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Saturday, December 19, 2009

A virgin birth? You’ve got to be kidding!


Mary gets visited by an angel who tells her she is going to become pregnant. Her reply is logical. . .

"How can this happen?" Mary asked the angel. "I am a virgin." The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is old. And even she is going to have a child. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. Nothing is impossible with God."[1] "I serve the Lord," Mary answered. "May it happen to me just as you said it would." Then the angel left her. 


This just doesn’t happen, right? I can see a young girl coming home and saying to her fiancé, “I know I haven’t had sex with you, but I am pregnant!” He is not likely to believe to her is he?

 

If she then said she had had in-vitro fertilization, all would be understood (but he might still be rather unhappy). God sent an angel to Mary to tell her she would have an in vitro fertilization by God himself.  If a Gynaecologist can do these things, I guess God can probably do it better! Now days it’s not such a stretch of imagination to imagine such a thing happening as it was a few years ago.

 

Maybe it’s a myth? If it is it sure conned a lot of very anti-myth type people who would never have considered a myth of this type about a messiah to be true. Also, this is one part of Jesus life that was never refuted.

Surely Joseph would have put people right.
It was rather embarrassing for him to repeat this weird story. Jesus’ brother also went around with the disciples and siblings aren’t known for being quiet about people spreading stories about their brothers. Surely they would have pointed out that it wasn’t true if Mary hadn’t been a virgin birth.

 

Now the virgin birth was prophesied See Isaiah 7:14 which says “The Lord himself will give you a miraculous sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.” And this was written long before Jesus time! Now to be honest, the word virgin is one that can also mean young women so it is probably a prophecy, but a lot of Jewish people disagree with this and take the other version of the translation so they have an excuse to ignore Jesus’ importance. Matthew however refers to the prophecy and confirms it meant virgin!

 

Whatever was being said we have to agree that Isaiah was talking of a very special occasion and birth. That’s what happened when Jesus was born.

 

Now we also need to know that in the Middle East at the time if you got pregnant when you shouldn’t, you could be killed since the law permitted that to occur. Why would Mary risk her skin with such a wild story? The story would have had the ability to upset a lot of people! Why tell it, unless it just happened to be true? The story could have been omitted from the gospel and it would have been more believable to the community. Remember they could check it up. There were people living at the time they could talk to and check it out! Why publish something that’s not exactly acceptable if it wasn’t true?

 

Maybe Matthew also wanted to be sure to point out a women was central to Jesus’ part on history. Women were not considered important compared to men at that time.[women’s liberation is fairly recent]  Jesus changed that and perhaps this story was a critical point that Jesus wanted told so that women could be proud of their role in history! It was a significant role! Matthew also makes sure to include women in his genealogy of Jesus. Gentile women at that! Interesting!

 

Now the bible says “Her husband Joseph was a godly man. He did not want to put her to shame in public. So he planned to divorce her quietly.”[2] This is the polite translation. Some experts such as Kenneth Bailey point out the translation of the Greek word “enthumeomai” could change it to read “Joseph was furious!” That makes a lot of sense! This sweet young girl he was going to marry comes out with this strange story and then is pregnant. It’s highly likely he got quite upset! Wouldn’t you?

 

So this time he gets an angel visit to stop him doing the male thing and letting his anger make him do something stupid! The story goes “But as Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That is because he will save his people from their sins."[3]

 

He is so impressed that he risks everything to keep Mary as his wife. This goes against the cultural norms of the time. The only reason he would have done it was if he knew what was said about the messiah being born of a virgin (and every Jewish boy did) and somehow some supernatural event had occurred to convince him that this was true of his girlfriend!

  It seems rather unlikely this is a made up story! 


Okay, so Josephs DNA was not part of the birth. Biblically we can understand that neither was Mary’s. Jesus was sinless, and although born of a human women, was pure DNA, not the corrupted DNA that Adam and Eve had allowed to become damaged by sin. Jesus to be sinless had to have had God’s DNA, not either his earth mothers or fathers! Holy Spirit was the supernatural gynaecologist that did the work.

Some other interesting things to think about is that Mary stayed at Elizabeth for about 3 months[4] (probably until John was born) and then headed home. This meant that Elizabeth, who have been through morning sickness which typically lasts three months, would have been able to help Mary through that time. Also, who wants to travel while sick. It makes sense she would have stayed with her relative. Her husband would not have had an issue, because he couldn’t have sex[5] with her anyway!

