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Friday, October 28, 2011

Establishing a core sample!
Diamond_Core.jpg
YamalDendroclimitology.jpg     

Determining what happened over a period of time when we were not around is always difficult isn’t it?


There is no absolute certainty, but we all use different techniques to try and understand these gaps in our experience.

Think of when we head out to work, school or even on a vacation. We leave one environment behind and go to another, very different environment.

While we are away, things happen and when we come back, we try to figure out what happened. We ask questions, we look at evidence of things happening and we extrapolate backwards on what we know, to build up a picture of events and conditions in the past.

We all do this!

Geologists have a way of cutting out a cylinder of rock, a core, in a way that goes down through layers or rock, sand and stone. They then pull it up and look at it carefully. In this way they can see which layer is on top of the other. If they do enough of these over a big enough area, they get a good idea of what the layers look like under the earth.

Forestry experts core trees in a similar way to determine their age. They core the tree and count the rings to determine the number of summer/winter cycles that tree has undergone. They even look at the width and color intensity, and by putting cores together can have a good idea of the favourable and unfavourable years going back in time. This is the science of Dendroclimatology. It measures the cumulative impact of temperature, precipitation, sunlight, and wind on the trees.

Looking at old trees, there is sequences that goes back far. Some groups are six thousand years, some eight thousand, and if we allow for gaps, I have now heard they are using radio carbon analysis on tree rings to measure sunspot activity to 11 000years ago.

Now, I think we can all agree in all of these circumstances we don’t know everything and cannot be certain of everything, but we have a GOOD IDEA of what happened with supporting evidence.

That party at home while Mom and Dad were away leaves detritus that even when cleared away often results in them getting the picture of what happened, right?

In the Christian world we have the ultimate core sample. It is called the books of the bible.

Here God’s work over the years, is exposed in small segments so that we can look at it.

Do we know what God was doing between these segments? No, but we have a good idea of how to fill in the blanks.

God has seen fit to give us clear small pieces of knowledge that build up an overall view of a mighty and awesome God.

To understand God more clearly, we ourselves need to understand this “core” sample well.

A geologist will take days even years investigating the core they bring up. It is protected and photographed, small pieces put on slides and inspected very carefully.

Our bible has had this type of scrutiny from others. There are plenty of books written about the bible, but none is as good for us to investigate as the bible itself. Reading a geologists paper, or a dendroclimatologist’s paper, helps us as we look at the core sample, but without that, it is simply taking another person’s word at face value.

So, let’s read our bible folk! Let’s read understanding it is a core sample, not a story. It is exposure of God over the decades of history going back many, many years.

Today I am going to read some useful verses to guide my understanding of God. Will you be doing this?
Fri, October 28, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why do I feel so depressed some days?
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I love God, know he loves me, but some days I just don’t feel great, I don’t seem to want to respond the right way, the things I normally don’t even notice as annoying loom into my life and take on proportions way outside of their reality.

Maybe you never feel this way! I do hope and pray that is the case, but I am not one of those people! Some days I just feel like I am not up to par.

Amazingly, I normally find those are the days I really can get close to God if I try. That’s the key part. . . if I try! It’s easy to fail in this one critical aspect!

It’s easy to chat to God when we are up and full of the joys of life, but when we are not exactly happy with our immediate environment, situation and mood, it is less attractive isn’t it? It takes effort to go to God, it takes energy to align our thoughts, it takes persistence to continually talk to ourselves and point out that these molehills are not mountains. That it’s only today that is making them seem that way!

Also, it is easy to misread others on these days. We assume they think or feel a certain way, and that their actions mean something, but often they don’t. Then we get upset and do or say something the wrong way! Perhaps in a day or two we find out all we did was make a situation that would have gone away or remained a non-event, into something that caused issues.

I always remember that some of God’s greatest people got depressed.

Think of that amazing guy Elijah!


This guy stood up for God, took on 450 prophets of Baal(see 1 Kings 18), taunted them, at God’s direction made them look fools before finally destroying them. Then, he pronounces the end of a drought and it rains on his saying it will! Then after all this success, the evil kings wife gets upset with him and puts a price on his head. Instead of trusting God and laughing at the foolishness of it, he goes to pieces, gets afraid and runs! Literally!

