to do so. Everyone gets burnt out on doing the same things over and over. Just remember that when you quit something for a while, it’s possible that you will wake up months later and realize you haven’t written anything in forever.

I know that the worst part of writing, for me, is starting back up after such a long time not doing it. You should only choose this method if you think the reason for your block is that you’ve written so much, then you’re burned out. I’ve found the best way to go about it is to take the time you would be writing and read. This still links you to your writing and you may start writing again before you think!

Write something else

So from that, there is another type of break for a writer: Write something else. Creating a story is easy; it’s the details and the real writing part that drains you and your poor brain. I’m sure we’ve all been through that moment where we ask ourselves, “Why did I want to write this first?” Because it was new and exciting. When something is new and exciting we drop everything for it. A new job, a new relationship, a new brand of foundation or eyeliner, it’s the same with a new story. So whether it’s a poem, short story, or a new novel idea, write something else. You’d be surprised by how refreshing it is to have something else to do and think about! I tend to bounce back and forth between stories which are great because there is always room for inspiration to get me back into the zone.

Prompts

I saved this method for last because it’s something new that I’ve started to do, and so far, it’s worked really well. However, it’ll make you roll your eyes. We all remember those writing assignments we had in school where the teacher handed out a sheet of paper with an idea on it and we had an allotted amount of time to write something about it. They’re called Prompts. In school, I never found them fun, but as an adult, I have found such good ones that now it’s exciting to pick one out and create something on the spot. All I do is look up “Writing prompts” on Google.com and search images.

I prefer to do images because sorting through all the articles is a waste of time to me. Then you just pick one and start writing. On my word document, I like to put what the prompt is for when I go back and read it in the future. I’ve written them as a personal essay, and I’ve also written them as a short story. It’s a great way to get the creative juices going whether you choose to do it when you have writer’s block, or before you even start writing your real story.

Remember that no matter what you are writing (book, short story, poem, etc), these methods will work for you. Don’t look at this huge list and overwhelm yourself thinking you have to do all of them before you are able to get rid of the infamous block. Start with the first one, and if that doesn’t work, move to the next. Listen to music, watch a movie or your favorite TV show, day-dream, or busy yourself with housework (clean air means clean head). Do anything that distracts your mind from what you are writing. Inspiration is everywhere. You just have to look.

Header photo was found on google. Image owned by Magoosh.com

What Happened To Goodbye?

After witnessing her parent’s awful divorce, her mother’s union with a new husband, and the news of twins being born into the family, Mclean Sweet decided to uproot herself and tag along with her father while he works. With this decision brings the chaos of never knowing where they would live and how long they’d be there, and for Mclean, who she would be. Mclean is a girl who pretends that she is a different person as she moves from city to city. But now, in Lakeview, all of this is about to change as she struggles to decide who she will be, and when she meets Dave, is being someone else what she really wants? Dave is sure that who he is falling in love with is the real her, as well as all the friend’s she has made, but are they really? For someone who has pretended for so long, does she even know who she is anymore?

My favorite parts in this book were the ones that had Dave. Not because of the fact that I was totally in love with him, but because when he was around it seemed as though Mclean had a grasp on life and who she was. She could be herself without Beth or Liz or Eliza and Lizbet. I also loved watching her transition from the person she thought she was to who she became, and with that, she learned more about her family and what life could really be like for her.

I strongly suggest this book to teenagers since it is about how finding who you are and being yourself is important. I also suggest it to anyone who likes a good, simple romance but wants to see the sweet transition leading up to it instead of all the passion. It was pretty incredible, in my opinion, and I would totally read it again!

Dollar Shave Club

So online-surfing is one of my favorite hobbies. I love reading random articles for no reason. About a week ago I saw an article titled, “I tried dollar shave club and this is what happened.” In the article the woman tells about her experiences with different types of razors in the past, how she decided to try this company after one of her friends recommended it, and the huge difference that it made in her life.

I noticed that a lot of her past experiences matched mine. Some razors gave me cuts for no reason, I was always getting irritation, and sometimes the razors hurt. I also had to shave every day because my razors were getting all the hair. I tried so many different kinds that claimed to have a close shave but didn’t live up to their promise, and I refused to spend all my money on those expensive ones. Why does shaving have to cost so much?

