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There is a Creator and He Loves You

There is a Creator, and He Loves You

5/12/2016

Ben Hartnett

 

                  The universe is so complex that there must by logic be a creator. There are two opposing views. One is evolution, and the other is intelligent design. Both require faith. However, it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to intelligent design. However, the purpose of this article is not to prove either one of these belief systems. Though, I believe in intelligent design which means I believe in God. There will be a series of articles I will be writing on intelligent design. However, it won’t be one after the other in article releases as I am writing many other articles. This article will explain God’s love and that he loves you.

                Love is a powerful word. It has so much to it. It can be shallow such as infatuation, or it can be very deep such as the love that a person devotes their life to the person. I prefer to go with the deep terminology of love. I think our love for God is our service and devotion to him through proper motivation. We serve him because we love him, and it makes us happy. When we love God, we devote our lives to make him number one. It also means we have an intimate fellowship with him. Our emotions are full joy which is how it should be.

                But, this article is about God’s love for us. I think this is the proper way to start off. I say this because God first loved us before we loved him. The ultimate act of love God did for all of the humanity was send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He suffered and died so that we could be reconciled to God. So that we could have an everlasting relationship. The fact of the matter is God is real. Whether you believe he is or not. He is real. And nothing we can do can change that.

                God by nature is love. He has always been love. What does this mean, though? It means that God wants fellowship with us. An intimate fellowship. He wants to bless us, care for us, be with us, and listen to us. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is the perfect example of God’s love. He is patient with us. He is kind. He delights in the truth. God does not force anyone to have a relationship with him. This is freewill, and that is a wonderful gift.

                God created the universe. Everything. And he loves you. Even when you have doubt about God he still loves you. The most beautiful thing is no matter what you do or say, he will always love you! Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

-This article may be short. But is a simple reminder of God and his love.

 

Thank you for reading,

Ben Hartnett

 

 

 

 

 

   

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What’s Your Purpose?

What’s Your Purpose?

Ben Hartnett

5/6/2016

 

    Life is short. One day we are here and the next we are somewhere in eternity. Life is meant to be enjoyed. To be savored. That is why we need a purpose. We can end up with a good purpose to live or a bad one depending on our presuppositions. You can have multiple purposes in life. This is a good thing because it gives life more meaning. This article will discuss briefly life’s purpose and how you can find yours.

    First, our most important purpose in life is to serve and love God. He is supposed to be our number one. We need him for everything. When our purpose is rooted in the Word of God, we can know that we have a good purpose. For example, the Bible speaks in Ephesians of husbands loving their wives. That is a purpose. Because our intention is to love. Our objective should be to serve God.

    This leads us to our second purpose which is to love others. We should serve others and bless people. I try to do my best with this one because I am a people person. I love people! I try to find the good in people because I know it exists. Even the worst person in the world can have good in them. I don’t think anyone is utterly depraved (a theological term that means we are completely evil to the core or evil as possibly can be). You can complement someone. You can let a person go ahead of you in line at the store. Sometimes a simple hello to someone makes their day and even a smile!

    The third purpose in life is to love yourself. Jesus said we need to love ourselves as we would love our neighbor. I put this one last because I believe people should be selfless. What does it mean to love yourself? I think it means to accept who we are. I also think it means we find happiness in our values. We value taking care of ourselves so we find happiness in that! We value our talents so we find happiness in that. Ultimately, it is finding happiness in ourselves. It does not mean we become selfish and ignore the needs of others. It simply means we are happy with ourselves and to make sure we do not ignore our needs.

    Now, I think those three should be our main purpose. Meaning, not an optional purpose but a necessary one. I don’t want to sound legalistic. But when we have all three as our life purpose, we will find great happiness in life. I love serving people! I’m also working on loving myself. The reason I say this is because I am a perfectionist, and I struggle with accepting my faults and my mistakes. The following purpose I am going to discuss is about any meaning you want to have for your life as long as it is in agreement with God. I have many purposes. My purpose is to be a good husband, friend, gamer, programmer, scholar, writer, software engineer, and many others.

