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Friday, October 30, 2009

Happiness and Contentment. . .and the media

So far over the last few blogs we have done a short review of some of the things that can cause us and others pain.

Please check out your environment!

Consider how much of what we have touched on will be used in the next movie you go to see. As well look at the movie, will we react to the events with sympathetic emotions? Will those reactions leave us feeling contented and relaxed, or wound up and slightly aggressive? Will our emotions be put through a spin cycle causing us to stop feeling so that we can avoid the roller coaster effect? Will we perhaps have that same reaction when faced with real events?

What about actual life? Will we learn from this to also suppress true valid emotions in a real event, based on what we have trained ourselves to do with media depicted events? How biblical will we react to a real event? These and many similar questions are those that probably need answering. Thinking of them protects me from just absorbing what is pushed at me by the media.

How do you deal with what the media pushes at you? What rights have we given to those people who's main objective is to stimulate any emotion to extract money from us?

We can still enjoy the stories, but we need to check ourselves before and afterwards to see what values we are gaining from this false repsresentation of life. Lets not loose sight of reality and God in the attempt to escape it for a short time.

Well, have a great day and weekend. I do pray you and your family are safe in the unsafe Hallowean period. Remember God is greater than anything in this world of hours.

Cheers!

Fri, October 30, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happiness and Contentment. . .pranking, false witness, and gossip

What about“feet that are swift in running to mischief”? God hates this!

 

The truth in this meaning is that God dislikes us for being quick to take part in activities that annoy or cause discomfort to others. Why? Well, this can cause them to become resentful and then this will trigger some of the negative attitudes we have already discussed in previous blogs.

We may get some light amusement out of the events, but we can also cause serious pain for those we target.

God wants what is best for everyone and so doesn’t want that approach. I guess I have more difficulty than most on this point as I love playing a good prank on others!

Unfortunately, those who get pranked don’t always feel like forgiving me! It would be wise if I reflected first on the final impact before doing these things. Let’s get it straight, God isn’t saying don’t do this, God wants us to consider the outcome and make sure it will be positive before we do it!

 

False witnesses are the next item that causes grief! This refers to telling false stories about what others have done. Ever had someone misrepresent you in this way? It sure hurts doesn’t it? It’s particularly bad when people around us believe the false story more than the truth. It gets our emotions all worked up in seconds doesn’t it? Let's not be part of that club!

 A final item of negativity is specifically addressed to the Christian community. We need to avoid is spreading contentious conflicts among those in our group. While we can’t agree with everyone, let’s go directly to the person with which we have an issue and deal with issues rather than feed snippets of negative information to different people in order to work up emotions that can cause a breakdown in relationships.

We cannot have peace in ourselves and with others when we are breaking up the peace in the community. God is going to hate this activity, and it will end up in us causing ourselves pain!

Okay so today I will be careful before playing pranks, I plan to watch how I speak so as to build others up (or at a minimum not say anything), and I will check my words to ensure those spoken about will understand I am not gossiping.

Hey, you have a wonderful day! God bless you!
Thu, October 29, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happiness and Contentment. . .and evil scheming

Today I return to chat about those things that God hates!That Proverbs 6:16 to 19 peice of the sacred writings. A part that was perhaps written by the wisest man that has every lived!

He says one of the negative traits that God hates is a “heart that devises wicked schemes”. That’s a heart that conjures up evil schemes to take others down. This is where we let our emotions take control of our mind and start a planning process that leads to damaging others or our environment.

Notice that the emotions run wild first, then the damage gets done. The time to stop this happening is before the emotions get out of control. God wants us to let him do the revenge work for us, so we don’t damage ourselves.

It says in the Basic English Bible in a part called Deuteronomy, chapter 32 verse 35 that “Punishment is mine and reward, at the time of the slipping of their feet: for the day of their downfall is near, sudden will be their fate.” Then that guy, Paul, that was mentioned previously (who knew a lot about this subject) quotes this again in Romans chapter 12 verse 19 “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.” It must be important if it gets mentioned so many times.

God wants us to keep happy and content and knows that we cannot do this if we are planning how to manipulate events in order to hurt others, or perhaps planning how to gain things unlawfully.

