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Friday, September 14, 2012

What type of boat was used in Jesus time? We've discover it...did you know?
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“We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.



 Sometimes just investigating how people lived in the first centaury is reward enough in itself!

Looking through archeology reports, I found we have now discovered a Galilean fishing boat (at least that’s what people think it may have been).

That means we have a boat from around the time when Jesus and his fishermen friends would have been out fishing. It was found within the Sea of Galilee, due to a drought in the region that dropped the water level of the sea for a while.

Sometimes, the way we find things hidden for thousands of years is unexpected and this find was unexpected.

For about 2000 years the boat was under mud and in water. When it was found it was during a time when the mosquitos were out and the exposed hull was covered in eggs and mosquito larvae. The simple elegant solution of adding fish into the boat to feed on the problem was introduced by Moshe Lufan, cleaning up the problem and maintaining the boats condition.

If not for the drought, the boat would never have been found. We complain of thisngs like this don't we? Can you imagine the famers complaining about that drought? Yet the boat was found on a kibbutz, a co-op type Jewish farm, and these people supported the restoration effort. Every day they went out to help protect and restore this treasure!

How did they know it was not just another modern boat wreck?

It was constructed completely differently to modern boat construction. In modern boat construction the supporting ribs and keel are put in place, and then the planks cover them. In the Galilean boat, first the planks were put in place and then the ribs were added for support.

The method of connecting the planks was different as well. As in the diagram below, planks were joined by the mortise and tenon method. Basically a slot was cut into the upper and lower planks into which a peice of wood could be fitted. Holes were cut through the planks and this peice of wood that were later pegged with wooden dowels. When in water, the wood swelled making the joint water tight.
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This is an ancient method of building boats.

This Galilean boat was a fairly large boat, about 27 feet (approximately 8.3 meters) long, 7.5 feet (about 2.3 meters) wide and the height found was 4.3 feet (about 1.3 meters).

It would have had four oarsman to manoeuver it and would have been able to carry a fair load.

The guys who found it were amateur archeologists and fishermen, Moshe and Yuval Lufan.

There is a story that says that the day they wanted to start the work on it was misty and then the mists parted revealing a beautiful double rainbow that the workers took to be a sign from God that they could continue.

This wonderful artifact provides factual information to the biblical words about the boats used as Jesus walked the shores of the sea of Galilea.

Jesus started his work on these shores. 18 One day Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. There he saw two brothers. They were Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the lake. They were fishermen. 19 “Come. Follow me,” Jesus said. “I will make you fishers of people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers. They were James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee. As they were preparing their nets, Jesus called out to them. 22 Right away they left the boat and their father and followed Jesus.[1]



The setting itself is part of one of Jesus greatest miracles...

23 Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25 The disciples went and woke him up. They said, “Lord! Save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?”
Then Jesus got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop. It became completely calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. They asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”[2]


Doesn’t knowing the boat was only a 27 x 7 ½ foot boat, controlled by four oarsman give more substance to the words The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. He must have been exhausted to be sleeping on the rough timbers of this type of construction, ignoring the soaking he was getting.

I imagine they had to shake him real hard to wake him and probably delayed it as long as possible.

His question shows he felt they had nothing to fear. 26 He replied, “Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?”


This is a question for us in our time as well. The world around us seems to being destroyed. Our failure to control pesticides, carbon emmissions, protect the environment all lead us to feeling like the forces of nature are about to overwhelm us and destroy us. Many of us may feel that God is sleeping and not able to intervene. Some may even feel God doesn’t care or isn’t involved!

Isn’t that how those disciples on that little boat must have felt on that wave swept sea that tossed that little boat about causing its timbers to creak, groan. They must have wondered if there human constructions could withstand these forces.

Yet, when the urgently and forcefully called on Jesus to help, he reminds them God is always watching and in control.

Simply have more faith and push back on your fears is his advice before he in an awesome way tells the wind and sea to settle down, and it does!

Do we have faith in God in these times? Do we call to Holy Spirit and Jesus to help us? Do we trust the love of the Father, even though it appears as if he is not evident?

Life is far more simple if we do. The rewards of trust and honest turning to God is great! Droughts can be opportunities, the waves and winds of life teachers of great truths.

We need faith and not fear!

Let’s have that faith and push away those fears today!


