Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, April 23, 2010
We cry for the inhumanity
Fri, April 23, 2010 | link
I was reading an article by a young teen at http://www.teenink.com/opinion/love_relationships/article/27188/My-Favorite-Shirt/ which had as its theme “love”. This young girl Kim.C.Hendon makes comments like,
“Then we see the world
fall apart. From the safety of our living rooms we watch amateur video on the news or Internet, and sometimes we feel so helpless
and alone we’re not sure what to do. We cry for the inhumanity, scream for the injustice, and wonder why the world is
this way. We think we can change the world; we know we want to help those who need it most…”
want it back; we fight and scramble for it. We go out and buy new shirts, try them on, but none seems to fit. We’ve
lost it – we’ve lost love. We are unnerved for a bit; we sit alone and beat ourselves up for letting it go. Then
we just we shrug it off. We say, “I’ll do it later” or “I’m too busy.” I’m guilty
of it too: “I don’t have the right resources” or “I’m too young” or “No one will
care.” And it seems as if no one does.”
I do believe she captures the
feeling that many of us feel!
Today we hear of an oil rig that exploded in the gulf and is pumping 8000
gallons an hour of pollution into an area where over two thirds of the migrating birds of the USA reside in marshlands! Are
we taking care of our Earth?
Do we really care enough to disadvantage ourselves to
achieve the goal of improving this planet for everyone!
This for me is a
key question! I hear enough people complaining about how we have lost love and focus, but I also see those same people quite
comfortable each weekend, doing absolutely nothing that contributes to improving life for others in any way.
did we last go out and do something to contribute on a Friday or Saturday evening?
Do we write letters
to our governing leaders to get them to understand the application of true principles that will help us all?
How involved are we in walking our talk?
This is true whether we are Christians
or not! As Christians we are held to a higher standard!
God wants us to love unconditionally.
We must love God, our neighbors and follow God’s guidelines.
The amazing thing is that when we become active in a Christian group
that contributes to improving others or the environments we are in, we find ourselves!
paraphrase Kim’s words as we see the world fall apart it’s not only from the safety of our living
rooms we watch amateur video on the news or Internet.
We don’t feel so helpless and alone
and unsure of what to do. As we cry for the inhumanity, scream for the injustice, and wonder why the world is this
way we have friends around us who join us in answering these questions and helping us to change the world. We will know we
are helping those who need it most, as much as we can at any rate!
God’s guidance helps us go out
and achieve new things!
As we try them on, we find that we are comfortable resting in the peace
and joy of our heavenly Fathers guidance and love. Those around us may find nothing seems to fit, but we find ourselves
and a true path in life.
It may be unnerving at the start but it’s exhilarating
as we progress! When we sit alone, we are accompanied by Holy Spirit and a presence of the universe in control! We
no longer shrug it off or say, “I’ll do it later” or “I’m too busy.” I’m guilty
of it too: “I don’t have the right resources” or “I’m too young” or “No one will
care” because what we do matters, and we have joined with the God of the Universe in caring!
go make a difference and build up our world today!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Earth day, what should we do?
Thu, April 22, 2010 | link
What are you doing to help the Earth today? We
have an amazing planet! I got some real interesting facts from a website on space.
The hottest place on earth is in Libya (El Aziza) 57.8 C or 136 F,
the coldest is -89 C or -129 F at Vostok in Antartica.
The air around lightening bolts is
five times the temperature of the sun. Some rocks float! I tossed one off the island
of Santorini in Greece and watch my wifes amazement when it floated away. (It’s called Pumice and is made from volcanic
The highest water falls 3,212 feet (979 meters) at Angel falls in
The distance from the surface of
Earth to the center is about 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers).
We breath and need oxygen
to live but the air is 80% nitrogen! Ask any diver since that’s what causes the bends if we don’t
obey rules when diving.
What a diverse planet we have!
The bible says “For
since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly
seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”- Romans 1:20
see God in creation! No matter how we argue it we have an amazing planet and to think it happened by chance is a delusion.
