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Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics, trepidation and excitement
  
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“When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? what was my purpose? Surely, it wasn't just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that.” ~ Wilma Rudolph


 Wilma was the first American woman runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics at the 1960 summer Olympics. She was also a women’s and civil rights leader, motivating many to improve their lives.

There is a life-size bronze statue of Rudolph standing at the southern end of the Cumberland River Walk near the base of the Pedestrian Overpass, in College Street and Riverside Drive, in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Fame in bronze!

What are the Olympics about?


The official site for the olympics states “According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such ‘pagan cults’ be banned.”[1]

“The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were not an integral part of a rite. Indeed, they had a secular character and aimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece”

Then in 1894, this ancient ritualistic set of games came into being again, as Baron Pierre de Coubertin formed the International Olympic Commitee.

The games apparently showcase individuals skills in sports, but are actually politically influential and a means for the individuals getting sponsorship to follow a career in the sport they love.


There are probably many reasons people go to the Olympics as competitors. Some are probably more pure than others, but in the end it is competition to determine the best athlete in a particular area of life.

This week, we will be watching a number of fantastic human feats of strength, agility and speed, and I for one will be enjoying these events.

Yet, as I watch, I will be remembering that Paul the apostle also appears to have been an avid follower of physical games. He used these as an analogy when explaining aspects of Jesus to those he came into contact with.

Paul makes numerous references to running races.

Here is what he said...

“In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don't you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”[2]

He is alluding to the fact that we as Christians have a life to live for Christ. That we must strive for excellence and to do our best at living that life. He is referring to the fact that when we die and go to heaven, we will receive eternal reward. That is, of being part of God’s family in heaven.

Another reference he gives is...

Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem. This time I went with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went because God showed me what he wanted me to do. I told the people there the good news that I preach among those who aren't Jews. But I spoke in private to those who seemed to be leaders. I was afraid that I was running or had run my race for nothing.[3]

Again, here he is referring to his life activities up to that point as running a race. Then, later in Galatians he talks of those who are diverted from the true walk with Jesus by arguments about circumcision, as being pushed off their course in a race. He says...

“Circumcision and uncircumcision aren't worth anything to those who believe in Christ Jesus. The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? The One who chooses you does not keep you from obeying the truth.”[4]

Paul understood running, and from the first quote, seems to have understood the Olympics which were part of the activities in the days when he was alive.

Isn’t it incredible that the bible has things to say on this subject which is so close to all our hearts this week?

Our God is a God of excellence! He created man and as I watch, I cannot but marvel that this was a great creation. He loves us and wants us to gain and grow. Each year as people do more and more amazing feats of strength, agility and speed at the Olympics, I cannot but consider God is still improving us, his creation. His creation is not static but ongoing! His love for us is not static, but ongoing, with Holy Spirit living within us as the ultimate coach, guiding us towards lifetime excellence.Like athletes, we can ignore the voice of our coach, but it will be to our disadvantage to do so. Holy Spirit is with us to reveal God’s purpose, second by second, and be the voice that guides us to success.Today as I watch the Olympics, I want to remember that we all too run races and that the outcome is important.Enjoy the Olympics, your day, and Holy Spirits presence!


[1] http://www.olympic.org/ancient-olympic-games
[2] 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIRV
[3] Galatians 2:1-2 NIRV
[4] Galatians 5:6-8 NIRV
Fri, July 27, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Older woman are important, biblically!
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   “There are three classes into which all the women past seventy that ever I knew were to be divided:

                 1. That dear old soul;
                 2. That old woman;
                 3. That old witch.”

~Marcus Aurelius 

Marcus was a Roman emperor who lived AD 121-180.

That is relatively soon after Paul, a follower of Jesus, wrote his letter to Titus giving his advice for how the older women of the community should conduct themselves...

3 In the same way, teach the older women to lead a holy life. They must not tell lies about others. They must not let wine control them. Instead, they must teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.[1]

Today, the respect of the young for the old has dwindled.

Younger people seem to consider that the internet has the answers to everything, and that to gain wisdom one merely calls up Google.

In some ways they are correct as the world literally now lies at peoples fingertips.

Yet, the experience of life as exposed through personal revelation and hard mistakes, in lessons learned, makes a tremendous resource for those willing to take the time to gain from it.

Marcus summarises the impact of older woman into the ineffectual (old women), the effective positively(old soul) and those effective negatively(old witch).

Paul simply encourages older women to be positive! Be holy is an instruction.

How can we be holy?

Paul in a different place explains this...

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the things of this world that are common and looked down on. He chose what is not considered to be important to do away with what is considered to be important. 29 So no one can brag to God.

