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Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm right because everyone agress with me! Right?

The majority is always right!



Isn't that what democracy says?

Doesn’t democracy stand upon majority rule? Majority rule is that authoritative belief we have that the biggest number of people in some organized group can make decisions that are binding on the group as a whole, and everyone must keep to these rules!

 

How do you feel about that?

 

It is probably important to know that it depends on how the majority are given that right.

Democracy works because elected people are given free reign for a few years before being called to account for their actions. This allows them to go against popular opinion for a while! That’s what makes democracy a good system amongst others. It isn't perfect, but has some checks and balances. It allows for majority control, but individual action for a while before that individual gets the authority removed from them again.

 

Groups have "agreeing" members and "dis-agreeing" members. 

"Agreeing" members are those accepting the group norms. "Dis-agreeing members" are those in the group who are a minority in a democractic setting, they disagree with the norms, but in a democracy that permit the group as a whole to tell them what to do!  

Normally if we are part of an "agreeing" members, we like to think the majority is right, but if we are part of the "dis-agreeing" members we don't.
 

Where is truth in this matter?

 

I like what Mark Twain said in this regard. . .

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

 

We need to think and evaluate what we do by rote and popular opinion!

How do we decide if something is right or not?

It depends on your life perspective. Being Christian, I go back to our sacred writings and read up around the subjects that I need to evaluate and try to get a perspective of what is the right thing to do.

Then I apply the principle of “Love God” and “love those around me” and make the best decision I can!

 

Does that mean I apply laws mechanically?

No!
Jesus didn’t want us to do that. He wanted us to be wise, truthful and very careful with the fragile ego’s of those around us.

 

Remember when the leaders of the community brought Jesus that woman who had been caught in adultery. The group with Jesus and who joined him were in a public place on a public holiday with foreign soldiers around ready to grab any trouble makers. [Similar to the situation of American Soldiers in Iraq doing peacekeeping on an Islamic holy day].

The leaders of the community(who hated him and represented the majority) asked him if they should stone her for what she had done (which was the right punishment for that act at that time) or not.

The principled mechanical and majority answer of the time was "yes" because she was guilty! However, if Jesus said to do this then the soldiers would have grabbed him for being a trouble maker, if he said “no” then he would have been saying the Law that God made was wrong and the women would be killed!

So, what did he do? He wrote in the sand with a stick so the soldiers couldn’t hear his answer, and then said that if any person there could say they had never done any selfish, stupid, nasty or ignorant thing themselves, then they would have the right to throw the first stone. You see he agreed that the law was right but was teaching a more important lesson. The people around him knew the soldiers would have grabbed them if they tried. They also knew they had done wrong things (we all do). Needless to say everyone left one after the other and the woman was left alone with Jesus. Safe, but guilty!

 

Now, love and compassion, combined with God's mercy caused Jesus to tell her to go and not repeat her dumb act! Jesus would not condemn her! Mercy was more important than law in this case!

Jesus went against all majority opinions with truth, love and compassion. The majority is not always right! God's Holy Spirit points that out to us daily!

 

Principled people can hurt others if they do not adjust their principles to be loving, caring, and merciful.

 
I hope I can say I am principled, but that I am also loving, caring and merciful!

I try to follow Jesus's example!


Can you say the same?

 

Fri, February 5, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hurting? No one understands? You donít know where it will end up?

Life is a bed of roses but some of us seem to end up on the thorns!
 

As a young boy I was learning to ride a bicycle at my grandfather’s home, he had this beautiful driveway lined with spectacular high rose bushes that were covered with flowers. The fragrance along that driveway was heavenly, but when I started up on that first teetering run, that new bicycle and I ended up in the rose bushes and I learned that they could induce pain, blood flow, and real nasty scratches.
 
That doesn’t mean that I don’t like them, and I now know why my grandfather planted them there (to stop people trying to take a shortcut across his immaculate lawn). They had purpose, but it hurt me.
 

That’s life! It has purpose, but sometimes we get hurt as we try to live it.
Sometimes it’s our fault (we deliberately grab at the rose stem) and sometimes it is part of moving through life innocently (my unfortunate accident).
 

