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Friday, December 3, 2010

Time will tell, do we REALLY care…
 
ExoticDancer.jpg

In my blog Another prostitute scandal? How would Jesus react? I appealed to our Government to be reasonable. I concluded

 “I think it leaves me wanting the prostitutes better protected, but without having a way to promote their activities.

 This is not the intent of the new law, so I cannot support it!

 Mr Harper, you go and get this one corrected! Our judicial system has failed us!”

 Well yesterday I saw the start of an answer to the prayer as it was reported by the CBC…[1]

 “An Ontario court judge has ruled that Canada's laws on prostitution will stay in force for a few more months despite a September ruling striking them down.

 Justice Susan Himel issued a ruling on Sept. 28 that declared several laws surrounding prostitution to be unconstitutional.

 While prostitution itself is legal in Canada, keeping a common bawdy house or communicating for the purposes of prostitution are illegal. Translation, no brothels in the suburbs and no chatting up hookers on street corners.  

Himel ruled that those laws put prostitutes at risk and violated their rights under the charter.

 The ruling was stayed to give governments time to respond. The Harper government launched an appeal but that appeal could not be heard before the stay lapsed. On Thursday the Ontario Court of Appeal stayed the ruling until the full appeal is heard.”

 Yay! I do want to see the prosititues cared for, but allowing them to perpetrate their illness on society, breaking up more marriages, and communicating in the open for our young people to see and get enticed by is not, I feel,  helpful .



That’s why I was praying Mr Harper and the government would oppose the silly ruling by that one judge and modify it into a sensible position. One that communicates true love and care for the people who abuse themselves, yet does not allow their evil to pervade our society.

 Thanks to our government for starting that action and at least delaying the start of the illness! Now we need to pray that the correct rulings will be put in place.

 As Christian’s we should be appalled at how these already damaged people get treated when they call for help. Equally, we should not provide means for them to increase this pain in society. It’s a tough road to walk, but as Christians God is continually putting real problems into our paths.

 
We can choose to improve the world the right way or be complacent and take the easy way out.

 
I want to choose right and will pray for it! Will you join me in this prayer?



[1] http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/12/02/16409786.html

Fri, December 3, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The few are selected, the rest deselect themselves. . .
 
Here is a story about the kingdom of heaven. . .
partydance.jpg

 There was a major of a large city who had a huge party organized for his son’s wedding.


 He put out invites to some of the people of the city and but they disliked him and did not reply.

 Then he sent some of his staff to their neighbourhood on the party day with a personal message, “Tell those who have been invited the food is ordered and ready: We have the best food in the city and everything is ready. Please come to the wedding party”

 They paid no attention and instead all ignored the servants, or made excuses and went about their business—one to the stock exchange, another to his business. Some of them put a hit out on some of his staff! They had them tortured and killed! The major was enraged and sent a message to the chief of police to have them thrown in jail and tried for murder. This was done immediately!

 Then the major said to his staff, “The wedding party is ready, but those I invited do not deserve to attend. So go out into the streets and invite to my banquet any you find. So, his staff went out into the streets and brought in many members of the public, the poor and the good. The party hall was soon filled with guests.

 But when the major came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there wearing clothes in a way disrespectful of the occasion. He asked, “how do you get in here in those rags, my friend?” The man was speechless.

 Then the major told his staff. Have him thrown outside into the darkness in the courtyard at the back of the hall where the guard dogs roam, where he can cry and grind his teeth in anger but go nowhere.

 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

 We so often think that the parables Jesus told were easily understood and that we have the answers, but the story above is confusing and complicated.


The actual story(the original) told by Jesus comes from a parable that is in Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:16-24. I took the liberty of modernizing it to enable us to get more of the impact it would have had to those first hearers of this story.

 We need to consider how Jesus didn’t explain things but told stories and allowed people to mull over them to find truth.


Why did he do this? Why not just explain them?

 

Well, he wanted us to think!


What does a upper class wedding party have to do with the kingdom of God? Parties were used to explain the beauty and joy of heaven and Revelations 22 explains the wedding party between the church and God, but this seems so out of character doesn’t it?

 We don’t like to think of God as angry and able to do anything he wants, but he is capable of both!

