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Friday, June 3, 2011

What is Faith? I just donít get it!
  
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“Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible”
 William James (American Philosopher and Psychologist) 

Walking through the forest a hare encounters a fox who catches a glimpse of the furry bundle going past in the shade of the trees. With an eye to enticing the hare into range of his jaws he calls out to him. “Hello good friend”

The hare on seeing him stops, sits up and peers through the tree into the grassy glade where the fox sits in the sunshine. “Why hello Mr Fox!” replies the hare. “what do you want?”

“Please join me in this warm sun”, says Mr. Fox, rolling onto his side as if sunning himself in the warm morning rays of light.

“I don’t think so Mr Fox”, retorts the hare, “many times I have been told that to come close to you is unhealthy for me. I will just run along!”

“Come now, I have just eaten, the sun is warm, and I am now going to sleep. Why not join me, the grass is green and perfect for eating and the sun is most enjoyable. Why have faith in those old wives tales! Has a fox ever done you harm before? We get such bad publicity you know! It’s not at all true!” says the Fox half closing his eyes and acting sleepy.

 “You may be right”, said the hare, “but I have more faith in my father’s words than yours. Particularly because he said that a fox just like you killed my brother. Enjoy your sun!” and with that he hopped away through the woods.

 Faith!

 It is belief in things we have yet to see, experience, or do.

 Faith is based on fact, but not facts that we have experienced for ourselves at the time we need to make a decision.

 Every day we use faith and don’t think much of it. When we turn on our car, washing machine or even the stove, we are putting faith in a lot of different systems working just the way we believe they will work.

 This faith is based on experience of what happened the last time we did something isn’t it?

 Then there is the first time we take our hard earned cash to buy an air ticket to a different country for a vacation or business trip. Here we put ourselves into abnormal unknown situations based on what others have told us. How do we know it’s true, why do we entrust ourselves to the pilot, the taxi drivers, and strange rooms in stranger hotels?

 We have faith in things we are told and which we don’t know are true. We trust our lives on these stories don’t we?

 Because we have faith! Faith in maps, stories others tell, and the odd photograph (that we hope wasn’t created with Photoshop).

 So faith is a common commodity of life!

 Why then is it so difficult to use when it comes to Jesus and believing what he said? 

 The fact that he lived is not only recorded in the bible but in other roman texts from those times.

He is a historical being proved to have lived.

That bible is the most researched book in the world and has stood up to centuries of scrutiny.

It was written even before people in the America's and Northern Europe even learned how to write. At that time a good portion of the world was still illiterate, yet God was already recording accurately information for us to read now.

 God’s book, the bible,  provides advice upon which the Western world has built its governments and justice systems, and they work!

 So why do we listen to Mr Fox, that evil spirit Satan who says it is stupid to have faith in a God we cannot see?

 I prefer to be like Mr Hare, and run along enjoying life keeping to my faith. As the bible says in 1 Samuel 26 “The Lord rewards everyone for doing what is right and being faithful”. 

 I choose to believe in what I do not see, but which facts say is true!

 How about you?
Fri, June 3, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Must I believe everything the same way as others?
 
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“If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?”
 Abraham Lincoln quotes


 

In ancient Rome, they had feasts and people got invited to them. A good party is fun isn’t it? Now Christians enjoyed a good party as much as anyone and would go along for the fun, food and drink that was to be had.

 There was a problem however, firstly, the Christians had grown out of Jewish roots that said “don’t eat pork” and secondly some of the food that was made available was the food brought from the temples of the Roman gods. This food was the overflow of that which had been used in idol worship, and sometimes it was even food that had been brought out in front of the god as part of a sacrifice.

 So Paul gets asked if Christians should eat this food. Now you would think the obvious answer is no! That is not the answer, this is…

 “Let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put anything in your brother's way that would make him trip and fall.
 
 I am absolutely sure that no food is "unclean" in itself. I say this as one who belongs to the Lord Jesus. But some people may consider a thing to be "unclean." If they do, it is "unclean" for them. Your brothers and sisters may be upset by what you eat. If they are, you are no longer acting as though you love them. So don't destroy them by what you eat. Christ died for them.” Romans 14:14-15 NIRV

 Notice the rule is not absolute, it depends on how the people perceive the effect spiritually of the food. For some it is to be avoided as it would cause them to falter in their beliefs. These are people who lacked faith to see food is not changed by a false god and that pork is just another meat.

 Others could eat this idol “unclean” food since it would have no effect on them whatsoever.

 So not everyone was expected to believe the same way as everyone else. Christians can have differences but when they do there is an over-arching guideline, we must make sure others do not fall.

 In other words, those people that had the faith to see through the “unclean” food could eat it with no problem, and so they were asked not to if the other type of Christian was present.  They were to love and respect the other enough to not cause the lesser faith believer to be tempted by their own lesser faith perspective.

 Our enjoyment is to bring others into a tighter closer and more loving relationship with the God of our universe. We are to love other so much that we become like Jesus in that activity and would die for others rather than see them lost.

 Avoiding a practice we know hurts others while we are with them does not make us hypocrites if we do it when not with them (provided it is not sinful). 

So, today let’s make space for others but consider their feelings and beliefs in love.

 Have a great day!
Thu, June 2, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hurt and harmed, why should I forgive?
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The greatest honor history can bestow is that of peacemaker.

Richard M. Nixon

Wow! Don’t you find that sometimes God’s word can be hard hitting!
 
 When I was a little child my mother taught me a prayer that started “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild!”


 My experience is that this is not true!

