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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Am I proud of my Godly acheivements? Really?

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Winners compare achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with other people. ~ Nido Qubein
 
 
Goals! Results of directed effort!
 
As Christians what is our ultimate goal?
 
For many it is doing God’s work, achieving for God! The question to ask is this... whether we should be attempting to achieve this since there is a hidden problem with this goal. 
 
When setting the achieving of God’s goals as our target and ultimate objective, we set ourselves up for a hidden failure. The problem is that evaluating our success is so difficult. God’s goals cannot be clearly understood in this life, so the temptation is to compare our activities with that of another. In so doing we can introduce one of two enemies into our life.... either pride or disillusionment, ... as we compare ourselves to others. Comparing our performance to others in order to evaluate it is a failure point.
 
Only God can evaluate what we achieve in this life and since God does not always see fit to reveal the outcome of this evaluation during our lives, targeting doing God’s work as our ultimate objective can leave us on shaky ground.
 
This does not mean we don’t do what God wants us to do, or that we don’t compare our performances against others, only that the results of this should not be our ultimate objective.
Our ultimate objective should always be “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength
 
This is the superior goal! Notice it has no reference to comparing ourselves with anyone else.
 
The objective is increasing relationship with God.
 
This is the ultimate goal in life!
 
If we want purpose that is pure and directed as well as eternally valuable, then this is it!
 
There is no risk of getting off course by comparisons with others in our life’s works. There is however, the ability to evaluate our effectiveness at all times, under all conditions.
 
Performing under God’s directing power, we are not at the mercy of opinions of others or even ourselves. We can be confident neither pride nor disillusionment can take us down! The only comparison we can do is against God’s glory! We know we are nothing but we are worth plenty due to Jesus’ great gift of forgiveness and grace! With that in our lives, we can float within the glory of the love of God, bask in the light of his forgiveness, and grow deeper and deeper in love with our amazing God each day. 
 
We can do this with no risk of failure! God is always there to hold us up and catch our mistakes as part of that ultimate relationship with Him.
 
Agape love of God is wonderful!
 
Today let’s realise it’s not “what we do” that is the objective of “what we do”, but rather, it’s the “increase in relationship and understanding of God” that we achieve as we do the activities God puts our way that determines our success. 
 
That way, we will not fail to honor God with the glory for the things he does!
 
Have a wonderful God filled day
Thu, August 30, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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Infant baptism and true baptism have less in common than oil and water
 
More than half the world cannot distinguish between christening (the giving of a name to a baby within a church ritual) and infant baptism and almost as many have no idea of the difference between infant baptism (linked with confirmation) and adult or mature baptism.
 
Isn’t it sad we get embroiled in these rituals that are traditional in nature without even understanding whether they are really biblical?
 
Maybe we should try to find some biblical basis for each of these and then evaluate which of these fits the facts and intentions of the early Christian church the best. We are so far away from that initial church times, our traditions so distorted by time and ability to understand what the intent was that only the bible can give us any true idea of where to go.
 
Infant baptism is mainly tied to the words of Jesus when he said in Luke 18:16, also confirmed by Mathew 19:14 “Let children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven” (ESV).
 
Yet try as I do when I read the bible in this area, all I see Jesus doing is placing his hands on them and praying for them at the request of their mothers, nothing more. No baptism!
 
This means babies can be dedicated to God by prayer and being held, but hardly can be used to show that they need to be baptised.
 
Now there are a lot of other verses we can look at on baptism, but to finish our review of the biblical basis for infant dedications before we continue, we probably need to look into the bringing of Jesus to the temple to be dedicated.
 
Let’s be correct around christening first. Name giving occurred in the Jewish culture on the 8th day when the child was circumcised. That’s the biblical name giving ceremony (see Luke 2:21 for a biblical reference). Other name giving ceremonies are simply tradition, not biblical. Check it out!
 
