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Friday, May 21, 2010

Sometimes the unexpected happens
. 
There is a cool story of the avalanche victim who survived for 17 hours under snow before being rescued.


 
A true modern miracle!

 
Swiss mountain rescuers hailed Genoud's escape a "miracle" after he was hit by the avalanche while skiing off-piste alone on Saturday”

 Some of Genoud’s comments are 

 “I started on a north facing slope, the snow was holding well,"

 "Then I moved to a sunny spot,"

 "I felt it was unreal. I couldn't move my legs or hands, I could just move my head... It was like a sarcophagus, like having concrete around me."

 “I saw lights... I shouted a lot," 

 "I kept on telling myself that I mustn't give up, that people loved me," 

 The rescuers comments were 

"Everyone agrees that 17 hours with one's face buried in the snow is quite extraordinary,"
 "It is, according to commonly used terminology, a miracle."

 A wonderful pleasure filled day in the sun and snow turned nasty in an instant. Genoud had no time to react and things became ugly, cold and constraining.
 
 How would we have reacted in that instant? 

 Would we have called out to God or would we have had no-one to shout out to?

Would love have kept us going for 17 hours of extreme cold and discomfort, or do we not have had enough love in our life to have kept us holding on?

 I hope that like in other circumstances in my life where I have been surprised by unfortunate circumstances I would have called out to God for help.

 
 I expect I would have spent the 17 hours praying for all the people I know. We need to pray and that’s a wonderful opportunity to use that time constructively. Love is powerful! I know that, so I believe one of the ways to overcome great distress is by great love!

 I believe I would have experienced peace because of God’s love for me!  Peace, because God has shown me so many times that he cares and that he provides a perfect way to make me pure and right with him.  I would know that God is supreme, and so I would have had a calm in those difficult circumstances that would be hard to explain!

 “Ha!” you may say, “but wait until it happens to you! You are not Genoud!”

 Let me tell you another story. . .

 A young man was in a mortar pit on a border keeping peace between his country and another.

He was laughing and joking with  friends when the night sky was lit up with AK47 tracer rounds passing just over their heads. The air was filled with bullets and the rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire. It was totally unexpected in that it came from a direction in which they had only expected friendly people to come. Nobody was supposed to know there were there!

 That young man was me, and those men were my friends!

 I was the only believing Christian there and it was interesting because we were newly trained and this was the first time we came under enemy fire.

Everyone grabbed their rifles and ducked into the shallow trench. I saw fear in their eyes as they lay in the full moon watching the light display of tracers zipping inches over their heads. The radio operator in the next trench was almost crying and was so shocked that he couldn’t get the distress call out. Someone had to get to him as he was our only link with help. To get to him someone had to cross open ground right where the tracers were flying.

 I know I will have peace in difficult circumstances because that time I had total peace!

  The bullets didn’t bother me and neither did the noise and fear in those around me. I had a serene peace and knowledge my life was totally in God’s hands.

I assessed the situation, told the guys not to shoot me because I had to cross in front of their rifles, and left safety to leopard crawl to the radio operator. I crawled past in the open, right in front of our own guys, and in the sights of the opposing forces. I trusted God to make me invisible somehow. I chose to try and help those I loved because it was right and I trusted God to save me! He did! He saved us all as the radio call brought relief.
 

When Paul says,

 “We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 

 he is not speaking in theoretical abstractions. 

 It is real! God is real! His gift of eternal life is real! Our faith response really brings on peace and healing of hurts. It moves us from self focus to others focus! It takes us from the mundane to the miracle! It is a surprisingly exciting and a wonderful way to work out our lives purpose!
 

Today let’s go out in the power of God, with his peace in our hearts and make a difference to our world!  

  
Fri, May 21, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pain for gain or to hurt us?
...
Pain for gain or to hurt us?
 

I have a “spur” on the bones of my neck according to people in the medical profession. It causes both my shoulders to ache and me to lack power to lift things. It is aggravating, and causes me to loose sleep and spend many nights tossing and turning trying to find that one position in which the pain is at as low a level as is possible.


 

God has not yet done anything to remove this from me. Maybe he will but he has not done anything yet!


 

A few years back I had such bad back pain from a collapsed disk that I could not sleep and could not even walk further than about 100 feet without having to change posture by sitting for a short time until the pain of sitting got to bad, then I could walk again.

I carried a “shooting stick” around with me (one of those walking sticks that open up at the top to make a seat so you look like a fool sitting on top of a stick!). That pain was far worse than the pain I have now. God chose to have a sports surgeon cut and remould my disk so that I now have almost normal range of movement. (I even do climbing as a sport, hence my dislike for these painful shoulders).