The virgin birth is an incredible event. Let’s say it happened like the bible says it did. This young women, (they got married real young in those days), gets visited by a super being! How would you feel if that happened to you? Then she gets told she’s going to get pregnant without the fun of sex! How would you feel about that? She gets told that the baby was not going to be a normal kid, but some type of hero? That would sound just a bit incredible if you were a simple peasant girl. Then she has to explain this to her husband, her dad, mom, and probably a few siblings as well as the rest of the family. Maybe they would want to kill her? How would you feel about telling your parents you were pregnant without a father? Probably not the greatest. I doubt you would want to try a weird story. Angry people don’t have time for nonsense do they?

 

Not an easy task! It would have taken a strong person to do this! Could you do this if God had asked you. He’s not asking you to do this but he is asking you not to be ashamed of him. Are you? Do you wish people happy holidays or Happy Christmas? Are you willing to help others understand your relationship with Jesus? How is your relationship with God? Loose, non-existent, or vibrant? Do you get excited by what God can do in your life! I sure hope so, since this is the season for that hope. Let’s all thank God for acknowledging a rather remarkable woman, and thank him for what he can do through us!

  

Despite human misconceptions, the actual facts about Jesus are more marvellous than words can express. He was indeed born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem exactly as prophesied many years before. Jesus was conceived in Mary, not by man, but by the Holy Spirit of God. As the apostle John reveals, Jesus existed before the Creation of the world (John 1). He is part of the Holy Trinity we know as God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The Son of God came in human form for a purpose—to die as a willing sacrifice in payment for the sins of mankind. He did this to provide eternal salvation as a free gift to all who will accept it and follow Him.

Christmas is a good time to talk to him about accepting this fact. Thats what prayer is, simply talking to God. Try it!



[1] Luke 1:34-38
[2] Matt 1:19
[3] Matt 1:20-21
[4] Luke 1:56
[5] Luke 1:25
Sat, December 19, 2009 | link          Comments

Friday, December 18, 2009

Improvements on the Christmas story - Part 2


In Part One we covered the parts of the story up to Jesus birth that are myths. A brief recap follows before I go on:

 

A commercial version of the Christmas story is

 Joseph takes his pregnant wife puts her on a donkey and they arrive in the city of Bethlehem where they go from door to door looking for room. Nobody has room for them and the Inn keeper turns them away but tells them there might be room in the stable. They go to the stable and surrounded by animals, as the only occupants, Mary gives birth to a boy and lays him in a manger. Meanwhile out in the fields with their lambs, the shepherds see some angels appear and sing to them, they get told to go to see the baby which they do. While they are there three wise men or Magi arrive with gifts for the mother. They worship the baby in swaddling cloth who amazingly doesn’t cry! 

AMAZINGLY, MOST OF THE ABOVE IS NOT TRUE! 


In Part One we found out there is no proof that Mary rode on donkey
, we discovered that Mary and Joseph probably arrived a while before the census, that there was no turning away of the family at a inn, that Jesus was not really born in a stable, that probably many of Joseph’s family were around at the time of the birth!

 

Check it out against Luke 2:4 to 7 knowing that the word for “Inn” can easily be translated “Upper Room” and is translated this way in the only other occurrence of this word in the bible:

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”(or upper room) 

Now we move to the scene of the shepherds. The bible says:

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." shepherd.JPG
 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying
 
  
"Glory to God in the highest, 
     
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 
 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 
 
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
 

Okay! So where does it say the angels were singing? It says “saying” which is not singing!

 

We get this mis-information from the church hymn, “Hark, the herald angels sing” which is not even the version the original author wrote. That version said "Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings".

 

The author knew it wasn’t true!

 

Note also that the Shepherds arrived to see a baby wrapped up in cloth in a manger. Firstly they saw a very small child and secondly they were let in! Shepherds were in the lower level of the society and so they would have probably not been allowed into many fancy residences. This seems to indicate Jesus was born in a smaller, more humble, home of the town.

 

Now, let’s look into the Magi or "Wise Men"! This is a fascinating subject and will take some time to uncover so we may not get it all done in today’s blog.