I’m not arguing that there are scientific processes that explain some of it and that these accurately depict certain
events, but what I do firmly believe is that the decision points that make this planet move towards order and amazing ability
don’t happen by chaotic chance.
That said what does God expect us to do with regard to this wonderful planet?
Well the first thing God did was ask us to name the variety and diversity! That is something we
are still doing! Every new thing we discover gets given a name or number. Whether it be a new star or a new starfish, we dutifully
name the item so that the next person knows what it is. Just doing our duty to God J !
Next we need to acknowledge God made this earth and lives on it!
the bible says, “Acts 17:24 He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven
and earth. He doesn't live in temples built by hands”
God understands our biodiversity “1 Corinthians 15:39All earthly creatures are not the same. People have one kind of body. Animals have another. Birds have another kind.
Fish have still another.”
God also put us in charge of looking after the Earth and its diversity Genesis 1:28 God blessed them. He said to them, "Have children and increase your numbers.
Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Rule over every
living creature that moves on the ground."
How well do we do this? Do we try and make sure that
the Earth we are born into is not adversely impacted by our existence by the time we die? What is our “life footprint”?
Do we try to make a positive difference in our world?
Today it’s Earth day and it is time to reflect
on how we can change some things we do or some attitude we have to better do what God commands and correctly rule over this
Are we despotic squanderers of the resources of life or are we benevolent and
caring towards our life support system, this EARTH?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Subjective or Objective? Whatís the difference anyhow?
Wed, April 21, 2010 | link
“That’s your opinion!”
are words we often see tossed at another in a heated conversation.
Is it really
saying that the opinion is subjective and that an objective approach to the same subject would be better suited to the current
I don’t really think so! Normally when these words are used the person is saying
“I have my
own opinion and it’s not what you just indicated!”Normally both
are being subjective! It’s incredibly hard to be objective and actually I am not sure it is even possible.
In a book called “objectivity” the authors by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison argue the objects
of the objectivity shape the people who are reporting on them. Whether we try and represent things accurately or
try to use trained judgement, they point out we are simultaneously cultivating a “self” where the “knowing”
and “knower” come together and that at that point the very act of seeing takes on the view of a member of that
particular society or group.
I couldn’t agree more! Objectivity is a view of a group according
to predetermined rules of viewing the object to be known!
So what does that have to do with us?
Well, often we
are told to be objective, without the person explaining which set of rules we are to use to be objective. Similarly
we can be told we are NOT objective without indicating the context the person is using to define that objectivity.
a photograph of an object is subjective! The photographer chooses what is to be framed, the depth of field, the colours
that will be produced, the lighting etc. If a photograph cannot be objectively displayed (and being a lousy photographer,
I know that this art takes skill), then what about a human description of something is objective?
what I am saying is that we are all subjective and objectivity is at its best, an attempt to align our view
to others to allow them to see things from their chosen perspective!
Next time we decide to be objective,
we need to understand what framework the other is working from in order to present our information.
that mean we should agree the others “objective” framework is correct? Not necessarily!
I link to use the truth principle to
evaluate frameworks (and that itself I do understand is subjective).
close does this objective stance align to absolute truth?” is a key
question for me.
Since I am a Christian, my objective viewpoint is necessarily coloured by my own experiences
and hence I test truth against biblical guidelines.
This may or may not be the same for you and that’s
I will try to adopt the objective perspective others use to understand the groups and discern truth as deeply
as I can. I don’t automatically reject other “realities” but investigate their “truth” and test
it against what I have learnt over years of studying our world. My greatest joy is to find alignment between the objective
view of others and my own objective viewpoint of God’s great plan for us.
that you have an opinion! It’s even better when I can see and learn from your opinion something that align’s
me more with the great truths of our universe!
What I don’t get is people who make supposedly objective statements
that are so subjective that they exclude others from their perspective. Surely we want to be as open as possible,
not pushing others away, or indicating that if they don’t agree with us they are in some way inferior?
we so arrogant as to miss the humility God wants us to have, that of knowing that absolute truth is his alone, and
that we can only try to reflect it?