 

A longer time back I was busy dying, loosing so much weight that I was skin and bones and finally couldn’t get out of bed to go to church on Sundays. I didn’t have a diagnosis, had seen many doctors and no body was helping. Then a lady in our church had the audacity to “prophecy” over me I would be healed. I didn’t believe in it and told her. That didn’t stop the elders arriving and anointing me with oil and praying over me.

The next week I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. The right diet and all was well but I was told it was incurable and I would be on the diet for the rest of my life.

I wasn’t! God healed me, first by allowing me to have communion bread (poison to a coeliac) and then all the foods that normally would have caused problems. I am healed to today! The pain was removed!


 

Why tell you this?


 

Well I want everyone to know God is not subject to manipulation! 

God does as he pleases, but I know he does everything for a purpose. Because I had coeliac disease, I can minister and help those who have. It turns out that in our church there are a number of coeliac sufferers.

That back pain changed my young self opinionated self to one that cares for the elderly and has huge compassion for those in that type of pain. I now help instead of criticising and I can give valuable advice on techniques for reducing the pain and coping with it.

 

I still have to see the purpose of my sore shoulders but I know there is a purpose!


 

Do you know lack of pain can deform and kill you? That’s what happens with leprosy! It’s not the disease that causes deformation, but not noticing scratches etc. that become infected. Why do lepers not notice? Because they feel no pain!


 

Similarly in our lives! Pain is a warning that we need to pay attention and get closer to God, that we should open ourselves to Holy Spirit and let him touch us. Sometimes the pain will be removed, but sometimes it has purpose. We will all know the purpose some day but for now, all I want is the grace to deal with it and those around me correctly and in love. If you are hurting, whether physically, psychologically, or socially, know that god loves you and will be with you whatever you feel and do.


 
I trust him! Do you?

 

Thu, May 20, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do we have to work at being Spiritual?

...

 

Today it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the number of self-help spirituality books and magazines!


 

Amazon alone in this section has 5504 books on the subject and that’s only one source. It’s a crazy mixed up world with everyone punting a different story or process or work program that can change some aspect of your life you feel may be in error.

 

Why then does the Christian approach have any value at all? Why should we even consider it to have a truth not found in the milieu of religions spin-offs?

Perhaps because of what Paul says in Romans 4:4&5 which is “When a man works, his pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to him. But things are different with God. He makes evil people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God.”

Most of these self help articles are based on us having to work towards or at something and then we get to achieve a level of spiritual acceptance that is not available to those who have not worked to it. To gain a level of spirituality, there is demands that need to be met or levels that have to be achieved.

 

I guess this in modern thought is best exemplified by our gaming tradition where to finish the game, we have to fight our way through different levels pushing back evil to finally succeed.


 

God’s view of us this is that it is total garbage!


 

God knows we are spiritual before we even come to him! He already has taken us to the highest level before we even start the game. The only pre-requisite is that we believe it! We acknowledge Jesus died and rose from the dead to give us the final answer and we are there! No having to work through the levels. No need to punish our bodies, or self manipulate our minds towards some human or pseudo- spiritual (more likely psychological) objective.


 

No! All God looks for is a relationship with us and for us to response in love to him. Then everything is accepted as being right, before we start to respond!


 

Then, because of our love for God and because we understand what he has given us, we tend to want to do things to say thanks. We do this because we see that the all knowing God has some wise advice that helps us if we follow it! We are not working to an objective, we are loving wisely! We love God, our neighbours and ourselves because of the great love God has for us before we even thought of all this!


 

That’s why I don’t bother with the self-helps available in book stores. Simply getting to know our wonderful savior and responding in love to our perceptions of what holy Spirit asks us to do is enough. There is one book that I really appreciate though, the bible, and the rest pale in insignificance compared to that one!


 

So today, let us realise its not what we do that makes us acceptable to God, it’s what he has done for us!
We are all king’s kids inheriting unexplained riches!
Have a great day!

Wed, May 19, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

With this ring, I thee WEDNESDAY!
...

With this ring, I thee WEDNESDAY!
 I have just purchased a Kindle and have been enjoying the pleasure of having the device read to me on the way to and from work each day as I navigate the traffic on one of North America’s busiest highways.

 
A calm introduced while listening to a story or the news during my drive to and from work takes the anxiety and stress of “getting there”. I drive better and arrive at my destination in a better mood and more able to correctly interact with the day.

 
Today I was listening to the electronic voice reading of “The Copper Scroll” by Joel C. Rosenberg. All was going well then during a poignant moment at a wedding of two main characters, the words “With this ring, I thee WEDNESDAY!” were said. It totally changed the mood. It was ridiculous! 

When I glanced at the text it read “With this ring, I thee wed.”

