Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, September 2, 2011
Is fear inherent in Christian life?
Is fear inherent in Christian life?
Fri, September 2, 2011 | link
"The greatest barrier
to success is the fear of failure."
Sven Goran Eriksson
Daily we meet people who seem to fear the strangest things.
is a number of fears we find around us;
are many more, but really when we get to Christian life there seems to be another fear, that somehow people may disprove God.
- We don’t try food because we fear strange tastes,
- We fear going to new places because
we cannot know for certain how we can deal with the new unfamiliar situations,
- We fear flying (despite it being one
of the safest forms of transport), We fear having to speak in public (is this because we fear shame or not being perfect),
- We fear intimacy (maybe we are scared we may not be lovable and will be rejected and hurt),
fear the dark (the unknown),
- We fear rejection (scared we are not good enough),
- We fear spiders (the
unknown again maybe),
- We fear heights (uncertain of our abilities being adequate for our safety),
fear commitment (scared we might get into something we cannot reverse and get out of),
- We fear failure (scared
we might be less than perfect).
How crazy is THAT fear?
The bible provides
an antidote for all these fears. It says. . .(1 John 4 NIRV)
“God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love shows that he is joined to God.
And God is joined to him.
So love is made complete among us. We will be bold on the day
God judges us. That's because in this world we love as Jesus did.
is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who
fears does not have perfect love.”
drives fear away! When we look at what God says regarding love he says
the following. . . Luke 10:27
He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with
all your strength and with all your mind.'—(Deuteronomy 6:5) And, 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' "—(Leviticus
Love encompasses all and embraces all, providing truth and life to
those who accept it deeply.
Can we by investigating world
truths and ambiguities somehow disprove God?
we could, we should!
I don’t think we should have faith in a God that is so small that we as
men and women could disprove him!
is your view on this statement?
Failing to look into and investigate worldly
truths in the light of God’s word, brings us as Christians ridicule in the face of the non-Christian world. Rightly
so! We need to face this fear and reject it!
If we simply seek truth, honestly and aggressively with our whole
being, it will point to Jesus, the way to God.
Jesus says. . . (John 14 NIRV) Jesus answered,
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Can we throw away our Christian fears long enough to trust in God’s
love, so that we can honestly and openly investigate what others say, showing
them how to move towards true truth if they are interested.
That is the Christians
responsibility! We need to use God’s love to cast out fear!
Let’s see how that applies to that list we constructed above. We will use bible verses to cast a little light
on each point;
We don’t try food because we fear strange tastes! How do we align this with what Paul says to Timothy “They order them not to eat
certain foods. But God created those foods. So people who believe and know the truth should receive them and give
thanks for them.
God created is good. You shouldn't turn anything down.
Instead, you should thank God for it.”
We fear going to new places because we cannot know for certain how we can deal
with the new unfamiliar situations,
John 17:18” You sent me into the world. In the same way, I have sent them into the
Seems God is going with
us and wants us to go to new places. So we should not fear doing it, right?
fear flying (despite it being one of the safest forms of transport) and spiders (the unknown again maybe) and other things
Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to walk all over snakes and scorpions. You will be able
to destroy all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you.
[Sorry, there was no aircraft
in Jesus time, so I cant give you a specific scripture for that one, but I do think the principle applies!]
fear having to speak in public (is this because we fear shame or not being perfect),
Philippians 1:14 Because I am being held by chains, most of the
believers in the Lord have become bolder. They now speak God's word more boldly and without fear.
Perhaps we should do the same?
We fear intimacy
(maybe we are scared we may not be lovable and will be rejected and hurt),
John 15:12 "Here
is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you.
God loves us, perhaps if we loose our self consciousness others will see us as God does and love us even more than they already
We fear the dark (the unknown),
will say about the Lord,
"He is my place of safety. . .
won't have to be afraid of the terrors that come during the night.
We fear rejection
(scared we are not good enough),
Hebrews 13:5 God has said, "I will never leave you. I will never desert you." —(Deuteronomy
Hey with God with us we can handle a little rejection right?
