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Friday, March 26, 2010

The Fifth “day” of creation!
  

So what does the bible say happened in, and around that fifth “day” of creation? Again I will be taking the “Ywm” or “yom” word used in the Hebrew as meaning “period”, not day for this discussion. 

 

Let’s look at what the writings say. . .

 God said, "Let the waters be filled with living things. Let birds fly above the earth across the huge space of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the ocean. He created every living and moving thing that fills the waters. He created all kinds of them. He created every kind of bird that flies. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them. He said, "Have little ones and increase your numbers. Fill the water in the oceans. Let there be more and more birds on the earth." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day five.[1]
 

Amazing! The first bird like creature is defined by science to have been around 160 to 140 million years ago.[2] It was a four legged creature found in the province of Liaoning, China and was given the name Anchiornis huxleyi. So we get the predecessors of birds taking to the air round this time. Then if we want to go back a little in time it’s estimated there were flying dinosaurs or Pterosaurs around from about 220 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. (they have found bones of both male and female of the species). They were big as well! About the wingspan of an albatross!

 

So in broad brush terms, the birds took to the air from about 220 to 65 million years ago.

 

It’s really nice to see that this follows the sequence of days in the bible. It’s a new period. Much more recent than the opening up of the clouds in the sky!

 

Now let’s look at the “great” creatures of the sea. There are the Ichthyosaurs (about 3.3 to 49 ft),  the Nothosaurs (about 2 to 10ft) and Plesiosaurs (10 to 46ft) and the Pliosaurs(about 10 to 82 ft), all of which came in different shapes sizes and forms. These were Mesozoic era creatures ( about 250 million to 65 million years ago). Notice they precede the flying dinasours. Notice the bible points out that God created the creatures of the ocean and then he created the birds. Science seems to agree doesn’t it?

 

Great to know that a simple people 3000 years ago could write a non-science document that holds up under scientific discoveries today doesn’t it?

Fri, March 26, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You don’t respect me!

.

 
“You don’t respect me!”

 
This it the cry of frustration heard from many young people in the modern world!

 Well, let’s just say that often I need to agree with you that we as young people are not showed enough respect!

 

Respect as far as I understand it, is a situation of trust and compassion as a result of having received unwarranted actions of caring by a person who is to be respected.

 

So, with this in mind my thoughts are that

  • Generally our parents and those saying it to us love us dearly and will do so no matter what,

   but

  • Their respect for us is low due to our track record!

 
Why?
 

Often our call for respect shows exactly the problem. We want people to pay lip service to being polite and nice to us when we have not earned their respect!

Respect grows slowly and is easily destroyed. We have to foster an environment of keeping our word, meeting our own designated timelines, being truthful about what we can and cannot do, not lying, doing small actions that are not asked for that make a persons life a bit better and last of all keeping our language true and polite.

 

Typical examples where we can fall down are

 
  • Keeping the area where we live a constant state of disorder, disrepair or mess. As respectful people we would ensure that our living space is kept tidy and available for when our family and friends come into.

  • Failure to clean up after ourselves. Work desks left full of papers and junk, workshops with scrap and dirt all over the workbenches and floors are not respectful to those working with us. I guess you can think of times where you inherited a mess in a work environment. A respectful person would have cleaned up after themselves wouldn’t they

  • Driving! Do we let another in when they signal a lane change in front of us and when we are in a hurry? We should! If anyone is with us in the car, they watch what we do and change their level of respect for us don’t they?

  • Setting dates and times when things are to occur and meeting them. When we set a day or time for something that we should do and agree to, then we should do everything to meet it by that time. Sometimes we just cannot! Then, although we do it later than we promised, we need to let the person know before the deadline that we are going to miss the deadline and we need todo it as soon as possible. A respectful person  remembers deadlines and performs the activity at the first opportunity they have if they couldn’t do it when requested.

 

So in summary, if people treat me with a lack of respect, it is probably because I do indeed have a lack of respect for them in this area based on previous trends!

People are not generally malicious(there are some that are) If trends are to be predictive, we need to enable our trends to build the respect of others for us.

 

So I’m sorry folk, we have to slip out of our selfish mode of operation and start to respect others before they will respect us. Please do understand this does not change how much God loves us, but he really wants us to be respected more!

Lets ask forgiveness for not being respectful and try and do something to improve that today.

 
Unfortunately, respect is something only we can earn!

