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Friday, October 15, 2010

No experience can be undone, right? So how do we live right?
No experience can be undone, right? So how do we live right?

ReThinkLife.jpg
 

33 Miners escaped with their live’s after experiencing the longest time ever spent trapped underground after a mine disaster.

 Most of us have heard the story!

 For more than two months the world has witnessed a scene of harmony among the trapped men in their remarkable survival story.

 "Los 33" have even made a pact to split any proceeds from interviews evenly among them, and have hired an accountant to track income from public appearances and distribute it equitably.”[1]

 
These men have experienced a near death experience and it has changed them.

 Experiences cannot be undone, they can be modified by applying reason, philosophies, changes in life, psychology and decisions, but they can never be removed.

 Think of that time we were unjustly punished (almost all of us have had that experience), can we undo the experience. No!
 
Our attitude to the punisher is however dependent on our ability to forgive isn’t it?

 We have options to take good or bad from every experience. 

Let's urge ourselves to take the GOOD!

 
Modification of an experience after the fact is more difficult!

The best way we can modify experience, is to modify it at that point just before we go into experiencing it.

 If those miners had decided many years ago that mining was high risk and that they would do a less dangerous work, they would have avoided this tough experience.

 In fact, there are probably a whole lot of people who, over the last two months, have been thanking God they made the decision not to be a miner!

But, let us also consider that for these men, this harrowing experience could open new opportunities to them that they could never have had before. The publiscity will generate opportunities!

 So, this experience although perceived as bad, could actually be very good after the experience is over. [As a side note: Consider this as analogous to life before death, and pleasure of heaven thereafter...the Christian reality!]
 
How the miners will gain from there experience all depends on how they can control their thoughts and decisions NOW!

   Christians get asked by God to control their thought life!
 
Even in the ancient times we get told to think about our life and beliefs.

 Proverbs 14:15 says A childish person believes anything. But a wise person thinks about how he lives.

 This is generally true, however perhaps the clearest description of the importance of controlling our thoughts is written by that guy Paul who said[2],

 Our sinful nature no longer controls the way we live. The Holy Spirit now controls the way we live.

 Don't live under the control of your sinful nature. If you do, you will think about what your sinful nature wants. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you do, you will think about what the Spirit wants.

  The way a sinful person thinks leads to death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace. 

 Paul points out we need to give over the control of the direction of our thoughts to God’s Holy Spirit and keep our thoughts from pulling us down!

 I think the miners have done well!

Firstly they stopped the fistfights early on, secondly they agreed they were all equally important and their food rationing as well as hiring an accountant to track money they get tested this. It showed their thoughts and actions were aligned at a certain point in time.
 
Then while in the hole, they focused on God! They actually did bible studies down there!

 So, they are now safe, but their subsequent thoughts will change their lives.

Pacts they made may get broken after the horrible reality of the greediness of life gets into them. People and well wishers are stuffing false values and opportunities in their faces. The media is tearing into their lives like hunting hounds mutilating a damaged deer.  

 Already the miner who wrote a diary is getting offered $50 000 for it. Will he actually share this income from their pain with all the others?
 
Then a Chilean stripper has offered to strip for free for each of the men! Will they allow this degrading behaviour to excite them into false pleasures as it appeals to their base desires?

 Everything we do and decide in our life changes us. God wants to be part of all these decisions because he loves us and wants the best for us! Only we can allow it!

 Today, we will meet and talk to different people during our day. How we do this, and what we say, will change ourselves and those we encounter (maybe only a small amount, but the change will be there).
 
 This is why it is important to know how to control our thoughts and thereby our actions in the best way for everyone.

 If we all try to improve ourselves and those around us by controlling our thoughts and actions, byd making the correct decisions ahead of time, then we like those miners may be able to live longer and better than we at first believe!

 Let’s help others by allowing Holy Spirits control of our thoughts today!


[2] Romans 8:4-6 (New International Reader's Version)
Fri, October 15, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some things cannot be simplified. Right?
...
Some things cannot be simplified. Right?

Take this description of a piece of nasty complexity (taken from Wikipedia[1])

If you can understand the text below, you are amazing(don’t try too hard)!

 One of the problems in addressing complexity issues has been distinguishing conceptually between the large number of variances in relationships extant in random collections, and the sometimes large, but smaller, number of relationships between elements in systems where constraints (related to correlation of otherwise independent elements) simultaneously reduce the variations from element independence and create distinguishable regimes of more-uniform, or correlated, relationships, or interactions.”

 People often ask me why Jesus didn’t come to us in this century.
 
My answer is we are so complex we would have got his message wrong!

