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Friday, August 10, 2012

Why should 'I' cheer 'you' up?
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“A happy woman is one who has no cares at all; a cheerful woman is one who has cares but doesn't let them get her down.” ~ Beverly Sills


 Perhaps you have met them, or perhaps you may be like them...those people who seem to rain sunshine on the darkest of days and when you later investigate, seem to have little to smile about!

Amazing attitude we think, don’t we? Don’t we even find ourselves wanting to have that approach to life?

Wouldn't it  be wonderful to be able to encourage and build people up in the most difficult of times?

Those types of stories about others lift our spirits!


“But, I’m not like that!” is the comment we hear.

Really?


Maybe it’s simply because our focus is wrong?


Here is what Paul wrote to the Christian Roman’s in the time after Jesus died on the cross and rose again.

“We who have strong faith should help the weak with their problems. We should not please only ourselves. We should all please our neighbors. Let us do what is good for them. Let us build them up.

Even Christ did not please himself. It is written, "Those who make fun of you have made fun of me also."—(Psalm 69:9) Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us strength to go on. They cheer us up and give us hope.

  Our God is a God who strengthens you and cheers you up. May he help you agree with each other as you follow Christ Jesus. Then you can give glory to God with one heart and voice. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ has accepted you. So accept one another in order to bring praise to God. ”

As Christian’s we have faith, but faith without actions is of little value, isn’t it? It’s the actions that count for others.

Isn’t faith without actions simply for us... alone?
loneliness is not great is it?

Here Paul in writing to the Romans is advising a simply thing.

 Let’s try to please our neighbours (and by that he means everyone we meet each day). He wants us to build others up (that’s the opposite of taking them down!)

How can that possibly apply in today’s world where in the modern business and academic world it’s more a case of step on others to get to the top?

It’s simple!

As Christians we don’t step on others, we lift them up!

Now sometimes doing that is not easy!

Sometimes the person we are helping resists (some people just love to be the underdog, don’t they). Some people cannot stop telling us how badly it’s going with them, how horrible life is. Some people seem to never allow any joy they have to escape in such a way to build another up.

If we are Christians, we need to look to the good things in life, the small joys in our life that if released, may cause joy to flicker into existence in anothers life.

Say we have been on a camping trip and someone asks us how it was. Maybe it rained on three days and then was sunny for two. What will we reveal? That we have had to go into the toilet in the wet bush with rain pouring down (even that can be put across with humour if you have to reveal it), or rather, would you first ask yourself before answering what part of the experience would build that person up.

Any question to us is a search for help in some way isn’t it?

Help in understanding, or help in being able to connect with us emotionally, and even perhaps spiritually. Perhaps it is a request for physical help!

People don’t ask for information to get soaked in negativity do they? They want to have fun and enjoy life with us. If we are sad, they want to know they are able to make a difference in our lives(so, do we tell them when they do make a difference?).

Maybe it’s better to explain the camping trip was wonderful on the sunny days after the rain. Everything was so clean and sparkling. It was great to dry out everything and that that moose or bear that we saw was a gift and memorable. Maybe the fact that the bear scared us. We grabbed each other in fear and prayed like silly fools. Then the bear ambled away and we felt huge relief! Perhaps that story could help someone who is sacred, needing relief. 

Maybe they will see life has really hard parts where we all get very scared, but perhaps, if we trust God, pray, cling to those around us who love God, it can work out right?

Maybe this simple story can help them get the faith to push through their extreme circumstances, all because of that little story.

As Christian’s our stories have more power! If we allow Holy Spirit to infuse them with his guidance and timing, we often are totally unaware of how of some simple positive words of ours are of great importance to others. God speaks to us through his bible, but also through the words of others. God is a God of love, hope and faith, the greatest is love!

Looking at things spiritually and gaining from God’s word means “The Scriptures give us strength to go on. They cheer us up and give us hope.”

