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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happiness, Contentment and ENVY
 “I must have what you got!” 

Ever felt that way?

I have, and probably you have too. If we are honest we see something that is cool, fun, interesting etc. that someone has and we think, “hey, I could do with that!”.
 

I guess what I am saying is that seeing others having stuff and wanting it is probably a fairly common human response. So when does it become envy? Surely just seeing something that is useful that someone has and wanting it can’t be considered envy? Maybe I even go out and work to get it myself, I don’t want their’s, I just want to get to the point I could have the item as well. Is that envy? 

It probably isn’t if you are entitled to have, or work to have, what they have anyhow, independent of whether you had seen them with it or not. What changes the situation is when you can’t have or have no ability to obtain what they have, as part of your normal life activities, and you let the desire for it grow inside you until it becomes a force that occupies your thoughts, influences your will, and drives you to do whatever it takes to get it. Now that is Envy!  

It slides sneakily into your mind, overpowering your ability to resist before you even know it’s there! It is a big motivator! Watch adverts and see how many of them are getting to you using this mode of evil. The “I wants” exceed or needs hugely. Hey, how about upgrading to a 72” TV, what about that latest model of truck or car, that amazing concert all my friends would kill to go to, that new iPhone or iPod that has just hit the stores? How many times have you gone out to get things being motivated by wanting to be better, or have something better, than someone else?  
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Let’s remember that happiness is in part driven by contentment, and contentment is stolen from us by envy! We can’t be content and also be envious at the same time. So, are you wondering why you cannot rest, relax, and enjoy your life as it is? Check out your envy meter! If you are like me it has to be kept in check! I try and make sure that “wants” and “needs” are clearly separated. God will provide the needs, he says so, but it’s going to waste my time and energy in the wrong way if I chase every “want”. I try to make sure I check the “wants” out in order to see if I am motivated by a need to be “one up” on someone else. Those types of “wants” I treat like “SIN”. i.e. Stupid/selfish, ignorant and nasty!  They go to the bottom of the “want” pile and in so doing, I simply prioritise them away! That way I give myself time for the happiness and contentment that makes life really worthwhile!  

Okay, despite all this I’m not perfect and I do sometimes get envious! When I figure out that I have been taken in by the sneak attack, I pray to God, ask forgiveness, and often if there is someone else involved, I pray that God would bless them. That gets me into the right attitude and releases God’s power into that person’s life as well. We all gain that way! Maybe you could try it some time? Let’s bash envy together!

Sat, November 14, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, November 13, 2009

Are we worthy of ourselves?


Do we really consider ourselves worthy of the love of God and the love of others?

 
We should!

However, many of us, if we are honest, would say we don’t think we are worthy! This is the pain of the modern world. There is so many opportunities to compare ourselves to others that we loose our true value, and in loosing it, we cannot give ourselves to others in the correct way. We cannot be free to give kindness and compassion while we are unable to provide it to ourselves or accept it!

 

God expects us to love ourselves because he does! So how do we move into this path of success? We start by forgiving ourselves for failing to forgive others who have hurt us!
 
"Forgive ourselves for failing to forgive those that hurt us?" I guess you may think I have lost it. In all the swirling activities of life, I have to focus on and forgive myself for not forgiving others?

YES!

Deep down in our innermost core, we know that forgiving others releases us and sets us free. We don't like to think of it because we want to hold onto and caress those demons of revenge, anger and spite hoping it gives us temporary pleasure. In fact it causes long term injury and changes in our personality that are to our detriment!

So our first responsibility is to forgive ourselves for allowing choices leading to less than the best in our lives. Then we need to forgive those that failed to give us the kindness and compassion we so honestly desired.
 
Is this going to be easy?

No!

Is this the way of justice?

Not the way of the worlds justice, but it is God's justice. Think about it, God says he will take over revenge for us! "'revenge is mine', says the Lord" (Sacred texts in the book of Romans, chapter 12 and verse19).

If I forgive, God helps me heal myself and also helps me give the offending person over to God's justice. Then there are two options for that person.

Option one is they repent, and that way they are set free and will stop doing the stupid, nasty, and ignorant things they have being doing.

Option two is that they don't, and God takes revenge.

I don't want to be around when God takes revenge because he really has the ability to do that incredibly justly, and its probably going to hurt them a lot! Not one bit more than they deserve however! I do hope they choose option one!

Okay! So we forgive them, then what?

If possible we need to tell them!

Sometimes it will not make much of a difference in their attitude to us. In some cases, they may even get angry (I do hope they don't!). However, forgiving them will however enable us to release ourselves from being bound to our past. Until we do this, we will have difficulty moving onwards and being kind to ourselves and others.

