Deuteronomy 10: 21.

“He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.” (Deut. 10:20-21, NKJV)

I read chapter 10 of the book of Deuteronomy, book that I still have problems writing well in English, and these two verses captured my attention. Another of those gems that I’m finding on my daily read of the Bible. I read the Bible in Spanish, because I live in a Spanish speaking country. This means that when I blog about the Bible, some things that captivate me about the Bible in Spanish is not that visible in English.

I read this chapter on Thursday, August 20, 2015. The youth group of my church had that night a praise night and I had to sing a song on a youth retreat my church was having the day after. I read in Spanish: “He is the object of your praise, and he is your God, who has done with you these great and terrible things which your eyes have seen” (INTJness RV60 translation).  I was impacted by this text, especially because in context of what is written around it, because it felt to me as a conclusion to Moses reminder to the people of Israel about their history.

My nightly read Bible doesn’t have the text divided into parts, so I don’t necessarily have the tittle bias when reading. To be able to see this text as a part of Moses whole speech was interesting. It made me happy to see a God-centered history lesson from a man that was an active part of it.

“God is the object of my praise.” This phrase captivated my heart, because it provides direction to what I do. “He is your God”, a phrase that provides a sense of ownership. “Who has done with you these great and terrible things which your eyes have seen”, a reason to praise Him and a confirmation of the veracity and reality of the object of my praise: my God.

This can easily become my favorite Bible verse. That’s saying a lot because I don’t like having any favorites..

Last nights (August’s 30) Bible read.

Last night, I read Deuteronomy 17. The first part of the chapter was a repetition of sacrifices to be done on holy days, no shock there. The real gem of this chapter es in the second part of the chapter, where God, through Moses, gives instructions as to how to react when the time came when the Israelite’s asked for a King. What? Talk about a kingdom when the Israelite’s hadn’t even conquered Canaan? I was… intellectually stimulated while and after reading this chapter, because I was making the connections between this chapter and the part of Israel’s history where Kings rule. I was amazed in how detailed the instructions were… and how much did the Israelite Kings departed from it. It was astonishing to see that God revealed the rules of kingship in Israel at this time. I saw how the Israelite Kings departed from the ways of God and praised Baal. I saw how the Kings amassed wives and wealth. How some chose to serve God and how others chose to not serve Him. It was a realization of epic proportion to see that God really doesn’t allow any event in history to take place without giving an indicator of it’s coming. It was a breath of non-contaminated air to see this text in the midst of all the repetition in the book of Deuteronomy.

James 4:7-10 in pictures

A week ago I had a youth group retreat where each of us common folk had to prepare a small sermon about a bible verse. I chose to do it in a Health Education format and put it in pictures. I made paintings of the text that was assigned (James 4:7-10), but never used them. Thought it was more fun to have them draw it out. Anyway, this is my interpretation of James 4:7-10.

Note: I am from a Spanish speaking country, so the text is in Spanish.

Therefore submit to God. (Text says: Approach him and speak to him. Fine, Lord. I will do it)

Submit to God

Resist the devil

resistid al diablo

and he will flee from you.

y el huira de nosotros

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (Text says: My servant, I wish to speak to you.)

acercaos a Dios

Cleanse your hands, you sinners; (text says: Sinners! I advise that you use water and soap.)

jabon

and purify your hearts, (text says: Heart Purifier)

purificador de corazones

you double-minded. (In Spanish it says doble animo)

doble animo

Lament (afligios in Spanish) and mourn and weep!

afligios

Let your laughter (The Spanish version says alegria, which means happiness) be turned to mourning

alegria a lloro

and your joy to gloom.

gozo a otra cosa

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, (Text says: -I’m Child of God. -I’m royal priesthood. -I have a calling. -I have what is necessary to fulfill God’s calling. -Without God I’m lost. -Without God I will not accomplish anything significant. -Without God, my calling will not exist. -The key ingredient to fulfill God’s purpose in my life is God. 

humildad 2

and He will lift you up.

Dios exalta

(Simple) Things INTJs Love.

(Simple) Things that INTJs (mainly me) love.

