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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Babel Fish that actually works!
  
Babel_Fish.jpg
 
In the “hitchhikers guide to the galaxy”, author Douglas Adams describes a fictitious animal, a “Babel Fish” that performs instant translations when inserted into a person’s ear.

Wouldn’t we like a Babel Fish?

Have you ever quite honestly said something innocently and had it taken completely out of context by the listener, causing them to get upset?

Have you also perhaps noticed how upset people rarely then actually listen to the person they are upset with?

We are all subject to the distortions in our communications aren’t we?

 The written word is difficult to interpret because we cannot see the person who is penning the words, and so fail to assess their body language and culture.

 Our spoken word is better, but even then, we assume so much. Meaning associated with the words that two people from different backgrounds can hear is often vastly different.

Add to this cultural differences and world beliefs, and this gets much more complex!

Words are not the only thing causing issues. . .for example, if you show the soles of your shoes in some Arab countries, you have just insulted someone.

Wow!


Imagine how those Arab folk feel traveling in western countries. It must be like a Christian walking through a room full of people cursing and swearing! Traveling in that environment could be nasty. Think of a modern subway, how many insults per second would a person get?

Communication is difficult isn’t it?

Maybe the internet can help?

Today, there are applications like Googles Babel Fish. With it you speak into it on your phone, and it sends it back to the person that you hand the phone to. They hear what you are communicating, translated.

Somewhat translated that is!

Background noise, accents, and other aspects make it come up with some weird translations and some languages are just hard to translate. Think of those that have different genders for the same object, depending on context. (Those complications do exist!)

Maybe that’s why God goes to extremes to make sure we know his message to us!


Have you ever considered why Jesus didn’t arrive on Earth in the 21st century?

How would he have been able to give a message out, How would it have had traction throughout the world, if he had?

By blogging on the internet? Not likely!

By doing a movie? We all know movies have made up stuff, even documentaries change the content of truth, by editing.

To get the message to the world, a historically embedded truth, that has application to everyone would have to have come at a point in time that mankind was developed enough to record it faithfully. It would have to have come on mediums that could be durable, and mediums that can be proved to have their original format in future years to come.

The message would need to have been heard and understood by a small enough group of people to be cohesive, but by a large enough group, that when dispersed they could influence everyone in the world.

The population size would need to be just right, wouldn’t it?

Then, the means of getting the communications out, needed to be fairly good.

People struggling to cut their way through jungles don’t really move fast and messages die out before they get out.

So the Roman Empire with its magnificent roads were needed. That took time to form and do the work of preparing those roads didn’t it?

The Roman period also provide relative peace in the world, so there was time for the message to disperse.

Then, a common language would be good as well wouldn’t it?

The Greeks who conquered the world before the Romans provided that and they had translated the bible texts into Greek. Greek was the business language of the day. Christians had Greek to communicate to others with helping the message stay true.

All of this is still not sufficient! The words could get distorted when they did get out, couldn’t they?

Meaning could vary over years, and the original words could be horribly distorted as time went by.

How does God ensure that does not occur?

Jesus explains it as follows when others asked  'Show us the Father'? he replied. . .

 "Don't you believe that I am in the Father? Don't you believe that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. The Father lives in me. He is the One who is doing his work. Believe me when I say I am in the Father. Also believe that the Father is in me. Or at least believe what the miracles show about me.

 "What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things. That is because I am going to the Father.

 "And I will do anything you ask in my name. Then the Son will bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name. I will do it.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. I will ask the Father. And he will give you another Friend to help you and to be with you forever. The Friend is the Spirit of truth. The world can't accept him. That is because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you.[1]

So how does this help us understand God’s communication with us?

Notice that God leaves us the Spirit of Truth, or, as others say, Holy Spirit!

This Spirit lives with us, and takes the words we hear and forms their meaning in our hearts, to align with the original meaning as closely as our sin filled lives will let it happen.

God inspired those original writers, and God inspires the final readers.

Since God is part of both sides of the communication, the message is true.

Notice it is only true, to those that have Holy Spirit in their lives, the rest get a distorted message. Even those with Holy Spirit can only get it right to the extent they are righteous. Since we all sin, it means we all screw up getting some of it right.

However, God in many people, makes sure that the message as a whole never loses its overall truth or vitality.

It’s a bit like everyone who sees an amazing Olympic record set, may each explain it slightly differently, but taken as a whole, the true replication of the event can be agreed upon as truth.

God, selected the time, the places, the people and Jesus his son to ensure a high fidelity message would resonate into, and throughout the ages.

Aren’t we privileged to be part of that process?