 
The electronic brain couldn’t understand context and thought “wed” was short for “Wednesday”. Dumb, but understandable!

 
Context is very important in life and is very easy to screw up.

That’s why computers still haven’t understood language properly and why we don’t let computers make decisions that are important. It’s why every now and then the stock exchange in New York has to be reset by a time out period. Machines just do what we enable them to do and they don’t get context unless it is very specifically provided to them.


 
We are far better at understanding context as people because from the moment we arrive in this world we start trying to make sense of our context. We get better at it over time, but never become a real expert because context is everything in the universe and we have finite brains capable of assimilating only a little of this total truth.


 
What we really need to do is understand that we like that tin brain of a kindle, also get context wrong every so often.

Like the tin brain, we are only tracking according to what we believe to be what we should do. Unlike the tin brain, we have the ability to realize this! That is the difference!

 
God wants us to give thought to the fact that we have limited understanding and we can only see things now “as through a glass darkly”. Only once we get to heaven will we understand context fully.

 
This means as we go about our activities during the day we should always be aware that we could be seeing a circle or triangle from our particular perspective, instead of the cone that God sees.

Our viewpoint may be constrained. That doesn’t mean we are wrong in what we are saying, only that it may not be all there is, or all that happened.


 
A while back a lady in our church said something that upset a lot of people. I am absolutely certain she thinks she said something else, that her heart was right, that she heard from God right, maybe her fiends were so aligned with her words that they also though she said what she intended, but her words were not structured to deliver that message with clarity. Others only heard what she "said" and rightfully got upset.

What we needed was the two parties to talk to each other and sort it out. i.e. find the cone.


 
They didn’t! What a shame! Both refused to talk to the other (pride?) and so  resulted in splitting a portion of our wonderful people of that church away from our Sunday worship together.

Why? Context screw-ups! (followed closely by many spiritual screw ups on all sides)


 
That’s why I want to keep to ALL of Gods advice! When a screw-up occurs, we can track to one simple test, i.e. Are we loving God and our neighbour? Jesus said we should, and we should even love our enemies. We should be humble and not proud! When we check against all these it often enables us to see the cone instead of a circle or triangle.

 

Today I want to try and keep my context’s straight.
How about you?

Tue, May 18, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, May 17, 2010

Modern slavery! Yes, it happens today!
....
Modern slavery! Yes, it happens today!
 

Is slavery abolished in first world countries? We pride ourselves on being progressive, future oriented, technologically advanced, and yet in some ways we still use age old methods to keep our economy running and we lock people into working for us so that we can make more money.


 

How does this happen? “Not in North America and Europe” I here people say! Really?


 

Reach into your wallet and pull out the plastic and look at it. Now add up the amount of credit you can get, and compare the amount to the income you can earn monthly. For many people the credit they have is many times their monthly income. How can this be? Who in their right mind would take their hard earned money and make it available to a lender who cannot pay it back easily?


 

People don’t get given credit because the banks want to help them! They get given credit because the banks want to enslave them. It’s the only legal form of slavery!


 
What is slavery? The online dictionary defines it as “bondage: the state of being under the control of another person”.

 

Think about it! When we get into credit card debt we get into a situation where everything we do is actually to provide money to the lenders. They control our existence. The power of the money owed, looms over us like an overlord and drains our strength. We cannot do what we want and the debt is almost impossible to pay back if we have misused our credit. If we have used our credit to pay for something to keep us going through the month when our money ran out, we are in deep trouble.


 

The banks and credit card people know this and use this effectively.  Debts are not easily forgiven, and we end up working second jobs and trying desperately to find ways to cover our debts. We are slaves!


 

In the old days people used to sell their children into slavery to get out of debt, today we sell ourselves as working machines to credit companies, to get out of debt.


 

So what’s the moral of this story? We need to pay of any credit we use in the month we use it! i.e. live within our available means and we will not get into slavery!


 

I have been talking of modern monetary slavery, but there is another kind as well, Paul talks of it in Romans 6. He says. . .


 
“Don't you know that when you give yourselves to obey someone you become that person's slave? You can be slaves of sin. Then you will die. Or you can be slaves who obey God. Then you will live a godly life. You used to be slaves of sin. But thank God that with your whole heart you obeyed the teachings you were given! You have been set free from sin. You have become slaves to right living.”

 

He is talking of being a slave to our selfish, nasty and ignorant desires! It’s not so different from credit card slavery really. We desire what we should not desire. We selfishly grab for what we should not have and we get ourselves into the sticky mess of sin! It hangs onto us and drags us down! We know we have done wrong but cannot get out of it! Everything we do is tainted by what we have done.