He goes into a deep depression, in fact he says “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 

Totally suicidal but without the energy to do it himself (and knowing it is against Gods laws to take his own life he asks for the easy way out)

How does God deal with this? He allows him to get enough sleep, makes sure he is fed and gets enough to drink, and with this encouragement sends him back on his way.

There is a lesson in that! Get enough sleep, food and hydration!

Then, God shows himself to Elijah! Literally!
 
 
This is what I am talking about when I say it pays to focus on God and listen to him when things just seem to go wrong and we get to feeling flat. It’s in these times that God sometimes shows himself to us. Our attention is able to be focused sufficiently in these times that we notice what God is doing. This is a gift if we have the time to notice and low it to happen!

Elijah went on to become a very powerful man of God, he called down fire from heaven on enemies and it happened, he saw kings come and go, he brought people back to life once they were dead, and then, at the end of his life, he went to heaven without dying (see 2 kings 2). Not too many people get that privilege!

This shows that we can come through a time of being down without being damaged by it! It is often a time of great learning!

So if you like me feel less than full of energy at times, let us realize that God’s joy is not happiness, but rather a presence of Holy Spirit with us even in the darkest of times. With God these negative times can become positive steps to growth!

That’s good news isn’t it? So let’s get going, push aside our negative attitude and move into the day knowing God is with us!

 Have a good one!
 
Thu, October 27, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why not other sacred writings? Why the bible?
     
There are hundreds of sacred texts in this world aren’t there?

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Plenty to choose from, Buddism, Hinduism, Islam, Occult and others.

We even have the Gnostic texts which appear to be biblical. They have a look and feel of the bible and although written later and not being appreciated by the Christians of their era as valid, have drawn quite a following.

So why the bible?


Paul writing to Timothy one of his students and a younger guy says,

“God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIRV

This is true, but it is difficult to see why this is not also true of the other types of writing as well, right?

So, let’s do a check-out of logic to validate the book!

Firstly since God must be all powerful and eternal to really have the attributes of God, we would assume the guidelines the correct sacred writing proposes should have been in place a long long time, and should in general prove to be correct.

Secondly, since a God would be able to avoid having the people who appreciate him devolve into a useless mass or a dead religion, we can assume the religion must still be practiced.

Then, the books creation must generally agree with sciences discoveries. (I cant take these creation stories that bear absolutely no resemblance to actual understood scientific truths. To see how Christianity aligns see my blogs on the subject. I find it amazing people criticise Christianity when Buddists don’t really have a creation story [nice way of avoiding the facts], Hindu’s cannot make up their minds and have about a dozen creation stories, etc. The Abrahamic religions at least have a creation pattern that almost exactly mimics the scientific discovered pattern of development of species and the universe.

Then, the most important part, is that once we meet God, the God we meet and the book revealing him need to align. For me this is totally true.

So we need to take modern religions, which have existed since the beginning of time, that don’t have weird creation stories as a base.

So let's kick out all those modern religions, they are not meeting even the first criteria. Next let's kick out Egyptian, Mayan and other dead religions as they are exactly that, dead.

Now we really have a handful of religions. These are the ones we need to really consider!

I then want to point out that I am totally biased, because I have lived my life in love with Jesus and applying his guidelines to it. I have investigated many other religions, even getting very interested in eastern religions such as Taoism for a while, but only Jesus connected with me personally. The rest were rituals and religion. Jesus was irreligious, radical, loving and personal.

That’s why the bible is the book for me. That and the fact that I have investigated its truths from almost every possible angle. Check my blogs if you think differently. I think you will find quite an open minded investigation.

Also, notice how in the west Christianity is almost singled out for abuse as are christians...Pauls says..."In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be treated badly." hardly surprising right?

Despite this, my prayer is others would have the courage to investigate Jesus as well. He is worth it!

Have a great day!
Wed, October 26, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Worshipping icons! And why itís wrong!
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    Steve Jobs did amazing things in his lifetime, which is now over!

One of the most amazing is the excellent advice given to the person who is taking over from him. According to the “Times of India”[1] , Tim Cook, the guy who took over was told by Steve jobs. . . 

"Among his last advice he had for me, and for all of you, was to never ask what he would do. 'Just do what's right'"

Just do what is right!