 The message he came to bring was so simple, so clear, and so needed, that the best time to deliver it was when people couldn’t screw it up by adding layers of analysis and communication fuzziness.

 Amazingly despite this, as the human race we have done an incredible amount of work to complicate his message since then.

 Why did Jesus pick common folk to get the message out, people like fishermen, and tax collectors?

 Could it be that if intellectuals had been chosen, they would have distorted what is a very simple message?

 God needed us to know he loves us and that he was doing incredibly difficult things to prove that love. He died painfully to show that he would do anything to help us, and then rose from the dead to show he was God, and then he went to heaven to prepare a place for us, and finally he sent His powerful Holy Spirit to guide us and help us through the tough days of our lives. Simple message, why do we make it so tough to understand?

 Unfortunately the church has dropped to the level of the critical people of this world, so as the anti-Christ crowd and media finds weird arguments to confuse this message, the church attempts to counter these. The complexity increases and finally we get big words erupting into our lives. These hide the truth! Truth is now covered in complex studies like the –OLOGIES,

 i.e. Theology – Study of God, Bibliology – Study of the Bible, Christology – Study of Christ, Pneumatology – Study of Holy Spirit, Angelology – Study of Angels, Anthropology – Study of Man, Hamartiology – Study of Sin, Soteriology – Study of Salvation, Ecclesiology – Study of Church, and Escatology – Study of Last things/times.

 Yeuch!!!

 Unfortunately we have to live with these complexities, but my heart is simple. I want to follow Jesus who took all this and compressed it into two things we must do…

 Love God and Love our neighbour  , or in the formal version

 Luke 10:26-28 (New International Version)

  "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
 
  He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[a]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]"

  "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

 That’s the simple rule I want to live by. What’s yours?
Thu, October 14, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Food glorious food! Food that we adore! Should we?

...

 Canadian Thanksgiving is over and we have had enough turkey to bloat our already crowded waistlines and maybe we are starting to regret the wonderful weekend of fun and family?
Overeating.jpg


 
Well my American friends, learn from us up North and when Thanksgiving comes, eat in moderation J !

 
There are different views of food that different people have! Some idolize it, savouring every mouthful as if giving honour to the chef that created it. Others have food problems, and can only eat certain foods! Yet others have major food problems such as the inability to eat it at all, because Satan has distorted their view of themselves, people like those poor souls that suffer from Anorexia or Bulimia.

 
Food is one thing we all have to have to live, but sometimes we make food into a central point in our life.

 
In ancient times, food was offered in sacrifices, and the remainder of the sacrifice was consumed by the people.

 
This led to a rather different problem in that ancient culture. The Christians could get invited to the homes of families that were not Christian and their hosts would feed them food that had been offered to the idol gods.

 
Major problem! What do you do? A catch 22 situation! If eaten, was it sinning, if not, would we insult the host! What was to be done? What if I ate food thinking it was okay and found out later it was food from idol worship, would I be in trouble?

 
Some people asked that guy Paul who knew a lot about what God wanted done. He said this….

 
Now I want to deal with food offered to statues of gods.    We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes people proud. But love builds them up. Those who think they know something still don't know as they should. But those who love God are known by God.

 
 So then, here is what I say about eating food that is offered to statues of gods. We know that a god made by human hands is really nothing at all in the world. We know there is only one God. There may be so-called gods either in heaven or on earth. In fact, there are many "gods" and many "lords." But for us there is only one God. He is the Father. All things came from him, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord. He is Jesus Christ. All things came because of him, and we live because of him.

 
But not everyone knows that. Some people still think that statues of gods are real gods. When they eat food that was offered to statues of gods, they think of it as food that was offered to real gods. And because they have a weak sense of what is right and wrong, they feel guilty. But food doesn't bring us close to God. We are no worse if we don't eat. We are no better if we do eat.
 
   But be careful how you use your freedom. Be sure it doesn't trip up someone who is weaker than you.[1]

 
So we see that Paul takes a practical approach! He considers that the people watching us eat need to be influenced correctly to understand who God is, whether we eat the idol food or not!

 
Hmmm! So how does this apply to us?

 
At Thanksgiving, we might be given food by a host that innocently contravenes our sense of right and wrong (Brandy covered pudding or a glass of wine???) then how do we react?

 
The truth is, we need to react in a way that honours Jesus within our experience, and respects those that we are with.

 
  • Over eating shows gluttony, not Christ like attribute.
 
  • Getting drunk leads to sin and that’s not a Christ like attribute.
 
  • Rejecting a host’s hospitality shows superiority and lack of sensitivity, also not a Christ like attribute.
 What Paul is trying to say is we must keep a balance in what is done!

