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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happiness, Contentment and WRATH
 “I could kill him/her!” 

Ever heard those words?

Often we know they are not going to do what they say(or at least we sincerely hope and pray they don’t), but we do know something about the attitude to the other person.
 

The first part of this is that the person is blaming them for something, secondly they want to see the other person suffer in some way and see themselves as judge and jury and executing the sentence if at all possible.

What is also quite interesting about this is that the worst expletives that accompany this type of statement are often encountered when the person to which they are aimed was a person in which we invested ourselves. i.e previous lovers, etc. The person goes from being a person who attracts us to a person who repulses us!
 This is not what God allows in his will for us!

The advice of psalm 37:8 is that we should “Keep from being angry. Turn away from anger. Don't be upset. That only leads to evil.

Colossians 3:8 says “But now here are the kinds of things you must get rid of. You must put away anger, rage, hate and lies.” 
 

This is not to say the bible says you must never be angry. God gets angry! We are in God’s image so we get angry as well. We need to be careful how we do this and when possible we should disarm the anger bomb. (There is a whole lot about this on my blog “How do I get rid of my ANGER BOMB?” at http://www.kenxbriggs.com/2009.11.01_arch.html#1257255263573 ) 

Jesus got angry, see Mark 3:1-5. Jesus anger is based on love however and not self love either. God can get angry and not sin, but can we? How often have you got angry without being selfish, ignorant and nasty? We don’t really manage that too well do we? Normally we are selfish and nasty when we get angry! 

Now wrath is anger out of control!  This happens when you let anger take control of you rather than you controlling anger. It builds, often rapidly and damages irrationally and often totally out of proportion to the injustice. 

God hates wrath! We should probably hate it too! It degrades us, turning us from competent human beings into beasts that react without reason. Regret may or may not follow, but we are likely to damage ourselves in the eyes of many onlookers with this sort of behaviour. God will not get homor due to him and neither will we!

Perhaps it is better to diffuse the anger bomb and remember in your anger do not SIN! Don’t go to bed angry!
 That is a command!

Psalm 4:4  “When you are angry, do not sin. When you are in bed,  look deep down inside you and be silent. “ 

Ephesians 4:26 “Scripture says, "When you are angry, do not sin."— Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
 

Can we achieve this?

I think we can but we have to be strong and make a firm decision not too don’t we?
Sat, November 21, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, November 20, 2009

Decisions, Purpose and Spiritual Wars!

One thing that can help focus our decisions is how we see our purpose in life.

I recommend “A purpose driven life” by Rick Warren as a book to read if you need to understand your purpose more clearly. This book is easy to read and has helped millions of people find purpose. I am not going to talk about purpose so I will leave that for you to determine for yourself. Knowing our purpose does help however!

 

Now I am going to approach the discussion on decision making from the perspective of a Christian. If you haven’t yet put God and Jesus in control of your life, many of these comments could help you as well! The challenge for those of us that are not Christian, is that the fight is much harder and uncertain, and until we get God’s invisible help (i.e. accept God can help, and ask him too), our final success is not assured, (at least, that’s the bibles perspective).

 

So let’s discuss the fact that our thoughts lie to us daily!

This is not a piece of advice for the faint hearted and you will need courage to read the next pages. If you are feeling fear or rage or anger rising up, you probably need to stop and ask why? Since all we have agreed is to be honest with ourselves, so there should not be a problem with reading any of the content that follows. I want to make it clear, there is no demand that you believe or accept the words that follow. That is for you to decide. All I request is that you read them so you are informed and you can decide for yourself. With this encouragement and warning (because I expect you will now be directly subject to some of the experiences of this spiritual war as the negative influences will not want you reading this, and war is not always pleasant), I want to continue and explain how our thoughts lie to us.

 

They can lie in simple physically evident ways like the size of the moon on the horizon at dusk being viewed as much bigger than when it is in the sky over our heads. (Scientists have measured it to be the same in both places despite the fact it does not appear to be, but please check! The apparent difference in size that makes the moon on the horizon larger is an optical illusion. i.e. our mind tricks us). This is a simple example, but sometimes lying thoughts can be more complex, difficult to discern, and have a longer lasting impact on us.

 

Knowledge can sometimes help us overcome these false perceptions in the physical world if we know the perceptions are false, but we don’t always know they are false. These false perceptions are everywhere. What do I mean? Let’s look at a common everyday example.

 When we see a three dimensional drawing, or a photograph of a building, we tend to see it in three dimensions. Simpler people who have lived in the bush all their lives and have not seen straight edges before, need to get taught how to do this, before they can recognise what we see so clearly. It is a learned ability! I challenge you to try to do the opposite and see a photograph in two dimensions when you look at your next photograph! I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would bet you will have a lot of difficulty doing it. You know as well as anyone else it is represented in two dimensions, but your mind lies to you! You cannot fail to see perspective that you know is not there! See how easily it is allow things to become part of our personality? See how easily we can argue that we are built that way? Do you know artists have to undo this habit to some extent to enable them to draw accurately!

