The Heart Issue

Goofy, Mickey, Sora, Donald

The Kingdom Hearts series has grown extremely popular over the years. KH seemed strange when it was first announced. Square Enix (The company behind Final Fantasy) was teaming up with Disney to create a new project. This new game would incorporate both Disney, and Square characters, in the same universe.

This seemed like an “odd couple” when it was first announced. How could Micky Mouse ever fit in the same world as Square’s deep characters, intense story lines, and M. Night Shyamalan-esque plot twists?

But, Alas… Whoever came up with this, must have known what they were doing. The Kingdom Hearts series has become extremely successful, and (in my opinion) is one of the greatest action RPG’s ever made.

Bright worlds, intense game-play, and an enthralling story make Kingdom Hearts shine. What takes it to the next level, however, is it’s deep characters.

These characters fight a war, but the focus of this war isn’t physical. Ultimately, this is a war of the heart.

Christ followers also fight a war of the heart. A war that requires armor, and limit breaking perseverance.

So, how do we wield our keyblades, and press forward? How do we keep ourselves from becoming heartless? Keep reading to hear my thoughts!

Real Strength

Kingdom Hearts follows a young boy named Sora, who starts having strange dreams. As the story continues, you learn that Sora is special. Sora is destined to be a keyblade wielding hero.

For non gamers: Keyblades are special key shaped weapons. What makes a keyblade special is it’s unique ability to defeat evil creatures known as ‘Heartless’. No other weapon can do this. In addition to that, there are doors of darkness in every world. The only way to shut and lock those doors, is by using a keyblade.

So why is Sora ‘hero material’? It isn’t because he is really strong, really smart, or super confident. None of that matters when it comes to keyblades. As it turns out, keyblades can only be wielded by those who have an extremely strong heart.

Sora is ‘the hero’ of the story because he is extremely caring. He is consistently helping people in need. He has a really strong heart, and that’s what matters. It works the same way for us.

Here are some things, that ultimately, don’t matter much:

  • Money (Munny in KH)
  • Good Looks
  • Popularity
  • Confidence
  • Worldly Success
  • A Nice House

That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to a lot of you. It isn’t “shocking news” that these shouldn’t be the types of things we are focused on.

Do you have the above list mastered? Before you get too excited, there’s another list.

If you have:

  • Eloquent Speech of Men and Angels
  • Prophetic Powers
  • Understanding of All Mysteries
  • All Knowledge
  • Faith to Move Mountains
  • Given Away All You Have
  • Given Yourself to be Burned

You have nothing, UNLESS you have LOVE. Much like Sora, it’s our heart that matters. If it isn’t full of love, our works are empty.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

In the first Kingdom Hearts, we met Sora’s two best friends. One of his friends, Riku, was kind of like an older brother.

He was bigger, faster, and stronger than Sora. Ultimately though, Sora is the one who ended up wielding a keyblade. Riku couldn’t understand this. Why was Sora able to wield a keyblade, even though he was just a scrawny kid?

Despite being physically superior, Riku isn’t the hero. His heart isn’t strong enough, and eventually his jealousy causes him to fall into darkness.

Riku totally missed the point. His physical strength had no value. Only what was in the heart mattered.

(Over time Riku has a change of heart, and flee’s from his evil ways. I even listed Riku as one of my 7 Video Game Role Models. Feel free to read more about him there.)

Jeremiah 17:5-10 (ESV)

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

New Quest Available:

Read all of Jeremiah 17 here!

The Power of Our Hearts

Zelda Life

Hearts have also been used to represent ‘life’ in gaming (since at least the NES). The more ‘hearts’ a player has, the more life they have too. On the flip side, if at any point the player runs out, they’re dead. Boom.

Hearts are one of the only indications of strength throughout most of the Zelda series. There was no way to level up your power, agility, and intelligence (usually). You could get items that made you stronger or faster, but you couldn’t actually make your basic stats go up at all… except for those big plump hearts at the top of the screen.

Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

New Quest Available!

Read all of Mark 12 Here!

It doesn’t matter how strong the character is. It doesn’t matter how many abilities or treasures they have. When the player runs out of hearts, it’s game over (unless they have a fairy, but that’s beside the point).

All of these things are surprisingly relevant to Christ followers. Our strength doesn’t come from physical muscle or treasures, but from a life filled with God’s love. When our life is filled with God’s love, we can shoot lasers out of our Bibles… Okay, maybe that won’t literally happen. Read more about that here!

Jesus Gets to the Heart of the Issue

Heart Container

In my opinion, a huge mistake that a lot of people make, is taking either the Old or New Testaments by themselves. OT and NT are integrated, and you can’t fully understand one without the other. You can’t fully appreciate what has been done in the NT until you understand the OT.

Jesus didn’t come so that we could continue to live our lives in sin. Jesus isn’t an afterlife insurance policy that encourages us to ignore the sin in our life. Jesus teaches us to work on the heart. The heart is the real core issue.

