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Friday, September 9, 2011

? = ? minus love, can we fill in the blanks?
    ? = ? - love



Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
~Eric Fromm

 Is love a survival instinct, and if so who put it there?

 In the atheistic non-religious and in theory science focussed world love is only in place to foster survival of the species. In fact it would be difficult to describe another purpose for love in scientific terms!

 I find this approach lacking?

 

How about you?

 Love is much more than this although we who speak English have a variety of different meanings we can apply to this word. It varies from the “I love my car” expression towards an inanimate object to the the deep kindness, caring and affection we have for a lifelong spouse and then moves to the incredible “agape” love that is love where love is not necessarily returned.

 Love has many forms and faces in English. Perhaps that’s why Paul wrote that deeply thought out description of love, when writing to the Corinthians many years ago.

 Corinth in Greece was an interesting city in those times. I have been to the ancient site of the city and seen perhaps the types of places that Paul walked around as he did his tent making[1] in that city.

 It is not large but it is overshadowed by a mountain called the Acrocorinth. In Greek mythology a dispute between the gods of Poseidon( the sea god) and Helios( the sun god) was settled by the sea of the Isthmus of Corinth belonging to Poseidon and the mountain of Corinth  to Helios. It was destroyed by Romans and then rebuilt by them in 44B.C.

 Paul stayed there in about 50AD for a year and a half (see Acts 18:1-18 for a description of this time). Corinth was larger than Athens at the time and the capital of the Roman province. It was business and commercial hub as it was on a piece of land between two ports.

 What is interesting was that Corinth was known to be a city of promiscuous and unprincipled sex. In fact, the Greek word for fornicate was korinthiazomai, a word derived from the city's name[2]. These people knew about sex in every form! The Aphrodite temple at the base of the mountain is said by some to have 1,000 sacred prostitutes for use by temple attendees. Whether completely true, or partially true, this was definitely a party city with plenty of money.
 
 With this mindset came problems that infiltrated the Christians who lived there. Paul needed to ensure these people understood truth.

 A while after he left hewrote a letter back to this crowd in which he described love. This is what he said. . .(1 Cor 13 NIRV)

 Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels. If I don't have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don't have love, I am nothing at all. Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give my body to be burned. If I don't have love, I get nothing at all.
 
  Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs.

  Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.

 Love never fails. But prophecy will pass away. Speaking in languages that had not been known before will end. And knowledge will pass away.

  What we know now is not complete. What we prophesy now is not perfect. But when what is perfect comes, the things that are not perfect will pass away.

  When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

  Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.

  The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

 Nice description of love right?

 But let’s try and pull this apart and look at love in more depth by looking at what the lack of love involves.

 Some of the things Paul says love is are patience, kindness, generosity, modesty, politeness, goodness, joyfulness, truthfulness, protectiveness, trust, hope, and unfailing.

 Using the equation                   ? = ? – love             let’s pull these apart;

 
? = patience - love

 What attribute is left if we take love out of patience, is it not frustration

Frustration = patience – love


 
Using this same technique lets look at potentials for the rest

 Callousness = kindness – love

 Compulsion = generosity – love

 Arrogance = modesty – love

 Superiority = politeness – love

 Haughty = goodness – love

 Carousing = joyfulness – love

 Meanness = truthfulness – love

 Abuse = protectiveness – love

 Naivety = trust – love

Desperation = hope – love

 While not everyone will agree on these love inverted values, but perhaps in the main most  would find they are descriptive of lacking love.
 
 Without love life is an experience in frustration, callousness, compulsive living, being arrogant, superior or haughty, carousing, being mean abusive and often naively being taken for a fool.

 With love life is patience, kindness, generosity, modesty, politeness, goodness, joyfulness, truthfulness, protectiveness, trust, hope, and unfailing.

 Which do we prefer?

 As we go out into the world today and this week, lets spread the love that Paul describes. What do you think? After all love is our survival instinct that God put into our makeup, let’s us it!

