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Monday, August 31, 2009

love, love, and love, whats the difference?

Now that word “love”.  This is a word we all know, but it’s incredible how confusing it actually is! In English we have only one word for concepts that in Paul’s day(about 2000 years ago) they had a whole lot of words for. These words described different levels of love.

 

The highest form of love is “agape” love which is a transcending love greater than all others and applicable to the love God shows. Typically this is love that overlooks what we do wrong and sees us in the light our potential rather than the reality of our achievements.

 

Other words for “love” are “filios”, “eros”, and “pederastia”. Filios is “platonic”, love that is of a non-sexual nature between people of the same or opposite sex. You see this reflected when guys calling each other a “brother” or woman call another woman a “sister”. In contrast to this “eros” love is the highly sexual love that is erotic and depicted on most adult only movies. Actually, the best depiction of this nowadays is probably in the activities of “friends with benefits”. There is no emotional attachment in “eros”, only sexual gratification. Then there is the lowest form of love call “pederastia” which is that sick love that is against the law nowadays. This is normally depicted as a man having sex with a boy.

 

So there are many different types of interpretations for that English word “love”. But in the context used in that writing from the Bible, it is “agape”. The form of love higher than sexual or brotherly love, a love that overlooks wrong doing and only looks for the absolute best in and for the other person. That’s the type of love God wants for us all!

 

This is not a wispy, mystical type of love. It’s a solid decision to love despite negativity from the person being loved, kind of love. It’s a rubber meets the road type of love. It costs and requires self-sacrifice and is perhaps best shown by the mother who gets up at night when she is exhausted to breast feed her crying baby. It is the father who travels many kilometres to his son’s home to help him fix that plumbing problem he cannot get right. It’s shown in the person who takes their coat and gives it to the homeless person who is freezing in sub-zero temperatures and has no-where to go. It’s a pure, selfless, vibrant love that overcomes barriers to allow the needs of others to be met. That type of love fulfills and gives life to the giver and receiver. God wants us to be that kind of lover. An “agape” lover!

Mon, August 31, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, August 28, 2009

Faith? Hmmm, sounds wrong...I wonder why?

Faith! The moment I hear that word I immediately think “blind faith” and then I think, “I don’t want to be blind!” This makes me dislike faith! It also brings up mental images of people who are not using the brain that God gave them.

 

People who ;

  • regurgitate what others feed to them without understanding or being willing to evaluate the content of what they are saying,
  • who are judgemental of others without good reason,
  • who are against science and probably against dinosaurs and other scientific facts as we know them today,
  • who live in the past,
  • who ignore reality,
  • who pester those of us that just want to get on with our lives,
  • etc.
 

Not exactly a nice picture! Why would any of us want faith? Let me be more specific; who would want to have Christian faith if it brings with it all of these things? Not me! That’s for sure. Yet I am a Christian, and I do want more faith! So this view of faith I explained above can’t be the “faith” that Paul was talking about. It’s a false view of faith put into us by media, technology and cynical people. It’s not my view of faith and as far as I can tell, not the view that God has in his sacred writings either. So what is God’s view of faith?

 DSC_0058.JPG

I have a climbing wall at our home that has many strange shaped rocks bolted onto it. We get people coming to our home to try climbing this wall. One of the interesting occurrences is that someone tries to climb a certain route among the rocks and fails. As they try again and again, they continue to fail! This can go on for many weeks and often they fail simply because they have to push upwards past their comfortable balance point, letting go with one hand to grab a rock that is above them. So why do they fail? The rock is not situated too high or out of their range. They have seen others doing this move and even admit to me it appears totally possible. The problem is that they fear going past a boundary they have created for themselves over many years. It’s probably a good boundary that has served well in the past. This time however it is doing the opposite of what it should be doing. By submitting to it they limit themselves to failure! Often when this happens I say to them, “you can do it, have faith in yourself”. You see, I know they can do it. I know that to get to that point they have already achieved the skill needed. I know their abilities. Others around may also know they can do achieve the move and shout encouragement to them as they try. Sometimes, even the person themselves knows it is possible, but they have to not only believe but have to go past the boundary and act on that belief to achieve the goal. That is the “faith” God asks us to have! He is not asking us to do the impossible or the unseen that no-one else has done before us. He is just asking us to trust His advice based on our best interests and step up past the boundaries we have put in place so we can reach new heights and potential in our lives. That’s the faith Paul was asking Timothy to have. That’s the faith I desire for everyone! It’s liberating! What about you?

