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Friday, November 11, 2011

Why is remembering history important?
    

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Can you imagine doing anything useful in the next hour if you didn’t have the context of the past?


 
Think of anything!

 Let’s start with reading this blog! Who taught you to read? Without that you couldn’t even discern the letters properly let alone read. Do you think I am crazy?
 
Then read this…

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These words were easily understood by the people who learned to read them.

In fact they say “tribute of Jehu son of Omri” and are cuniform text.

What is interesting about this text is that it has linkage to the bible Old Testament
1 Kings 16:16 where Omri, King of Israel was mentioned and to 1 Kings 19:16 where Elijah is told “Also anoint Jehu as king over Israel”. So a shard of baked clay becomes important based on the context of words found on it! This helps prove authenticity of the words in the bible in this context.

So context is critical to our future success.


Skills that accumulate as a result of past knowledge help us determine our future right?

Okay, so are all past events useful? In what way do negative effects help future events?

What about an event that happened in Virgina to that tobacco company Chesterfield. A rumour spread about a leper who had been working at the Chesterfield plant and it cost the company millions as the public stopped buying their cigarettes[1].  What about this rumour which gave false context? How was it useful to our future context?

At the time it impacted Chesterfield negatively. There was no leper at the plant and so it was a groundless urban legend!
Yet, people got to know more about lepers, about not being gullible, about checking our facts provided to them (I hope you check my facts as well), about cigarettes and health.

So in a negative situation there was some positive wasn’t there?

Now let us look for a deeper example. How about a man who was abused in a concentration camp, who watched people dying, being killed and those suffering greatly? All this as he suffered greatly himself! Surely by taking his pain away the world would have gained something?

This man was interested in psychology, neurology and psychiatry. His name was Victor Frankl. He used his skills to help cure despondency and stop people from killing themselves in this horrible situation. The skills he developed took psychology, as a science, way past where it had been before. The whole world gained from what he extracted from his experiences and his past, tough though it was!

Lastly we come to the events we remember today. The wars and the pain, the futility of stupidity, and courage in the face of oblivion. Remembrance day is celebrated today in the commonwealth countries. Today we remember world war 1!

That war ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11am in 1918. We remember so that we have context to prevent further wars. We remember to understand courage is often what stands in the way of evil. We remember because if we do forget, we know that we are less for it. We would have lost skills that context gives us!

Similarly, we remember God is in control, we remember the death of Jesus, we remember Jesus came alive, we remember without Jesus' sacrifice death is horrible. With faith in Jesus many of those brave men and women who died in that war are now experiencing a heavenly experience!

The importance of this memory is not the memory itself, but how it helps us through our present actions to shape our future. What memories are we selecting to help us shape our future and why do we select these to remember?

 A thought for today!


[1] Chris Harrald, Fletcher Watkins, The Cigarette Book: The History and Culture of Smoking , Skyhorse publishing

Fri, November 11, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Positive and negative sentiment regarding bible books
    SentimentActs.JPG It was with some amusement
that I looked at the chart at
http://a.openbible.info/blog/2011-10-sentiment-big.png on biblegateway.com in which
Stephen Smith created statistical model to evaluate the sentiment in particular bible books.
 
Details can be located at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2011/10/the-ups-and-downs-of-the-bible-a-sentiment-analysis-of-scripture/

There is no real deep science in this but rather simple attempt to use a program that is “ a social media measurement platform that allows you to track topics, brands, television shows, and movies across many different mediums all in one place using the best technology”[1]

This was run across multiple versions of the bible building the emotional value of each verse. Then this was built into a graph showing how this varied over the bible.

What was interesting to me was that the area clearly identified as having positive emotional impact is the area focussing on the early church. This is an upbeat part of the bible.

It got me thinking as to why.


Those early Christians didn’t have it easy!  As a minimum they went to Synagogue and First day celebration each week while trying to hold down a job that in those days required plenty physical effort and focus during daylight hours.

