Saturday, September 26, 2009
Super peace! Available to all!
Sat, September 26, 2009 | link
Paul the guy who led parts of
the early Christian church says we must not only put in our requests (that word “petition” means this), but we
must do so with thanksgiving! What must we be giving thanks for and why? Well we do it to help us have a correct attitude
to God and enable him to respond to our requests? When Paul says be thankful, it can’t be for the requests themselves
because they have only just been given or are about to be given. So thankfulness must be applied to something other than the
immediate requests. What are we thanking God for?
Paul was writing to Christians.
(You can check me out if you like!). God has already done so much for Christians just by providing his love and support to
them, that Paul is suggesting a response of showing appreciation for all this! This needs to be part of a correct approach
So what’s the payback for doing all this? Why bother?
If we want to be able to live each moment of time filled with peace and satisfaction
in what we are doing, then we need what is promised next in the writing. It says “And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What is peace? As humans, we really define it by what it is not, rather than by what it is. We tend to
say “It is not a state of war!” If we are not fighting with anyone, then we consider ourselves at peace. How does
this differ from God’s peace? Gods peace is that quiet, calmness and lack of anxiety which is independent of the events
around us. It overcomes our resistance to the opinions and actions of others, while moving us toward improving, our lives,
those of others, and our environments. It is a positive rather than negative peace!
It is also a boundless peace. It moves past boundaries. One boundary it moves past is that of our human understanding.
We can only know so much! We think we can know everything, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know we can’t. Knowledge
exceeds our minds capacity. God’s knowledge far exceeds our minds capacity. That’s why God enabled us
to have emotions and other aspects to our lives to help us find truth. One aspect he has designed for us is a peace that is
not dependent on the circumstances we find ourselves in! Christians understand this! I’m not sure if those of us still
searching for truth can understand this, but at least we can know it is potentially there once we accept God’s invite
to allow him control of our life!
So, let’s say we have life’s optimal
experience that is peace and satisfaction in what we are doing. What happens? Life happens! It happens in a sweet and exciting
way that is exceptional. It’s hard to believe that our same life can become so exciting! Of course, something is going
to happen that is going to try and influence our thoughts negatively or upset us. Is this what God wants for us? No way! He
wants us to have his peace in which case, these negative influences cannot get a grip on our life. God has written information
into the sacred texts to show that Christians who accept the power of Jesus Christ in their lives will get that peace and
will be able to withstand negative influences, but only if they allow God to help.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Let's take on anxiety and win!
Thu, September 24, 2009 | link
“Do not be anxious
This is hard advice to follow! Can any of us say we have never been anxious? Not likely!
But this is what Paul advises. Does it say don’t be anxious about the “big things”, or the “things
that hurt us”, or about “the future”. No! Paul guided by God says don’t be anxious about
“anything!” Again this seems unrealistic doesn’t it?
The Bible often seems very
unrealistic. Let’s consider this a bit further. If the writing is guided by God who is outside our
reality, finding unexpected ideas should be expected shouldn’t it? Yes, I know that’s a mind twister
of a sentence. Read it again! We need to pull statements apart and considered them depth. We are actually doing this at the
moment with that statement on anxiety. Let’s carry on looking into anxiety.
How are we to react to those everyday
things that cause us to start to become anxious? Paul says we should talk to God (that’s what “pray” means)
and ask for his help. This introduces another strange concept for many of us.
Pray! Okay, so talking to God
is weird right? No one can see God! We can’t touch him! He doesn’t appear to have a phone number or email
address. No one can take us to his home so we can knock on his door. So how do we get in contact with God to ask for his help?
Where do we even find him?
The same message says “the Lord is near”. What does that mean? How can God be
near if I cannot see him?
This is difficult to understand. Hang in with me! We are talking about a dimension outside
those we commonly know. Let’s try an analogy to help us start to understand this. Let’s get it straight, the analogy
represents aspects of the reality but it is not an exact explanation. Remember this as we go through this explanation!
You and I probably breathe air unless we are dead. It gives us strength, keeps us alive and fills our bodies with
vitality. It’s very near but we can’t see it. We may see its effect as it blows, but our eyes cannot distinguish
it most of the time. Does that mean it isn’t there? I am sure you are thinking, “don’t be stupid, I know
the air is there or I would be dead!”
Okay, well air isn’t a person, and God is. He’s
a person who doesn’t have a body or location with one exception. God’s son Jesus came as a person but that was
the only human form that God ever took. God is spirit, and like air, he surrounds us, we can’t see him, he offers to
keep us alive if we take him at his word and allow him to come into our thoughts and life. He’s right there, but in
another dimension. He is always there! There is no place on this earth, or under it, or above it that you can go while you
are alive, and get away from God. Normally because we can’t see him, we ignore him. It’s a bit like watching birds
at a feeder just outside the window. They carry on as if we aren’t there. We are there however! God is around and with
us all the time. We like to forget and ignore the availability of air until we get into a situation where there isn’t
enough air. Then we really take the need for air very seriously! If you could ever get into a situation where God wasn’t
around, we would take Him seriously! Unfortunately, we cannot ever do that while we are alive, so we never
fully see what happens without him. He is always near, waiting to help and love us. Even if we don’t acknowledge him!
I don’t even want to think about what would happen if he was not there!
So how do we talk to this unseen person
who is also God?