Then there are those real deep pains of life.
Sometimes its the physical pain that destroys our lives and intrudes on every moment of living, attempting to drag us into the depths of depression and loathing of our very existence.
 

Other times it’s the mental pains.
Whether we have a condition that changes our ability to think clearly, or our ability have “normal” emotions and perceptions(hey who is normal anyhow?), or perhaps it impacts our memory and causes us to hurt those we love. Pain is everywhere!
 

“NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!”
Is a phrase I have heard and it is a loud selfish cry demanding attention!
 

Sadly I have to say it has been mine as well!
Not only that but, I have to say I directed it at God himself. It was followed by “I just want to die and get rid of this pain”.
 

I was so, so wrong!
 

God took me to the very point I had to go in order to learn an important lesson for which I am now grateful. God accomplished his purpose and then he graciously healed me.
That was in his purpose that time, but I know that next time, even if the healing is not apparent to me, my life will be lived in his will with purpose and knowledge of it's importance. Pain may be a part of it, but it’s part of the evil brought into this world by human decisions many years ago. We have to accept that and deal with it in a constructive way. (And that is not easy at all!)

 
“NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!”  

Okay! So we need to investigate this a little more. Does God understand? Did Jesus understand? Does he care?
 

Let's look at mental anguish. How did it go with Jesus in that regard?
 

Remember that night when Jesus' friend betrayed him and sold him out to people who were there to torture and finally kill him.
He knew what was coming and asked his other friends to help. The sacred writings say “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him. He began to be sad and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sad. I feel close to death. Stay here. Keep watch with me."
 

They didn’t do well! They fell asleep while he writhed in mental anguish.

How mentally stressed have you been? Did your friends fail you? Were you facing death? In the past I had to go into an area facing potential death by being burned alive. That caused me mental anguish for a short while, and then I turned to my loving God, asked for his protection and believed he would provide it. If not, I knew I would be in a wonderful place in a short time! Then I did what God wanted me to do and entered the danger zone!  God decided he wanted me here and I knew Jesus understaood my situation fully. He has been in a far worse place than I was at the time.

Death on a cross is considered one of the most extremely horrible deaths a person can have. It is designed to cause extreme pain. But to let you die very, very, slowly, struggling and causing pain to yourself as you do so. It is the root of the word "Excruciating" which describes the worst pain a person can endure. 100 on the 10 point pain scale!
 

This is the physical pain Jesus endured!
He knows what pain is! He is God himself! He became fully human to understand and endure this pain so he could be alongside you and me right now while we hurt! He understands fully and loves us!
 

Let’s remember that Jesus knows none of us wants pain.
He didn’t want it either! The sacred writings confirm “He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want."[1]
 

None of us want pain and suffering! But notice how Jesus approaches his request! Please take it away, but if not, I will go through it! PURPOSE! Our lives have purpose! Jesus’ life had purpose, mine has and yours definitely has!
 

Let God help you develop the right attitudes while you go through the suffering.
Look to friends to help, but don’t get angry with them when they fail. They will fail to understand what you are going through and do the wrong things, even say the wrong things, but if they love you, they will be devastated to know they did this!
 

Mostly you need to know that suffering is not what God wanted for us!
Jesus came to check out the extreme form of suffering so that he could make sure you and I will be able to go to a place of no suffering. Jesus promises that if we live our lives for him, he will make sure of that we go to a heavenly place where there is NO suffering!
 

It is real good to know that Jesus is helping me make the right decisions through life!
If you are hurting, be strong, Jesus really understands and cares! Why else would the guy who made the whole universe become like you and me and allow himself to endure what he did?
 


My prayer is that God the Father, and Jesus, would take your suffering away,
but that if not, that you would let God's Holy Spirit guide you as to how best deal with your specific circumstance today. I pray that you would be strong, courageous and purposeful in how you live today! Struggle onwards and God bless you!

Remember, the fragrence of the roses is still there to be experienced despite the scratches we get! Then please remember there is a loving person who will pick us up and help us pull out the thorns!



[1] Matthew 26:39 (NIRV)

Thu, February 4, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Most powerful leader in the world?
Empires are a part of the great world powers of the past.

