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Friday, November 27, 2009

Who is the enemy or the driver behind the negative force, or beings, that make our lives a misery?

Our worst enemy is ourselves! Influences push us either towards improving daily, or getting worse at life daily. Our choice is to decide between them. Our battle doesn’t require physical strength, or intellectual strength, since not everyone has the same ability in this area. God, according to the bible, has approved the battle but wants a fair battle field and does not want the battle to be rigged. Our power is our free will. We don’t have an allusion of control, we actually have the control! According to the bible, God gave us this free will for a significant purpose. We get to use it, hopefully with care!

 

The bible says we can have control in two ways! Either we try and control everything ourselves and ignore God’s advice, or we choose to follow God’s guidelines as we control our spiritual existence.

 

How many times when we are faced with doing the right or wrong thing, do we stop and consider the eternal value of the decision. Probably almost never! Most of us never think of the very long term impact (congratulations if you are better than most of us). Every decision does have eternal consequences that ripple out from that point in time. Sometimes these decisions also have emotional and physical repercussions as well. Sometimes we can see physical or emotional impacts, but we don’t always see the spiritual consequences.

 

Let’s look at one rather common example.

 

A young woman is very attracted to a young man and hopes he is the one for her. They get into a situation where they are close to each other. The first decision comes as they both decide that touching each other in sensual ways is okay. This combined decision is stamped into eternity and the consequences are that  physical, emotional and spiritual ties start to be established. Spiritually, these could be positive or negative. It is not clear! This experience itself however, can never be undone. Provided the touching does not compromise spiritual principles(i.e. we stay within boundaries set in the bible), then no harm is done except the expectation to experience that touch has been evoked and will be a future influence on decisions still to come.

 

If things continue to progress sensually, there could be a decision to deepen the physical relationship. According to the bible, somewhere along the way there is a line where the physical should not be established before the two people get married. The two participants can decide to acknowledge this and keep their passion at boil until that day they get married (a tantalizing, romantic, as well as fun challenge that also makes for a great wedding evening), or they can let it boil over with repercussions of them either loosing their virginity or perhaps crossing the line that is marked out for them spiritually.

 

What has happened in this example? They have given away their virginity or something special to a person who is perhaps not going to be with them as a mate for the rest of their lives. Probably at the time, this potential is ignored or rejected in the heat of the passionate moment. What can happen from there?

 

The psychologists tell us that young women having frequent sex with the same man generally tends to want to follow through from wanting more that sexual experiences, to that of making a home, and perhaps even to having children. That is a “nesting” drive that is in almost all women! The young guy (and I am stereotyping here, which is not always good to do) often only wants the fun, the experience and a “play” partner. Not the commitment! So in this example let’s say he says nothing for a while, but when things get too intense he leaves.

 

Now how do they both feel? Probably in part they feel both feel the stupid, ignorance and nasty side of what has happened! Sin has got a solid foothold on both their lives. Neither will be happy! By ignoring God’s best plan for their lives, they have taken what they thought was a short cut to happiness, and ended up in pain, depression or guilt. The path cannot be undone as experiences cannot be “un-experienced”. This decision has multi-level impacts. The gift of sex or intimate sensual experience that young people should have shared with the most important person in their life, (i.e. should be shared with their life partner), has been stolen before it could be given to that special someone. Secondly, a spiritually cavern has been opened up in their lives that could perhaps allow the evil forces to enter and cause damage. There is no spiritual condom!

 

At this stage it comes to how they deal with themselves. Often being human we tend to lie to ourselves! If the couple in our example are honest, they would probably say they should never have crossed the line. However, as we all know, often pride steps in and keeps us from even admitting to ourselves we have been stupid, ignorant, or nasty, let alone admitting it to others. Often we now lie again; this time to ourselves, and in doing so we damaged ourselves further. Physically the activity that occurred can perhaps even be kept secret, but it doesn’t help those involved. Even if nobody else ever knows, we know and their minds are engaged. The truth is either to be acknowledged or rejected at this stage. It takes courage to acknowledge it. So we often reject it deepen the guilt and submerge it into the subconscious. Once their it becomes a time bomb ready to damage us at unexpected moments.

