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December 25, 2016

The Right Connections

It is with a heavy heart which I write this post. The heaviest heart I've ever written with. So much has happened during this year, so much which shouldn't have happened. Through misery, pain, heartbreak, abuse, death, decay and failure, I can finally write this post with only one goal in mind: To point to Jesus.

There is only one constant in our lives. It is not the love we have for a spouse or significant other, wealth, possessions or social status. It is the Love of Jesus. It is only through this love where anything can truly be accomplished.

So I pray, that His Love will guide me, and help me write this decidedly difficult topic. On Christmas Day 2016, this post will go up. Thousands of families will sit down around a dinner table to celebrate Christmas. Celebrating a year with a family, be it a figurative family of friends, or a literal family through blood.

Both are connections we form during our entire lives. We are all born with a family we can't chose, and we are given a family of friends through the choices we make during our formative years, adulthood, and so on.

At a certain stage in our lives, we are concerned with popularity. It doesn't matter which connections we make, so long as we have them. We associate with all kinds of people, be they good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. While this stage may present a certain joy, over times we'll find connections decaying, bringing us pain through their loss.

To protect ourselves against this loss, we form connections more guardedly, discriminating socially to avoid pain. We desire acceptance more than anything, and will do whatever it takes to get it.

This is unfortunately where a lot of us make huge mistakes, associating with people who influence us negatively, all in the name of feeling "loved". Fearing the loss of such alleged love, we compromise, cutting blocks lying in the path of acceptance by our peers. And so we form connections which damage us, making us fall away from the One True Saviour. 

He should be our first and our last connection. There is only one absolutely perfect relationship, and that is the one we have with our Messiah. He loves us, from now and to eternity and will never allow us to ever be seperated from His love, once we've accepted the sacrifice He so graciously gave us on the Cross of Calvary.

Once we start to walk a path with Him, He will clean us from all the weeds in our lives which threaten to consume and destroy us. Doing so, however, requires sacrifice from us. The wrong connections, the people, things or ways of living which lead us into sin, will have to be cut off entirely. Sadly, this means letting go of a great many people. Lovers, friends, associates and even family. What evidence do I have of this? This verse in the Book of Matthew:
 
Matthew 10:34-39

34 Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. 37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; 38 and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

The wording makes it very clear. We have cut loose our families if they lead us away from Jesus. This doesn't mean we should disown our families if they make mistakes, obviously, but Jesus makes it clear that we should not hold onto to our earthly family when He calls us to let go of them for His gospel. 

There is only one conduit through which we can form the right connections, and that's through Jesus. I'm asking all of us to take a deeply introspective look and ask ourselves, who or what is pulling us away from Him, and how to cut off those yokes.

Abuse is a very serious bondage, and one God doesn't want us to live in. Yes, we are to obey our parents and elders, but they are also to respect and honour us. Searching the Bible will show us this fact time and time again.

Read the Word of God. Forget what people are saying. Let the Holy Spirit clear you of all interpretations and read the word merely as it is written. It is only a book, a letter which can kill, but the Spirit giveth life. (It's almost an exact quote. Once again, read the Bible. Find these verses I'm referencing. Test these words. Above all, find Jesus.)

It's time for us to let go of the old man, and walk into a new creation with Jesus. Let go of them, the people who are abusing you in any way, influencing you away from Jesus, and connect with those who build you up in Him. Find a loving a church. Have fellowship. Build on each other. Not by earthly strength but by allowing Christ to work through all of you.

Let Him connect you with the right people. The friendships you form through Him far exceed what the world could ever provide.

I know this has been a very scatterbrain post, but I hope the message comes through loud and clear. I'm Kyle signing out. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day for those celebrating. If you're not (like me), have a wonderful day and never stop seeking Jesus. 

December 15, 2016

Holiday Break

Hello everyone. I hope you've all been having an amicable December.

Just a quick's head up: I'm going to be taking off from the blog until January. When I return, we will keep reviewing.

I've also decided to break away from a writing schedule and post my writing on a "when it's done" basis. I believe this is the best approach concerning the blog, and makes the most sense to me. This means you will see reviews, updates, articles any day of the week, so stay tuned for that.

Before I leave, however: I will be posting an article on the 25th of December, as I feel it's an important day and the best possible day for me to share what I'm feeling. The article will be about a rather personal topic, one I hope will resonate with my readers.

Thank you very much for your continuous support. Have a great December, and safe travels in the holidays.

December 09, 2016

Healing the Sick

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus gave his Twelve Disciples a commission. We read the commission Matthew 10 verse 8, with Jesus calling them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and to cast out demons.

As time went on, and the Christian church grew, these commissions were carried on with us. While sceptics scoff at these claims and scholars claim that these commissions were merely there in the time of the apostles, I want us to ask a serious question: In today's world, is it still possible to heal the sick?

It's one of the toughest pills to swallow for those living in fear of embarrassment in front of the secular world, who view miracles as fictional and claims of supernatural healing as hoaxes. There is truth to be found in their claims, as a large amount of supposed "miracles" were, in fact, hoaxes to claim money or power from suffering families or emotionally weak individuals.

However, there is a different kind of miracle to be found in the Bible. In the aforementioned verse in Matthew 10:9, we read: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." King James Version.

Take note of the last part: "Freely ye have received, freely give." We should never ask money or anything from people in exchange for God's healing. True healing selflessly gives, with no glory given to the person, but unto God Almighty.

These miracles were done for one purpose only: To glorify and honour God, and the ministry of Jesus. 

With that said, the question remains: Is it possible to supernaturally heal people? Can we genuinely heal the sick, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons?

We'll take a look at all of these questions in the coming weeks. Our next post will go into more detail about a tricky one...

...Raising the dead.

December 07, 2016

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Review


Reviewed By: KVR

Developed By: Infinity Ward

Published By: Activision

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Genre: First-Person Shooter    

December 05, 2016

Looking Forward

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a good Monday. I realise that it's probably one of the last things any of us working class citizens would ever have, but I still hope you made it through the day without too much complaints.

My Infinite Warfare Areas of Concern will be up on Wednesday, followed by an article about who-knows-what on Friday. (If I remember to write one, that is.)

I also have an article planned to be posted on Christmas Day. I've chosen the topic and everything, so feel free to swing by for that. It may not be a very long post, but I hope the message will be applicable to whoever reads it.

In Other News:

Uncharted The Lost Legacy and The Last of Us 2 have been announced! Yay! While the former is merely a standalone DLC title (???), the latter is a full-blown sequel we've been anticipating for quite some time.

Excited? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on these announcements.

Until then, have a great week further. Hope to see you Wednesday. We'll have a look at the latest Call of Duty and see how things are going content wise.

Enjoy!

November 29, 2016

Spanner!

Hello peeps. I'd hate to throw a spanner in the works (AGAIN), but due to some taxing events at home, I can't make it this week with a review.

Will see you guys again next week.

God bless.

November 25, 2016

What We Believe Part 5 (Morality)

Hello again people. We're at the last part of the What We Believe series on our values as a website and as Christians regarding video games. In this last post, I'm going to be taking a bit of a different route and talking about the morality of playing video games with concerning content, and what it says about us as believers if we were to play such games.

No guilt trips or lectures, just some food for thought.

Say now one plays a game, involving the hijacking of cars, killing of generous amounts of citizens and utilisation of the myriad of services of prostitutes. Said hijacking of cars is referenced in the title of the game in more formal terms. 

Would playing such a game be a sin? Well, why are you playing it? Is it because you're a repressed sociopath who needs more material to fantasise about? A sexually frustrated teenage boy who wants to view sexual content in any form just because he needs the release? Or do you just like the exploration and the reward of finishing multiple missions to upgrade your living quarters, arsenal, vehicles and/or in-game empire?

The clincher lies in your motivation for playing a game. If you're playing it out of sinful motivations, well, then obviously it would be a sin. If you're just playing a game for the game's sake and because you love the gameplay...that's not a sin. Now, some of you may contest this fact on the basis of certain content having an effect on a person. Fair enough. Such content should always be taken into account, even if you're just playing it for the gameplay.

However, different content affects different people in different ways. Not all of us are tempted by the same things in the same ways and to the same degree. There's a lot of repetition in what I'm saying but I believe this is something we need to understand: All of us are unique and have our own paths to walk.

It's only through the Cross where we find our redemption from sin, and guidance to walk the path to righteousness. The Holy Spirit will guide us in our decisions, whether it be relationships, work environments, church leadership, marriage, or even video games, He will show us the right way.

It all comes down to our individual relationship with Jesus. If you feel that playing a certain game is affecting you adversely in this relationship, cast it from you. If not, groovy.

So that concludes my series on What We Believe. It's actually been more enlightening for me than anything to have my beliefs set so clearly before me. The future framework of the site is still being worked out, but I believe with what we discussed here we can move forward with a clearer vision than ever before.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great weekend ahead. I'll see you guys next week, here on KVR Gaming.

God bless.      

November 23, 2016

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Review)



Hello everyone! I finished this one a bit earlier than expected. Initially I wanted to go ahead and try to 100% the game before writing the review. However, due to significant time constraints, I decided it would be wiser to complete the review and schedule it a few days in advance in order to keep things flowing.

So here we are. Rise of the Tomb Raider. (We'll abbreviate it to ROTR further down the review in order to keep things short.) The 2013 reboot was reviewed during my more conservative days, so as such, there's going to be a major difference in the way this game's material is handled versus the older review's handling of certain content.

I've made a change to the format the last time around, putting the review of the game first and the content guide second. We'll be doing the same this time around, as I rather enjoyed the game and want to speak about its quality first before going into detail about its content.

QuickReview:

Audiovisual: 9.5

Gameplay:

Replayability: 8 

Overall: 8.5

Offering a deep (if short) single-player experience with extra replayability, Rise of the Tomb Raider suffers a bit from retreading the superiorly plotted Tomb Raider 2013, yet still works due to the welcome changes and tighter, more action-heavy gameplay.

