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Friday, February 17, 2012

Grief is NOT a mental illness!
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The headline reads:New psychiatric guide may label grief as mental illness,  Draft of influential 'DSM' removes section known as the 'bereavement exclusion'[1]

This means if you get sad when a loved person dies, if you feel depressed, then you will probably be classified as mentally ill.

What garbage! This is the new edict described in the newest version of the influential diagnostic manual, DSM.


Now it’s not a simple as that, as the manual directs assessing mental conditions from different perspectives, the key ones being;

1.       Clinical syndrome (or diagnosis)
2.       Developmental and personality disorders (those syndromes that have more enduring effects)
3.       Physical conditions (such as being smacked over the head resulting in brain injury)
4.       How tough the psychosocial stress is (deaths, marriages, new jobs, moves etc.)
5.       Highest level of functioning now and in the past year

The problem is that the manual now tells those specialist guys and girls that a person who has grief longer than a few weeks can be treated with major drugs!

Where does that come from?

Surely the wisdom in proverbs 17 should be have  been applied here; The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

The writers would have been considered wiser, if they had not made this ludicrous statement. We need comfort and love in times of grief, not being told that we are as mad as a hatter!

Ever notice how super specialists may get disconnected from the truths of normal life. They lose wisdom and common sense!

Personally, I find that many of those I know who study psychology and psychiatry are people who themselves have problems. Hmmm! Are these the people we want helping others. (I need to be careful here as I do have a psychology degree, so I guess I am labeling myself
J ). Yeah! Generalisms can be nasty, so perhaps I am a bit out of line, but it is interesting to see those who are in mental hospitals actually can come out and treat others.

What’s wrong with that?

Perhaps if modern science could only suggest turning to God, it would not have to suggest turning to drugs! The bible says , Psalm 10:14 “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

Grief is normal for those losing a dear devoted friend, family member, or partner!

We even have grief over the loss of a dear family pet! It’s normal!

What is important is to know that God has things in control and will help us through. It is important to have other friends and family nearby to console us and it is important to understand the stages of grief and know we are NOT crazy.

Kübler-Ross says we start in “denial” saying everything is fine, then move to “anger” and ask why is it happening to us.

Then we try to “bargain” stating, I will do…if…,  before we move to “depression” being sad understanding that death is everyone’s lot in life. This is a time when people need others around them. Finally, we move to “acceptance”, understanding where we are in the scheme of life and dealing with it as we move on.

Locking up in any stage except the last is a problem and people take different amounts of time to get through. Knowing God is with us every step of the way hearing our words and pain, is critical to dealing with this in a healthy way. Sometimes we need a helping hand of light anti-depressants (try exercise), but never should we be considered as mentally unstable. This is a miscarriage of power and influence! The people who allowed this to enter a medical textbook such as DSM are wrong!

We need to let those in grief know we care and come alongside. So today if you know of those facing death, or those who have lost a loved one, let’s come alongside, pray with and for them, and give them the love of God exercised through our compassion.

Have a great day!

Fri, February 17, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How do we know we are doing the right thing?
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  Ever felt compassion for someone in trouble, tried to help and then found out what you did only made the situation worse?
I have!

Doing this, makes us look inward to try to find a way to avoid repeating our blunder doesn’t it?

Then, we sometimes plan something new and get all excited about this new venture. Maybe its a new job, a move to a new location or country, purchasing a new home, or getting into a new relationship.

How do we know our plans will succeed?

What increases the probability we will achieve the goals we set out as our hearts desires?

Proverbs 16:1 says "To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD."

Our plans are often driven by our hearts desires!

We can consider them right and even pure, but it is the motives of those plans and desires that we need to investigate to understand if they are good.

For example, that person we are helping, do we actually respect them enough to discuss our plans with them to make sure what they really want?
 
Sometimes the burden of a gift can break a person. It can be too difficult to maintain, own or operate. It can be outside of the persons social standing, getting them into trouble with their peers. It can just not be anything like what they want? Or it may be useful to others, but to them an addiction(e.g. chocolate) that they are trying to avoid.

If the motive of helping, is not one of love, respect and coming alongside, we could fail!

To be successful we need to connect deeply with the other person and evaluate together with them, the ways to help.

That type of help can never be wrong as it is where God wants us to be with others.

That is the key!

Our words need to be under the control of the God of the universe, then our plans will be aligned, in humility, with God’s universal plan to bless everyone. That way our motives are pure and our plans have a greater potential of not being distorted by our minds and words. There is more chance of success.

Godly plans require us to check the direction of our lives against God’s will.

The bible says; Commit to the LORD whatever you do,and he will establish your plans."

Committing means handing them over without strings attached! We hand our lives to God without strings attached! We love God without strings attached! We love others without strings attached! We allow God to influence our plans without strings attached.

He is the ultimate one!

Having a good idea and wanting to do good need to arise from humility, love and respect of others, knowing who we are in God’s plans.

Deciding to do something important is also to be done in humility, with respect and love of God motivating our desires.

