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Friday, September 23, 2011

Wisdom of understanding heaven,
TruthAmbiguity.jpg
 
“What no eye has seen,what no ear has heard,and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him
 
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
1 Cor 2:9-10
 
 

This seems to speak of heaven, doesn't it?

 Heaven is a word that is easily used to explain a mystical state of happiness in our modern day.

 To many heaven is a fuzzy Nirvana that has removed our fears, hatreds and delusions. It is a place people are rumoured to go in the afterlife. I say “rumoured” only because nobody we know, except Jesus, came back from the dead to tell us about it.

 Paul after explaining human wisdom is foolishness, says the following in a lead up to the quote given above. . .

 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

 Paul is explaining that God’s wisdom is found among spiritually mature people. The interesting aspect of this wisdom is that Paul is talking of Jesus’ wisdom.

 Let’s use Jesus in the paragraph just quoted to gain understanding;

 “We do, however, speak a message of Jesus’ wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s & Jesus’ wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

 We get wisdom from Jesus!

 Our mind has no capability to hold the perception of what is awaiting us as we follow Jesus.

 Our eyes have never seen anything even slightly as marvellous as we will see, and our ears will gain a new dimension of hearing as our ability to comprehend gains new abilities to conceive.

 Jesus is wisdom over and above anything we can gain.

 Yet, he packaged himself into a human body to give us some ability to gain some understanding. Then he explained things to us.

 Jesus said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”  John 15:25-31

 Jesus died, rose, and went to heaven. He left Holy Spirit to continue teaching us about heavenly attributes while he is in heaven.

 To gain this understanding, we have to use our spirits to link with Holy Spirit.

 We can only do this in three ways.

 1.   By talking with God (the common term is prayer)
2.   By praising and worshiping God
3.   By allowing God to guide our actions and thoughts by his Spirit (commonly called intuition)

 Jesus is the human guide who shows us the best ways we as humans can link with Holy Spirit. We learn about Jesus through reading Gods word, the bible, and locking God’s words into our hearts and minds and will.

 If God’s Spirit guides our understanding, God’s Word(Jesus) reveals how we should respond, our actions are to follow our mind, emotion and will, that should all actively follow Jesus’ way of life.

 Then we start to experience small amounts of heaven while on Earth.

 We know that Jesus said, Matthew 7:21
 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven

 So it is by doing things we enable heaven, not by words.

 Today I want to spread a little heaven around me by doing God’s work. What about you?

 Let’s go do things the right way!
Fri, September 23, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Allowing Godís power to resonate
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      In Africa and Asia there is an understanding that the supernatural is real!

 In America, perhaps Europe and other “western” countries there is a belief that Africans and Asians are superstitious and perhaps even simple since they have this belief.

 Yet, look around you everywhere, clairvoyants, new religions, mystics and others abound. We have almost as many movies about the paranormal and other supernatural “forces”, as we have romances and action movies.

 Inherently, whether we come from the East or West, the North or the South, if we are human we have a need to understand and experience the supernatural.

 This is why I find Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians inspiring in its simplicity in that first part of chapter two. He says. . .

 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” [NIRV]

 Paul doesn’t rely on convincing arguments! Perhaps he tried this in Athens from which he had come before going to Corinth and then on to Ephesus. The arguments had failed in Athens since he never established a solid Christian community there. Instead, now, Paul places his trust in God to reveal himself.

 Do we do this?

 Do we trust God enough to allow him to reveal himself to others?

 So much of the time we try and build a good convincing argument, (and there is nothing wrong with logic and doing this), but we fail to trust God to do the work of revealing himself.

 It is each individual’s right to open up themselves to God and allow him to reveal himself to them. When they do it it is up to those of us that have experience God’s power to explain how they should do this so they don’t get disappointed, but it is not up to us to manipulate them into doing it.

 Wisdom is with God, and ours to use as it is provided to us by God. To get it we need to ask for it (pray) and then remove our mental blocks to receiving it.

 I find it strange the ways we often dictate that we want God to speak to us as if we can dictate anything to God. We often demand it be an audible voice, or that we get a specific verse, or that someone tell us a specific thing. Why?

 I have twice in my life heard the voice of God audibly and in both cases it was life changing for me.

 Personally I am not sure I could deal with hearing God this way again! In the past it has had such personal challenges for myself. I would like to say I will always do the right thing, but it’s often difficult to do it when faced with real, live, aggressive circumstances.

 My best experiences with God comes through clearing my life of things I know God does not like, opening myself to him and letting him use my life circumstances and gentle thought suggestions, often simply found by following what he has already laid out in the holy writings he left for us to read.

 Supernatural events occur in real life circumstances all the time.

 Prayer to help others results in needs being met in various ways. Small comforts arise in memories and events that help us move forward in confidence and strength. Often nothing happens that couldn’t be provided by science or chance, but it’s the timing and where they occur answering specific requests put to God.

