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Friday, October 8, 2010

Where does God live?
Where does God live?

 How do you like this answer from Wiki Answers[1]?

 
God lives everywhere. He is in heaven and earth all at once, He is omnipresent. Some may think He lives in hell to punish. More accurately, hell is characterized by eternal separation from God, which would indicate that it's the only place where he is not.
heavenhell.jpg


 Not a really useful answer since it is hard to understand but it is somewhat informative! (I don't fully agree with it Laughing ...)

The ancients normally built a Temple for a god! The God, Yahweh, was no different. They built a temple, but it is interesting  that they  didn’t believe he actually lived there!

 We know this because it says in the ancient texts[2]

 The Lord says,
   "Heaven is my throne.
      The earth is under my control.
   So how could you ever build a house for me?
      Where would my resting place be?
Didn't my powerful hand make everything?
      That is how all things were created,"
   announces the Lord.

 So God seems to say he doesn’t need a place to rest and that the whole of Heaven and Earth are his creation (that means he is outside of heaven and earth as well as knowing exactly what everything is about inside this universe).

 I guess that’s what they mean by “Omnipresent” above! 

So now let's look at hell!  This is another place (outside the universe) that has been established by the same God. It's well misunderstood by people as well!


 
I don’t like this analogy I  am about to use, but to make the description understandable and real in a human way, I want to describe hell as a type of Godly garbage dump!

 

We as people make and do things to improve life and try and not create garbage, we even recycle as much as possible, but ultimately, things just end up by their nature not being able to perform the purpose to which they were designed.
 
SO, what do we do, we put them out of the way of where other things could be damaged.

Think of nuclear waste! Garbage of the first order! A lot of money is spent making the right garbage dump for that stuff to make sure it doesn’t influence the rest of the world. Thats good isn't it? I'm not keen on waking up glowing, are you?

 Since God wanted us to live without pain and sin, he had to make a garbage area where this type of useless and unappropriate stuff would end up.
 
That’s hell!


People who reject the living God, who don’t love God and others, who are judgemental of others, and put them down, (psychologically and even physically), who put themselves under the control of Satan (like putting objects inside a nuclear reactor), these people are heading to hell, but amazingly they have a choice! 
 

They can either admit their problems, change and accept God, love God and others,  

OR

They chose to be part of the universe garbage collection area, hell! 

Unlike our objects in life that we don’t give the ability to choose whether they become garbage or not, God DOES give every person free choice!

We actually choose in this life whether we go to garbage dump in the hereafter, or we go to a place where those nasty things are absent.
 Our choice!

Now is God in heaven? Yes!

God on Earth? Yes!

Is God in hell? Perhaps I know Jesus went there once!

You see it says in the bible Jesus has the gates to Hades. John reports Jesus as saying;
[3]
 

Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

 We only get keys to doors of places we own, or have rights to, and if Jesus died, he had the ability to visit the dead, so it’s my assumption he went there. Particularly if he had the keys to the place. (I know its symbolic, but it means he could go there right?)

 It seems like God of everything would check out the places he made! Is he there all the time? I don’t know! Probably!

One thing I do know is to experience great love, one need to experience great lack of love! Is this the same for God, maybe!
 
Now, is Hades, actually Hell? No!

 Lets look at the meanings of some terms.

 “Sheol” is a Hebrew word meaning “the place where the dead are”,
“Hades” is the Greek word for “place of the dead”,

 “Hinnom" is the Hebrew word for Hell,
 “Gehenna” is the Greek word for Hell.

 Now these two sets of words mean different things.
 
Hades can be inhabited by good and evil. In some ways it appears as a transition step where the dead wait before the big judgement. Those who die in Jesus will and love probably skip past this place and head straight to heaven (but my verdict is still being made up on this point).

 Now the real symbolic depiction of Hell is in Revelations (19:20, 20:10,14-15).

 
The Judgement scene is


Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
 
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.

 So the Hell refers to this second death which symbolically for us is explained as a lake of fire!
(That’s because we know how painful and unpleasant being burnt alive is).

God doesn’t want us going there!

I don’t know if he’s there, but by his reaction of love, huge forgiveness, and trying to make a way for us to avoid this place at all costs, but I know he doesn’t want us there!

 So perhaps this is the only place God doesn’t live, but perhaps not!

Perhaps this is what it means by Jesus taking our sins onto himself. For Christians, perhaps Jesus endures eternal pain in Hell on our behalf as well(Perhaps!!)

 “Lord, I am so sorry I sin and put you through pain due to my sin!”


 Let’s go out today knowing Jesus is our protector and lover, and he saves us from a pain worse than death!

 "Thanks be to God!”



[1] http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_does_God_live

[2] Isaiah 66:1-2

[3] Revelations 1:17-18 NIRV

Fri, October 8, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Prophecy and new promises!
Prophecy and new promises!

 "Our platform is a contract with the people of New Brunswick," Alward said. "Ultimately the people of New Brunswick will judge us on whether or not we have kept our commitments." said David Alward according to the Canadian Press.
OldNewVehicle.jpg

 
This guy was premier of the province of New Bunswick, and had captured 42 out of 55 seats of parliment by indicating he would stay true to his word.