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So after reading the article I decided to check it out. When I first got to the website it took me step by step and the ordering process was a breeze. I chose the executive which is a six-bladed razor that gives the closest and gentlest shave I have ever had. There were no cuts, no irritation, no pain, and the strokes were quick and smooth.

I also bought some of their shave butter. It’s the consistency of conditioner and goes on very nicely. You can tell where you’ve shaved and where you haven’t. I’ve found that I prefer this product over every other soap and shaving cream that I’ve used. It left my skin feeling so soft and nourished. I haven’t seen this for myself yet, but my mom told me that she noticed a difference in how fast her hair grows back since she started using it compared to when she used soap/shaving cream.

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They say first impressions are always the most important, and there’s no exception when it comes to what you use on your body. Overall, this has been one of the best first experiences I’ve had. I’ll continue to be a member of Dollar Shave Club. You can get your first shipment by visiting www.dollarshaveclub.com

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After one use.

Society Vs. Woman

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

I remember I was ecstatic when my class came across tribes run by a woman. History has been pretty matriarchal for the most part, and how they treated woman hasn’t been that great. Woman were told how to dress, how to act, how to talk to a man, where they could be, when they could be, and in some cultures, a man had to go with them or they could face arrest. Esther married a king and faced death if she visited her husband without requesting to first. People looked down upon woman and thought because we are smaller and not as physically strong that we weren’t capable of doing as much or more than men, nor did we even have half the brain capacity than men did.

Then woman started to step up. They started teaching kids how to read, mothers how to care for their children and started movements to rid their communities of prostitution and promoted how saving yourself for marriage is important. The woman of that time wanted to rid the world of anything that did not give woman their self-respect and dignity.

Eventually, woman started to fight for the rights that they deserved: the right of the freedom to choose for themselves. Whether it was having a job, voting, or even what they wanted to wear, they could make the choice to do it without a man’s approval. They took their weaknesses and made them strengths, they proved their bravery and showed that they were just as intelligent as men.

Every day I go out into the world and the same question pops into my head: Where are these woman today? Where are the woman who had the determination to fight for themselves and what they deserve? Where are the woman who had class and self-respect? I am a waitress in the food industry. I go out to nice places and enjoy doing things like going to concerts/shows, karaoke, seeing movies, etc. I have served people at work and have seen people from all over different jobs and reputations.

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12

I have seen woman of all ages barely dressed in trying to get attention from the opposite sex and make those of the same-sex jealous. I’ve also seen those same women get mad when they get disrespected by the guys they are attracting. I get upset at the idea that woman feel that they have to dress that way to get attention. I get upset when they think they’ll attract a good guy dressed like that.

I’ve seen woman jump each other and turn against their families and friends for the dumbest reasons: someone slept with someone they weren’t supposed to, they dressed wrong, the list goes on. I’ve seen woman act nasty toward both men and other woman for no reason. They speak rotten words to people instead of breathing life into them. I’ve seen woman stay in relationships with men who had no motivation to get a job to help them out in keeping food on the table and the bills paid, who won’t even attempt to make them happy. I’ve seen them struggle and go through depression over circumstances that I know they have the strength to change, but won’t because they don’t want to or they’re conditioned to believe they are too weak from a bad relationship with a current or ex-boyfriend/husband, a parent/other family members, or a friend/group of friends.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:25-26

I’m so sick of hearing woman slut-shaming each other, of them trying to screw up each other’s lives or the lives of men that broke their hearts. It only gives men a reason to do the same thing to woman, and I know none of us like it when our exes go around saying awful things about us (or any man or woman for that matter). I get so tired of seeing woman hate men and say awful things to them in the name of feminism. I just want to tell them to sit down because they don’t even know what it is.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

And so my question still stands. Where are these woman today in 2016? Where is the love that encourages people? Where is the compassion that helps people? Where are the words that give people hope? Where is the strength? Where is the class? When will woman have the reality check and realize that they are more than what they think they are? When will they learn that they have power in this world?