 Notice how the business people put their interests over that of the Major’s.


Do we put our interests above God’s?
 Notice their rejection of the Major included a rejection of the son.

Rejection of God is a rejection of Jesus isn’t it?
 The invitation in the streets to anyone who wanted to come is similar to Jesus offer of favour, kindness and good will to us.


How do we deal with it? Do we respect this offer, or try to abuse it?
 
I guess we need to consider this story today to understand how God feels about our response.

 

I hope I am a wedding guest that is accepted! I hope you will be too!

Thu, December 2, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

God changes his mind sometimes, is that okay?
ChangeOurMind.jpg

 
“Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people”
Eleanor Roosevelt as quoted by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover


 It’s better when we discuss ideas and events that concern people, isn’t it? It's even better than that when it concerns us isn't it? (At least from our perspective it is right?)

 Minds think and we make decisions. Decisions made may be changed and most of us are rather comfortable in “changing our minds” as we put it.  

However, are we comfortable in following a God who changes his mind? 

“God never makes mistakes” is something I get told often.
 
If that’s the case, why does he change his mind?
 

Let’s look at a well known example…it’s in Exodus 33.

The context of this is that Moses a great leader of the Hebrews had just met with God, and been given the moral law.
 

He received this on a mountain and he came down and he found the people who had sent him up there, partying and worshipping statues they had made from their gold ornaments!

Moses was furious, broke the notes he had from God, he got them to stop, and then went back to try and stop God getting real angry!
 

Then God says… “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”  

Okay, so God was keeping his word. He promised them the land, but he was apparently about to give up on the people! This is real weird! Since God had promised Abraham many descendants and the land, I guess God had decided he would keep that promise but do it another way.

Or maybe not?
 
Maybe he knew the people needed to see what idiots they were being and the best way was to indicate he wasn't going to be with them forcing them to make a decision for or against him! Maybe it was a test?

 

Did God know this would happen? 

Perhaps he did, but the people sure reacted when they heard what God had to say. Exodus says… When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments.[1] 

People were reacting to an idea that would have resulted in a very unpleasant event. (Living without God in a land where they had displaced people without God to guide and help them would be disasterous!)
 
They didn’t want to go on without God!

Wise!
 

Hey, we can learn something here!

Let’s be sure not to go and do things without God leading us and being with us in the activity, or we may get less than we are due!
God will keep his promises, but we may limit our gain by rejecting his blessing!
 

So Moses (who God was happy with) negotiates for the people as follows…
“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”  

Hmmm! I see a parallel here!
 
If we do things without God leading and helping us, how would anyone know God is pleased with us and how will we be distinguished from the rest of the people in life each fighting selfishly for their piece of a world resource cake that gets smaller by the minute?
 

Do we ask God to help us distinguish ourselves from non-godly people?

God says we are distinguished by love. . .Does it show?

Do the non-godly respect the fact that we really love?
 

God gets Moses to ask a second time… “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”[2]  

This time God agrees to do this but sets out the rules which he summarises as…
“I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today.”[3] 

While this was not written to us, but rather to a bunch of motley slaves who had to still form themselves into a nation, we also know God “is the same yesterday and today and forever.”[4] 

What God was wanting was for the people of the time to listen to him for their own good!

They understood that it was for their good!
 

God wants things for our good! He even apparently changes his mind to enable us to learn this.  

Do we learn? 

Do we understand that God does everything in his power to enable us to have the free will to be able to choose him!
 
He sets up circumstances to help us make the decision.

He even shows us by example that if we decide the wrong way, it’s okay to change our minds!
 
God so wants us to understand he knows and feels our situation but will not overwhelm us and force us to do what is right!
 

We have free will! We can change our minds! Let’s align our decisions to bless people through Godly events, to expose the greatest ideas of all times. 

Have a great day!


[1] Exo 33:4 NIV

[2] Exo 34:8 NIV

[3] Exo 34:10

[4] Heb 13:8

Wed, December 1, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The three items in the ark of the covenant
ArkCommandments.jpg
Albert Einstein said “Never lose a holy curiosity.”

 It seems like this is inherent in human nature! It’s a curiosity that is everywhere and almost everyone has some need to know about Holy things.