    Now, the purpose is in the future tense. This means you work to get to that point. I’m working on being a good husband even though I am a good husband I still make mistakes. Working in school to become a software engineer. Working to become a scholar because I love to learn. We approach our purpose through our values. Values are what is important to us. We use those values to take steps toward our purpose.

So, how do you find your purpose in life? I think that it is easy for some people and harder for others. One way to find your purpose to pray about it. See where the Lord guides you. Another way is to write down all the things you enjoy about life. List your values as well. I have provided a link to a website that talks about values. This site also describes how to find your values.

    There is a second definition of purpose. This definition is the reason why something is done. Why do we do things? Our aim in life in this sense should be to love, to enjoy, and to bless! When we have all three in unity, we enjoy life to the fullest! We cannot live without love.

    So, I hope you learned a great deal of practical information. Our purpose grows each day as we get closer to our intention. We aim and strive to do the things we love and enjoy. Follow your passion. Follow God and love him. Life is about living. In all practicality, I don’t think people can 100% reach their purpose because life always changes. This is why it is our aim. Our meaning.

 

Thank you all for reading,

-Ben Hartnett

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Christian Faith: Joshua 11

Christian Faith Article 1

Joshua 11

Ben Hartnett

One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is Joshua. The book is about victory and conquest. It amazes me how God worked through the authors of each book to communicate His will and His love. I am now writing articles again. This is my 1st Christian Faith article since 2012! Each article will cover a chapter or two from the Bible. Sometimes it will be from the Old Testament and sometimes from the New Testament. This week we will be focusing on Joshua. An article will be released daily! These articles are from my personal Bible reading and studying I do early in the morning. Yes, I am an early riser and morning person. I find that having a nice hot cup of black coffee with my Bible is the best time to draw closer to Jesus! Now let’s get started on Joshua 11.

The book of Joshua is a book about victory and conquest (as stated above). You see, God called a special man named Abram (you can find this story in Genesis). Later, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “father of a multitude”. This is exactly what it means. Why? Because Abraham would be the father of a nation! It was God’s covenant with Him. Israel came from the seed of Abraham. Later on, the Israelites became enslaved in Egypt under a nasty Pharaoh and God delivered the Israelites. This shows that God loves and pursues us even when we are rebellious. However, the Israelites kept following false gods and implemented syncretism. This is the means of blending other religious philosophies with another religion. This is exactly what the Israelites did. Now, even with all of this disobedience from Israel, God promises the Israelites an inheritance. This is known as the promise land. Canaan.

So, open your Bible and find Joshua 11. Joshua was leading Israel on a victorious conquest to take over the land of Canaan.  This chapter is about war in the north. The threat was Jabin king of Hazor. His main goal was to stop Joshua and his conquest. He wanted to stop the army of Israel. There was alarm with the northern kings of Canaan with all of Joshua’s success in the south as well. The goal of Jabin was to attack the Israelites in Gibeon by joining forces with the southern armies. Here we can now see that God in all of his omnipotence (God holding all power over creation) intervened on Jabin’s move as God did this through restraint. Thus, Canaanite armies grew bigger. This created stress for Joshua as they had a lot against them.

Now, most of the armies were staged at the Waters of Merom. This most likely was the strategic attack on Joshua that was planned. This plan would include moving down the Jordan Valley. Now, Joshua had a plan. He decided to find the battle rather than wait for it. This was a five day journey. God wanted Joshua to know that he should not afraid because of God’s promises. This required faith from Joshua. He had to believe that God would give victory through His almighty power. Can you think of how much faith that would take? Especially with a huge threat awaiting Joshua. God instructed Joshua to burn their chariots and cut the tendons (leg tendons) of the enemies’ horses.  Finally, there was success! There was victory! God’s unchanging promises were realized. The horses were defeated and the chariots burned. Also, cities were seized and kings defeated.