From what I can see, Jesus cuts right through legalistic attitudes, and gets to the point. He aims for the heart.

Matthew 5:21-48 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,

leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’

But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’

But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,

or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

New Quest Available:

Read all of Matthew 5 here!

Notice how Jesus cuts to the point:

  • “Adultery” in it’s self wasn’t the issue. Lust was an issue of the heart. That doesn’t mean that adultery is permitted. Of course not! It means that we need to flee from lust. (Click here to read about how to escape from lust)
  • A “Certificate” wasn’t the real issue. Divorce was a heart issue.
  • You can “not murder” but still have anger problems in your heart. Anger problems are an issue! Forgiveness is an indication of where your heart is!

The list goes on.

It has Always Been an Issue of the Heart

Zelda Bot

There’s a lot of varying opinions about the stuff that follows. As always, don’t take my word for it. Pray, listen to God, and do your homework. Seek answers from God in your own studies.

I believe Jesus was always the plan. That’s why there are forty-four clearly fulfilled prophesies of Jesus located in the OT, and many scholars believe that there may even be more than 300 prophetic Scriptures fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Read more here.

Using specific OT laws to ridicule Christians seems pretty popular these days. Those people usually accuse Christians of not following rules about things like ‘not mixing linen and wool’. They ask why we view some things as a serious sin, while ignoring others.

The OT laws that people find “ridiculous” in this day and age, aren’t ridiculous at all. They just have to be taken in context. What is the heart of the issue? Why were these rules put in place? Does God hate polyester, or is the rule about mixing cloth something deeper? What about mixing seed? Clean and unclean animals? Notice how a bunch of these rules relate to “mixing”.

I think God is demonstrating the separation and purity of His people by keeping them from mixing with the Gentile world. This may be to illustrate the importance of keeping Israel from becoming corrupt from other groups. I believe God wanted a distinct nation that would eventually bring forward a way of salvation for all nations.

In Acts 10 Peter sees a vision, and the Gentiles are no longer to be treated as unclean. Read Acts 10 if you want, as I believe it is very important in understanding the full picture. I could go on with this, but I won’t for now. The Bible is full of illustrations that have both ‘on the surface’ context, and deeper meaning.

When something is confusing in the Bible, pray about it, and start looking. When it’s about sin, it’s important to ask yourself what the real ‘heart’ issue at hand is.

Don’t think that this is an excuse to sin. Don’t think that you can knowingly run around doing wrong things, and then say, “my heart was in the right place!”

Focusing on the heart pushes you into deeper purpose. It challenges you to look beyond the rules.

Are we showing love to those around us? Are we acting selflessly? Are we following Christ at the core, or just pretending to follow Him? Are we fooling ourselves?

Christ followers have a mission, are we working towards it?

Spend some time strengthening your heart. Pick up your keyblades, and start closing the doors of darkness. Love God, love others, even love your enemies.

Speaking of love…

Love you guys,

-Caleb

P.S. If you are reading this article in the first week that it is published, it’s White Ribbon Against Pornography Week (Oct. 27- Nov. 3 2013)! Click here to read more about that, read this article about escaping pornography, and go wage some war against this plague!

If you’re too late, and it isn’t White Ribbon Against Pornography week anymore… who cares! Keep fighting pornography anyways!

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79 Comments

  • Amen!

    “Spend some time strengthening your heart. Pick up your keyblades, and start closing the doors of darkness.”

    Be deliberate in your walk with God! Ask Him for wisdom and understanding!

    “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all
    without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)”

    Thanks again for the encouragement, Caleb!!

    • calebnisley says:

      Thank you for reading Christopher! Your feedback is always a blessing, as well as checking up on you and your family’s adventures! Hope the baby is doing well 🙂

      • Jacob says:

        I have been a fan of Kingdom Hearts among other video games for years! Thank you for making this website!
        Also, I happen to like trading card games, any advice on that? I am good at games and using cards to their fullest, but I try not to become too prideful in my abilities, or swallowed up by my love of games. Is it a good thing to not become too prideful?

        • Caleb Nisley says:

          Hey Jacob! Thanks for the feedback! It means a lot! Card games can be a lot of fun! I used to play a decent amount of card games. What kinds of card games do you play?

          A couple of thoughts come to my mind when I read your comment. First off, let me say that my opinion isn’t what matters. It’s God’s opinion that matters. I try to write and respond with respect to God and the Bible, but I’m just a flawed guy who is still learning myself.