Great men motivate huge numbers of people to follow them. They all had their places in history.

The persian empire had many great leaders, the Greek empire had none greater than Alexander the Great who conquored the known world in 356–323 BC. Such a short time and he had such a huge impact! Unfortunately he died depressed and drunk! Then in came those Romans, Julias Ceasar being perhaps one of the best known. He lived 13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC. We know more of the Roman world since we have adoped many of its civilizing laws.

Perhaps the best known is Genghis Khan, who lived 1206–1227. He lived about twice as long as other leaders at the time. He was known for two things! Firstly because his empire was bigger than both the Greek and Roman empires, and secondly because he was the most vicious man who ever built an empire.

He killed his half brother to ensure he could have power and didn't stop there. His view was world domination and he did it by force, violence and rape. His armies destroyed a whole civilization, they put woman and children in front of advancing troops as human sheilds and then killed them. They filled moats around castle walls with bodies of soldiers, women and children they killed and then walked over them to conquor the cities.  He raped so many women that 1 in 8 asian people have some of his DNA.

Genghis became exceedingly powerful and his power stayed in place for 100years.

But where is the greatest power and influence?

Does violence enable power? Think about this. . . a carpenter without ever picking up a weapon has had a following for 2000years and it is stronger today than when he was alive. He taught love! People gladly die for his cause! People are self sacrificing for his cause!

Surely he is more influencial than any of those past leaders who's empires crumbled! How can he continue to have influence? As soon as any of those great men died, their empires crumbled. Is that carpenter somehow still alive today?

Interesting questions that demand an answer aren't they?

Hey, have a great day!
Wed, February 3, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to do a study the complicated parts of the bible: step 4 : the key characters purpose in life. . .

Last week I explained how the first 3 steps of understanding complex pieces of the bible.

These were

  • Step 1 of bible reading: Just read the piece you are going to try and understand to get a feel for it.
  • Step 2 of bible reading: Figuring out where the story took place!
  • Step 3 of bible reading: Figuring out when the people in the story lived(if possible)!

See http://www.kenxbriggs.com/2010.01.24_arch.html#1264341487316 for last weeks blog.

So today I want to deal with Step 4, which has a number of sub steps.

 Step 4 of bible reading: Understanding the daily life, sufferings and purpose of the main character.

I had picked Abraham as the subject for our learning experience since he is a guy who’s DAN contributes to much of the Middle Eastern peoples and who’s “spiritual DNA” is a basis for understanding a lot of the  rest of the first group of writings called the Old Testament.

 

We read his story in the bible starting at Genesis chapter 11 verse 27 and to get it all we read up to Chapter 23.

 

In this week’s blog on the subject we start with

Sub-step one : Understanding the daily life of the key person in the story.

 

The key person in this story is Abraham and he had an amazingly complex life, doing many things. However, by reading through the story we get some facts of his daily life.  Here are just a few facts

  • He had about 318 fighting men with him
  • He was rich
  • He didn’t live in one place long
  • He seemed to travel along the caravan routes of the ancient middle east (You need to research his life and the history of the time to figure this out, but the places mentioned around his life were part of a significant trade route).
  • His wife was one of the most wonderfully beautiful woman in the known world of the time (i.e real sexy woman!)
  • He had difficulty getting children (probably practiced quite a bit as people with this difficulty do)
  • He was expected to lead people every day.
  • He moved in and out of places where important people treated him as a significant person.
 

Okay, so given some of these facts we can build up a picture of what we think his daily life was like. We can assume he got up in the morning and after breakfast looked out at a small tent town. 318 men and their families would have meant a lot of tents, livestock and stuff around him. These people would have looked to him for guidance and for their livelihood. i.e. he had to give them work and then pay them for it. Probably he was a trader. That meant they had to carry valuable goods and protect them. (those days were a bit more lawless than today). So each day he would be expected to help sort out squabbles, direct peoples lives, negotiate taxes with local people who’s land they were living on or traveling through. He would have been busy, had lots of guys helping him.