So, how about it? Shall we forgive those who have hurt us and unleash the power of God to enable kindness and compassion to flow through us? Do we want to heal ourselves and enable others to face life choices in the light of God's power? Remember that we do have Holy Spirit within us to help us! All we have to do is ask for that help and act in God's ways!

Have a great day!

Fri, November 13, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kindness and compassion. . . are they out of date?

Kindness and compassion!

 

Okay! Now I know these attributes don’t appear to be very macho but perhaps we need to look into what is meant by these words. You have to have courage, strength and dependability to give value to these aspects. So let’s look into these aspects called kindness and compassion.

 

We need to be considerate of others in our dealings with them. Trying to assist them to improve their lives and being sympathetic to their needs. Where they fail us we are encouraged to forgive and we are pointed to God’s forgiveness of all the wrongs we do as an example. To do this is to live successfully!

 

Unfortunately to be kind to others means we need to understand kindness. The first place to apply this is to ourselves. This is where the courage comes into play. We need to look into our lives and determine where we believe we were lacking in kindness and compassion. Some say history tends to repeat itself. When it comes to our treatment of others, this is often true. The way we were treated is how we can end up treating others, even if we don’t want to. If we were abused as children, we don’t necessarily have the tools to understand kindness and compassion the way that those who were loved and nurtured without this pain can. This is a struggle but God promises to assist us. He in tells us to “love others as we love ourselves” in a letter written to the Galatians Chapter 5 and verse 15. This means God wants us to love ourselves. We need to start by respecting the good things we do and not putting them down. Putting ourselves down isn’t humility, it’s stupidity, and we should not treat ourselves that way! God says he thinks we are so worthwhile that he made special planning to have his son die for us to keep us from damaging ourselves, so we should at least be kind to ourselves!

 

Do we really consider ourselves worthy of the love of God and the love of others? We should! However, many of us, if we are honest, would say we don’t think we are worthy! This is the pain of the modern world. There is so many opportunities to compare ourselves to others that we loose our true value, and in loosing it, we cannot give ourselves to others in the correct way. We cannot be free to give kindness and compassion while we are unable to provide it to ourselves or accept it!

 

So how do we move into this path of success? We start by forgiving ourselves for failing to forgive others who have hurt us. Then we forgive those that failed to give us kindness and compassion we so honestly desired. If possible we need to tell them! Sometimes it will not make much of a difference in their attitude to us. In some cases, they may even get angry (I do hope not!). Forgiving them will however enable us to release ourselves from being bound to our past. Until we do this, we will have difficulty moving onwards and being kind to ourselves and others.

Thu, November 12, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rememberance Day . . .Thank-you. . .
To all those brave men who fought to preserve our way of life, to enable us to have religious freedom, who protected the Godly values of the world, I want to express thanks!

Many fell and died away from loved ones. We loose a few in this way in Afganistan and understand in part, but they are brought home. So many died on foreign shores and were buried there. Many families still don't know what happened to their loved ones!

I pray for the veterans who still deal with the post traumatic stress of those situations. I pray for our young men in uniform who fight for the same values today! I pray for their families!

May God bless and keep you!
Wed, November 11, 2009 | link          Comments

The dangers of Malice

Malice is a need to see others suffer! The online dictionary says it is "extreme ill will or spite". 

This is not beneficial! Movies are full of it! Often it is portrayed as a positive quality. Why? There is not a need in this world of ours where we should want to see others suffering! There is more than enough suffering without people wanting it to add to the pain in this world. I do hope you agree on that!

I often think that this is one area of life I am good at, but when I really start to question myself, I find I can do a lot better. I guess you may find this true of your life?

We may never really conciously try to be spiteful but we often do so in simple ways that are almost undetected even to ourselves. Pushing in front of others to get through a doorway first may be one way, blocking a car in another lane and refusing to give way in traffic may be another. Glaring at another behind their back is another, deliberately throwing away something belonging to someone else There are hundreds of examples that we could think of.

Malicious activities may involve setting others up so they take a fall or may even be as simple as not stepping in with information to help another person avoid being wrongfully punished.

In our sacred writings book 1 Peter chapter 2 verses 1 he says "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good" 

Following true interpretation principles fo reading writing, we need to see what the "therefore" is there for, and when we look at the previous part of the writings, we find Peter has been addressing living a holy life. (A "holy life" is a life that dedicated to God in a pure manner). A Holy life is one filled by love and power of God.

We cannot be living a powerfull life if we allow these erruptions of malice. Holy Spirit does not support that type of activity, and so if we are doing these malicious things we are actually damaging our spiritual growth. We may well be wondering why we can't hear God talking to us! Perhaps in this case the malice in our heart over the last few days needs investigation. 