 
Fri, September 9, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Am I loosing control?
Loosing_Control.jpg
      
Ever had your field of vision narrow so that everything around what you are looking at gets blurry and indistinct?

 Sometimes it can be accompanied with a cold shivering sweat and a feeling like someone has turned a blender on in our stomach. Sheer panic can explode, and then we know . . .

 We are out of control! Unable to think straight, move effectively, or even speak to explain how we feel.

 Loosing control is not always so apparent and sometimes we can loose control in an incremental way. It slowly slips away from us, leaving us at the mercy of . . . ?  Who?

 This is the subject of today’s blog on loosing control.

 Many Christians who are unable to tell the difference between evil spirits and Holy Spirit’s influence on our mind loose control of their minds at a time they can have full control.

 In pointing out to Timothy, a young man, how he should live as a Christian, an early Christian Paul said;  The Holy Spirit clearly says that in the last days some people will leave the faith. They will follow spirits that will fool them. They will believe things that demons will teach them.[1]

 Note that it says they will leave the faith!

 They can get so confused that they don’t acknowledge and trust Jesus any longer.

 A verse worth remembering. . .since so many people say Christians can never fall away from God.  Here Paul an expert in that matter says it can happen that faith can be lost!

 Today however we want to concentrate on “spirits that will fool them”.

 
How can this happen?

 Many Christians assume if they are praying and meditating on God, that everything that comes into their mind is of God.

 

Nonsense!



 Evil thoughts can get in if we are not checking on the content of our thoughts and testing them. John another guy who walked around with Jesus says 1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit. Put the spirits to the test to see if they belong to God.

 Well it’s great to say test the spirits, but what does that mean?

 If we are open to spiritual influence putting thoughts into our minds we need to check the thoughts that arrive.

 Here are a few guidelines. . .

 Warning 1 : Beware of self promoting thoughts

 Ideas like, “you will soon make a difference that will change the world for Jesus”, “you are more spiritual than others”, “Step out in faith you cant go wrong”,  “God has opened the door, run through”,   are typical of this type of self promoting thoughts injected by evil spirits. If thoughts build us up into thinking how great we are, beware of them! Thoughts that come from Holy Spirit promote God and perhaps others, but not generally ourselves. Let’s be particularly careful of those that appear suddenly out of nowhere. These are less likely to be directed by God and so must be tested more carefully.

 Warning 2 : Beware of thoughts that separate us from other Christians

 A sudden idea that injects division between Christians or that produces doubt must be tested. Our God is love and tells us to love others. John 13:34  "I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. Great care must be taken where the thought divides Christians. Evil spirits love to inject thoughts like these without a basis and cause trouble. Don’t you think we should check the foundations of these thoughts.

 Warning 3 : Test mind pictures

 We need to beware of passive minds that allow images to float into our conscience. Care must be taken to identify inappropriate images, or images that damage God and others. Let’s not try and stop them happening, but instead actively develop great beautiful and substantial images that provide us with depth of experience, emotion and love for others, God and our created world. We need to actively pull these into our mind replacing the false images with wholesome ones. Blank minds are not what God wants. Active minds enjoying God and his creation in a wholesome way are what God wants.

  Warning 3 : Test dreams

 There are three types of dreams.

 The first are normal dreams without supernatural content which are part of our reprocessing and preparing our minds for life activities.

 The second is supernatural dreams provided by Gods influence.

 The last is supernatural dreams provided by evil spirits.

 Dreams and pictures are similar. It is perhaps harder to replace bad dreams with good dreams, but control over dream life can be trained over time by replacing good with bad, choosing to do biblical activities in our dreams and rejecting non biblical decisions. Typically Satans dreams are violent, active, fast paced, bizarre, fantasy and promote bad behaviour. Typically Gods dreams move us towards normal, steady, caring, peaceful and consciously positive activities and directions.