 

If we do not get out of this situation, it will go with us to our deathbeds and we then pass from this world to an eternal existence in this state. Not nice! But there is good news!


 

Paul explains God made a way out of it through Jesus. Like a rich brother can come to our aid when we are in credit card debt and pay it off setting us free, Jesus comes to our aid in spiritual terms and pays off our sin debt. That debt that selfish, nasty, ignorant and stupid things that we have done builds up.


 

What happens then? We are set free!

 

Are we free to go and get back into debt! No! We are free to live lives in the right way! We should want to live lives in the right way! We should become slaves to freedom! This is a choice of love! Like we would love our brother for paying off our credit card debt and show it by not going back into it, we show our love of Jesus by willingly not doing selfish, nasty, ignorant or stupid things any more. We chose Godly spirituality over Evil spirituality!

 

Now that’s a debt I what I want to live under. What about you?

Mon, May 17, 2010 | link          Comments

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can we decide to be spiritual? If so how is this done?
Can we decide to be spiritual? If so how is this done?

 
We have discussed that Jesus didn’t come to establish a religion, but rather to show us a way of life that was a heart or attitude changing way to live and deal with our world! Last we discussed we could mould our spirituality. This week we are visiting the interplay between our will and desires and spirituality.

We have already discussed that “knowing more” is only useful if  we “do” what we know already!

Let’s take that a bit further today. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 points out we are made of three parts as a person. We have body, soul and spirit. So if we are to move forward in spirituality we need to find a way to allow our spirits to grow.

 
Bruxy of the meeting house explains using the reference to washing the outside of cupps and plates, that many of us only deal with externals and don’t get to internals when we start the process of becoming spiritual.  He refers to Mark 7 where Jesus overthrows the culture of the day’s attitudes to keeping spiritually clean. In those days the priests of the time told people to wash hands and only eat certain types of food to stay “clean”, Jesus says that’s nonsense, what you eat passes through you and you excrete it into the toilet. It does nothing about keeping us clean spiritually.

 
He goes on to list some of the things that do make us unclean spiritually. I will list these soon, but before I do I want to set the scene. I want you to think about each one as it is meantioned and consider how they impact ourlives and the lives of others. Think about if we would like to be rid of these things and if we would like to have the opposite. Think of what the opposite is for each of these and see if you desire these things. Let’s ask ourselves if having them would make us better people and since we know it will also make us more spiritual at the same time, let’s ask our selves if these are worth having.

 
Okay, so the list is found in verse 20 on and is
·         Evil thoughts coming from the inside, from people's hearts.
·         doing sexual sins,
·         stealing,
·         murder, (Jesus said thinking about doing it is equal to doing it)
·         adultery (sex with someone who is promised or in relationship with another),
·         greed,
·         hate,
·         cheating,
·         desiring what is not pure,
·         wanting what belongs to others,
·         telling lies about others,
·         being proud,
·         being foolish.

 
So how about it? What are the opposites? Here is what I came up with. . .

 
·         Good thoughts coming from the inside, from people's hearts.
·         Doing loving, selfless acts towards others,
·         helping others that don’t have,
·         Giving life to others, help building them towards spiritual life
·         Saving oneself for the special person to be or that is our partner,
·         Generosity,
·         love,
·         Honesty,
·         desiring what is pure,
·         Satisfaction with what I have,
·         Being truthful about others and building others up using converstation,
·         being humble,
·         being wise.
 I like this second list don’t you. What is important is that these are evidence or external indicators to others of what has to be an internal change if we are to be truly successful at becoming spiritual.

 Don’t get me wrong, we need to decide to do the right thing even if we don’t want to and we can fake it until it becomes part of us, but the key aspect is submitting to God and agreeing with him, that we want to do this, even if it hurts and bit in the beginning and is real hard to do.

 
We have to stop being passive about what changes our lives and start to actively choose for good, for Jesus, and for Holy Spirits control of our life. We must stop lying to ourselves. We need to dig down into honesty, truth and become vulnerable to God, but not to things that take us down.

 
Let’s decide to improve ourselves! Let’s let God help us!

 
John 37 verse 20 on says

It was the last and most important day of the Feast. Jesus stood up and spoke in a loud voice. He said, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Does anyone believe in me? Then, just as Scripture says, streams of living water will flow from inside him."  When he said this, he meant the Holy Spirit. “

 
Do you want stream of living water flowing from you? Do you want to decide to be spiritual? Ask God and he will help you!

 
Jesus was talking of God’s Spirit lighting a fire inside us that would enable us to show the world our true worth!

Then, he would let cool streams of living water flow from inside us to heal others and satisfy their longings for truth.

You for doing this?
Sun, May 16, 2010 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

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

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