Those woman did not fight for us to have freedom so that we could choose to dress skimpy, have sex with anyone we want at whatever age we want, put ourselves in dangerous situations, etc. They didn’t fight so that we would feel trapped or isolated, or so we would believe the lies that are told to us by media and others who want to tear us down. They didn’t fight for us to lose our dignity and self-respect. They didn’t want nude photos or secret videos of us being intimate with someone to get on the internet because we let our guard down for one night. They fought so that we could put our feminine touch in this world and make a difference. No one is going to take us seriously if we keep settling and downgrading ourselves.

So next time you speak to someone, think about what you say. Next time you go out, think about what you wear, if you should have that drink even though you’ve already exceeded your normal limit, if you should be out with those friends or not. Next time you get into a relationship, wonder if you should be with that person physically, emotionally, and mentally. Think about who you are and wonder if that’s the woman you are supposed to be. It’s time to start changing this world.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:30-31

 

Old Fashioned

When my sister and I were little, we played a role-playing game called “Old Fashioned” where we pretended to be children growing up in the Victorian Era. I always found it fun to fake accents (which I’m still very bad at) and spend time with my older sister. When she found this movie called, “Old Fashioned,” I thought that it would be like the game we used to play, but instead it was very different.

There are very few love movies that I will still watch: Fireproof, War Room, and now Old Fashioned. I loved how they took Clay (Rik Swartzwelder), a former frat boy who had done and said awful things to woman, and showed how different events had led to him finding God and completely changed his life around. But he isn’t perfect and still holds grudges against himself, which is where Amber (Elizabeth Roberts) comes in. She’s a free-spirited, go where ever the wind takes me, sort of girl. Together they try to have the old-fashioned relationship that he wants and she needs.

This movie impressed me with the fact that they showed two people who both had pasts that weren’t pretty, were fearful of what the other would think of them, but then chose to look past the baggage and love each other for who they became. This is the cutest love story I’ve ever seen.

God’s Not Dead 2

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)

This past Friday I went and saw God’s Not Dead 2. Whereas the first one was about a college student that’s challenged by his atheist teacher to prove God’s existence, the second one is about a high school teacher that’s accused of preaching to her students about Jesus after answering a simple question asked by a student. This teacher, who is a Christian, has to make a challenging decision: standing up for her beliefs or putting her Earthly desires first and standing down.

This is an excellent movie that shows the power of God and the assurance that He keeps his promises. It shows the courage that it takes to stand up for your beliefs when you know you could lose everything, and how important it is to know who God is and that He has your back. (Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) He watches over us each day and He takes those steps with us even when we feel that we are alone.

Sometimes its difficult to remember this because there are those who will try to tear down your faith. They treat Jesus as if he is just a fairy-tale or an ordinary man who had really big dreams or was insane. They treat the word of God as if it is just a well written story book with life lessons in it, or that it’s not real at all. They look at it as though it’s evil. There are those that will convict you and not give it a second glance all because you have faith in Jesus Christ.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. (John 15:18-22)

In this movie, it isn’t the teacher put on trial, it’s God.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:27-29)

There comes a point in our lives when we’re faced with this very question, and whether we are believers of the cross or not it makes its impact. The night Jesus saved me he said, “You need me.” And so I did. Throughout the time that I’ve followed him I have been through many trials, and I’ve had to make difficult decisions out of my faith that caused mixed feelings towards me from other people.

Even though my faith is strong, sometimes I grow too confident in it and will sometimes lose sight of who God is and his importance in my life. Sometimes I think I’m putting God first when I’m not and He has to put me in my place.

One of those moments has happened recently. I’ve been faced with the question, “Who do you say I am?” He isn’t just some big guy in the clouds. He’s the God that created the entire universe (Genesis 1:1-31), made humanity (Genesis 1:27), flooded the earth for forty days and nights and then made it new again (Genesis 6-9). He told hungry lions not to hurt Daniel (Daniel 6), saved three men from being burned with fire (Daniel 3:14-29), had a virgin give birth to the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-25) who died for our sins (Matthew 27:32-61) so that we may live forever even when we die (John 11:25).

So when I’m asked who I say God is, He is the one and only Great I Am. THAT is who he is.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

"There's a reason that 'Victim' and 'victorious' start with the same letters!"