 Perhaps the most incredible supernatural events are where I have asked God to change me in areas of my life where I really have failed to change myself.

 Incredibly I look back after a year or two and realize that the change has occurred. It was influenced consistently by multiple small pressures that due to my love for God, I allowed to have effect. The cumulative result is awesome and great! Without knowing the influences, not many of us would give God the credit. Yet the credit is all his and I know it!

 Every now and again I get a real super-supernatural event! Those events are more like cherries on the top of a dessert. Nice, but not necessary!

 To experience God’s power, I have learned that we need to submit to the little things. These seem to gather power from each other. As time progresses, these, seem to increase and amplify each other, resulting in crescendo that enables a huge shake-up. These bigger miracles seem to be as a result of learning to experience multiple smaller ones.

 I’m sure this is not always the case, but it seems to be the more prevalent way these occur. As faith builds and love increases, God shows himself to us more and more.

 So today, I want to allow God to do the little things so that when the time of need comes, my ability to respond correctly will allow God’s power to resonate throughout my life enabling big things to happen.

 What about you?
Thu, September 22, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bragging? Is it a Christian trait?

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       “Church: A place in which gentlemen who have never been to Heaven brag about it to people who will never get there”
 
 Henry Louis Mencken
 
How do we like people who brag about themselves, what they own or their achievements? Personally, I find it a bit much and prefer people who are less full of themselves. Yet I find that it is such a common thing today.

 Consider this, our media points out that success and owning the best and greatest products (cars, houses, phones, music etc) makes us important. Then they show us beautiful, strong, and apparently important people with these things to get us to buy them. Then, once we have them, we often fail to see they are just things and instead get our self esteem mixed up in them.

 The problem with this is the things bragged about often fail to deliver truthfully. We get the big house, but hidden behind it is the pain of finding money for the mortgage, or the fancy car with that overbearing lease.

 But we sure like to brag that we have the latest BMW or Mercedes or truck, (whichever cranks our pride up) if we have it, don’t we?

Why brag? What does the bible say?

 Well here is a piece from a prophet of long ago, Jeremiah.

He says (chap 9 Verse 23 on)

The Lord says,
   "Do not let a wise man brag about how wise he is.
      Do not let a strong man boast about how strong he is.
      Do not let a rich person brag about how rich he is.
 24 But here is what the one who brags should boast about.
      He should brag that he has understanding and knows me.
   I want him to know that I am the Lord.
      No matter what I do on earth, I am always kind, fair and right.
      And I take delight in that,"
    announces the Lord.
 Wisdom, strength and being rich are not to bragged about as a Christian. Think about what it does if we do brag about these things. . .

 Those that brag about wisdom always wait for someone to refute their wisdom or challenge it. This is anxiety producing. As we get older, some one will come in who will do better than ourselves and if we trust in wisdom, we may loose self esteem when others supersede our achievements

 Those that are strong similarly have to continually work at not losing the strength and at warding off challengers. I know how tough that was as I was a fighter when at school and people always want to challenge the top dog. No rest or peace in that position! We are not wise to brag about strength or abilities, they are gifts that can be removed at any time.

 Riches bring their own problems. False friends, payments and worries about where we can best invest. Concern about who is taking us for a ride or may swindle us. If we do have riches bragging about them is worthless, using them to help others is where true joy comes. Even that is difficult to do right and takes effort.

 The only real aspect to brag about is knowing Jesus and what he does for us. This is bragging about someone who cannot fail us and can never be superseded. We can consider this a “safe” brag!

 More than that Jesus never turns on us! He is always kind, fair and right. This is a sure fact.

 Today, if I brag, I want it to be in Jesus, what about you? Oh, and if you think this was in the Old Testament, for them only, check out what Paul says to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 1:30.

 Have a great day!
Wed, September 21, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why is the church failing in the Western world?
DecisionOK.jpg

 
    
Everyday we hear of negative views towards Christians from people in the mainstream business, scientific and entertainment world of the west.

 
Why?

  Is it perhaps because they only get the message that Christians are narrow minded, self focused, anti-others, and illogical?

 
Perhaps!

 Perhaps the real reason is that people don’t understand Jesus’ message to the world.

 Unfortunately I am including Christians in this group. We are as out of it as the rest!

 We teach salvation instead of discipleship! Salvation is critical but I seem to remember that that famous call of Jesus at the end of Matthew says “make disciples”. Doesn’t it say. . .

 Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 Disciples listen and learn from others.

 Life style is taught by observation and living with others.

 Who are we discipling?

  Who lives together with you, learning from you each week?

 Discipling is at an all time low and that is not all that is wrong. We have forgotten Jesus others words. . .

 John 12:26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

 We are to serve Jesus. This means we must not forget that he said. . .

 Matthew 10:24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.

 Then if we take the words of Paul who explains how to apply this we hear. . .

 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

 Summarizing this, people are judging us as Christians because we do not make disciples who teach others by example, who serve Jesus by serving others, and who love others at least as much as they love themselves.