[1] Matthew 4:18-22 NIRV
[2] Matthew 8:23-27 |NIRV
Fri, September 14, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Disappointed in myself? I can do better!
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“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Heard disappointment stories? Often they are similar to these...

·         I was rejected for another lover,
·         she rejected my marriage proposal,
·         I failed the exam after I thought I was doing so well,
·         I lost everything on the stock market and my family left me,
·         I trusted God and he didn’t give me my desires,
·         I lost my job after many years service,
·         My partner of a lifetime died,
·         I have been told I have months to live due to that tumour,
·         All the cancer gives me is pain,
·         I am a failure.

Maybe you are fortunate never to have been in any of these situations, but most of us have had a major disappointment at one time or another.

What do we do? How do we grow through the pain?

It’s difficult isn’t it? Thoughts swirl in our heads and none seem to want to build us up. They are dark, depressing and perhaps, dare I say it, sometimes they are demonically inspired!

Christians get depressed also! Let’s face it! There isn’t a magic formula that stops all tough things happening to us in life.

God knows we have difficulty in dealing with apparent failure, hard situations, dwindling health and loss of loved ones. That’s why God had a whole book written about this type of loss, and how we should modify our attitude to God as a result. This is the book of Job, one of the oldest in the bible.

I have written blogs explaining Job

·         Suffering, how did Job do?
·         Suffering, how did Job do, part 2...
·         Suffering how did Job do...part 3
·
        
Suffering how did Job do?...part 4 : Summary and conclusion 

God doesn’t allow is to go through these periods without reason. However, it is not even possible for us with our abilities to understand the mysteries of our universe, to conceptualise the purpose of even understand what goes on outside our universe.

We need to really understand that despite everything we do wrong, God still loves us! In fact, even before we even admit God is who he is, he loves us. He died for our mistakes and that's real love. Maybe some people think Jesus death can become a boring fact, but when we realize just how disappointed we can get in others and ourselves, then we can understand God loves so much he wants to take all that away for us enabling us to have peace, joy and start to understand just a little of his love.

Instead of asking “why”, we should be turning towards God’s love, the power of His Holy Spirit and asking “what’s next?”

Even in the worst circumstances, there is something God can do to use our lives. We are never without purpose, and that means our apparent set backs need to be left behind as we forge ahead in God’s will.

We need to control our thoughts, but how do we do that? Again there is a blog to help Controlling those unwelcome thoughts?

It’s difficult to do and yet by turning to God each time we find we are going down the path into the fog of despair, we change the situation, explaining how we are feeling to God, then telling God how great he is, and then praying for those around us.

It’s easy for us to only see the negative that happens to us, but there is lot’s that is positive as well. That is, there is positive if we look for it. Let’s pray, look for the positive, and thank God for it!

Doing this gives us ability to take back the control of our life! If each time we start to feel down we use it as a prompt to talk to God, then the evil forces in this world start to loose out. They cannot keep feeding the junk thoughts into our mind, or their work is self defeating. Instead of turning us against God they will be turning us to Him!

That way we gain the ability to overcome the burdens that this world lays on our shoulders. We can find the lighter burden of God’s love and purpose. We find Holy Spirit empowers us, giving us strength to go on, and go on we must!

There is purpose to today! God has a fine course mapped out for each of us. The fact that sometimes it is not easy is shows us  that God sees us as able to take great responsibilities and move through, gaining skills and building ourselves up.

Then, let’s remember when Jesus taught us to pray he started it out “Our Father”. "Our" implies more than one and includes Jesus himself!

We are together and Jesus is with us in our strains of life. He is alongside and part of us, reaching out to the loving Father and asking for mercy, strength and guidance.

Jesus knows how life can be tough. He lost all his friends, had his countrymen calling for him to be tortured to death. He was mocked and physically endured excruciating pain. Finally before he died, he knew that his time was up but he was not negaitive becuase he knew he achieved his life's work.

Let’s know we have tasks ahead of us that are far easier. Let’s reach into ourselves, turn to God and pray, pushing away those negative thoughts and emotions and finding the power of God for our day.

Have a great day!
Thu, September 13, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Attitude in reading the New Testament is important
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“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”


 ~Jimmy Dean


 Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event aren’t they?

I guess we all have them, and that whether we want to admit it or not, they change how we view things and that changes how we do things.

Attitude to God is one of these attitudes and has mainly two major directions. God exists or doesn’t! Most people choose one of these two camps but there are some that are not sure, that fall inbetween.

Our attitude changes the way we look at the bible considerably!

Those who feel God doesn’t exist, generally look at it from a perspective that it is just an ancient book with weird stories in it. They may consider it to have a few historical references, but in general, they don’t believe what they read.

Those that on the other hand, who believe God exists, read it to determine if it really communicates aspects of God, and to try to find out how this can help them out with what they are experiencing and doing.

Those who are not sure if God exists or not, are some of my favourite people!

I like them because they are open to understanding and investigating without bias. They look at the bible and simply try to evaluate if it speaks about God or not, but don’t front load their expectations.

The New Testament is written by a bunch of people around the first century. It amazes me how academic’s with the God “doesn’t exist” attitude create ideas about these letters as if they know more than those that wrote them. They explain how these people thought, and derived the information that they wrote down, and even feel they can tell what parts were written by the original author and what is added. (Even though there is often absolutely no proof of this).

Years ago people who did this with the Old Testament, joined forces with others in what is called the Documentary Hypothesis.

This crowd even went as far as saying David and Solomon were made up stories, and they never existed.

For a while this was the predominant academic view! Then archeologists’ uncovered proof that David existed and this aspect of the Documentary hypothesis delusion was destroyed.

Unfortunately, we as humans love to hang onto our delusions, so some never really admitted they were wrong, and bent the facts to their favour.

Attitudes override fact easily don’t they?

When reading the New Testament let’s not be the same way these deluded people as Christians. There are many things that are strange, different and difficult to understand. Let’s leave them to be strange, different and difficult to explain.

In technical jargon let's be careful not to have a skeptical attitude to the anthropical aspects of the New Testament. (That’s our big word of the day. Anthropical is “pertaining to humans or there existence”)  Let’s understand the people writing and described, are vividly real and the books align to much of the known facts and people of the times.

Let’s realise there are many books and they are brought together under one heading of “New Testament”.

Each person had a reason for writing that was different from the other writers.

Their styles and their own attitudes differed. While we believe they all speak about one God, we must remember the people who selected these pieces of writing had to do so among many hundreds of “imposter” writings, and they worked very hard to ensure these were the authentic ones.

Lastly, let’s take the religious parts of the New Testament at face value and trust what they say. It’s good to listen to those who have negative attitudes because it enables us to have a balanced view. I believe God wants truth in everything so this is our target.
 

Yet even truth has it’s shades.

Ever looked at a piece of white paper in the sun, at dusk, and at night? It’s still white isn’t it? However the perception of that white changes depending on the surrounding light.


This is the same with our New Testament!

When filled by Holy Spirit we see the bright amazing glory it portrays. We need to have compassion on those trying to read it in the darkness of disbelief. By praying for them and loving them, we can perhaps allow a bit of our light to fall on the pages and give them a chance to see truths in a new way.

Hey, have a great day. Let’s go love our world!
Wed, September 12, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ever get tired of the chaos in our world?
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“Chaos results when the world changes faster than people”[1]

The frenetic pace of life in cities of the world leaves little room for the important aspects of life such as family, neighbours, exercise, charitable works, having fun and taking time to enjoy the splendour of God’s creation.

Morning by morning we wake to harsh sounds that intrude on our consciousness and force us out of bed into the shower before we have a bite of food (maybe) and rush off to work.

Is this sensible way to live?

Not really! God knows how we are damaging our lifetime with strained living.

Yet God has also made provision for a new type of life for us. Eternity will not be like this. Eternity will be in a place of safety where God gives us strength for all tasks. His blessings will be everywhere around us. There will be no more wars or fighting. Joy and peace will abound.

Even on this earth there is hope for a similar situation at some point in our future.

Psalm 46 (NIRV) talks of a time like this. It says...

“God is our place of safety. He gives us strength.
    He is always there to help us in times of trouble.
The earth may fall apart.
    The mountains may fall into the middle of the sea.
    But we will not be afraid.

The waters of the sea may roar and foam.
    The mountains may shake when the waters rise.
    But we will not be afraid. Selah

 God’s blessings are like a river. They fill the city of God with joy.
    That city is the holy place where the Most High God lives.
Because God is there, the city will not fall.
    God will help it at the beginning of the day.
Nations are in disorder. Kingdoms fall.
    God speaks, and the people of the earth melt in fear.

 The Lord who rules over all is with us.
    The God of Jacob is like a fort to us. Selah

 Come and see what the Lord has done.
    See the places he has destroyed on the earth.
He makes wars stop from one end of the earth to the other.
    He breaks every bow. He snaps every spear.
    He burns every shield with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.

    I will be honored among the nations.

    I will be honored in the earth.”

 The Lord who rules over all is with us.
    The God of Jacob is like a fort to us. Selah

 God is our safety no matter how the day goes! He walks every step with us. That’s why Jesus said it was better for us that he goes to heaven. We have God’s Holy Spirit to guide us and help us if we listen to him!

To listen we need to grow quiet to hear that inner voice and be prepared to do what it asks.

Then the God our Lord will make our lives a new experience! One that is full of joy and love. One than enables us to surge forward pushing aside the waters of discontent and making our day a blessing to us and others.

Now that’s good news isn’t it?


[1] Thnkexist.com
Tue, September 11, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, September 10, 2012

Help! When Iíve got myself into trouble!
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“If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold you head high, look it squarely in eye and say, 'I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'”


~ Ann Landers


 
Loneliness is often the experience when we take the advice of the quote above!

We often find ourselves in a very lonely place to be when we get ourselves into trouble. It seems as if the world looks at us and judges us in a negative light.

It’s bad when we are not responsible for the trouble, but it’s even worse when we are the cause of our troubles.

Sometimes we get into trouble through no fault of our own! Maybe we make a bad investment, trust a person everyone else thinks (and perhaps warns us) is untrustworthy and then we end up in trouble and it seems like around us everyone is thinking we should have known better.

Isn’t that a hard place to be? It’s lonely and even we ourselves agree with those that are thinking these thoughts.

It’s difficult to deal with those times isn’t it? We often find that sleeping becomes difficult and thoughts swirl in our heads like water heading down a drain! (I have written a blog to help you in this type of situation)

We are God’s children and are Christian, but that is no guarantee against doing silly stupid things that drop us into difficulty.

Yet God children are the Kings kids!

We are the princes and princesses of heaven!

What type of response can we expect from God?

Psalm 20 is one response the bible gives. It was written by a king, probably David when he was in troble. Here is what it says(NIRV, paraphrased a little to enable us to apply this to our lives)

 May the Lord answer us when we are in trouble.
    May the God of Jacob keep us safe.
May he send us help from the sacred tent.

    May he give us aid from Zion.

May he remember all of our sacrifices.
    May he accept our burnt offerings. Selah

May he give us what our heart longs for.
    May he make all of our plans succeed.
We will shout with joy when we win the battle.
    We will lift up our flags in the name of our God.
    May the Lord give us everything we ask for.

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed.
    He answers us from his holy heaven.
    The power of God’s right hand saves us.

Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses.
    But we trust in the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall down.
    But we get up and stand firm.
Lord, save the us!

    Answer us when we call out to you!
 God is involved in our lives and always attentive!

He chooses what he helps us with in order to do the best for us in eternity.

Let’s not forget that we are however to sacrifice our selfish needs during our lives  to his eternal purpose and that it’s those sacrifices that God observes and takes note of when we get into trouble. We are also God’s anointed if we have accepted Jesus. Particular if we have been baptised, then we are highly anointed and belong to God.

God will use us effectively to achieve our lives purpose if we are willing to be moulded and we need to understand that trouble is time that God uses to mould us as well!

God will save us and answer our call for help, but in the best way for us eternally, not necessarily for us in our current earthy situation.

We need to trust him! God wants the best for us and will not hold our past against us. That’s why he came to earth to die a torturous death. So that every person’s stupid, ignorant and nasty actions could be forgiven and we would not have to pay the price for our inadequacies. We need to respect what God is doing and live in his truth.

Then God gives us victories over our troubles. We start to receive his peace, joy and supernatural help!

No longer lonely we can say, as it does in psalm 46, ...

God is our place of safety. He gives us strength.
    He is always there to help us in times of trouble.
The earth may fall apart.
    The mountains may fall into the middle of the sea.
    But we will not be afraid.

 Have a great day!
Mon, September 10, 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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