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Friday, August 3, 2012

Tired and unable to think?
   
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“I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.” ~ Fannie Lou Hamer

 Fannie was an activist and a fighter for human rights! Without her knowledge or consent, she was sterilized in 1961 by a white doctor as a part of the state of Mississippi's plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state. She started to fight for freedom from that point on.[1] She died of hypertension in 1977 and her tome stone has the quote indicated above.

We don’t have to be Fannie Hamer to feel this way!


Tiredness creeps into our lives easily and illness gives it traction.

Under this pressure, we find that our thoughts get less accurate, less logical and our decision making ability wanes.

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get this way!

Life is hard and whittling out an existence needs dedication and perseverance.

 Newt Gringrich says it well when he says “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

We all know the message Jesus gave out that says “Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.”[2]

This sounds so inviting doesn’t it?

Yet this is not really what Jesus said! There were conditions that he added, “Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. Serving me is easy, and my load is light.”[3]

To get this rest we need to be servants of Jesus! We need to learn from him.

We cannot use the verse like a good luck charm and expect it to work!

 No! We need to actively become servants of Jesus!

If you are like me you ask how is taking on even more going to help me in my tired, ill state where I am already exhausted?

Getting to be a servant of Jesus means exchanging one perspective of our world with another, it means exchanging one set of attitudes and focual points to doing work with another. Our value systems change! Our selection of life tasks change!

Out of this comes direction and leading (generally by Holy Spirit) and this ensures we start to gain vitality in life. Those depressing gray downtrodden times are exchanged for love, vitality, a focus in life, understanding of what needs to prioritized and done first.

Our energy levels are then matched to our tasks! Paul a guy who knew what Jesus and God wanted explains, “You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.”[4]

Many suggest he was talking of spiritual things only, but his examples  suggest he was including more concrete aspects of life. He talks of people doing things that were wrong and suffering as a result. Quotes sexual activities, snake bites, testing God by doing the wrong things.

Temptations have physical and psychological forms.

Becoming Jesus’ servant means these physical and psychological stressors are unable to have the traction into our lives that they would have otherwise.

Jesus sets limits on how much we can be tempted. If we are giving into temptation, it’s just that we haven’t let God have control of that aspect of our lives. We have made that part more important than God. If we do that, it pulls us down.

Consider people who are wealthy and have many things. These people spend huge amounts of money just maintaining these things. Sometimes more than simpler people even earn! The cost of holding onto stuff can be painful. The cost of holding onto sin(selfish, nasty and ignorant aspects of our lives) is high and exceedingly painful.

To change the pain for gain, we have to let God have his way in our lives, releasing our problems and burdens into Gods hands and then in simple innocent submission, calm ourselves with the peace that passes understanding, allowing Holy Spirit to guide us to taking up only those tasks God directs us to do.

With release of our lives to God comes confidence that God supplies, knowledge of Holy Spirits leading, the joy of seeing God at work in our lives, the knowledge we can never be without the greatest friend in existence, and the quiet joy of God enters our lives.

Tiredness is replaced with listening and serving God!

Our souls (i.e. mind, emotions and will) then find rest! We find that serving God is easy and our burdens are suddenly less weighty.

Isn’t God great?


[1] Nelson, Jennifelove itr (2003). Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-5827-4.
[2] Matthew 11:28 NIRV
[3] Matthew 11:29-30”
[4] 1 Corinthians 10:13
Fri, August 3, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are children important? really?
 
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  Ever consider how important children are...here a few quotes showing how much we think about it;

·         “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” ~ Dr. Haim Ginott
·         Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them” ~ Oscar Wilde
·         Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
·         Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas” ~ Paula Poundstone

Children are precious and so easily abused, not necessarily physically, but rather by the harsh words and cold shoulders of the uncaring world.

 Satan’s plan over the years seems to be to have children distorted earlier and earlier in their lives, isn't it? 

Those that have lived for a few years can see this easily in what is now being permitted under PG and PG-13 movie ratings. The content has become more coarse and graphic, decade by decade. All this because adults watch the same movies and since adults control the money flow, their emotive desires are being fed to the young.