 Warning 4 : Insomia

 Inability to “turn off” is a common problem introduced by the evil spirits. We fail to get the much needed sleep and thoughts tumble through our minds so fast that we cannot even seen to get one before the next appears.

 Tomorrows activities become super important, “what if’s” rise up like monsters, waves of anxious thoughts assail our mind.

 We often think it’s a physical condition, nerves or a bad meal that induces this and, yes, illness can stop sleep, but thats not the insomnia described above. To counter this uncontrollable flow of ideas, testing the thought for it’s origin, is important. Where did it come from? Am I the originator or is something else. I have found that bringing a song of praise into mind and singing mentally helps, actively reciting bible verses we have previously learned and meditating on them, also is a great help in slowing the onslaught.

 Warning 5 : Lack of Concentration

 We all have times where our concentration dwindles as we get tired, tasks become monotonous etc. However, if our thoughts diverge from the task at hand continually and latch onto something not pertaining to our immediate intent, then we need question these thoughts. Where this happens most will be during prayer, reading our bible and meditating on God’s word. Evil spirits love to interject worrisome thoughts at just such a time.

 We need to be particularly careful if while doing something our mind goes blank and switches tracks. It is important to come back to that point and continue. I have found that doing this enables one to discover a truth that otherwise would have been lost. Disciplining oneself in this way pays large dividends over time.

 How about missing sentences and words of others? This is often due to our mind being switched away from doing what we should be doing. This is normally not of God!

 Warning 5 : Continual forgetfulness

 Again we all forget something now and then. Some of us have medical conditions that also interfere, but sometimes there is no reason. This is a prompt to pray for protection and to ask God to assist us. Let’s not get to the point of considering ourselves useless. This is one objective of evil spirits who adopt this intrusion technique. Training our minds also assists. Memorising scripture builds memory for other tasks as well.

 Warning 6: Beware of thoughts that switch back and forth all the time

 God is not a God of confusion. Where this occurs, evil influences are often at work. Test these thoughts to expose these influences.

 Warning 7: Overly talkative but unable to listen

 Satan loves to get people to think this is a character trait and not controllable. This is countered by truly allowing God’s love for the person to settle in our heart. Checking we are communicating in peace and not just to build excitement in our own lives or promote our image or ideas. Consider how much God listens and how little he speaks. Check the bible to see that most people who were given words from God weighed speaking them carefully. Perhaps we could do the same? We must be careful to ensure all our words come from ourself! We need to test our conversation to check we are fully in control and be aware if someone tells us we are not listening.

 Warning 8: Refusal to listen to new information once a decision has been made

 If we consider we know all the facts and our decision is final, we are foolish. Only God knows all the facts and only his decision is final. Therefore, we must not be deluded into thinking we are better than we are. This type of thought pattern is often found in Christians who have superior attitudes. Age, knowledge and other arguments can be used to support this stubborn spirit. An open investigation of facts and comparing them to God’s word is a way to overcome this intrusion.

 Warning 9: Being captured by the physical appearance and actions of another

 Heard of those who have a hypnotic personality, or “powerful” personality. Those who by there very appearance and words cause a dazed state in the viewer. This is not of God! Beware of putting others into the position God alone should occupy. Teen idol worship is typical of this type of intrusion into the mind but it happens at other times as well. Is the mind state we get into of our own decision or seemingly influenced by outside forces. If by outside forces, beware as evil spirits can be attempting to control your mind.

 In summary, we are are exposed to mind altering influences, but as Christians we want to be sure we are in control of them and they are directing us to loving God, others and ourselves, not moving us away from this. We are able to decide for ourselves! God gave us free will so we can use it.

 Today I want to use it wisely, what about you?


[1] 1 Timothy 4 : 1

Thu, September 8, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thorns in a mind field!

brain_bomb.jpg

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
Albert Einstein



   Watchman Nee a writer describes a number of problems we can encounter in our mind when we are living a Spiritual life.

 Yesterday’s blog explained how the “old mind” can co-exist with a new life and new heart, taking us down to lower levels of spiritual living than we want.

 Today I want to explain how the old mind is littered with unexploded bombs waiting to go off and take us out of renewing our mind. Avoiding or removing these gives us true spiritual growth and successful living. It is the path to a happy and contented life.

 So here is the list. . .(thanks Mr Nee)[1]

 An un-renewed mind: We can say sorry of our sins and mean it! However, if the old thinking patterns are still the same this can provide a blockage to growth. This for example could be areas of thinking in which evil lurks waiting to overwhelm us. Perhaps it is areas of greed, envy, hatred, anger or other unpleasant (and as yet resident) pools of vitreous evil that we may even be unaware of. This is mind bomb 1.

 An improper mind: Unclean, proud and unkind thoughts generate this base of evil. Selfishly holding onto evil thoughts of this kind enables evil to borrow our brain for its purposes. We permit this intrusion by these thoughts. We need to ask ourselves if we are willingly doing this? This is mind bomb 2.

 Misunderstanding God’s truth: Thinking God has said something that he has not, or misinterpreting God’s will for our body, emotions, will and actions provides another area where we can be damaged by our minds. Not understanding the full working of Jesus death and allow it to be fully enabled in our lives is also in this category of evil. This is mind bomb 3.

 Accepting suggestions: Evil suggestions are pumped into our minds continually. In psychological terms they would say our thoughts lie to us! This is true, we are particularly amenable to lies regarding our circumstances or future.

How many Christians have been taken down by horoscopes or foretelling of future that they accept and then when Satan organizes these events, they accept them as truth?

We need to understand about a third of God’s angels fell from heaven to join Satan at one time and they continually work to misdirect and misguide us. Because a prediction occurs does not mean it’s true! Why should it be true?

If I say a glass will fall off the table in a few minutes as a result of God’s miraculous power, you believe it, and when you look away I push the glass off, has it proved God’s truth? Not likely! It has proved I am a deceiver hasn’t it? So why do we fail to see Satan doing the same in spiritual terms? This is a component of mind bomb 4.

 A blank mind: Matthew 13:23 (NIRV) But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted." This suggests that we need to fill our mind with thoughts around God’s message. If our minds are full of God’s truths and work, they are hard to penetrate with evil. If however they are empty, blank, awaiting input, they are easily fed false information which is then greedily consumed. If we offer our thought space for use, Satan will accept. This is mind bomb 5.

 A passive mind. This is not very different from the previous mind bomb, except in this case the mind is empty in anticipation of being used by another. It is worse than an empty mind in that we wait eagerly to be used. This is a path for evil to use the mind and in so doing activate the emotions, and body. It is ground for providing evil induced actions that are against God’s will increasing evil on earth.  This is mind bomb 6.

So the thorns in our mind’s field are an un-renewed or improper mind, that mis-understands God’s word, accepting evil suggestions, or emptying it of thoughts and perhaps anticipating supernatural intervention in our thoughts.


 
So what is our protection? Have a renewed mind, read and gain understanding of God’s word, reject improper thoughts, fill our minds and emotions with truth, hope and love, filter thoughts against the truths and guidelines of God rejecting evil suggestions. In this way we avoid the mind bombs, we avoid the thorns and walk with confidence through our lives.

 So today I will want to be careful to watch out and counter evil that may try to use my thoughts. I plan to use God’s word to counter it where I can.

 I pray you will have the courage to do the same!  
Wed, September 7, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New life, new heart, old head?
Old_or_New_head.jpg
"The heart has reasons that reason does not understand."
Jacques Benigne Bossuel
 


    A heart transplant is major surgery and when someone undergoes this rather intrusive procedure, they receive a new heart.

 A spiritual transplant of our “heart” similarly occurs when we hand our lives across to belong to God for him to do with as he wants. (That’s the true meaning of being “saved”, not simply mumbling a few words and then changing our mind a few minutes later).

