Friday, December 21, 2012
A harassed life, how do we cope?
Fri, December 21, 2012 | link
“The good of our present state
is merely comparative, and the evil which every man feels will be sufficient to disturb and harass him if he does not know
how much he escapes” ~ Samuel Johnson
Christmas is here again and with it comes the rushing, the struggles, the people who call from work and ask us to
do those last minute activities that they consider our duty despite us being on vacation or holiday. Then there is the strain
of family members who seem to find the most inopportune times to call and absorb our time.
Things and people sometimes just seem to make life difficult!
Sometimes it’s the responsibilities of caring gone awry, where we as caregivers are treated as servants and underlings,
rather than the loving people we are and want to be.
Life harasses us at times doesn’t it?
Yet, in times like these, as Christians, we can still move through
with clarity and inner joy!
must not think that being a Christian is being a pushover!
do not accept harassment without being clear that the behaviour is not acceptable. Jesus didn’t, and we don’t have to! Harassed by scribes and Pharisees,
he always found a way to reveal to them that they were out of line without getting into heated arguments.
That’s the first objective we need to have!
We have to find ways to show those harassing us that their behaviour
is unacceptable. Sometimes, as
Christians, we incorrectly tend to feel that we are in the wrong when we resist bad behaviour of others. This is an incorrect
guilt feeling! Bad behaviour is not acceptable, but how we react to it should be non-confrontational wherever possible.
If possible, those that cause the pain, should find they experience it and due
to their own actions.
We love and support others, often at expense to our own time and efforts,
but we also need to maintain a balance in our own lives or we will not be able to continue to do this.
Now, how do we overcome the tendency to strike back with hard comments, nasty words and selfish motives?
We need to consider how much we do the
wrong things for God and how much he loves and forgives us, putting up with our bad behaviour and gently correcting us so
that we learn!
Consider how much we must
frustrate God due to the silly things we do!
Consider the nasty ways we have treated others in the past and the silly things we do that cause us to damage ourselves.
God loves us dearly and as we allow ourselves to experience this more fully, these harassments will become of less consequence.
Our the days will become less hurtful and our spirits will rise within us.
The joy of the presence of Holy Spirit needs to be positively
affirmed if we are to experience joy!
When circumstances start to us tip off balance
and we start to lose our equilibrium, it’s time to remember that Holy Spirit is within us. It’s
time to calm our minds and look for the solace that God us within the heart of our being. Then, as His love flows to touch
the hurt, we can let it overflow to honestly help while not allowing others to use their evil to distort our day.
Today as we go forward, let’s set the boundaries of our lives at a level of sustainable effort that enables us to do the
tasks of the day at a priority and pace that is reasonable. May the love of God that supplies the joy that we need, accompany
us and enable us to do the right things, at the right time, in our day.
Have a great day!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
“Feed my fish”… “oh! it was feed my sheep”…right?
Thu, December 20, 2012 | link
“Make yourself necessary to somebody.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have a fish tank with
tropical fish in it!
It’s a community fish tank where
whole variety of species, live together.
There’s those extrovert, in your face,
flashing about at high speed types, always active and seemingly never slowing, the “Danio’s”.
Then we have those middle level of
the tank “Tetra’s” and “Neon’s” that coast around, observing everything, not reacting
overly much, but somehow connecting the higher up “top feeders”
with those “bottom feeders” who live on the sandy bottom of the
tank, eating whatever gets through from above.
My bottom feeders are the colourful “cuddly” fish. Not that my “clown loaches”
cuddle with me, but they are actually fish that cannot get enough of rubbing against each other and packing together
into small dark places. They always remind me of those couples we see at bars, crowding into a booth built for four,
but somehow make it work for six or eight.
I first got my fish, I overfed them!
Due to wanting to give them the best,
I gave them too much! This resulted
in many tank cleanings, smelly fish water, and fish who got ill.
I got wiser with the years, and found that just the minimum food each day is the best
for them. They stay sleek and
healthy, their water stays crystal clear, and I have no need to clean the tank for weeks at a time.
Now why am I telling you about this?
We live our lives among many types of people, don’t we? Those fast flashy upper class
types, those middle class hard workers with less time to
be exuberant, and those who perhaps have less than the others but have each other to rely
us to help them all gain spiritual nurturing!
I think of how he puts the message across to Peter, one of the guys who followed him wherever he went, and who was to take
over when Jesus left.
as humans we would leave long detailed instructions, Jesus did it more simply!