Let’s go have a lovely day and perhaps look for an opportunity to pass the message on!



[1] John 14:9-17 NIRV
Fri, March 30, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When we are in pain. . .
 
whipped.jpg
  
Agony! Pulsing shards of slicing pain cuts into our bodies, sucking energy from us, slowing our thoughts and muddling them.

Pain is horrible as experienced isn’t it?

Yet pain can also be a warning to us and can be used to build us up as well!

Pain comes because we can feel! Without feeling, we would do what lepers do and damage themselves significantly. Leprosy is a disease we can treat today, but in the past, people who got it lost feeling, which in itself was not dangerous. However, because they could not feel, they would damage themselves with cuts, bruises and worse. These would get infected! Soon serious damage would result.!

We need to feel pain to live effectively.

Yet when it is the pain of irrecoverable disease or injury it is horrible to experience, or even to watch others experience.

It is interesting to me that we as people became pain in God’s life. Just after man became sentient and walked with God, and sinned and left the garden of Eden, it says in Genesis 6:5-7

The Lord saw how bad the sins of man had become on the earth. All of the thoughts in his heart were always directed only toward what was evil. The Lord was very sad that he had made man on the earth. His heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, "I created man on the earth. But I will wipe them out. I will destroy people and animals alike. I will also destroy the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air. I am very sad that I have made man."[1]

Think of it this way… God felt the agony, the pulsing shards of slicing pain cutting into his heart, due to our evil ways.

Yet, as he cleared the Earth of this first great illness and evil, he found people he loved and saved them. They broke his heart again, as did their ancestors.

Again and again, the pain we cause cuts into God!


Finally, God decides to come to Earth in human form, as Jesus, to completely identify with, and be part of the experiences, but without the horrible nasty sin part.

What do we do, we cause him more pain!


We whip him with a whip of many tails, having sharp objects in them, cutting his back open horribly; we force a crown of thorns down into his skull and mock him!

We force him to carry heavy logs out to the site where he must die.

Then we smash nails through his feet (probably the heel bones) and hands to pin him to the tree, with nails, after we have stripped him naked.

Then while he is in extreme agony, we hoist him up into public view, where he is naked and exposed to ridicule.

He dies slowly, in pain, gasping because to breathe he has to push on those nails in his smashed heels.

Extreme pain! Pain from which the word excruciating was formed!

God knows pain!

So when we cry out to our God in pain, he understands! He understands in ways we cannot comprehend.

Yet, despite this extreme pain he cries out, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing."[2]

He thinks of others and loves us, at this time of his worst pain!

When we are in pain, do we do this?

I find this the hardest of things to do! To consider others and empathise with them, when I am in pain, is not my strong point. I have to love others greatly to achieve this!

God loves us greatly! Jesus died because of this love!

What are we doing about this love? How do we respond?

What will we do today to show our identification with and respect for this love of God?

That’s the question for today!

Will the pain in our life build us or destroy us?



[1] Genesis 6:5-7 NIRV
[2] Luke 23:34
Thu, March 29, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reaction to certain types of prostitution having being legalized. . .
  
DecideForTruth.jpg

The National Post article[1] says our Ontario appeal courts have ruled;

  • LEGAL: Hiring drivers, bodyguards and support staff
  • ILLEGAL: “Exploitation” of sex workers by pimps
  • LEGAL: Working in organized brothels or “bawdy houses”
  • ILLEGAL: Openly soliciting customers on the street

On September 30, 2010, I wrote a lengthy blog on the subject “
Another prostitute scandal? How would Jesus react?

The appeal courts have now ruled. I will re-iterate some of what I said in that blog to give context and then explain how I am reviewing my thoughts.

As Christian’s they expect us to react and we should! 



 The question is how, since there is definitely a precedent in the bible to stop a nation falling into the prostitution trade. Doesn’t our bible speak against this? For example doesn’t it say. . .



 
Leviticus 19:29 (NIV)

Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.



 So this is a warning that this course of action will lead to wickedness in the land (as if there isn’t plenty of that already).



 But then it also says



 
Deuteronomy 23:18
You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.


 So it seems that this was a means of doing business in those days as well right?

 I guess the point is that we should try and avoid promoting prostitution, and we should not allow the church to benefit from this activity, and if a country degrades itself to permit this to become a norm, only wickedness will grow from the practice.

 
Now let's be honest, this practice will never go away until the human race dies out. There will always be desperate people who have to make money and find getting naked and doing things for people who are to inadequate to find a true partner is a way of making money. Then, when they overcome their decency and allow this to occur, they quieten their conscience and so damage themselves further.

