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Friday, September 3, 2010

Discerning Judgment, only judge Christians!
... Allegations of sexual abuse at Mount Cashel Boys Home orphanage in Newfoundland (Canada) led to a royal commission, (The Hughes Inquiry) and further investigations followed into allegations at other institutions across Canada.

 

caning.jpgThe Mount Cashel Orphanage is a former Canadian orphanage that was operated by the Congregation of Christian Brothers. It was located in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.[Wikipedia today]

 The sad part of the church condemnation by the public is that the church is often guilty!

 The reason it is guilty is that Christians falsely believe that not judging others extends from people who are not Christians, to those that are. If I read my bible right that is not so!

 Paul writes:

 1 Corinthians 5:12 & 13
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

 We should be careful of judging, we should do so with great fear and trembling, but when it comes to people in our Christian communities who are doing wrong, we need to address this and judge them before the public does so for us.

 
If we don’t, we are labeled hypocrites, and rightly so!

 The roman Catholic church has been undergoing much criticism due to the extensive abuse that occurred under its control over the last decades, but other churches are not immune either. But let’s bring this closer to home and into sharper focus.

 The nature of our world has changed so and we now say things that previously were considered normal are now abuse.

  For example, nobody in the western world would allow their child to receive a caning for not doing homework at school, or sassing a teacher, but when I went to school this was a frequent and normal occurrence that was not considered abuse but just punishment for sub-normal behavior. I myself ended up being caned! Dare I say that I earned it rightfully due to obnoxious behavior! I am not psychologically scarred and many grandparents of people today went through the same discipline without damage! When rightfully applied that is!

 In those days people that said otherwise were considered wimps! Now this has changed to abuse!

  Maybe it’s right, maybe not!

 Today I find the fact that universities on accepting students for engineering have to send out a mathematics course to be completed prior to going into the program. Why? It is indicative of a failure in schooling. There are no standards because teachers don’t want standardized testing. WHY? Because it shows up their inability to teach!

 So the abuse today is one of dereliction of duty and to that we have no recourse!

 That is outside the church, but inside we have a dubious statistic of as many divorces and affairs as outside. Young Christians according to stats can have more sexual encounters among teens in the church than outside. Serious problems I think!

 When have we last heard a good message from the front of the church to adults about sorting out marital problems because Jesus is not in favor of divorce?

 How much will we get alongside and help Christian families in pain due to this horrific intrusion on their lives.

 Do we speak out against flirtatious behaviors of men and women in our Christian congregations?

 Not often! We fear to judge!

 Truth is unfortunately not an easy path!

 Being truthful but loving is a way of getting abused ourselves since people dare not face truth because they then have to do something about it.

 Within the Christian congregations we are told to address these issues.

 Does this mean we can be unloving in this manner. No way! But it does mean we do not push sin and sinners out of our minds and ignore their behavior.
 
Confrontation IS a Christian attribute and not doing so is sinful.

 

 Tough message for many of us who would rather let things slide, but if I hear Paul right, we cannot!

 So how do we do this confrontation?

 Well first we check ourselves and pray to God for wisdom.

 Then we go to those who have been a Christian for a long time, and who do not gossip, and ask them to go with us to address the issue and ask for advice.

 Then we personally go to the person without the elders, but taking their advice and wisdom and we address the persons behavior ourselves. We need to focus on the behavior and not the person themselves. God loves them, just not their doing the wrong thing!

 If they fail to respond and continue with abusive behavior, we take the older folk with us to talk to them. If they still don’t respond we address it with the church, and if necessary we ban them from attending until their behavior aligns with God’s will.

 Tough love! Do we have the courage to do this?

 But God never said loving others would be easy, right?
Fri, September 3, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nostradamus compared to predicting a donkey?
... 
WANT TO LISTEN TO NOSTRADAMUS OR ZACH?

 According to Nostradamus, people will experience both extreme fire, heat from global warming, which technically is more like solar system warming, but this gets to the extreme as 2012 approaches, most of the polar ice caps should melt as this time frame approaches, not just rising of water level, but lands can sink or rise as polar shifts event occur [Wikipedia accessed today]

 It’s great how many people predict what is going to happen sometime in the future.