Thu, March 25, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is GOOD FRIDAY?
 This year it’s on April 2nd,
last year it was April 10th in the West and April 17th in the East!
next year?

 Why does it change?
Why does it exist?
Why bother?

 

These are a few of the things I would like to have a go at clearing up for us! Lets start by what it is!

 

Good Friday, also called Holy Friday, is a feast day that (primarily) Christians observe to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is the Friday before Easter Sunday, which is celebrated according to the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., as the first Sunday after the Full Moon following the vernal Equinox.

 

Enough big words!  This council was a bunch of guys given the task of finding a day which up to then nobody could find, and setting it up as a festival day for the Church of the Roman empire of the time. Rome had just made Christianity the World religion of the time and needed a few things tidied up. This was one!

 

Okay so how do they figure out the equinox? (Equi = equal, nox=night, and it means when the day and night are the same length). There are two equinox’s a year. The Vernal and autumnal! The church takes the one that’s around March 20/21 to be on March 21st and then figures the full moon around that date, and then checks to see which Sunday and then which Friday they are going to use. A bit crazy, but if you have to make a rule, why not be a bit random about it! J

 

Okay! Now we know why the day changes each year! It has to follow a full moon because Passover follows a full moon! The Passover was a Jewish festival that remembered the time that the Jews had been led out of Egypt after the Egyptian’s had lost the firstborn from every family and the illness has passed over the houses of the Hebrews who had marked their doors so they could be identified. This happy occasion of a few million slaves being set free was celebrated from that day on. Hey! It was, and still is a good excuse for a party and to remember God looks after his own!

 

So Jesus died on a Passover weekend! The Friday is the day that we customarily take to be the day on which he died and we set our celebrations to happen on this day. This is based on the information about events described in the bible around the trial of Jesus. (I may discuss this a bit further in a future blog because there are a lot of assumptions made around those events that perhaps may be interesting to understand!).

 

Various rituals have been established by people (these rituals are not bible based). The Catholic church suggests we fast for the day and only have one meal. This is also done by the Eastern Church, or those from a Byzantine tradition. The Anglicans have a tradition of looking into the last seven words Jesus spoke from the cross, and many protestants hold special church services.

 

Why do we bother? Why bother to remember a particularly nasty and gruesome killing of a man?

 

The reason is that this man is also considered to be the guy who made the universe. He is the son of God!

 

Surely God wouldn’t let his Son go through such a despicable death?  Well, I guess he didn’t want to, but as Christians we know that mankind screwed up the world so many times that we had got to a place that something serious had to be done, and only God knew what! God knew the world was about to reject the old sacrificial systems and that it was time to let us know what he wanted for us. He had got a common language introduced to the Middle Eastern known world (Greek), had got relative peace (introduced by the Roman Empire), good communications (the Roman roads and protection) and so the time was just right to ensure one man could change the course of the worlds history (without war).

 

Jesus arrived on this Earth to be a replacement for the Jewish sacrificial Passover lamb. That lamb was to be a male of the first year without spot or blemish, sacrificed in a special way to remove sin from the people. It had to be killed by a layman, not a priest and its blood had to be caught into bowls and then sprinkled on the temple altar. The lamb was then cooked and eaten. The fatty parts were also burnt on the altar and not eaten. (I guess God wanted to protect us from heart attacks – that’s a joke in case you think I was serious J )
 

 Jesus died on the cross and there are references in the bible that say God has had Jesus' blood miraculously applied to an altar in heaven.

 
 

The whole point of this is that Jesus died once, horribly, so that if we stand before God at the final Judgement, there is not a human alive who will not be shocked at what we did to God, and that he allowed it.

At that point there is no person who will be able to argue with God that he doesn’t understand our situations! Jesus offers that if we identify with him as the Son of God, and try to follow the guidelines in the bible that are there to help us live successfully,  then he, Jesus,  will argue with God that we need to be allowed to get off the charges of being selfish, ignorant and nasty to others and God himself. He's our protecting attorney! He can be because he knows our case fully, but what is really great is that he's the Judge's son as well! A good person to be alongside in times of trouble!


 
That’s the reason Jesus had to die! That’s the reason we celebrate such a horrible happening. Simply because it was a wonderful gift that sets us free! Pity it had to hurt God so much!

I hope today I can life a reasonably effective and righteous life to express my appreciation of this event.

 

What about you? How are you going to address this event today?