Here is how he did it…
Jesus and the disciples had finished eating, Jesus spoke to Simon Peter. He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you really
love me more than these others do?”
Lord,” he answered. “You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus asked, “Simon, son of John, do you really love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
spoke to him a third time. He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter felt bad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He answered, “Lord, you
know all things. You know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep. 18 What I’m about
to tell you is true. When you were younger, you dressed yourself. You went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old,
you will stretch out your hands. Someone else will dress you. Someone else will lead you where you do not want to go.”
19 Jesus said this to point out how Peter would die. His death would bring glory to God.
Then Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19 NIRV
There is a lot in this story, things like Jesus
telling Peter similar things three times because Peter had denied Jesus three times, but I
only want to point out the instruction was to "feed the sheep" or "feed the lambs".
How do we do that? How did they do it in those days?
They didn’t take food and force feed the sheep by hand did they?
In those days it is said that at night the sheep were put in an enclosure, often without
a door, and the shepherds would make their fire, eat, and later lie down across the opening to keep the sheep inside and safe
for the night.
Unlike the modern farming techniques,
the shepherd of the time would have known all their sheep and would call them to themselves as the made their way out to the pastures the next day. That’s
where they would find good grazing that was healthy for them.
The shepherd was their guide and took them to where they could feed.
It was the sheep’s responsibility to graze when they got there!
When we take those around us on the journey to spiritual enlightenment,
we should, like those shepherds lead the way not chase the sheep!
We should ensure we know those who we are to be leading to our wonderful Lord.
We should care for them and help them on their way. We should not force feed them, but let them pick and choose the level of spiritual
nourishment they desire.
ever seen sheep stuffing themselves with grass? I haven’t!
Unfortunately, I do believe sometimes we, as people, stuff ourselves with things we
like in excess.
find some people, upon experiencing the true love of Jesus, tend to have a tendency not only to stuff themselves full,
but want to force feed it to everyone they encounter.
That’s overfeeding and results in sick fish!
Let’s remember that Jesus took time to communicate
his message to those disciples. He asked us to make disciples, not overstuffed followers.
Let’s understand that a huge part of gaining
spiritually is not knowing stuff, but following the guiding of God in our lives.
Do we try to listen for God’s advice for our day? Do we anticipate and trust God to change our days circumstances,
to provide opportunities to do things and experience challenges that will help us grow into the lives of others with love(even
if they don’t always love us back)?
the feeding of others God wants for our lives!
Not the forcing of God’s gospel down the throat of every person we meet every minute of each day. Yes, he wants
us to feed the lambs, but not overfeed them. That’s our challenge for today!
Don’t you agree?
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The challenge of second guessing ourselves, is it good or bad?
Wed, December 19, 2012 | link
You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot
close your heart to the things you do not want to feel. ~Johnny Depp
right! ….No, I’m wrong! …No, No! RIGHT! ….Actually…WRONG!
Have you ever got yourself in a dilemma like
that? One where your mind flips between opposites so fast that it makes your head spin and you feel mildly nauseous?
In times like these we find that it’s
almost as if there is an unspoken fear in our lives. This fear tendril works it’s way into
our confident decisions and strangles that confidence, pulling us into uncertainty and fear itself.
We see it in young people who fail to realize they are of value,
and measure themselves by the degrading comments of their peers who themselves to make themselves look good.
Unfortunately, lacking the confidence
and life skill, many young people often falter and become uncertain of themselves.
Then we have those people that are continually put down
by an important person in their life, maybe a parent, coach or other significant personality.
They fail to understand the person
doing the degrading comments is themselves obviously lacking and so move into the second guessing game.
How do Christians deal
with uncertainty, the difficulty in decisions?
We have it far easier than others! Firstly, we have a wealth of knowledge
and wisdom in that wonderful collection of books, the bible. Think of Proverbs alone as a guide to making
decisions, and that is only one book.
Next in accordance with the bible, we can pray and ask God to guide us.
Some people say this doesn’t help because
they don’t appear to get a clear answer. Words from the blue sky don’t often occur!
However, after prayer we either find that we read a piece of the
bible, something speaks into our questions with an answer, or Holy Spirit can speak into our conscience or intuition. Sometimes
it’s another Christian, or events that drive an answer toward us.
All these make it easier to deal with the ambiguity of a decision. Yet, even with all this,
we sometimes still find we are unable to get clarity.