          With that said, it sounds like you might be feeling convicted about some of your hobbies. Pride is certainly a dangerous place to be. Pride puts me on a pedestal. It puts me in the focus. But life isn’t about me, and I am called to love God and love others as myself. (Check out Mark 12:30-31)

          From my experience, pride is very harmful. When I am prideful about something, I can pretty much count on being humbled at some point. Sometimes we are prideful without even thinking about it. I’m glad that you have recognized a potential issue, and are seeking answers. That is a very good quality. In fact, it takes humility to admit that you might be in the wrong about something. If you let God do work in your life, you won’t regret it 🙂

          Here are some verses about pride,

          Here is an article about focusing too much on hobbies instead of God,

          I think you are on the right track, seeking out answers! The Bible is full of answers, so don’t forget to read 🙂 I’m really glad you stopped by, don’t ever hesitate to message me with any questions! You can contact me

          I hope you have an awesome day! If you don’t mind letting me know, how did you discover Gamerfaith.com?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Uh oh! Looks like my links didn’t show up! The pride verses are at openbible.info/topics/pride. The one about hobbies is an article you can find by searching Gamerfaith (in the bar at the top) for “how to change your life by changing your focus”. It has Ninja Turtles at the top. The last link was to the contact me section you can find at the top of this page 🙂

        • Jacob says:

          Caleb, you’ve helped me a lot.
          I still like card games (Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight!! Vanguard, ect.) and video games, though.

          I’ve started writing a story online, and it is about a human who suffers amnesia after turning into a wolf. He then finds out that he- and other animals in the realm of Darminia- have special powers (they only get one power, but choose how they use it). He joins a group of quirky characters to find out what happened to him– and maybe help some of them find out the reasons why things happened in their life (E.g. a character was born as a slave, a character has a large grudge against all wolves because his father was killed by one, or a character had his family killed because he was a ninja.).

          But that’s enough of my blabbering. Overall, I’m fitting in Christian morals, I’m reading my bible to help give it a “boost”, and I feel great. Thank you so much.

          • Jacob says:

            Basically, the morals I’m going to put in are pretty much about “forgiveness’, “knowing that good/bad things happen for the greater good’, “no matter what your past is like, you can change”, among other things.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Jacob! That sounds awesome, friend! I’ve heard it said, “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God!” I LOVE writing, and your story sounds epic! I’m glad you’ve found encouragement on Gamerfaith. I love hearing stuff like this! Makes my night! Let me know where I can read your story at, I’m very interested 🙂 I hope you have a great day, and feel free to message me anytime!

          • Jacob says:

            Well, you can read it at “www.Fictionpress.com”. It’s by a writer (me) named “CardMaster123”. The story is on my profile, titled “Okami”. The Christian morals have yet to show themselves, but they will reveal themselves soon enough. There is a hint of friendship, though.

            Isamu, the main character’s name, means “bravery” or “courage” in Japanese.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Ok sweet! I’ll have to check it out!

          • Jacob says:

            What do you think of Okami so far? If you’ve read it, that is.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Jacob, sorry it took me so long to reply! I just finished reading what you have for Okami so far. You have a gift for writing! The details were very vivid, and the story kept me interested! I’m curious to see where you go with it, I see a lot of potential! I’ll be praying for you! Keep me updated, and thanks for sharing! I’m glad I got the chance to read it!

          • Jacob says:

            Okay! I’ll try to do that, Caleb. Chapters five and six were the hardest for me to write, but I’m hoping chapter seven is easier because of the plot (Isamu reveals that he is a human and almost gets killed by Silver, who has a deep hatred for both humans and wolves. And then the group confronts two characters who are holding a mysterious female wolf hostage.). It is coming along slowly but surely. And thanks!

          • Jacob says:

            Chapter seven is out! I hope you like action, ’cause there’s a lot of it!

            Any comments on how the story is going so far?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            I’ll have to check it out, Jacob! And yes, I love action!

          • Jacob says:

            How are things going in your life? Everything going alright?

            Also… sorry if I’m being a tad bit rude. What did you think of chapter 7?

            Otherwise, how are things?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Jacob,

            You aren’t being rude! We are brothers, don’t forget it 🙂 I’m happy to read Okami! You’re more than welcome to message me ANYTIME!

            I’ve been busy lately! This coming week is finals week, and there is kind of a lot going on. I want to be able to sit down and enjoy reading it when I do read it. I’m sort of a slow and contemplative reader, so I take some time to read. Winter Break is coming, and I hope to read more Okami at that time.

            What I have read has been really good, though! Keep up the good work! Okami is in my favorites tab, so I can zip right over to it and keep reading.

            I hope you have a great Christmas!

          • Jacob says:

            I wish you a merry Christmas as well! Also, good luck on your finals, I’ll be praying for you!

            And thanks for supporting me and my story. It really means a lot.

          • Jacob says:

            How was your Christmas?

            Also, I know that you’ve reviewed the Megaman series, but I’m just curious- have you played any of the Megaman Starforce (Nintendo) DS games?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            I’ve never played MegaMan Star Force, BUT years ago I played one of the MegaMan Battle Network games, which is similar. It was a lot of fun! Christmas was a great. God blessed us greatly! How was your Christmas?

          • Jacob says:

            My Christmas was fine. I got two gift cards, a pair of “Cardfight!! Vanguard” trial decks and a copy of “Fire Emblem: Awakening”.

            So far, I’m enjoying my Christmas break and I hope you enjoy yours!

          • Jacob says:

            Um… I got a new game, but I’m not sure if I should be enjoying/playing it. Help?

            The game is called “Okamiden”. It takes place in feudal Japan. It is about the “son” of the Japanese sun goddess (Amaterasu), known in-game as “Chibiterasu” (or as “Mutt”, by his partner), using his Celestial Brush to defeat demons by gaining the brush techniques of the other Shinto religion gods in order to save the world. While it has Japanese folklore in it, it doesn’t seem like a bad game.

            Although, there is a part (that I am currently on) in the story where you have to rescue this town from a monstrous catfish-like demon and enter a “demon marketplace” of sorts in order to rescue a mermaid.
            How do you enter it? By using your Celestial Brush to draw a star in the water. Stars and demons. Hmm… not doing a good job, Capcom!

            There is no bad content (as it is a “E” to T-rated game), although there are a lot of Shinto/Japanese gods and goddeses to cause controversy among other religions, such as Christianity. It’s a great way to learn about the religion that most- if not all- of Japanese people believe in. It’s also a “great” conversation starter- what with Christians leading others to Christ.

            I’m mostly concerned about the theological problems this game presents. Is it okay for me to play this game, as long as I try to keep a steadfast belief in faith/God?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey brother Jacob, that sounds like a doozy. I’ve encountered this problem many times before, and I can’t give you a yes or no answer for it. Above everything else in video games, I hate it when they add spiritual junk. Zelda for example is my favorite game series, but I HATE all of the goddess stuff that gets thrown into it. Zelda, however, doesn’t (typically) deal with real religions. When I play Zelda I don’t find myself tempted to stop following God. I do, however, find myself motivated to continue God’s work with a courageous heart. Maybe I’m weird, but I find good vs evil stories like LOTR and Zelda to be motivating.

            There have been other games in the past that I have avoided playing because I knew it was pumped full of trash, like Diablo III. Your conscience is a good indicator of what you should do, but also, spend some time reading your Bible.

            Don’t ever put other things in front of God. The game sounds like it has a lot of bad stuff in it. I’m sure you hate that about the game. I feel ya. If the game is causing you harm, consider doing away with it. Pray about it. Continue to seek God. You MAY find that you are able to enjoy the good elements of the game without being dragged down by the bad. Check your heart, and message me if you have any other questions about it.

          • Jacob says:

            Thank you for this advice Caleb! It really helps a lot! God has given you a gift, and I believe you are putting it to good use!
            Not sure what mine is, but that’s not my point right now. My point is that I believe that you are going on the right path.

            Good luck in life and God bless you!

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob!

            Everything good that I have is from God. He has truly blessed me. I used to rack my brains trying to figure out which path to take, and what my purpose was. I measured my gifts, and tried to figure out God’s plan for me. The truth is, God has it all figured out. I will never have it all figured out. Drawing close to God is always a good idea, but unfortunately many obstacles often come in our way. Just keep focusing on what Jesus teaches, and what God reveals to us.

            You’re an awesome guy, Jacob 🙂 It’s always a joy to hear from you!

          • Jacob says:

            Aww! Thank you, Caleb! You’re a really nice guy, too!

            Be prepared for a sad tenth chapter in Okami.

            Anyway, how is your new year coming along so far?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            My new year is coming along well. I recently completed my training to be a tutor at the college that I attend, which is all God’s doing. Other than that, I’ve been hanging out with family and friends! How is your year going?

          • Jacob says:

            My year has been going fine so far. Nothing much, save for getting used to school routine again. I played a friend in Cardfight!! Vanguard and beat him.

            Again, nothing much is happening to me.

          • Jacob says:

            Hey Caleb. Jacob here.

            Listen… I read a Watership Down fanfiction (“Watership Down” is a novel created by a man named Richard Adams. It is a classic.) one year ago (on a sister site to Fictionpress called “Fanfiction.net”) called “Watership Down: The CrossBearer”.
            It has a lot of Christian symbolism (not in a way I’d expect..) and brought me delight and excitement when I first read it.
            However, afterwards, the story brought me strong feelings of inadequacy, seeing as how MY story will never be that great in terms of writing skills and popularity.

            Since then, I’ve wanted nothing more to forget about that story and have nothing to do with that fanfiction ever again (Sure, a talk with the writer would be a good idea, but it’s been eleven to thirteen years since the fanfiction was made– I doubt the writer’ll remember it.).
            Anyway, I’m feeling inadequate and… sad, I guess, because of reading that story and wish to wipe it from my life, in a way.

            Can you help? >_<

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob!

            I’m sorry that you are feeling this way. I can relate to that feeling. I could probably write 10 articles on the matter.