Hmmm! I guess it can take effort, courage and endurance to overcome some of these things that have spent years imbedding into ourselves if they are bad for us. We probably could even argue they are part of us (like the ability to only see three dimensions in the two dimensional picture) but its probably not true. We almost need an ability to start again from basics to succeed. What do you think?

In the spiritual world false perceptions are not as easy to understand. They are much less visible and obvious. We are told there are negative forces, or beings, that try to cause us to perceive things incorrectly, and we cannot even see what is happening, at least not with our physical eyes! This makes us easy targets for these spiritual forces unless we subscribe to an early warning system.

According to God this early warning system is found in understanding the content of the bible, accepting Jesus, and having God’s Holy Spirit with us to raise a spiritual flag when we are getting into spiritual difficulty. This unity then forms a strong base that we can use to make decisions. More about this soon! Have a great day!

Fri, November 20, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 19, 2009

God. . .One, two or three persons?


Before I try to explain this, I want to say that because I am not all knowing, because I am human, and because I am limited by the dimensions of my reality, I cannot do a great job of this explanation! I know God can, but he has distinct advantages I can never start to aspire to.

 However, I must attempt to explain this because so many people are interested in this aspect of our Christian faith. I personally believe this is one aspect of God that we need not fully understand. Why else would God have made this such a complex concept for us to understand and explain? Perhaps he needs us to know he is one, but also needs us to identify with the different aspects or personalities of the persons of the Godhead. Jesus being a human like us is easier to understand and identify with! The Father is mysterious and awesome, only perhaps only fully understood in the light of Jesus’ life. Holy Spirit is unseen and while a person who gently communicates with us, is the experienced power of God in our daily lives. The gentle side of God, Holy Spirit is probably the most “feminine” side of God that we can experience. Holy Spirit is also the power of God on earth now! Nothing can stand against His power!

Okay so is God one person or more? Well Jesus talked to God the Father (see John 17) and went to the Father after his death when he ascended to heaven, asking the Father to send Holy Spirit (See John 14:16-17 which says And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” ) So there appears to be three persons; the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit(the counselor).

So how can three single persons end up equaling one person?

Well there is a mathematical answer to this 1 x 1 x 1 = 1  (yeh, I know this is more amusing than a valid argument, but it does help understand the math of it. I just had to put it in J. That’s my quirky sense of humour! )

To get more serious, the bible says there is one God. See James 2:19 which says You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that. And they tremble!” Then Matthew 28 verse 19 on discussing baptism into the Christian faith in God, puts all three parts of together as one in the same sentence when it tells the apostles “So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”Jesus, himself in Revelation 1:8 said he is God. He says  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," says the Lord God. "I am the One who is, and who was, and who will come. I am the Mighty One."

So if you are feeling confused, rest assured, you are not alone! The concept of God is probably more complex than we as humans can EVER really fully comprehend. Isn’t that logical? Surely a truly amazing God would have aspects of himself that is above our understanding?


To help us the early followers developed a term they called the "trinity", best represented by a triangle with three points that is one object. The Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit are one God, but three independent persons who are that one God.

We can’t fully understand this but please think of a human example of conjoined twins. These are two people joined in one body. (Yes! I know they are not “normal” from our perspective but conjoined twins are two people that are one person!). Now, since each of the conjoined twins are unique persons they can be considered two people, but they operate as one person.

I do agree this is a lousy analogy to God’s trinity of three persons being one, but it’s the best I can do in human terms. God of course does not have to be bound by space and time like conjoined twins. God is also perfect and has no imperfections! God's trinity is not physically connected in space and in time, but is actually completely and perfectly connected in Spirit. This connection is both outside and inside the dimensions of space and time!

Also the Bible says God the Father is equal to Jesus in the Godhead, but is actually over Jesus in authority. Jesus wants it this way and voluntarily submits to the Father’s authority. Holy Spirit was sent to Earth by the Father at Jesus request, so Holy Spirit must submit to the Father's authority as well. Jesus sent Holy Spirit back to us when he went back to heaven. Holy Spirit lives with us, inspires us, and enables us to connect with God by pointing both to Jesus and to the Father. Jesus pointed to the Father when he was alive on earth, and pointed out the Father is the one worthy of our worship. He wants us to pray to the Father.

So the real answer is that God is one and three at the same time. Maybe one way to look at it is that we are also 3 in 1 in a strange way. Firstly, we have a Spiritual entity, that mysterious part of us that we know is there but don’t fully understand , secondly we have a Psychological entity, our mind emotions and will, and thirdly we have a body, our physical arms, legs torso etc. So we are three in one as well! We are nothing like God! But perhaps we can say we are poor reflections of his image.