This helps evil in this world, but we cannot only blame those who categorize movies, our homes often reflect the horrors.

Currently a young teen girl I know, has not only found her foster mother horrible and has therefore not been able to fit in with her dad’s new choice of partner, being forced from home, but lacking direction and rejecting it has made the mistake of getting pregnant. Now her boyfriend has thrown her out as well! This young women is in many ways still a child, and is now having a child.

We love her and will help where we can as Christians, but it shows how hard life can be for the children of today!

Nobody chooses to be abused by the world!
Often the world simply ignores the children, abusing them indirectly!

Jesus’ disciples were not different and also wanted to ignore the children,
or so it seems because the bible says...

“Some people brought little children to Jesus. They wanted him to place his hands on the children and pray for them. But the disciples told the people to stop.

  Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don't keep them away. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them.’ Jesus placed his hands on them. Then he went on from there.”[1]

Children were important to Jesus! They should be important to us. Of course, Satan likes to play with our minds so he loves extremes. If we don’t ignore children, he wants us to make them into little gods. Some mothers focus on their children so much that father, life and other adults become abused by this behaviour.

Being made into little god’s is not good for the child either!

We need to have a balance in their lives! We need to pray for our children, but let them be themselves in the world. We need to love them, help them when sad and hurting. We need to give them hope!

For too many of the modern children the world is in a winding down, in a ransacked depleted state, and the future is gloomy!

God changes that! Let’s show them that with God the future is sparkling, vibrant and bright. Jesus makes a huge difference. Holy Spirit is powerful, loving, cares for us daily and provides a peace that passes understanding!

In fact, let’s show ourselves that same truth.
 
God makes a huge difference!

Now that’s a good thought to start the day with isn’t it?


[1] Matt 19:13-15 NIRV
Thu, August 2, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lasting Peace, is it possible?
  
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“If we wish to create a lasting peace we must begin with the children.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Do we want freedom from disturbance, to have quiet and tranquillity in the world?

If so, we need to desire peace more than revenge, selfishness, self-agrandization and pride.

Do we really want peace?

The Olympics are on at the moment, and are in some ways an interesting experiment in peace. The ancient Olympics brought about a truce between city states as the travellers to the games needed peace to get there safely.

Then, at the games political posturing replaced true aggressive acts as those with conflicting attitudes allowed their athletes to represent them on the field in competition.

These were extravagant times as each group tried to outdo the other in arts and culture and sport.

Yet, the truce was upheld every four years for the games. Wars stopped to allow the games to concluded and then resumed.

Even today, we have North and South Korea at the same games! Opponents joining in the same controlled sporting arena. Amazing really!

This shows that men can overcome the strong impulses that destroy peace!

IF they want to!

This is the crux of the matter, there is a need to want to have peace.

Yesterday, I spoke to a man who has not spoken to his brother for nine years because of money lending problems. He will never see his money, and now will probably never see his brother again. Yet even this could have a truce when their mother became ill almost to the point of death. Then they endured one another for a short time.

Peace is difficult to attain and has to be held onto once achieved or it slips away.

I have a favourite biblical verse that I memorized many years ago and which enables me to achieve peace in difficult times. I first learned it from the King James version of the bible and I like the flow of it in that version. It goes as follows:

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.[1]

Jesus leaves us with peace, not world peace, but heavenly peace that is even possible in troubled times. There is however two things we need top do to achieve this..

1.   Let not your hearts be troubled

This means we actively have to let go of troubling thoughts. We need to reject them and turn our mind to good thoughts.

2.   Neither let it be afraid

This means rejecting fear and replacing it with understanding that God is in control (whether we like it, believe it, or not)

These are not easy things to achieve and God knows that, but it is his request for us to allow us to achieve peace!

Then, because he knows how difficult it is, this verse is sandwiched between two other great verses.

Top layer: 26 But the Father will send the Friend in my name to help you. The Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.[2]

Bottom layer: 28 "You heard me say, 'I am going away. And I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad I am going to the Father. The Father is greater than I am.