Fri, August 28, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Godliness! Who? Me?

Godliness. Being like a god! Paul told Timothy that young people should aim at godliness. In this case being like God himself! How do you feel about that?

 

Honestly, when I first heard this I felt it was a bit too much! I know I am no god and don’t see how I can get to being one. I was not even sure I wanted to be like one! I had such a poor view of God that I felt godliness was not an attractive quality. Our media has driven a mindset into us that gods are super powerful beings that somehow crush those who come against them in an awesome manner, and normal people can never aspire to being one. In our computer games many of these gods either main and kill. These gods demand others do the things for them, or else!

 

This techno-wiz type god is prevalent in our minds! We almost cannot respect a God who is loving in every way, not judgemental towards us as we walk around daily, who wants to help us with everything we do, who causes natural events to pan out in ways that are amazingly good for us, who wants us to achieve the best we can in everything we do, and who wants us to treat others in the same way.

You see this is true godliness! Treating others in this way! That is a godliness I can aspire too, but unless I first get rid of these strange human nightmare creations of the false gods that have been built into our lives and get back to the real God, I will be lost, and start to become more hard hearted instead of keeping myself soft hearted.

I choose true godliness, what do you choose?

Thu, August 27, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm young, I'm challenged, I WILL succeed!
optimize.gif
optimize.gifI was looking at Psalm 119 in the writings and it says the following:
  
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
       By living according to your word. 
 
10 I seek you with all my heart;
       do not let me stray from your commands. 
 
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
       that I might not sin against you. 
 
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
       teach me your decrees. 
 
13 With my lips I recount
       all the laws that come from your mouth. 
 
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
       as one rejoices in great riches. 
 
15 I meditate on your precepts
       and consider your ways. 
 
16 I delight in your decrees;
       I will not neglect your word.


This got me thinking about how few people this actually describes. I may have the wrong idea, but I don’t think too many people even have an attitude of wanting to do what it says above. It seems to be looking for perfection and way too much work for the average young person today.

 

Yesterday, I was blogging about tuning ourselves up like a high performance engine. As a guy, I like this idea! I like to thing of getting myself in tip-top shape. In years past, people put a lot of effort into tuning up their lives. Self discipline was considered something that the few uniquely gifted people had in excess. It was something good to aim for, and people were willing to give up a lot to gain it.

 

Today I think we like to please ourselves more easily than the guys did in the past and this is a far cry from self discipline! In an earlier blog I think I showed that if we focus on pleasing only ourselves, nobody wins and we all loose. With this in mind I look at the words and see that word pure. It almost has a negative feel now days. (unless its something we want to get). Is purity even something we look towards for ourselves?

 

We should according to our maker’s handbook, but do we believe in going all out for purity? Is our heart in this chase? Are we more focused on self pleasure than purity? It’s a tough question but one that we should ask ourselves.

Then regarding keeping to what God wants, do we even know what it is? To do this means we need to find out what he wants. This is learning! Do we want to spend time each day learning things about what God wants for us, how we are to tune up ourselves for optimum performance, or do we feel we spend to much time on that already?

 

Sometime I wonder how much I have bought into the marketing and materialism line’s punted continually by life, TV and the “give-me” culture.  

On the other side, how much have I bought into God’s plan?

 

Since I know God wants the best for me I should have bought in fully to his plan. But, I guess I am a sinner like most and I probably fail.

Maybe I should be more self discipline and minimise my failures. How about you?

Wed, August 26, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So what are we expected to do? Where should life take us?

So what are we expected to do? What advice is given to us in those ancient writings? Well a guy I mentioned in an earlier blog that started off killing Christians and then realized this was a huge mistake, came to lead many of them as a forefront Christian himself. This was a guy called Paul. Later in life he wrote a letter to advise a young guy that he really liked called Timothy what was the best for him. We have the letter he wrote to him. One of the things he said was;

 “But you, man of God, run away from all this, and chase righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”[1] 


Okay, he didn’t say exactly that English sentence above, because it was written in Greek, but I have it on good authority this is pretty much what we would say in English, and it is as close as we can get to that Greek he wrote. So let’s try and understand it.

 

Notice he doesn’t say go out and say have a cool self pleasuring time! That’s not where your purpose in life is. Perhaps you want to read a book by Rick Warren called “A purpose driven life” to see why Paul directed this young guy (he was called Timothy) differently. Rick will explain to you that actually you need to connect with Jesus first, so you can say you are “a man of God”. Also ladies! Don’t get all bitter and twisted because he didn’t say a woman of God. In those days they used the word man, to refer to more than just men, and he was writing to a guy! You are just as important and God does love you as much, perhaps more than guys. I’m adding that because often Christians are said to be negative towards woman’s rights. Not likely! Jesus was the world’s first woman’s rights activist! He considered them equal in God’s sight when the people around him thought they were fancy possessions you owned. He was radical in living that in those times!

 

Sorry, I got off the subject for a moment. So to really be able to do things, this guy, Paul, says Timothy needed to be a man of God. Let’s leave that one alone for a while, and look at what else he is saying.  He wants Timothy to chase righteousness. I already said earlier that this is living a life of purpose doing the right things that God wants for us.

 

What does this mean? Deciding what is right and what is wrong is always a big argument. Our parents have widely differing views from us, as most family dinner table discussions at one time or another have shown. This was the same in Jesus time, so Jesus cleared this up for us. He told us that we are to “love the Lord your God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.” and that we should “Love our neighbours as ourselves.’[2]

 

That closes the loopholes. If we are doing right, we will be treating someone else with the dignity and the truth we would want to experience! Then we will be close to being righteous. It’s part of having that “soft” heart. Notice it doesn’t say we need to be pushovers or subservient to others. We need to treat others the way we would like to be treated when doing the same thing. This is not all we need be sure of either. We also need to be working within the guidelines that give us optimal performance according to our maker’s handbook. That’s why as Christians we read and try to understand the bible! You can’t tune a machine without knowing what the manufacturer considers the abilities, strengths and performance constraints of that machine. You cannot live a purposeful and powerful life without knowing the manufacturers performance guidelines and staying within them. Going outside them may allow you a few minutes of sensual experience before you go bust! Going outside them for a long time means disaster! Even a short while is a risk. Some risks are okay to take. Normally that depends on the chance of them actually happening. This risk will definitely happen if you wait long enough, so it’s probably not a good risk to take!

So where are you today? Will you go for righteousness and tuning your life within the optimum performance guidelines or will you spin out of control, have a rev'd up few seconds of seemingingly super sensual experience before going bust?


I pray you make the right decision. Its yours to make!

[1] Pauls first letter to Timothy 
[2] Mark’s manuscript of good news about Jesus
Tue, August 25, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, August 24, 2009

Having one of those days?
Ever had one of those days! The ones you wish would restart with a different direction!
 

Mine started before the break of morning with an annoyance. I turned over in bed twisted my back, putting it out, and resulting in pain each time I moved. Then, waking at 5am to travel to the city was fairly normal for a Monday, but traveling was painful on the normal approx 3hr commute. However on getting to the city, the traffic was backed up on the routes I had to travel. This added another 3/4 of an hour to my drive. Then my GPS directed me into the traffic, instead of around it as requested. On the way to work my left ear suddenly stopped hearing, and then started to scream in a high pitched whine (i.e. tinnitus) . I know this problem since many years ago while in the army, an explosive blast of a mortar blasted out my eardrums. I had this same problem for a number of weeks at that time. It is highly unpleasant, upsets balance, creates nausea, but at least it is not life threatening in any way.

 

Needless to say, I got to work to find out people were upset with each other, and they expected me to be the referee. My computer refused to boot, and then when it did, it refused to logon to the services I needed to do my work. This web page refuses to take the font setting I request, and my email inbox overflowed!