The first times I did this, I felt like I needed to look around for men in white coats who
would come to take me away to put me in a padded room for crazy people. I definitely didn’t talk to God in public! I
hid away in my bedroom and very warily spoke just a few sentences out loud where nobody could hear me. Amazingly
the men in white coats didn’t arrive and it was okay! With a bit more confidence I did this a few times a week and amazingly
found that I experienced a strange comfort and found that it appeared as if God was listening. I started to read the bible
writings and found that some words seem to take on special meaning to me. As if someone caused them to mean more to me than
they would to others who read them. Then I found words in the bible explaining that God spoke to people through this group
of sacred writings, and started to understand that perhaps this was God’s way of talking back to me. This was a huge
step for me to take, but my confidence grew as I got answers to these heartfelt requests, and felt this comfort of having
God listening to me all the time. It was great to know I was not alone with my life problems. Soon I discovered that someone
actually understood me better than I understood myself!
Lets get it straight, I am not saying God will approach
you this way, I am only telling you how it worked for me. You have to find your way of talking to him. Perhaps you can start
talking to him in public and other places. I was not that confident, and I do respect you if you have that ability. Wow, that
takes courage! Whatever way you want to talk to him, God will hear what you say because he is “near”.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Gentleness, strength we don't hear too much about now days!
Wed, September 23, 2009 | link
So how do we become the winner that
God wants us to be? Well the next thing that the good book says is “made new in the attitude of your minds”.
Have you heard people comment that some people see a “glass half full” and others see a “glass
half empty”? We have people that are positive, and people that are negative towards the exact same
circumstances. Paul, that guy that we talked about earlier, wrote another letter and in it he gave advice regarding the right
attitude “Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but
in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends
all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Do you appreciate those people who have a gentle, patient and kind approach to others? Many of us feel
we have to be strong, forceful, large and “in charge”, and reject anything we consider weakness. Guys are particularly
that way! Even then, we like to deal with people who are patient and gentle hearted? We appreciate those with this attitude.
This attitude does not mean the person can be pushed around. Often they are highly respected because they don’t allow
themselves to get pushed around. How can we learn from this?
We should respond honestly and openly
to those we meet without fear. That is a real challenge for every person! A real man or woman responds positively to this
challenge. For some of us this may not be something we easily see ourselves doing. Maybe, we have become to hurt, or stuck
in our ways, or already told too many lies. There is a solution to this problem that I hope to blog on another day.
Today, my objective is to have that solid gentleness of God without being a push over. I want to be as strong as Jesus when
he was standing up in front of Pilate, but be as gentle as he was in dealing with the woman found in sin. Gentleness means
having great integrity and strength, standing up for what we believe in. Desirable isn't it?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Let's get await from hurt!
Tue, September 22, 2009 | link
“put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;”
God wants us to turn away from
the things that are hurting us. He advises us to not to try and carry on doing the things we know hurt us in that
previous life since these are corrupting us by appealing to our sensual desires.
The word “corrupt” is used because God sees us as starting innocently into life’s sensual activities,
but when these false needs start to pull us down, they cause us to go move from an innocent and natural good living. These
nasty desires pull us towards sensual indulgence. Short term pleasure hooks us, and then, like a fish on a line we are in
danger of our lives. We may run and get away, but as soon as we get tired of fighting, life’s evil desires start reeling
us in again. God wants the line cut and he offers to do it, but unless we actively ask God to make this
change for us and then run away from the danger, we will stay caught or at least stay in danger of getting deceived again.
Like the fish that gets away, if we stick around the area, we are in danger of taking the next piece of bait offered. If we
fail in this way we can end up in difficulty all over again, asking God to help yet again! Each time we do this it’s
more difficult for us to go back to God because of our shame of failure. God doesn’t mind, he wants us back, it’s
us that keep away due to our shame! Oh, why do we do this?
God wants us to be winners! He
advises us on what to do to win, but he cannot win for us. If he did, he would be the winner and not us! We have to take the
step to ask God to help, in which case it is our action that makes us a winner! This is what God wants, enabled people! Are
you one of these enabled people?
Monday, September 21, 2009
Let's be winners!
Mon, September 21, 2009 | link
If God wants us to be successful in
living, he must have given us some guidelines as to how to live successfully? Do you feel you are living to your optimal potential
each day? How do we even know how to measure ourselves as progressing or loosing out in our lives?
a winner in this life? How can we be sure we will get to the end of our life knowing we have had a successful life?
Will we measure success by how much wealth we have accumulated? By how famous we are? By how much alcohol we have
drunk? By how many fights we have won? By how many sexual partners we have had? By how many parties we have attended? By how
many drugs we have swallowed?
Many of us when we are younger measure success by measures like these
just mentioned. As we get older and (dare I say this) wiser, these seem to get less important. It’s a real pity we waste
so much of our life chasing the wrong things! Think of how much time we spend chasing health and body shape excellence. That’s
got to be a losing battle isn’t it? Now let’s get it straight, trying to keep the body God gave us in a good shape
is a good thing to do! But if you believe you will die of old age while healthy, you are probably not being realistic, right?
What is the real measure of success?
Successful living starts with being able to live each moment of time filled with peace and satisfaction in what we are doing.
It comes from having a right relationship with God and those around us, as far as is possible! Christians get told by God “you have
with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness. ”
For those of us that aren’t Christians, this type of talk is strange. What is this saying?
Can we get some value from God’s advice to the Christians? Perhaps, let’s see what
“with regard to your former way of life”
Christians see themselves as having left one life behind and started another. This is definitely
strange! They don’t look different! (at least not in the beginning). They don’t talk different, and as some of
them start the new life, they don’t even act different. Sometimes their problems don’t seem to have changed. The
difference is that if you ask them whether they are the same as the day before. They will say “no”.
They all agree that they have had a change and will describe it in different ways. (This shows us that God treats each
Whatever happens, something changes! This is why the biblical writing talks about a previous or “former”
way of live. So I'm off to live my "new" life today. Hope you are too!
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Eph 4:22-24).
Grand Rapids: Zondervan.