Then our desires are the desires of the creator of our universe, so he will be successful! Then we will have the honour of being part of that success!Let’s go do that today!
Thu, February 16, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words and Wisdom
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A university student lost his voice for a few days when I was a student. How it impacted him!

Days later when his voice returned, he was choosing his words far more carefully and let us all know he had found out that we waste and abuse words terribly! The sincerity and  concentrated emotion that came with those words of his, has had me remembering them for over thirty years!

How little we consider the privilege we have in communicating by speaking and hearing!.

Each day, a swarm of sounds enter our ears flying through into our brains through our perception filters. Much of what we hear, we actually tune out and a little is retained to enter our conscious mind.

Then we open our mouths and our vocal chords dance in carefully controlled vibrations, modified by an acrobatic tongue and lips, to form sounds that have immense power. Not in their sound, but rather in their meaning!

If we have ever watched a baby learning to speak, we know that they understand before they speak.

Words follow the creation of meaning and are an attempt to reveal the inward constructions of our minds activity.

James, the brother of Jesus (we think) says James 3:3-5

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

Words are powerful tools and nasty weapons! They can lead people to God, or start wars.

The bible cautions us on how we are to use words. Here are a few comments it makes;

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
 
   but a harsh word stirs up anger.[1]

 I guess we should remember when situations are heating up, gentle  answers and not harsh ones defuse the situation.

Perhaps by considering what the words indicate about what is bothering the person, rather than taking only the word meaning into account, we can start identifying with the speaker and getting their context.

Then perhaps, thinking of how we would like to be addressed to overcome our emotions within that context, we can find a simple gentle answer that doesn’t compromise truth, but shows love. That would be a good way to go wouldn’t it?

 Let’s remember that approach the next time someone starts to explode at us.

 Then we will have wisdom in words appreciated by everyone within hearing!

Another thing the bible says is The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly[2].

Consider how a “tongue adorns knowledge”.

We don’t use that word “adorns” much do we? ”Adorns” according to the free online dictionary is “to lend beauty to” or “to enhance or decorate with or as if with ornaments”.

How wise people speak, adds value to the knowledge they are imparting to us. It is rather like great clothes enhance a person’s beauty! In a similar way words carefully chosen by the wise, dress up the concepts they want to tell us with a beauty that builds our ability to understand.

Unfortunately, fools tend to blurt out the first thought that enters their mind. without considering what is the value of communicating it. They don’t try to understand how the person hearing them, will accept the words. Not having the compassion to try and understand how the others within hearing are feeling and would interpret the words, they simply gush them out with whatever emotion they have that moment.

We must understand the same thing that is said in different circumstances has vastly different meanings.

We each apply our own set of knowledge, background and cultural understandings to the words we hear.

We know this for ourselves, but let’s remember that as we speak to others, they also are absorbing our words through this individualistic filtering and distorting mechanism. Wise people first take time to understand others situations and background, before launching into passing out knowledge. Fools don’t!

So today as we discuss aspects with others, as we love and care for those around us, let’s use our words to build positive message enhancing images and concepts. These will then caress a person into understanding and let them know that underlying our words is the love of the eternal God in our hearts. That message is the true message of wisdom that should be part of every communication we enter into.

Have a wonderful day enjoying your communications with those around you and adorning your conversations with wisdom! After all, Jesus is the true way to wisdom!


[1] Proverbs 15:1
[2] Proverbs 15:2
Wed, February 15, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Perseverance and holding on when times are tough!
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  In the town where we live, a very small town that has 800 residents in winter, they hold a dog sled racing meet each year. This is one of the largest gatherings of dog sledding in North America and people come from far to compete. This year one of the competitors was a man from that famous 1000mile Iditarod race in Alaska.

What is amazing is to see these little dogs straining and running in the front of that sled for mile upon mile. The most amazing thing is to watch those same dogs arriving after running 120miles in one night! The just run and never give up.

The conditions are harsh! This year the temperature was -15C or 5F. Then there was a wind chill taking it far lower to the racers and dogs that speed along at about 20mph (that’s 32kph).

It’s cold, the work is hard, and they keep on going, achieving their goal.

You would think those dogs hate the running, but as soon as they see that sled and get put in the harnesses, they strain to go. In fact for the 12 dog team, a 4 wheel all-terrain vehicle is tethered to the back of the sled to keep them from running off too early.

Those dogs need to run the whole way! If after 30 miles, they stop and refuse to go further, the person driving the team could easily freeze to death out in the cold night too far away from warmth to easily survive.

That gets me thinking of a bible verse from Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:15-16 (NIV) Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

We as Christian need to work as a team. We need to avoid snarling and fighting with each other and instead should together work on the great task of covering our Earth, with the love and message of the good news that Jesus gave us. Those watching should see the progress and not be remarking on how undisciplined we are.

When I was watching those dog races, every now and then we would see a young team that had a lead dog that was easily distracted.

The dog would go off the trail to investigate a new sight or sound.

In so doing, this dog would lead the whole sled and dogs into the bush where it would get tangled up. The dogs would start jumping about and soon there would be a mess of dogs and tethers and the musher trying to control and bring it back into order.