In these cases I normally pray to God and let him know as I cannot make the decision. As I have researched the bible for the answer and know my request aligns with
God’s will and guidelines, I then put down the options on some paper and refine them to make clear statements.
Finaly, if there is still no winner
I pull out that incredible decision making tool, a coin, and flip it after praying for the right result.
Nonsense! God doesn’t
deal with chance…I hear people say!
What is this about then?
Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel. He said, “Give me an answer.” Jonathan and Saul were chosen by using
lots. The other men were cleared of blame.
Saul said, “Cast the lot to find out whether I or my son Jonathan is to blame.” And Jonathan was chosen.
1 Sam 14:41-42
Then we find the ancient high
priests carried two “dice” with them;
“Also put the Urim and Thummim into the chest cloth. Then they will be over Aaron’s heart when he comes
to serve me. In that way, Aaron will always have what he needs to make decisions for the people of Israel.
He will carry the Urim and Thummim over his heart while he is serving me. Exodus 28:29-31
God allows us to use simple tools to decide in ambiguous situations! Dice,
All these tools work when
we have time to make the decision.
What about those split
second decisions that we have to make all the time?
makes me think of a young teenage girl who climbs regularly at the rock wall in our home. I have noticed that there are some
problems we have set out on the wall that are particularly taxing for her. These are the ones where a person has to leave
the safety of one of the hand holds ,and lunge towards a second hold in order to get it before gravity comes into play pulling her from
the wall to the mats below.
faced with the fact that we cannot get to the new hold without letting go of the previous hold, some people just have analysis
Fortunately in this situation
given time our strength gives out, and the decision is made. One way or the other we always return to the mat below. It makes
sense not to delay the decision and be resolute once we have made it.
To succeed, we have to go where we have never been before WITH CONFIDENCE that we don’t
It’s a wonderful training
I teach we must just trust
our decision and go for it!
Once we have decided, there is no time left for reversing our decision. To succeed, the decision needs to be made and fully
In rock climbing there is no use
to getting to the new hold and then letting go of it due to lack of confidence. That way we will fail every time!
This is true in life! While getting to the decision point, we apply
all the wisdom we can muster, ask God to guide us, and then if we still cannot decide, we use a coin or randomly chose one
of the solutions.
The decision however needs
to be accepted together with the consequences and we need to go full out for that decision.
Our bible taught ancient priests to use this decision making mechanism.
God approves it!
We can all benefit by following
on through and believing that God is still guiding the outcome!
Lastly, for teens, second guessing themselves often occurs when they get hurt in a
These are hard times to
deal with, but we need remember that the sum of our experiences should build us, not take us down.
A few bad experiences must not give root to second guessing ourselves
all our lives. Turn
everything to good, by making the decisions to learn and move forward in strength. Simply check we are forgiving and loving
others in our decision, and move on. That way we gain and experience life fully!
Our lives are too short to spend second guessing ourselves, aren’t
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The cities are where the evil resides the most!
Tue, December 18, 2012 | link
If there is True Evil in this World, it
Lies in the Heart of Mankind ~ Edward Morrison
In the old maps of the world, in the days when men believed the earth to be
and the maps didn’t extend to curving around the globe, there were regions outside
the knowledge of men on which ancient map writers are
fabled to have written
“there be dragons”.
Our modern world is nicely constrained by a curving surface that meets itself
in all directions, bringing an
end to this previously unfamiliar territory. Yet, instead, like tendrils of disease, the globe is covered by thousands
Actually, if we look
at a city as a place occupied by more than 150 000 people, there are just over two thousand in our world. Try looking at a
photograph taken from space at night and you will see what I mean.
Light from cities looks like an illuminated spiders webs clinging to the surface of
It is interesting
to see how the first city came about…
In Genesis in the bible, we hear of the first ancient feud, that enmity between Cain and Abel. Cain kills his brother
angering God who gives this punishment…
“So I am putting a curse on you. I am driving you away from the ground. It has opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will not produce its crops for you anymore. You will
be a restless person who wanders around on the earth.” Genesis 4: 11&12 NIRV
Nothing about cities here you say, and are right! Yet, here we see the evil
in Cain is dispersed and diluted by making him a wanderer.
Evil has a way of rebounding,
and in a short time we see the following is said…
“So Cain went away from the Lord. He lived in the land of Nod. It was east of
Cain made love to his wife.
She became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. At that time Cain was building a city. He named it after his son Enoch.” Genesis 4: 16&17 NIRV
As an aside, there was in the ancient Middle East an ancient city called Enoch in a
land called Sumer. This may not have been the original Enoch city, but it could well have been named after the original! It
was one of the first cities on this earth that archeologists know of.