Then, they were not even a recognized religion at the time so the local authorities didn’t have time for them. People found them strange and we all know how people treat people different from themselves that they consider strange. Prejudice grows quickly doesn't it?.

We know it got Paul beaten up and many others killed! Not nice environments to live in.
Yet the emotional value of those writing is positive!

It goes against normal human thinking to write in a positive manner when times are tough?

Could it be that these people like Luke and Paul who wrote this were immersed in Holy Spirits power and influence? Perhaps this is the reason that could remain positive amongst some of the toughest times people have.

Paul talks of joy in tough circumstances, Philippians 2:17-19 (NIRV) “But my life might even be poured out like a drink offering on your sacrifices. I'm talking about the way you serve because you believe. Even so, I am glad. I am joyful with all of you. So you too should be glad and joyful with me.”

This is not the modern view of joy, the modern view is one where we are happy due to circumstances and life going well. We see it as a feeling of great happiness and great pleasure as a result of good things happening.

No!
 
In the early church this is a positive emotion that transcends the very pain of life and opens us to experiencing positive emotions in tough circumstances.


Only Holy Spirit can build this within us. This is spirit led joy!

So, today as we face tough times, difficult decisions, when people try to get us to do the wrong thing, we turn to God, take his truth into the situations and allow the joy of God to wash over us the way it did for those early Christians.

To acheive this, we need to know and accept Jesus is God, secondly we probably need to get baptised where we admit this publically, (hebrews 6 gives the basics of Christian life) then we need to ask God to let Holy Spirit loose to do with our life whatever he pleases.

 That's the way to really enjoy the day! Maybe we should try it today, or sometime?

 Have a great day!



[1] http://www.openbible.info/blog/2011/10/applying-sentiment-analysis-to-the-bible/

Thu, November 10, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Those blackberrys! Why listening and considering others is important!

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"Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time."
Arnold H. Glasgow



 
  There is an amazing tendency in life to think because we have been successful at something, that we are successful and will continue to be successful.


In these cases it is easy to think that the continued success is a result of our effort and planning and all we need to do is take those attributes and push forward to create the next amazing result.

Unfortunately this is a deception. Success is not only dependent on our effort, our thinking skills, it is also dependent on loving others and God the right way. Then it is often achieved by doing the right thing and rejecting the easy route.

Think of Nehemiah, that guy who had risen to position of power in the Persian empire. He was the cupbearer of the King. That today would be considered being the guy who supports the CEO of a company.

He had a given task and everyone expected certain things of him. Although important, he was far from being top dog.

Yet he changed history. Let’s take a peek at how…

He checked out to see how those lesser than himself were doing and listened to them (RIM could learn from this)

Neh 1:2 “I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

He deeply identified with those people (RIM can really learn from this)

Neh 1:3 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.

Then he asked God for direction (RIM can learn from this as well)

Neh 1:4 For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven

 Then he acted upon the direction he received.

He used his circumstances to indicate to the King he was upset, a rather dangerous and potentially deathly situation. If the King took offence he would have lost his position and even his life.

Yet he did this not at his own direction or even for himself, he did it at God’s direction, for others.

Did RIM create their playbook tablet at their own direction and for themselves?

I think so, but the RIM Playbook is a dismal failure, I own one, I like it’s intent, but hate its function.

They never checked out with us lower mortals what was really needed, they tried to tell us what we would like instead of finding out first, they dictated and didn’t listen and so they screwed up big time. It may even bring that company down!

It’s easy to see where others do this but where do we do it? Where do we miss the true way of doing things.
 
How often do we listen to others, identify with them deeply and put ourselves out to help them?

It sound so strange and even stupid in this modern world to take this approach. That’s why Christians are different! That’s why people consider us strange!

We are people of love, who listen, feel deeply for other and then do something about it under God’s direction.

Something to remember as we go about our daily activities today isn’t it?

