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Friday, December 7, 2012

The ”sorrows” of the rich?
 
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“A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.” ~  W. C. Fields

How sorrowful we must be ... by the standards that were around when Jesus walked this earth!

The average Christian in this modern world is ultra-rich!

Most of us reading this blog would have been considered rich by the people that Jesus and Paul encountered.  Does this make us happy? In Jesus time the culture was moving from an agricultural society to one that was based on commercialism.  The Romans levied taxes to be paid in cash. This was not good for the peasants who had to work long and hard hours to get any cash at all!

Sometimes we feel like it’s our governments who are the Romans and we are the peasants. Yet we do have so much!

The homes of the average person in Jesus time were simple box shaped houses of handmade sun dried bricks and stones. They often had a fireplace inside for heating and the walls were covered in lime to make them water tight. The roof was flat made with branches and sometimes covered with mud and lime with a ladder so it was easy to get on top to do repairs and enjoy the sunlight and view. Sometimes people slept on the roof. Windows were holes in the walls and beds were straw mats.

Compare those 1st world dwellings to how we live and I think we can see we are not only wealthy, but very wealthy!

Yet Jesus warned us against being rich with the wrong attitude of heart!

Most of us know the story of Jesus and the rich man(Matthew 19:20),  and how that rich young man who chose riches over Jesus. We need to take care we don’t make that incorrect choice!.

Jesus said “Do not put away riches for yourselves on earth. Moths and rust can destroy them. Thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, put away riches for yourselves in heaven. There, moths and rust do not destroy them. There, thieves do not break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your riches are.“ The eye is like a lamp for the body. Suppose your eyes are good. Then your whole body will be full of light. But suppose your eyes are bad. Then your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light inside you is darkness, then it is very dark!  “No one can serve two masters at the same time. He will hate one of them and love the other. Or he will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can’t serve God and Money at the same time.”

This warns us that our focus should not be on riches but doing God’s will.  Then in Proverbs 10:22 we read “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth.   Trouble doesn’t come with it.” We need to understand it is the focus on the doing of God’s will that brings wealth and it isn’t always counted in economic riches but spiritual riches as well.

Jesus also points out “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.” Luke 12:15

We need to be careful to live well and not become engrossed in accumulating wealth!

Becoming engrossed in accumulating wealth brings pain and sorrow! Paul describes it as follows:

You gain a lot when you live a godly life. But you must be happy with what you have. We didn’t bring anything into the world. We can’t take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we will be happy with that. People who want to get rich are tempted. They fall into a trap. They are tripped up by wanting many foolish and harmful things. Those who live like that are dragged down by what they do. They are destroyed and die. Love for money causes all kinds of evil. Some people want to get rich. They have wandered away from the faith. They have wounded themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6

Let’s be happy with what we have and strive to help others and do God’s will! When we are doing that we find we get a spiritual energy in our lives that activates us, make life sparkle and joy fills our existence. Jesus doesn’t want us to be poor and does want us to be rich. He wants us to do his will whether we find riches or poverty, and yet Jesus wants us to have enough for each day.

He says, “Look at the birds of the air. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are?” Matthew 6:25

God will look after us! Of that we can be sure!

 Yet we must be willing to move, travel and work, not tying ourselves down into greed gathering groups.

We need to move with the freedom of being directed by the wind of Holy Spirit, walking the paths of righteousness!  Telling the good news we can travel in God’s will, encompassed by truth, shielded by faith and changing our world for the better by revealing God’s words to those that will hear.

That will ensure we are not sorrowful, independent of our economic status!

Fri, December 7, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, December 6, 2012

“Don’t tell an older man off”…ancient or applicable?
   

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How many of us call our parents by their first name?

How many find it difficult to say “Mom” or “Dad”, simply because Mom has had many “Dad’s”, or Dad, many “Mom’s”, and the current flavour this year is not really our “Dad” or “Mom”?


This undercuts respect for elders doesn’t it?

In abusing common relationships, people lose our respect and we even find it difficult to find the correct terms to address them. This results in using their names instead of the correct familial expression of respect.

Have you noticed this increasing tendency of younger people to mislabel friends and non-blood relations ,as brother and sister (something that we as Christians started a long time back J ). Then, on Facebook, we often see that a girlfriend/boyfriend pair, label themselves as “married”, when they are not married in the legal sense?

Can we blame them? The term marriage has distorted into many flavors of relationships, and some of these are even abusive.

Respect is lacking everywhere!

Yet where it is found and practiced, it is appreciated! This is particularly true when dealing with those who are elderly, or older than ourselves.

Paul says to Timothy in the bible “Don’t tell an older man off. Make an appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as if they were your brothers. Treat older women as if they were your mothers. Treat younger women as if they were your sisters. Be completely pure in the way you treat them.”[1]

Today, even understanding these words is difficult and distorted.

 “Father”, can mean so many more things than it did in Paul’s time when it meant the guy who had sex with your mother so that you were born as a result. Paul wanted the young to respect those older than themselves.

Do we even know how to do this today?

In older times as a younger person you never used an older persons first name, did you? Instead, you used terms of respect.

Today, most of that respect is thrown out in the “modern” first world countries and I think we are perhaps the lesser for it. While autocratic abusive fatherly relationships should always be distained by society, the need to build respect of elderly is important.

As younger people we can research whatever we want on the internet and so the older persons wisdom is perhaps viewed as less important, but let’s never forget the elders have experienced what we can only read about.

Our knowledge is theoretical, theirs is personal! If you really want to gain true knowledge that includes nuances and depth of understanding, then the elderly are the ones who have it!

In the Christian sense, where the spiritual is gained by life experience, no amount of electronic knowledge makes sense without the deep spiritual experience that comes by living through many life situations over many years. Let’s respect our elders for what they have encountered and can pass on to us! Their advice is worthwhile!

Next, as Christians we should want to help! Helping the elderly is Christian duty. How much of this do we plan into our weeks?

Manners are a simple way of connecting not only with the elderly, but with everyone. Younger people have poor understanding of this simple component of social interaction and can learn much from the older if they are willing to observe (I am not saying everything is valid, but a lot is).

One day we will be old…how would we want to be able to contribute and be valued by those younger than us?

Today as we do the things our lifestyles dictate, let’s pay attention to those who are elderly.

Let’s pay attention to the elderly that others are perhaps neglecting. Let’s try to gain from respecting and noticing the elderly and their needs.

God respects us, even when we are not worthy of that respect!
Let us respect the elderly the way God want's us to!

Maybe we are more Godly if we respect others?



[1] 1 Timothy 5 NIRV

Thu, December 6, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Does the media need Christians?

 

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If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. ~ C. S. Lewis

Our media is not there to provide balanced true views of life, it is there to titivate our sensuality, stir our emotions, and impose others will upon us.

Now and then, we have a glimmer of truth, but most of the time we have people trying to fill our time with unceasing comments that are supposedly rational and insightful, but when analysed, say very little that couldn’t be communicated in a few sentences.

Media reports exist due to their mass appeal! We all know that ratings are what drives TV, readership drives newspapers, etc. Unfortunately, the masses do not always chose to live righteous lives, or control their passions to enable them to live powerful godly lives, so the directing of the media is over time bent towards destruction.

If you believe evil can influence the world and that it seeks to destroy, (and I know many think that’s not true) then the media is a prime focus to bring down the structures of our society.

At one point in my life, I was in a war zone directly in an active area where things were happening. Having some time on my hand, I listened to the radio reports from many different countries that were broadcast into the area. Of the six countries news that I listened to, only one was remotely accurate, the rest were distorted by their words to achieve the aims or philosophies of the media team presenting the content. They were in reporting “facts”, bending the meaning to enable people to perceive the facts in a light in which they wanted them viewed.

I wrote down the exact words of each broadcast and we often had some fun comparing them against the truth.

Our media needs Christians who are willing to be honest and report truthfully in a good clear manner. We don’t need political or emotion manipulation.

Recently the duchess of Cambridge became pregnant. Now we get stories making comments such as “The joy of pregnancy is quickly swept aside when you find yourself vomiting ad nauseam (so to speak).[1]

What is uplifting or useful about this? The article goes on to describe in detail the unpleasantness of morning sickness. A simple statement on this would suffice wouldn’t it? Maybe another pointing out it is wonderful that a royal woman is now having a child, and that a child brings with it hope, and hope is good for everyone.

The torrid, myopic delving into the family’s life is sucked in by many people who if asked, would seriously say they do not want people investigating their own lives in that manner.

So why do we support the drivel that is thrown our way?

We do it for sensual enjoyment! As a public, we don’t want facts or truth, we want morsels of seductive emotive nonsense, that stirs up our sense of gossip and one-upmanship over those who have not heard it.

Is this the Christian way? No!

The Holy Spirit clearly says that in the last days some people will leave the faith. They will follow spirits that will fool them. They will believe things that demons will teach them.