 

First of all , “who were Magi?”  We don’t get guys that do this type of work today!

 

Magi is a Latin version of the Greek word “Magos” which came from a Persian word to describe the men who were in charge of the kingdoms secrets and religions. These were learned men of their times. One of their duties was to announce the new king when the old King died.  A bit like the “The King is dead, long live the King” used in Europe for many years. These guys could have been considered king makers and “secrets” preservers.

 

Needless to say they were important and probably somewhat feared! (Don’t we so often fear things and people we don’t understand?)

 

So one of the things that these guys did, was to watch the stars so they could predict the seasons and others actions of nature. Today we use watches and electronic calendars to tell us time. What would we do if all these disappeared?  We would use the sun, moon, stars and planets to give us the time of night, month and year. These guys were the experts!

 

In the early days people considered that the moving stars (the ones we now know are planets) foretold events. If you think this is crazy, pick up a newspaper or magazine that contains horoscopes. Yes, we do exactly the same now days! If you read a horoscope(I like to call them horror scopes Laughing)  you are expecting that the positions of plaets can foretell what will happen in your life! Despite our outward sophistication and civilization masks, we haven’t changed that much. Underneath we know we need to believe in something. The Magi were the people that the kings of the time turned too to get advice on what they should do.

 

The word “Magi” gave rise to our word “Magic” which is rather unfortunate since it makes us think of magicians rather than respected advisors and men that others feared and respected.

 

So these guys were on the lookout for new kings. They wanted to score points with them early on since that would help them maintain their own power. (Politics gets into everything doesn’t it?) So the bible says

 

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi [1] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."[2]

 

Scanning the sky they saw a new star! Now notice it doesn’t say it was moving when they first saw it. More about this later!

 

Journey_of_the_Magi.jpgThey came from the East! This is a general statement. What is East of America? Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean? Probably the term could mean any of these in different contexts. The same is to be applied to the word in the bible. They weren’t from around the local area and they travelled westward when they approached Jerusalem.

 

Also, notice the star doesn’t seem have been there all the time. They don’t say “Hey, Herod, just look up there and see that star!” They say they saw it in the east.

 

Can you think of the organization it took to make the journey? They didn’t pull out the Honda Civic and load it up with presents and people. No, they had to acquire porters, animals to carry their stuff, probably a small group of fighting men to protect them from bandits, food for all the animals and themselves and if they cam from the west they covered some hilly terrain. It was not a stroll in the park! They were seriously looking for this new king!

 

How about us? This Christmas are we looking for a person that will be able to lead and guide us to success? Do we recongize that the baby’s birthday we celebrate is that same God who left the all powerful Holy Spirit behind to do amazing things in our lives? Do we even admit he exists and do we have the courage to do what he wants us to do.

 

We don’t have to do as much as those guys to get to Jesus, but do we do enough? I hope so! I hope I do!

 

Hey, have a great day and we will continue this in Part 3 sometime in the coming week!



[1] Traditionally Wise Men
[2] Matt 2:1-2 NIV
Fri, December 18, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Improvements on the Christmas story - Part 1

How can we improve the Christmas story?

It sounds impossible doesn’t it. We all know this story as something like the following:

 Joseph takes his pregnant wife puts her on a donkey and they arrive in the city of Bethlehem where they go from door to door looking for room. Nobody has room for them and the Inn keeper turns them away but tells them there might be room in the stable. They go to the stable and surrounded by animals, as the only occupants, Mary gives birth to a boy and lays him in a manger. Meanwhile out in the fields with their lambs, the shepherds see some angels appear and sing to them, they get told to go to see the baby which they do. While they are there three wise men or Magi arrive with gifts for the mother. They worship the baby in swaddling cloth who amazingly doesn’t cry! 

AMAZINGLY, MOST OF THE ABOVE IS NOT TRUE! 


So we can improve on the story by telling it the way it actually happened,
not the way it has been popularised and distorted. The true story is far more believable, is provable as we can read the story in the bible, and is more effective than the one above.

 

Let’s start by pointing out that nowhere does it say in the bible that Joseph put Mary on a donkey. He may have done, but it is not in the bible. Then we must take away that myth that they arrived there in the dead of night on the last evening before the census.