 Jesus promise is preceded by the promise that God the Father will send Holy Spirit to make the impossible possible, giving us special insights and gifts.

Then it is superseded by the knowledge that Jesus will not be here, but rather with the Father, and we should be glad he is with the Father to represent us to Father God in times of trouble.

The peace comes from allowing Holy Spirit to control our lives, praying to Jesus and the father for guidance which holy Spirit gives, and being sensitive to responding to the guidance we receive.

Simple faith results in peace!

When it comes to peace with men, I always remember these words...

17 Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. [3]

It is not always possible to be at peace with all people, because the people will not all be God focussed. In this case we need to maintain our peace and in so doing reduce the damage in our life. Forgiveness of which I blog often, is key to this.

Peace is hard to attain but worthwhile, let’s go and look to have it in our interactions with others today!

[1] John 14:27 KJV
[2] John 14:26 & 27NIRV
[3] Romans 12:18 NIRV
 
Wed, August 1, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mission impacts 2012

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Tell him what you have seen and heard. Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk ~ Jesus[1]


Skeptics everywhere!

Even Jesus own cousin had followers that skeptically came to Jesus to check out who he really was!

Isn’t it true that sometimes the toughest critics are within our own family?

The Christian family on earth is no different! We so often criticise each other that even the people who are watching us and wanting to see God at work, instead see squabbling and immature behaviour.

This is sign of two things.... being human and the human condition that we all have, sin! (Sin is the selfish, ignorant and nasty things we do that God does not like or want us to do).

One of the areas of squabbling is around miracles! There is a faction who say miracles don’t happen today. They are in conflict with those who say they do.

Non-Christians look in from the outside and with derision comment to us with words like “If miracles occur, take the local church to the nearest hospital and clear it out of ill people” and then add “Oh, you can’t? Perhaps you are deluded?”

They have a point don’t they?

Unfortunately, they are also wrong!

God is not a push button and get the service delivered, machine god.

It is us that need to connect and follow God’s directions, not the other way around.

 That’s why a lot of people don’t get it! God created this earth and permits various things to occur that we don’t like very much. He did it for ultimate purposes! Purposes that we cannot even come close to understanding (read the book of Job to get some understanding if you need some insight)

Does God do miracles?

YES!


I have just come back from a mission trip. Here are a few of the stories told by the teenagers who were too God inspired and in love with God, and the people they wanted to help, to conform to Christian foible’s and norms. They just did what Holy Spirit led them to do. I was there to be part of them.

Miracle one...

A group of teens get invited to talk to four Jehovah witness people in their home. The discussion is lengthy and apparently worthless. At the end, the Jehovah witness group point out that the missionaries have their beliefs and perspective, that differ from Jehovah witness perspective, and there was no way of proving one over the other.

Mildly despondent, but wanting to still help these people, the teens asked to pray for them and the request was granted. One Jehovah witness person was blind. The teens prayed, the person was miraculously healed and four Jehovah witnesses abandoned their previous beliefs to join with the living God.

Why did God choose this occurrence to demonstrate power?

I’m not God so I don’t know, but I do know this, the teens came to serve at cost to themselves, they prepared in prayer and worship beforehand, they had no hidden agenda, they lived moment by moment letting Holy Spirit guide and simply following, and they had great faith. The rest is God’s to know!

Miracle two...

We were building houses for the poor. Alongside one of these lived an elderly lady who was lame in one leg, had diabetes and high blood pressure. With her lived a small child, who since birth had a defect that conformed her hands to her body, making them unable to move freely.

In their yard was a huge five foot high pile of wooden boards.

The teens went to this neighbour to talk and get to know her. While there, they prayed for her and her child asking God to heal them.

Nothing appeared to happen.

They thanked God, and went back to work on the house they were building.

The next day when they arrive at site, the neighbour’s pile of wood had been moved. Inquisitive they went to ask her who moved it. “I did!” they are told and when they ask where her cane is, she points to it up against the wall. She is walking freely! He daughter comes in laughing and playing. Totally healed and waving her arms around. Both are healed!

