Recently, Dr. John MacArthur was the guest on the Ben Shapiro show. Enjoy.
Who is Jesus?
Elite Dangerous is a massively multiplayer online space game by Frontier Developments. Although the game requires a persistent internet connection it also features a solo or single-player mode. Elite Dangerous is the successor to Elite which was first released in 1984 and now 30 plus years later, the game has seen quite a change.
My history with Elite Dangerous is virtually non-existent aside from hearsay about a learning curve and how fantastic the game is to play in Virtual Reality. Now it’s true I have interest in open world simulation games such as X-plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator and both Euro and American Truck simulators but interest in a space game not so much. It seems most space games are about aliens, monsters and mostly shooting other spaceships in an arcadey fashion. Something about the wide open vast nothingness of space travel also hasn’t had much appeal….but then again I have never encountered game quite like Elite Dangerous.
What Learning Curve?
Something about Elite Dangerous seemed different. Oh and there’s that learning curve I kept hearing about. A learning curve to play a game? There is always some learning when you are starting a new game especially in flight simulators but this game simulation was suppose have a notable learning curve and was not meant to be taken lightly.
And so armed with a wee bit of knowledge of what I might be getting myself into only through those online game reviews and gameplay, I took the plunge into beginning my journey into the world of Elite Dangerous. And what a journey it has been.
Read the Manual and Make Friends with the Options Menu
Now I don’t consider myself a very fast learner and besides that I prefer to take my time to make sure I’m understanding what I learn. And so after 14 hours later, I was able to fly my first ship! Did I mention I like to take my time? You see, perhaps Elite Dangerous is a game at heart but it’s also a simulation that takes place in space. It must be experienced and that’s not even with VR! Now I generally do not enjoy multiplayer games and so my time in ED has been spent in singleplayer (Solo) mode, along with training tutorials and the options menu for keybindings and that is probably one of best places to start in Elite Dangerous.
If you aren’t familiar with the game, within the universe of Elite Dangerous there are 400 billion star systems as part of the in game reproduction of the Milkyway galaxy. All these systems can be seamlessly traveled to in a spaceship which you can upgrade as you gain credits. You begin the journey in a spaceship called the Sidewinder. If you die or crash in Elite Dangerous you will get your Sidewinder back but will have to start over. Later, when you buy a different ship, you will need to pay a rebuy amount (5%) of your total ship value should you die or crash it.
Flying and docking is an accomplishment in Elite Dangerous
For me the learning curve in Elite Dangerous has been first and foremost related to keybindings and understanding both the game, menus and ship systems terminology. At the start you will want to take a look or two or three at that Elite Dangerous manual which gives a nice overview of system terms. Of course you will need to learn how to operate your ship and it’s not a point and click operation (at first). Each ship features a six-way on-board thruster system (vertical(up and down), lateral(side-to-side), forward and backward and don’t forget about pitch, roll and yaw) somewhat like trying to fly a Harrier jet in space. But unless you would like to go spinning uncontrollable toward the side of the spaceport you might want to leave Flight Assist on.
If you have familiarity with flight/combat simulators then learning to fly in Elite Dangerous will a piece of cake, maybe. Your ship features thrusters are not unfamiliar but figuring out your keybindings just might be! I am using a Flight Stick with throttle control – Thrustmaster Hotas X (Hands On Throttle and Stick). Also a keyboard, a mouse and a Xbox controller. I have heard you can fly with a keyboard and mouse only but I haven’t tried it.
Moving your ship to another star system is another accomplishment
Moving from one star system to another within the galaxy is also a new experience which must be learned. We just don’t do that kind of thing on Earth!
Likewise docking (landing) in a spacestation-like port is also not like driving to grandmas around the block in your car unless you use AutoDock which is a newer feature of the game. (Note: All ships come equipped with AutoDock, Auto Launch and Auto Cruise. Auto Cruise can be useful when hyper-traveling around the galaxy.)
Doing most anything successfully in Elite Dangerous feels like an accomplishment
So you can move around in Elite Dangerous and you’re learning the keybindings and termology? Good. Now what? As a noob to ED at just over 80 hours (at the time of this post) I have learned about a few things you can do in this vast openworld galaxy. There is a war going on within the game but it appears to me, at least visually speaking, to be a nearly silent war (maybe it’s different in Open mode with human players?). But nevertheless, space is really big and so unless you go looking for a fight you might not find any. Each port features a news and mission board which displays information about the faction war and their particular allegiance (if any). You can choose to do missions for the leaders of the factions to earn credits (in game currency) or go exploring on your own.