Good words, encouraging words, words that open the future and enable the present.

Unfortunately it is in the decision of what “right” means that people are likely to get hung up.

As Christians we don’t because our relationship with God is personal and clearly spelt out in the scared writings of the bible. We get strong guidelines on what is right and what isn’t.

One of the things that is NOT right is worshiping iconic people.

To make sure we get this, it is repeated a number of times:

Exodus 20:3
 "Do not put any other gods in place of me.

 Exodus 20:23
 Do not put any other gods in place of me. Do not make silver or gold statues of them for yourselves.

 Deuteronomy 5:7
 "Do not put any other gods in place of me.

 Deuteronomy 18:10
 Here are things you must not do. Don't sacrifice your children in the fire to other gods. Don't practice any kind of evil magic at all. Don't use magic to try to explain the meaning of warnings in the sky or of any other signs. Don't take part in worshiping evil powers.

 What is this about sacrificing children to gods? This is archaic isn’t it?

We would never do this, or would we?

Take a look at CuteKid™ you will see they are aiming to get babies linked with products such as “Huggies™, Gerber Life™, Scholastic™ and Disney™.”

Hummm! Disney??? A baby?


Get them young, feed them virtual reality, translate it into products, and have them worship unreal objects!

I think that is the objective or am I wrong?

If you think this is silly, see what parents are doing with kids at Kamera Kids.

How about getting a kid into the movie business before the child can think for themselves?

 

Why do we do this to our kids? Is it perhaps because we have already fallen for icons of business? Glamour, glamorous people, fame, and fortune!

Let us ask ourselves how deluded we have become by the glitter of the plastic life around us?

Steve Jobs did a lot in life, but many found him harsh! He was definitely egotistical and he badmouthed others publically. (I know that most of us agree that Bill Gates needed to be exposed for being a copycat of Apple, but where was humility in that?). Steve berated others, manipulated, and forced people to do things exactly as he wanted. In some ways he was a tyrant!

If we are to look to icons, perhaps we should look to what motivated them before we consider their true value?

Think of Benjamin Franklin. . .he had a focus on trying to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues, which he developed at age 20.

1."Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
 2."Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
 3."Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
 4."Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
 5."Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
 6."Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
 7."Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
 8."Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
 9."Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
 10."Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
 11."Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
 12."Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
 13."Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.“
(This list comes from Wikipedia's comments about him)


Steve Jobs would not have fit his criteria! Neither would Bill Gates, Clinton, and many others!

At the end of the day, we want to look back and know we have not followed others blindly, worshipping their methods, themselves, or their gods.

We want to know we have lived life to the full according to Christian guidelines.

We want to know we have done what is possible to protect innocent children from falling prey to worthless gods that steal their lives.

If we do that, we can be satisfied with our lives! I wonder if Steve left this world satisfied. . .somehow I don’t think so!



[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/hardware/Steve-Jobs-advice-to-Tim-Cook/articleshow/10486655.cms

Tue, October 25, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is heaven? Why is there a hell?
What is heaven? Why is there a hell? 

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Ever seen these ethereal pictures with mist clouds and people clothed in white almost glowing
?

This seems to be an artists conception of what they would like heaven to be like.

Is this correct?


I find it almost strange the different concepts of heaven people have. We really miss out on some of the basics as we get into the areas of hypothetical thinking.

Let’s try and go for some basic thinking facts.

Let’s assume God is real and he is who he says he is in the Christian bible (this is a basic that others may not agree with, but it is the one I am starting with).

God cannot tolerate evil, and yet we as people have within us evil and good.

We know the difference between good and evil and yet this does not stop us from doing evil does it? Can anyone ever say they have never done anything wrong? I can't and I'm fairly sure neither can others!

IF God is pure and heaven is a place where God is, then there can be nothing evil in heaven.

If we have to honestly respond on our own account to the question of whether we have done evil things, we would all say we have done something that would exclude us from heaven.

In the presence of God at that judgement, when our lives are opened and everyone can see them, we would definitely have to agree we have done evil.

This means none of us is entitled to go into heaven where there is eternal peace, love , lack of pain and no evil.

Yet, God made way! It cost him the life of his very essence, his son Jesus, who had to die as a human, horribly! He dies to cut away the evil from our lives. Provided we acknowledge this is what he did and accept his guidelines for our life. When we stand at that Judgement, Jesus steps in front of God and says he will pay for what we did!

