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Friday, May 11, 2012

We donít get away with being hellish, nasty, ignorant and selfish, do we?
PrayingSincerely.jpg   Is Michael Rafferty is guilty of abducting, sexually assaulting and killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford?

Will he get away with it if he is?

Is Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik guilty?

Did Edwin Boyd ever pay for what he did as a gangster?

Would Hitler pay for the atrocities he did before he committed suicide?

How often do we wonder if the evil in our world goes unpunished?

There are some people who feel there is no such thing as evil and that it is simply a construct of our human brains. Somehow, I don’t think many of us are under that illusion. We have experienced too much evil in our lives and have even dealt out some of our own haven’t we?

People sometimes say that Christians are fear mongers when they bring up the subject of hell. We are trying to “frighten” people into the Christian faith is an argument they put to us.

Tell me this...if you saw a child about to immerse their hand in a pot of boiling water, what would you do?

Sometimes not saying something is more criminal that saying something! So today, I apologize before I go further, but folk, you do have to hear this.

Hell exists!

Jesus when he walked on this Earth made many statements about hell. He said. . .

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but can't kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[1]

This tells us the spirit is not destroyed in hell, but the soul and body undergo destruction.

How important is it to avoid hell?

               Here is what is said, you judge. . .

"If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of heaven with only one hand or one foot than to go into hell with two hands and two feet. In hell the fire burns forever.[2]

It seems to be rather serious doesn’t it? Then Mark says . . .

In hell, " 'The worms do not die. The fire is not put out.' —(Isaiah 66:24[3])

And this is a paraphrase of the reference in Isaiah that says

"When they go out of Jerusalem, they will see the dead bodies of those who refused to obey me. The worms that eat the bodies will not die. The fire that burns them will not be put out. It will make everyone sick just to look at them."[4]

Hell is not a nice place at all!

 No party with friends!

A place where the living dead are in torment (by the way Isaiah was talking of the new Jerusalem that comes sometime in the future, not the one having the arguments with Palestinians right now)

God wants us to avoid this place! In fact he desires us to live in such a way as to never ever have to be exposed to it. He died painfully to give us a way around having to go there to pay for what we do wrong. Yet, some still choose this path.

Do we feel that law and order is being destroyed in our time? Do we feel those that do evil seem to prevail over those of us who do not? What can we do?

 God has an answer for us in Psalm 11 that says

I run to the Lord for safety.
      So how can you say to me,
      "Fly away like a bird to your mountain.
Look! Evil people are bending their bows.
      They are placing their arrows against the strings.
   They are planning to shoot from the shadows
      at those who have honest hearts.
 When law and order are being destroyed,
      what can godly people do?"
 The Lord is in his holy temple.
      The Lord is on his throne in heaven.
   He watches all people.
      His eyes study them.
The Lord watches over those who do what is right.
      But he hates sinful people and those who love to hurt others.
 He will pour out flaming coals and burning sulfur
      on those who do what is wrong.
      A hot and dry wind will destroy them.
 The Lord always does what is right.
      So he loves it when people do what is fair.
      Those who are honest will enjoy his blessing.[5]

Nobody gets away with anything!

In the life hereafter there will be flaming coals and burning sulfur poured out on those that love to hurt others. Human justice is not close to God’s. No debt goes unpaid, no evil can get away from God’s justice.

Yet those who God loves he forgives, those who honestly turn to him to help them live victorious lives he helps and comforts. He advises us not to take revenge ourselves as that is his to take.

Today when I see how seriously people pay for doing wrong if they reject God, I cannot wish it on anyone no matter who they are. Instead, I would rather people would see their evil for what it is, see God for the glorious person he is, for the compassion love that fills the universe with him there, and I pray they would understand the evil they have done needs to be rejected. I expect they would gladly pay the human price for their evil exacted by our inadequate legal system, than be subject to real price to be exacted by a just God.

Today, let’s have compassion on sinners, understanding where their lives are leading them. Let’s pray for their souls and ask God to call them to himself so that they can avoid the destruction that comes to them after death if they do not make God central to their lives.

Today let us make God central in our lives and enjoy his protection and love.

Have a great day!


[1] Matthew 10:28
[2] Matthew 18:8 
[3] Mark 9:48
[4] Isaiah 66:24
[5] Psalm 11
Fri, May 11, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Family woes, who goes?
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  In the struggles of life it seems that there are times when family members just don’t seem to get on! The biblical families and even royal families don’t seem to be immune from this.