Teachings like those come from liars who pretend to be what they are not. Their sense of what is right and wrong has been burned as if with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4 NIRV

 This means that we as Christians need to find ways of communicating truth as simply as possible. We need to try to develop a clear unambiguous way of lifting truth from God’s word and the world, to present it to others. We know we fight against the evil tendencies that want distortion, but we are to be as straightforward and honest as possible in our reports.

As Paul says “Point these things out to the brothers and sisters. Then you will serve Christ Jesus well. You were brought up in the truths of the faith. You received good teaching. You followed it.

Don’t have anything to do with godless stories and silly tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4 NIRV

We need to point out inaccuracies!

We need courageous people who go into journalism to fight the good fight. Who know they will be at a disadvantage, that editors will put them down, refuse to print their stories, but who will fight onwards because it is important. If we step back and allow evil to flood our world, we damage millions of lives.

So what can you and I do? Surely we have little influence?

We can do a lot! If we refuse to read or get caught up in the garbage reporting, focus on good quality reading instead of the tabloids, if we support people who stand for what is right, if we check where we spend time and do it on godly uplifting types of activities, then we slowly turn the tide away from godless stories and silly tales. As we train ourselves to be godly, it helps us in our lives but it also helps those around us.

Today, let’s apply what we believe is right and perhaps stop ourselves getting into the less valuable activities of life. Let’s support others who want to improve our world and the information we get from it.

Have a good one!

Wed, December 5, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Considerations in anointing the sick with oil…

 

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 Our natures are a lot like oil, mix us with anything else, and we strive to swim on top. ~  Joan Rivers

There are times where the weight of illness drags us under in the currents of life and we are swept away from our understanding of our purpose, our desires, and even the easy interactions with those who we love and love us.

Illness is a challenge that surpasses most others! Nagging illness that takes us out of the mainstream of life, isolating us and tugging at raw nerves is one of the worst.

God understands this and yet also knows illness is one of the greatest teachers of spiritual greatness!

To ensure we understand that He understands He had a whole book written about this subject. Job who is not an unforgiven sinner, gets afflicted with illness and pain. He is isolated from friends and family and none of it was his fault! Yet, as we read, we understand that Job’s understanding of God was also flawed and through his illness God was forming perfection in Job.

Yet, for many, this is not the case either!

Many of us are simply ill and need tour illness removed.

We have physicians, medical teams, health organization and myriads of healing professions to assist us. I do believe that God enables us as mankind to develop this capability to enable us to serve each other more fully.

Yet, perhaps this service has become too impersonal, too clinical, however it is efficient and does wonderful things!

 

Then, sometimes there is an illness that conventional medicine seems to not be able to touch!

Sometimes the doctors cannot admit this in their pride, but if they could they
would say they do not understand it.
 

These are times that only God can help! Now that does not mean that Holy Spirit is like electricity and can be switched on or off at will. No! Our relationship must be in place as we live daily. When we undergo medical procedures it is no less or more Godly than when we live and honor Holy Spirit in our lives, praying to God daily.

We are integrated beings, body, soul and spirit. We know the first, have feeling for the second, but often fail to live with power in the third aspect of our nature. Our spirit can influence our soul and that in turn influences our body.

This flow is what needs to be cleaned, and placed under heavenly direction.

In the bible oil and Holy Spirit are often linked. Oil is first mentioned in Genesis 28:18 “Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head. He set it up as a pillar. And he poured oil on top of it.” and 35:14 “Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him. He poured out a drink offering on it. He also poured oil on it.”

These were events where a person was dedicating the object subjected to having oil poured over it to God.

Anointing oil is mentioned in setting up the offerings for God at the tabernacle where it talks of “spices for the anointing oil” in Exodus 25:6. These spices were mixed as in “Then the Lord spoke to Moses. 23 He said, “Get some fine spices. Get 12 pounds eight ounces of liquid myrrh. Get six pounds four ounces of sweet-smelling cinnamon and the same amount of sweet-smelling cane. 24 Also get 12 pounds eight ounces of cassia. All of the spices must be weighed out in keeping with the standard weights that are used in the sacred tent. Get four quarts of olive oil.

25 “Have a person who makes perfume mix everything into a sacred anointing oil. It will smell sweet.”

This made a sweet smelling oil! It would spread and get over everything the way oil does and yet there would be the smell linked with it. Smell is known to be one of the greatest triggers of memory the human mind encounters. God wanted to link our sight, feeling and sense of smell, together with the words that we use at the time to combine everything in the act and bind them into our minds and soul where they can work with strength to deliver healing to our bodies.

Kings and priests were anointed. This carries weight in New Testament times as under the Lordship of Jesus, we are now all priests and kings! We are worth of anointing. Those who do not know and acknowledge our Lord Jesus are not and can in fact bring great curses on themselves if they are anointed without acknowledging Jesus is lord.

