Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, July 8, 2011
Is it good to give? Why are gifts of any value and when should we give them?
Fri, July 8, 2011 | link
"The greatest gift is a portion of thyself." I
guess it really depends on the gift if it is to be useful and appreciated.
Tolkien in his book
on “Fellowship of the ring” describes how his mythical creatures, the hobbits, give gifts that he describes as
A mathom is birthday present who’s use is totally forgotten and which instead of using, one passes onto the next person as their birthday gift. Mathoms
are not useful! They are the types of gifts we can do without! They weigh the receiver down with the responsibility
of having to deal with it and find a good way to get rid of it. Ever given someone a mathom type gift just to get them out
Probably a totally different approach to gift giving is described in 2 Corinthians 8 [NIRV] where
Even though they were very poor, they gave very freely.
I give witness that they gave as much as they could. In fact,
they gave even more than they could. Completely on their own, they begged us for the chance to share in serving God's
people in that way. They did more than we expected. First they gave themselves to the Lord. Then
they gave themselves to us in keeping with what God wanted.
Here are people who appeared
as if they could not afford to give gifts searching for ways to do so!
They have a heart to help and make it possible for God’s people to achieve what God would want
them to do.
We can learn from them! How often do we look for ways of giving
to spiritual work?
We may think money is the way
to do this, but there are more effective means as well. How about our time? What is that worth? When we are tired and not
feeling the greatest and there is a time of spiritual getting together, do we opt out and in so doing reduce the ability for
other to enjoy a powerful enjoyable time?
What about providing help to those who cannot help themselves? Do we see that
as a spiritual purpose or a drudge?
There is a saying that “in giving we receive”
first said by St Francis of Assisi. This was a guy who was wealthy had been a soldier and then met God. It
changed him forever and he started helping the poor and teaching repentance(turning from wrong ways back to God).
He discovered that giving was far superior to receiving!
I am reminded of a modern parable
in the life of Tim, a guy who works with homeless people who have very little. Tim got motivated into this way of life by
a gift from a homeless man who’s only words to him ever was “God knows your name!”
These words have blessed him for years now
and they were given in thanks, appreciation and truth when he was very young.
gifts have huge value but true gifts have a key ingredient, they come when they are needed!
This is why I rely on Holy Spirit to prompt my timing of gifts.
How else can I get this important ingredient right?
Only God knows the perfect time!
I can only try to hear and respond in kindness as that timing matures.
What about you?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Genesis 1:6-8 “separate water from water." How was it done?
Thu, July 7, 2011 | link
“Heavy hearts, like heavy
clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.”
God separated water on Earth! The bible does not say how it
So how does science say it was done?
Remember when I wrote that blog on the first verses of Genesis we looked at the fact that the nebula
from which the Earth was constructed has hydrogen and helium and water in it?
This water in the nebula
is to a large extent the water that was also part of the formation of the Earth. (See previous blogs).
Now the scientists say that about 4.4billion years ago (give or take a
few hundred million years) a hot mushy, volcanic type earth pushed out gases and liquids from it’s core and
two things happened.
Firstly it formed an atmosphere and secondly it formed the primeval
This first atmosphere was full of carbon dioxide CO2 (they believe) but also contained
water vapour. In addition there would have been continual impacts by comets,
asteroids and meteors that added to this mix.
Water would have slowly been absorbed into the carbon dioxide atmosphere. The
sea water would also have absorbed some carbon dioxide.
Dense clouds would have blanketed the
earth obscuring the sun and then below this atmosphere, one huge ocean
enveloped the earth.
Compare this to the Genesis account which we must remember, had to be written in a way escaped slaves could understand, remember, repeat and teach their
Genesis 1:6-8 New International
Reader's Version (NIRV)
God said, "Let there be a huge space between the waters.
Let it separate water from water." And that's exactly what happened. God made the huge space between
the waters. He separated the water that was under the space from the water that was above it. God called
the huge space "sky." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day two.
this wording a masterpiece?
has been remembered exactly for thousands of years! It succinctly describes EXACTLY the process science has only uncovered
We may be smart, but if we had to understand the effect of this consider doing the following (as an
Explain how in 3500years time, the atmosphere and earth would look! Now craft a five sentence paragraph
that would be remembered from now until then, that people would be able to understand at that time and which would be 100%
It’s hard isn’t it?
a powerful loving God!
That’s why I will trust him with my day today. A God who can predict things that way and communicate them so well is one I look up to and one
I am willing to allow guide my every move during the day.
I want the living water, the Holy Spirit,
to guide me today! What about you?
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Genesis 1:3 The creation of light, Nun, Naunet and Ra
Wed, July 6, 2011 | link
Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness.
Egyptian mythology and
Genesis 1:3 collide!