 I guess we all have this need to worship, and if we don’t worship God, then we attach our worship to things instead. This is a fundamental part of being who we are, but as usual it gets distorted by the evil in this world.

 Today I would like to take a peak into the interior of that amazing artefact, the Ark of the Covenant, and try to make sense of what we find inside.

 Before we delve into it’s depth, a few words about the ark itself! This gold covered box was the most holy of man made relics of tabernacle times. It was constructed according to God’s direction (I will do a blog on that sometime in the future), and it was the place above which the mercy seat of God was located.

 The tabernacle had three areas of increasing holiness, the courtyard, the holy place, and the holy of holies.

The ark was kept in the holy of holies!

 Needless to say what was inside it was important. So what was inside it…

 Firstly, it had the two re-constructed tablets of law that Moses brought down from the mountain after getting them from God. Later when the other items were removed from the ark these tablets remained. In 1 Kings 8:9 it says when Solomon put the ark in his new temple that

 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

 So these two tablets had been there for a long time. Being stone they would have lasted well!

 What was on these tablets?

 Well a long time previously Moses had been told by God Exo 24:12
  “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

 There he was given ten commandments on stone tablets. These were the moral and religious law that the Hebrews needed to follow to be safe in their lives and as a nation. This was their agreement with God, that they would follow these directives. It is why the ark was the ark of the “covenant”.

 A Covenant was a very specific agreement that could not be broken. A topic of another blog may be a discussion around how the book of Deuteronomy is written in ancient covenant agreement format.

 To keep things short for today, we will have to stick with the knowledge that God used the agreements of the time to ensure his people would have fundamental rules of living that would allow them to do well in life, and that breaking these rules would cause them pain.

 Okay, so what else was in the ark?

 Well Paul, that guy who lived around Jesus time, that was trained in Old Testament law and who knew the guys that walked around with Jesus summarized the contents like this...

 
Hebrews 9:4 This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

 So it appears that Paul thought the ark contained manna and Aaron’s rod in addition to the tablets of law.

Where did he get this idea?

 If we read Numbers chapter 19, we find out people were grumbling and needed a sign that Aaron was to be the guy who God selected to run things for them.

A whole lot of staffs (sticks cut off trees) were put in front of the ark of the covenant and the one that sprouted in one night was the one representing the person who would represent God to the people.

Aarons rod “not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.”[1]

So this was another agreement God made with the Hebrews.

 Then there were those jars of manna! God gave Aaron instructions through Moses as follows

 “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come.”
  As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.

 This was the third item and represented the agreement God has had to feed the Hebrews as they travelled to the promised land.

 These last two items are interesting.

Aarons rod was something of a symbol before it budded. Years before as part of convincing Pharaoh of Egypt to let his slaves go it was turned into a snake by God. This meant the rod at the time it budded was already old and dry!

 God was promising that out of something old and dry he could produce life!

 

It makes me think how out of dry old Jewish traditions, life erupted when Jesus came along. We were given an unexpected new life!

 The rod disappears before the ark goes into Solomon’s temple and nowhere in our bible does it describe how. The manna also is not longer there!

 Now in Deuteronomy the reason for Manna is explained…

Deuteronomy 8:3
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

 Manna was a temporary feeding that symbolized Gods provision that came through trusting his words.

 In fact, as we look at these three items we see that all three reflect the fact that we need to listen to God’s word and trust him.

The fact that all three items are no longer in existence for us to see is, I believe, proof of this fact.

God does want us to hear him, he does not want us worshipping holy relics!

 This is something we can do today, as we live and love! It is a fundamental lesson in not placing trust in things but in God’s word alone!

 So when we consider the three items of the ark, we are forced to a deeper and more meaningful consideration.

Where in our hearts do we place God’s word.
 
1. Is it the moral code that guides our lives,
2. does it sprout and give life to us, helping lift the spirits and heal those around us,
3. does it feed our souls and rejuvenate us?

 
These are the questions I must answer, how about you?


[1] Num 17:8 NIV

Tue, November 30, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why does God suffer? Why do we suffer?
Why does God suffer? Why do we suffer?
SufferingSavingOthers.jpg
Bruxy Cavey says. . .