30 Because of what God has done, you belong to Christ Jesus. He has become God's wisdom for us. He makes us right with God. He makes us holy and sets us free. 31 It is written, "The one who brags should brag about what the Lord has done."—(Jeremiah 9:24) [2]

We are holy, if we understand who Jesus is, what he has done for us, and allow him to make us pure and blameless. That way, we can become like God in a small aspect, and become Holy!

It takes experience of life and knowledge of how to do this, to become holy. Paul suggests that older women have this ability and need to strive for this.

Paul then gives a warning against lying!

It is easier for older women who have more time and less stimulation in their lives, to turn to gossip and lies. Paul warns against this.

He also warns the older women against trying to blur the pains of old age with alcohol that undermines the ability to control oneself. Today, it is sometimes drugs that are used in this way, but neither alcohol or drugs lead to holy living and so need to be avoided in the excess.

Older women have a key purpose in life and that is to lead younger women in gaining understanding of what is good. A lifetime of good and bad decisions, and the hindsight of past time, will allow those older to guide and advise the younger person.

Wisdom comes from God, and so Paul is suggesting that only through a deep experience of life with Jesus, and continual striving to live blamelessly, can the older women assist the younger.

We respect those that are older that have stood against the trials of life, and come out with integrity and strength of character. Consider how Nelson Mandela, or Mother Teresa are, and were, respected.

This is the guideline that the bible advises and while it is directed at the elderly, it is not only for them. Their purpose is to help those of us that are younger.

Yet despite this, those that are younger need to do an evaluation.

The same evaluation that Marcus did!

There are few of the elderly that live up to Paul’s recommendations. Those are the elderly of value. Our task is to help them be of value and to discern between them and the others.

So today, as we encounter the elderly women in our society, let’s evaluate which are living godly lives, and if we consider them to be doing so, to not be gossips, then we should pay attention to their advice.

It is for our benefit!

Have a wonderful blessed day today!


[1] Titus 2:3 NIRV
[2] 1 Corinthians 1:27-30 NIRV
Thu, July 26, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day One Baja Mission 2012
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Four AM! Alarm blares! Awake, ... almost!

Slowly conciousness emerges. “Mission trip day!” surfaces and I am up.

Clothes, backpack, wake the rest of our group.

The sleepy crowd troops down to the car and soon we are speeding along the highway to the airport.

Excitement mounts! Those who fly regularly enjoy the excitement and trepidation of the first timers.

As the aircraft surges forward to take to the skies, the realization that we are finally on our way becomes real. Tijuana here we come! Our prayers, fundraising and work to get ready are over and our adventure is starting.

Dallas airport is huge! We enjoy the thrill of travelling up high on the sky train as we go from one terminal to the next. From terminal C, via E to D. The train goes around in a huge loop on rails about twenty to thirty feet above the ground.

Soon our second flight settles down through white cotton wool clouds into San Diego. As we deplane, we start to see others going on the same mission trip. T-shirts with “We are the hope, missionary” are everywhere.

Tentative smiles blossom into happy friendships. Connecting with people from all over mainland USA, Hawaii, and other Canadian cities, we make more and more friends.

Decks of cards appear and a crowd gathers around tables in restaurants as high energy joyous games are played.

We have registered at a table set out in the baggage hall and await our bus that will take us across the border into Mexico.

·         What will happen? ·         How long is the trip? ·         Where will we be staying? ·         What will we do?

All we know is we are going to work, blessing the poor, in Jesus name. A privilege!

The border crossing was uneventful, a breeze. One of us had to push a button and since it turned a light green instead of red, our bus moved through into Tijuana uninspected.

The world changes! Spanish everywhere! Buildings and building codes appear much simpler!

We wave and people wave back in return. Then we are out into the hot dry countryside. It seems weird to be cool in an air-conditioned bus when everyone outside is in the unrelenting hot sun!

Then, in the bus, prayer starts. People pair up to pray for our work, those we will be helping and witnessing to, and for God’s purpose to be realized.

The ranch with a tent city comes into view.

Three hundred people camp in tents around a central building painted lime green. As night falls, worship songs and music fill the air as we all give honor to our great God. The desert air cools rapidly as the sun sets over the Mexican hills.


With hands held high, swaying and clapping to the beat, three hundred voices join in praise to our lord and King. Our anticipation is high! Tomorrow we start training and for now releasing our hearts to God is enough. The power of Holy Spirit is evident. People are moved and the songs still resound in our hearts as we bed down in sleeping bags on the hard-packed earth.

Day one is done!
Wed, July 25, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tired, sore and wanting rest, but it eludes us?
   