Genesis 1:3 [NIRV] says
said, "Let there be light." And there was light. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the
darkness. God called the light "day." He called the darkness "night." There was evening, and there was
morning. It was day one.
Now I have explained that the word “day” can mean “period”
and that the statement “there was evening, and there was morning” is an idiomatic expression so that this can
be read and translated differently to this specific way it is written if one looks at the original language and what was written.
Genesis 1: 3-5 Let there be light . . .and there was and
Gen 1:5 And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
for detail on this aspect!
However, there is another aspect to the Genesis statement
that is linked with refuting Egyptian god worship.
Israelites on leaving Egypt had been immersed in a foreign culture for 400years and so would have adopted many of its practices
and even its gods.
One of these gods was the god Nun. (It has a female counter-part Naunet as well)
In the first day of Egyptian religion, the
god Nun which is primal water out of a bubbling and churning chaos, produces the world.
Then, Ra, the sun god appears out of a lotus flower at the surface of the water and gives light to
Can we see that God asked Moses to write down the true first period
of creation to refute the mythological one?
Ra was the mid-day sun to Egyptians. As the Israelites walked through the burning
sun on their journey through that deserted region, it would have oppressed them with its heat, generating thirst not only
for water, but also for cool!
The Israelite minds would turn to the potential of appealing to this sun
god Ra. Moses wrote there was no Ra! It was Elohim, or the true God, the
father of Jesus that was the creator.
So Genesis 1:3 does more than explain creation, it refutes false gods
at the same time.
In Egyptian mythology Ra was later linked with a local sun god Atum-Ra, which was the first being and originator of other gods, Shu and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, Osiris,
Set, Isis and Nephthys which were all part of the Ennead or nine key deities. (The word Ennead is Greek not
Egyptian and simply describes this group).
So, by refuting Ra, God was refuting the origin of all nine Egyptian
It’s amazing that God packed so much into so few verses of Genesis isn’t
It takes textbooks to explain everything alluded to in those few words
the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth didn't have any shape. And it was empty. Darkness was over
the surface of the ocean. At that time, the ocean covered the earth. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
God said, "Let there be light." And there was light. God saw
that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day." He called the darkness
"night." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one.
These words were made simple so they could be easily remembered,
they used Hebrew with deeper meaning than our English words so we could discover their depth in these later years of civilization’s
history, they were directly applicable to the escaped slaves by refuting false beliefs they had adopted and these words also
allow us to tie them to the very latest discoveries of truth in science.
is a very great God!
Today we should not
try and put boundaries around God. We cannot “manage” God or
“control” God! We cannot even plan our lives as well as God can. Look how well he planned a few sentences!
No, instead we need to be empowered by God. Jesus
said Holy Spirit would live within us. I know that can sound creepy but it’s not! It’s the most wonderful supernatural
experience we humans can have. It’s a free gift of God through Jesus to us.
left his Holy Spirit to live within and guide us. That’s
what I want to acknowledge and live out today. What about you?
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Passing the sword today!
Tue, July 5, 2011 | link
“Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.”
Have you seen those movies when a powerful king hands over control to another person?
Where they take the sword with its ornate handle and gleaming blade? Where it is handed to
another in a dramatic and deeply moving moment. Understood for those of us who understand the ancient power hierarchies and
how they work?
sword was the working representation of a person’s power! It was
the instrument of saving and taking lives in battles or refuting challenger’s authority. To the ancient king his sword
was more than a symbol, it was his safety, his power, his respect, his honour, and the item used to protect those he loved.
Ancient Christians knew swords well! They lived their lives surrounded
by them and even owned them.
The bible has something to say about swords. One thing it says is how dangerous they are to those who oppose their power.
4:12 [NIRV] The word of God is living and active. It is sharper than any sword that has two edges.
It cuts deep enough to separate soul from spirit. It can separate joints from bones. It judges the thoughts and purposes of
the heart. Nothing God created is hidden from him. His eyes see everything. He will hold us accountable for everything we
We can see the analogy clearly here, but we may not know exactly what Paul is trying to tell those
He talks of the word of God, as a sword.
word of God is a weapon for Christians.
So often, as Christians, we misunderstand this to be the written bible and we use the verses as if they are weapons to inflict damage on our world.
a sword in the hands of an inexpert person is as likely to bring them injury as it is to protect them. To be good
with a sword it must be an extension of oneself, not a dangling piece of metal in our hand.
look at another piece of Paul’s writing to get some more clarity.
Ephesians 6:17 [NIRV] says
Put on the helmet
of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God's word.
So who wields this sword?
Who does it belong to?
Holy Spirit is the one who provides us with the sword. It is Holy Spirit’s authority that is handed to us in the word of God.
a defeated King with no realm handed the prince a sword, it’s value is less than if an King with a huge realm, many
subjects and a large army handed the prince a sword, right?