 

What do you do when this happens? I know what I did! I prayed and sent my darling wife an emergency text message asking for prayer support. I could detect the evil side of life bugging me. My prayer was that I would be able to progress through the day with grace to treat those around me correctly. Today is a chance to improve myself! I could just become withdrawn and complaining, but I want to develop the joy of our Lord in me. So instead of a problem, this is an opportunity! A gift of a type when I look at it that way.

 

Now all I have to do is rely full on God's Spirit to guide me and make up for my inadequacies. It should be a fun day!

 

Hope you have a great day!

Mon, August 24, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tornadoes in our lives?
Yesterday Ontario was hit with a Tornado and a small boy died! 

We Canadians have less knowledge and experience than some of our American friends in this area of life! We are less prepared, less knowledgable and don't monitor for tornadoes because we don't expect them.

When I was in Illinois the residents would have sirens that went off in the streets to warn of these imminent disasters. Everyone knew what to do to avoid problems and would calmly take the relevant action. It was only us canucks that went to the windows to see if we could see the twister. I must say this was done against the advice of those around us!

Frequently as I drove my three hours to the nearest international airport in a late afternoon, the radio would be blaring out the tornado warnings, giving information on where the latest twister had touched down. I would try to take roads that would keep me from colliding with the spinning columns of air and water.

I remember my prayers for safety as I chased my artificial  timelines to get on the aircraft and back to my darling wife and children. I didn't have fear, I had made my peace with death years ago when in an army doing peacekeeping in Africa, so death for me was not a disaster. I just wanted to be able to complete the work God had given me before I graduate to be with the all loving and powerful God. I asked God to navigate me around the brutish weather and he did.

These incredibly powerful touches of nature onto our seemingly safe home ground always intrigue me. I find myself wondering how those who survive and come out of their basement to a field of destruction that had been their life, would now look at life differently from that point on. Tornadoes strip us of things that don't count. Those that survive are glad to have escaped with their life and those around them. Those that know them are happy they are alive and survived. They get assured their lost possessions are not important. Life and relationships matter more than the things! Where someone succumbs in the disaster, the family is devastated, but hardly thinks of the things they have lost. It is that dear lost soul that occupies their thoughts and prayers.

So, why does it take a tornado to get us to look at life with clarity and see that people count more than anything else? Jesus told us that over 2000 years ago! He asked us to care for others and ourselves. In fact he told us to love them! Instead we turn this love to ipods, movies, clothes, images, cars, money and many other things that when the tornadoes of life come, end up meaning so little.

Shouldn't we build onto that which can outlast any tornado? What will you build today that will outlast the next twister that hits your life?
Fri, August 21, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wow! How do we get so mixed up?

In a previous blog I was talking of sensual excess and sensual "habituation". How we all get used to things very quickly, and then suddenly those aspects are not enough!

What is even worse is that sensual habituation often brainwashes people without them knowing it. Do you know the Western world is slowly brainwashing itself because of this habituation. We as Westerners get less normal each year! Here is an example: During the Second World War many people got uprooted from family life, many got killed and those that came back after the horrible experience of ending Hitler’s reign of terror were never quite the same. During the war, cigarettes, alcohol and sex became ways to experience sensual experience and escape the ravages of war. After the war, people chased these as if they were gods. Soon, the discovery of birth control pills for girls made sexual freedom an easy and safer way of increasing the sensual experience for both guys and girls. It did this by removing the responsibility of creating human life. This wasn’t enough, so people needed bigger fixes. Biker gangs started up to get excitement from the change of scenery and violence they could perpetuate as they roamed the towns and cities looking for sensual experience. People chased money to buy pleasure! Alcohol abounded and became more prolific as laws changed. Drugs were added to the sensual environment, and then finally, we got that new superb sound sensual experience of Rock and Roll. 

The love of money and the sensations it buys drove people to push their children to do more and more at earlier and earlier ages.

Some of you are feeling the stress from that! Do you know that nowadays in the west every 46 minutes a young person commits suicide? Now let me get it straight, I am not saying these sensual things are bad by themselves, they’re not! (Although, I’ve got to be honest and say I personally think smoking is one that is always bad for our health ). Sex in marriage is great! Alcohol in moderation is useful to help with various health issues. Rock n Roll music is good, although some of the lyrics and lifestyles aren’t. Drugs are very useful in medicine and reducing pain. I could go on, but you have the picture!