Malice is tightly tied to pride. We have to consider ourselves better than the other person, able to judge, pass sentance and execute the sentence as part of malice.

Not even our legal system puts all that power in one person! What I am saying is that we need to replace malice with patience and love. Yes, that person did cut in front of us, but maybe that's between them and God. We cannot read their mind! They may have had a reason. Maybe they got have just got a call to say their baby was in a hospital dying? How could we know? Normally it's not the case, I agree, but it could be!

I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt! It allows me to stay calm and generally keeps the situation from escalating. Being a Christian I am meant to be a peacemaker and not a peace breaker. That's my goal, is it your? 

Wed, November 11, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surviving painful households

Wow it is sad!

I did a small survey a few weeks ago and asked a youth group which of them knew of any family that had a happily married couple who had never been married to anyone else and where the parents of that couple also were married to same partners.

 

The result was NONE could say that! Isn't that a terrible sign of the times! Have we put self pleasure and gratification over the importance of applying solid values in our relationships and understanding that God should be number one in our relationships? God should be first, not the other person. When we make a promise to God, we should never break it. Sometimes times are tough but love, if true and God inspired, will prevail.

 

This is not to say that sometimes there are abuse situations in marriages that must not be allowed to continue pouring pain out onto pain. We need to find help in these situations. Staying in them is not what God would want. However, how can every person who sat in that group of youth that I asked the question  say that this situation was in all of the families they knew? Isn’t time to admit we as a western culture have a some major problems.

 

Unfortunately pain loves company, and so hurting people hurt others! This is where we get hurting households.

 

Today I want to cover out how those of us who live within a family war zone need to avoid the bullets (as much as is possible) in a Christian manner. This subject is huge, so I can only touch a few things, but I do hope that it is better than touching nothing at all.

 

Home wars generally take two extremes. The raging, bellowing, fire fight where those innocents around get damaged by the shrapnel, or those Arctic freeze outs, where those around have to be careful of frostbite or getting cut on small sharp pieces of  knee jerk reactions hidden in passive aggressive anger. In both of these the communication failures between the warring parties is huge, and often they totally miss the fact that this impacts every communication in the home.

Unfortunately innocents are often branded as being part of the exchange and get hurt by these mis-applied insinuations. If only parents would pray together about their differences, a lot of these situations would never get to this point. Do your Mom and Dad pray out loud with each other? (Now, please don't go tell them too or they will get upset with you, OK? Just remember it to apply to your own life!:) )

 

Okay, so how do we as Christians survive this battle field?

 

First, let's test everything against God’s advice in the bible. For example, God says he runs our homes not the Mom’s and Dad’s. If this is the case, by appealing to him in prayer and praying until we see things happening, we can improve our situation. We need to know that it is unlikely that any of this is our fault, and so we need to put the blame where it belongs, firmly on the shoulder of Satan who is driving sin into our homes.

 

Keep ourselves from sinning! We should not agree with either of the parties! We can let them talk but don’t support them in their insinuations, unless it is very obvious from God’s word the other person is sinning very significantly, and even then, if we are to stay out of the way of the bullets, we need to pray, but not engage in discussions by either agreeing with or condemning the situation. It is their situation, not ours! It may be useful to ask if they have read parts of the bible that we know speak into their situation. Even then, this is sometimes not a wise action! We need to seek Holy Spirits intervention in OUR lives. Listen before we do. We need to get the peace of God in our lives. Then we know we are in the right place to help! This is solid support for them, and often non-verbal solid support is stronger than verbal.

 

We also need to find solid Christian friends, with integrity, that we can trust to help us pray and give us advice. Now, this is where we must be careful, DON’T look for someone in a similar situation. Look for someone who is not exposed to the situation.  In this way we  protect ourselves from pity parties that just drag us down. Those outside the situation are more likely to know the right things to do rather than the wrong! For example, who knows more about successful marriages? Those who have been divorced themselves, or those who have lived happily with one partner all their lives?

 

I have found Christians who have seen life and got through its battles are really the wisest people, but we have to use our discernment in selecting our helpers.

 

While all this helps, living in war zones means we will get hit by the odd bit of shrapnel, and we need God to help us bind up the hurts. We must never learn to hate or hurt in return! Instead, we need to immerse ourselves in Gods love!

 

Jesus knew about war zones! He had family problems too. His brothers turned against him at one point, and at one point nobody understood him from his home town. He was alienated and alone more than once in his life! He really knows our pain! Physically he has taken more pain than any of us. (Have you died due to pain and physical abuse yet? Jesus did! He did it for us! Amazing!)