  1. Quiet.
  2. Solitude.
  3. The feeling of the first sip of water going down your esophagus first thing in the mourning.
  4. The feeling of the first sip of Coca Cola going down your esophagus.
  5. Going to my neighborhood Starbucks and have the employees greet me by name and preparing my order just how I like it without having to give specifics about what I want. (this fact about the Puerto Rico Starbucks that I go to was a surprise to my sister when she came to PR to visit).
  6. The process of writing blogs.
  7. Seeing that someone in the blogging world takes their time to read INTJ content.
  8. High mental stimulation from ideas.
  9. Seeing someone learn what you teach.
  10. Learning.
  11. Talking about something that your passionate about…
  12. … and seeing that the other person is genuinely listening to what you are saying.
  13. Spending the day by yourself.
  14. Seeing God’s creation in awe of the greatness and creativity of God Almighty.
  15. Playing music.
  16. Creating something awesome (or at least creating something that you think is awesome).
  17. Making a joke about a situation…
  18. … and getting laughter in return.
  19. Pulling off a good prank…
  20. … and getting the expected reaction in return.
  21. Thinking.
  22. The silence after a party is over.
  23. Relaxing.
  24. Feeling of being a valuable and useful part of a group of people.
  25. Feeling loved without judgement.
  26. Intellectual pursuits.
  27. Tearing important concepts apart.
  28. Being done with a negative aspect of one’s life.
  29. Having direction in life.
  30. Being useful.
  31. Being empowered to be my own person.
  32. Making my own decisions.
  33. Having God on my side.

Reading the Bible as an INTJ.

Last year I made the decision to start reading the Bible for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to see how Jesus worked in discipling.
  2. I wanted to see what the Bible had to say and whether it was consistent with what preachers sold to me with their sermons.
  3. I had this subtle pressure from God at times to start reading the Bible.

I started to read the Gospels one chapter per night before I went to bed. Why?

  1. It was convenient. I was in the middle of my master’s degree and had to choose something simple to do.
  2. I eliminated pressure to read a certain number of chapters in a short period of time. This was one of the reasons why I wouldn’t do any read the Bible in a year commitments: wasn’t going to keep them. This liberated me to focus on a really short term goal: one chapter per night.
  3. Simple.
  4. A small step in the direction of adopting Bible reading in my life

I quickly realized that I was more interested in what the Bible had to say and not in how Jesus worked in discipling. This was a good thing, because if it was the other way around I would have stopped reading the Bible when I finished with the Gospels and this blog post would have looked differently.

After I finished reading the Gospels, I had a 5-10 min decision moment in my mind where I had to decide whether I was going to keep going in the New Testament of whether I would start reading Genesis and read my way to the Gospels. This was a not so important moment that would determine the content that I would be exposing my mind to. After a brief moment of tension, I made the decision to read Genesis.

Today, looking back at the content covered in my Sunday School classes, I can safely say that I made the right choice by going to Genesis. Reading the first four and a half books of the Bible has helped me understand the book of Joshua in more depth than I would have if I had gone through the New Testament.

In conclusion, what is the INTJness way of reading the Bible?

  1. Choose an individualized and tailored plan.
  2. Choose which book to start with
  3. State the reason to start… and to keep going.
  4. Make mental notes of what has been learned.
  5. Repeat, if necessary.

My ideal self.

My ideal self… is there such a thing? As an INTJ, I analyze everything. My thoughts, ideas, ideals, and conclusions are no exception. What is my ideal self? Or better said: What do I ideally want to be? A question that has been in my mind for a while, but hasn’t been answered as sincerely as I would have liked. But really: Is it what I would like to be or is it the optimum manifestation of my true self?

What should I refer my ideal self as? He, She, something else? I decided to call my ideal self It. Why? For one, because I want to. Second of all, I do not think my ideal self should be restricted gender-wise, even though I attribute it a masculine presenting. A gendered ideal self is restraining and I want to choose the ideal person that is right for me, whatever that is.

My ideal self is:

  1. A  masculine self.
  2. Strong.
  3. Independent.
  4. Bold.
  5. Tough.
  6. Has self control.
  7. Protector of that which is important.
  8. A wise and intellectual Christian INTJ-A comedian.
  9. Successful.
  10. Driven.
  11. It’s own person.
  12. It is viewed as the ideal self.
  13. Confident.
  14. Cool.
  15. Calm.
  16. Innovative.
  17. Humble.
  18. At peace with itself.
  19. Valuable.
  20. Appreciated.
  21. Uncensored and free of judgement.
  22. Awesome looking.
  23. Courageous.
  24. Full of awesome thoughts and ideas.
  25. Able to say the right thing at the right time.
  26.  Capable
  27. Able to work through its weakness.
  28. Knowledgeable.
  29. Trustworthy.
  30. Like Jesus.