We fear heights (uncertain of our abilities being adequate for our safety),
Romans 8:39 Not even the highest
places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can do that. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God's love because
of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.
Perhaps we need to allow God’s abilities
to fill in for where ours fail?
We fear commitment (scared we might get into something we cannot reverse and get
out of) and failure (scared we might be less than perfect).
Hebrews 13: 4 So we can say boldly,
"The Lord helps me. I will not be afraid.
What can a mere man
do to me?" —(Psalm 118:6,7)
In truth, as Christians we should be lacking in fear and filled with love. We should love to investigate and learn new
things. We should not fear unknowns.
In simple terms we should say. . .
“Lord, the earth is filled with your love. Teach
me your orders.” Psalm 119:64 NIRV
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Explaining “Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Thu, September 1, 2011 | link
I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person
in the world at that moment. Mother Teresa
When I was at seminary I was amazed to find that they emphasised that proverbs are not absolute truths but general truths.
people consider what Proverbs says as 100% effective every time!
was not the intent of the book of proverbs or the intent of proverbs at the time they were written.
they are introduced with the statement they are “wise sayings”. This
is far more accurate and if we interpret their content in this context we are less likely to make a mistake.
one proverb that we would all like to be true, and want to use it as an example of how the book of proverbs is to be understood.
“Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 is often taken as a promise that if we bring up a child in the Christian faith in the formative years of their life then even if they
wander away they will come back to Christian ways.
Unfortunately, that is NOT what this
The proverb is a statement
of GENERAL truth.
It is saying children that are formed
in a particular way will generally follow that way as they get older. There
is no magic wand evoking some strange power over the now older child’s free will forcing them to return to God later.
That would counter God’s giving of free will to individuals and that he would never do.
to burst the bubble of blind belief in this verse for so many of us!
I myself would like it to be absolutely true, but understanding we cannot change
the purpose of a writing after it is completed, I must like everyone
else trust the general law and continue praying that my children will find the right paths and make the right decisions
Proverbs as a book is basically divided as follows;
Proverbs is part of a specific genre of writing called Wisdom Literature.
- Chapters 1-9 praise wisdom.
- Chapters 10-24 which
are really the proverbs of Solomon. The first part to proverbs 22 is addressing worldly wisdom and being careful in life activities.
Proverbs 22 from verse 17 is a teaching poem focusing on moral truths.
- Chapter 30 sayings of Agur
- Chapter 31 sayings of King Lemur
It joins other wisdom literature books of the bible such as Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
Job can also be included in this list.
Wisdom and foolishness are compared, and the focus is on providing general common
information on how to gain wisdom and reject foolishness.
read these words we need to remember they are collected to improve the general knowledge of wisdom and improve our general activities. They are not promises of the nature of promises in other parts of our bible.
I do want to follow these guidelines, because they will in general make my life easier and help me achieve my purpose. I will however not stop praying and working on making sure I do everything possible to help
my children understand and meet Jesus correctly.
I trust you will do the same!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
What is this stuff people call SIN?
What is this stuff people call SIN?
Wed, August 31, 2011 | link
SIN is a word we know at a subliminal and negative feeling type level.
At least, many of us do, don’t we? But what is it really?
understanding of SIN is not something most of us have or want!
The word emits a negative feeling and one that we feel is not good but we can hardly explain why we feel this way.
everyone feels this way!
There are those counter-culture, revolutionaries types who
instead of seeing SIN as negative, embrace the hedonistic, devil worship, reality escaping aspect it shows by adopting a violent
partying, “I don’t care” type of way. These people often tend to be more anti-social and heavily in-group
My usage of “In-group” here means they see themselves as part
a group which has very strong bondages between members holding them to the group norms and practices. They are so
self-focused they ostracise, ridicule and eject those who differ from themselves.
I guess they help define our
western perspective of the word SIN. However, that is not the true meaning of SIN.
SIN in our
western culture is generally misunderstood as meaning the violating of a rule, particularly a moral rule.
Christian bible uses SIN in a much more complex way.
The origin of SIN is apparently
by mankind snubbing God’s guidance at the beginning of time.