I have found that doing Courier jobs at first helps as you are learning how to jump from star system to system and it doesn’t require any cargo space. The data is store on your internal computer and if you get scanned by another ship or pirate they will not try to steal your stuff. NPC’s or none playable characters are all that is found in the solo mode but in Open play mode you will encounter human players.
Explore some Planets with Horizons
Recently I have begun to explore systems and map individual planets using the Detailed Surface Scanner (which must be bought at a Starport). The data you get after mapping a planet and from discovered systems can be sold 20ly (light years) away in a different star system for sometimes hundreds of thousands of credits!) If you prefer combat, you can learn how to shoot other ships down and gain credits for doing it. Besides doing missions, you might try mining an asteroid, landing on a planet and disabling turrets on the base for a particular faction leader. This is part of the war except you won’t encounter actual people or aliens walking around with guns. Maybe you like to free-roam and wish to visit a random planet (not for a mission). You can with the included SRV (Surface Recon Vehicle) that is part of the Horizons expansion pack in Elite Dangerous. Horizons is great especially if you want to be able to land on some of the planets and moons. (Note: As of this post there is no life on the planets and you cannot land on any Earth-like planets)
The Universe in Elite Dangerous is really big
I haven’t really scratched the surface (aside from a few planets) of what this game probably has to offer since I am still quite new. However, I have been able to get a glimpse of what this game is and how vast it is. Elite Dangerous is masterpiece in it’s size and beauty but something more jaw dropping is what this game is based off of. When you go outside on a clear night, look up at the night sky and see hundreds of dots of light and realize those are suns similar to our own—one cannot but ask at least one big question. Who made all this?
I know the Maker of the Universe and perhaps you do as well. But if you do not know the Creator Almighty God, there is a reason why it matters more than anything else on this earth. Elite Dangerous was made by mere men but someday all men will face God. Some will meet God willingly in worship and some will be kicking and screaming but today you have an opportunity to find out who the true God really is and why it matters. Many people believe in Heaven but if hell is real place you need to find out what that means to you. I don’t want anyone to go there. If you haven’t already why not check out the good person test linked at my website or read my post called 5 things you should know before you die. And if you have a Bible start reading in John 1. The good person test and starting with John 1 from the Bible will give you a good start to understanding who God is and why it matters since none of us are promised tomorrow. And in case you wondered, this is a matter of life or death and not about joining a religion or church.
But after all we’ve learned, is the game any good?
You learn quite a bit in Elite Dangerous, you need to even to survive but is it a game I would recommend? And how about that learning curve? I would enthusiastically recommend Elite Dangerous but especially to anyone with special interest in Flight/combat simulators and/or truck simulation games with a twist. If you don’t mind learning and setbacks and frustrations and grind to get a reward (menial at first) then you might like this game. Each person is different but do your research and then if you still like what you see, get it on sale with Horizons. Naturally, you will need to take your time to learn ED but I think it can be a rewarding experience when you learn something new. I know it has been for me (and that’s saying a lot).
My Rating (out of 10) 8.5 out of 10
images are my own in-game screenshots
The symptoms of depression through photos
Depression causes one to shows symptoms of sickness and lack of clarity of mind. But a Cat such as Helper (aka Tuna) can help a little to ease the sadness….. at least they try.
Images are my own (please give credit and links if you would like to share them.)
Reader Warning: Some may find the following post too depressing to read and therefore may need to (or should) avoid it altogether.
I don’t talk much about my experience with depression or mental illness on this blog which was one purpose I had created it in the first place. I know the details of mental illness can get messy and super depressing so I generally opt to keep them to myself. Today I decided to get real with you again and share (or divulge your attention for a few moments depending how you look at it) and let you in on a little bit of the ongoing fight…er…experience I have with it.
For me and probably others, depression can suck so much you could care less about doing much of anything. In the middle of a low, you don’t even want to or sense the need to write a simple blog post about how you feel about depression. And when one is bombarded and filled with such inexplicable sadness, desires for doing much of anything are greatly diminished and sometimes altogether absent. If you hadn’t guessed yet, I am having one of those days.