 

Jesus said “I am the truth the way and the life” and he was not joking. Unless we walk in truth, God cannot guide and help us. Owning up to our bad decisions, apologizing to God, and carrying on in God’s love and protection is always the wisest choice. Not the easiest choice! But it’s the way to win the war! At least from a Christian perspective it is!

Fri, November 27, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ability to say “thanks!” is great!

A few years ago I was running my company and my marketing director came into my office to ask me if I had sent her flowers. I hadn’t and she looked slightly confused.

“I know you do this sometimes to say thanks for work well done; now I have no idea who sent these to me!” She confided.

Over the next few weeks, the initial good feeling she got from receiving flowers became cool and then slowly switched to one of annoyance as more and more flowers were delivered. They were not from her husband, and not from anyone she could identify. Unease grew over time!

Isn’t that what happens when we receive great gifts and don’t understand who they come from?

This weekend is American thanksgiving! Where did that come from and why?  (For discussion of this see my blog American and Canadian Thanksgiving holidays focus on the “Christian” God ) WIth Thanksgiving we can know and give thanks to the originator(s) of this holiday.

Now, consider how those of us that are not Christians feel regarding the gift of life and creation that God gives us. If we don’t know God, we can start to react like my marketing director. We can get bitter and argue about all the magnificent aspects of creation.

Years ago, when my wife had given birth to our beautiful little baby girl, she had a lady in the next bed who had given birth to a wonderful little boy. My wife was ecstatically praising God for the joy of the baby, and the lady in the next bed was unusually sober. We later found out that she wanted to give thanks for her little bundle of joy and that she understood that this wonderful a gift of life came from more of a creation than she had been willing to respect in the past. This women later became a Christian and a friend of ours as a result. She knew she had to thank God for that and all other life!

Yes, we all know how sperm and egg get together, cells divide and a baby forms. Ever considered the miracle of this! To date, I hope you are aware that scientists cannot explain how life came into being on this planet (the old theories have been disproved by science). So far nobody can refute life is a miriacle!

Let’s today be thankful that God enabled us to understand himself on human terms by coming to us in the body of Jesus Christ! That way we know who we are to thank, Whether we do or not! This is a great gift, worth to say "thanks!" for. I hope you can join me in expressing our thanks!

I wish my American friends a wonderful thanksgiving! Enjoy! To the rest of my friends around the world, join me in wishing our American frinds a great day.

It's an opportunity for us to remember to say thanks as well!

Thu, November 26, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finance dependence or independence?


 

Do you know in the NIRV Bible, “prayer” occurs 130 times and “money” 226 times?

 

So money has spiritual aspects to it doesn’t it? J

Well, how we use it probably does! Money itself is inanimate and just a way of exchanging value between people. It’s the power that we give it that results in its ability to get into our emotions and decisions (and often out of our pockets
J)!

 

That bible has a lot to say about money, more than I can discuss in this blog, but I think we can find some basic truths about it that can help us understand what financial dependence should be like, or not.

 Let’s first point out wisdom is more important than money. Ecclesiastes 7:12 says “Wisdom provides safety, just as money provides safety. But here's the advantage of wisdom. It guards the lives of those who have it.” 

Having money is also okay, but a love of money can hurt you! We can focus excessive time and energy on it, and wind up hurting those we love. We can easily neglect them (probably arguing at the same time we are doing it for them).

Yesterday I was forced to think of how we value things. The Children Aid Society had put up a notice asking for specific things a family needed. It had good things; food gift certificates, restaurant meal items (???), hair dryer for the family, and then I saw a mp3 player in the list. Since when is that a need? Sure, it’s a "nice to have", but it's not a "need". I immediately thought how the dollars spent on the MP3 player could feed a 3rd world family for a week. Are our western values getting this distorted?

 

God warns us to separate "wants" from "needs". He said he would supply our needs, and would listen to our wants. God sometimes provides our wants but often doesn't. (Probably because in many cases they are not good for us, like excessive candy can rot childrens teeth). I think our problem is we don’t know the difference between "wants" and "needs" very well!

The festive season is coming up! How many of us have "need" requests?How of us have "want" requests? Do we have the courage to seperate these two groups?

 

Financial dependence or independence will start off by acknowledging God owns everything! We are only given custody of it for a while. Did you give yourself the intelligence with which you make your money? Probably not! Thats more a genetic item! Have you ever see people take money with them when they die? No! It’s distributed to the government (first) and then to those left behind (secondly).