 

A census is organized quite a while before the actual time as they had to give time for people to get to there home town. In the middle east, families practice hospitality as a point of honour, and with people coming into town, people would be opening their homes to them. Joseph according to the biblical account is an upright man and so would have taken into account that his wife was pregnant. Knowing it was days of journey, he probably organized to get their early to be sure she was okay and to give time en-route to allow for unforeseen eventualities as a result of the pregnancy. There is nothing in the biblical account of the story to say they didn’t arrive a week or two prior to the time. Based on middle eastern culture this is far more likely than them arriving at the last moment.

 

The story of the inn comes from the word translated as “inn” in the bible. This is the same word that is translated as “Upper room” later in the bible. The context does not say the word should be “inn” and “upper room” makes much more sense. Archaeological digs confirm that it does and I will now explain why!

 

Middle Eastern houses of the time didn’t have heating systems in winter so people conserved whatever heat they could generate. For this reason the houses are built in various levels. There is a lower level that livestock use. People took livestock into their homes to act as heat generators, to keep them from thieves and wild beasts of prey.

Heat rises, and so the highest room in the house, the “upper room” was the warmest. This was given to the honoured guests. Middle Eastern hospitality dictated guests be treated well. The main level of the house lay between these two.

 

So, Joseph and Mary arrived in town, probably quite a while before census day. Joseph would have been known because it was his family town. NOBODY in the middle east would EVER turn away a pregnant women. To do so would have brought dishonour on the house and the family! So the family took them in, but their upper room was not available so they put the couple up in the living space with the rest of the family.

 

So Mary was among friends and family. There were probably midwives and women around to help her in childbirth. Jesus was born into a warm family atmosphere in the royal town.

 

To find a place to put the baby where he would be safe from rolling around, away from where adult feet could step on him, and where he could be comfortable, they cleared out one of the mangers.

 

The manger would have probably been an indentation in the living room floor at the end where the livestock level began. In this was the cattle could get their heads over into the manger that was one level up from their lower level. This was a way of providing them feed during the night.

 

By clearing a manger out and putting in some fresh hay, wrapping the baby in cloth and putting him into the indentation, they were putting him in a safe comfortable spot in the family area of the house.

 

So Jesus was born into a homely atmosphere, probably with more tender care than is found for a mother in our current hospitals.

 

What a wonderful way to enter our world! How about we think of that when we see the commercial nativity scenes that depict something that probably never happened!

 More to come on this subject! Have a great day!
Thu, December 17, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How were the sacred books gathered? Are there others? Can we trust them? part 2

We discussed the Old Testament books previously (see two days back)


So then what about the New Testament? They were written after Jesus died, rose and went to heaven.

We have the gospels, written but the guys who knew and walked around with Jesus when he was on the earth. Once they realized they might die, they wanted to be sure people knew what Jesus said and did so they wrote it down. Then there are Paul’s letters, probably written to Christians before the gospels were written. They explain what we should do! They have great application information as to how those early Christian folk needed to do what Jesus desired.

Then there’s those letters from others at the time that explain what the church was doing, where it was to go and what its objectives should be. These were all written before 90A.D. ( approximately) and since we think Jesus died in his late thirties, these were written within a short time of his life!

People copied these writings by hand and needless to say, there are small differences in the copies. That’s why bibles have footnotes that indicate alternative options. This is where some people get angry with each other, often deep differences start and arguments arise. Over time these difference have cleared and God’s Spirit has give primary and secondary translations.

Over the ages people copying these manuscripts changed them slightly (not necessarily intentionally) This is why we have experts who argue about this until they reach some understanding! The core meaning of the words is however not often argued about, although the context and selection of meanings are sometimes difficult to clearly define.

The texts themselves warn us about how we should treat these gathering and writing of translations. Revelation 22:18-19 (New International Version) says “ I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

So we can rest assured the Canon is one clearly understood “gathering in” of the manuscripts into books of the bible. These books are arranged in a special way. Christians consider that God in the form of His Spirit has guided people over the ages to come up with the bibles we have. However, just remember, to get the original meaning, there is nothing like going back to the original texts!

Have a great day!
Wed, December 16, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A “Good” person, and “Private Ryan”. . .

This weekend I viewed that classic Spielberg movie about Private Ryan.  