When I compare this list with who I am in reality, I see that my ideal self is more than what I am and less than what I am at the same time. It is healthy and righteous.

I want to be my ideal self, but I don’t think that my best efforts will get me close to becoming it. My ideal self is too high a standard for me to keep (typical INTJ). I dream of someday becoming my ideal self without ever having the expectation of achieving it.

Allowing myself to feel, to be human.

As an INTJ, I spent years purposely trying to suppress my feelings and emotions. I wanted to be cold, non-human, incapable of having such human experiences. I didn’t want to deal with something that I didn’t understand. Human dynamics, what the rest of you call relationships, were fake to me. They were just selfish acts to get what I or the other think we could get from the other. I couldn’t (and can’t) stand human touch because I wasn’t capable of understanding that it was part of the context/foundation of  the human dynamic/relationship. I wanted to be real, but at that time my definition of being real was synonymous with not being human.

In my first semester of my bachelor’s degree, I was taking an English Literature course, where the professor was discussing In Exile by Anton Chekhov (I had to look it up cause I had forgotten, but here’s the link if any of you want to read it http://www.eldritchpress.org/ac/jr/164.htm) as part of the Chekhov’s portion of the course. This course was about learning about the human condition in literature. So part of the discussion was to identify who was the human in the story. The choice was between Tatar, who was always talking about seeing his family even for a moment, or Semyon, who was imposing his idea of surviving the Siberian prison by wanting nothing. The answer, as the professor and the other students stated in agreement, was that the Tatar was human. This answer shocked me to my core because in my mind I said that the answer was Semyon. I had trouble dealing with the idea that I had the wrong answer. More than that, I was troubled by the fact that I had made myself believe for years that the right thing was to not be human and not want nothing.

I can’t be totally blamed for this mentality: the “want nothing” mentality was instilled by my family from an early age. I also didn’t want human connection because the type that I always got was negative in nature, filled with bullying and social exclusion. I had successfully bought the idea that I wasn’t going to amount to anything because I wasn’t capable to do so.

“Want nothing”. Desire not to be human. Ideas that I had successfully sowed in my mind backfired on me on that fateful day. I thought that this answer was correct, even though I got a weird feeling inside whenever I spoke up about it . I thank God that I kept this mainly inside my head because I didn’t get into trouble over it. I kept this data on reserve until I had a chance to analyze it well.

This class was very influential in the formation of my self because it gave me a change of perspective.

I continued my college education as if nothing had happened. I started human dynamics and ended them as the non-human that I still was. The only difference was that I was aware of the error of my ways. In 2011 I thought that I had a healthy support system composed of the mother, the friend, and the punching bag. Before the fourth year of my Bachelor’s degree was over that support system was no more. The friend broke it off in a selfish episode, the mother left to take care of her ailing husband, and the punching bag was never very useful. All were gone and I was alone. I decided to take that time to be with God, though I think in retrospect that seeking God was the thing that I least did at that time.

What I did end up doing was that which I always did: play the field in search of a worthy candidate to try out. Long story short, the person that I had some hopes for failed the trial and the one which had no expectation from me passed.

It was with the formation of the human dynamic with the guy who passed the test that God started to teach me about healthy human dynamics. God would show me what was happening through a biblical perspective and how healthy that was in comparison to all other dynamics that I had in the past. Since then, I have been able to love and feel loved (in a biblical fraternal love way), to care and be cared for: I started to experience that which Checkov’s In Exile showed as the human condition. Today I have a healthier support system. With these people I have allowed myself to feel, allowed myself to be human.

Forming my own self.

I have been thinking about my adolescence and how I survived it. Go figure! I wanted to put into words what I did to form my own self in my adolescence.

When I analyze my adolescence, I can’t help but divide those 7 years (ish) in two phases: the period before the start of my quest for self-knowledge and the period after the start of my quest of self knowledge. Where does this division come from?

When I was 15, late 2005, I had taken Sunday School in juveniles class (which meant that I was one of the oldest in the class) and I realized two things:

  1. I was being fake.
  2. That I did not know who I am.

I knew immediately that this wasn’t acceptable to me and that this needed to change. I instantly asked God to reveal to me who I was and why I was like that (there is probably something else, but I have forgotten since that time).