 
It got me thinking of another promise long ago!

It happened in Ancient times, when a man by the name of Jeremiah was given prophetic words from God about 600 years before Jesus walked the dust of Palestine.



 
He said (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV)
 "A new day is coming," announces the Lord.
      "I will make a new covenant
   with the people of Israel.
      I will also make it with the people of Judah.
 It will not be like the covenant
      I made with their people long ago.
   That was when I took them by the hand.
      I led them out of Egypt.
   But they broke my covenant.
      They did it even though I was like a husband to them,"
   announces the Lord.

 "This is the covenant I will make with Israel
      after that time," announces the Lord.
   "I will put my law in their minds.
      I will write it on their hearts.    I will be their God.
      And they will be my people.
 A man will not need to teach his neighbor anymore.
      And he will not need to teach his friend anymore.
      He will not say, 'Know the Lord.'
   Everyone will know me.
      From the least important of them to the most important,
      all of them will know me,"     announces the Lord.

  
"I will forgive their evil ways.
      I will not remember their sins anymore."
       and will remember their sins no more."

 
So “covenant” can be thought of as a legally binding promise! God made the first one with the people of Israel when he give them the law and indicated they would be a light to many nations.

 
This second replacement covenant is much more interesting to us, because it applies to us! It is made with all who know, love and accept Jesus to lead their lives.

 
Our response to the old covenant is replacing it by this new covenant, and Jesus points out our part in it is summed up in the words of "love God", and "love our neighbour"(others)!

 
If we do that, then Jesus will put his law in our hearts and minds. Then we will know what that new law is, (even if we chose to ignore it or deny it).

 
As a side note, I find that many so called "atheists" know the bible even better than some Christians! It’s a pity they don’t get it! Unfortunately knowledge without the love of God is pretty worthless! No wonder they get bitter! We need to pray for them because I like their attitude, but only wish they could see and experience the truth!

 
Today, most people know about Jesus, or at least think they do! There will however come a time where they will all know him and at the same time know that he knows ALL about them! (Scary huh?) That is the time when this covenant becomes fully real! We are now in the time where it is still becoming real.

 
So, what do we need to do? Firstly we need to celebrate this new agreement the way Jesus taught us (every time we have bread to eat at least)!

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIRV)

I passed on to you what I received from the Lord. On the night the Lord Jesus was handed over to his enemies, he took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it. He said, "This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do it in memory of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup. He said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do it in memory of me." When you eat the bread and drink the cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.

Then we remember what was written about this Covenant by Paul 600 plus years later

Hebrews 8:7-13 (New International Reader's Version) Suppose nothing had been wrong with that first covenant. Then no one would have looked for another covenant. But God found fault with the people.

He said, 
  
"A new day is coming, says the Lord. 
     
I will make a new covenant 
  
with the people of Israel. 
     
I will also make it with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant      
I made with their people of long ago. 
  
That was when I took them by the hand. 
     
I led them out of Egypt. 
  
My new covenant will be different because they didn't remain faithful to my old covenant. 
     
So I turned away from them, 
    
says the Lord. 
 

This is the covenant I will make with Israel 
     
after that time, says the Lord. 
  
I will put my laws in their minds. 
     
I will write them on their hearts. 
  
I will be their God. 
     
And they will be my people. 
 
A man will not teach his neighbor anymore. 
     
And he will not teach his friend anymore. 
     
He will not say, 'Know the Lord.' 
  
Everyone will know me. 
   
  
From the least important of them to the most important, 
     
all of them will know me.
I will forgive their evil ways.      
I will not remember their sins anymore." —(Jeremiah 31:31-34)
 
  

God called that covenant "new."

So he has made the first one out of date. And what is out of date and getting older will soon disappear
.

The old law based on rules is replaced and improved by the love based mandate. It's still there but only we have the ability to want to follow it with our hearts and minds withoit the effort rule based approach!

We are to love without expecting anything in return. This is Christian “Agape” love.

Let’s keep the promise and go “Agape” people today!

People like people who keep promises (well at least what David Alward suggests!) 
Thu, October 7, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When it goes wrong again and again!

...

 

Firstly the traffic is bad, then the parking meter doesn’t appear to work, then the credit card used to pay for the ticket is rejected, then the next credit card tried is rejected, then the parking meter doesn’t take $ bills, and then when you get to work, the computer doesn’t work, and when it does, the internet doesn’t!



 
Wow! Talk about a painful start to a wonderful day.  This is just one of the most frustrating days I have had for a while and its only 7:40am!

 
Ever feel this way, like the world is planning a tough day for you and innocently all you can do is go ahead and let it all happen.
 
It’s easy to get upset and down in situations like this! It’s real tough to take the positive approach isn’t it?

 
There are real benefits to the positive approach however!



Firstly, those negative emotions pull us down and make then next impinging disaster even worse. If we come out of one bad experience positive, the next one is less formidable isn’t it?