 

Over the years, our experiences were not enough. So we started to expose our children to them at earlier and earlier ages. The levels and intensity increased. Ability to decide against it for ourselves was removed by the dropping of the age of exposure to that below when children can make an informed decision. Brainwashing of youth into our programmed way of life started in this way. The pace accelerated. Pressure builds on young people at such a tender age to comply with these false norms of society that it is horrific. Drugs have increased; movies get more and more violent, and increasingly full of sexual content.

Do you know that by high school graduation in the west, the average teenager has seen 80,000 violent actions on television? Now add to it the gaming violence, language and sex! Nowadays we consider this normal. Should we? We look for it, crave it, and want more of it all the time. We don’t just want it, we want it in excess!

 

This sensual excess is supposed to make us happy, but it never does! Instead desires grow stronger and stronger, and satisfaction gets less and less. So where is the answer? Maybe the super being that put us together can give us advice? God predicted this all in his texts (see Ephesians 4:17-32), and told us it would damage us. Maybe God knows how to fix it to give us that happiness and contentment!  Surely the builder of our bodies knows best what the construction is designed for, and capable of?

 

Are you honest with yourself? If so, how do you measure up to some of what we have just looked at? I know that I personally have been duped and dummed down by our lifestyle, and I am only now starting to get into a bit of God’s mind. It’s amazing how much more happiness and contentment I find there as I try and follow the makers advice! It took a lot of courage to be honest with myself, and I expect you will need some of that same courage. I think it’s worth it and hopefully you can find some of that courage so you can find happiness, contentment and purpose in this adventure that we call life!

Thu, August 20, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Let's go for excellence!

Excellence is to be desired isn't it? Do you desire to live a superior life, to do something significant in this world, to maximize your potential?

 

Generally we answer “yes” when asked this. But, think about it carefully and you may be more careful with your answer. Why?

 

It has been said that commitment, dedication and education can bring about success, but to achieve excellence requires more. How much commitment, dedication and education are we willing to apply to our lives? Let’s be honest, I prefer to slack off than put in excessive effort, and not all of us enjoy education. Others of us consider our days of educating ourselves to be over. This is however one aspect of the consideration.

 

Excellence is also closely attached to balancing the events, needs and responses to our lives in way that enables commitment, the right amount of dedication and a desire to learn more continually without strain, but with sufficient stress to enable life to be a continual enjoyable challenge that can be met daily. It is measured as much by ones attainment of ones duty, growth as an individual and member of our community, contentment, acceptance of ourselves, and our service and acceptance of others. The goal of life’s excellence may be similar for all dedicated to this achievement, but the path is as individual as our fingerprints.

 

The path to achieve excellence starts by a choice to be honest with yourself, a desire to understand truth in all its forms, a willingness to admit and forgive our past failures, and a willingness to change. In other words it takes courage. Not a lot! Just enough!

Have you got it?

Wed, August 19, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ďAm I sensitive to others?Ē

We need to honestly ask ourselves this question. If the answer is “no”, why aren’t we sensitive to others? Is it due to being hurt? Not everyone has “soft” hearts, so it’s easy to get hurt by somebody with a “hard” heart. They may have only been hard hearted for a second, but it’s enough! Since then, how many seconds of hard heartedness have we perhaps shown to others around the same subject in retribution? Have we closed ourselves off from others in an attempt not to get hurt? We either tend to treat unsuspecting innocents the way we would have liked to treat the person who originally hurt us, or we hide away from people because we don’t want to get hurt. That’s not good, but we tend to do it anyway, don’t we?

 

Are we going to be people who add to this pain in the world, or people who try to ease pain? Which type of person would you like to be? God wants me to be a person who eases pain in this world. I’ve got to aim for a soft hearted approach to the world if I want to move into the right paths of life. I need to do this even when it looks a bit risky for me. What about you?