Now dedication of the baby in Jesus time is described in Luke 2. Joseph (Jesus foster dad) and Mary (his mother) took him to the temple to be dedicated according to purification rites of the law of Moses (Luke 2:22).  This refers to Exodus 13 where God says “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”
 
So consecration of firstborn was biblical. Then later it says “redeem every firstborn among your sons” which meant offering sacrifices to God to redeem them.
 
That was linked to remembrance of the Passover and God saving their nation. It was to bring home the truth of how precious God considered his chosen to every family. The ritual was to evoke emotions that showed us how much God loves us, and to force consideration of this fact in relation to the Passover(which is linked to Jesus death and resurrection)
 
That’s what dedication of a baby was! Now Leviticus 12:1-14 indicates circumcision at 8 days after birth and that dedication should take place forty days after birth.
 
This suggests that a dedication around the fortieth day after birth of a son is applicable. If we follow the rules for a daughter, it should be around the eightieth day.
 
Now we ignore these periods nowadays! Mainly because we believe Jesus came and made all things new. However if Jesus’ parents complied with them, should we? You will obviously decide for yourself, but perhaps we should not be so quick to ignore these ancient guidelines?
 
I think that is all I can add for infant baptism validations.
 
Basically infant baptism is not supported anywhere, but dedication and redemption is.
 
Now, where is baptism advised by God?
 
Let’s start with John 3:5 where Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit”
 
Now this is in the context of Jesus talking to Nicodemus about spiritual birth. So this could be referring to baptism, but it is more likely referring to the breaking of a women’s water when she starts the birthing process. Nicodemus thought Jesus was talking about real birth(John 3:4). The start of life for the baby! It may in fact have nothing to do with baptism. Again, you need to consider what you believe in this regard!
 
So what does is there to back baptism.
 
The most important scripture is Jesus great commission where he says
 
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19 NIRV
 
This is a direct instruction, linked to understanding teaching, and so assumes ability to accept teaching and therefore cannot be as early as infancy. 
 
How can an infant understand Father, Son and Holy Spirit at any level?
 
Baptism is linked to repentance. See Acts 2:37-41 where Peter says “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of Holy Spirit.”
 
Repentance means understanding our sin (selfish, nasty and ignorant things we do). This also means that each person needs to be able to understand these things and request baptism for themself.
 
It seems biblically, that understanding what baptism is about, what sin is about, and the concepts of Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit are part of the process of baptism that is expected of early Christians, isn’t it?
 
Where does that leave us?
 
I know where it left me. I was Anglican and had been christened (or infant baptised) as a baby. When I later understood who God was and accepted Jesus as my saviour and God, I got “confirmed” in the same church.
 
As a result I resisted getting “baptised” thinking I had already done this!
 
Yet, now in a baptist church (I select church denominations based on their alignment with Gods word and not on tradition so I have no specific alignment with any specific "brand" of church) when I really investigated, I found that the Anglican church will also baptise a person if you request it. Why?
 
That led me into looking at the bible and find out that baptism is actually commanded by Jesus and strongly supported elsewhere by the apostles writings.
 
I decided to get baptised and I  feel I gained spiritually from this!
 
We will each have to decide for ourselves regarding baptism now that I have provided some of the scriptures backing this.
 
What will you do about this in your life today? Now that you know some more of the facts!
Wed, August 29, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life is out of control, how do I carry on?
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We’ve poisoned the air, the water, and the land.
 
In our passion to control nature, 
 
Things have gone out of control. 
 
Progress from now on has to mean something different.

We’re running out of resources and running out of time.”


~Rober Redford
 
In Africa, I have been walking along the coast line where I walked about 30 years ago and I am appalled!
 
 
There is almost NO life in the rock pools along the seaside. A seaside that teamed with life a few years ago!
 
 
What have we done?
 
 
Previously we had sea urchins, star fish, octopus, plenty of small fish, crabs and sea plants in the pools.
 
 
This year I walked along about a kilometer of beach and rock pools and saw one small two inch fish in one out of the hundreds of pools I visited.
 
 
What have we done?
 