Today as I discuss subjects with others, I will be trying to remember
that I have a subjective view, no matter how objective I try to be. I will try to understand the context from which
others are speaking. Most of all as I try to communicate with God and understand the context from which he is speaking, I
hope to try and represent things accurately or try to use my trained judgement, simultaneously cultivating a “self”
where the “knowing” and “knower” come together. I know that at the point the very act of seeing will
take on the (fuzzy)view of God.
In that way, I get closer to being objective than ever before, since “truth”
for me is objective, and God is “Truth”!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Death? A certainty! Itís sting? optional!
Tue, April 20, 2010 | link
... The last few weeks have been tough as the shock of two deaths occurred
in families around me and for whom I care, resounded in my life!
I got to ask myself, “What about death is so scary?”
I got to answer it “The
unknown and the potential of leaving pain and uncertainty in the people I love who are left behind!”
The unknown is the main aspect I want to address! We are all going to die (at least
there is a very, very high probability we all will!). Only a few people in biblical history haven’t!
So I think it’s probably a good thing to accept that death is certain despite everything we do to avoid it!
There is also a comfort in death! There comes a time in our life when the work of
living is painful and not very rewarding, our bodies are packing in and we no longer have quality of life. I have seen in
my years people who have accepted their future, said their good-byes, and relaxed into the arms of death to knowingly go to
a better place.
Unfortunately for those left behind there is not much comfort in this!
The pain of missing their presence overcomes any comfort of this sort. It’s a good pain, because it is one that acknowledges
the value of their life! It helps us know our love for them and those around them.
We do however need to
move on and take on the life they have left to us to administer with courage and strength, asking Holy Spirit to
guide us and help us fill in the gaps that have been torn into our lives.
unknown! Where are they going?
Sadly, we cannot know fully, and I try to leave that aspect to
God himself and rather believe the best for each person. Who knows what decisions they made in the small hours of
the morning when no-one was around. I want to see them again in heaven, pain free and joyful being fully mobile, fully capable,
and fully forgiven!
The bible says; “ ‘Death, where is the battle you thought you were winning?
where is your sting?’ —(Hosea 13:14) The sting of death is sin. And the power of sin is the law.
But let us give thanks to God! He wins the battle for us because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done.”
Yes! Dying without a relationship with Jesus is where death is disastrous! Dying with that
relationship is enabling!
The simple fact is that we need to start living our lives with purpose,
the purpose set out by God, and then we can know that when ever death chooses to surprise us, we are victorious!
mean we don’t cry and grieve when we loose a precious family member or friend. Sure we can! Jesus wept
for exactly that reason on this Earth!
What it does mean is that this is not the end for us! What it
means is that our loved one has made their eternal choice but ours is still in the balance and ready to be secured! What it
means is we can enter God’s kingdom now, we can start the exciting work right here, right now if we chose to!
Today as I work I will think of those that have gone on from this life! My prayers are that all
that is Godly in them might be learnt and propagated by myself, that my own and other families impacted by this would have
the courage to live purpose filled lives in memory of our loved ones, and that I would have the privilege of chatting to them
in heaven when we all get there.
go live our lives with purpose!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Getting to be successful takes some effort
Mon, April 19, 2010 | link
Most of us are up and getting ready
to go to work, or maybe we have been on the job for a few hours, others are working at home!
What ever the location, we all have activities
to perform and often we ask ourselves if are we successful in choosing what we do and in doing it.
I know in the past, I have wondered if I choose the right
profession! In fact, in my early years I definitely appeared to have chosen incorrectly. I choose a profession based on the
income and not based on the living location and conditions required to generate the income. I gave up that “career”
to enable my children to get educated in good schools. A selfless gesture based on God’s prompting. A crazy thing that
ended up being the best thing I could have done! I threw away many years of tertiary education in a specific field to start
again at the bottom. What a learning experience that was! What a blessing!
this time many young people are starting to ask themselves how they are going to launch themselves from a schooling situation
into one where they are earning money to live from a “career”.
word “career” is bandied about as if it is important, I cannot help asking myself if this isn’t
another castle in the sky built by people who want to control the average person.