 

The temperature was probably hot and dry sometimes, and hot and humid others. He had to deal with people of different languages (this was after the time of the tower of Babel).

 

He had to organise for pastures for their animals, which animals would be killed for the evening meal on a bonfire. Where they would buy their green food and wheat to make bread.

 

Basically the events of life would have been significant work for him every day. He was a busy, family man who lead a small town. A bit more important than the major of a town, but with more hands on control of running day to day activities.

 

Well this background, let’s look at

Sub-step two : Understanding the sufferings of the main character.

 

Let’s understand that no character in the sacred writings gets away without suffering of some sort and generally the greater the man, the more significant the lessons to be learned from their suffering.

 

Abraham doesn’t seem to have much suffering is his life, but a discerning reader would have picked out an important point very early in his life. Abraham’s father, Terah, had planned to go to Canaan, probably at the direction of God, but had missed his purpose in life and had stopped off at a place called Haran. He never got to Canaan, and instead the whole family lived at Haran.

 

Abraham together with his nephew Lot, left the family to completed the journey that Terah had never made.

 

While this is not emphasised, this must have been a point of suffering. Leaving your family, brothers and sisters behind, and going off into a world that was hostile and dangerous to a traveller, without having ever seen the place you were going too, and not knowing you will ever see your family again is not something one could do without anguish. Particularly as the ancient people were very family focussed. (note: They lived in huge family groups that us modern people can hardly understand).

 

Abraham's pain was part of the process of stepping out and trusting God to make things right, even when it didn’t seem logical! This was the great pain that followed Abraham around. All the time he had to trust God when it looked like he was going to get hurt or have to suffer in some way. |Each time God waits until the last moment to bail Abraham out. This was brought to a focus at the point when he was asked to take the son God gave him and sacrifice him back to God. How do you trust God in that type of situation? This was the point of maximum suffering that I can discern in the story of Abrahams life!

 
Okay, now to

Sub-step three: Determine the key purposes of the main characters life.
 


Abraham, I believe, had two key purposes (you will probably find more of them but these are the main ones I found).

The first was that he was to bless many nations through his descendants. So God wanted him to have sex with his wife and produce heirs that would in turn have a good time with their wives, and all would produce lots of children.(basically populating a good portion of the known world of the time).  Ultimately one of his great, great, ... great grand offspring would be Mary, who would give birth to Jesus who would bless every person on this Earth(if they accept him for who he is and let him do so). That was a key purpose to Abraham’s life.

 

The secondary purpose was to show us what great trust was like (the Christian folk call this trust “faith”). Abraham is an example of trusting God fully! How did he do this? By doing what God wanted him to do each day. He didn’t do much other than believe God’s promises and live each day believing they were true. He didn’t know how each day would work out and had a busy tough time each day. He just followed day after day of trusting God for years and years!

 

What a great way for us all to live? Do we believe God’s promises and live each day that way? How about today, is that the way we are living today?
 

I hope to do so! What about you?

Tue, February 2, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, February 1, 2010

Our Bubble world

This weekend it was -34 C outside as we drove in our little car. The interior of our car was heated and comfortable at 24C.  Thats a difference of 50 C in temperature between inside and outside. Quite a difference!

Inside the car we could sit in comfort in shirt sleeves, but outside a few minutes would result in hyperthermia, and in an hour we would probably be dead!

We all live in bubbles that make us feel safe. This earth is a bubble. It is seamingly perfectly safe, but the more we learn about the environment outside our earth the more we realize we are on a very very specially constructed place that with only a little change would be as cold as the outside of my car, or alternatively hotter than we could endure! There are many many things that if changed just slightly would explode our earth bubble.

Then there is our lives! We think we can live them just the way we want without ongoing consequences. We are so wrong here. This again is a case of living in a bubble. This bubble is much more dangerous that the other two I mentioned because they can only make the difference between life and death. If this bubble is broken, the consequence is eternal pain or eternal gain.

I prefer the gain!

What do we want to do? Regarding our Earth, lets get behind the green movement, regarding our spiritual eternity, lets find out about what Jesus said did and recommended.

Have a wonderful day!

Mon, February 1, 2010 | link          Comments


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