 
This is horrific evidence of what sin and drive for money can do if we let it run uncontrolled. Bigger ships, more oil, more commerce, all amount to less protection of our planet! I don’t need scientists to explain it, it’s obvious with my own eyes. The desolation reminds me of the contrast between Hobbiton and Mordor in Lord of the rings. Vast, almost impossible to correct, and needing a miriacle.
 
Yet our God is a God of miracles! Our prayers and repentance and trust in Him is all that is needed to turn the tide.
 
 
If every Christian on this earth prayed about this disaster, turned their hearts to doing right, and allowed Holy Spirit to lead, this situation would be changed almost overnight. Of that I am sure! 
 
 
What I have concern about is that righteousness, humility and performing Godly actions is becoming so limited among us Christians that we often don’t seem to understand what they mean, never mind applying them in our lives!
 
 
The environment is an extension of our lives in many ways.
 
 
How many of us are disillusioned, and instead of turning to God, we blame others aggressively (or sometimes we do nothing passive aggressively)?
 
We see ourselves as a failure, our world as failing, and our society as unyielding. In the face of this we either give up or build and angry resentment, neither of which is what God wants for us.
 
God said he provided us his joy. Joy is not happiness, it is an internal positive trust in God that energizes and fills us with positive energy in the worst of circumstances. It originates from knowing Jesus died to enable us to control sin in this world and that we can, by relinquishing our lives into God’s hands, overcome the most dire of circumstances.
 
 
Today, if we are to make a difference, we as the Christian “world” need to give ourselves to God, take the hard steps of life by choosing the right thing in every situation, and influence our world for good.
 
 
There is never a time when we are not in God’s will, and if we are doing what he desires, we are living a purpose filled life. That makes a difference! That changes our world! 
 
 
Have you thought it is us that the miracle that saves this world may reside?
 
 
Have a great purpose filled and Godly day!
Tue, August 28, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, August 27, 2012

So what is an idol....today?



“A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
 
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” 1 John 5:21 and the last words John wrote in that letter.
 
 
Keep yourselves from idols” is not something we even really get today right?
 
 
Firstly we don’t make little statues and believe they have powers do we, or do some of us still do this?
 
 
Think of the statues of Budda, and other religions. Some of us think that a statue of the cross itself is powerful. Think of how the movies depict the cross being held up to ward off vampires!
 
Some people think these objects have power. I am sad to say they are metal, plastic, pottery, ivory, wood, stone and other material items that have absolutely no power in themselves!
 
The ancients also made mistakes like this. There was this bronze snake Moses made because God told him to. (see Numbers 21:9) Then during that time anyone who was bitten by a snake simply had to look at it and then they lived.
 
 
Later on we read in 2 Kings 18 that Hezekiah, a man who loved God, had to break this snake into pieces because people started to idolize it!
 
 
Ever thought why our God never gave us an image of him and we cannot even find one of Jesus?
 
 
It was because we are so drawn to worshipping these types of things, we could end up worship the image and not God who made and sustains everything (including all images).
Basically if we want to know what an idol is we simply have to see what we put more faith in than God himself, and if we can see, touch, smell, taste it, then it’s become an idol. Sometimes it’s our car, a great musician, the newest game on the market, our ipod, ipad, or iphone, or a multitude of other things.
 
 
These are the simple idols.
 
 
More complex ones are trusting science to the extent that we exclude God, that’s idolizing science. Trusting a guru, more that God of the universe, that’s idolising!
 
 
How often are we willing to trust God’s words from the bible against our cultural norms. Do we idolize those norms?
 
 
It would be hard to say we have never idolized something isn’t it? Yet God demands “You shall have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3
 
 
We can believe in science, but not before we believe in God! We can appreciate the musician and the music, but not before we appreciate God. That game is great, but should not absorb our time before we give glory to God and pray to him.
 
 
So today, as we enjoy our life tasks and the things around us, let us be sure to check that we have faith in God before we put our trust in other things.
 
 
That’s the way to remove the power of idols, because idols do have one power, they remove us from the power of the living God. That’s something I want to avoid, don’t you?
 
 
Have a great day
Mon, August 27, 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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