 

God also points out the path that hard heartedness will take me if I let it. First it will cause me to chase sensual pleasure. Yeah, I know the moment I say things like this people think of dating, leading to sex, to pornography, etc. I’m not going there, this means so much more than that.

 

We all have five physical senses; touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. These are good! Without them we are in real trouble! The problem comes when we do everything to maximise the pleasure we can get from them, without considering others and what it does to change us. Some examples may help. Taste is good. But tasting everything will get us in trouble and probably also get us quite ill as well. That’s why it’s good to stop babies putting the wrong things into their mouths. Excessive pleasure in tasting by eating too much will also finally kill us if we overdo it. Minimally, it will add lots of weight to our problems! It can even fuel eating disorders. God doesn’t want any of that for us!

 

Sight is good, but chasing things that please our eyes in an attempt to find fulfillment is futile. You see, we all get used to things very quickly, and then suddenly those aspects are not enough. The psychologists call it “habituation”. You can research that word if you like! Basically it says we soon start to find those things that we previously considered exciting, as boring, and then we have to look for the next even more extreme thing to get our sensuality "fix". Quickly we can move from normality to abnormality without even being aware of what is happened. You can probably think of similar examples for touch, hearing and smell. Most experiences are good, but excessive sensuality for pleasure, the “giving over to sensuality”, definitely isn’t!

 

God’s writing says this is exactly what happens if we are hard hearted and self seeking. Giving over to sensuality can become our god very quickly. Once we get into that level of selfishness, and particularly if we can do it with a select group of friends that do the same thing, (we sometimes do that to justify to ourselves what we are doing is normal don’t we?), then we start to ignore others and move more quickly into things that normal people wouldn’t appreciate. This is what is referred to as becoming impure! It’s done by going past God’s healthy desire for our lives and moving into a life of sensual excess that is disturbing and wrong. If you are there, you probably know it! Just be honest with yourself!

Maybe you want to discuss this with God and ask for a way to improve our sensitivity to others without picking up the pain ourselves? Jesus picked up the pain of selfishness, ignorance and nasty things for all of us, let's not try and reject that gift!

Tue, August 18, 2009 | link          Comments

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Squirrel joy!

Today I was checking out the google news and I came across a photo that says it all! cgy-squirrel-brandts.jpg
The full article is to be found at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2009/08/13/squirrel-banff-photo-brandts-geographic.html 

This inquisitive squirrel popped up to investigate the camera sounds and impacted the world. Apparently people are cutting it out of this original picture and pasting it into other photos, creating amusement everywhere. (Who wouldn't find a squirrel and nuts on the queens head mildly amusing).
 
The reason I like this, is that it is harmless fun that gives us a laugh. We need to laugh more often, and when we do, we get others to increase their joy in the day. I'm not talking of stand up show jokes. Those that can be mean, racial, sexual, and demeaning in other ways. Rather I am referring to those good uplifting chuckles that are induced by moments that improve our lives!

So, what will you be doing today to get a smile out of yourself and others? God wants us to have contiinual joy, and thats easier when we have natural laughter around us.

So let's be like that squirrel and create infectious joy around our world!

Sat, August 15, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hard or soft hearted? What is your choice?
 God says in one of the letters written by someone who was around when Jesus was, that you could become “darkened in your understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in you due to the hardening of your heart.”  

Tough words! It says that by having a hard heart, we will keep ourselves ignorant, and keep ourself from finding out about the cool things God has put in place for those people who have open and “soft” hearts.

 

Don’t you hate those words “ignorance that is in you”? I react negatively to them as well! I guess I don’t like being told I am ignorant. Those are hard words! Often we consider those who refuse to listen to us as ignorant? We expect others to listen before making up their minds on what we are saying. It’s polite, and those who are impolite and ignore listening to our words we often label as “ignorant”, and leave them alone. I’m not sure we should do that, but we often do!

 

So the words in that ancient letter are not easy to accept. We could ignore them or think about them. If we close off our mind to thinking about God, then we (not God) are making ourselves “ignorant”. Nobody else is! Let’s be honest, nobody but I myself can do that! So what the words are saying is that we can chose to ignore God’s words or hear them, but if we do ignore them, then nobody will “make” us hear them, and so we are choosing to make ourselves “ignorant”. Let’s not be like that! In fact by reading this, you are being “soft” hearted! That’s a great first step. Rather let’s choose to be “soft” hearted! It’s really worth the risk! It doesn’t say we have to accept everything, but we should be willing to at least evaluate information God provides.