 ““Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV
Wed, November 9, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The only thing we really own! Free will!
  
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          “This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”  Susan Polis Schutz

In jail, locked up, on death row, or free roaming our Earth, we all have one thing in common, that ability to decide for ourselves.


People may pressure us to make decisions in one way or another but ultimately it is not them that needs to make the decision, it is us. We can be physically forced to do things but nobody can force our minds to make a decision!

This free ability to decide is a God given power that nobody can take away from us because God wants us to have it.


It is free will that God ensured in the primeval forest by putting one small enticement into an otherwise fully available world. Then like now we used our free will to make decisions, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Yet always our own!

I like Bill Crosby’s humorous look at the lady that goes into a shop and abuses her buying power then says “The devil made me do it!”

It’s humorous because it’s a lie we all like to believe! We don’t want responsibility for our actions at times. Unfortunately it is “futile to resist” as we know! We are not automatons happily tracking our pre-programmed tasks, we don’t want to be, but we like to try and hide behind the lie that we can be made to do things we don’t want to do.

The verse “But suppose you don't want to serve him. Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve. You can choose the gods your people served east of the Euphrates River. Or you can choose the gods the Amorites serve. After all, you are living in their land. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 summarises the logic that we need to develop.

We can say it is others that forces us to move jobs, homes, and locations. We can say that we are unhappy because others are forcing us to do things we don’t agree with. We can say we hate our work because of what we are forced to do!

Yet, ultimately this is all not true!

 In the West and Europe we are able to make decisions much easier since the implications are far less.

We can easily get away with re-locating, finding new work, making the tough decision, since we live in a wonderful free society. In other places choices can be far harder and may even end up in loss of life. Like Jesus’ choice!

Ever thought that without freedom of choice, Jesus couldn’t have rescued our world?


Freedom to choose is a powerful gift!

This year people have died to increase that freedom. Most of us have it far easier don’t we?

Today, are you going to say like Joshua, “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”?
Tue, November 8, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, November 7, 2011

A silent night?

 

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  Ever woken in the small hours of the morning, in those early AM hours when everything is quiet and found that you are so wide awake you can feel your heart beating. The pulse sounds a primitive beat drumming out from inside our head to our silent night air. That air even feels close and as consciousness emerges, thoughts start to creep into existence to play tag with our logic.

Sleep that moments ago seemed to envelope everything in its warm oblivion, has fled! Instead, time starts to tick away following that bothersome pulse whose rhythm we now cannot fail to notice. With nothing needing to be done, we lie in that bed tossing and turning as our mind tracks back over events of the past projecting to what we will do when faced with future situations.

Ever had an evening like that?


Ever thought how this "dead" time can be effectively used to improve ones own life and the lives of others? If tiredness has gone, and activity is not required, then we are left to face ourselves. This is a gift! In this world of ours we hardly ever get faced with ourselves and so we find it a difficult encounter. To some it is a fear fulled encounter, but to those of us who know the loving, living God we cannot hold ourselves in poor esteem because the God of the universe chose to hold us so important that he made promises to us that cannot be broken and paid for our freedom through pain and suffering. No-one does that if there is no value in the person for which this ultimate gift is given!



So as a Christian, when faced with this experience, it is time to turn to the heavenly mirror and ask God to show us what he would have us see. This can be a most challenging but incredibly good experience. Sometimes we get to see where we fail, but never without the love of knowing God will help us correct these blemishes. At other times he opens our minds to experience the lives of others and in that tight relationship, we get to pray heartfelt prayers for them, experiencing their need to a level undetected in daylight hours.

The richness of the experience of these minutes and hours is vast if we allow it to be. If we are truly placing our lives in Gods hands.

Sometimes he blesses us with a slowing of the thoughts as we slip back into slumber, but even if this does not occur, we can have a productive time in the silence of that night.

Let’s remember this the next time we cannot sleep!

 

Mon, November 7, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

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

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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