Our hope, our faith and the actions of love coming from God’s word makes us powerful people in lifting others up, independent of who we are or in what circumstances we find ourselves. We can always build another up and in so doing engender a spark of joy for ourselves at the same time!

Sometimes we see no immediate response in the other person, but God works through us to make small changes inside others. He put’s a “pebble in their shoe” that keeps them considering how different God’s joy is. God’s joy is attractive isn’t it?

God has accepted and built us up! Let us accept others and build them up today!
Fri, August 10, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To cover or not cover one’s head...
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    There I was in church, and I had forgotten to take of the beret I had put on earlier to keep the sun from scorching me.

The looks and quite mumbled comments were evident, and I was unaware of why. That is, until my wife explained my error!

I decided to see if these mumblings had a biblical basis...and in the past head coverings do seem to.

However, before looking at that I thought we should ask the question as to why Jewish men wear the skull cap or yamacha(Kippar)? It seems to not be done by all and where it is done, is the synagogues.

On digging into this, I found out that it is not for biblical reasons, unless you consider this text explaining the high priest’s temple/tabernacle attire as a command for all.

have them make Aharon’s garments to set him apart for me, so that he can serve me in the office of cohen.

 ‘The garments they are to make are these: a breastplate, a ritual vest, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aharon and his sons, so that he can serve me in the office of cohen.’”[1]

This is not really biblical, from my perspective. A jewish website makes this statement...Wearing a kippah is not a religious commandment. Rather it is a Jewish custom that over time has come to be associated with Jewish identity and showing respect for God. In Orthodox and Conservative circles covering one’s head is seen as a sign of yirat Shamayim, which means "reverence for God" in Hebrew.”[2]

Now, let’s look at some Christian discussions on head coverings. Paul is the one who in Corinthians makes a lot of these statements. We need to know the background is that Corinth was a city with trading and idol temple worship. Sex with women for false god worship was the in thing, and women had fancy hairdo’s to draw attention to themselves.

Paul had the following to say

“Now I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ. The head of the woman is the man. And the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame on his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered brings shame on her head. It is just as if her head were shaved.

What if a woman does not cover her head? She should have her hair cut off. But it is shameful for her to cut her hair or shave it off. So she should cover her head.

A man should not cover his head. He is the likeness and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man. The man did not come from the woman. The woman came from the man.

Also, the man was not created for the woman. The woman was created for the man. That's why a woman should have her head covered. It shows that she is under authority. She should also cover her head because of the angels.

But here is how things are for those who belong to the Lord. The woman is not independent of the man. And the man is not independent of the woman. The woman came from the man, and the man is born from the woman. But everything comes from God.

You be the judge. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God without covering her head? Suppose a man has long hair. Doesn't the very nature of things teach you that it is shameful? And suppose a woman has long hair. Doesn't the very nature of things teach you that it is her glory? Long hair is given to her as a covering.

If anyone wants to argue about that, we don't have any other practice. And God's churches don't either[3]

This is interesting because the guideline for men is to uncover their head and have short hair. Woman to cover their heads, and have long hair!

YET, he says “we don't have any other practice” suggesting this was a tradition of the church rather than a command. When we add this to his earlier statement “You be the judge” , it is less a directive from God than a broadcasting of common church traditions. He is not being definitive and is using human arguments here.

I think his attitude is later explained to Timothy where he says

1 Timothy 2:9 “I also want women to dress simply. They should wear clothes that are right and proper. They shouldn't braid their hair. They shouldn't wear gold or pearls. They shouldn't spend too much on clothes.” [4]

This is just after he says “I want men everywhere to pray. I want them to lift up holy hands. I don't want them to be angry when they pray. I don't want them to argue.”

If we hold to these with fervour, all men should lift their hands up when praying....I think this is not always done and we also interpret this as a human guideline not a divine rule, right?

Hey, even more disregarded this other statement “As in all the churches of God's people, women should remain silent in the meetings. They are not allowed to speak. They must follow the lead of those who are in authority, as the Law says. If they have a question about something, they should ask their own husbands at home. It is shameful for women to speak in church meetings.”[5]

I guess what I am saying is everyone has to view statements like “As in all the churches” to reflect traditions rather than God’s direct will in a situation. We need to know that those who to choose to not be traditionalists, are not lacking in love for God or deliberately trying to insult others. Times and traditions change!

If a sign of respect is covering the head and was for years, then those going in front of the kings in the middle ages when head coverings were in, would not have taken them off in front of the King, where this was the only thing to do!

I am with Paul! “Judge for yourself!” but then, let’s not “Judge for others”

What we decide is ours to do, not impose when the bible is as light on a subject as in this case.

So today, let’s realise it’s okay for people to decide to wear, or not wear head coverings in church. It’s just a outworking of human traditions.

Have a great day!


[1] Exodus 28:3-4  Complete Jewish Bible
[2] http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/What-Is-A-Kippah-Yarmulke.htm
[3] 1 Cor 3:11-16 NIRV
[4] 1 Tim 2:9 NIRV
[5] 1 Cor 14:34 NIRV
Thu, August 9, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wrong attitude to going to church?

 

  
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“Most people have some sort of religion, at least they know which church they're staying away from” ~ John Erskine



 

 Here is question I have heard parents ask “My teenagers are beginning to resist going to church. Should they be forced, and if so, to what age?”

FORCED?

No Way!


 I guess that aspect of “make disciples” is being considered by this parent with emphasis here! The first question is what age are they and why do we even think forcing will do anything. Under thirteen, they are children not teens and parents have the right to direct independent of lengthy discussion, after that....

There is a quote of Dr. Laurence J. Peter, I like what it says...  “Going to church does not make you a Christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a car.”

Forcing a person into church is likely to be an act perceived as unloving and uncaring! Is that Christian?

It might be better to understand what is dissuading the teen from going and instead working with how to reveal God to them through that discussion point.

 Many teens have absolutely valid points!

Here is one...

“Going” to church?


Isn’t that taking the word church out of context?


The church is all of God’s people on earth. How do we think we can “go” to these people?

We are joining in a celebration of Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit together with other believers. The building we call a “church” is called that for lack of a better word. It is merely a concrete, wood and metal structure and has no intrinsic spiritual value. The spiritual value is the people and their value should be evident. If it’s not, if teens have to ask why they should go, then we as a “church” have missed the mark!

Notice how the bible talks about church in Acts...

When they arrived at Antioch, they gathered the church together.[1]

But the church prayed hard to God for him.[2]

The church sent them on their way[3]

the church welcomed them[4]

Be shepherds of God's church.[5]

 How many of these can be applied to a building...none!

 We Christ followers, are the church all of the time, every day!

Now and then, we gather for what is now called a service.

Have you thought about that word “service” ?

What is a service?

It is “the action of helping or doing work for someone.”[6]

That’s what we should be doing! Helping or doing work for someone!

Can I ask, what helping or doing work for someone did you do this week?

Christian work that is!

Work without expecting a reward in any way. Work for the purpose of blessing the world with God’s presence!

That is church!

I have found that teens want to attend that type of church! I want to attend that type of church. We should be the true servants of our world as Jesus our Lord was, and then as his church, the world would be attracted to us, not repulsed.

God is a God of love to everyone, independent of whether they ascribe to his values and guidelines. God wants to help everyone independent of social, political, economic or religious persuasion.

If they then come to know him, they will want to learn from Him. That’s their decision, and then they will find out about truth and vitality of life.

If we are Christians, we know it and have it! All we have to do is serve and allow Holy Spirit to do the rest!

So how about we go and serve someone today?


[1] Acts 14:27
[2] Acts 12:5
[3] Acts 15:3
[4] Acts 15:4
[5] Acts 20:28
[6] Dictionary.com
Wed, August 8, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The BOLT wins the 100m, a legend?
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  “London Olympics 2012: Usain Bolt says only 200m glory will cement status as track legend”~London Olympics 2012[1]

 We cheered him on! Perhaps more so due to the small island country from which he came, the humble origins of his home town and the support he provides that small enclave of people. I loved the fact that he was a churched boy in his home town.

Is he a legend? More a reality than a legend, surely?

How long does human praise last?

Just a few years back(1996) it was Donovan Bailey (if you are Canadian) or Michael Johnson(1997).

Are Johnson, Bailey and others who won 100m legends as well?

They were touted as such when they won.

Will the Bolt still be a legend in 10 or 20 years?

We tend to forget as soon as the next star takes the world stage and entertains us for a short time. Some hang onto these stars for a little longer before time wrenches them from our hands.

How many of us remember Thomas Burke any longer? This was the first modern Olympics sprint winner. A legend?

We spend so much time trying to be someone in the eyes of others, when the reality is that to be someone, we need to be someone in the eyes of God, and we already are!

God treats us each as if we were legends in his eyes. He even got his son to die to help us achieve our best!

God takes on our training and coaches us to live life to the full!

God never leaves us alone to suffer consequences without himself. He says "I will never leave you. I will never desert you." —(Deuteronomy 31:6)[2]

For a Christian, the gunshot signalling the race is to start, is when we realize Jesus is the son of God, what he has done for us, and we start to love him and follow his guidelines for our life. This means we start living the way the God of the universe designed us to live.

Optimal performance!

Paul explains the Christian life in these terms;

A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. Let us keep on running the race marked out for us.

Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith. He also makes it perfect. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He put up with attacks from sinners. So think about him. Then you won't get tired. You won't lose hope. [3]

To win a sprint we cannot be loaded down!

In Christian terms that means we have to get rid of the loads that sin (selfish, nasty and ignorant things) bring to our life. Like that sprinter casts off the track pants and jacket before they climb into the blocks, so we need to get rid of sin in our lives.

Like the crowds watch the racer, so those around us in life watch us. They want to see how we perform, what it really means, are we genuine.

We need to simply be ourselves. A Bolt, Johnson or Bailey all have different techniques. Each needs to fully use what they have been given as gifts from God to succeed. We need to use our gifts from God to succeed!

Then, we need to stay in the track.

Life has many deceptive turns that can cause us to deviate from the only correct path. By continually checking our progress against the biblical course God has laid out for us, we can know that we are still on the track progressing to our goal.

What is our goal?

To live with Jesus in eternity, without pain and strain. Living fully fulfilled and in the incredible joy of heavenly existence.

To do that we have to succeed today! We need to cast aside those things causing us to fail and focus on our true success.

Then we will have an amazing day!


[1] http://zeenews.india.com/sports/london-olympics-2012/athletics/london-olympics-2012-usain-bolt-says-only-200m-glory-will-cement-status-as-track-legend_747040.html
[2] Hebrews 13:5 NIRV
[3] Hebrews 12:1-3 NIRV
Tue, August 7, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pregnant, unplanned!!!! I want to scream! Do I want the child? What do I do? Will I be okay?
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  Quote on the loneliness...

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

~ Mother Teresa
 
On the morality...

Morality becomes hypocrisy if it means accepting mothers' suffering or dying in connection with unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions and unwanted children.


~ Gro Harlem Brundtland


The pain of unplanned pregnancy can be hard and is perhaps somewhat unveiled by these words of pain by “ZhadaMone” of Westwood NJ, where in “Teen Ink” she says[1]

Punching walls

screaming, cursing.

Yo, how this happen to me? I'm just a kid.

 What about school? What about Mom? What about Dad? What about.. me?

 Two minutes of pleasure equals nine months of carrying plus twenty-four hours of labor. A grand total of eternal reprimandation.

 Kicked out, on the streets. Disappearing family, ghost baby-daddy.

Only the bible by me as I clutch my belly.