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“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


 Every notice how when we are full of energy and life is complex, we find ways of overcoming our inadequacies with ease!

However, have you noticed when we are tired, sore and unusually aggravated, we cannot seem to get the resources together to solve the simplest problems?

 Every wonder why and how we could overcome this blockage to our creativity?

Surrendering our frustrations to God is a simple way to start to pull down the walls erected by the evil one in our mind on these tough days. These walls we construct that keep us from attaining our potential for the work of the day!

It’s easier to take on the day when well and rested, but those days where we are tired and bothered, are the best opportunities to learn and grow!

We don’t learn much in soft cushy circumstances do we?

We learn when we are faced with unusual, difficult and challenging circumstances!

It is the great challenges of humankind, that have led to the greatest progress.


We hate war, but in wartime, innovation seems to take leaps and bounds forward. Then, consider how that challenge to get to the moon enabled America to develop skills and products only dreamed of prior to that time.

Similarly, in our Christian walk, it is not those easy simple days of life that provide the opportunity for the greatest growth, but rather those days we find difficult.

I think of that leader about three and a half thousand years ago, Joshua, who had the job of taking a ragged, untrained crowd of people out of a desert into a country that didn’t want them, against superiorly armed forces.

He is about to do this, and Moses gets this message from God for him. . .

"Be strong and brave. Don't be afraid of them. Don't be terrified because of them. The Lord your God will go with you. He will never leave you. He'll never desert you."[1]

Today the world may look bigger than we can accommodate, our strength and ability may look undersized to the challenge, we may feel tired and spent, but the same message applies to us.

Those Israelites looked at the land they were to occupy and knew it was superior to them in many ways. The strength of the people was greater, their abilities were greater and what the Israelites could find to support them from their desert worn supplies was not significant. Even today we find archeologists and historians who refuse to accept they conquered the land, because it seems so impossible.

Yet, God was with them!

When we are tired, sore and wanting rest, but it eludes us, we need to know that God is with us, and we may just be about to take on the circumstances that could change everything for ourselves.

If we rise to the challenge with God’s support, we will succeed. We will gain spiritually! That is an eternal gain and comes when times are toughest!

Today as we face challenges, let’s see them as opportunities for God to show us his power and strength. All we have to do is believe and take small steps following God’s leading.

Have a great day!


[1] Deut 31:6 NIRV
Tue, July 24, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, July 23, 2012

Im away for a week and come back to find evil struck again!
   
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“God bless you.  God bless all who helped to respond to this tragedy”~ Obama


 James Holmes, 24 years old! A horror worse than the most vile villain in the batman film the premier of which he tore apart with his senseless gunfire. Twelve people died and 58 were wounded.

Why, the cry goes up? Why?

Perhaps mental illness was involved, but it was definitely tuned and coordinated by a clear mind that was focussed on evil. We don’t know why yet, but it would not surprise me to find some weird distorted religious reason. He prepared for two months for this horrendous attack. Two months! For sixty or more nights and days he contemplated doing this horrible act!

We know that the spilt blood cries out to God! He knows what was done, who was hurt, what was on the gunman’s mind. He knows the heroic actions of the people, the amazing actions of love that caused people to throw themselves in front of others, being killed to save another.

Heroism in the face of death! People flung themselves in front of bullets to save others! Praise God for men and woman of courage and love!

God will not allow this act to go unpunished. “My friends, don't try to get even. Leave room for God to show his anger. It is written, ‘I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back,’—(Deuteronomy 32:35) says the Lord.”[1]

This advice is repeated in Hebrews 10:30 and both refer to the words...

35 I punish people. I will pay them back.
The time will come when their feet will slip.
Their day of trouble is near.
Very soon they will be destroyed."
[2]

There is going to be much pain as a result of this attack on innocent people!

The challenge will be to overcome the anger, fear and hate, overwhelming it with love, compassion and care.

Our hearts need to go out to the victims of this atrocity. Our prayers need to go out to support the families, and friends of the victims and the perpetrator. Everyone will be hurting and in pain!

Yet, from this terrible event, already great positive things are growing. People are coming together. Great love is unleashed. Stories of great courage and love are being revealed. More prayer is being generated and more people are seeking God than would normally be the case.

Why do we have to have disasters to pull us together and towards God?

Surely, we can do this daily without these events having to take place?

There is evil in this world! Satan continually unfolds plans to take down mankind in many ways.

Yet, there is good in this world as well! God stands ready to intervene and help depending on the prayers of good men and women to unleash the power of good and righteousness in our world.

How about we go to God in prayer today to unleash some righteousness and good into our world?


[1] Romans 12:19
[2] Deut 32:35 NIRV
Mon, July 23, 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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