 
Well let us not over-react and bring shame on Jesus name, neither let us under-react and be viewed as inconsequential or hypocritical!

 
Balance! One of the toughest things to achieve in life.

 
So today, we can practice balance as we try to resolve difficult people problems. Holy Spirit’s guidance is central to success. We need to allow God’s spirit to guide and help us.

 
If you do not know exactly how, start by reading God’s bible and getting to know what God likes and dislikes! Then try that strange aspect called prayer. (Prayer is simply chatting to God). It may seem like God doesn’t listen, but if you watch carefully, and pray honestly, you will notice that things do change around you! The bibles guidance will also bring that balance into life.

 
That way we can enjoy our life (and Thanksgiving meal) without regrets! That’s my objective, what’s yours?



[1] 1 Cor 8:1-9

Wed, October 13, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saying Thank-you! Sometimes its more difficult than others!
Saying Thank-you! Sometimes its more difficult than others!

 

Remembering that special person, occasion or event is an excuse to have a good time isn’t it!


CrowdWavingPalms.jpg
 It’s great to let others know we appreciate them, it even seems to lift our own spirits and brings smiles to the faces of people around us doesn’t it?

 This weekend in Canada is Thanksgiving and if we look into the Christian celebration, we find that like many cultures around the world, people in the ancient world wanted to thank God for the crops that had occurred in summer and that now as we move towards winter, a celebration is in order before the times get more difficult.

 God agreed and the feast of Tabernacles or Booths was setup. This was set to occur in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar and was a happy, party time. God likes good parties and so in those days they started it with a day of rest, ended it on the eight day after that with a day of rest, and had a good party in between!

 Here are the biblical words in Leviticus 23:35 on

 'On the first day you must come together for a special service. Do not do any regular work on that day. On each of the seven days bring an offering that is made to me with fire. On the eighth day come together for a special service. Bring an offering that is made to me with fire. That special service is the closing service. Do not do any regular work on that day.

 So it was a part where people had to bring special offerings. (By the way, only part was given to God as a burnt offering, the rest was given to the family to cook and eat)

 Now this was a time where the people also had to move out their houses and live in makeshift shelters to remind them of how God took care of their ancestors in the wilderness as they escaped from slavery and took up a free life.

 Today, Jewish people still remember this by making shelters called booths in their gardens and living in them during this time. They would bring citrus fruit such as an orange to their celebrations to symbolize the food they got in the promised land many years ago.

 On the first day of the ancient feast they sacrificed 13 head of cattle, and on each feast day one less was sacrificed. The temple was well lit, people had to bring torches and lights, and water was part of this festival.[1] The people would go to the Pool of Sloam and fill a jug that would be carried through the streets and poured into a basin at the base of the altar. Prayers would be said and this water symbolized the rain that came and fell upon the land generating the growth. People were to thank God for this rain.

 So what does this mean to us. The lights remind us of Jesus being the light of the world. So as we have bonfires and look into those flames lets remember Jesus came to bring light and life, and warmth to our lives. Jesus promises us “living water”.

Revelation 7:17

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

And he says we will have living water flow from us…John 7:38

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

 So we are God’s living water to the world. How can this be? I like that quote by John F. Kennedy ¨As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

 It describes the new testament approach to thanksgiving which is also summed up in

Col 1:10&11
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father

 To really show our thanks we need to live thankful lives. That way we lift those around us up towards God by improving their lives and ours.

 
Let’s be thankful today. Let’s find ways to stop complaining and be thankful instead! That’s my objective what’s yours?


[1] http://www.bible-truth.org/Feasts-Tabernacles.html

Tue, October 12, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, October 11, 2010

The best Thanksgiving party planning!

.
The best Thanksgiving party planning!
What we must do is this. . . we must Party for eight days!

CrowdWavingPalms.jpg

 Day 1: Get together, nobody is to do any work, a special barbeque is to be held. We are to roast thirteen cows! Everyone must be finished with the harvest and we are to bring part of our harvest to the party!

 Day 2 to 7: Let’s Party! If you have to do minimal work it’s okay, but you are not to work hard. We party before and after work each day. Let’s visit friends! Plenty of food! 12 cows roasted day two, 11 day three, 10 day four, 9 day five, eight day six, seven day seven.

 Day:8
Get together, nobody is to do any work, a special barbeque is to be held. Roast six cows!

 
Okay, you also need to bring palm branches, poplar branches and any leafy branches to wave about as we shout and sing our songs. We are going to camp out for the whole time!

 What do you think of that party plan? Interesting?
Probably put together by a real party person right?

 Well, that’s the party instructions left by God for people to follow after the harvest each year.