God, shower me and my little one in your blood as we travel these rough streets in this dark hour. God, I know I made a mistake and I come to you for forgiveness, grace, and a touch of mercy. God, your love for me is greater than my downfalls. As I caress my belly, breath life into this baby. God, I'm leaning toward you and I'm standing on your word until it comes to pass. God I love you and I know you love me so I know me and this miniature human will be alright as we rest in your hollow hands. Amen.

 I can make it. I'm pregnant...but I'm saved.

The fact that she feels so alone is wrong! It is  almost with anger I say these words! Emotion rises in me, and my fingers shudder as I type.

Why do girls and women with unwanted pregnancy not just KNOW they will be loved, if they walk into the nearest church?

What is wrong with Christians? Why do we criticise and point fingers instead of love and forgive?

Who of us never sins? Who of us is never wrong in a decision? Who of us has never loved and had a setback?

So, why can we not put our arms around a hurting person, pray with them, love them, take them in from the unforgiving world, and help them form a wonderful beautiful family with God the father leading them.

As Christian’s it is our duty to God, to love people, not ostracize them!

Yes! They ARE entitled to sit in the church! Right in front! Bellies large and prominent, proclaiming that Christians CARE!

The emotions these dear woman go through are so debilitating and strong! The depressions are severe!

Some even have thoughts of abortion!


Killing their unborn child will help them they think... failing to see the guilt and years of propping up of their poor self-esteem that will follow. Those nightmares and the “If only I...” that will hound their nights and days every year.

They fail to understand that the children they will see playing innocently will remind them of the age of the child they killed in the selfish act.

They fail to understand the hollowness and self-righteous indignation which they will generate to support the disastrous decision they will have made.

They fail to see how they will have to distort their minds to try and gain relief from the decision. The counselling hours they will waste, both of professionals and of friends.

Abortion in an option, it’s just not a very good one!


Then, if the poor distraught young women takes this option, having an abortion, what should we as Christians do?

We should cry, put loving arms around them, and welcome them into the church of sinners that we are.

We are no better!


Sin is sin!

Jesus said; “Those who hate their brothers and sisters are murderers. And you know that murderers do not have eternal life in their hearts.”[2]

If we hate another who may be a Christian at any time in our life, we are also murderers!

Paul says of any who do evil;

“Don't you know that evil people will not receive God's kingdom? Don't be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts. Neither will thieves or those who always want more and more. Neither will those who are often drunk or tell lies or cheat. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.

Some of you used to do those things. But your sins were washed away. You were made holy. You were made right with God. All of that was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6)

Christians have all done evil at some time or other! Can any of us say we have never done one of the things mentioned as evil above?

We are a church of people who have done selfish, nasty and ignorant things in our past!

We are also people who know what it means to be forgiven and loved deeply. We should know how to forgive and love deeply.

A pregnant women, teen or older, is a person who needs to know deep inside themselves, that not only is there new life growing, but that God is the lover of both themselves and that new life.

With God rejection is NOT an option!

We need to come around them with joy, glad of the new life, and to try and help this special person who is the reservoir of a heavenly soul that is to be cared for and loved.

Sometimes their families reject them, sometimes their boyfriends do, but let us make sure we never do!

Please let’s help them understand that while they made a mistake during sex, that the precious child is not the mistake, but a blessing! Their lives are going to be tough, but we are here to help them in any way we can.

That’s our job as loving Christians. If Jesus could find it in his heart not to even to condemn an adulteress who never even asked for that forgiveness[3], what should our attitude to wonderful people who have been damaged by evil in this life be?

Compassion?

Love?

Care?

I think we should surround the person with love, even if those with self-pride look at us from the pews with distain.

Jesus would be ignoring self-righteous looks and doing the only thing he knew...the Fathers work.

We should do the same today, shouldn’t we?


[1] http://teenink.com/poetry/free_verse/article/453928/PregnantBut-Saved/
[2] 1 John 3:15 NIRV
[3] John 8
Mon, August 6, 2012 | link          Comments


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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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