I used to work as an employee in a company and was a good company man, but now days I work
for myself, a consultant, one who can be employed and fired at a whim! I watch how companies treat long term employees. Just
the other day I heard a new MBA man, a rising star in a huge corporation saying he didn’t like the way that they had
a “last in first out” policy to retrenching people. His statement was that older people are less adaptable to
change and should be the first “we get rid of”. When I asked if an investment of ones life, 30 or more years of
working to build that corporation was worth something, his comment was “Dunno, I suppose so!”
This is the same guy who will be helping others
along their “career” path! Is he qualified? Will he treat the older person correctly? What about the
young person who later becomes old? Some of us entering the workforce will one day be in that position! I want to remind you
that in this world trusting in man is an elusive activity if we do we are almost sure to be disappointed! I have found as a consultant
I have often been given work of a person “let go” by the corporation.
It’s got to do with success! If
we measure ourselves by how fast we progress in our career, or by how much money and toys we can accumulate, we will at some
point reach the situation where it all suddenly becomes at risk, or life changes, and we get left with a handful
of dust and having to re-evaluate our options.
not aim at success from the start? I use the old maxim of “love God and your neighbor as yourself” as a launch
point. Purpose for me is being successful at following God’s guidelines for today, and repeating that more effectively
tomorrow. I try to make sure yesterday is worse than tomorrow, and that I gravitate to a more comprehensive and complete
achievement of the guidelines in the activities of each day.
way I can look at set backs as opportunity to apply learning experiences into my walk with my loving heavenly Father.
I get to talk to Him about what bugs me and try to make life a little better for each person with which I am joined in activities
during the day. I discipline myself to help others. I apply the tough love principle in that I know that not everyone is just,
fair and truthful, and I am as just, fair and truthful as I can be, even if it hurts those who are not. I do this because
I believe the principles if learned by others will benefit them hugely! I also work at 70% of my full potential to allow time
for relationships and talking to God as I go, and because I understood from an industry expert who worked with getting the
best performance from fighter pilots that we as humans perform best and make the best decisions with this type of loading.
Success is in effectively walking with God during
the day, no matter what comes at me! Its not in the Job description because that will change, it’s in how I deal with
those with whom I share the work!
What is success for you?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thereís a gap in time between the new and old writings!
Sun, April 18, 2010 | link
Today’s writing is a bit different to the usual. I am looking into that gap in time
where writings between the Old and New testaments are not recorded in the bible! This could be considered a lightning tour
of the history of ancient intertestamental times!
Why we need to know this? Surely “boring” history is not applicable if it
is not mentioned in the bible?
Actually it is very important to understanding Jesus and what he did! It is key to knowing the
context into which Jesus came, and why he chose that specific point in the history of our earth! By getting some understanding
of this, we can start to fully understand what we need to be careful of in our current church environments. Maybe we can learn
how to deal with change successfully instead of poorly? Maybe we will understand how God changes things that appear bad for
his good purpose?
Maybe we can learn not to get damaged as life changes us?
period was a period dominated by Greek and Roman rule of Palestine with only a brief period when the Jews were masters of
their own destiny. This period generated the conditions that resulted in Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, having significant
socio-political impact immediately during the time of Christ.
at how things ended in the OLD TESTAMENT times. (The dates are approximate only). The Temple was central to worship in these
times but the Jews had been taken into slavery and their temple destroyed. God was not happy with the Jews of that day! Then
things start to change. . .
B.C. 520 The old testament prophets Haggai
and Zechariah begin to prophecy.
B.C. 521 Persian Empire King Darius allows the Jews to
rebuild their temple. He wrote an edict to allow this and part of this edict still exists today! This is amazing! A king allowing
slaves to go free and giving them stuff!
B.C. 509 Roman Empire is established for the first time!
King Xerxes(Ahasuerus) becomes King of Persia, . . . replaces Darius his father.