 
It’s called the  feast of booths! If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself, this is what the bible says. . .

 
On the first day you must come together for a special service. Do not do any regular work on that day. On each of the seven days bring an offering that is made to me with fire. On the eighth day come together for a special service. Bring an offering that is made to me with fire. That special service is the closing service. Do not do any regular work on that day. [1]

 In fact God liked having people party and in the ancient times organised many festivals each year. The following is a short summary of them:

APRIL (NISAN) 14–21—PASSOVER:remembrance of deliverance from Egypt; beginning of religious year 
MAY (IYAR)JUNE (SIVAN) 6—PENTECOST:feast of harvest and firstfruits 
JULY (TAMMUZ)AUG. (AB)SEPT. (ELUL)OCT. (TISHRI) 1–2—FEAST OF TRUMPETSROSH HASHANAH:beginning of civil year10—DAY OF ATONEMENT15–21—FEAST OF TABERNACLES:remembrance of the years in tents on the way to Palestine 
NOV. (MARCHESVAN)DEC. (KISLEV) 25—HANUKKAH:feast of lights added in days of Maccabees 
JAN. (TEBETH)FEB. (SHEBAT)MARCH (ADAR) 14—PURIM:added later to remember deliverance under Queen Esther[2] 
 
So,
God is no party pooper! He likes a good party!

What he likes most is when he is the guest of honour at that party. He wants all the men to be there and agree that he is their God. Everyone is to bring something with them as a gift.

 He basically wanted people to have fun on a huge national family camp out.
 
 He says “Go out into the central hill country. Bring back some branches from olive and wild olive trees. Also bring some from myrtle, palm and shade trees. Use the branches to make booths.”[3]

 Booths are a term for rough shelters (he wanted the kids to be able to see the stars as they sleep so the roofs were to be a bit open). It was to be a happy occasion and real good fun for children and teens! Everyone was to eat and sleep in these makeshift houses.

 In early Israel it was a time grand things happened. Moses gave the reading of the law every seven years at this party, That fantastic building called King Solomons temple was opened and dedicated at this time, and it was the first celebration the recently released Israeli slaves had on being released after the whole nation had been in captivity.

 In fact the feast was designed to celebrate freedom and God's provision! The whole feast was about celebrating how God took them from being lowly servants in Egypt and gave them an inheritance and set them free to enjoy it!

 
Happiness!


 Each day the bible is read and prayers are said. In the old days they piled up willow branches next to the altar in the temple as they prayed. The psalm they said is psalm 118:25

            LORD, save us.
     LORD, give us success.
          Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
     From the temple of the LORD we bless you.
          The LORD is God.
     He has made the light of his favor shine on us.
           Take branches in your hands. Join in the march on the day of the feast.
     March up to the corners of the altar.
           You are my God, and I will give thanks to you.
     You are my God, and I will honor you.
           Give thanks to the LORD, because he is good.
     His faithful love continues forever.[4]

 They would be carrying four types of things as they walked[5]

 
  • Lulava ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree
  • Hadass– boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree 
  • Aravah– branches with leaves from the willow tree
  • Etrogthe fruit of a citron tree  

They would have remembered the great people from the past. Today these might be people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David.

 On the Sabbath during the time, the book of Ecclesiastes is read. This provided the people with moral guidelines and plenty to think and talk about. A real conversation starter! God set up a simple way for shy people to get into conversations and have their voices heard.

 Music and dancing are mandatory! What’s a party without it! Every day music would start up and people would spontaneously join in the dances. Old folk, parents, kids all joined in!

 Today we really don’t know how to celebrate Thanksgiving right… althought the Jewish people still try to do it the old way;in Judaism, the Feast of Booths is still celebrated in such a way that each family has to built a hut with a roof made of organic material at one place of the house where the view of the sky is not obstructed.”

 The families stay there for the party week!

 References describing this feast can be found atLev 23:34, 23:42; Deut 16:16; Neh 8:14; Zech 14:16–19; John 7:2.

 So next time someone says that God and religion is boring,

let’s just remind ourselves
it's us that have made it that way,
not God!


  



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Reader’s Version; New International Reader’s Version (Zondervan; Grand Rapids, MI, 1998; 2007), Le 23:35–36. 

[2] Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher's Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1987), 120.

[3] The Holy Bible: New International Reader’s Version; New International Reader’s Version (Zondervan; Grand Rapids, MI, 1998; 2007), Ne 8:15.

[4] The Holy Bible: New International Reader’s Version; New International Reader’s Version (Zondervan; Grand Rapids, MI, 1998; 2007), Ps 118:25–29.

Mon, October 11, 2010 | link          Comments


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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?

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