God heals!

Not always! Not on our demand! Rather in God’s own will and timing!

Healing three was not on the mission trip. It was a young man who had coeliac disease, diagnosed via biopsy by medical staff and a medical laboratory attached to a major hospital in a big city.

This guy was a Christian and often almost cried as the communion plate passed him by, because he could eat no wheat, barley, or rye grain products that contained gluten. If he did, the inner lining of his intestines stripped off and the food he ate simply passed through him, without being absorbed, and he started to starve in his own body.

Then God after much prayer started to allow this man a miracle of communion bread, but no other. A part time miracle once a month! He praised God exceedingly for this.

After a while the man found himself helping to heal a person who was spiritually distraught. God healed them, and then Holy Spirit told the young man that if the women that had just been spiritually healed, prayed for him, he too could be physically healed.

Coeliac disease is not curable today! The young man complied and was totally healed in that instant.

How do I know?

I was the young man (I’m a lot older now).

 God heals in his own time and for his purposes. My dear wife has almost continual migraines in her life! Together, we have asked God to heal her many times, but that time has not yet matured.

God heals! I know that! I listen to those who mock this aspect with sadness, knowing they are wrong, but unable to communicate to the many who need to hear of these experiences.

God deals with each of us specially and personally! I don’t know where you are in your relationship with him. All I can say is, let’s do life with God! It is the most vibrant wonderful life we can have!

Have a great day!


[1] Luke 7:22 NIRV
Tue, July 31, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, July 30, 2012

Am I overweight, obese, and if so how can this help the starving people worldwide?


 

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 “America is an enormous frosted cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people.” ~ Gloria Steinem

 

 Here is some disturbing statistics;[1]

 

 

•925 million people do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined.

 

•98% of the world's undernourished people live in developing countries.

 

•Two-thirds of the world's hungry live in just 7 countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

 

•Where is hunger the worst?

 

◦Asia and the Pacific: 578 million

 

◦Sub-Saharan Africa: 239 million

 

◦Latin America and the Caribbean: 53 million

 

◦Near East and North Africa: 37 million

 

◦Developed countries: 19 million

 

So, we ask, how does this apply to me and what can I do?

 

 

Firstly as a Christian, I want to know what Jesus and the bible said about the poor...

 

 

In the old testament of the bible we read

 

 

Work hard to feed hungry people. Satisfy the needs of those who are crushed. Then my blessing will light up your darkness. And the night of your suffering will become as bright as the noonday sun.[2]

 

 

And Jesus said...

 

 

"Then the King will speak to those on his right. He will say, 'My Father has blessed you. Come and take what is yours. It is the kingdom prepared for you since the world was created. I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. And you invited me in. I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.'

 

 

 

  "Then the people who have done what is right will answer him. 'Lord,' they will ask, 'when did we see you hungry and feed you? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in? When did we see you needing clothes and give them to you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

 

 

 

  "The King will reply, 'What I'm about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'[4]

 

Jesus was encouraging those of us who have to help those who haven’t got enough!

 

 

Now this gets me to the part where we ask ourselves are we overweight?

 

 

How can we know what is overweight? What is a good test without getting onto a scale?

 

 

It’s a relatively easy thing to find out...here is Ken’s test number 1.

 

 

Simply make a fist (we should know how to do this). Now, take that fist and place it thumb side against your breastbone. That’s the boney part in the center of our chest (between our breasts if we are women). Now we simply stand up straight, relax, and look over the edge of our fist to the tips of our toes. (It’s easier to do this naked when we have just come out of the shower or bath).

 

 

Can we easily see our toes without our stomach getting in the way?

 

 

(I did say completely relaxed, let those stomach muscles relax folk! Laughing )

 

 

I sure hope we can! If we can’t, we are overweight!

 

 

Now there are some starving people who can’t do this because their stomach extend at a certain point in starvation, so there is a double check. Let’s encircle our fingers about three inches above our wrist on our forearm. If our fingers touch, then we are not overweight even if you failed the last test.

 

 

Probably if you are like me that’s not something we can do too easily!