Ryan is one of four brothers, three of which are killed in the invasion of Europe during the war.
The American government decides to get Private Ryan back to his mother and eight men are sent to find him in the war torn world.

 

Death, dishonour, honour, and horrific war action are all depicted. This is not a movie for the faint of heart or the young of heart. Language is rough, as it normally is in military settings, (I know this since I was in the infantry for two years in peace keeping duties).

 

As these men search for Ryan, some get killed off. Finally the captain leading the group dies, but before he does so he tells Ryan to live a good life. The implication is that somehow his life that he had to live, needed to make up for the needless death of the eight men and all the others they killed, (and plenty death occurs in that movie).

 The movie ends with Ryan, now an old man turning to his mother and saying “Tell me, have I lived a good life?” 


This is the question we should ask ourselves today. If we turned to someone who knew us either today, or when we get to those last days on this earth and asked them “Tell me, have I lived a good life?” what would they say?
 

If we are atheists, this is a question that shouldn’t be asked! In fact, the whole movie is worthless. If there is no purpose to life the number of men who die to save aone man means nothing! However, since this movie was a box office hit at the time it came out, I don’t see us people on this Earth subscribing to a purposeless life!

 

Now think about this! For our lives to have purpose, there must be absolute good and consequently there must also be absolute evil! For our lives to have purpose we have to be attempting to further absolute good! That’s why we must look at each day with joy, energy and thankfulness. Each day is another opportunity to make life better than it was yesterday. Today should be worse than tomorrow and better than yesterday! 

We can make a difference! All we have to do is to try and connect with God (so we can know what absolute good is) and try and make today a bit better than yesterday. Jesus needs to be involved to wipe away the selfish, ignorant and nasty(sin) things we did yesterday. That way we can at any time say “Tell me, have I lived a good life?” and get the absolute answer “Yes” from God and those around us.

As we move towards Christmas, we need to thank God that he makes this possible, and also perhaps send a prayer out for our youth to remember the freedom to celebrate this wonderful time was bought with a price of lives by many men just a few decades ago.

Then, lets live a good life!


Not everyone manages, but I personally want to strive for this.
What about you?

Tue, December 15, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, December 14, 2009

How were the sacred books gathered? Are there others? Can we trust them?

texts.jpg

Today I thought I would give us a bit of history of the bible texts. The picture describes a summary of some of those ancient texts.

This table places the biblical texts into a timeframe and groups them into broad types of texts.

The word Canon speaks of those manuscripts gathered and selected as being part of the bible.

There were various ways this came into being as godly men over time tried to remove false writing from the true.

For the New Testament (NT) some of the criteria used included that of closeness of the writer to Jesus. Also, closeness in relationship to the twelve apostles that Jesus taught when he was alive on the Earth was a factor. Those writings are considered more important since they are written by people closest to Jesus and his time. Sort of like writing down what happens on holiday or shortly afterwards so you can talk about it accurately in a year or two’s time. Without doing that we forget stuff fairly soon, and worse, we can start to make stuff up without knowing it.

 As I go through this discussion, I want to start with pointing out this bible is made up of over 1000 manuscripts and thousands of scraps. The King James Version of the bible that western people almost “idolize” as the “best” form, is not even close to the original manuscripts! It is written in English! No part of that original bible was in English!

Hebrew and Greek are the main languages and you need to understand Aramaic as well! That’s if you want to read the original! Fortunately, we have lots of tools to help us understand the difference between our English versions and the original. We just must remember that English didn’t exist when the bible manuscripts and scrolls were being written. English came long afterwards! This must be kept in mind if we are to properly understand our bible!

If we want to understand a bit about the bible, we have to understand that by speaking English and reading it in English,(or any language except the original Hebrew and Greek) we are losing a lot of meaning before we start! Sorry folk, but I did start off with pointing out that we want to be truthful. This is being truthful!

Can we trust our English versions? What versions can we trust?

Over the centuries, many men and women have worked hard to get us the best bible content possible. I don’t want to bore us, but teams of people have worked for years to get us what we have. Some were willing to die for any mistake they made. The authenticated versions we have are all pretty good. Some are more accurate than others but generally those based on those ancient texts do their best to represent them faithfully!

Before we consider the bible texts in more detail think about this; If God inspired people to write texts guided by Holy Spirit, then it will only be those original texts ,as written by the original writers, that are the valid texts! This gives us a bit of a dilemma. How many original texts exist and how do we know who wrote them?