            There will always be things that are more popular. For example, I used to stress myself out trying to put out a certain number of articles a week on Gamerfaith and “Do all the stuff that I’m supposed to do” to make the website perform well. Indeed, it is important to treat something that spreads the Gospel with respect, and try to make it flourish.

            Here’s the thing, though. I would get discouraged, I would feel inadequate because nobody wanted to subscribe, I would let it break me down and doubt myself. I would wonder “Is it even worth it? What is the point? I’ll never be as popular as this other guy!”

            I was missing the point, though. I had to be broken so that I could remember what I was fighting for. The truth is, I am inadequate. I’m not good enough. I fall short, but God is gracious. He made a way to make me whole. I am HIS servant. Popularity in the eyes of the world isn’t ultimately what is important. Serving our KING is what is important. Even if God only helps one person through what I do, it is worth it. Even if it only helps me, it is all worth it.

            Your story has brought joy to my heart, and it has helped two brothers in Christ get to know each other. That’s fellowship. Your efforts on your story ARE worth it when they serve our KING! Can you see that? 🙂

            So, what did I end up doing after God reminded me what it was all about? Well, I’ve tried to stop worrying about doing things “right” by the worlds standard. Instead I write about things that are put on my heart. Gamerfaith still isn’t “breaking any search engines”, but it has been blessed and grown. Even better is the fact that I receive A LOT more contact from awesome people like you who share their stories with me.

            Okay, so you LITERALLY shared your story with me, but you know what I mean 🙂

            I hope that this helps a little. I will try to write a full article on this topic sometime soon!

            Praying for you, Jacob! Chin up!

            -Caleb

          • Jacob says:

            Thank you, Caleb! I had forgotten that worldly statistics don’t matter in God’s eyes! This really helped me.

            I’ll try to remember it whenever I feel down about myself or anything I create.

            Although my story is looked at by few, at least I’m getting (or at least trying to) get God’s word out through the little messages my story presents. Besides, if my story helps anyone at all, that’s a god-given gift that I’m happy to have provided. God works through all things, even a silly story about superpowered talking animals (well… maybe not that silly…).

            Again, thanks. 😀
            You’re an amazing guy, though most, if not all, of the credit goes to God.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Everything good I have I owe to God, you are absolutely right! You are a fine gentleman yourself! I’m glad we became friends!

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb. Sorry to bother you again so soon, but I have a quick question.

            Okay, so, in chapter 11, Spade, the slave wolf from chapter 7, is fighting in the final battle that will decide whether or not the Seekers will get a new home or not (because it was destroyed in chapter 8, and they’re fighting this intimidating group for rights to live alongside them), but she’s going into it with an unclear mind. She doesn’t want to kill for victory. Yet though these battles are to the death, she wants to live.
            Near the end of the battle, her opponent is pinned to the ground with a sharp stick impaled into his side. Spade has control of the stick (using her tail) and has all sorts of thoughts running through her mind. One of the more prominent ones being “I don’t want to kill. I don’t want to kill.” Spade contemplates this, wondering if she should either kill her opponent or let him live (and she would die in turn). While thinking about this, she has a flashback to a horrible order she was asked by Zaku to carry out (and it has to do with killing a character). She wants to continue living, but not if it means “getting more blood on her paws”.
            Seconds before making a decision, her opponent dies of extreme blood loss, leaving Spade with a heavy conscience and the guilt of knowing that she killed yet another innocent animal (because she was forced to kill both friends and family as a slave in Zaku’s army).

            Do you think this would add to the moral of “forgiveness comes to all, no matter what you’ve done” or the moral that “Everything, good and evil, all end up working for the greater good”? ‘Cause, I don’t want to put in death my story for no reason.
            Any ideas?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob! I think that situation could show both of those lessons if it is implemented correctly! Sometimes it is hard to accept forgiveness, because it is hard to forgive ourselves, but we can find grace and mercy from God.

          • Jacob says:

            You are right, God heals even the deepest scars and can washes away the deepest stains. 🙂

            Just letting you know, many of my characters are going to have conflicts, both external and internal (example: Spade not wanting to kill or Psi having to deal with the ghost of his brother).
            Eventually, these characters learn to deal with their problems (and more).
            I’ll keep you updated on Okami. Chapter 11 should be out soon.

            I’m glad we became friends, too! 😀
            You’ve been a great help, as has God! Thank you!

          • Jacob says:

            Quick update, Caleb.
            One of my online friends is going through a world of pain and suffering. He’s a Buddhist, but I recommended this site to him. in hopes that God can help him.

            Wondering if you could maybe help him by praying for him.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob, I thought I replied to this a while ago, but apparently I forgot. I have been praying for your friend, and will continue to do so.

          • Jacob says:

            Thanks, Caleb. 🙂
            I’ll continue praying for him as well.