How many times do you go to sleep and you can't because revengeful thoughts spin around your mind again and again? The cycle keeps us emotionally disturbed, unable to hand our soul into God's keeping. We cheat ourselves out of experiencing joy, peace and His rest. This is not good for us!

Think about it, the person or people who have caused this are probably sleeping comfortably, and there we are, hurting ourselves even further for no reason. They would laugh at us if they knew what we do to ourselves. Why do we do it? They should not "get away with it", Sure! But, God promises that justice will come about, even if we don't see how. If we trust him, hand the hurt to him and get rest, it benefits us in the long time.

Also, negative thoughts generate toxins in our bodies whenever the anger or anxiety returns. This damages us further. Forgiving gets rid of the ability for the evil spirits to generate pain and damage into our lives. Think about that!

Another aspect of evil scheming is that you simply focus your life in areas where you don't get true rewards. Instead you get mild rewards for long term pain. A small amount of satisfaction at seeing another in pain for what they did lasts a very short time. Generally it is not satisfying and although we say we can now "get along with our lives", we cannot until we deal with forgiveness anyhow. What we have done in revenge is doing to them a small part of what they did to us. What does that acheive? It brings us down to their level!

Do we really want to go there?

Let's rather follow God’s leading! I will be trying to, will you?

Wed, October 28, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Warrior or Wimp? What are we?

Ever gone to the movie to see an adventure/thriller with a major hero? The Bruce Willis or Arnold Swartzenager  types? What makes these men warriors and super heros?

 

Unfortunately, it is not their behaviour! If you or I did things they did, we would end up in prison for life or in the electric chair! However, we are captivated by aspects of their drive and personality that we find inspiring.

 

As a member of our human race, I think we are all faced with being wimps or warriors. Which are you? Careful, I am going to lay out what I consider 7 maxims that we need to use to evaluate this. These are:

  1.  Love
  2. Courage
  3. Integrity
  4. Spirituality
  5. Discipleship
  6. Humility
  7. Purity
 

Let’s see how we measure up!

 
Love! Even the movie hero’s do it for love. This is a motivator we all ascribe to. The Christian as a warrior must even love their enemies with a pure love. It is the fundamental motivator and central to the warriors being. Like a soldier fights to death for love of his country, a Christian will fight to love even those who hate him or her. It's called an "Agape" love. This right and focus is God given, God enabled and makes the warrior godlike. Wimps can't do this. They fail to love, and instead go for revenge, hate. 

Courage! We all respect courageous people. Are we courageous? Courage is taking positive action in the face of overwhelming adversity. Those of us that think Christians are wimps need to look long and hard at this. Which is the easier way to go? Deny Christ and wimp out or take a stand? Wimp or warrior?

 

Integrity! This is perhaps best described as completeness or totality conformity of our actions to a code of ethics. It is done in an undivided or unbroken manner. We do what we say, and say what we do! That’s integrity! Do we have integrity? As a Christian our code of ethics is absolute and defined by the sacred writings, handed to us by God himself. They enable us to withstand times that vary ethics and standards around us. Are you a warrior or do you wimp out? Do you stick to your ethics under all circumstances? A warrior does!

 

Spirituality! It’s always interesting to see how people are mesmerised by the focus of spiritual power in a Bruce Lee or Karate movie where the force of “Chi” gives supernatural abilities to the hero. That’s movies and yet we as Christians have far more than “Chi” inside us. God himself lives within and offers us help. Like those karate masters, we must also learn to respect and listen to our “inner voice”. In this case our inner voice is the voice of the creator of the universe who knows everything. How powerful is that! A warrior learns to focus time and energy on mastering communication with the Holy Spirit. A warrior is spiritual, a wimp never takes the time or effeort and so can never gain the power and skills of the warrior!

 

Discipleship! Getting back to those movies, remember those movies where the master teaches students the arts central to being a warrior? We respect those who as masters take time to teach the younger or lesser able, skills to make them into masters, don't we?

That’s the sign of a warrior! Christians are told by Jesus to go and make “disciples” and to “teach them”. So a true warrior disciplines him or herself. They provide a pure example to those who are not so fortunate, trying to convey the truths and skills necessary for the students to achieve a better life. Those who are wimps lack self discipline in this regard and are only interested in themselves. Which are you?

