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Friday, August 27, 2010

Letís add to the bible truths! NOT!
... 

 

Jesus said, "If you hang onto to what I teach, then you are really following me. Then you will know what truth is, and the truth will set you free."[1]
reading.jpg

 Great words, but why believe them? If we believe them, surely with today’s technology and scientific knowledge we can add to them and update them?

 Unfortunately, we cannot add to them!

 When I read the words of those sacred writings I find out that in 2 Timothy 3:16 it says that

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 Now stuff that God puts out should be fairly important (at least to those of us that believe in God). That is fair indication that I should stick to what is written!

 But the guy (Paul) who wrote those words was not applying them to our current bible was he? That group of books only came into being after Paul had already died. No, he was applying it to the older books. In fact he was applying it to the Jewish Hebrew (masoretic) texts and the Jewish Greek (Septuagint) texts and another text (that we don’t seem to have around any more).

 So what right do we as Christians have to take these words and apply them to the rest of the bible?

 Well, we know that the other guys wrote their stuff a few years (less than 50) after Paul, and the early Christians (who had walked around with Jesus) used these letters Paul and the other guys wrote for teaching the churches of the day (that’s why we have so many copies and have it available today).

 This was good! They used these writings! This was what the christians in those days did! Then the last of the guys that walked with Jesus wrote these words as part of the last known writing by guys who had walked with Jesus, and that is now included in our sacred texts. . .

“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.”[2]

 Most people take it as this guy, John, was saying the bible texts as we have them today cannot be added to.

I like this perspective, but I also know there are those that say “no way man!” and point out that John was writing Revelations (the book in which these words appear) and that the words only apply to that book!

 I don’t really agree with this negative argument because John wrote a lot more than Revelations and knowing about all the other writings, I go for him including the broader meaning.

When John wrote a word, he generally seemed to include a lot of the local nuances of the words into what he was saying. He kind of incorporated the local meaning to add levels of detail to his writing. If he did this in other writings, why can he not have done the same in this one? (That's why I think he was talking of the book revelations and all the other known Christian writings that he and the original guys approved of in his day, at the same time).
John was also getting pretty annoyed by a peripheral crowd of christian "look alikes" called "gnostics" that were abusing Jesus words so I think he was making a stand against this new threat as well!

You make your own mind up on that since I’m sure you also have your own opinions.

 I also know Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.[3]

 Here I wonder exactly what he meant? If we take John’s description of Jesus, he calls him the “Word” in John 1:1 so even if this universe was to disappear, Jesus wouldn’t, so his words wouldn’t either, so that text above was not necessarily describing our bible, was it?

 If we go back to the writings that Jesus used they say the following. . .

 
listen to the rules and laws I'm going to teach you. Follow them. Then you will live. You will go in and take over the land. The Lord was the God of your people long ago. He's giving you the land. Don't add to what I'm commanding you. Don't subtract from it either. Instead, obey the commands of the Lord your God that I'm giving you.”[4]

 Now were are getting somewhere! God is giving us instructions, to follow what he tells us and nothing else! He is saying to us that what he reveals to us is true. We must not add, or take away from it. This is the same stuff Paul was writing about. What Paul was writing about is elaborated what is in the Old testament and what Jesus said.

 IF we are to listen to God, one of the best ways of doing this is to investigate what is written down regarding him. Using what can be proved to have been carefully recorded.

That’s why the Bible writings have strict rules around what was to be included. Basically, if you were not walking with Jesus physically, or approved specifically by those walking with him, while they were alive, then it wasn’t going into the book!

That’s why we have a limited set of books today! Thats why I personally have a problem with the newer additions to God's word. They just aren't valid! (from my perspective that is!)

 So when we really get down to it, we need to listen to what Paul said,

 1 Corintians 4:6&7 “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"

 This is the core of it! Let’s not take up PRIDE, one person against each other. Surely God loves ALL people! (Man = people in the writing of Paul’s day).

 We have only what God gives us! We must be thankful for that and use it. Going beyond that is a pride mistake, and leads to pain.

 So lets thank God for his words in this book of books we call the bible, read it, apply it and live successfully!

 
That’s my goal for today. What’s yours?


[1] John 8:32, my paraphrase of it from original in NIV.