  Jesus is gentle, he is meek, but he is also strong, direct, to the point. God gives us direction which is not always easy to follow. To be a Christian who loves God and wants to do his will is sometimes hard and takes courage!

 Take for example my current circumstance. I have been accused of wasting peoples time and money yesterday. I know that I didn’t do this, but specific people are making it difficult for me. I am upset and annoyed, falsely accused and unable to defend myself. Then this morning I turn to God’s  word and read…

  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19

 This makes me think of Jesus! He was falsely accused of misleading people, and although capable of defending himself, he choose not to, allowing himself to be physically abused up until until he died.

 Wow!

 That makes my small problem rather insignificant!

 Now I read the words ...

 
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19

 again.

 This time I can build a love for my accusers since I have enabled God’s word to reach into my heart and do a work. I want to help them despite the fact they have actively chosen to try to hurt me. Jesus’ example empowers me. I am able to move to the place a Christian should be, that place where we truly forgive and don’t just say the words.

 True love in the face of oppression is Christ like! It’s not easy, simple, and for the faint hearted. It is strong, powerful and for the Christian!

 My choice is to walk this path. What would you do in similar circumstances?
Wed, June 1, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Candid Christianity: We have to give others space to be themselves donít we?
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"The other day when I was walking through the woods, I saw a rabbit standing in front of a candle making shadows of people on a tree.”
 Stephen Wright 

  Here is a simple story…

 In the forest a rabbit meets a hare. “Mr Hare” the rabbit says, “you seem to be all alone. That is not good! Please come and live me, my friends, family and bunnies in our burrows just over the hill!”

 “Mr. Rabbit”, said the hare, “I know the wolves know where you live, I prefer to run free and avoid being eaten. Perhaps if you lived as I did you would be safer.”

 With this they smiled at each other, wiggled their noses and hopped off in opposite directions, each sure they lived the right way!

 This story illustrates the fact we often fail to respect others that are just a little different to ourselves. We so often consider what we know to be superior to what others know don’t we?

 Rabbits and hares both come from the animal family Leporidae. They are similar in looking in form with the hare having longer ears and stronger legs. However rabbits live in colonies and are easier domesticated. Hares live alone or in pairs only coming together to mate.

 There is no right or wrong in how they live, there is only a difference in lifestyles and in the story above, a need to avoid the wolves. Each does it in their own way.

 The story helps us put context into what Paul says in Roman 14. he is addressing us Christians as servants of God and says:

 “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

 We cannot judge another if we are not in their specific context. Another life is lived in a different way for God and provided they live their lives the way their master (God) wants them to do they are not to be condemned or commended by us.

 This applies to rural vs city Christians, Protestants vs Catholics, conservatives vs contemporary Christians, young earth vs old earth, new vs mature, and male vs female.

 I am sure you can think of more comparative groupings. We so easily judge don’t we? This makes me rather appreciate Paul’s confidence in God. His confidence that if the servant is doing the masters will, they will be able to manage to do what they need to do.

 This is our challenge! To do the masters will without continually comparing ourselves to others. We need to simply love God and others and do what we are given to do for today.

 That’s what I plan to do, what about you?
Tue, May 31, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, May 30, 2011

Candid Christianity: Overcoming weak faith
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To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”
 Woody Allen

Life can be confusing, right?

Over the weekend a young man, my friend, described a discussion he had with another who is vehemently anti-god, anti-marriage to the extent that he expressed a wish to go and live in a part of the world where there are no Christians and where marriage is dying out!

 This young man can only see the abuse of men by women who marry them, suck up their resources both monetary and emotional before abusing the law to spit them out, taking their children, assets and joy of life. Why even think of getting married he indicated? You are a fool to get married.

 I was proud of my friend who apparently answered that then he would have to be a fool because he needed to believe that marriage can be far better than that and God is important to him.

 Having a happy marriage and a wonderful wife, three lovely children, and a great relationship with God, I agree with my friend!

 A good marriage is wonderful!

 This got me thinking about how much faith that negative man had in believing that God didn’t exist.

 We cannot prove the existence or non-existence of God to those that have not met him can we. This is as God wants it because he insists we all have free will to choose and such proof would remove that free will. A loving God has to allow my atheist friends tehir free will even when they use it to hurt themselves.

Yet so many atheists  seem to have extraordinary faith God doesn’t exist despite seeing those of us who love, follow and communicate with God all the time. Their faith in nothing is extraordinary isn’t it?

 BUT there are Christians who have difficulty with the little faith as well isn't there? 

 Paul advises us to tread lightly around such people. We are to not do things that would cause their faith to be reduced.

 He says in Romans 14

 “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters.”

 Disputable matters do exist! They existed in Paul’s time and do now. I know many such subjects and Paul’s advice is to steer clear of them with those that have difficulty in building faith. It is better to walk a very straight path with more limitations than are necessary if we think others can be hurt by our example. To much of this and we become pharisees, but a good balance is needed!

 Now Paul is speaking of the immature Christian, but even with those who reject God we need to be careful. We need to remember that to show them our glorious God, we do not need to convince them their arguments are wrong, we just need to find a way to show them God. God has insisted they have free will! That’s how loving he is! We need to let that love flow into the situation without antagonism or anger.

 I cannot think the person mentioned at the beginning of this blog could feel the way he does without experiencing deeply some of the things he is communicating. Perhaps he knows no better way.

 Love says we should take the punch of his words and put our arms around his soul and love him anyhow.

  A small hurt to us now could be a huge healing to him later!

 That’s how may God wants me to react!

 How does your God want you to react today?
Mon, May 30, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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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?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
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