We as Christians must stay our course, making progress so that we clearly point to the way to go, and we should not get distracted by the world’s enticements that will lead us and others into trouble.

We need to persevere! When times get tough, we should be evident, forging ahead with a positive and loving attitude. Engendering confidence, caring and love!

Timothy referred to some of this in the verse that preceeding the one I quoted above. He said;

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

So how about focusing on doing this today?

 Let us grab opportunities as they present themselves to us in the course of our life today!

Let’s have a good one, persevering through the tough times!
Tue, February 14, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, February 13, 2012

Conquering those compromising and adverse working situations!
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Ever had a situation of work in which you were feeling compromised?

Those times where there is a conflict between the right thing to do and the expedient thing to do? It is difficult to deal with that inward conflict that starts out as our thoughts strain to separate truth from personal and pragmatic courses of action that are perhaps less truthful.

Here is one I encountered a while back. . .

Just having joined a consulting company as a senior project manager, I was with the CFO of a corporation, our client, who asked me to not tell the consultants working for me and the company that I represented that he was changing the project end date to a month later.

Why did he do this?

Well the consultants were struggling night and day, offering up their evenings to attempt to bring success to this company within that timeframe.

He wanted them to continue being under this strain and felt telling them the truth would reduce the pressure.

I agreed it would reduce the pressure, but didn’t agree with not telling them. Before I could speak, my boss who was with us assured the CFO this would be the case.

My conflict started!

Now I was expected to lie to my consultants for a month!

Soon both my thoughts and stomach was churning on this unfair expectation. I considered resigning, but felt that was not a correct response.

So what did I do?

I prayed (naturally J )!

No great voice spoke to me, not even a whisper of a voice trickled into my thoughts. Instead an overwhelming knowledge arose inside me indicating that I could not lie and that even if I got fired I would have to face these men. My wife supported this! (Bless her!)

When I finally called my boss and explained I couldn’t lie to my team, he was relieved that I had called and indicated he was having second thoughts and agreed with me! I then explained to the CFO that his discussions with his staff were not my business, but mine with my staff were, so respectfully, I would let my team know and we would get the work done, but I wouldn’t be able to meet his request  to lie.


He too backed down! Truth and God had the victory!

Wisdom is something that comes from staying close to God. It does not come out our own brains.

This makes me think of the story of Ahab, Elijah and Obadiah from the sacred writings of the bible, that book of 1 Kings chapters 16, 17 and 18.

The back story is Ahab becomes King of Israel.

 29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.

Ahab is a mean and evil King! The he gets aggravated by Elijah a prophet of God.

 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

His land faced a famine. He doesn’t worry to much about the people but worries more about his vehicles of the time, his donkeys, mules and horses.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. …..) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
Not a nice guy!



So this guy, Obadiah is Ahab’s right hand guy! His chief of staff! A powerful organizer and manager of men for the king.

Notice how different these two were;

30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.

and

Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD

Anyhow, Elijah now hears from God,

1 Kings 18

 1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

SO he heads out and then one of those co-incidences that I always call “god-incidences” occurs;

7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

 8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

 9What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me.

Notice that when they accidently meet and Obadiah gets his instruction from Elijah, he is scared! Ahab wants to find the prophet who has caused the pain and will kill anyone who gets in the way.

We need to understand it’s okay to get scared when we gets asked to do big things for God.

Elijah re-assures him;

15 Elijah said, “As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

So Obadiah goes and organizes the meeting.

We see here that for God to have his purpose it took two Godly men. Not only the prophet, but a man who could be working with and close to the evil king. These are two different personalities. They probably would never have agreed on each other’s ways of dealing with things, but God’s truth and love of God (perhaps a bit of fear of God as well) was their binding force.

We all have our jobs. Sometimes we don’t work for great bosses. Sometimes they do bad things and we need to protect others and cleanup for them, even without their knowledge.

Obadiah had also done something else;

(Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)

Jezebel was the evil wife of evil Ahab! Obadiah protected God’s people at personal risk.

Sometimes we need to protect others at personal risk. That’s the Godly thing to do!

Turns out Ahab never learned to trust God’s prophets and turn to God. He had four encounters with prophets and they all told him nasty things would happen to him and his family if he didn’t stop and turn his ways around. He didn’t and died miserably. So did his wife! (A death that was a horror story).

Yet in the midst of Ahab’s evil, God was working his good!


We need to remember when times seem the darkest, that is often the exact time God calls on people, revealing his will to them.

However God doesn’t want us compromising our principles, since then we would be better off not calling ourselves Christians.

Those of us who at times serve some wicked person may find that we, too, must protect God’s peoples at considerable risk to ourselves. It’s never easy to serve Jesus, and it’s not getting any easier.

God has all sorts of people in his family. Elijah had a rough road from the beginning, but it wasn’t easy to be in Obadiah’s shoes either. You and I have our own paths to walk!

Faithfulness counts with God. Remember Obadiah, a good man in a hard place who did the right thing when it mattered most. God blessed him.

May God bless everyone who follows in his steps.

Let’s learn from Obadiah and follow God even when it isn’t so easy to do so!
Mon, February 13, 2012 | 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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