 Non-Christians have knowledge of truth even if they don’t believe it.

 Non-Christians ridicule us because we do not live by truth.

 Unfortunately instead of acknowledging this and changing, we so often climb onto our high moral viewpoint and simple start the “equal and opposite reaction” mode. We simply say to ourselves that we KNOW that if they know truth they should DO something about it and we KNOW we have ACCEPTED Jesus so we are always RIGHT.

 
Nonsense!

 Unless we step out today, willing to accept criticism, ridicule, being badmouthed, and ready to love others despite it being uncomfortable, willing to undertake difficulty, being willing to go out of our way to help others we are not going to make a difference.

 Loving means physically helping those who cannot help themselves.
When last did we pick up a paintbrush to help an elderly person fix what they cannot fix themselevs? When last did we call on the outsiders of society to see they are okay as the cold of winter descends?

 When did we even look around our own families and relatives for the outcast and neglected, so that we can love them?

 That’s Christianity! That’s what Jesus wants us doing in this world, reaching out to others.

 That’s my plan for today, what is yours?
Tue, September 20, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, September 19, 2011

Friends and enemies, are they all friends in disguise?
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"Hear not ill of a friend, nor speak any of an enemy."
Benjamin Franklin
 


 
    
A baby is born! Who in this world would immediately say this infant will be my enemy?


 
Hopefully nobody!

  Yet, that baby becomes a child, the child a teen, and the teen an adult.

 Along the way, they become complex and develop “their own personality”. If that personality and viewpoint is radically different from our own, disagreements can start. If not dealt with these can fester into open hostility. Hostility can then develop into feuding where others are now labelled as our enemy.

 Here is an example that is a bit different!

 Paul that early apostle of Christ was in Corinth somewhere between 50 and 60 AD when the locals attacked him. They physically hauled him in front of the local government to accuse him of various activities. In human terms I think we would describe them as his enemies.

 Fortunately the local governor called Gallio, a Roman like Paul, wanted nothing to do with it. Here is what happened. . .

 “At that time Gallio was governor of Achaia. The Jews got together and attacked Paul. They brought him into court. "This man," they charged, "is trying to talk people into worshiping God in ways that are against the law."
 
Paul was about to speak up for himself. But just then Gallio spoke to the Jews. "You Jews are not claiming that Paul has committed a crime, whether large or small," he said. "If you were, it would make sense for me to listen to you. But this is about your own law. It is a question of words and names. Settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." So he had them thrown out of the court. Then all the Jews turned against Sosthenes. He was the synagogue ruler. They beat him up in front of the court. But Gallio didn't care at all.”

 
Okay, so we would expect Paul to be glad!


 However, I am not so sure he was!

 Actually I have an idea he went out to protect and befriended his enemy Sosthenes.

 The reason I think that may have happened is because we know Paul left Corinth and when he was in Ephesus he wrote back to Corinth and we have his letter.

 This letter starts as follows. . .

 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I have been chosen to be an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Our brother Sosthenes joins me in writing.

 It seems as if Sosthenes is mentioned in both instances. Now it is possible it is a different guy, but two people with the same name, both who came from Corinth, and both who were connected with Paul seems to suggest they are not two people but one.

 If that is the case, I can see something like this unfolding.

 Paul’s arch enemy, the guy who is leader of the local group at the synagogue and who has been bad mouthing Paul finally works the people up into attacking and capturing Paul.

 Paul is a Roman and protected by Roman law of the time, so they decide that in order to save their own skins they have to damage Paul legally. So they take him in front of Gallio.

 Gallio obviously was annoyed they picked on a Roman citizen and threw their case and themselves out. His interaction resulted in that same group who are now worked up and angry changing their opinions and beating up Sosthenes instead.

 Now, it doesn’t say so, but from what I read of Paul’s character in the books of our holy writings, I get the feeling he wouldn’t have liked seeing Sosthenes beat up at all.

 I can see him running into the fray and pulling the guys off Sosthenes. Perhaps even quoting Jesus who said. . .

 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor.—(Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.‘ But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Matthew 5:42-44

 Then, I can see Paul getting Sosthenes patched up and befriending him.

 As Sosthenes sees that all that Paul is saying is not just idle talk but true love in action, perhaps he accepted that this guy Jesus who Paul couldn’t stop talking about was the son of God. In so doing he becomes a Christian himself and a friend.

 Then when Paul goes to Ephesus, he goes with!

 Interesting how people can change with true love if we don’t adopt that selfish approach of “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!”

 This is so much what our western culture teaches, but the love of God flows counter to this selfish norm. It asks us to accept pain, disrespect and rejection to love others with deep love that overcomes these hurdles.

 Can we do what Paul did? Humanly it is not always possible but everything is possible when God is involved. Let’s trust today we can turn an enemy into a friend.

 Now that’s an accomplishment I would be happy to achieve! What about you?
Mon, September 19, 2011 | 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?

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