 
Then, the people around us don’t know we are having a bad day, and really they don’t need to do they? So if we smile, are pleasant and treat them well they respond well and the day gets better even as the events unfold badly.

 
The third aspect is that we often manage to overcome the negative and get to out despite these negative influences if we keep trying.

 
Basically a positive approach is good for us and others EVEN when things are going badly.

 
Think how Jesus was extremely positive, while knowing he was to die in one of the most excruciatingly painful ways known to mankind. (Note: The word excruciating comes from the meaning of pain of a crux or cross). He is our roll model, and when I look at how he dealt with the days leading up to his death and resurrection I am astounded at how positive and loving he was. Even when people spent time and effort trying to trick him into getting himself into trouble.

 
With this role model, how can I be negative today?


 
If you are starting your day, or perhaps in the middle, think about how to address the situations positively.


Think positive thoughts! Pray to the living God and let his love wash over you.
Wed, October 6, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unexpected events, how do we deal with them?

...


 
Last night the phone woke me at 4:40am. Wow! Who calls at that time? Shock, worry, and then, Oh, it’s just a guy from work working late!

wakering.jpg
 

Now the question is how I deal with that, right?


 
I’m sure you have been in similar circumstances. A situation where you are ripped out of your current comfortable context by a shocking event that changes the direction of your life for a while.

 

Then, this morning the painters arrived bright and early (and I forgot they were coming), and I have to work from home (due to the 4:40am call). Noise, paint fumes and conference calls are not fun!


 
Yeah! One of those days right!

 

Got me thinking about how Jesus dealt with the shocks of life!

 His birth resulted in family being uprooted and moved out of the country.

Then he was considered the illegitimate son in the family according to the countries law(I know he was God's son but the locals didn't get it).

He’s the oldest (so has the most to do to help the family). It appears that his father died while he was an older teen (no mention of his father in the later years on).


That meant he had to take on the family business carpentery (lots of manual labor) and make ends meet.



His family wasn’t small, we know at least a few of his siblings from Matthew 13:55 “James, Joseph, Simon and Judas” and Mark 6:3 "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?"

 
So he had at least 6 siblings to deal with!

 
No wonder he only started his ministry late in life1 He worked hard and probably had plenty surprises along the way. The biggest being his friend that betrayed him!



What a shocker right?

 
Not really! Jesus was so close to his heavenly Father that he knew much of what was coming at him before it did! He never seem to be taken by surprise, and always had the perfect answer to all situations!


 
He had Holy Spirit with him helping him!

 
The Jesus said to the people as he left earth(that includes us),

 
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."[1]

 
So, we have the ability to have God guide us through the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) do things to help us overcome those little shocks of life that come our way!

 
 Isn’t that great?

That through this Spirit we see and understand not only Jesus, but how to deal with the world around us. Even when the phone rings at 4:40am!
  


[1] John 14:15-21

Tue, October 5, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to get more done with less strain!

Ravenfeed.jpg
How to get more done with less strain!


 

Time Management, Time saving tips, Doing more with less time, Effective use of time!



 
 When we look at most of the ways people suggest we do more, they generally are describing how we must pack more activity into smaller time period!

 
We get platitudes told to us like

 
Find a simpler system, automate everything.


 
Well that only goes so far and then we get to the point that we have used the time and we are back in the same situation, but now worse off, because we are doing twice as much.

 
Ever felt that gnawing tightness that grips our chests and stomach as we look at what we need to do today? That feeling of no matter what I do, I cannot get it done, so why start?

 
It seems to be a common feeling among many people at the moment!

 
A guy named Stephen R Covey wrote a book, 7 habits of highly effective people and it is a good read.

 
The seven habits (summarised from Wikipedia) are
  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw!
  Good advice, but there is a more important piece of advice that precedes these and is critical to being successful in managing our lives.

 
It is the principle we see in Elijah’s life thousands of years ago. God directed Elijah’s life and yet we see a very human man stressed hugely as he lived, but living successfully. (Elijah means “Yahweh is God”.)

 
Let’s look at a little of where that success came from!

 
Elijah was about to take on Ahab and Jezebel two very powerful ancient people. He was also going to organize to have all the false prophets that Jezebel really liked, killed for saying things against the real God.

 
Today, in such a situation we would be planning, building military strategies, working up support and many other busy making activities. Right?

 
What actually happened? The bible says So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

 
He rested in a river valley and God had ravens bring him food and drink. Rest! He had to do nothing and birds brought him food! It seems it is really important to get rested before doing big things!

 
Then, after he had finished the wild and wonderful activities (and they were physically, psychologically and spiritually tough to do), Elijah falls into a depression. This happens often when we overdo it doesn’t it?

 
What does God do? He sends an angel to feed him, and look after him as he rests again.

 
What does this mean to us? It means we need to understand these words

 
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 

Jesus will enable us to live correctly if we start each day in a time of rest and prayer and meditation in God’s presence, and end the day the same way. That way our life will be full but controlled and powerful. We will be rested!

 
That’s my aim, what’s yours?
Mon, October 4, 2010 | link          Comments


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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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