Ester saves Jews from extinction. [see the book of Ester in the Bible] She was sure beautiful!
Ezra takes some Jews back to Palestine. It’s the time of Obadiah, Malachi, and Nehemiah. [see
books of these names in the OLD TESTAMENT]
B.C.447 Greeks start building the Parthenon.
(A big temple on a mountain called the Acropolis. . .you can walk around it in Athens today. Buy a flight to Greece and go
see it J )
The first phase of rebuilding of the Temple is completed, Nehemiah rebuilds the temple
this was the end of times the bible wrote about, and now we get into that time that was before the New Testament started,
the intertestamental period.
In about 339 BC. a
Greek man takes the throne of Greece and unites many different Greek groups under his rule. This was Phillip of Macedonia,
the guy who gave the city of Phillipi its name. On the eastern side of his lands there is the great Persian empire. Three
years after Phillip comes into power the rule in Persia changes and a guy called Darius III Codomannus becomes king of Persia.
He was a bit of a wimp as Persian kings go, and unfortunately for him, it was in a battle with Persians that Phillip was assassinated,
making way for his son Alexander to take control of Greece.
young man really got upset and attacked the Persians. It turns out he was quite a military strategist. A young man
ahead of his years! In 333 B.C. he took the Persian King on in the battle of Issus. He was vastly outnumbered. More than 2
Persians for each Greek, but he was smart. His battle tactics are still studied in military schools. He beat up the Persians
and went on to conquer all the known world of the time. He eventually became known as Alexander the Great!
He was a wild party man and it got to him. He contracted an illness fell down at one
of his parties and died in 323 B.C. with no heir and no plan as to who would take control.
So political fighting started ending with three of his generals splitting the empire between
them. These became
- Ptolemaic kingdom of south (around Egypt),
Empire in the North East, (around Syria)
- Pergamon Empire in East (around Asia
Right in the middle of these warring groups
were the Jews. People kept coming through their country on the way to war with the other empire, and the helped themselves
to stuff the Jews had along the way! Not a nice time to be living in Palestine!
During this time the Greeks were continually in control of the Jews and enforced their language as the
main language of trade. Then something big for Christians and Jews happened in 285 B.C. and it had to do with King
Ptolemy. He ordered that 72 Jewish scribes take their Jewish bible (Old testament) and rewrite it in Greek! The word goes
that he had each one put in a different room and each one was told to translate. When they compared them, they found them
to be identical. [That’s the folk story around that. This was reported by a first century historian!]
A lot of our bible has been translated from the Septuagint. Jesus quoted from it!
The wars between Greeks continued. During this time the Greeks start to interfere with Jewish temple worship. First they pick
a Jewish levite who wanted to be Greek, called Jason and put him in charge. Later once a different bunch of Greek took control,
they moved him out the way and put in a guy called Menelaus in charge. The pios Jews HATED him! Then a rumor appeared that
the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes was dead.
deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem
and the official Antiochus appointed as High Priest, Menelaus, was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot.
When the King's got back from his fighting in Egypt in 167 BC he attacked Jerusalem to re-instate Menelaus, then it is said
the following occurred. . .
“ When these
happenings were reported to the king, he thought that Judea was in revolt. Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt
and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took
refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and
infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same
number being sold into slavery. ” — 2 Maccabees 5:11-14
Worse than that he
went into the temple, into the Holy of holies and it is said he sacrificed a pig to Zeus on the altar!
The Jews were furious! To add insult to injury, the gymnasium, built
alongside their precious temple had naked guys doing sports in it (totally not approved by the Jewish religion) and some Jews
even tried to get their circumcision reversed so they could be “true” competitors.
Finally the Jews could take it no longer and in the town of Modiem
a Jewish priest refused the orders of a Greek official to sacrifice to Greek gods, and when one of his townsfolk offered to
do it, he killed them both! Knowing he and his family would be dead if he stuck around, he literally headed for the hills
and was amazed by the number of other families that joined him. These pious Jews were called the Hasidim or “pious ones”,
but now as they followed Mattathais Maccabee into the hills they became known as the Maccabeans!