So, if we consider money in this way, then we should not rely on our money, we should rely on God! He promises to guide us into a wonderful fulfilling life, meeting our every need, if we follow his guidance.

 

This does need to be tempered with wisdom! God doesn’t expect you to sell everything and give it to the poor, (and I do know the story where he told the rich man to do this). Jesus only said that to the rich man to point out where the man's heart was. He does want us to care for those around us that are poor when he prompts us to do so! Where is our heart? What will be our attitude to those around us?

 

God also says we should give some of the money back to his church! Why? He owns it all and a lot more anyhow!

He does this for us! (and no, I am not loosing my mind ). By learning to part with our money in this manner, we get trained in "needs" versus "wants". We learn that dependence on God is more important than dependence on our cash. (Okay, for non-Christian’s reading this, I know we are a strange bunch, but you must understand we work in a spiritual world as well as physical, and that gives us certain advantages).

For example, in my life I once had to choose between food for my family or gas to get to church. My wife and I both agreed to get the gas and trusted God to supply food, because we felt that the time with God was more important than food for that week. We ended up with both, miraculously. Nobody knew of this decision and money mysteriously got provided. I am sure many Christians can tell of similar stories.

 

Since that time I made millions of $’s in business, and lost most due to being cheated! What a wonderful lesson God gave me! I don’t regret loosing the money because God gave me something far more worthwhile, wisdom, daily spiritual guidance and protection! I don't have any needs that God has not met!

 

Now that’s riches! Personally, I want to be independent of the love of money and dependent on the God who made everything I know. What about you?

Wed, November 25, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Church. . .why do so many youth dislike it!


I was reading a book called “unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters
[1] and found that youth in America consider us in the church to be amongst other things

  • HYPOCRITICAL
  • ANTIHOMOSEXUAL
  • JUDGEMENTAL
 

Then I get to read 1 John 3:18-21 which says

 “Dear children, don't just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.  That's how we know that we hold to the truth. And that's how we put our hearts at rest, knowing that God is watching. Our hearts may judge us. But God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything. 
   
Dear friends, if our hearts do not judge us, we can be bold with God. And he will give us anything we ask. That's because we obey his commands. We do what pleases him.” 


I wonder if the reason “Churchians” (a new word I give to those who sit in church and may or may not be living a life within Jesus’ will for their lives) are judged by those outside the church  simply because the church talks up a storm of love and does very very little about doing it?

 

Are we Christians people who are known for helping the down an out? Maybe that’s why non-Christians have more time for the Salvation Army than most churches.  At least they are known for helping the poor and alcoholics. Respect is due and is given!

 

How many people sit on their butts in church on Sunday, then go home to a full meal in a cosy warm huge home, and don’t give one thought about their neighbour down the street who doesn’t have enough fuel or money to heat their home and get enough food. They have to choose one or the other. (I live in Canada where lack of heat kills[in winter]! Mentioned so my friends in warm climates actually understand this statement).

 

How many times does your church all get up and go and do community service? How about skipping a Sunday to make food for a food bank, gather it in and maybe pack it and clean up the food bank?

 

When a person takes all their courage in their life and walks through the church doors with trepidation, scared, lonely and needing help, do we smile hug them and then send them back to hell as they leave our warm sanctuary? What do we do to help them a bit each day? Do we live Jesus like lived and wants us to live?

 

Jesus wouldn’t be only doing a little by getting together on a Sunday would he? I think he would work earnestly every day at the work in front of him, looking to meet the needs that present themselves to him as much as he could. He would cry for those hurting in selfish, ignorant and nasty activities in which they hurt themselves (sin). He would have compassion for the homosexuals as much as he did for that woman found in adultery. Yes, she was guilty, but the only sentence she received was mercy and love!

 

How much mercy and love do we show to our homosexual or “gay” friends? How happy would you be to see them in your church. I would be ecstatic! What an opportunity to show them Christ’s love. (See my blog on my attitude to those struggling in this way. http://www.kenxbriggs.com/2009.10.25_arch.html#1256567325226 )

 

So I agree, we tend to be hypocritical and anti-homosexual as the greater “church”. How about “Judgemental”?