What it’s not
Contrary to what some may think, this sadness I speak of and experience isn’t the kind of sadness you feel/have after you lose a pet or a loved one or have to go to a funeral, although those are all horrific and deeply depressing experiences and events. However, such types of sorrowful experiences can be related and make the sadness that comes with depression feel all that much worse.
One big difference between depression sadness and depression as a result of a sad event is that the later is expected, explicable and explainable but the former isn’t really. We try to explain the sadness of general depression and I will today but it never really makes a lot sense if you have never personally experienced it. I know that people have never been in the middle of it or aren’t currently in the middle of it if they say to simply snap out of it and here’s why. When I am not in the middle of this inexplicable sadness of depression, I can’t understand why it existed or cannot remember very well what it was like when I was there despite its occurrence only a day earlier! It’s true, a day without or with less depression begins to make me think it would be easy to “snap” out of it too…..that is until I am actually in the middle of it again. Wierd, perhaps. But that’s been my experience.
What it is, and looks like, sort of (based from personal experience)
In my little world, sadness caused by depression can be likened to inexplicable frustrations (sometimes anger) of feeling trapped in a endless cycle of hopelessness wrapped up with a unhealthy lack of ambition, anxiety or fear for doing stuff that truly matters. With this type of depression comes anger, frustration, low to absent ambition and of course sadness. In this state, you don’t want to work, can’t work well, don’t want to do even things you usually find enjoyable, can’t get out of bed, or don’t really care if you do or not (even if you still know you should) and most importantly don’t want to talk to people about God. Contrary to what some might think, during my times of seeming despair, I have found that the intellect doesn’t disappear and I am still quite “aware” of my surroundings and what is happening which can make matters worse. Food is still food, people are still people, the bed is still a bed and I look fine. I can and usually even “pretend” I am feeling fine but God’s knows otherwise. In other words my mind isn’t changing tangle objects into something their not. The problem lies in the level and existence of perpetual sadness and that I know I tend to feel my environment to a fault. A sad news event or knowing about one, will ruin my day. Reflecting on the reality that people are going to hell and I feel unable to do anything about it, ruins my day(s). Being reminded that there are millions of people who support the murder of babies, ruins my day. Knowing millions of babies are being murdered, ruins my day. Seeing the masses fall for the lies and deception that Satan so abundantly spreads in all aspects of our lives, ruins my day(s). Knowing people drink in sin like water ruins my day. Knowing I have the same heart and desires to drink in sin like water is just plain depressing. Knowing I have broken God’s law more times than anyone can count is beyond depressing. Realizing that there are people out there who won’t stand up for God’s laws but would rather break them, ruins my day. Of course it goes deeper than a few cleverly linked adjectives and descriptive examples but that’s a super quick gist of my experience.
Hope and Depression?
Now if you know me from my writings about God, you might be surprised. I of all people should know about hope, right? Yes and no. I know the one who gives it and I know the Author of that hope including the source for peace and joy. Yes, I even said joy. I know and believe there is hope out there because I have a relationship with the hope, peace and joy giver. God gives hope to people when they die when you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ.
You may have heard or read about God’s message of hope on my website before or somewhere else. In fact, I believe He saves (and is the only Savior) from the wrath to come (God’s judgment for sin/breaking His laws). God also gives joy and peace because I know I won’t be under his judgment come Judgment Day. Currently I can’t see it, feel it, touch it, or taste it but I can read about it in His Word. It’s simple faith in something or rather someone bigger that any of us and His name is Jesus Christ the maker of the universe. And yet, I sit here after knowing and believing that, that in my experience having that hope doesn’t do a lot for healing depression or mental illness when you’re smack in the middle of it. In fact, in the midst of a bout with depression and lack of ambition, there is a present sort of tangible sadness that perpetually exists regardless of one’s beliefs and trust in God. Am I alone in feeling this way? I “hope” not.
I have thought of my experience with mental illness as some kind of battle or fight that I might win tomorrow with God’s help or even healing. I should also note that prayer (and even tears) have been a large part of my life and yet the sadness of depression remains. Some days it doesn’t feel like their is much battling going on at all unless it’s a losing battle and I’m the one on the losing end.