 The final stage of pain is when they decide that they want others to be like them and start to shout it out and in this case “fight for rights”.


 Now let me say, I don’t agree with mistreating prostitutes.

I think the law does do this! They are not given fair hearings and justice they rightfully should get. But that’s not a reason to make the practice legal! That’s showing us this is time to update and train our police force in true handling of the situation. It’s a failure of policing that needs to be remedied, not a promotion of prostitution!


 What did Jesus say on the matter?

If I remember there was one statement that said in Matthew 21:30-31. . .

"I
tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

 A repentant prostitute is free of guilt and sin, and can enter heaven according to Jesus.

 This seems to have been his treatment of these ladies of the street.  

How would Jesus deal with it?

I think of two situations where immoral woman are brought to or came to him (Where were the cases of immoral men? Doesn’t it take two to do it? men seem to be good at staying in the background don't they?)

 Luke 7:36 on, talks of one who could be considered a prostitute who came to Jesus, repented, washed his feet with her tears and very expensive perfume, and of whom he said
 
"Your sins are forgiven" and "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

 Later a women caught in adultery is brought to him. First Jesus sets up the criteria for convicting her by saying

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."


Then after this gets rid of the crowd (who obviously understood he would be able to point out every occasion when they thought of illegal sex [since he had warned people that thinking of it was enough to sin]), Jesus says to her,

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
      "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
[2]

 So, Jesus loves people that are hurting! We should too!

Jesus doesn’t want us condemning others when we all have thoughts that are sexually inappropriate to others. Holy Spirit know these thoughts we have!

 Jesus would not want us to support people continuing in a profession that degrades and damages them and the country, but would want to see them helped and loved (correctly).

 
Then what about our relationships with prostitutes. Paul comments.
 
1 Corinthians 6:16
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."

 

He points out our bodies belong to Jesus and we should not abuse them. 

So sex with prostitutes is out for Christians!

 Then should we protect them? Well remember that Paul also reminds the Israeli's that 

 
Hebrews 11:31
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.


 So there is a precedent for treating them right, if they treat society right.

 Where does this leave us?

I think it leaves is wanting the prostitutes better protected, but without having a way to promote their activities.

Now originally the way the law was structured I stated;

 
This is not the intent of the new law, so I cannot support it!
 
However, reading the new structure layout in the post, one gets the understanding that the law is attempting to protect prostitutes and limit their activities to a specific area.

I am still not in favour of prostitution because of the degrading of the women and men who take part in it, but I am for their protection.
We as Christians should simply teach those around us not to get involved or use the services.

Satanists are legal, but we don’t attend their services and we love the people who are taking part even if we totally detest their practices.

We should have a similar attitude to prostitutes I believe.

That said, let’s pray for a reduction in this sad situation in our country, and that our men and women would chose righteousness over self abuse!
Wed, March 28, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jeremiah, a great man of the past that few know, but many should!
Jeremiah.jpg
 
 
Many think that important and influential people live on in the memories of people after they have died, but rarely do they remain significant.

It often takes a well placed event to make them remembered

Jeremiah was an ancient Jewish priest or kohen. More than that, he was a man who foretold the future. He was an interesting person because like many, he was continually harassed for doing what God asked him to do.

He was attacked by his family, Judah’s officials, and even imprisoned by the King.

The reason he was disliked, is that he knew that Israel was going to fall as a nation and be taken into captivity, and he warned them that if they didn’t change their ways this would happen. Like parents warning a teenager against the ravages of modern societies ill influence, Jeremiah wanted Israel to avoid the practices that could take it down. Like the rebellious teenager, Israel didn’t listen and the bible records how Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Some of us may know this, but it rarely comes home to us, and even less do we try to understand the man and his times. It’s just so foreign and distant isn’t it.

Well, in Jerusalem, an archeological discovery has shone the light on Jeremiah again.

Two seal impressions were found
.
These are small clay seals that people used to prove that things had not been opened. People took clay and then impressed it with a seal that was theirs, to prove that the item would stay closed until they opened it again.

These seals called bullae, have names on them. The first says “Yehuchal ben Shelemyahu” and the second says “Gedalyahu ben Pasur”[1].

So what? It doesn’t seem important does it?