In the Old Testament, most people think that either the book of Job, or Genesis are the oldest of the manuscripts in the old testament.

The Old Testament texts are gathered in what is termed the “Massoretic” texts. This was written in Hebrew, compiled from ancient manuscripts and checked for accuracy against parts of the Old Testament found in the Dead Sea scrolls. [They were written by scribes called Massoretes, so that’s how they got that name] Basically it comprises the “Tanakh” or the bible used in Judaism. This is in turn broken into groupings called the “Torah” or “ Teaching”, the “Nevi'im” or “Prophets” and the “Ketuvim” or “writings”.  This text and the Christian bible Old Testament have a very high degree of correspondence to each other.

There are many non-biblical references to these writings that go a long way back. Various historians such as guys called Josephus and Philo reference them. There are quotations on coins, pottery, amulets etc. This shows they were really old!

When we consider the bible that Jesus used, we find he used this Tanakh, but also used another called the “Septuagint” or “LXX”. This version of the Old Testament bible was requested by a non-Jewish and non-Christian world leader before Jesus was born.  Alexander the Great, who was Greek wanted people to respect their own religions, but wanted all people to speak Greek as a common language. It was one of his Greek Kings, Ptolemy, that commissioned seventy two scholars to translate the Judaic religious texts into the “Septuagint” which was the Old Testament bible in Greek.

Jesus used these when he walked on this earth. In addition, Jesus also at times seems to quote from another source, different from the Massoretic text and the Septuagint, but one that we no longer have today! [Let’s keep looking]

So, if Jesus used these versions, I guess we can, right?

Mon, December 14, 2009 | link          Comments

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Special Friends! . . .are you a special friend?

Special friends are. . .SPECIAL!


Ever wake-up in a beautiful place wonderfully content and relaxed
,  to be greeted with a vivid fresh morning that seems to be different to many others. The smells are wonderful, (perhaps that aroma of a breakfast you really like!). The colors seem brighter, the sounds seem to have an unusual intensity and beauty, and that sky is a magnificent blue that makes life feel great! A lazy comfortable streatch and you know it’s going to be a good day!

Those are amazing mornings! They are special! They don’t come along often, but sometimes we can only exclaim, “Wow! God what a fantastic day!”

It’s a bit like that with special friends. I hope you have lots of friends, but more than that I pray you have special friends. They are those people who when we see them our heart does a little jump for joy, our mood improves, and we know the day is going to get better! Special friends are different in that if we have not seen them for a while and we meet again, it’s almost as if we have never been away. Time gives way to this type of friendship.

Special friends are the type of people that you can talk to about anything! Special friends even take our painful comments and don’t change their love for us! They are consistent. If we need help, and we call to them, they will come if they possibly can! They don’t ask for rewards for friendship and don’t count the cost of the friendship. They are special!

I am very blessed to have a good number of special friends. Amazingly most of these special friends are also Christian friends. Not all! Some are friends from my youth, like classmates from school, others I met when I was studying at university, others touched my life through sport or church or work!

These are people who I have to say make life worth living well. Many of them inspire me to become better than I am. Just this last week we had ½ a meter of snow up in our part of the world and special friends came out to our home as we were away down south. They knocked the snow off my carport so that it would not cave in. That was wonderful. Then other friends came to do the same, and seeing the snowed in driveway, they started up my snow blower and cleared it! Self sacrifice that I really, really appreciated! Special friends! I pray you have a special friend or two!

Fortunately we always have one very special friend. He stepped in to make sure we would not have an accident that could cause us pain for longer than we can imagine. He has made it possible for us to always be with him. He is a very powerful person who can pull strings with life itself! Yes ,you know who I am referring to. . .God!

He makes it possible for us to avoid being selfish, ignorant and nasty in life and doesn’t get upset with us when we are like that. He got beaten up and died of the treatment he received to protect us from that and far worse. He wants us to be wonderful people who love others and become their special friends. Not because of duty, but because of love that is selfless, pouring itself into the lives of others, improving their lives! It is a God kind of life that changes us to be a little more like God himself!

So, let’s thank God for special friends and let’s be special friends to those around us who need special friends!
Sun, December 13, 2009 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

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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.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
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