 

Humility! WHAT! You have got to be joking? None of those screen hero’s are humble are they. Well it depends on what you understand by humility. Humility is not being modest or meek in spirit, manner or appearance. It is not false statements about oneself. It is rather a strong understanding of our TRUE value and living it without pride or arrogance. A true warrior knows their abilities, doesn’t make out they are better or worse than they truly are, and live to the full extent of their abilities respecting others. That’s humity, that’s a warrior attribute. A wimp makes out they are better than they are or try to get pity by making out they are worse than they are. A wimp doesn’t let others see them for who they really are. A wimp, wimps out!

 

Purity! Now we get to the tough stuff in a warriors life. Purity is supreme. The warrior is willing to take extreme hardships to stay pure. Their lives reflect a purity of purpose and direction. They stick to integrity to the death. Truth is a supreme measure of this. If they fail, they immediately try and recover lost ground and take back what they have lost. That’s a warrior! A Christian warrior keeps themselves pure as much as possible. This is one of the more challenging aspects of being a warrior!

 


Are you a warrior or a wimp in the making?

 

I want to be a warrior!

Tue, October 27, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do Christians hate gays, are they judgemental and prejudiced?
Sometime you get a question that interrupts where you are going, and that's what has happened to my flow of thought on this blog. So here is the interrupt. . .

Last week a wonderful young Christian woman came to me for help regarding the inquiries of a guy who thought Christians hated gays, and who considered Christians both judgmental and prejudiced against gays!

Let’s call this young lady Courtney.

Courtney asked me to help her explain to this guy why we don’t actually have this attitude as Christians. She doesn’t have it , and doesn’t want him to believe true Christians have this attitude either!  

Unfortunately, I couldn’t totally disagree with him. We as Christians do sometimes do these things! I have seen innuendo’s and smirks, heard veiled comments. Perhaps years ago, before I lived with a gay man, I could have had the same viewpoint and comments.

You see, so much of the church is full of sinners (note:  SIN means Selfish, Ignorant, and Nasty things) and many of the people outside the church “stereotype church” goers as they want to see them.  They seem to think that because these people go to church, somehow they have a magic formula that makes them superhuman so that everything they do is now perfect! They don’t even seem to think to apply the same yardstick to their own failings.

Church goers do as many selfish, ignorant and nasty things as non-church goers do, the difference is that Christians have an escape route to avoid getting judged for the things they do wrong, they have a connection with God, and they DON’T WANT to do wrong things.  

Can they be honestly wrong and delude? Sure!

Christians are people the same as everyone else, and everyone else can be honestly deluded, so why not Christians?

So to answer the man’s charges:

Are there Christians who hate gays?                                                       Yes!

Are there Christians who are judgmental towards gays?                                Yes!

Are there Christians who are prejudiced against them?                 Yes!

Should we condemn the church for being gay bashing, prejudiced, narrow minded types?   NO!

Why not?

Well, firstly let’s look at the most important laws Jesus ever explained. A lawyer [1]came to him and asked what the most important laws were and Jesus confirmed them to be  'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.'—(Deuteronomy 6:5)  This is the first and most important commandment.  And the second is like it. 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'—(Leviticus 19:18) .


Biblically as a Christian your neighbor is all those you come into contact with. So, no Christian can say that they have the right to hate others. Others, in this case, includes gays! So, the church teaching is to love gays! Not hate them!

So why do so many people think it’s the opposite?

Well the media has a fun time with this because it is controversial and on the edge of our cultural tidal wave of change. It’s almost as if as a western civilization we put gays on par with slaves, and because we mistreated both, (not just the church), we need to overcompensate wherever possible. We see this on the slavery side where black folk can use the “n” word with each other but whites can’t. That is actually discrimination as well by the way. From my perspective black folks should not use the “n” word either. The playing field should be level (but it’s not). The media will make sure to lash out against those that use that word, but the media itself used that word prolifically in the past. The same thing occurs when the media deals with gays. They overcompensate, because in the past they were just as blind as they now paint Christians to be.

So, they paint Christians to hate gays, which is NOT true and is NOT approved by any solid bible based church today.