Okay let’s read a bit of the words Jeremiah wrote in the bible;

“Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jehucal and Pashhur heard what I was telling all of the people. Shephatiah was the son of Mattan. Gedaliah was the son of Pashhur. Jehucal was the son of Shelemiah. And Pashhur was the son of Malkijah. Those four men heard me say, "The Lord says, 'Those who stay in this city will die of war, hunger or plague. But those who go over to the side of the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives. They will remain alive.' The Lord also says, 'This city will certainly be handed over to the armies of the king of Babylonia. They will capture it.' "

 Then those officials said to the king, "That man should be put to death. What he says is making the soldiers who are left in this city lose hope. It's making all of the people lose hope too. He isn't interested in what is best for the people. In fact, he's trying to destroy them."

"He's in your hands," King Zedekiah answered. "I can't do anything to oppose you."

So they took me and put me into an empty well. – Jeremiah 38:1 onwards.

 “Shelemyahu” is translated in English as “Shelemiah”, and “Gedalyahu” as “Gedaliah”.

“Yehuchal” is translated “Jehucal” , and “Pasur” as “Pashhur” .

Ben means "son of" so “Yehuchal ben Shelemyahu” means “Jehucal son of Shelemiah”, and “Gedalyahu ben Pasur” means “Gedaliah son of Pashhur” proving the bible to be accurate.

We have historical proof in our hands of the times of Jeremiah.


Why could this be significant?

It has taken years to uncover these irreplaceable treasures and they point fundamentally to a great man that is respected by the followers of three religions, Moslems, Jews, and Christians.

The message he gave to Israel is applicable to the world today. We need to understand our world is partying on, and rejecting God. People often only pay lip service to the moral guidelines of the bible. Just yesterday, I hear a court of appeal in the province I live, is further legitimizing open prostitution. This is only one minor example!

We don’t need to be Jeremiah to know that this trend will result in horrible downfall throughout the world, if it is allowed to continue.

In the past, God used more righteous Godly people to clean up the mess that evil people had made.

Today, the mess is inherent is almost all world cultures. What will God use this time, perhaps the end of the world as we know it.

What can we do?

A little!


We can let our world know God loves us and is willing to help us return to righteous living, if we will!

So today, as we go about or tasks of life, let’s thank God he is patient and try to inject a little light into every place we work or play.

Let’s have God focussed, healthy day living in the glow of Holy spirit’s Guidance and Jesus’ example.

Have a good one!


[1] Jeremiah, prophet of the Bible, Brought back to life accessed at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/jeremiah-prophet-of-the-bible-brought-back-to-life/
Tue, March 27, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, March 26, 2012

Destroy “Churches”, a call to Muslims in Saudi Arabia
ReligiousWorldGallup2006to2008.JPG
 
  
Wow! Christianity must really be powerful if one of the most influential men in the Moslem world Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah says it is necessary to ““necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”

How much world news have you heard in this regard?

A whisper?

Amazing how if a Christian threatens to burn a Koran the whole world screams (not that I agreed with that guy) but when a major leader in the Moslem world calls for destroying of whole churches, we hear nothing!

What is wrong with the world?

Sin!

Selfish, ignorant and nasty. . .Sin!

People no longer want to seek truth at any cost. They want everything for themselves and even want to define truth as what pleases them!

What will this achieve?

Selective hearing!

Christians are unpopular because we call for truth at ANY cost. Sacrificial love is central to a true Christian’s life. As such, there is more focus on truth, and less on selective hearing.

Many people want security in their life like that of little children, they want to draw a blanket over their heads to try to make out that if they don’t see and hear, then it isn’t happening.

Folk, the big bad Satan man is actually out there! Even if we are hiding behind our warm cozy security blanket!

Also want you to know that I am NOT talking of Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah. To him I say “God loves you!”, and that God is stronger than any call to war you may issue. Love of others is deep in the Christian heart, so attempts to build hate are about all that you can do. We understand! but hate cannot destroy true love!

That is our challenge today as Christians, to love and not hate, to care and not reject, to take the pain and not to complain!

We as Christian’s have a high calling, one that is set by the God of the universe and it is to introduce true love in the world.

We will not respond by outlawing mosques in our cities because we love people even if they don’t love us.

The Washington times says[1] “The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.”

Well Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah, we Christians have a different instruction that says;

“Here is what he has given you to do for Christ. You must not only believe in him. You must also suffer for him.” Philippians 1:29 NIRV

And we have another that says;

Matthew 5:43-44 "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.

 So Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah as you go about this abhorrent business, know that you will be loved!

Strange people Christians!

The more adversity placed in our way, the more we allow God into our lives and the love flows. That’s what win’s war’s my friend, love, not hate, vile laws and suppression.

Today as we go out in our world we will war with true love, and from the deepest points in our lives we will love and not hate.

That is the Christian way!
Mon, March 26, 2012 | link          Comments


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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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