            I’ll try to keep you updated on Okami (and other matters as well).
            ‘Till then, God bless you. 😀

          • Jacob says:

            Thanks, Caleb. He says that he’s doing fine right now (aside from some issues with his parents– that also happen to involve him using technology “too often”).

            Also, chapter eleven is finally out (Final Fantasy victory theme plays in the background). I’ll be taking a short break from writing just so I can restock on my “creative juices”.

            Hope you’re doing well, Caleb! God bless you!

            ~Jacob

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            In chapter 12, Isamu is training with Akame, when all of a sudden, Isamu’s bracelet begins to emit a bright light. The effect of this light? Isamu’s Hissatsu (power) changes from light… to water.

            Akame is curious about this and goes to ask Victoria later during the day. Victoria is puzzled as well.
            In order to not bring Isamu into any more harm than he already is in, Victoria says: “I don’t remember the Hissatsu he had when he joined”, which is a lie. She immediately feels guilty about this.

            ——-

            Is there any way I can fix this? I don’t like to have my characters lie (even though Isamu’s done it a few times before), but my characters are born with one Hissatsu, and one Hissatsu only (sometimes they are born with no Hissatsu at all). If other animals were to figure out that Isamu had more than one Hissatsu, they might figure out that he’s a human.

            I’m thinking of having Akame say that Isamu having two Hissatsus is pretty helpful to the group, but I’m not sure. (:s)

            Can you help?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob, sorry that it took so long to reply! Have you figured out a way to solve this issue yet? You are a very creative man! I’m not sure how I would handle this, but I’m curious what your thoughts are! Keep me updated!

          • Jacob says:

            Caleb, I have found a way to solve this. (:D) Victoria’s going to lie to Akame, but she’s going to feel immense guilt until a very later chapter.

            Since that’s over with, I am trying to come up with a way to lead up to Kasai’s inevitable attack. Spade and her hunting party brought both guilds lots of meat and vegetables/fruit, and they’re planning on having a feast.

            Any ideas for how/when Kasai could attack?

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.
            Jacob here.

            I’ve decided to take a break from writing Okami until the end of the school year. Exams are coming up, and my teachers are piling on the homework like I’m some sort of pack mule. I can’t think of ways to continue, so I’m going to wait until summer starts so I can start writing again with a clear head.

            In the meantime, I have been uploading pages of a one-shot manga (named “A New Type of Hero”). It’s based off of (and shares the name of) the one-shot on my Fictionpress profile. If you’re interested in reading, you can find the manga on my Deviantart profile “MangaArtist16”.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Whoa Jacob! I didn’t know you were an artist too! Your manga pages look sweet! As someone who is involved in a lot of projects myself, and has experienced the struggle of finding balance in juggling many tasks, let me tell you that it is OK to take a break or slow down! I hope that school slows down for you soon! I know that feeling all too well! Praying for you my friend!

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.
            Long time, no see. 🙂
            Okami is coming along well. I guess. I’m stuck on the part where Kasai attacks everyone.
            I’m actually having a hard time getting into his character, to be honest (laughs)! Anyway, in all seriousness, Okami will be coming around soon. I have plans for later chapters. This chapter is just hard for me to get out, that’s all.

            Hope your summer break is great so far. Bless you, Caleb.

            More updates will be coming soon. 😀

            ~Jacob

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Great to hear from you Jacob!! Glad to hear that Okami is coming along! Summer is going great for me, and I hope that it is going well for you as well!

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            I know that everyone is good at one thing, and others are good at another thing. But, for some strange reason, whenever I meet up with (or encounter) someone who can do something I can’t, I get discouraged.

            Any tips on how to deal with this?
            Thanks,
            ~Jacob

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob, that is a great question! Check out 1 Corinthians 12!

            http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Co&c=12&t=ESV

            One really interesting and cool thing about life is that we are all made differently. I’m TERRIBLE at many sports, for example. That used to bother me and embarrass me a lot, but as I age it is clear to me that God knew what He was doing when he made my life.

            Sometimes maybe having certain gifts keeps us on track for where we are meant to be, having certain weaknesses keeps us humble.

            Jesus was a perfect example of humility. The opposite of humility is pride. So, accepting your weaknesses actually shows strength. It also gives God an opportunity to show His strength in your life despite your weaknesses. Does that make sense?

            As the verses above talked about, different Christians have different gifts too. I encourage you to use your gifts (writing, art, and whatever else) for the glory of God.

            Great to hear from you again Jacob! Hope you are well!

            Praying for you!

            -Caleb

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            Thanks for your response. 😀
            It really helped. A lot. It really did.