In this way, we are pardoned by God and allowed into heaven.

If we accept Jesus, God gives us a chance. While alive we can do this but once dead, this option is closed. The contract is over. Judgement comes!

God had to create a place for people who reject him. These are people who do not accept God and so for eternity they have to go to a place without God. They cannot go to heaven! That would not be just!

Unfortunately, that place(called Hell or the Abyss) is also without God’s attributes and controls.

Here, in hell, the evil in man that we have seen on this earth is magnified! There is nothing to hold it back. Together with Satan and the angels that rejected God, all humans who choose to reject God live in this place for eternity.

It is so painful and horrible that the closest description we can understand is that of a lake of eternal fire where we burn without dying! I personally don’t think this is actually what hell is, but rather that it’s the closest analogy our human minds can comprehend of how horrible it is.

God cannot live with evil! People that chose to reject God and accept evil as eternal beings spend eternity in a place without God by their own choices on this Earth.

You and I can choose! The choice is free and without compulsion.

What is your choice?

Let us realise we will not disagree with God at the judgement despite our choice. God is fair! If we reject him we will know he is fair! So we should not waste time now in this decision!

On another note, I have put together a few verses to give us a flavour of some of the aspects of heaven. See below:

It says in the sacred writings:

Revelation 21:3 NIRV I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, "Now God makes his home with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. And God himself will be with them and be their God.

This means God and his people are going to be in the same place.

God has advisors in heaven that are angels:

1 Kings 22:19 NIRV I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. Some of the angels of heaven were standing at his right side. The others were standing at his left side. So all of them were standing around him.

These angels are called Cherubim:

2 Kings 19:15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said, "Lord, you are the God of Israel. You sit on your throne between the cherubim. You alone are God over all of the kingdoms on earth. You have made heaven and earth.

 God watches mankind from Heaven:

Psalm 14:2  The Lord looks down from heaven on all people. He wants to see if there are any who understand. He wants to see if there are any who trust in God.

From there he intervenes and sets up life for people who love him

Psalm 113:5 Who is like the Lord our God?
      He sits on his throne in heaven.
 He bends down to look
      at the heavens and the earth.
 He raises poor people up from the trash pile.

      He lifts needy people out of the ashes.
He lets them sit with princes.
      He lets them sit with the princes of their own people.
 He gives children to the woman who doesn't have any children.
      He makes her a happy mother in her own home.
   Praise the Lord.

 At a future time God says he will create new heavens and earth

Isaiah 65:17 I will create new heavens and a new earth. The things that have happened before will not be remembered. They will not even enter your minds.

 He later says in 66:1 that these new heavens and earth will last forever. They will never disappear. (By the way, the reason it says heavens is that the word was used for the spiritual place God lived in, and also for the sky!)

Children have angels that represent them in heaven:

Matthew 18:10 "See that you don't look down on one of these little ones. Here is what I tell you. Their angels in heaven can go at any time to see my Father who is in heaven.

Jesus has all authority in earth and heaven

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

We will not be angels, but like then angels we will not marry in heaven.

Mark 12:25 When the dead rise, they won't get married. And their parents won't give them to be married. They will be like the angels in heaven.Jesus went to heaven

Mark 16:19 When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God.

Paul explains we will get new bodies in heaven that will be different from our own. He calls this our “house in heaven”.

2 Corinthians 5:1 We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it.
 During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing. Then we will not be naked.
 While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don't want to be naked. We want to be dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life.
 God has made us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.
 So here is what we can always be certain about. As long as we are at home in our bodies, we are away from the Lord. We live by believing, not by seeing. We are certain about that. We would rather be away from our bodies and at home with the Lord. So we try our best to please him. We want to please him whether we are at home in our bodies or away from them.
 We must all stand in front of Christ to be judged. Each one of us will be judged for the good things and the bad things we do while we are in our bodies. Then each of us will receive what we are supposed to get.

When God creates the new heaven it will have a new Jerusalem in it.

REV21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth were completely gone. There was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. It was coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
 I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, "Now God makes his home with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. And God himself will be with them and be their God.
Mon, October 24, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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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?

 

 

 
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  • Published: September, 2010
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