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Friday, November 19, 2010

Why do we put ourselves in Jail?
Why do we put ourselves in Jail?
selfjail.jpg

 We so often want to know what heaven is like…here is a modern form of a very old story…

 An owner of a number of banks wanted to get a large amount of his money out of the banks. He wanted the bankers to settle his accounts.
 
 When he called them in, a banker owing him five billion dollars was brought to him.

 The banker was unable to pay due to the miserably poor economic decisions he had made, and the owner told him he would be placed into a situation where 80% of his families wages would be garnished for the rest of his life to pay back just a tiny part of the original debt!

 This meant he wouldn’t be able to even get money together for his children’s education.

 The man fell to his knees and begged to be forgiven. “be patient with me” he said, “I will work for you and pay back everything”. The owner took pity on him and agreed to the man’s suggestion.

 The banker went back to his bank. He immediately called in a single mother who had defaulted on her mortgage in the last month and angrily demanded she pay up, or lose her home and indicated he would have the debt collection agencies sent in, to sell her possessions to pay the debt.

 She fell to her knees “be patient with me” she said, “I will work and pay you back everything!” 

He refused, and had her home taken away from her, and debt collectors sent in to recover the lost money.

 Others who had mortgages with the bank heard of this, they were angry and went to the banks owner to tell him what had happened.

 Then the owner called the banker in. “You evil man,” he said, “I cancelled your debt because you begged me. Why didn’t you do the same for the woman?”

 In anger he went to court and took everything the man had, and then had the banker investigated and found guilty of illegal business activities resulting in a life sentence in jail. Even then his family still had the debt to repay.

 This is a modern form of an ancient story found in Matthew 18 and was told as a result of a question to Jesus that went like this…

 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (This signified an unlimited number of times)

 We need to understand that forgiving others is the key to having a good existence on this earth! In the prayer Jesus taught us to say, it says “Forgive us our sins, just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.”

 It seems to be very important as he also says this directly afterwards in explanation. . .

 “"Forgive people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 We as Christians are held to a high accountability of forgiveness. We are not given the option to forgive or not.

 WE are to forgive!

 I continually hear of people who fail to forgive. Some examples of the behaviours:

  • Elders who fail to forgive pastors for human failings and yet gossip themselves,
  • Teens who are bullied and ostracised at school who in unforgiveness, start horrible behaviours such as anorexia or bulimia,
  • Businessmen who loose in deals and start vendetta’s,
  • Chairpersons and board members who loose their positions of power and take to slandering those who voted them out,
  • Mothers who hate fathers who have left them in the lurch so badly, they can never have good relationship with a man again,
  • Fathers so badly hurt in divorces, that they never want to deal with their kids or wife again, because of the hurt and pain it causes.
  • Abused people, who can never have correct relationships because they cannot forgive the horrible behaviour of others.
 

I am sure you can add others to this list!

 Unforgiveness is everywhere, and it steals the experience of heaven from those who have it.

 For Christians the story told above has a strange twist. We think of our God as a loving and forgiving God. In fact if we told the story, we would have had that owner call the banker in, explain what he did wrong, give him corrective training, and tell him to forgive the woman’s debt.

 That is NOT how Jesus ended that parable when he told it! The twist in the tale was to re-enforce we end up in jail if we do not forgive!

 The problem today is that the unforgiveness is the bars to the jail. So many people I know cannot go on with their lives due to their unforgiveness! They lock themselves in, and then stand on the key and scream to be let out!

 Why do we do this to ourselves? We need to forgive and open the door to the jail. It’s in our power to do!

 Who do we need to forgive today? Let’s do it!

     
Fri, November 19, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A touch of Tomorrow
A touch of Tomorrow

 What do we want to know? How much is it necessary to know where we will be going tomorrow, or why we need to go there?

 When life hits us in full force its hard to accommodate the reality of living in a way that enables us to love God the right way.

 
We often twist and turn and try everything to avoid the reality of a relationship with God.

 Unknown to us, our loving father in heaven knows all that we are about to do, plan, or even think! So why do we have to be concerned?

 Isn’t God really the one in control of our lives?

 We don’t have the faintest idea of where we are to go, or what we are to do outside from the divine purpose of our lives.

 We can plan and struggle with our purpose or we can submit to being led by a precious and blessed Father who loves us, and all that we do, under his direction.

 Daily we get faced with decisions! Some are easy and good, others less easy and difficult. The way we address these enables our ultimate purpose or not. Right?

 Take for instance a young baby that is in diapers.

 We don’t think of this baby as having to make decisions do we, but even the decision to cry or not impacts their life.

 A baby that cries continually wears down the parents and causes them to fail in the tasks of their life.

 If they have huge responsibilities this young cry could impact the parents and this could in turn impact a far greater aspect of our world through them.

 So can we blame the young baby for crying excessively? No, that is a very normal part of baby life and babies are selfish.

 The parents response however is one that can be modified as they have a greater life experience.

 Whether they allow the young child to influence their life negatively or not is their decision!

 Yes! Sometimes it’s not easy to make the right decision and it takes energy and pain to keep to it, but that is why we are given the ability to go against our own desires for pleasure.

 We are here to do more than just please ourselves! We are here to fulfill our ultimate purpose as designed by a loving God.

 So I ask you today, will you fulfill your purpose?

 Will we have the courage to go against that most difficult of adversaries, “ourselves”?

 Will we have the courage to make life a better place for all?

 
We all have a ultimate purpose tomorrow!

 Getting there today is the challenge and with God’s guidance it’s possible, if not always easy!

 

 Right?

Thu, November 18, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coverings for the tabernacle(and cherubim). Why were they made that way?
Coverings for the tabernacle(and cherubim). Why were they made that way?
CherubimPotentialImage.jpg

 In Exodus 26 (NIRV) it says there are four layers to the tabernacle tent

 The First : “Ten curtains out of finely twisted linen for the holy tent. Make them with blue, purple and bright red yarn. Have a skilled worker sew cherubim into the pattern.”

 The Second: “Make a total of 11 curtains out of goat hair to put over the holy tent”

 The Third: “Make a covering for the tent. Make it out of ram skins that are dyed red

 The Fourth: “Put a covering of the hides of sea cows over that.”

 So there are four layers all different. The first I mentioned was the innermost seen inside, and the last, the one seen from the outside.

 The Hebrews having come from Egypt probably learnt their craft from the Egyptians as slaves. It is of some interest that Egyptians used twisted yarn to make things, so these Hebrew freed slaves were probably well versed in producing beautiful things.

 This first inner part of the tent was in blue, purple and red. (See my blog on colors Colors in a Christian world have meaning! )  These colors had special meaning to the people.

 
What’s a cherubim?

 It’s an angel, there were two main types mentioned, the Seraphim and Cherubim. Seraphim protect God’s throne, and Cherubim are also protective in their purpose. This inner layer of linen reflected the holiness of God, protected by images of the angels closest to the presence of God’s name.

 Cherubim are not those pretty cupid like images we think of when we think of angels. They had four faces, that of an ox, vulture or lion as well as that of man.

 See Ezekiel 10, “Their whole bodies were completely covered with eyes. That included their backs, hands and wings,” and “Each of the cherubim had four faces. One face was the face of a cherub. The second was a man's face. The third was the face of a lion. And the fourth was an eagle's face,” as well as “I saw what looked like a man's hands. They were under the wings of the cherubim.”

  Yes, I also know it said a face of an cherub but in Revelations 4 (NIRV) it says 

“In the inner circle, around the throne, were four living creatures. They were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first creature looked like a lion. The second looked like an ox. The third had a man's face. The fourth looked like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings. Each creature was covered all over with eyes, even under the wings. Day and night, they never stop saying,
   "Holy, holy, holy
      is the Lord God who rules over all.
   He was, and he is, and he will come."

 So perhaps the true face of a cherub is that of an ox?

 Anyhow, these images in bright colours covered the inside of the Holy place and holy of holies of the tabernacle. As we can see this is an image or metaphor of the reality to be found in heaven! They guard the holiness of God. They keep sin from God’s glory!

 

 

Amazing isn’t it?

 Okay so the second was goats hair. This would have been white or black cloth. Probably black since the Palestinian goat was probably black. If you think this is rather crude and not very nice, just remember that those cashmere sweaters we desire as the best of warm wear are made of goat’s hair! I think this is rather a fancy and special covering which represents the selfish, nasty and ignorant things we do. It is kept away from God’s holiness by the previous layer.

 It is interesting that the couplings of the curtains of the previous layer and this one were done in such a way as to make sure they didn’t overlap. There was no way for one to penetrate from the outside into the inside through the curtain couplings. Protecting the inside from outside influences and view. Again holiness being preserved.
 
 Goat’s hair was less precious than linen so we see that as we move away from the holy area, the cost of the coverings decreases.

 This second covering can be considered as a warning that outside God’s presence darkness rules unless we have Jesus. It represents keeping sin away from God’s glory.

 The third covering is a red rams skins. This is a representation of sin’s sacrifice.

 In Christian terms this could be representing the paying the price for sin by Jesus, enabling only those us purified by belief in Jesus to view the holiness of God when Jesus uncovers it. (That’s why those who don’t believe Jesus is the son of God cannot understand the secret and special things of God. They are covered from people perceptions until Christ removes the covering and exposes God’s holiness).

 Jesus covers our sins completely by his sacrifice as the Ram’s skins covered the goat hair cloth completely making sure it would never be seen!

 The fourth covering was a dull brown sea cow skin. These sea cows are not longer around, it is believed they were originally something called a dugong, probably found in the Nile delta region.  Similar to the Manatees of today.

 This is interesting because this covering represented the horrible side of life. It was dirty looking, and even the covering chosen was one that was detestable. In Leviticus 11:12 it warns the Hebrew to “Be sure to avoid everything that lives in the water that does not have fins and scales.”

 This means that it was made of skins of beasts they would avoid. This describes the nature of a world contaminated by sin and the world of humans without God’s intervention.

 Jesus represented by the Red Ram’s skin enables this horrible side of the world to come into contact with God’s heavenly places, but only by resting on Jesus.

 Isn’t it fascinating how God planned the symbology of the tabernacle before we came to understand it?

 God is amazing and we need to respect that, right?
That’s my objective today! What’s yours?
 
Wed, November 17, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prince William wants to marry Kate, fairytale or just fair tale?
The news reports at http://www.tmz.com/2010/11/16/prince-william-engaged-to-kate-middleton-prince-charles-royal-wedding/

After living together, breaking up, living together, breaking up, Prince William has decided to tie the knot with Kate Middleton.
WilliamAndKate.jpg

So here is an example that people will look up to! Look at what the first words of the report are, not "happy couple is to get married", or "Congratulation Prince William", but instead After living together, breaking up, living together, breaking up...

Notice how quick the world is to point out SIN? I would love to have had a chance to look into the reporters family circumstances. Are they perhaps from a hurt relationship, or have they lived in a family where this occured.

As christians we should be quick to forgive! We can never say that peoples selfish, ignorant and nasty actions are okay, but we can be quick to forgive when they look for it.

Perhaps being a royal couple we should expect them to be "more" perfect but the truth is they are young people dealing with an increasingly complex world and exposed to abnormal stresses.

Will their marriage last? Maybe not! Statistics show huge increases in divorces and the UK is fourth worst country in the world. Behind the USA, Puerto Rico and Russia who top the statistics!

Got me thinking about God's view of marriage and forgiveness.

Specifically William is doing th right thing because it says:

Exodus 22:16
[ Social Responsibility ] “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.


Way to go William!...at least you know God agrees with you!

he would have felt better if you had listened to...