            (Even though I still need to make a habit of reading my bible, I think I’m doing okay-ish so far. Okami’s fallen flat, though. Sorry about that– I’ll revive it someday)

            I’m positive that I’ll be able to get somewhere in life with my gifts (which I believe are creativity and brightening other people’s days).
            😀

            You’ve been a great friend, Caleb. It’s always nice to have another believer to talk to, am I right? 🙂

            As of now, I am stopping my “A New Type of Hero” one-shot manga. I am putting all of my… storytelling and drawing “expertise”(?) into a new manga titled “KAISER”.

            (Spoilers below!)

            The plot centers around a fighting tournament, with the winner ruling over the land, sea, and sky (basically the whole world) for seven years. After those seven years are over, the tournament starts up again.

            The story follows a wolf named Zeo who is cold and hostile towards any and every animal he meets.
            He seeks to become Kaiser and get revenge on the entire world- even the deities themselves- because of a tragic event that happened in his past.

            (Note: Every animal species has their own deities that they worship. Some animals do not believe in their species-specific deities; or any deity, for that matter.)

            Over the course of the manga, Zeo (reluctantly) builds up a group of animals; each with their own problems, aspirations, and ideals.
            Despite not showing it at all, Zeo begins to change his outlook on life (and opens up to others, becoming more friendly in the process).

            I think that’s really much I can say on the matter. Sorry for the spoilers, in case you wanted to read it when I release it on DeviantArt.

            You’re a great friend, and you have such sagely advice. I could not ask for a better you (I can’t, though. Human’s don’t have a “Return to sender” option).

            Thank you. Good luck in life. God bless you, Caleb. 😀

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            Just here with an update.

            The comic’s story is coming together really well.
            The characters are unique, and I think they’ll be likable…. for the most part. 😀

            How have you been?

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            That is awesome, brother! Glad to hear it is going well!

            I have been doing pretty good, thanks for asking! I have been a bit busy, though. Things always get a little rushed when school starts back up!

            Great to hear from you 🙂

          • Jacob says:

            I know how that feels, all too well.

            All in all, good luck to you in school, Caleb! 🙂

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            I’ve come here with….a bit of a problem.
            There’s a game for the Nintendo DS that I want to buy…. but it has some…. issues with it.

            The game is called “The World Ends with You”. Known in Japan as “It’s A Wonderful World”.

            First off, is the high usage of swear words. They’re said quite a bit- but most T-rated games are bound to have these, and I can normally block these out.

            The game also has other questionable things, like a character having a the crude saying “Come back when you grow a pair”, an odd depiction of the afterlife, along with the designs of some of the characters.

            But the game’s not all that bad. It has strong morals like helping others, being selfless, and things like that. The main character actually transforms from a self-obsessed teenage jerk into a caring, mature young man.

            I was wondering if you could help me solve this dilemma. Should I get this game or not?

            If a game has repulsive character designs and swearing, I can normally overlook these things… but I’m wondering if it’s a good idea for me to buy it.

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            Jacob here.
            Just coming in to say that I ordered the game off of the Internet, because I normally have good judgement when it comes to questionable content in video games. And I can usually substitute any swearing for something far less rude.

            Thanks for supporting me all this time.

            God bless you.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob!

            That is a tough and complicated issue. Sometimes the things we want aren’t the best for us. In fact, a lot of the time that is the case. I have a lot of things that have parts that I disagree with, but they also have parts that seem good and helpful in some ways. Its a tough issue, and if that thing is dragging you down more than it is helping you, its likely not a good thing. I will be praying for you! I ask myself the same question very often! It was great to hear from you!

            -Caleb

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.
            Great to hear from you. 🙂

            The game came a few days ago, and I’m already halfway done with it.

            Sure, the main character swears up a storm for the most part, but I normally substitute the words mentally when I read them (hooray for censorship!).
            The jerk (and potty mouth) of a main character is beginning to grow in to a good person, and it’s great to see bad people pull heel-face turns like that.

            Overall, the game isn’t dragging me down so far, as I already know how the story ends. To be honest, I got it for the cool battle system.
            But the story’s pretty cool so far.

            I’m spiritually mature enough to push past the bad parts in many games…. that way, I can enjoy what’s GOOD about them.

            But to be on the safe side, I’ll pray for God’s guidance to help me look through all the clunky aspects of the game’s characters and storyline.

            Thanks for helping me out, Caleb. 😀
            God bless you..

          • Jacob says:

            Oh. By the way.

            My comic, KAISER, is finally up on DeviantArt! 😀

          • Jacob says:

            Hey Caleb.

            Just here with a quick update.

            I finished TWEWY within a few days, and I must say that I enjoyed the story. It was pretty good. 🙂

            And my comic, KAISER, is now up on DeviantArt, in a folder in my gallery titled “KAISER”. 😀

            Have a great day, and God bless you. 🙂

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Awesome! Can you send me that link to your DA page again? Looking forward to seeing it!!!
            Your bro, -Caleb

          • Jacob says:

            I don’t know if I can send you a direct link, but I can try.
            http://mangaartist16.deviantart.com/gallery/56243479/KAISER

            If it doesn’t show up in the post (or in the “Website” thing for the pre-post boxes…. it’s on DeviantArt.
            My username is “MangaArtist16”.
            The comic is in my Gallery, on the left-hand side, titled, “KAISER”.