Wed, March 24, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Fourth “day” of creation!
  

So what does the bible say happened in, and around that fourth “day” of creation? Again I will be taking the “Ywm” or “yom” word used in the Hebrew as meaning “period”, not day for this discussion. 

 

Let’s look at what the writings say. . .

 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.[1]
 

Okay, let’s see if any of this makes sense from a scientific perspective. Let’s be honest, the scientists have a really good argument for the fact that the stars would have already formed in many places when this timeframe was experienced on Earth.

 

If you have been following my previous blogs, you would know that we are talking of a timeframe from around 3.3 billion years ago onwards within which the above verses would apply. Our universe would have been around (scientists estimations) for about 13.7 billion years (give or take a few thousand million). This means that outside this cloud covered Earth, there would be stars.

 

How long it took for the "solar" interstellar dust to clear up in our solar system is not known. i.e. we have no idea how easily the Sun could be seen from the surface of the Earth.

 

In all probability, the Sun, Stars, and Moon could not be seen directly. They would have been experienced the same way as we experience them in a heavy overcast sky. They would have been experienced as light during the day and dark at night but without actually seeing the stars, sun and moon.

 

Now the bible does say “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky”. This seems to me to indicate that this is where they are viewed for the first time! This could only occur is the clouds cleared up enough to allow the sun, moon and stars to be seen from the surface of the Earth. From an Earth centric perspective (the one under which genesis was written), they would appear and be considered to have been made at that time.

 

Okay so let’s look at those early atmospheres. Originally, the Earth was probably blanketed in gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor and ammonia (you know ammonia is that sharp nasty smelling stuff that makes you cough and your eyes to water if you get just a slight smell of it).

 

Then in the upper atmosphere, the light of that sun started to break down the Ammonia releasing nitrogen into the atmosphere.

 

Only at about 3.3 billion years once the bacteria had appeared, was it possible for the next stage of development. Cyanobacteria used the light energy to produce oxygen using photosynthesis. Slowly the atmosphere changed to one similar to today’s. This took a few hundred million years to do according to scientific estimations.

 

It was during that time that the atmosphere would have cleared up enough to allow us to see the sun. moon, and later the stars from the Earths surface.

 

So, it is quite easy to link the scientific and biblical accounts of day four!

 I hope you will form your own ideas of what happened. I myself am still amazed that something written about 3000 years for a bunch of escaped Egyptian slaves is as accurate and succinct in its description as it is.

Doesn’t it amaze you also?



[1] Gen 1:14-19 (NIRV)
Tue, March 23, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, March 22, 2010

Peace Prize

 

Our lives are continually undermined with stress and strain. We may feel that we almost never get to rest fully. This is not a modern condition, although many of us seem to consider it to be one!


 

Just after the last world war there was a period of peace, but prior to that there were two world wars! After that period of peace we had instability and war in many different areas of our planet.

 

Children go without mothers and fathers in Africa and other parts of the world. Tensions break families apart, and for many striving to get food is a daily struggle.

 

In the West where we live in relative comfort, we still feel stress and strain. Tired, we chase the money making train, only to catch it and find its not going to get to where we want to be. We continually hop from one idea to the next in chase of an ellusive dream. Once we get there we find like so many that it becomes hollow once acheived.

 

How do we find peace?

 

Peace is a condition of environments, but more than that it is a condition that is within us. Have you noticed how some people in the worst circumstances seem to be able to move through them with a calmness of spirit? How we envy them their ability to seemingly let the problems become small, as they magnify the good!

 In John 14 :27 the bible says "I leave my peace with you. I give my peace to you. I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.”
 

God promises we can have the peace Jesus had. Notice that Jesus was chased around by people that wanted to kill him and finally did! In that time he had a peace that others found more than attractive. They were willing to give up their own lives to know it!


 

The wisdom is that we must not be troubled or afraid. We need to let God handle the tough stuff that we cannot do anything about. Paul, that guy who really knew pressure of life says this:

 God's kingdom has nothing to do with eating or drinking. It is a matter of being right with God. It brings the peace and joy the Holy Spirit gives.

 18 Those who serve Christ in this way are pleasing to God. They are pleasing to people too.
 
 19 So let us do all we can to live in peace. And let us work hard to build each other up”.

True peace comes from a right relationship with the God of the Universe. When God’s Holy Spirit is our closest friend, then we live a life pleasing to God as we look to helping those around us.