 

Also, Jesus was also the greatest lover in the world! He knew God’s love overruns the pains of life and pulls us from the darkest times in our lives. Victory is certain! Victory is not always immediate, but it is definitely certain! As we address our circumstances we need to allow God’s power and love to flow into our life, healing our hurts, teaching us forgiveness, and showing us the way through our specific life circumstances.

 

Isn't it good to have someone who knows our future guiding us in our decisions? God knows! This is where I go in times of pain, where do you go?

Tue, November 10, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, November 9, 2009

Contentment, happiness and SLANDER
This blog follows on the one on brawling and mercy. I want to just point out one thing God hates that I also hate. It is Slander!

Slander is untrue statements used to damage others. It often hides under the disguise of gossip! Slander is the opposite of mercy, it reflects badly on those of us that do it, and it damages the person to whom it is directed. It is negative in the extreme, it is guaranteed to remove our respect and integrity from us almost immediately. We damage ourselves as well as the person we direct it at. It leaves in it's place a calloused pit of congealed hate. Damage is often irrepairable! Nobody gains from it and nobody should do it!

If we do it, we should stop immediately and ask forgiveness from both the slandered party and God. If they don’t forgive us, then we have to be content with God’s forgiveness. Not everyone has the greatness to show mercy!

Hey, lets do what we can to reduce the amount of gossip and slander in this world! That will make it a better place. At least that's my opinion, what's yours?
Mon, November 9, 2009 | link          Comments

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happiness, contentment and GREED
 

So one of the sins God hates is greed! What does God’s handbook say about it? How can we get away from the “I have got to have” and “I want” and the false “I need”  cycle that so many of us fall into?

 Well there is a saying "There is enough in the world for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed" [Frank Buchman Remaking the World] 

The extent of greed throughout the world and ideologies is perhaps best shown by this quote from Osama bin Laden “We did not find it difficult to deal with Bush and his administration, because it is similar to regimes in our countries - both types include many who are full of arrogance and greed.“

 

Greed is everywhere! Greed makes the world smaller for everyone. It closes the world down and limits us from sharing things that can easily be shared. We want to make things “our own” and often don’t see what’s wrong with it. Let’s do a simple test. Lets say that you and the person you love most are both locked in a prison cell in a hot climate and not given any food or water. The guards walk away and say they will be back in two weeks time. You have one bottle of water. The sun is very hot and soon you are both very thirsty, but you know nobody will bring you any more water for another few days. So, do you share it with the other person or do you keep it to yourself? Greed says you don’t share it. Love says you do, even though it doesn’t make sense for you to do it. Which do you do?

 

We all value what we have! We are expected to! God wants us to appreciate what he provides, but he wants us to be ready to give it up when he asks us to. He wants us to be wise and love others the way he does.

 

Proverbs 1:8 to 19 explains that if we chase after money, we will be led into disregarding what is important to others. We start using flattery(lying to get our way), we will be continually setting traps for others and trying to get the better of them with or without their knowledge. What we fail to see is we cannot chase the grabbing of money and things without it having consequences in our relationships with those around us. It damages them and it damages us. That’s why God hates it! Nobody is improved by it!

 

So where does this greed come from? Mark, one of the guys around Jesus wrote that “greed, hate and cheating come from people's hearts”[1]. We don’t think things through when we are greedy. Our emotions override our mind and our will and we react in selfish ways.

 

Jesus himself said "Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.[2]” He goes on to explain in a story how a man gathered in more than he needed and was planning on how to store even more of these possessions, but that night he was to die. What good would it do him?  We need to understand that our toys have limited use, and then one day they become someone else’s!

 

God wants us to have relationships we can take with us after death. Greed robs us of these relationships!

Greed is a form of idolising things. (See Col 3:5 in the sacred texts). God doesn’t want us idolising anything other than our relationship with Him.  By being greedy for things we put things between ourselves and God. Then we wonder why our prayers seem to go into a vacuum. Sometimes we are even praying in a greedy manner. Do we really think those prayers should be answered? I don’t!

 

One of the things us in the western world are most greedy for is pleasure! This one is weird since at some point chasing pleasures moves from only involving us into involving others. This form of greed (the type that says "I want more and more pleasure") then often leads to involving others in the pleasure grabbing. It changes us and can damage our relationships with others. Often it leads us into all kinds of stupid, ignorant and nasty things(SIN).

 

So, to be really be happy and content we must resist greed.

 

So, God hates greed! Do you?



[1] Mark 7:22 New International Readers Version
[2] Luke 12:15 New International Readers Version
Sun, November 8, 2009 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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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?

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