Well, I did say I didn’t think I could do a great job of the topic! I do hope what I did do helped you understand a bit better!

A word of advice, God wants us to live a life of loving him and others around us. This is what he really wants! Jesus called God the father "Pappa!" not "Father" most of the time. A loving relationship! So, if we don’t understand complex concepts like the trinity, that’s okay!

That’s why we come to God by faith and not proof!  God wanted the simplest thinkers to be able to respond to him. He doesn’t discriminate by our intellectual ability! He just wants to have our love and to love us.
That’s the REAL good news!
Thu, November 19, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What does it mean God is coming back, he was never here! Wasn’t it Jesus that was here?

Another deep question given to me and that I have the privilege to answer.

This needs to be answered in two parts. I will answer the question of what it means about God is coming back in today’s blog, and I will explain how Jesus and God are one person yet two(actually more than two), in tomorrow’s blog.

So let me answer “What does it mean God is coming back? He was never here!”

Firstly we need to know where in the bible are some of the parts talking about the return of Jesus / God. There are lots of them so I will just list a few:

Matthew 24:23-31, Matthew 24:36-44, Matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 25:31-46, Mark 13:32-37, Acts 1:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 John 3:2.

There are actually about 4457 references to God in the NIV version of the bible. I don’t have time to check them all out, but the ones I checked all refer to the return of Jesus specifically, and do not reference God the Father as returning. So, I wonder if perhaps we could switch the question slightly since the bible actually does talk of Jesus returning rather than Father God?

Perhaps we can rephrase the question to be “Was God ever here?” and “What does it mean about Jesus coming back?”

To the first, “Was God ever here?” the first most important answer is that Jesus is God, and he most certainly was here, so God was definitely here. However, until I explain how God and Jesus are one (tomorrow’s blog) we just have let it rest. Still, there are many references to God in the Bible before Jesus even arrived on the Earth, and then there are plenty of references to God after Jesus was here.

 So God is here! If God was not here, all Hell would break out! God is here right now and has been here since the beginning of time! God’s Spirit in the form of Holy Spirit communicated with the ancient men over the centuries. Abraham talked with God, Moses did, and many others. So God has been around! After Jesus rose up to heaven (that’s where his body went), he sent God’s Spirit or “Holy Spirit” as we now call God’s Spirit who lives in and amongst us believers, to be with us here and now. God is with us all the time! In fact, if we accept Jesus is who he is, a supernatural event occurs in our lives (you generally don’t feel it happen but it does) and God’s Spirit comes to live within us and starts to communicate with us in quiet gentle ways. Don’t get freaked out! It’s a wonderfully good experience and God is always putting himself under our will. (I don’t really understand why, but that’s the way God wants it while we are alive!). We are in control and in fact our biggest challenge is to hand over control to God because he does things far better than we can!

So what is this piece about Jesus returning? Well this is referring to when Jesus returns with his body and in a very special way! This occurs at the end of time. It says “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” so it will be a very bright shiny event.

It also says “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This piece shows that he will be coming to get those who are alive that love him! It will be really different and unnatural in the way things happen at that time, but he will take us along with him if we are alive.

When will this occur? We don’t know, and will not know, because it says “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” This means that those people who say tomorrow will be the end of the world are sure to be wrong! The bible says they will be wrong. Don’t believe them!

Then what will Jesus do when he comes? It says “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” We don’t know for sure what this means but later it points out that Jesus will take those who are righteous to himself and those that aren’t will go to a place of pain to pay for what they did wrong forever!

Righteous means “made right”, or “made to be as if they had never sinned”. This refers to those who appreciate what God did for us in Jesus’ death and love God. Unrighteous are those that don’t do this.

So what about those that have already died? The bible says “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”  This says that somehow, Jesus will also bring with him, all those who have died. “Fallen asleep” is a nice way of saying died!

Finally what does this mean to us? Well it says “we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

This is so cool! Those that accept what God did for us through Jesus (check out yesterdays blog to get an understanding), are promised that we become spiritually God’s children immediately.  However, we are going to become special and get special bodies like Jesus got when he comes again. We don’t get that body  yet, that’s what “what we will be has not yet appeared” means. However,when Jesus comes we change and become like him. That’s so cool! I do hope he comes while I’m alive but I know it’s not that likely because somewhere on this earth there is likely to be some joker somewhere who is saying Jesus will come tomorrow and that stops it happening!

But I can hope can’t I?
Wed, November 18, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Couldn’t God just forgive us? Why did Jesus have to die and shed his blood for our sins to be forgiven so we could have eternal life?


Not many people get to ask a deep question like this, and it is one that we all should have an understanding of.