[2] Rev 22:18 onwards NIV

[3] Matt 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 NIV

[4] Deut 4:1-2 NIRV

Fri, August 27, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Those hidden things will be exposedÖ.itís how that matters!
... 


A situation....
“she parked the hunk-a-junk right, smack dab in front of the school where it could be seen by pretty much everyone and their mother. No pun intended! So there I am already embarrassed that I had to be seen in front of the piece of  #$&!  I go to get into the thing via the sliding door. I open the slider and it decides not to stop. Yeah, it just kept sliding and fell off its hinges all together and clunked right onto the ground. I had to go to the wood shop and ask for a screwdriver to fix it. It, to this very day, haunts me when I sleep.”[1]
Embarrassed.jpg
 
Had embarrassing moments! I guess we all have. Some are amusing like the one above, others are intensely personal and we don’t want them shared EVER!
 
The reality is that we are human and do things we are not proud of at times. We should however be careful of putting ourselves down like the guy above because of FEAR of what others think. Rather we should care about our motives and even then be careful of putting ourselves down because of what we know we have done wrong!

 
Fear of what others think shows we are insecure in ourselves!

That is something that means we really need to go to God and ask him to show us how he sees our value(he loved us enough to die for us) so that we can be confident and live our lives without misdirected shame. Being poor like the guy in the story is not a shameful thing, and we should never consider those who are poor as less than ourselves. In the words of a special person “but for the grace of God that’s me!”.

 
On the other hand we must consider our motives, Paul says: 

1 Corinthians 4: 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
 

We have a knowledge that God will expose everyone’s motives at the Great Judgment
(For those not in the know, Christians believe that after death will come a time when every man, woman and child will be brought to the front of a heavenly courtroom to explain their life and motives for doing things. Everyone will be able to see and judge us! That’s the Great Judgement).
 

If everything is going to be exposed, we will be really embarrassed,
far worse than a van loosing it’s door! That is expect for those who have Christ as an attorney.
 

The book, Revelations, that explains the future in symbols (not necessarily actual events) says this
 

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20: 12-15
 

Unfortunately, if we fail
to be protected by our acceptance of Jesus’ gift to us, (when he lived, died, and rose from the dead, in Palestine about 2000 years ago,) that writing applies to us!
 

The good news is that it doesn’t need to since all we need to know is that Jesus paid the price, will be our attorney and clear the charges, enabling us to stand unashamed in front of the judge at that time. Then we get given eternal life in a place of where no sorry or unhappiness can exist, and where there are lots of cool interesting things to do! Better than sykdiving, skateboarding, ultimate challenges, tropical island paradises, etc.


 
That’s my choice! So what about now? Really two things need to be addressed.

Firstly making sure we are with Jesus and secondly being careful of judging others and ourselves without the facts.

We cannot see the true motives yet and its easy to get things wrong. If possible, we should live a clean a life as we can (and nobody is perfect) and try and give others room to live their lives as well.
 

To get praise from God! That’s my plan today, what’s yours?


[1] http://www.dumbmoments.com/  (spelling corrected)

Thu, August 26, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who judges me?
...

 History was made in February when in North Carolina,

 

 “ a special panel of judges declared innocent a man who served 17 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit”[1]
judgescale.jpg

 The man was Gregory Taylor and his words on being let free were “"Sometimes I'd like to be more angry than I am," Taylor told the Raleigh News & Observer. "It's not a sustainable emotion. Right now, I'm just the most elated person in the world."”

 I guess my thoughts are with those who falsely accused him. How do they feel? They just stole 17 years of a mans life. Apparently the State offered him $750 000 compensation. Not even a just offering, right?

 Judging is something we need to avoid. It has to be done sometimes, but the risk we all have in not being able to understand all things is we get trapped by our lack of understanding, and sometimes also by our lack of compassion, and can easily make the wrong decision.

 That’s why Paul comments regarding our apporach to being judged should be as follows:

 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV)I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

 Luke another guy who walked round with Jesus reports Jesus as saying “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."”[2]

 We should try and avoid allowing human judgements to impact our lives. God’s judgment is the only true one. Paul goes as far as saying that we cannot even judge ourselves. Our judgement of ourselves is flawed! In the words of a friend of mine “our thoughts lie to us!”

 We have to make decisions to live each day, but we need to be aware that our task is to get as close to God and let Holy Spirit guide these decisions within the guidelines found in the good book, the bible.

The reason I say within the guidelines of the good book, is that our thoughts lie to us and sometimes they even masquerade as Holy Spirit! We must not be mindless in evaluating our thoughts. We must prayerfully compare them to the truths that have been written down. That way we have the best chance of making good decisions.

 Without God, thoughts direct us in many ways! Our conscience can be turned and then we can consider ourselves innocent, even though we are not! We can consider our thoughts pure when in the overall universal courtroom, they would not be. I'm sure Hitler though himself innoccent and see what he did!

 Our safest approach to life is to avoid judging and leave it to Jesus.

 That said, we need to pray for wisdom for those of our community who have to make tough decisions so that we can live in peace with our neighbors. It costs people a lot of themselves to judge, and getting it wrong can sear into a persons life. Getting it wrong for ourselves can sear into our lives!

 So today I want to keep my mind from jumping to conclusions, I want to prayerfully consider each activity and decision, and I want to let the joy of God and peace flow through my life. 

How about you? Want to do the same?

 

Wed, August 25, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Being loyal and trustworthy
. You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.  ~Frank Crane

  

The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.  ~Henry L. Stimson

  "Trust" is an action word and "distrust" an inaction word.
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Trust is a hidden gift from one person to another, it is the exposure of our lives into the domain of control of another. It demonstrates our vulnerability to that person in a personal way!

 Trust given cannot be taken back, but unfortunately it can be abused!

 The pain that results from the abuse depends on how much we have revealed of ourselves in that trust, how important the trusted person is to us, and how badly they have taken the confidential special information imparted and thrown it into public view.

 When people do this, doesn’t it feel like we have had our private parts exposed and our relationship made public in a way that is not right?

 So to protect ourselves we can stop trusting. Unfortunately, never trusting others is equally damaging! We will fail to develop deep relationships because depth of relationship depends on intimacy, and intimacy depends on trust. To love deeply, means we must trust extensively!

 How do we do trust then? We need to evaluate the words of others to see if their actions align with their words before we trust them. Watch to see how much alignment they get between what they tell us and what they do in relationships with others and ourselves.  Trust, view of life, and morals are close companions. How much of what we see in others aligns with their stated view of life? Can they even "state" their view of life? Can we state our view of life, and why good is good, and bad is bad?

Do we have soft reasons like “because it makes me feel good”, are we double minded and say “sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not”, or do we take a Christian and perhaps other religions perspectives of saying what God says is good is good? If so we evaluate everything through a religious perspective.
 

Crazy thought, but without religion there is no absolutes of right and wrong is there? There is only a slippery slope of opinions of others that influence me!

If the crowd says we are wrong, and it’s not good, then it must be right!
 
I don’t believe crowds get things right. Public opinion is a poor guide to morals! Remember the crowd voted Hitler into power in Germany.

It's known that some of the highest incomes in the television business come from pornography. If the crowd is able to state what is right and wrong, we will soon see people persecuted for not being "immoral" right? Maybe sex with minors will drop down to lower ages? The ratings of what is good for young people to view certainly has hasn’t it? How much do you agree with that? I certainly don't! History shows that man left to his own devises screws up! How much to agree with that statement? If so, how much are you willing to do to make sure we don't screw up?


 
So to have a good understanding of trust one has to turn to religion.


Being Christian, that means I turn to the bible as a sacred writing to find out about it, and I learn that God is the owner of what is right and wrong. We can agree or disagree, but it’s like a feather arguing with the wind, if we decide to disagree. Our opinion is there, but it really is of little consequence if God is really God!
 Then we read something amazing like:

 1 Corintians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

 Why is this amazing? Well it’s amazing because the God of the universe has chosen to trust us! Unfortunately we have proven ourselves untrustworthy time and time again!

 Fortunately for us God knows something important, the quote from Henry L. Stimson alludes to it. . . the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. God trusts us because he wants us to become more trustworthy.

 God trust is based on faith in us not failing Him! His friend, this guy, Paul, who wrote these things for us, points out God having trusted us wants us to be faithful with the secret things he has entrusted to us!

 He wants us to treat what he gives us with respect and not abuse it publically or even in private. He wants us to grow in strength and intimacy with himself. Have you noticed that those that are most intimate with God are also those that are most enthusiastic to do what he asks? (Sometimes they go overboard, but don’t we all do that now and then?).
 
We need to hold God’s truths honorably, but with great respect for those around us because they are not only respected but loved by God.
 
 So, to be trustworthy, means firstly being trustworthy to God and living our lives according to his truths, and then it means showing (and not necessarily telling) others how these truths make a difference in our lives so that they know we are able to be trusted. Then, when the trust is placed with us we should treasure these trusts and do our best to not abuse them.

 

That way we can improve not only our world, but our relationship with our Father God at the same time.

Now isn’t that cool?

 
Tue, August 24, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, August 23, 2010

Entrusted with secret things
... 

Isn’t it great to meet people who are self confident, intelligent, consistent in their values and approach to life and who keep their word?

  

If they are successful as well they really become attractive don't they.

 I’m not talking "rich"="financial success", but rather accomplished and content with life while helping others with their lives.
 secrets_discussed.jpg
Isn’t that the type of person we like to entrust with special things that have deep significance?

 

When we have a very important, deeply emotionally, personal truth in which we are excited and we want to reveal it to someone, we look for friends who have the qualities mentioned above don’t we?

 

It makes sense that we don’t spill our hearts out to someone who will perhaps misunderstand or abuse us for exposing our hearts, right?

 

Maybe that’s why God says he treats those who love and trust him differently and expects different things from them to those that reject him, or have not yet got to know him properly.

 

He says this in that book written to a people who lived in a city that was one of the porno sites in the old world. The city of Corinth!(Up on the hill above the city was a pagan temple where you could go and have sex with temple prostitutes). This was a wealthy city that had mixed types in it. Quite cosmopolitan for the day! Part of a major trade route. So business was the in thing in that town! In 1 Corinthians 4:1 Paul says

 1 co 4:1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 
Others need to see us as those entrusted with the deep secrets of God!


 
How do we see ourselves as viewed looking after and revealing God’s secrets?

Do we measure up to God’s requirements?
Do we think others see us as confident ( in God), intelligent, consistent in our values and approach to life, and people who keep our word?

 

If we fail, we fail God!

If we judge those who are not Christians with Christian standards, and demand they stick to God’s values, we undermine God’s message which is one of love for the worse of selfish, ignorant and nasty people!
 
Think how Jesus forgave the woman of five husbands who finally came to him, and how he never accused her of anything other than having the husbands! He initiated that conversation asking for real help from a person who others considered doing evil and who he should not talk to, let alone show love to(see John 4)! He didn't criticise her, he offered her something special instead. It was her choice if she chose to look into the secrets or not, but they were presented in a package of love that encouraged her to discover if the motivation was true or false.

What would we do there? How would we have reacted? Like Jesus?
 
We need to allow those who don’t yet know our God to live their lives, even if they are disfunctional, but we must be attractive to them because our confidence in God’s values is seen by them (not "told" to them). We must be ready to help, but know that God's secrets are within our lives actions,  and not to be easily unveiled by our tongues!

We need to consider facts given to us by outsiders with depth of research and knowledge, not just reacting to our gut feelings impulsively with traditional inpulsive thoughts and words. 

The love we show to others should not suddenly be flipped into criticism due to a sin(selfish, ignorant or nasty things) the outsider or sinner has fallen into doing.

Jesus dealt with sinners who came to him, and did not go out and look for those who sinned to tell them what they did wrong! (Okay he did clear the temple with a whip, but that was due to abuse of God’s house and failing to treat poor and ill correctly [so if people abuse God’s house and treat the poor and ill badly maybe we can be proactive J ]).

 

To be viewed by outsiders as people who attract others, having God’s secrets in our lives, means we need to live that way.

 

So today I want to try and not pre-judge those outside the church with my own Godly values, because doing that is wrong!
 
I want to have confidence that comes from my close relationship with our loving God.
 
I want to address information others give me with respect and confidence.
 
I want to be a true friend to outsiders not based on what they will do, or not do, but based on the “agape” love of God that loves others despite others failures to themselves, others and me.

 

Got the courage to join me in protecting the secret things of God?

Mon, August 23, 2010 | link          Comments

Sunday, August 22, 2010

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive others!” You gotta be kidding!!!

 
These words are imbedded in the prayer called “our Father” that Jesus taught people when he wandered around Palestine.

 
 Can we say we have forgiven everyone that has done something selfish, stupid, nasty or ignorant that had negatively impacted our life?

 Forgiving is a tough thing to do because we have a few things that get in the way:

 Firstly we want revenge! We often don’t say this out loud and in fact can even lie to ourselves that that is a motivation, but it’s true. We have this gut response to react to protect by killing or maiming the offender. Because we are civilised, we don’t pick up the nearest blunt object and do them a damage, but sometimes we can sure have those inwards urges don’t we?

 What’s wrong with this? Don’t we really submit to societies pressure not to do anything simply because we know there are laws that say giving in to our base need will result in punishment (I know we don’t like to say or admit the word “punishment” but that is basically what society does doesn’t it?).

 So we give into a greater fear, that of retribution, and that motivates us to protect our enemies! Not a pretty picture of our motives! Not Christian either! But I guess at one time or another we all succumb to this evil!

 Secondly we want others to make amends! If we are not going to get revenge, we at least want to others to acknowledge the error of their ways and stop it. Unfortunately we are often left hanging! It’s wonderful when a person does, but so often they don’t! That probably pushes back to wanting the revenge. A nasty spiral!

 Thirdly, we want to get the thoughts out of our mind before we forgive. Again an impossible task, the thoughts reoccur and bring back waves of feelings.

 I have written other articles on my Ken.X.Briggs.com blog this subject before. . .

 Contentment and happiness.  .  .and hurting others?
 This primal urge to hurt and how it is changed to powerful love by God. The toughest and most courageous decision of all – Forgiveness!
  This discusses, “why Forgive” in general terms.
 Forgiveness- watching ourselves!
 This discusses how Jesus tells us to forgive but explains the power to do so is his!
 Forgiveness, recurring guilt and being forgiven. . .
 This discusses recurring guilt even though we have asked and received forgiveness and how we have recurring times when we wish we had done things differently.

 This time I want to consider how it is good to be able to heal ourselves.
First we need to evoke God’s forgiveness within us for the other person, and the previous blogs say how. Next we need to remove ourselves from areas where we could receive physical abuse. Go to the nearest church that has a love for Jesus and ask for advice. They will know of services and help in your area. If they don’t, move to the next church until you get one that helps. That’s most likely a true Christian church(not always) because true Christians want to serve their communities.

 After that is done we do need to take the edge off our pain. Some simple things that sometimes help me and I hope can help you to:

 
  1. Tell important others in your life what is going on, but also make sure they know what is not to be repeated and what may be repeated. Don’t tell those who have failed with confidences in the past. People want to help. Christian people are obligated by our Lord to care and help if they can.
  2. Ask for counselling from your local church. It helps to have experienced people who are not tied into the situation asking the right questions to move us on. Sometimes this is difficult but success isn’t always easy.
  3. I do things for myself and help others. We are least likely to let our thoughts intrude when busy, and our pain is often made less by helping others who are sometimes in worse pain.
  4. Be patient with myself. I fail often, and if I beat myself up I would be continually sore! Wisdom is to care about failure enough to move on and avoid the next failure, but not to care so much we persist in our painful thoughts.
  5. Limit negative talk! Talking about negative things all the time pulls us down. Gently work out a simple answer to those that inquire that gives them facts, not emotional facts, and then moves off the subject. That way “pity parties” are avoided and we can move onto positive stuff.
  6. Draw close to others that love us! Friends and family make a difference if they can distance themselves form the situation and connect with us. I have a friend who describes people as falling into two groups, the “energy suckers” and “energy renewers”.  The suckers leave us with less enegery and happiness when they leave, the renewers when they leave have imparted some joy of life and energy into our lives. We want the “renewer” types during tough times.
  7. I listen to upbeat Christian music!
  8. Every time I start to think about it I bless the person I have forgiven. That way it limits the times I think about it and helps spiritually at the same time.
  I’m sure there is more we can do, but these are some things I do!
 Mostly, I remember forgiveness is not for others in the long term but is to enable me to heal and move on with my life. Failure to forgive is limiting personally and is serious as we see from Jesus words.

 I am glad to be Christian because God’s spirit helps me rise above the pain to levels I personally cannot believe possible.

I trust you can feel the same! Lets have a forgiving day!

Sun, August 22, 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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  • Published: September, 2010
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