 Our emotions may change and our lives change when we undergo a heart transformation of either type.

 However if the person with a physical heart transplant decided to continue to live the same way as prior to the procedure, would they live very long?

 
Probably not!


 To truly survive, one has to undergo a thought transformation as well as the physical heart transformation. We need to adjust how we think about things and what we do as a result. Eating fries, drinking copious alcohol and fatty red meat will not assist a person receiving a transplanted heart will it?

 When we accept Jesus, we often get emotionally involved (that’s okay), and we agree we want to accept Jesus’ guidance on our lives. The problem is that all too often, we don’t bring our mind into God’s will. We undergo a spiritual heart transplant, then we try and live with the same thought patterns.

 Even our speech and behaviour can appear to be aligned with God’s will, but sometimes we may know that our thoughts are not! We are old minded, but new hearted!

 That’s why it says in the bible . . .

Romans 12:2 (NIRV) Don't live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.

 We can’t live the way we used to, that must change. That change is NOT ENOUGH! We need to also change the way we think and notice the verse says “Let your way of thinking be changed”. We don’t change it, we let it be changed. It’s not ours to change but God’s to change. We must LET God change it!


 God never does anything against our will so we must decide to allow God to change it!

 That’s the way we get a mind change, we simply let God’s Holy Spirit work in our life.

 Once the change happens, we will see it in that the things we previously thought exciting and fun change and now new things become exciting and fun!  We see clearly and understand God’s way is right.

 That means we have had a mind change that supports our heart and life changes. That is true transformation!

 Now is this an instantaneous event?

 No, it’s ongoing!

 As I write this, I am changing and I pray you are too. Together we become more God like daily.

 Isn’t that great?
Tue, September 6, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is our mind a battlefield?
Is our mind a battlefield?

Mind_battle_field.jpg
"Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is started, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance."
Robert Collier

  Our brain is that organic lump of matter in our skull. Our mind is the psychological part of us from which our will, decisions and emotions flow.

 Ever had an evening where no matter how much we feel we need sleep, it eludes us as the flow of thoughts and “what if’s” invade our thinking, cascading over our unwilling consciousness sucking rest from our life?

 It happens every now and then doesn’t it? It is at times like these that we find out how unruly and undisciplined our minds can be. isn't it? 

 As Christian's in this world we are expected to enable controls over undisciplined thoughts!

 That ancient wise man Paul says in 2 Cor 10.3-5 (NIRV) I do live in the world. But I don't fight my battles the way the people of the world do. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy.

  5 I destroy every claim and every reason that keeps people from knowing God. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ.

 Good and evil clash in our minds and the force of this collision ripples out into our physical lives and the spiritual realm.

A little earlier in the same letter Paul said “The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They can't see the light of the good news of Christ's glory. He is the likeness of God."

 The god of this world is not referring to Jesus but to that evil power people refer to as Satan.

Control over our minds cannot come from our own strength, but rather from spiritual power that comes from the God of the universe. God the father designated that through following Jesus guidelines, we would be able to take back the battlefield from Satan and capture it for ourselves and give it to Jesus as a gift of love!

 Those who reject Jesus blind themselves!

  How silly is that?

 In another letter Paul to the Romans, chapter 8 verse 7, he explains. . . The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God's law. It can't.

 Those that reject Jesus and mock Christians, are simply being pushed around by Satan without knowing it. They are duped by the evil power of this world. Unlike God who makes it clear what he would like us to do, Satan is the master of disguise and lies and so people under his control rarely understand this is their condition!

 So, if we have wild thoughts cascading around our mind, let’s please check to see where they are coming from and if e cannot seem to lock them down or control them, then perhaps the only solution is turning to God, acknowledging Jesus and asking Holy Spirit to come into our thoughts, emotions and will and give us the peace of God that is different from that of the world.

 Jesus saidin  John 14:27
 "I leave my peace with you. I give my peace to you. I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.

 
Mon, September 5, 2011 | 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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