You are probably wondering why God would instruct such nasty violence. First, it must be noted that the horses were used for pagan worship. There was also concern that Israel would trust in weapons over the Lord. Though this is a synopsis of Joshua 11. More could be given. But, the point of these articles is to be simplistic and easy to understand. I believe Joshua 11 shows us how we can trust God for victory in our lives. His promises never change. Another lesson I think can be drawn out of Joshua 11 is faith. We need to learn to trust God more than we trust ourselves. We can see God’s providential control in this chapter as well. Always trust God.

My next article will be about the Jordan River, Canaan, and Joshua. Thank you for reading this article. I am confident you learned something!

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Do Dogs Feel Emotions?

Do Dogs Feel Emotions

Written by Benjamin Hartnett

 

                Do dogs feel emotions? This is up for a lot of debate. There exists much animal cruelty in our world it begs to ask the question: “Do animals feel pain?” We would love to think that our dog loves us the same way as we love. But, does the dog love as we love? Should we treat our pet like a human? Does our dog have rights? This essay is a scientific analysis on the emotions of dogs.

                Dogs do have some emotions. However, they are not as complex as humans (Maguire). Some people even believe that a dog does not love as a human loves or feels love as a human feels. The basis of this investigation is that dogs are not humans. Thus, do dogs feel as humans do since they are not humans? While we cannot know for sure how a dog feels because we are not the dog and the dog cannot speak to us in language terms we can have an understanding based on the dog’s brain. Dogs can feel apprehension, fear, “happiness”, elation, terror, and anger. It must be noted that dogs react in accordance to the way we feel. It has been said that dogs can read human’s emotions. However, this does not indicate how a dog feels. It simply means that a dog can sense the way we feel and react in regard to it. Next, the question: what do emotions do for dogs? An emotion gives the dog an impulse to act on. This would be in response to a situation or an event. It also means how they feel to what they react. For example, if a dog feels fear then the dog must defend itself in regard to the situation.

                There has been research which has shown that dogs have seven basic emotional systems (“Do dogs have,” ). What are these systems? First, it needs to be understood that these emotional systems provide the ability to react. React to what? The reaction is in regard to information that enters into the brain via senses. Moreover, one these systems are a play system. The next one is a care system. Both the care and play system are used to create social attachments and to raise offspring. The third system is a system to look for food. The fourth system is a fear system. While these are not all seven it can be concluded that dogs can form attachments to humans. For example, take a look at pet separation anxiety. A dog experiences anxiety as the owner is away. Sometimes this anxiety can turn into destructive behavior. Does this mean that the dog experiences anxiety because the dog is attached to the owner? I think it does. Think of a baby who cries when its mother is away. The baby has an attachment to the mother. These systems show that the dog or other mammals have emotions. They show that the dog fears, cares, seeking food, and more.

                How does brain structure relate to the emotions of the dog? First, the dog has a pleasure center in the brain just as a human does. This pleasure system secretes the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in rewarding feelings. Thus, it can be said that the dog feels “happiness”. Dogs also have a limbic system. The limbic system plays an important role in emotions. As it can be seen dogs do have structures in the brain that aid them in experiencing emotions. Observation also shows that dogs have emotions. A dog wags its tail when excited as an example. What about pain? Dogs can feel pain because they have a cerebral cortex that deals with pain. Moreover, dogs also have a thalamus which relays pain information. There are structures in the brain that allow the dog to feel emotion and pain as presented.

                Dogs can feel and think (not as complex as humans can). While some philosophers argue that animals cannot feel pain it has been shown scientifically that they can feel pain. The thalamus and the cerebral cortex of a dog deal with pain. Next, dogs can have attachments toward people. While this attachment is not fully understood it can be seen that they do react and attach. Dogs are complex animals. People cannot full understand them because people are not dogs and dogs cannot speak. Dogs are wonderful creatures and they are loyal. They are also great companions.

References:

  1. Maguire, S. (n.d.). Dogs and human emotions. Retrieved from http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/emotionaldog.htm
  2. Do dogs have emotions?. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.purina.co.uk/home/all about dogs/living together dog/get more out of life dog/do dogs have emotions.htm

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