 

The guy who wrote those words added to them as follows; “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

 

What is being said here? Basically it says that if I harden my heart I will get less sensitive to others and start to look for the things that provide me the most pleasure.

 

“What’s wrong with that”, I can hear some of you saying. “I want pleasure!” Ok! God wants you to have pleasure too, and points out that pleasure isn’t wrong, but giving yourself over to chasing pleasure at the expense of others and your health is wrong. Why?

 

Ever heard those words “I can do whatever I want, it’s got nothing to do with you!” I have heard them, and I think somewhere in the distant past I may have actually said them. The trouble is, I have never really believed them! The words have to be a lie. We all know it! If we all did whatever we wanted, none of us would actually get what we want. We would be continually arguing and fighting with each other! To get the best deal from life, we have to take others into account, or they will not take us into account! If people don’t take me into account, I don’t get what I want. Simple! We operate best as people when we honestly and openly look for everyone’s good, and this works best when everyone is doing it. The problem comes when someone chases only their own interests and ignores those of people around them, abusing others and normally there are a few of those types of people about!

 

How will you react? How well do you consider those around you before you chase after your sensual delight? Do you even consider God's opinion and advice?



[1] Paul’s letter to the Ephesians chapter 4

Fri, August 14, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are we deliberately deaf? If so, why?

God talks to us but are we willing to listen?

God could only get the message of hope by becoming one of us. Think about it! You may love your dog, teach it a few words. It may learn to wag its tail to tell you it’s happy, but do you really know how it feels to be a dog? Can you say you have smelt million of scents that no human has ever smelt, or that you know what it feels like to run on a hot road on paws, or pounce in the snow after a ball? The only way you could fully know and communicate with a dog, would to become one. Now, you can’t do that! You aren’t God. But God could! He came as Jesus, a human being, to us, the human race. Cool! Communication at its best! When I think about it deeply, I get a “Wow” type of feeling. What about you?

 

Maybe you don’t get that feeling. Not everyone will! Everyone has the opportunity to have it, but not everyone will take it. In fact, those sacred texts say people will make themselves ignorant purposefully, by “hardening” their hearts. What does this mean? Is it talking of cholesterol hardening your arteries and giving you a heart attack? Not likely! Is it talking of our attitudes, thoughts and actions? Yes! So, how do you approach the world? Do you mostly appreciate others, or mostly distrust them? Are you open to learning about God, or do you just block anything that even mentions Him?

 

Healthy people have “soft” hearts! They want to be open to others. They don’t automatically accept everything as true, but they don’t tell people off or push their own ideas as if the other person must accept them. They are as accepting of those who hide their pain in lies, as they are of those who are honest and comfortable with the truth. God said a “soft” heart is a good thing, and a “hard” heart isn’t. Let’s get it straight, you will be somewhere on that line between soft and hard. Where you are is your decision, not God’s! Don’t blame Him if you have closed yourself up to the world out there. Maybe you have “hardened” because of fear, pain, confusion, or loss. Those events happen to people with soft hearts as well, but they react differently don’t they.

Think about it. . .what type of person are you and what type of person do you want to become?

Thu, August 13, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why respect those who arenít respectable?
 

Ever had the urge to say “push off”, or worse, to someone who is supposed to be in authority over you? They may deserve it by their actions or words. Have you ever exploded in this way?

 

I have, and have failed myself by giving into those urges!

 

Our Bible (NIV) says “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority: …… 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of the foolish. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love your fellow believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (by emperor, it now days means those governing you)

 Why should we do this? The verse answers it by saying For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of the foolish.”  

Is this a self centered answer? Are we doing this for ourselves or for those around us.  At first glance it seems to be that we are trying to help foolish and ignorant people. Why should we waste our time?

 

We waste our time because we are worth something, and God knows this. When we submit to stupid, ignorant and nasty rules with dignity, and without acting like a spoilt child, we gain respect of everyone around us and in addition get blessed by God.