            Happy that you’re doing well. 😀
            Oh- and I know this is unimportant, but my birthday is next week.

            God bless you, Caleb. Thanks for always being there to support me. 🙂

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Sorry for the late reply Jacob! Your birthday isn’t unimportant at all! It’s the day we celebrate YOU, and that’s a big deal! I know it’s a month late, but I hope your birthday was awesome! Your Manga’s are awesome! Keep it up! Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God! -Caleb

          • Jacob says:

            Found this out just now.
            If my name is a lighter color…. I think that means I gave you a “Website” link.

            Just hover your cursor over my name and you’ll find it.

            Just in case you didn’t know.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Thanks Jacob! I actually didn’t know that, but now I do! Thanks!

          • Jacob says:

            Thank you!

            I’m doing great so far!

            My comic’s first chapter is almost complete! So excited!

            I hope you’re doing well, too!
            God bless you, Caleb!

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob, I opened a “Creators” forum in the community section. If you want you could post some of your stuff there, I think others would really enjoy it!

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            I finished chapter one of my comic.

            Do you think it would be appropriate to put on this site? I mean, it isn’t necessarily the “cleanest” comic around, as it has blood and such.

            And apparently I need to make an account. Which begs the question….. does this site contain any malware or anything that will harm my computer?
            ‘Cause I only have one computer (that I share), and I don’t want it to break.

          • Caleb Nisley says:

            Hey Jacob!

            1.) I think that it would be okay to post your comment, but maybe post a warning about the content, like… *Contains Some Mature Elements Like Blood* If it had nudity, paganism, or frequent language I would probably tell you to avoid it, but if it is just some fighting then it is probably OK.

            2.) This website should be safe. I just did a malware scan of it, and it came back looking good. I have never had any issues with malware in the past, and there is no malware currently present, so you should be safe 🙂

          • Jacob says:

            Okay.

            I may or may not sign up.

            But about the paganism and nudity…..
            In later chapters, there is going to be a character who is a slave to another. Her design is…. attractive, to say the least. Nothing revealing is shown, aside from her torso.
            But seeing as how she is a rabbit, those design choices aren’t really possible in real life.

            As for the paganism…. the animals in my comic all have gods that they worship. There are minor ones who control wind and time, but they aren’t mentioned.
            The ones who are mentioned, however, are the god and “bad” gods the animals worship/fear. They’re only mentioned and play a minimal role in the story,

            Just wanted to let you know that.

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb!

            Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

            http://mangaartist16.deviantart.com/art/Merry-Christmas-579113407

            I hope God blesses you in this new year of goodness and fun!

          • Jacob says:

            Hey Caleb! Happy New Year!

            http://mangaartist16.deviantart.com/art/Happy-New-Year-581551504

            Anyway…. chapter 2 of KAISER is just starting up… oh, and I got “Shovel Knight”, too! It’s… a pretty decent game, really! Sure, I’ve died like, what, 64 times? But it’s still a fun game nonetheless. Levels and bosses are pretty creative in their design and mechanics.

            Just wanted to see how you were doing in this fresh, new year.

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            Just wondering how you are doing.

            KAISER’s coming along well. The first four chapters are character introduction/interaction, so it’s a slow buildup to the later chapters (sorry if you don’t like that).
            Anyways, how are you doing?

          • Jacob says:

            Hey, Caleb.

            Sorry that Okami and KAISER have been brought to a standstill.

            Been stuck on chapter 11 of Okami for a year and many new things have entered my life…. so not much I can do on that part. 🙁

            KAISER was put on hold because of our computer breaking down. Got a new one now. Just need to get a program that will allow me to edit an image’s contrast, and crop (if needed).

            I hope you’re doing okay.

          • Jacob says:

            Hello?

            Caleb?

            How are you?

            Also… I kinda need some advice and/or encouragement. This might just be deja-vu, but I feel as if I’ve said something to this extent before.

            I’m worried that my readers won’t like the ending I’ve planned for KAISER. Not sure if it’s just my inexperienced psyche making things worse, though.

            I know there are going to be people out there who dislike my comic…. but for the people who support me in the long run… I’m worried they might hate the ending, even though its a story I put a lot of time into.

            Can you help?

  • […] are a representative of what it means to be a Christ follower. Don’t ruin that opportunity. Guard your heart. Watch your […]

  • […] By this standard I wouldn’t view following Christ as a list of to-dos, but instead as a transformation of the heart. […]

  • […] an action that has wronged me. I can, however, choose how to react to that action. I can focus on my own heart, which leads me to care about things that are beyond my own […]

  • Jacob says:

    Hey, Caleb.

    Wondering how you’ve been since my absence.

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