Years ago a father had his family torn apart when one of his sons Amnon raped his sister Tamar and this half-brother Absalom murdered Amon avenging his sisters death.

Dad was not happy and so Absalom had to run for his life and it took a while for dad to accept him again. Allowing him into the city was a mistake because although Dad was king of that land, Absalom sucked-up to everyone in power and undermined his father. Finally it got to the point that David, the father figured out he had two choices, kill his other son, or get out of the city that was his by right and authority.

Having compassion on this upstart of a son, David chose to leave. How did he feel about this? How would we feel in the same situation?

We may think we could never know, but we would be wrong. David wrote a psalm that expressed how he felt. Here it is. . .

Lord, how many are my foes!
    
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
    
“God will not deliver him. ”
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; 
    I wake again, because the Lord
sustains me.

6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
    
assail me on every side.
Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    
May your blessing be on your people.

 David turned to his God for comfort and for protection as well. He put his faith in God’s ability to keep the wicked away from him. He looked for God to resolve the situation.

Some may say this is because David was scared or unable to take up a forceful attitude. Yet, reading about the rest of his life we have no doubt he could have easily killed his son and reigned supreme if he chose. He was a powerful warrior and easily motivated men to join him.

No, David deliberately steps aside to make room for his son. Notice however he does do something, he gets out of immediate danger.

When we ask God to deliver us we need to also take action ourselves. Not aggressive attacking stances, but rather to move to a position where God can take the control and we are less vulnerable.

God is our deliverer! Jesus our king! Notice that Jesus didn’t destroy the Earth for threatening him! There is a similarity to Jesus in David’s approach. Both men gave up their kingdom’s for the sake of others who would only do wrong and wish to harm them. Even today people still want to remove Jesus power.

Thank God that Jesus rose again and is the ultimate power. We find David later resumed the throne! Evil cannot win! All we have to do is allow God to lift us up when we call to him.

Let’s remember that as we take on the world today! Have a powerful God blessed day!
Thu, May 10, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are we free?
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“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

We can choose! Anyone can, but how easy are we able to use the choice to do what we believe to be the correct course of action?

Those of us who live in first world countries where people are allowed to chose to do things that are not considered mainstream, often fail to see how in countries where the Christian values have not yet proliferate into the justice and legal systems, people are far more constrained.

Our countries in the West and Europe have had the influence of Christianity with all its warts and faults for many centuries.

In that time we have more and more discovered that God is a God who wants people to be free. The movement of controls from church to individuals within the church, and then the driving of church value systems into legal systems and political choices have been part of the past.

Today, when we want to dress in a particular way, when we want to have a meeting with others and state things that are not always what our governments or others would want to hear, we are relatively free to do this.

The church is finding itself under attack, but in general, the media and those attacking the church are simply taking special cases where some individuals have failed and holding them up to be ridiculed or shamed. The fact that this can be done, should in itself be seen as freedom, and we would do well to watch, listen, learn and then do something about the injustices that get exposed.

Our freedom is wonderfully easily exercised in these 1st world countries!

So much so, that we don’t know what it is like to be forced to live in a certain way, to have constraints placed on education, to have to follow certain community rituals even when we may consider them barbaric.

Yet, even we in the west are constrained! Peter perhaps describes our constraints well. Not only are we free, but sometimes our freedom leads to suffering! He says. . .

Live like free people. But don't use your freedom to cover up evil. Live like people who serve God. Show proper respect to everyone. Love the community of believers. Have respect for God. Honor the king.

Slaves, obey your masters with all the respect you should give them. Obey not only those who are good and kind. Obey also those who are not kind. Suppose a person suffers pain unfairly because he wants to obey God. That is worthy of praise. But suppose you receive a beating for doing wrong, and you put up with it. Will anyone honor you for that? Of course not. But suppose you suffer for doing good, and you put up with it. God will praise you for that.

Christ suffered for you. He left you an example. He expects you to follow in his steps. You too were chosen to suffer. (1 Peter 2:16-21)

We are free, but our freedom is under the constraints of God’s guidelines given for our own good. We are not free to do anything, only what God has approved as good and right. Respect for everyone needs to be at the base of our motivations.

Yes! everyone!

This is perhaps why in many other less advantaged societies freedom is less evident.

Years of Christian input has driven up the need to respect everyone in our 1st world societies. Maybe now the societies have adopted this as a basic human right, but great Christian men of the past who fought slavery and injustice, fighting to get everyone respect and ability to chose their lives direction, paid the price for the freedoms we have. Check it out and you will find that Christian values are behind every great movement to abolish slavery.