1 Corinthians 7:36
If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.

We see God's best way is not for this on and off relationship! God wants to have the beauty of marriage preserved and maintained. He has in fact likened his relationship with the people who love him to a marriage (the pure kind that has and will never have a breakup).

In Revelation the bride is refered to in this way (i.e. bride = true christians) when God says

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

   “Hallelujah!
   For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
   and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
   and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
   was given her to wear.”

   (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

This is the most royal of royal weddings! Jesus taking those who love him, and try their best to live the right way out of love (not duty), to himself! Wow! The amazing part of this is that those of us who are Christian are part of that amazing wedding as the Bride!

Wow! Since it`s heaven, we know the spendour and majesty will be greater than anything here on Earth. Something to remember as we watch the celebrations around this marriage between William and Kate!

Today let`s realise we are in God`s presence and are engaged to the living God! Let`s live that way being true to our lover and doing the little things our lover likes.

That`s the true way of love, right?

Tue, November 16, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why use incense?
Why use incense?

Incense when burnt produces a fragrant smoke that is used in aromatherapy, meditation, various religious ceremonies and to mask bad odours.

IncenseAltar.jpg

 There are many different smells around us and incense is the term we give to those we like a lot and that are created by burning or smoldering substances! (Today, tobacco smoke is appreciated by some people, incense sticks by others, and then we have the modern perfume producing heating elements that introduce nice smells into our homes)

 In the ancient times, there were a few things that were considered to be the most fragrant incenses of all time. Something called Frankincense was top of that list.

 Frankincense is found today in places like Yemen and Somalia, and is made from the resin of a Boswellia tree. This is done by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. When allowed to smolder they produce this penetrating fragrance which was so wanted in the ancient times. It was and still is very expensive.

 God told Moses how to make a special fragrant incense for himself using Frankincense. Here is how. . .

 “Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, "Get some sweet-smelling spices. Get some gum resin, onycha and galbanum. Also get some pure frankincense. Make sure everything is in equal amounts. "Have a person who makes perfume mix it all up into a sweet-smelling incense. It must have salt in it. It will be pure and sacred. Grind some of it into powder. Place it in front of the tablets of the covenant in the Tent of Meeting. There I will meet with you. The incense will be very holy to you.

 "Do not make any incense for yourselves in the same way. Think of it as holy to me. Anyone who makes incense in the same way to enjoy its sweet smell must be cut off from his people."

 The other three components (other than the salt) are no longer really known today. There are different ideas and some people think they know, but certainty is missing.

 Notice God says “The incense will be very holy to you” which implies that it has a purpose for us that exceeds that which God has for it.

 It is perhaps that God understood the people of the time needed to have these fragrances so they could connect themselves spiritually with Him? Perhaps man kinds development was at that stage where we needed something to help us get into the right mindset to connect with God.

 Often I think we say that because something is psychological it is not spiritual as well. Is this really true. Things are psychological because we are human beings! Since we are human and spiritual, we can use psychological helps to bring us to spiritual cross points in our lives. 

What is wrong with that?

 So in ancient times people placed coals of burning temple incense on the altar of incense.

This created a fragrant aroma that filled the Holy place and holy of holies. It wafted out into the courtyard to promise a pleasant fragrant interior to those outside.
 

Incense in the new testament times is linked to the birth of Jesus and also to the conception of John the Baptist. These are two really important events that symbolically show God’s great planning for humankind.  

Today, we produce incense in a different way.

This is shown in revelations 5:8 (NIRV) “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

 Our prayers are the new incense. They are fragrant to God!

Revelation 8:3 reinforces this aspect as it says

 “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.

 Perhaps this is why they no longer have the recipe for the temple incense, perhaps God wants a new incense, our prayers! Today let’s go before God in prayer.

Think about it, we are in this universes dimension and also in heaven simultaneously as we offer prayers to God. 

                                     Quite a privilege!
Mon, November 15, 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.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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