Before this event happened, how I formed myself wasn’t an intentional process and I was just getting by in my development as a person. I was being more a reflection of my parents than being my own person. I can’t say that those two years, 13-15 years old, was a waste of time. Jesus’ called me at 13 years old, I found Christian reggeaton at 13, I started composing Christian (rap) songs and was baptized at 14. I wanted to be a Christian rapper as a profession and not go to college at 13? Thank God that that was a phase and only lasted a year.

After the event happened, I took more control of my personal development and I became conscious of the process. I became aware of the two sides of my self- my public self and my private self, my projection of myself and the reality of myself- and tried to cultivated based on my preferences. It felt as if a door was open and my real personality started to manifest itself. At 15 I became more talkative, mainly with the intention of making people think. I started to create and adopt catchphrases for different things. At 16, I discovered Whose Line is it Anyway and thought that it was a cool thing to adopt as a part of me. So I started to try to make people laugh. At the end of my 16 year (17th, if you are more technical in nature) I started to become more analytical and I started to think about deep philosophical topics. These processes continue to this day. When I was 18 I figured out the truth about the faulty humanity of my family. When I was 19 (maybe 20) I took the Jung personality test and found out that I was an INTJ.

Both phases had certain things in common:

  1. The pursuit of being cool.
  2. Trying to find things to adopt for my own persona in people, environment, things, and subcultures that I thought were worthy of acquiring
  3. Dealing with school, church, and family stuff
  4. The pursuit of wisdom, being wise, and feeling wise.

I wanted to form myself into a cool person. Cool, in my mind, had nothing to do with the clothes that I wore. In fact, I didn’t get to really define my clothing style until I was in my 20’s because I didn’t have the independence necessary to do so. To me, being cool was about being wise and feeling wise. It was about the way I talked and the way I walked. It was about my projection to society as a smart, calm, wise, empowered, authoritative, intelligent, and funny person. It was about the external manifestation of my being, not about my appearance and who I was with. I wanted to be in control of who I wanted to be and what I defined as cool. I wanted to become my own person, without being influenced by anyone or anything. I wanted to have ownership of my own morals and values. I wanted to know who I was, why I was the way that I am. I wanted to be a part of forming my own self.

God did more than show me who I was and why I was the way that I am. He helped me become me. He helped me understand in my quest for self-knowledge that I was different than most of my peers and that was ok. This didn’t happen in my adolescence though, but these processes that I have mentioned that I went through in my adolescence helped me become who I am.

This is how I formed my own self.

Being wise and having something to say.

John Paul Jackson, founder of streams ministries, said in a conference when he was 60 years old that when he was a young man he told his parents that he could not wait till he was 50 because when he got to be 50 he would finally had something to say and people would finally listen to him because of that. I was attracted to this idea because it implied that at some point in your life you would have enough information compiled, analyzed, and accessible in your mind to externalize at will that other’s could perceive as important, wise, and worthy of exposing themselves to.

Yet, I don’t want to wait that long to be considered wise or to feel that I have something meaningful and useful to say. As an INTJ, Wisdom, intelligence, and critical thinking skills, among other things, are much sought after qualities. Ever since I was 13-14 years old, I wanted to be wise and feel wise. I thought that I was achieving that at 14 and at 19 before I received a well deserved wake-up call from God implying that I ain’t got it yet.

For me, being wise was always part of what being cool was. I wanted to project wisdom and calmness, even if I didn’t have it. I wanted to have something important to say, but in my adolescence there wasn’t enough data in my mind for that to be true.

Now that I’m 18 days away from my 25th birthday, this thought hasn’t changed. Contrary to my adolescence though, I feel that I have something important to say, though it isn’t much. People that are older than me seek me out for my coolness. They value what I have to say and consider me worthy of exposure. People that are my age don’t see the same thing though. Those that are younger than me see some things that I do as cool, but not under the same context.

I still hope to be wise, maybe prove the Bible wrong with my wisdom ;). I hope that my INTJness will get me closer to being wise and feeling wise. I hope to have something better and more profound to say in the future, as I learn more and able to integrate the acquired data. For now, I can appreciate my progress and look to pursue higher wisdom and greater intellectual content that will be appreciated by the people that God knows that I can influence.