 

 

Now, if we are overweight, we want to understand just how bad it is don’t we?

 

 

Are we obese? Here is Ken’s test number two.

 

 

(Note: this is the Ken test...no scientific rigor here, but I think you will intuitively know I’m right Laughing ).

 

 

Let’s put our fist in the center of our relaxed belly and now try to peer over our fist by straining our neck forward as far as we can.

 

 

If we cannot see the tips of our toes without falling forward or straining our neck to the point we feel like a giraffe, we are grossly overweight!

 

 

Okay so these are the non-scientific tests! The scientists say if we have a body mass index over 30kg/m2 (weight in kilograms divided by the square of our height in meters) then we are overweight. [That’s far too complex for those of us without scales and mathematics to do, so that’s why I have these other tests.

 

 

Now for a sad fact! Cry

 

 

Two out of three Americans over 20 years of age are overweight (they fail test 1) and one out of three are obese (they fail my second test).

 

 

This means that most of us in 1st world countries reading this blog are probably either overweight or obese!

 

 

Sorry, but that’s the likelihood of this being true!

 

 

What should we do? How can we do something with all these facts?

 

 

I have been praying about this and I think maybe I have an idea that will help us get into better shape and ALSO at the same time redistribute some of that food to those that are starving.

 

 

Did you know the earth has enough food to feed everyone if it’s distributed evenly to everyone?[3]

 

 

Here is how we can help ourselves and the world at the same time.

 

 

If we are overweight (we fail the Ken’s test number 1) we need to make up a jar at home and label it “World hunger fund”.

 

 

Now, we make sure to have breakfast, but one of the other meals each day, we simply skip and instead we fast and pray. It’s easy to remember to pray because we will get hungry around that time. Each time we get hungry we pray for those in the world that are hungry, for a redistribution of the food to feed them, and for God to help us find ways to help.

 

 

We also put our hands into our pocket and take out the money we would have spent on that meal and separate it from the rest of our money (e.g. put it in different pocket, into a plastic bag we carry for the purpose etc.) until we get home, then we deposit it into the “world hunger fund” jar.

 

 

If we give in and eat anyhow, we still deposit that amount of money in the jar!

 

 

Then, we look for an organization that feeds the hungry in an underprivileged country and at the end of the month we send them that money. We do this at least until we pass test one!

 

 

If we are obese (we fails Ken’s test two) we work out how much money we spend on food weekly and we then half that amount. We take that half of the money and put it in the jar! We use only the remainder to feed ourselves for the week and again every time we are hungry we pray.

 

 

We do this for a month and retake the test and do this again and again until we hit the overweight status. Then we follow that “overweight” procedure until we hit the “okay” weight status.

 

 

If we use more money that the half we planned to use we still put the planned half into the jar!  We don’t use it to feed ourselves!

 

 

This is one way we can help feed the world and also improve our situation!

 

 

This way of reducing weight has a number of things I think that help!

 

 

  • Firstly, there is no specific diet rules to break!
  • Secondly, it is a way of easily measuring if I am living up to what I believe God would expect of me.
  • Thirdly it actually redistributes food from my privileged first world country to another underprivileged needy country.
  • Fourthly, I can clearly see how much money I waste of bad eating habits and this helps me change.
  • Fifthly and most importantly, it gets me praying for those who desperately need these prayers.

 

 

I might throw in the odd prayer for God to help me stick to this as well since anything like this is difficult. But I know as much as I struggle to not eat too much, there is a person who is totally incapable of helping themselves who is suffering far worse than I am, but in a similar way to myself.

 

 

I realise that I actually have it easy in my suffering, and it gives me compassion for the hungry and poor. It also enables me to see how wonderfully blessed I am with all I have.

 

 

That’s my challenge for today! Let’s check our weight and if it’s not healthy, let’s take our unhealthy situation, make it more healthy and at the same time change the world! Isn’t that a wonderful thought for today?



[2] Isaiah 58:10 NIRV

[3] http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

  [4] Matthew 25:31-40 NIRV

Mon, July 30, 2012 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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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.

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