If you have ever dealt with depression issues, know someone who is or not, perhaps you have found this post a little depressing. (pun intended) And I do apologize for that but guess what? Writing about it and sharing it with you sure has made me feel a little bit better today. Yay.
Perhaps you can relate to something I wrote about? Know someone or experience depression/sadness yourself? Feel free to comment below.
Is it okay to abort a baby? What would you say? People give many reasons why abortion is an acceptable choice, including:
- The inconvenience of pregnancy
- Incompetence of parents
- Infant disabilities
- It’s the woman’s body
- It’s not a baby
- Rape or incest
- She’s not ready to be a parent
Watch as author and award-winning filmmaker Ray Comfort addresses these seven questions, reasoning with college students and people on the street about whether such objections are justified. Seeing those who are ardently pro-choice change their minds in moments is both compelling and convincing.
What reasons would you give for/against abortion?
1. God is holy and perfect
God cannot have sin in His presence.
2. We broke God’s Law
God’s perfect standard is the moral law, the Ten Commandments
Have you ever lied?
Do you always put God first in your life?
Ever used God’s name as a cuss word to express disgust?
Hitler and Mohammad are not hated this much.
Lusted? Jesus said lust is the same as adultery of the heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
3. We deserve God’s Judgment for breaking His Law
because of God’s perfection and holiness we deserve judgment in Hell. (remember due to God’s holiness and perfection He cannot have sin in his presence)
4. Good Works Are Not Good Enough
Trying to keep God’s commands or doing good things won’t work with God (God is the Judge – He cannot be bribed)
Only God can provide the way of escape because He is the Judge.
5. There is Hope
Although we have violated God’s law, and are in desperate need of Savior there is a way of escape from God’s judgment for sin. (James 2:10)
God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ—God manifest in the flesh—to die on a cross paying the penalty for our breaking His Law (Sin). (Ro. 5:8)
Jesus rose from the dead after three days defeating sin and death. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
When you repent from your sin (turn from it as in changing your mind about committing sin) and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you from the wrath to come (judgment against sin), you will have eternal life! (John 3:36, Titus 3:4-7, Ro 6:23)
In light of the Resurrection we ask, who is Jesus?
Today many celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ but just Who is this Jesus anyways? And most importantly why does it matter?
Jesus talking to the Jews said.. “I have come to you representing my Father, and you refuse to welcome me, even though you readily accept others who represent only themselves. You gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from God alone. “ (John 5:43- 44)
”The Father and I are one” (John 10:30)
The high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “Yes, it is as you say. And in the future you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror, shouting, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. (Matthew 26:63-65)
Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” “Who does this man think he is?” the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to each other. “This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?” The Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him. In addition to disobeying the Sabbath rules, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
The Jewish leaders replied“…you, a mere man, have made yourself God.” (John 10:33)
After reading the above passages, you may have realized many trends. I would like to draw your attention to a simple yet common theme. This particular theme stirred up many who listened to Jesus talk. The Jewish leadership and others sought to even kill Jesus because of it and eventually we know they did. But why such hatred for an apparently good man who healed, and even performed countless miracles? Why would simple statements and acts of kindness and love by Jesus cause the leaders to cry out “blasphemy!” from a simple statement by Jesus? We know the answer from the verses above.
Jesus claimed one thing that was clear to all who heard Him speak. Jesus made the claim to be God and this was obvious blasphemy to the Jewish leadership. Likewise, even today this remains true. This claim continues to be considered blasphemy by Jesus and/or anyone who claims to be God unless of course it is true and Jesus truly is who He says He is. Like the Jewish leaders, I am aware that many today choose to believe Jesus is not who He claims and yet are willing to accept the account of the life of Jesus. In fact, many might even consider Jesus to be a good teacher and one who would offer good advice.
For us this remains true. If we do not believe Jesus is God than no one can be able to trust anything Jesus says to be the truth. If you do not believe Jesus is who He claims to be, than how can one trust Him to have been even remotely a good teacher? The choice remains. Either Jesus is God and the Savior of the world with power to forgive sin or He is not. Your life depends on who you put your trust in. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave three days later. It’s only because the tomb is empty and Jesus rose from the grave that anyone can have peace with God.