It was the proud, “I know better than God” attitude of the original people.
This dirties our genetic line
and ensures none of us get away from it ever again. Our search for knowledge (another modern society
drive and goal) is a parallel activity to SIN that we developed as we accepted this SIN into our lives.
of how these two seem to go together so well?. The more knowledge we gain, the more effectively and hideous we SIN.
Just a thought. . .no hard correlation. . . but every civilization that out developed others in knowledge has been brought
down by SIN in the end hasn’t it? Every civilization, without exception (I think!). While knowledge is not evil
itself, perhaps the dis-respectful way we chase it to the detriment of other peoples growth and care is? This is
a rabbit trail, let's get back to discussing SIN.
So what else does the bible say about SIN?
look into the book of Romans and the sixth chapter specifically!
It starts off by saying “What should we say then? Should we keep on sinning so that God's grace can increase? Not at
all! As far as sin is concerned, we are dead. So how can we keep on sinning? All of us were baptized into
Christ Jesus. Don't you know that we were baptized into his death? By being baptized, we were buried with Christ into his
death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father's glory. And like Christ we also can live a new life. “ (I
am using the NIRV version)
The guy writing this has just explained that as Christians we don’t DO anything
to get our sin removed from us.
God does it all by something he terms as grace (Grace reflects on that fact that
God loves us despite the fact we are really quite unlovable and removes the pain and sentence of us doing the wrong things
from us taking our punishment himself instead).
So, we get SIN removed by God’s grace.
The text is pointing out we should love God enough NOT to deliberately SIN.
Now I often simplistically describe SIN as selfish, nasty and ignorant things we do (S=selfish, n=nasty,
i=ignorant). This is easy to remember but is really basic.
SIN is bad since if is
our insulting of the God of the universe.
he offers to take the rap for our bad behaviour, and when he does we say “okay, let’s be bad so we can
abuse God more!”. That’s SIN, and why it is nasty!
since God sent Jesus to tell us what we were doing, we are without excuse!
We now know we are doing it
and Jesus said if we believe what he told us, if we love God, others and ourselves, then God will not hold our bad behaviour
Just as well, or I would
Somehow, Jesus’ murder by horrible men enables us to get away
with that murder and others SINs! Strange but true!
Our SIN dies with that death of Jesus
and then as Jesus rises from the dead with new life, we similarly, being released from SIN can live sinless in a new life.
That’s really what God wants!
us to live as sinless as possible, so that we show our respect of him, others and ourselves!
Now we don’t always manage that!
We do try to manage to do it however!
So avoiding SIN is not a hard thing, it’s a respect and love thing!
In this way we realise we cannot get away from SIN. SIN is something we all slip up and do. But we don’t
let it pull us down!
We take the high road and respect ourselves, others and our wonderful
So, SIN is more than a simple word. It is complex and part of our lives despite everything we
can do to avoid it.
is not to focus on avoiding SIN, but to focus on respecting and loving God, others and ourselves.
we reduce it to having negligible impact on our lives and that of those around us.
So let’s go and love
people today! That’s my objective, what is yours?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Life events that give us pause, to think!
Life events that give us pause, to think!
Tue, August 30, 2011 | link
Hurricane Irene was not a welcome event!
Many changes had to be made to accommodate her approach, and then,
there was plenty of changes on cleaning up. Many families lost loved ones, and many families were badly impacted by having
to evacuate their homes and neighbourhoods.
That was a national impacting event!
often have lesser events that cause us to stop, pause and consider our lives
and the value of our existence and activities.
Yesterday I had one of these!
I was working on drilling a
hole at the base of a deck. The pole added to the deck was supported by a clamp. I was alone in my activity. When
the drill suddenly exited on the other side of the deck plank, I fell forward unexpectantly. The metal bar that was part of
the clamp was in front of my face. Before I could react, it had stabbed my face and bounced sideways hitting my eye socket
and entering between the eyeball and my eye socket.
It was then I prayed almost involuntary as I carefully pulled
it out. I found my vision blurred.
Myriads of thoughts of how my life could change due to this simple accident
accelerated through my thoughts as the blood clouded my vision.