Now events unfolded rather quickly. . .
B.C. 166 Mattahius
Maccabeus dies, Judas takes over
B.C. 164 Judas RE-DEDICATES the temple after pushing back on the Greeks to
do this. This is the origin of the Jewish feast of Chanukah, feast of lights (temple oil for one day lasted
a miraculous eight days)B.C. 163 Greeks agree to leave
the Jews alone. THEY ARE FREE AT LAST!
So now politics
are Jewish only and the HASIDIM and HELLENIZERS(Greek lovers) start civil war!
BC. 151 A small group of Hasidim start the Qumran society which is the start of Essenes
and Dead Sea scrolls. These dead sea scrolls give us a lot of confirmation our bible is translated correctly!
B.C.135 John Hyrcanus becomes high priest in Jerusalem. He’s a Greek compromising
Jew or Hellenizer but to consolidate his power he destroys the Samaritan temple on Mt Gerizim. That’s why Samaritans
and Jews hated each other in Jesus day! The main group of Hasidim (Jewish pure ones) become known as Pharisees, and the temple
priests(more Greek compromisers) become known as the Sadducees.
is a bit of information on these different groups:
- ordinary” people,
did not exclude themselves from community
- included the prophets and had an oral tradition or “Mishna”,
on the Levitical purity (believed in ritual washing and purity),
- believed in life after death,
- believed in angels and
- Considered themselves the “pure ones” and were against compromising with the Greeks.
- Looked after the temple
and temple treasure
- positions of political and religious leaders, compromised with the Greeks
people , everything based on “Torah”
- Did not believe in life after death
- did not believe in angels
- believed in life after death
- believed in angels and demons
- Had their own temple
worship rites but kept separate from other groups
- Considered both Hasidim and Sadducees incorrect
in their beliefs.
In the broader world, other things are happening. .
- B.C. 133 Rome begins to expand her empire eastward
- BC. 64, JEWISH CIVIL WAR AT PEAK
Aristobulus(Sadducees group leader) and supporters
were besieged in the Temple of Jerusalem by Hyrcanus and his ally, the Arabian sheik Aretas of Petra(those wanting to be in
control). Aristobulus asks for Roman help from General Pompey of Rome.
- B.C. 63
POMPEY takes over Palestine, he sides with Hyrcanus, but screws up and enters the Holy Of Holies. Anyohow he allowed
it to be purified and rededicated, but leaves the Maccabean high priest Hyrcanus in power.
- B.C. 59 Julius Caesar
controls Rome; Pompey marries Julia, daughter of Caesar
- B.C. 44 Julius Caesar is assassinated (Ides of March),
civil war starts in Rome.
- B.C. 40 Herod becomes King of Judea
- B.C. 37 Herod becomes King of Jerusalem
(w Roman help)
- B.C. 31 Octavian takes control of Rome
- BC 21 Octavian takes title of Caesar Augustus
20 Herod begins to rebuild the temple
- BC 4 Herod
So what did this do for Jesus?
Well he was born
in about 4 B.C. into the relative peace due to Roman occupation. There was ease of trade due to
Roman roads and ease of communication due to Greek language and Septuagint. He was born into the crossroads
of the known world ensuring his words could travel swiftly to the different parts of the known world.
We need to know about
this intertestamental period because it sets the scene for the environment Jesus lived in. It helps us understand
the social tensions around Jesus. It helps us understand how incredible Jesus was to reach the world at this point in time.
Finally it helps us understand God intervened continually to keep the Jews safe from others and themselves.
This means to me that if God
can bring the Jews through these huge challenges, he can help our world with its challenges today! In Hebrews 13:8 it says
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
prepared history for Jesus to come, and God has prepared us to live for him!
Can we change this
world for Jesus? Keep it safe, renewable, and correctly managed?Do we have the courage and purpose to live our life in God’s will and love?
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The town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman
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A horrific mining accident results in Joshua
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|Frugal Eating Advice
|Good advice for students living on limited $'s. Click on the image!
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