Yet for us today, we need to use those same values to continue improving our society don’t we? Do we “love” the community of believers? Do we obey those who employ us and put in a good days work for them?

Sometimes things go wrong and we get blamed for things we didn’t do. How do we deal with it? Peter suggests we put up with it. He promises us we will be eternally rewarded for the injustices we experience while holding onto Christian values. We don’t always have to do something to show we were in the right, God knows and blesses us! We are expected to suffer in silence!

This means that today as we take on our life’s challenges and stride through the world, living righteously and understanding that God sees everything, we need to respect everyone! God will help us live through tough times! He is with us all the way and has been from ancient times. All we have to do is believe, chose freely within his guidelines and follow his lead in our daily tasks. That’s true freedom!

Have a blessed day!
Wed, May 9, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Praying, imagination and Godís voice
CrossHand.jpg
 
 
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Martin Luther King, Jr


  Praying! What is prayer? Dictionary.com defines it as

noun 1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
3. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.
4. a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord's Prayer.
5. prayers, a religious observance, either public or private, consisting wholly or mainly of prayer.
 
 I like to define prayer as the time during which I turn to my eternal Father for advice, comfort and love.

Prayer for those starting into this strange practice is just that, uncomfortable and strange.

It is a connection between a logical physical five senses universe, and a logical spiritual, outside the five senses link with the eternal God.

Our first prayers are self-conscious tentative steps into a realm that seems strange.

Not always, but often this is the case!

Yet, as we start to place petitions to God, and as we start to appreciate his power and love and express our gratitude, the prayer becomes more fluid and less stilted.

Some people say we imagine God!

Yes, we do
!



If we call or text a family member who is away from home, we imagine them don’t we? Our discussion is filled with imagining what they are doing and experiencing!

Our imagination feeds to us the reality they are experiencing in a filtered way.

If we have ever experienced a loved one that is remote who is also ill, very ill, then we know that the connection, while using imagination, is crucial to our connecting to them with love and empathy. It is critical to our understanding their situation isn’t it?

There is no problem to using imagination in prayer, but it must be imagination grounded in the reality of God’s presence.

 
Like we use our imagination to give us ability to understand our ill relatives presence. If we imagine unreal aspects, then our perception of that ill person can become distorted in our minds, can’t it?

If we imagine unreal aspects of God, God becomes distorted in our minds!

The reality of God is exposed through what Jesus did and said when he was alive.

Holy Spirit, the comforter, is with us now and will guide us to keep the communication clear, but we need to do our work and understand who God is, what Jesus did, and what God expects and appreciates.

Then, with this knowledge, we pick up that eternal cell phone of prayer and start our conversation with the God of the universe.

We need to be taught to pray! Even the disciples who walked around with Jesus asked for this. (By the way, who did they pray to, as it wasn’t Jesus, was it?)

The bible says …

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples spoke to him. "Lord," he said, "teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

 Jesus said to them, "When you pray, this is what you should say.

   " 'Father,
   may your name be honored.
   May your kingdom come.

  Give us each day our daily bread.
 Forgive us our sins,
      as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
   Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted.' "[1]

Simple prayer is all we need! Heartfelt prayer!

Prayer that honors God and connects our needs to his provision! Prayer that changes us as we pray!

Then, as the connection with Father God is established and becomes vibrant, our prayers become more personal and direct. Prayer changes things and us. Often it is us that it changes most! As we connect with God, we see his purpose and we identify with it. Our lives turn towards God’s purpose, we become blessed, and having eternal purpose in what we do, find joy, peace and love.

Prayer changes us physically sometimes. The great example of this was Jesus…

About eight days after Jesus said this, he went up on a mountain to pray. He took Peter, John and James with him.

As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed. His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. [2]

Sometimes God does intervene in nature, not often, but sometimes.

Sometimes God may allow us to hear a physical voice, but that is rare. However, often, very often, we experience in our hearts and minds the voice of God. Perhaps we imagine it!

Perhaps we imagine our mother voice as we read an email from her, does that mean she does not exist?

God uses our human mind to speak to us far more effectively than email.

 We start to understand and detect his voice, first in small ways, but as we recognise him, in greater extent and volume. We learn that for God to speak effectively we need to be quiet and listen after our words have conveyed our message. God’s Holy Spirit confirms things to us in many different ways. His communication medium is our world.

Today as we walk and talk to God, let us understand that we cannot perceive anything, or give value to anything, without the gift of our imaginations.