 
“If God is Great,
he must have the power to bring about the best world.

 
If God is Good,
he must want to bring about the best world in the best way.

 
Therefore allowing evil now
 must be the best way to bring about the best world.”

 
 Anyone who has seen Mel Gibson’s representation of Christ’s passion will understand Jesus’ suffering is central, critical to our understanding of suffering, and evil.

 Jesus is the God who suffers with us, but we need to understand God suffers with us through Christ.

 Our image of God is central to understanding Gods dealing with suffering.

We need to know God through Jesus is saying “I know” when we are suffering.

God is not only an observer but an active participant!
 

There is no greater example of undeserved suffering than the suffering that Jesus experienced.

 2 Cor 5 :19 says God was in Jesus when this pain occurred.

Jesus is the “God inside God”
[1].

The earliest writings say that Jesus was Lord and God. As we look at Jesus we learn about God the Father! He says this in

John 14:9
Jesus answered, "Don't you know me, Philip? I have been among you such a long time! Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

 God suffers as Jesus suffers! The Father suffers and the son suffers!
 
 With this as a basis, we can ask questions and consider suffering…

 

How does God’s goodness and greatness exist, and yet still allow evil to exist?

 Some of us hate God because he doesn’t eradicate evil. We become bitter and damaged because we cannot see the biblical truth except through dirty eyeglasses which conceal core truths.

 The bible says there is evil! It says God is good and great!

 God wants us to be concerned  about this apparent paradox.

 The prophet Habbukuk says this…

Habakkuk 1:2-4
Lord, how long do I have to call out for help?
      Why don't you listen to me?
   How long must I keep telling you
      that things are terrible?
      Why don't you save us?
 Why do you make me watch while
      people treat others so unfairly?
   Why do you put up with the wrong things
 
      they are doing?
   I have to look at death.
      People are harming others.
      They are arguing and fighting all the time.
 The law can't do what it's supposed to do.
      Fairness never comes out on top.
   Sinful people surround those
      who do what is right.
      So people are never treated fairly

So God’s prophet can ask this question with frustration in the words!

This God’s prophet, a man approved and supported by God.

  It’s okay to ask these questions!

 The future, is however a place where this suffering is no longer present.

God will do something about this evil.
 
One day God will defeat evil!

But why allow such nasty stuff around us every day?

 God has a reason for allowing evil to exist!

He can make a place that lacks evil! Revelation points out a place where there is no evil is possible, so why are we experiencing evil?

 Perhaps allowing temporary evil is the way to bring about the best world!

 Isn’t it true we need to be free to love him, and we need to freely chose this way all the time!

 Unfortunately, we need to have evil if we are to choose the opposite with free will. Love needs choice!

 God cannot create a perfect world for a while yet, he creates a good world which has full room for failure and success.


He has never created a perfect world for us to live in, instead he created a world where free choice is available to us.

So we have free choice at the cost of perfection, and with the reward of pure love and a perfect heaven.

 We all know there is good and evil, but let’s be honest, animals don’t have this concept. To them life is!

 We can only know evil if we know a sense of something outside of our own experience!

We know there is something more than pure existence.

 Evolution alone, is inadequate to explain right and wrong! There is more than pure life!

 Evil people with depraved minds exist! We know this!

 This knowledge means we KNOW there is a God! Even if we do not acknowledge it. The atheist world view cannot explain why we should follow right or wrong. There is no absolute right or wrong if we are atheist. Genocide could be right in one of the atheist worldviews and there is no way to select the correct worldview.

 As Christians, we know God exists, and yet we understand the pain of the atheist and love them also! We are in God’s image so we love!

 We live in the pain of today to help others around us who have no good future to gain the right future and move to perfection and love.

 We are willing to allow suffering, because we want free choice and the ability to save others for the purpose of building up the perfect world we are going to.

 The bible says 2 Peter 3:9…
The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn't want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins. He wants us to help them. We are his helpers while we live.

 We are privileged aren’t we?

 
Are we thankful today? I am!
Let’s make better choices today![2]



[1] Bruxy Video 7 Novemebr 2010
Mon, November 29, 2010 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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