 

Christians are told to judge those who are proclaiming to be Christian. Our yardstick is the bible. We are told NOT to judge those who are not in the church. We are to love them the way Jesus loves us! (We also are to love those in the church with Jesus’ love, even if we must judge them to keep the church as pure as humanly possible).

 

Judging is a two edged sword. You get judged as you judge!

How perfect are we? Personally I don’t feel perfect at all. It’s Jesus who makes up for my imperfections. He makes me perfect in him. I do a lousy job at it! So, in turn, I try and not judge others and to merely love them!

 

The joy of of our lives is that Jesus simply doesn’t care how good or bad we do at trying to love, he loves us anyhow! He loves you and me the same way! We are treated as special and important people worth of being loved by the God who built this hwonderful universe with it’s intricate beauty, immense power and extent. God loves us specifically and intimately! We need respond to him by doing the same for those around us. If we each tried to pick one person to love in a special way, each day, and love them in an unjudgemental way, I think our church would become both respected and relevant.

It depends on us doesn’t it? What will you do today! I know that today I will be looking for an opportunity. Perhaps I will give some money to family I see needs food this Christmas. The Children’s Aid Society is asking, maybe I should respond?

 

Be blessed today!



[1] Kinman, David, and Lyons, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters, Grand Rapids, MI, Baker books, 2007.

Tue, November 24, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, November 23, 2009

Telemarketing. . .and Christian responses. . .

I was totally stressed out! I was leading a tough meeting in a boardroom of executives on a complicated subject when I got one of those marketing/sales phone calls where someone wanted some more of my time to complete some questionnaire, and then tried to sell me something!

 

I guess you have had similar calls!

Those types of calls create stress when we don’t need it, don’t they?

 

With a boardroom of eyes watching me, and people listening to my every word, that anxious knot in the pit of my gut seemed to try and grow as my mind tried to find a way out of that conversation as quickly as possible.

 

The real problem with those telemarketers is that don’t take the hint that we are not interested, do they? Despite us saying no, they push and prolong the conversation. Finally after trying to say no to them in three or four different ways, I finally slam the phone shut to continue with my meeting, and then I try to not feel bad for being rude! At least, that’s how I used to feel up to a short while ago. Since then I have developed a technique that seems to help me.

 

All of us live in different situations, and I believe that as Christians we need to care for people enough to consider the environment in which we find our listeners, as much as humanly possible, and then we need to try and adjust what we are saying to keep the person we are addressing from becoming stressed(or keep them as little stressed as possible).

 

How different it would be if that tele-marketer started off with as statement something like

“Hi, Sorry to intrude but I am here to give you useful information and to try to sell you . . ., as this may be useful to yourself. Do you have time to listen now, or can I call back another time?”


That way we could politely decline if we wished to, or even schedule them at a more opportune moment!

 

I don’t know if you have ever been approached in that manner, but I have never had that type of approach yet!

 

This got me thinking about how often we as Christian folk fail to understand, or even value the contexts that our non-Christian friends find themselves in. We can blabber away about the things that excite us, without properly understanding that they just don’t get what we are saying, or if they do, they don’t find it as interesting as we do!

 

I think Jesus was wonderful at understanding where people were coming from.

The woman he chatted to at the well didn’t get a lecture on religion or proper behaviour, but rather an invitation to get rid of her burdens! The priests and officials that were out to get Jesus, found their words robbed of impact and turned against them in a simple effective manner total due to the wrong attitudes they had. Jesus said to bring little children to him, when most people of the time considered children as pests and not to be promoted to a place of importance over that of an adult. Jesus considered everyone to have intrinsic worth! He reacted to the environments in which he and his public were situated with deep understanding and compassion.

 

That’s why nowadays when that tele-marketer calls, I consider that the person is trying to earn their wages in a rather tough job that must generate huge stress for them. They are going to get lots of people that are being nasty and difficult with them. Recently I try and deal with them in a different way.

At the first opportunity to talk I simply say “Thank-you for calling. I know you have to try and give me information, or sell me something but I sorry but I don’t want either of these! Please don’t waste your time with me. Rather go to the next person on your list, it will be better for you. Thank-you, and goodbye!”

 

That way I don’t feel too bad when I get forced to put the phone down. You see, my time like theirs is precious and I can’t use it on incorrect activities, no matter how much I want to be polite to others.

 

That’s my thought for today! Have a great week!

Mon, November 23, 2009 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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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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