Content Guide:

Violence/Intense Content: (7)

--A group of people are shown lying dead and mutilated in a cave, smeared in blood, some of which were burned alive, with smoke arising from their boil-covered and torn skins, blood visible. Severed body parts are scattered around the cave, as well as decapitated heads. (8) 

--Several people are shot, with blood spraying, staining the environment, cries of pain heard. In one sequence, a group of prisoners are gunned down up close with a shotgun, with blood bursting out and splattering over the camera. (7)

-A group of unarmed, surrendering soldiers are gunned down from behind. They collapse dead instantly. This is bloodless.

--Enemies can be stabbed with ice axes and knives, impaling them through their heads, necks and torsos, with screams and blood sprays. Foes can be killed stealthily by being stabbed in the neck with a knife, a crunch and sprays of blood shown. Bears can also be fought, with stabbing, slicing and impaling, often through the head, with blood sprays and roars from the animal, which eventually collapses dead.  (7)

-Injured enemies can be stabbed with an ax through the skull, with a sickening crack and blood sprays, or slammed through the face with a rock, a blood spurt and a crack heard. They can be grabbed from cover with a bow, strangling them and then their necks are snapped with accompanying sound effects.

--A man's eyes are gouged out; we see this from the side, obscuring the detail. He screams and struggles as this happens, flailing around. (7)

--Enemies can be set alight, with fire consuming their bodies, screams heard as they flail around and struggle. Their skins become bloody and charred, darkening with the burns. They eventually fall over and die. (7)

--Animals can be killed and skinned, with organs and entrails visible, blood spilling out from their bodies. Chickens, deer and wolves are killed, with accompanying cries of pain. These acts are quick. (6)

-Chickens can be picked up and thrown around the environment. They die eventually if you throw them around a few times.

Deaths:

--Lara can be skewered by vertically oriented spikes; we see the spikes penetrate through her head and torso, blood spraying out and a look of shock on her face. (8)

-A knife-wielding enemy can kill her, by grabbing her and stabbing her several times in the abdomen, crunches heard. This is obscured by his body.

-A bear can kill her, grabbing her by the neck, tearing her throat open and then biting into her neck again, all with blood sprays. This happens quickly. 

Sexual References: (2)

--A woman asks her if she started working for an organisation before or after she started "s****ing" a certain man. (4)

Language: (7)

Uses of F**k, S**t and a partial use of C**t.

Spiritual/Occultic Themes: (4)

--We see a research file mentioning the afterlife and reincarnation, with pictures from Asian and Egyption lore. (4)

--A handful of murals depict artists' renditions of a fictional Prophet hailing from Constantinople, with him healing people and leading them religiously. (4)

--A scene depicts a man (one of the villains) praying in a church to God for guidance. He speaks about "sins" he was "forced" to commit, and asks God for a sign on how to finish his mission. (4)

--(Spoilers) A certain object is said to grant "immortality", having granted a couple of soldiers and their leader deathless lives in the past. The man is said to be centuries old, as well as his former troops. (4) 

Drug Content: (2)

--We see a couple of liquor bottles scattered throughout the environment. Some of them can be picked up and thrown by the player. A few scenes depict smoking. (3)

Conclusion:

So as we come to the end of this otherwise short post, I feel like I should clarify something: I've been struggling with heavy depression for the last three years. Next month (December), will be the third year in a long and very dark road.

I was deeply into gaming until the pain struck me, the bitter taste making me numb and leaving me unable to enjoy what I had previously done with ease. The next three years were fraught with tensions, loss, betrayal, guilt, hurt and eventually redemption at the foot of the Cross.

It's not a story I'll go into detail about in this conclusion, due to it being rather long and superfluous for the point I'm trying to make, but rest assured: If you're struggling with depression, hang on. You may not be able to ever fully bury the pain, but through Jesus you can find the strength to be able to carry the burden, and meet people through Him who can help you forward.

One of the things I did throughout this time was trying to escape through entertainment, video games being one of them, music being the biggest form of release for me. While Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn't have the deepest of stories, one of the traits of the Lara's character is her obsessive need to escape from her bounds and find the truth.

This is an admirable trait in a video game character, and something a person like myself can be inspired by in times of doubt. The 2013 reboot was particularly helpful in this regard, depicting Lara as trying to survive against all odds and standing resolutely by her convictions.

As I bring this to a close, I don't really have much to say about the content. Yeah, it's violent. Somewhat. Strong language. Meh. The only thing I can say, is that we should always seek Jesus in everything we do. Sometimes, He waits for us, and other times, we have to just take a short journey to go find Him.More often than not, He's right where we least expect Him. 

I can't tell you how many times secular video games have instilled Christ-like values into me through protagonists refusing to compromise, storylines paralleling Biblical ones and much more. So, before dismissing a violent game based on religious principle, take a step back, pray, and maybe game on. There could be something you don't want to miss at the end. 

Oh, and before I go, Rise of the Tomb Raider is rated Caution Advised:

Content Verdict: 16+
For Bloody Violence and Strong Language