Let’s look at the second charge. Are they judgmental towards gays? This is easier for the person in the street to qualify. They can point to biblical texts such as:

 The Sodom Story (Gen. 19). Angry townsfolk want to have homesexual sex and get into trouble with God’s angels and finally the towns are errdicated for evil (NOT only the homosexual tendancies)

Wrongful longings and their consequences (Romans 1:25-32): They chose a lie instead of God's truth. They worshiped and served created things. They didn't worship the Creator. But he must be praised forever. Amen. So God let them go. They were filled with shameful longings. Their women committed sexual acts that were not natural. In the same way, the men turned away from their natural love for women. They burned with sexual longing for each other. Men did shameful things with other men. They suffered in their bodies for all the twisted things they did.

Sexual sin and the Kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9) Don't you know that evil people will not receive God's kingdom? Don't be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts.

God hates men who have sex with other men Lev 18:22 'Do not have sex with a man as you would have sex with a woman. I hate that.


Rightfully in this case they would be able to say the Christian bible says that gay’s are sinning!

That’s not the problem, what’s wrong is that it only says this a few times and makes it a much bigger deal to have adultarious relationship, (sex with a women or man to whom you are not married and someone else is).  Heterosexual sins are much more condemned than gay sexual sins. So why does the media not get up in arms with that?

To some extent ,I have to admit they do, but far less than the gay bandwagon! This is because in America it is seen as good to be on the side of a minority! People want to look good, whether they believe what they say or not.

Gay sexual sin is one of numerous sexual sins the bible says we must avoid. Hey, gays can point to a handful of versus against gay sexual sins, the bible has 55 versus against adultery and many others against other forms of sin.

God wants us to not hurt ourselves. He clearly says that gay people hurt themselves, see the Romans quote. He wants the best for us so he doesn’t want us continuing in that which will hurt us. He wants us to stop! That’s what he wants for gays! He wants them to come to church, to struggle to purify themselves, the same as he wants that guy or women having an adulterous relationship to come into church and struggle to purify themselves.  We are in this boat together not in different battle cruisers taking pot shots at each other!

While we cannot permit adulterous men and women to run our churches, we cannot permit gay men and women to do so, but we want to help everyone and love everyone and have them in our church working together with us side by side.

People who flaunt selfish, ignorant and nasty things don’t often find others appreciate it. Christians are called to overlook these and love the person.

In fact Paul says  For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.


Judging is dangerous. Within the church we have to judge to maintain order but we must do so in love and without pride because we are also in the same boat as those we judge! Outside the church we must have compassion and not judge at all.

If we are not to judge those outside the church and to love everyone, that means we are not people of prejudice if we follow the true Christian precepts.

Lastly, if as non-Christians, others judge Christians  as prejudiced, judgmental and hateful, are they not accusing themselves of the very same traits. Why are they picking on a minority group and stereotyping them?

So when I said I had lived with a gay man, what did you think? Another gay hiding in Christian clothing?

Well, let me say that many years ago I was placed in the same room as a wonderful gay man on a military base where I was serving. I was told I would be living with him for many months.I am greatful God did that for me. I learnt to love him as a person, not sexually, but for his selfless attitude in helping others.

George was a great guy! From him I learned how hard it is to be gay. From me he learned that Jesus’ love is for everyone, gay’s as well. I never spoke out against his choices and we never discussed the subject.  I had no right to do that! I don’t go around discussing sexual activities with everyone I meet. That would be impolite! I simply lived my life with, and around him. I accommodated his male “girlfriends” when they came to visit and treated them as I would any other guy in the forces, and I never said anything against him or his friends, no matter how many people pushed me to do so. (Both Christians and non-Christians tried that one).

 I was as amazed as anyone when he came back from a break at home one time to proudly announce he had a new girlfriend! So accustom was I to the language of gays, that I assumed the “girlfriend” was another gay.  I vaguely remember saying “That’s nice!” for lack of anything more appropriate to say . Only, this time he didn’t let the subject go, but pushed on enthusiastically “No, a real girlfriend, she’s a wonderful girl!”  He smile and I smiled back. His choice, not mine!

So, my advice to Courtney and all other Christians is that the arguments will not do anything.

Show people your  “true” heart, love others, be compassionate, and live out the life Jesus wants for us. Gay or not, that’s all Jesus expects of us anyhow. Right?



[1] The good news of Matthew chapter verses 35 to 40

a Isaiah 45:23

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ro 14:9-13). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Mon, October 26, 2009 | link          Comments


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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?

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