 

We need to be a “do” generation! We need to actively work to build others up. If we do this, we will find that no matter what circumstances we are dropped into, God’s peace can go in there with us. We will get a spiritual armour that bounces the negative off away from us but allows the joy and happy moments to sink in. it will help us keep our sense of humour and guide us when we need direction.


 
That’s what I call the peace prize!

 

Mon, March 22, 2010 | link          Comments

Sunday, March 21, 2010

God makes great leaders, if we allow him too!
  “Great leaders are born”  is something I have heard said. 

 I don’t think so, it takes dedication, effort and what a lot of people call “luck” to define and establish a leader. Now days we look to finding the right person with the right background and training and then we put effort into getting them experience to enable them to lead correctly.

 This is good, but isn’t really the way God does it! Today I want to look into how God chose the man that was going to lead the people who believed and followed Jesus after he left the Earth. This man was Peter. In Luke 5:1-11 of the sacred writings, the story unfolds (NIRV version)

1 One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him and listened to the word of God. 2 Jesus saw two boats at the edge of the water. They had been left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into the boat that belonged to Simon. Jesus asked him to go out a little way from shore. Then he sat down in the boat and taught the people.


 
4 When he finished speaking, he turned to Simon. He said, "Go out into deep water. Let the nets down so you can catch some fish."
 
  5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 

  6 When they had done so, they caught a large number of fish. There were so many that their nets began to break. 7 So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
  8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees. "Go away from me, Lord!" he said. "I am a sinful man!" 

  9 He and everyone with him were amazed at the number of fish they had caught. 10 So were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who worked with Simon. 

    Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid. From now on you will catch people." 

  11 So they pulled their boats up on shore. Then they left everything and followed him.

 Firstly we see the person chosen was a person who listened to Jesus teachings. Now if you read around this you will find Jesus had previously healed Peter’s mother. Now he forces Peter to stay and listen to him by stepping into Peter’s boat without asking him if he could. Sitting down in those days was a position of authority (a bit like standing at the front of a room behind a lectern is now.)

 Secondly, Jesus tests Peter by asking Peter to do something preposterous. You see it was stupid to go fishing in the day when you could use lights at night to attract and catch fish. The fisherman knew this and Jesus asked them to go and fish in the day just after they had spent a hard night failing. Jesus often asks us to do something that seems stupid to us.

 Thirdly, Peter reacts a little arrogantly. "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." How would you or I react? I probably would have also complained like Peter, but I am not so sure I would have complied. You see I am stubborn (a bad characteristic sometimes). Peter was wise! He submitted to Jesus even though it seemed stupid! Notice he calls him teacher showing a respect and understanding of what Jesus was doing.

 Fourthly, a miracle occurs. Well maybe we would not call it that. It was just a good catch of fish! Many of the miracles of God are often seen as natural occurrences. Especially now days everyone tends to say because something could occur normally it’s not a miracle! What a silly approach! Surely the timing and unusual circumstances can just as easily depict a miracle? This obviously impresses Peter and the fishermen.

 It’s so significant that the fifth thing that happens is Peter realizes he has been arrogant to the wrong guy! He asks for forgiveness immediately! He realizes just how selfish, ignorant and arrogant he had been. When we see Jesus for who he really is, the son of God, we should react the same way. Sometimes people don’t have the courage to admit their previous mistakes however. This is sad, because they miss out on the love and power of Jesus if they reject him!

 So the sixth thing that happens is that Jesus responds to the emotions and words of Peter. This is what he will do for us if we let him. Jesus will meet us at the point where we understand who he is, and give us the ability to do great things and be a great leader to others! 

 The seventh point is that its our choice. Peter didn’t have to leave everything and follow Jesus! That’s a tough choice but he made it. He became the leader that made sure God’s work continued on this Earth. Similarly, God asks us to drop our preconceptions, our selfishness, and let him have the directing control of our lives instead of us ourselves.

 It’s our choice! It’s your choice! How much do we allow God to direct our lives or do we argue with and reject Jesus? Allow God to direct our lives and he will mold our leadership abilities into a powerful force. Reject him and we will be leading from a base that is soft and self centered.

I reject “luck” and choose Jesus, the Father and the amazing Holy Spirit.
 Peter became great by following God’s guidelines!
I think we can do the same!
What do you think?
Sun, March 21, 2010 | 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?

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