Nostradamus is one of those guys people have heard about. Lets see how close he gets with the predictions he gives. Notice how it predicts global warming. Then the same article says:

 “whole continents will be under water in a matter of 6-10 hours, where most of Asia will be underwater, but also other coastal regions. The land will sink fast and responsible for most of the destruction, but during this passing the earth will lose its orbit around the sun, massive earthquakes starts from the polar shifts and gravitational waves bringing on earthquake and sinking of continents”

 Okay, so here I am going to make a prediction. . .this is nonsense! Watch and see!

 
The accuracy of a foretelling is in it’s outcome isn’t it!


 This is what intrigues me about some bible messages written long before they occurred is they happen as predicted.

Today I am looking into writings of a guy called Zechariah. It was probably written somewhere after 520BC and before 518BC, that’s at least 500years before Jesus was born. In this book he makes this statement:

 Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

PersonOnDonkey.jpg

Okay, so who in their right mind would predict a king who would save a people coming on a DONKEY!

If you think this is easy, please predict the make of transport that will take your grandchild to his or her wedding and where it will occur!
 
That’s about the level of accuracy in the prediction above. 

 Not so easy to do, right?
 
Try predicting the same for one of your offspring who will live 500years from now! Much more difficult right?
 

Well, let’s see how Zechariah did, come with me to a more modern writing (1st century AD) 

 Matthew 21:1-11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
 
"Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."
 
 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
 
 "Say to the Daughter of Zion,
 
      'See, your king comes to you,
 
   gentle and riding on a donkey,
 
      on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' "
 
  The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

 
   "Hosannato the Son of David!"
 
   "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
 
   "Hosannain the highest!"
 
  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked,

"Who is this?"
 
  
The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
 
Kinda cool huh? By the way, Mount of Olives is on the way into Jerusalem (just in case you didn’t get the link). So this guy found out what would happen 500 years before it did! Then it REALLY happened! I go for our bible over Nostradamus any time! God is real and alive, Nostradamus is now dead and gone! I like trusting in a living powerful and loving God don’t you? Have a great day!
Thu, September 2, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kingdom of God, a place of power?
... 

Controlling of everything and everyone in a country by one person is not a way of life for many people nowadays.

Even the Queen of England is really a figurehead rather than a ruler!

 So today, most of us really understand what Kingdoms are!

 Having lived in Africa where there are still Kings who are supreme, absolute and control their people by the sway of their opinion, I perhaps have more of an idea than most.

 I remember being in a country called Swaziland around the time when America was trying to get them to change to the democratic way of governing. I was amazed to find the average citizen was not at all happy with the pressure exerted.

 They had a good king from their perspective and everyone felt they were indirectly related to this king and didn’t so see a need for a change.

 “Why will a man we chose with bits of paper feel he must help us?” was a question that I was asked.

They commented, “I know that if I have a problem, I go to my headman who is family, he can then go to the tribal leaders and they can go to the king and I will be heard! What relationship will I have to the ‘democratic’ leader?”

 I have remembered that conversation for years simply because when I asked around I couldn’t find one person who felt differently. I was amazed at this coming from a democratic environment!

  I guess we loose sight of the “relationship” side of kingship. We are so focused on ourselves rather than our family and community that we see the democratic way as the only way to go. We always think of “bad” kings, but a benevolent autocratic leader who loves his people can do far more, and far more quickly than the committees and parliaments we live under.

 That being said, a bad king is far worse than a democratic system! So each people group chooses their own form of government. That’s good!

 When Jesus walked around kings abounded!

That’s why he had use language people could understand in describing the good news.

  He explained that the Kingdom of God (or as Matthew speaks, the Kingdom of Heaven) is the strange combination of our life under God’s direction now, and the promised life after death where we will be given new activities to do that are rewarding, challenging, but where we will not have stress, sadness, tiredness, or unhappiness.

 He points out this will not come free, but that we will have to stand against negative influences in this world and overcome them to really get into this state or presence of God.

 The one thing we need to be sure of is that this “kingdom of God” cannot be taken lightly. Paul says. . .

 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

 Perhaps he says this to point out that in a kingdom if you disagree with the king, your wishes are ignored. You can do things to avoid doing the kings commands, but that course of action will eventually result in pain and unhappiness. A benevolent kings commands are to do the best for his people and those who counter them will run into not only the kings displeasure, but the peoples displeasure as well!

 In the end, people are the judges that the king uses to set out the rules and regulations.

 Perhaps that’s why God’s kingdom on earth here has such power!

We can try to ignore his wisdom, but failure to listen crushes those who end up destroying themselves and their lands in the long term!

Consider how our failure to build responsibility and accountability into the younger generations is already damaging the west. We have pampered them until selfishness outweighs community responsibility in many areas of life. Fortunately I see many young people rebelling against this now! Yay! Sanity prevails!

 So today, as I go about my daily tasks I will be listening to my heavenly King and will be trying to live wisely!

He created the laws of the universe so disobeying them may not be wise, right?

 How will you live your life today?
 
Wed, September 1, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making a spectacle of people who say they are Christian, why?
...  

Notice how people in the western countries seem to delight in  mocking Christians!

Many seem to believe “God is for idiots!”


 
I guess it’s easy to criticize that which we think we understand fully (and no doubt many know quite a bit about Christianity) and less difficult to criticize what we don’t know (eg. Many eastern religions, African religions, etc).
MOCKED.jpg
 It’s also easy to criticize “one” god, but less easy to criticize a group of them isn’t it? It’s almost possible to get a simplistic view of one god, but once hierarchies and interdependencies start to occur it gets confusing and we tend to think confusing means we are just not getting it and so we are less likely to speak out.

 Then there are those that say there is no God at all and mock Christians by saying all we need to do is stimulate a specific area of the brain to have “spiritual experience”. To those folk I say we only have to stimulate specific areas of the brain to get people to believe they are hungry, does that mean food does not exist? Let’s get real here!

 Then there is mockery at school for that young person who says they want to stay pure or not drink because they are Christian! We all know that’s because those mocking have already polluted their lives and lost innocence and want others to join in to justify their own bad decisions.

Other say we are naive! Friends! who questions what they are taught most? those who accept what is taught to them, or those who have to compare it against something else because they have more than one thing taught to them? Who is the less informed? hmmm! Makes us think doesn't it? Christians Have to correlate their knowledge against the bible to be true (and if they don't they should). Those who have no such comparison to make tend to believe what is taught to them, hook, line and sinker!

 
Then we have the vitreous attacks by atheists on Christians on the internet, in books and public forums. Here I want to say that I read your attacks folk, but I have to say you have descended to the level of some misguided Christians who are mindlessly attacking people they should love.
 
We have no problem with your failure to believe, but I must say the anger and vitreous hate exuded from the pages and video’s say something themselves. They say that whoever goes to those extremes must really be hurting quite a bit, is porbably lonely and feeling outcast.

Why else would you waste time on something you consider not worth believing in! Folk, you have more faith in atheism than you are trying to point out others have in their God! So faith can’t be all bad right?

 Then we get those who claim to know another Christianity that is better than the biblical Jesus inspired Christianity!

 Paul writes to people like this:

1 co 4:8-10 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!

 It’s amazing people think they have it! As a Christian, I know I don’t! Only God does, we just do our best with our meager knowledge right now. However, as a man of science, I know that there is nothing I have come across that doesn’t point to complexity greater than random chance can establish. I believe God created (see my series of blogs on the days of creation), but most of all I know God loves us all. That means he loves the atheists, the agnostics(those that know there’s a god but don’t know him personally), those that follow false religions, even those that commit crimes and hurt others. He loves us all!

 Why? That I cannot understand, because I am not always sure we are lovable. I have to trust God who says we are, and so I must love the same way as he does!

 So, to those that wish to mock me as a Christian, it’s okay, you can go ahead, I will love you anyway! At least I will do my very best to do so! I am human after all! Do you think you can help me by being a bit less hateful to Christians?

 If you are a Christian, please be loving and not hateful towards those Jesus loves!

  
Tue, August 31, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, August 30, 2010

“What is in a name?”
“What is in a name?”

 
What does your name mean?

What did your parents have in their minds when they named you?

 How important is your name to you as a person and your development?

 
Interesting questions! When it comes to the way God treats names and words, we find are far behind in understanding. Names lock in the personality and power of a person to a word. Perhaps that’s why John, the apostle refer’s to Jesus as the “Word”. He was using a Greek term LOGOS in John 1:1.

 Logos was a term the Greeks understood from a different perspective. To them LOGOS was a technical philosophical term (coined by a guy called Heraclitus (ca. 535475 BC), and described the concepts or order and knowledge.

 So, when early Christians thought of Jesus they thought of order and knowledge. When we think of order and knowledge what do we think of? Probably “science” right?

 So words have no value in themselves, they are just sounds, to get meaning we need to link it to the sound. So what was the original sounds used to describe God. Hebrew names for God varied through the years. In the first chapter of the bible it was “Elohim”.

 This had parts of meaning that included the following; occurrences “God”, “god”, “judge, “goddess”, “great” , “mighty”, “angels”, “exceeding”, “rulers”, “judges”, “Divine”, “angels”, “gods”, “works” or “special possessions of God”. While these were some of the background meaning the key meaning was God!

 Then we have in Genesis 2 the first usage of “Yahweh”, or “YHWH” since the Hebrew people didn’t say God’s name because they considered it too Holy. (thankfully Jesus flipped that so we can connect directly with God because he makes us Holy enough through his great work to permit us to use the name).

 So what is “YHWH”? This is translated for us as “Lord”, “God”, and “Jehovah”. “Jehovah means “the existing one”.

 Here there are different meanings that we get opened to us. The fact that he is somehow a greater “person” than us in the term “Lord”. We don’t use it much now days. Perhaps the closest we get to using respect of this nature is when we address someone as “Sir” or “Ma’am”. Respect rarely given and accepted today! Here God is the one in charge of our destiny and what he says impacts our lives whether we like it or not. The power is absolute but not unapproachable. 

Then the definitive description of God is given in Moses day by God himself when he talks to Moses and says in Exodus 3:14 (NIRV):

"I am who I am. Here is what you must say to the Israelites. Tell them, 'I am has sent me to you.'” 

This is referred to as Elohim speaking and the word AM
[1] means “was”, “come to pass”, “came”, “has been”, “were happened”, “become”, “pertained”, “better for you”. It encompasses meanings like to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out, to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about, come to pass, to come into being, to arise, appear, to become like, to be instituted, be established, to exist, be in existence, abide, remain, continue, stand, be in, be at, be , accompany, be with, come to pass, be done, be brought about, to be done, be finished, be gone.

 WOW! Inclusive or what? God is and we are part of his following, but we in some ways are part of him because we are created out of stuff he created! We are sustained by the great “I AM”. Notice there is no apologetic compromise in this name. It is the pure hard, eternal father in power who is referenced. How can we deal with this and get close to such a God?

 It’s easy to fear such a God, and from the way I hear atheists speak, they see this part of God more than the other side. They see fear more than God who sustains and loves us. 

When we come to Jesus, we find his name is Greek in origin (Iēsous)  and reflects the Hebrew name “Yeshua”. 

So what does “
Iēsous” mean and when did it become popular?

 Iēsous was a common name from about 500BC until about 70AD. The word could mean “Jehovah is salvation”.  The Hebrew name Joshua was translated at Iēsous in Greek. Joshua was linked to setting free, leading powerfully and strength. These were directly ascribed to Jesus as well.  

So when in the great prayer Jesus says:

 'Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored 

what is he saying?

 Here the word used is “pater” which is the term a young person would use when addressing their father with respect!  

This is the key aspect! The name Jesus uses for God is a common, well understood word that engenders a loving close relationship of safety and concern.

Jesus collapses all these other means of the word into “pater”, or as we would say “Dad”. It is a bond or love and intimacy and family belonging!

 That’s the name that heaven and earth are to hear and because of the huge change compared to the previous names, we should want to respond instinctively with love, thanks and appreciation.

People in that day would have understood this but we loose this in our translations to English as we water down the original impact.
 

The respect we have for God is meant to be one of coming to love, intimacy and compassion, not fear!

 That’s the difference Jesus came here to bring to us. Do we get it?


[1] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed., H1961. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996. 
Mon, August 30, 2010 | link          Comments


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