Why? Is it because the value of the sword is more than the specific item, but is intrinsic in the value of the person who
hands it across.
The power of the blade comes from the power of the original blade owner.
It is the same with God’s word!
The power of the bible is not in its words alone! Only with the authority of Holy Spirit behind those words and guiding our usage of the word,
does the power of our ability to inflict damage on those who would selfishly, ignorantly and nastily hurt others increase,
and our power to extend the love, faith and hope of God’s kingdom increase!
word empowered by Holy Spirit is the working representation of God’s power working through us. It was the instrument of saving and taking lives in spiritual battles or refuting a challenger’s
To the Christian, God’s word is more than a book of text, it is our safety, our power, our respect,
our honour, and the item we use to protect those we love.
How about it?
Are you ready
to be passed the sword?
Are you perhaps ready to pass the sword to others?
Holy Spirit in our hearts makes that sword come alive and the fire of God’s energy and love explodes into the
world through it.
It is my objective to use this wonderful gift today!
What about you?
Monday, July 4, 2011
Gen 1:5 And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Mon, July 4, 2011 | link
much as I'd like to meet the tooth fairy on an evening walk, I don't really believe it can happen.
Morning breaks on the start of a new week and my mind goes to that age
old difference of opinion between Christians, is a day in genesis an “actual” day or not.
Since the bible is actually about introducing people to God the creator and is
not a textbook on how creation was done, the simple answer is rather a question.
Do you know God?
We will leave you to answer, but regarding this discussion, we like to give alternatives that allows us to genuinely connect and have compassion for those who perhaps
have different ideas than ourselves.
Since the average Christian will blindly believe and say the
words “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day,”
refer to the evening of the first 24 hour
period and the start of the next, we want to offer an biblical alternative.
let us point out the English doesn’t
quite work. To say what people think it says correctly we would say “and
there was evening of the first day and morning of the second”.
That is not what it says is it?
Now let’s dig just a little deeper. A guy by the name of Dr. Otto J. Helweg pointed the following out. . .
and morning" is an idiomatic expression in Semitic languages. Like all idioms, its meaning is non-literal but clearly
understood by native speakers.
The usage in Hebrew means it refers to
a non-literal meaning, that’s why it doesn’t say what I wrote
a few paragraphs back as the correct wording.
He goes onto say “The phrase ‘evening
and morning’ can, like yom, denote a long and indefinite period. “
Now if you have followed my
blogs previously you will know the Hebrew word for day is “yom” and can mean a period as easily
as it means a day.
Dr. Helweg then says “The Old Testament itself
unambiguously uses the "evening and morning" phrase in just such a way. In Daniel 8 we read the account of Daniel's
ram and goat vision and the interpretation given by Gabriel. The vision covers many years; some commentators believe the time
has not yet been completed. Daniel 8:26 says, "The vision of the evenings and the mornings that have been given to you
is true, but seal up the vision for it concerns the distant future" (RSV). In Hebrew manuscripts, "the evenings
and mornings," is not in the plural but in the singular, identical to the expression we find in Genesis 1. Translated
literally, the verse would read, "And the vision of the evening and the morning that has been given you"
Here we have a clear indication from scriptural usage that this phrase does not demand a 24-hour-day interpretation
and can refer to an indefinite epoch.”
So let I checked this out biblecc.org to find out he was correct.
Daniel 8:26 should perhaps more accurately say "And the vision of the evening and the morning that
has been given you"
So looking at it in a more modern translation (not the original)
gives the words as:
Genesis 1:5 [NIRV] says “God called the light "day."
He called the darkness "night." There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one.”
Daniel 8:26 [NIRV] says "The vision of the evenings and mornings
that has been given to you is true. But seal up the vision. It tells about a time far off."
that biblically the expression "evenings and mornings" can
quite easily be taking of a point of divergence, or separation. A watershed
is another word we might use.
Evening and morning, can simply mean the end of the
old and start of the new period.
These is no more reason to be dogmatic about
24 hours days and mornings and evenings, than there is not to be!
These are matters of
preference, not truth!
The truth is that God created us to
be his friends and that if we are to be like him we will be friends of others, we don’t alienate them!
Today I am taking this as a lesson. Let’s be friends with others and
move away from needless arguments!
Sometimes it’s important to do two things. . .
Love the other and answer
a question with a question.
Perhaps ask what a person believes and why they say certain
Then let us honestly
When we listen, we often learn something new that helps us have compassion for another and move forward in love.
That was Jesus style!
Ever notice how often he asked questions.
the God who knows about everything can ask a question to give others freedom of choice and belief, perhaps we should to?
Hey, have a great day!
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