 

Yeah, I know we could have got those around us to laugh by cracking out some wise comment that makes the person in authority appear obviously inadequate. Sure, this could get laughs from those around us, but it doesn’t get us long lasting respect from themin the long run. Sooner or later, if we are people of character, we end up leading others, and then we get the treatment we give to others, from those that watched us. Think about it, how did you learn to disrespect others. Did you learn some of it from watching how others behaved that way? Those that watch us will treat us and others the same way. By disrespecting others we disrespect ourselves, the community, and disrespect God through our failed behaviour since we are His representative to those around us.

 

God says we are free people. We decide what we do! We are not under rules, but we should put ourselves under them deliberately, even when they appear unfair in order to build up respect for God, and to build up respect for ourselves.

 

Think of this, God respected us enough to take all the garbage we put out, all those stupid, ignorant and nasty things we have done(and will do), and willingly allowed nasty people to kill his human body in a horribly shameful and painfully way, when he could have vaporized everyone in a millisecond! He willingly allowed himself to be disrespected to help us.

 

He wants you to do the same for others, yourself and in appreciation for what he did.

Are you up to the challenge?
Wed, August 12, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Touching base with God

So how do we touch base with God if he is as powerful as they say he is?

Surely he doesn’t have to respond to us in any way at all!

Consider this, perhaps we can’t communicate with Him unless he gives us the ability to do it?
 
Think about your favourite cat or dog. If such an animal grows in the wild and never comes into contact with a person, would it come to you for petting? Unlikely! You have to start early with the puppy or kitten, and introduce yourself to the animal in the way it can understand before it gets complex and grows beyond those formative years. Then, when it’s older, you can enjoy its company and the animal can enjoy being petted and loved by you.

 

God started out early with the human race, before we got all complex and twisted with our own importance and technology. He wanted to be there in the formative years of our human race. Initially he responded to us in the way we could understand. People of the ancient times feared nature and tried to appease it with sacrifices. So God pointed out to a few people that he actually controlled nature and that rather than sacrifice to a god of thunder or wind or sun or moon, he simply wanted them to live lives of purpose doing the right things that he wanted for them. He called this “righteousness”. In response to their actions, he then controlled nature is ways he considered necessary to protect those humans that chose to love Him. Sometimes he did it in grand ways, like splitting a sea, and other times he did it in simple ways, like having a bush on fire that didn’t get burned.

All the time he wanted to get our attention and get us to respond to him. Yes, I know he had people sacrifice animals to Him as well! If you lived in those days you wouldn’t have respected a God that didn’t do that! I guess he allowed that to help people connect with him. A bit like we play on the floor with babies because asking them to help program computers, chop down trees, or trade on the stock exchange, would not be the way to get them to trust and love us at that stage. God started out slow with us humans. Thankfully!

 

So, if you read the initial sacred books of Christianity, you must be ready for strange and weird stories that really don’t make much sense in today’s world. To understand them, you would either need to be a history and archaeology lover, or you need to skip to a part you can understand a bit better. By the way, it is okay not to read everything in the bible to start with, (the bible is where we have collected together all God’s sacred writings into a single book) since God knows that even those men and women that have read it all cannot understand His huge brain!

We are all in the same boat. God’s Spirit can blow our little minds without trying, so no one person can boast they are better at it than another person. We are all trying to understand where he wants us to go. This is true whether we want to admit it or reject it.

 

Now, let’s get it straight, I am not telling you what to believe and do. I am only telling you about aspects of God that I expect you may want to check out. However, let me tell you something else, God has made a way for you to check it out. He asked his Son to give up all the super powers and authority that He already had, and become human. Now this Son was powerful! The sacred texts say God’s Son made the world, made us, and made everything we know! God asked this Son to become human to give us a chance to know him. My guess is he also did it to make absolutely sure that He could know everything about living as a human. He was checking out exactly what it meant to be one of us!  He wasn’t going to give himself any excuses for not understanding us totally!

Well. . . those are my thougfhts for today! Have a great day!

Tue, August 11, 2009 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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