Would I be able to see properly, how would things change?
out that the good Lord had intervened sufficiently to allow only surface damage to my eye and socket. There is no long lasting
damage. Praise God!
Nevertheless, it gave me time to pause and be grateful for what most of us take for granted, our sight!
When events affect our lives, it is worth taking the time to appreciate those small things
around us that are critically important.
For me it was the compassion of those around me and the glory and beauty of the
environment around me (I live lakeside in a wonderfully forested area. One of the most beautiful parts of the Canadian
God is so good! He supplies us with so much
each day that we take for granted and it’s only when deprived for a short while of some of these “normal”
expectations that we realize how precious they are and how wonderful the gift is.
I am sure as people return home
after Irene, the warmth of their home and their ability to have one place where they can stay will be in stark contrast to
the hurried escaping from the hurricane winds and that storm surge.
We all have life! We are to use it wisely!
When events cause us to pause, it is good to think of how everyday gifts of God are precious.
events are simply interruptions in life that focus our attention. How we react is dependent on us! Let’s
react in a way that draws us closer to God and appreciating the world and those around us! As we gather ourselves for another
day let’s remember that bad events are not always as bad as they seem at the time.
That’s my plan for today,
Monday, August 29, 2011
Ever feel fed up with life, the church or God?
Mon, August 29, 2011 | link
you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you
will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours"
Don’t feel alone!
I was reading some statistics around this and found out that 88% of men at sometime or the other get bored with church!
What category do we fit into? Those that are bored, sometimes
bored or never bored?
It seems so many people go to church
to be entertained! This is a huge mistake since entertainment is far better provided by other means
such as the internet, movies, games and other modern contrivances. Church is not a place to go to be entertained!
This begs the question why even go?
If we do, what are we really
doing in the company of other people who call themselves Christians?
Some say we go to gain
teaching, others say it’s to cause us to think about ourselves and life, some it’s a
social event, and others it’s a way of joining with likeminded people to help our community!
All fine reasons, but perhaps they also miss the mark!
Sitting in a semi-uncomfortable seat, we listen to someone talk.
Why? We hated doing it at school so
why subject ourselves to this now?
Perhaps it because inherent in us is a need to connect with our creator.
Perhaps it is we need to hear something that gently touches our souls and lifts
our mind and emotions heavenward?
When people who understand God’s word open it, a connection between
the mundane common events of life and the eternal opens up.
The connection is fragile and easily destroyed.
A wrong thought or attitude will disconnect the communication and the content of the communication is so often not in audible
words. Mostly it is by a gentle impression, or an unexpected memory that surfaces guiding one into a spiritual place that
is unexpectantly good!
Sometimes a spiritual tune and lyrics evolve into a link with heaven.
Then the experience transcends our immediate environment and lifts our emotions, thoughts and responses in a love that exceeds
that of the best husband and wife can experience with each other in the most intimate moments.
a reason to come to church! To experience and express to God, together with others, our love of what he has done for
us and through us!
It’s a giving love moment!
One which requires sacrifice to achieve the greatest heights. In our human relationships, the best relationships are those
where both people give to each other without restraint. The best relationship with God is similar!
depend on the sermon? Not really!
Does it depend on the
music? Not really!
Does it depend on how we dress? Not
Does it depend on how many others are ther? Not
Does it depend on us? Certainly!
Connecting with God is a reason to go to church! Enjoying being with others doing the
same is another reason!
Let us try to remember this!
Then, let’s together
investigate the bible as that is the purest form of God’s truth for us daily. Book knowledge of the bible is
not what it is about though! It is about knowing aspects and then using them. Reading about forgiveness is
not the same as applying it. Reading about caring for poor is not the same as doing it!
those two small points how do we measure up? Can we honestly say we have forgiven everyone and that we have done
something last week to help the poor and disadvantaged?
The reason we get fed up with church is that
we think it’s just an hour or two on a special day instead of a life experience daily!
want to live church! What about you?
Confessions of a Good Christian Guy: The Secrets Men Keep and the Grace
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