Let’s understand that using it correctly is a God given gift. Let us understand everyone uses imagination to give substance to reality, so there is no problem with using it correctly. Let us understand that Jesus is central to understanding how to use our mind, imagination and will, to serve and honor not only God, but those around us.

Have a wonderful day!



[1] Luke 11:1-4
[2] Luke 9:28-29 NIRV
Tue, May 8, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, May 7, 2012

How do I teach myself to learn effectively?
Confused_Success_Perserverance.jpg
 
 
Anyone who loves to be trained loves knowledge.
      Anyone who hates to be corrected is stupid.
 The Lord blesses anyone who does good.
      But he judges any man who is tricky.
 If a man does what is evil, he can't become strong and steady.

Proverbs 12:1-3

“Show me!” is that request of a little child to a mother or father, when the child cannot see to learn. The desire for understanding is great in the young. Every minute of every day, they are inquisitively learning, investigating and testing out their latest idea.

It is interesting to me that as we get older, we become more complex and that need to understand everything and how it works together decreases.

Perhaps it is the great availability of schooling in the modern western world that provides so much knowledge that it causes the joy of learning to be replaced by a feeling of being overwhelmed by the volume of knowledge.

Then, the ability to gain critical knowledge is often thwarted! Years ago, when an appliance broke, some adult in the home would carefully take it apart to investigate the cause of the failure, and then get a new part or fabricate one, before carefully putting the object back together again.

Today that is not possible! Items aren’t made to be fixed by the man in the street. They are encapsulated in plastics and resins, or have such complicated electronic parts and intricate construction, that only the experts can assemble or disassemble them.

This produces a learned helplessness and reliance on others to do things for us. Unfortunately, it generates people who are ready to blame others for failures all to easily. It generates those who are ready to offload complicated or difficult tasks to others at a moment’s notice.

Not everyone is this way, but as the years go by, society seems to move increasingly into a state of learned helplessness, except in specific areas where our interest overcomes our inaction.

The bible teaches us truths, and to apply them we need to learn. During this last weekend, I heard a talk in which the person pointed out we do not know how to become holy. In fact, many of us do not understand what holiness is, do we?

We need to understand how to reach a state of happiness and purity in our relationships with God, others and the world we live in. This is learned, not automatically understood.

It is easy for us to see what the big things are, that people do wrong. Most of us agree that drunkenness, drug abuse, adultery, stealing, etc. are wrong. This seems so obvious doesn’t it? Yet, even those are becoming fuzzy. Adultery is when others do it, but when we think it, it isn’t (to some of us). The fact that Jesus says;

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'—(Exodus 20:14) But here is what I tell you. Do not even look at a woman in the wrong way. Anyone who does has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [1]

This means to be holy, we need control over our thoughts and the small things of life!

 People say we cannot control thoughts, but Jesus doesn’t seem to agree!

Immediate control may not be possible, but by letting God have control and continually suppressing the incorrect thoughts, they will finally stop them. Even Satan does not want to waste time!

We need to love being trained into Godly ways of life! These are the ways that bring success. We need to be willing to be corrected when we are wrong!

I really don’t like the fact that I have to admit I have been heading into destruction, in an activity that I thought was totally safe, but I prefer to avoid destruction. God loves us so much and wants us to do the right things. If we only try to gain knowledge and become wise, rather than to plunge headlong into the waters of disaster that look so inviting, we would enjoy the warmth of God’s love more fully.

Our blessings come for doing good!

What is a blessing? This weekend a young person asked me to define this and I found that although I understand the concept fully, putting that definition into words was difficult.

How do we define blessing?

The online dictionaries indicate it as a favor or gift of God that brings happiness. It is experiencing God via praise, devotions and worship while taking part in everyday events. It is living within God’s favor and direction.

It is successful living!

We don’t need to hide behind false thoughts and concepts. That is what is considered being tricky. God doesn’t generally want to bless those activities. He wants to bless consistent truthful living. He wants to make us strong and solid in our ability to live well.

A person who stands by truth in humility, is a one who can take on the women and men of life and stand strong against those tough things that buffet us daily.

Today as we go out, perhaps to face difficult situations, to make tough decisions, let us remember that God wants to teach us deep truths through the tools of life’s troubles. Whether we learn or not is up to us!

Let’s praise God and try to gain knowledge from all of life’s challenges. Now isn’t that a wonderful focus with which to take on the day?



[1] Matthew 5:27-28 NIRV
Mon, May 7, 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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