The answer is linked to two very absolute aspects of God’s make-up.  The sacred writings(our bible) explains that God is extreme love, and God is totally fair to everyone. (The word for being fair is “just” in the bible, and that word “justice” comes from it). Now if God loves us very, very much and is absolutely fair, then he has to make sure that if he forgives us, we will agree that he has been absolutely fair in doing so!

This means that if God has to forgive the selfish, ignorant and nasty things we all do (the SIN), then we would have to be happy to agree that the forgiveness given was fair and just. When we stand in front of the God of the universe and we see in each other all the horrible things we have all done, and Jesus is there, and God says we are forgiven, we need to be able to agree that the forgiveness is so fair and vast that we cannot argue about it in any manner. To argue with God would need to be so wrong as to be totally unthinkable!

Probably it’s best if I give you a real example.  . .

I come from South Africa, and at one point uneducated young tribal men got the mistaken belief (thanks to the occult) that if they stole a white baby (or young child) and raped them, they would be cured of HIV. Quite a few young babies and children were maimed and died due to this horrible sinful act. The youngest I heard of was a three month old girl who died.

Now, if that mother stood in front of God in the great judgment, and God said he had just decided to  forgive the man without punishment or repayment for the evil, how would she feel? Not too appreciative of God right? I don’t think the mothers of those children would consider that justice or fair punishment for the crimes, do you? I know I wouldn’t!

So God had to find a price that could be paid for all the sins that have ever been done, or that would ever be done(and there are far more horrible sins than the one I have mentioned). He had to find a sacrifice (that is an acceptance of punishment replacing punishment of the person who did it), that we would simply have to agree pays the price for those horrendous sins. It would also have to pay for the ones that are less horrible, the ones we do, such as adultery, stealing, lying, telling false stories etc.

When we get to the heavenly judgment(and we all will, whether Christian or not), we will see our amazing God for who he truly is! (We need to understand that right now we really have no idea of his power, beauty and intelligence!) When we see God, and also know that he allowed us as humans to cause him extreme pain (the word “excruciating” come from a root meaning of the “Cross” or "crucifixtion" ) and that we, as the human race killed the human form of God as Jesus, we will be so shocked and appalled at what we did that it will be just mind blowing! We will be total horrified as to why God would allow that to happen! It will be more shocking than the worst crime ever committed, more shocking than the cumulative effect of the worst crimes ever committed! We will see just how much God allowed himself to endure because he loves us! If we don’t get it yet, we will then!

Whether Christian or not, we will all have to agree that the price for our sins, no matter how horrendous, has been paid in full, in a “fair” manner.

God chose to die on that cross to give us the ability to have a fair forgiveness, one that we absolutely couldn’t get without Jesus death. It was the only thing big enough, extreme enough, and great enough to get us all to agree (in the future at that great judgment) that it was fair payment for the things done against us as individuals throughout the history of the world.

So, that’s why God can’t just forgive us without this extreme sacrifice! How else could he explain to those mothers that it was okay to let those men into heaven if they accept the sacrifice Jesus made, and also get everyones agreement that it was, unless the sacrifice was absolutely extreme?

Tue, November 17, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open War. . . Which side are you on?

One acronym for Sin is “Selfish, Ignorant, and Nasty”.  This is what it does to us! It makes us selfish, ignorant and nasty! We need to fight this! Often we may think that by treating others badly (because they deserve it) we win, but we really don’t. Instead we often come to realize that all we have been is selfish, ignorant and nasty. This then means we don’t get to appreciate or “love” ourselves very much on that issue. So, we loose, and the target of our behaviour looses, and the war swings in favour of negativity!

 

Whether Christian or not, we are in daily warfare with the negative influences of life.

 

There are a huge number of ways of reacting to situations, but only a few are correct. Unfortunately knowing the correct decision means we have to compare what we do, to some type of standard in our lives. These standards come in various forms, but if we have had poor standards as examples in our lives, we may find it difficult to know we are reacting positively and correctly.

 

This war is the one we all experience. To the opposing powers, it’s all about who we choose to set the standard or guidelines for our lives. We are the battlefield, and our decisions determine the outcome, but we do not have the ultimate power unless we align with one or other of the supernatural antagonists (note: I use this word to show God and Satan’s forces have opposing interests in our role). Needless to say, our decisions are ours and nobody else’s, but the guidelines we chose to follow come from outside of us. They come from the antagonists!

 

Have you ever considered you are driven forward in life the combination of your unique make-up and those things you have experienced from birth?  This is where we some of us have our difficulties. Even our own decision making is both a strength and weakness. It’s strength since we get to decide what we do with our lives, but it’s weakness in that we sometimes choose poor ways to deal with life experiences.

We are not captive to our history however. God makes that very clear! We can accept his Spirit and live in power lifechanging ways that overcome our past and broaden our future. It's a decision followed by a lifestyle! It is a positive and building experience. It's your decision to make!

May this be a great victorious week for us all!

Mon, November 16, 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?

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

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Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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