To get back to our subject…God says “wander”, and Cain rebels
and builds a city.
archeology, we find that those initial towns were not necessarily peaceful places. When people gather in groups, somehow the evil inside them intensifies. So these
ancient villages were fully into warring and pillaging each other. Resource wars ensued!
This is the issue at hand!
Cities by themselves are no more than gathering of people who live in close proximity. Yet what this does, is it allows the evil and desires of
our human hearts to be magnified by the coagulating mob.
Because we like wealth, our cities become storage repositories of wealth.
Because we like pleasures, cities are the magnets for pleasurable activities, some
which take on very dark and weird turns. These dark pressures are given a chance of life since in a city those with these
hidden despotic desires can find others with similar desires, and so they band together to build a group.
You know what happens when a group forms…everyone else is outside that group, and so
The human heart is evil when left to it’s own devices, isn’t it?
It’s devilish in its clever manipulations and schemes!
We see that to counter this evil we build laws! Laws are meant to regulate our lives, but instead they make lawyers
rich and really only constrain those who are willing to be constrained.
Why? We love to find ways around the laws. We love to find ways to bend them to our desires. The lawyers
get rich from our tendencies!
Can we see that the issue with what is wrong in humans, has got nothing to do with whether we live in cities or not?
It has to do with evil in our hearts!
What can we do?
The only way to improve our world is to turn to God.
The ancient Middle Eastern world was the first area that was focussed on the living God, and amazingly, was the first
place where progress started and people became wiser, more effective at living well!
Our history and the growth of science is populated with great men and women, who loved
God and turned people back to him, instead of deviating from the truth track.
Each time progress was made, it was when people repented and turned away from godless deeds (often done in the name
of the church or Christianity) and turned back to the living God and Jesus his son.
Today, with the strife and pain, with the false gain of world debt, with the crazy
irresponsible actions of those who hurt and maim others, we only have one true way to move our world forward.
Biblical first principles! Loving God and our neighbour as ourselves!
That’s what changes the heart of man! That’s what purified the thoughts
of men and women. Not seeking pleasure, but offering sacrificial love!
We know this is true, deep down inside ourselves, don’t we?
How about we put it into practice and make our world, its cities and countryside’s a better place? We can influence the world, if we stand together in Christ!
Monday, December 17, 2012
Horror & Heroism, and what we can do to help!
Mon, December 17, 2012 | link
Twenty children and six women died in the
assault on Sandy Hook school by a lone man who then took his own life. – BBC
It may not have been 9/11 but the impact across the world was
almost as great.
Six and seven year olds killed in cold blood by a twenty year old gunman who went
on the rampage after shooting his mother four times in the face.
Heroism of the six adults who died protecting the
children is as great! Faced with death
if they protected the children, many used their bodies as weapons and shields to keep the innocent from being slain. Although
in many cases it seemed to have been ineffective.
deep rooted cry of our hearts is “WHY”?
Among the many answers is a simple fact…because he could!
could get access to guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He could train himself in advanced
horrors of shooting others with those simulators we call “computer games”. He could view violence and
mayhem about four times every hour on television
fact we know that investigations have shown the following (quoted from Parents Television council)
1998 and 2006:
- Violence increased in every time slot:
during the 8:00 p.m. Family Hour has increased by 45%
- Violence during the 9:00 p.m.
hour has increased by 92%
- Violence during the 10:00 p.m. hour has increased by 167%
- ABC experienced the biggest increase in violent content overall. In 1998, ABC averaged
.93 instances of violence per hour during prime time. By 2006, ABC was averaging 3.80 instances of violence per
hour – an increase of 309%.
- Fox, the second-most violent network in 1998, experienced
the smallest increase. Fox averaged 3.43 instances of violence per hour in 1998 and 3.84 instances of violence
per hour by 2006 – an increase of only 12%.
- Violent scenes increasingly include a sexual
element. Rapists, sexual predators and fetishists are cropping up with increasing frequency on prime time
programs like Law and Order: S.V.U., C.S.I., C.S.I. Miami, C.S.I. New York, Medium, Crossing Jordan, Prison Break,
E.R. and House.
On an hour by hour basis:
network experienced an increase in violence during the 9:00 and 10:00 hours between 1998 and the 2005-2006 television
- ABC experienced the biggest increase in violent content during the Family Hour. In
1998 ABC was the least-violent network, averaging only .13 instances of violence per hour. By 2006, ABC was averaging
2.23 instances of violence per hour, an increase of 1615.4%.