Peter says “You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus went around doing good. He healed all who were under the devil’s power. God was with him.” Acts 10:38 NIRV

Then as we understand that oil represents the anointing power of Holy Spirit who makes all things Holy, we read in James 5:14-15, Are any of you sick? Then send for the elders of the church to pray over you. Ask them to anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer offered by those who have faith will make you well. The Lord will heal you. If you have sinned, you will be forgiven.

Here is clear indication that elders or enabled to us oil to anoint others and pray over them to enable them to be healed. It is not an incantation or spell but a request to god to make the person holy, dedicate them to himself and his service. The person being anointed must want this and desire their lives to be in this state.

Then, under God’s mercy and grace, healing often follows! Sometimes soon, sometimes over time. All in God’s planning and desire for our eternal purpose.

It is good when someone is really ill to call for righteous, godly men who have walked with God many years, who love him greatly, who believe that miracles are for our time as well as for the past and have them bring some olive oil, may spiced a bit with sweet smelling spices, and have them anoint us and pray over us.

The worst is we get a bit oily and smell good, the best is that we move to a higher place of spirituality where not only is our spirit invigorated by holy Spirit, but our soul is strengthened and that in turn can heal our body.

It is after all what God told us to do isn’t it?
Tue, December 4, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, December 3, 2012

Father, I don’t have energy, and I have a lot to do…

 

“It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

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Don’t you know who made everything?
    Haven’t you heard about him?
The Lord is the God who lives forever.
    He created everything on earth.
He won’t become worn out or get tired.
    No one will ever know how great his understanding is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired.
    He gives power to those who are weak.
30 Even young people become worn out and get tired.
    Even the best of them trip and fall.
31 But those who trust in the Lord
    will receive new strength.
They will fly as high as eagles.
    They will run and not get tired.
    They will walk and not grow weak. - Isaiah 40:28-31 NIRV

Been up most of the night? Got to take on the day because it’s there, and so are the responsibilities it heralds? Not feeling the best, and yet knowing that the best will be required of us?

Ever felt that way?

Most mothers with newborn babies can sure identify with that, and those men who have hard high pressure jobs can as well!

In fact, almost all of us at one time or another have been exhausted, lacking sleep, and had to face the day with a smile and a light step, throwing the pain and strain aside, and striding forward to take on the brunt of life with seeming confidence.

Only, inside there is the dull ache of our bodies, the slowness of our minds that we contend with each moment of the day.

Then, we think of God and we know that he never tires. It says that in the piece of Gods writing above, “The Lord is the God who lives forever. He created everything on earth. He won’t become worn out or get tired.”

How can he possibly understand my condition? Then we remember that long 2000ft journey he took, from being flogged, lacking both sleep and blood, and having a heavy load to carry, before they hammered nails into him, and hung him out for birds to peck and light to sear, and people to mock.

Our God knows not only tiredness, but the extreme tiredness and pain of life!

Yet, 29 He gives strength to those who are tired. He gives power to those who are weak.

He sustains us through the tough times! Holy Spirit can work even more effectively in our tired state, if we keep from sinning, and honestly do our best. It is in the times when we are weak and lacking that God fills those gaps in our life the best! It’s then when we can with a little focus hear his voice in our conscience and intuition. It’s then when his words penetrate to the deepest core in our lives, healing and moulding us into the eternal purpose he desires and filling us with a quiet thrill of his joy, that enables us, empowers us and gently pushes us not to give up!

Doesn’t God tell us…“Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIRV

Today, things may not be easy, we may not be able to make the popular decisions, we may find ourselves apparently alone in a corner of our world where it appears as if we are forgotten and lost.

We are not!

God is right there with us! He is within us, as Holy Spirit connects with our spirit through our conscience and intuition, and as we praise and worship him. The inner joy will contrast to the outer turmoils, and the comfort of his presence counters the irresponsibility of the external world. The peace that passes our human understanding will flow into  our journey throughout the day. God is with us, so life cannot be against us, no matter what path it follows! Challenging times can occur, simply reading Job in the bible explains that vividly, but God’s blessing is there too!

Today, let’s push back that tiredness, sing God’s praises, and step forward to do the work with the attitude of Snow White’s dwarves, but with the faith in God that makes the attitude enabled and powerful.

“Hi Ho Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go” (from 7 dwarves an old Walt Disney film)

I like to add…

“rain or snow, fast or slow, it’s with our precious Lord we go!”

Have a great day!

Mon, December 3, 2012 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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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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