- UPN and Fox were the
only networks to feature less violence during the Family Hour in 2005-2006 than in 1998. Violence on Fox decreased
by 18%, and on UPN by 83%.
- ABC experienced the biggest increase in violent content
during the 9:00 hour, jumping from .31 instances per hour in 1998 to 5.71 instances per hour during the 2005-2006
season – an increase of 1,742%.
- NBC experienced the biggest increase in violent content
– 635% – during the 10:00 hour, from 2 instances of violence per hour in 1998 to nearly 15 instances
of violence per hour in 2005-2006.
During the 2005-2006 Season:
- Nearly half (49%) of all episodes
airing during the study period contained at least one instance of violence.
- The WB network
had the highest frequency of violence during the Family Hour during the 2005-'06 season with an average of 3.74 incidents
of violence per hour.
- CBS was the most violent network during the 9:00 hour during
the 2005-'06 season with an average of 7.53 instances of violence per hour.
- ABC's short-lived
series Night Stalker was the most violent program on television in the 2005-2006 television season. In
the sole, one-hour episode that aired during the study period there were 26 instances of violence.
episode of every program airing on NBC in the 10:00 hour during the 2005-'06 season contained at least one instance
of violence. On a per-hour basis, NBC's 10:00 programming averaged an alarming 14.69 instances of
- 56% of all violence on prime time network television during the 2005-2006
season was person-on-person violence.
- For each hour of prime time, CBS had the highest
percentage of deaths depicted on screen during the 2005-'06 season. During the 8:00 hour, 66% of violent scenes
depicted a death. During the 9:00 and 10:00 hours 68% of violent scenes depicted a death.
the board, 54% of violent scenes contained either a depiction of death (13%) or an implied death (41%) during the
Violence on television continues unabated despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to a direct and
causal relationship between violent entertainment products and aggressive behavior in children.”
Notice the words “overwhelming evidence pointing to a direct and causal relationship between violent entertainment products
and aggressive behavior in children”
Defined by the internet as follows:
- Behavior involving
physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
- Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
What is violence but selfish, ignorant and nasty behaviour, or
as we Christians call it, SIN!
The bible describes behaviour
like this as “What the sinful nature does is clear. It enjoys sexual
sins, impure acts and wild living. 20 It worships statues of
gods. It also worships evil powers. It is full of hatred and fighting. It is full of jealousy and fits of anger. It is
interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It
does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like that will not receive God’s
kingdom.” Galatians 5: 19-21
How much of this
previous paragraph is portrayed on televisions and films continually?
Today, it is imbedded in computer games that force the player to take part in these acts.
Then, we ask how disasters like the Newtown killings can occur?
It’s due to sin! Not only
the sin of Adam Lanza, the bizerk killer, it is due to our sins as well!
time we enjoy a movie full of violence and pay to see it, we are contributing to this type of killing. We are approving what caused the deaths of those children and adults!
“Don’t be crazy, I had no involvement”
Really! The only reason we
get so much of this type of terror is because you and I pay to view it!
fact we don’t pull out guns to go and kill innocent children does not remove us from the guilt of having enabled
the very influences that are causing an increase in mass killings in our world.
We have failed to turn our hearts and minds to the good in the world and instead
are reveling in the arousal we get from the horrors and terrors. Then for some of us this is not enough
and they crave more. We set-up these conditions, so how can we not see ourselves as guilty in some part?
What can we do?
The bible says…
“16 So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s
power. Then you will not do what your sinful nature wants you to do.
sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights
in. The two are at war with each other. That’s what makes you do what you don’t want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law.”
“22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being
faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There
is no law against things of that kind.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed
their sinful nature to his cross. They don’t want what their sinful nature loves and longs for.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us march in step with the Spirit.” Galatians
we turn away from our base evil nature, and turn towards God, then these acts become despicable. I am not talking
of Newtown, but our paying to view violence and play violent games. Stop this and the money stream to those prostituting
violence will decrease, and our world will become safer!
is no other way to protect our children! Putting armed
guards around every school will create prisons and the wrong mindsets in our children.
Innocence must be allowed to be innocent, not have it’s face exposed to weapons, whether
those attacking, or those protecting.
No! The true way to improve
our world is to openly distain the violence, violent people and violent acts.
We need to do as our bible says…
“8 Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure.
Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds