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Friday, July 29, 2011

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“An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”
 Dr. Joyce Brothers

    
Poor self-image is something that pulls us down throughout our lives isn’t it?

 
There are so many reasons we do this to ourselves aren’t there?

 We argue we are not very clever, simply because others think faster and seem to achieve more than we do in the same time. Yet we fail to see that from a Christian perspective this is not a measure of wisdom, their pride at being better is their downfall. Instead we find the bible says in Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, shame follows. But wisdom comes to those who are not proud.

 Seems to me that most of us in this situation are wise because we put God first and don’t think highly of our own abilities but trust God.

 Sometimes we feel we are less than acceptably beautiful and so we feel bad around others even though we often don’t say so. Others are so beautiful, healthy, glowing, strong and we feel inferior. So often this view of others is bent and twisted. True beauty is not in the physical but the heart and we know this but want to have a chance to be like others.

 Proverbs 31:30 says “Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.”

 Beauty is not there for long and life is long! Skills we develop as we allow God to build an inner beauty that is not attached to our physical makeup will last for eternity. We need to take the body we have been given, look after it as best we can, but develop the true beauty of a Godly life connected to Holy Spirit who will do miracles and make us beautiful in amazing ways.

 Maybe we just feel like we are fools and klutz’s in social situations! We hardly seem able to find the right word to say and get tongue tied and embarrassed when people focus on us. Well people who talk a lot can get into trouble more easily. See what it says in Titus 1:10 Many people refuse to obey God. All they do is talk a lot. They try to fool others.

 If we try to please God and if we allow him to know our true worth, and we realize Jesus died for us, then we see we are worth a lot. Once we have that confidence, we can with gentleness and humility enter into conversations knowing we may not be the best speaker, but our worth is no less than another’s.

 When Jesus was talking to that Samaritan women those many years ago it was a radical step for a Jewish man to take. Jewish people around Jesus considered Samaritans unclean and avoided them. He didn’t, he walked right into their country, even if they didn’t really want him there either.
 
 The woman he spoke to had a really bad self-image! Image how bad a self-image you get when you have had five different husbands. If that was me by then, I would know it’s me that has the problem and not the men! What do you think?

 Just the fact she was getting water in the heat of the day when the other women would not be there suggests she was not popular.

 Jesus cared for her! He healed her socially and healed her self worth as well!

 Jesus wants to do that for all of us!
 
 How about we allow him to do this?
 
 How about we allow Holy Spirit to reveal to us our true worth and that we believe it and start to do things the way God leads us?

 That way we will have more and more enjoyable days! Right?
Fri, July 29, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The difficulty of explaining complex things!
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Children are unpredictable.
You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next. 
~Franklin P.
Jones

Have you ever tried to explain a complex concept to a child?

We could choose anything to be the subject but I am sure all adults have had to explain sex to their children. i.e. why some are male and some are female, and where we all came from.

 
Did we start out explaining to the four to six year old, complex concepts such as; what DNA is, how there are different types of cells, how cells divide, the genetic progression as a result of this, why sperm and egg cells differ from other cells in the body, and much more in this line of instruction?

 Probably not!
 
  It probably started with a few simple explanations that are fairly inaccurate when the child is between four and six years old, and got increasingly complex to be a fully fledged discussion between the ages of 13 and 21.

 That initial conversation is difficult isn’t it? How do we take a large emotive subject and distil it down into a few simple statements a child can understand. We simplify don’t we? We go for the large truths they can understand. Those that keep them safe and allow them to develop. We do this because we love them don't we?

 Okay, so let’s understand how this ancient guy called John, who was a person Jesus loved, tries to write to explain what he knows about Jesus, to us.

 
We get a glimpse of the complexity of knowledge the apostle John has in his book called Revelations which we cannot ever really fully understand. Perhaps it’s complex because human words cannot describe what is being described. John understood complex things! He knew things we cannot understand!

 He also wrote the gospel of John and he spends some time explaining to us there was another John, called John the Baptist who started explaining God to ordinary people just before Jesus started to do the same thing.

 
The words that John the Baptist said, and which John the Apostle selected to record, are important because they simplify a complex subject down to easily understood, manageable chunks.
 
 We are like children trying to understand the complexities of God, so it’s difficult for us to get it all. Here are the words chosen (John 3:31-36 NIRV):

 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

 This is complex itself isn’t it. Let’s simplify it even more!
 
 The one who comes from above is Jesus. So John is saying

 “Jesus is above all”
 
 What does this mean?

 As humans we love putting things into hierarchies where the most important is at the top. So we rank things as lower and higher in the hierarchies.
 
 John is putting Jesus at the top!

 It is important and so he repeats it saying . “The one who comes from heaven is above all.”

 Jesus comes from heaven. He comes from that place we know little about other than it is the place God comes from, and it is a wonderful place to live. The bible says, “The Son of Man will come in all his glory. All the angels will come with him. Then he will sit on his throne in the glory of heaven.”[1] So we know Jesus has a throne there and is important.

 Paul comments on this as well. He says 1 Corinthians 15:47 “The first man came from the dust of the earth. The second man came from heaven.” He is talking of the original man referred to as Adam, as the first man, and to Jesus as the second.

 He says; 1 Corinthians 15:48
“ Those who belong to the earth are like the one who came from the earth. And those who are spiritual are like the one who came from heaven.”

 Here we see that those of human descent from Adam are referred to as those that came from the Earth.

  Jesus is refered to as of spiritual descent and coming from heaven.
 
 Through accepting Jesus in some ways we are a combination. We are of earthly descent by Adam, but when we accept Jesus and allow Holy Spirit to live within us and guide our lives, we become of heavenly descent as well.
 
 
Isn’t that incredible?

 To go back to what John the Baptist said, he then says “He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.”

 
 Okay, this seems a bit weird right?
 
 
Jesus tells us what he has seen and heard and it says no-one accepts what he says.


 
Surely that cannot be true? Some surely accept what Jesus says?

 
Perhaps it means a few or some, when it says no-one!

 Bible commentaries all try to re-word it this way, but the word is oudeis and it means no one, nothing at all. The explanation of it is “(oudeís) is deductive in force so it excludes every (any) example that is included withing the premise (supposition).”
[2]

 There is not one who accepts his testimony.

 
 Contradictions like this are often hard to understand and interesting at the same time aren’t they? Particularly when it then says in the next sentence,Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.”

 On the one hand we see no-one accepts and on the other hand some do. Surely John needs to make up his mind?
 
 Either it’s accept or not?

 To understand what is going on we need to get into John’s mind just a little.  A sentence or two back he was talking of theone who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth”

 Men of the earth have no hope of accepting what Jesus says. Not one of the earth centric men will accept the truths of God without God’s help. We are lost and unable to progress like children without guidance.

 Paul explains this saying 1 Corinthians 2:12
 “We have not received the spirit of the world. We have received the Spirit who is from God. The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us.

 Only empowered by God’s Spirit can earthly man move into the spiritual and accept Jesus.

 Like children who must move into the sphere of adults who love and care for them, to have complex truths revealed to them, we as earthly man must have the presence of God’s Spirit to enable us to understand truth.

 
When we accept the truth that Jesus is the son of God, that he comes from heaven and he is above all men, then wecertified that God is truthful”.

 If we don’t accept this truth, then we are by default saying God is a liar!

 If we do this and God is who he says he is, we have just insulted the creator of everything who keeps every life form alive. He gives us life by the power of his creation and the strength of the laws he has imposed (and which we try and give names to  daily).

 This is no small insult!

 John explains it as “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.”

 God choose to send us Jesus and permit Jesus to provide the Spirit to whoever he wants to. There is no limit on those that can receive Holy Spirit to guide their lives.

 Jesus is God’s mouthpiece. Jesus takes complex words and becomes a child to talk to us children. What better explanation than the words of a child who understands, explaining a complex issue in childish words to a peer?

 In this way we can listen, or we can arrogantly discard Jesus saying he knows nothing more than any other, or that he is not above all men.

 
Doing this means that we run great risk and will have to change our minds before it’s too late. God the Fatherloves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”

 That means we are in Jesus’ hands as well! Yet he chooses to give us free will to decide how we want to continue. We need to respond correctly. If we do, we have eternal life starting NOW!

 If not…

 It says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

 I guess the simple way to explain this is “don’t anger God”.
 
 A fool insults a person who has the ability to have them killed at a moments notice. A bigger fool insults both that person and their son. An even bigger fool insults the person, their son, and throws down a precious free gift from that person.

 If we do this, who is doing the killing, the person with authority, or the behaviour of those rejecting everything.

 
God wants us to become princes with Jesus, he opens up the royal treasury and gives us the gift of eternity and Holy Spirit to guide and help us. Is it surprising that rejection of these gifts, his son, and calling him a liar results in anger.

 Not really!

 Today I want to step up to our leader Jesus, tell him I accept him as above all, from heaven, and as the holder of the very words of God. I want to accept Holy Spirit in my life and I want to live victoriously, just the way God wants me to live.

 What about you?


[2] http://strongsnumbers.com/greek/3762.htm

Thu, July 28, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How did life originate? Let the land produce vegetation!
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       ‘I intentionally left the question of the origin of life uncanvassed as being altogether ultra vires in the present state of our knowledge.’
Letter 13747 — Darwin, C. R. to Wallich, G. C., 28 Mar 1882

  When we talk of the origin of life, so many people automatically jump to the book written by Darwin and start to think evolution.



 This book he wrote is not about the origin of life despite it’s title and actually Darwin says little to nothing about how life originated, although he says a lot about how it developed after it originated.

  I didn’t understand “ultra vires” and looked it up online. It apparently means “Beyond one's legal power or authority” (my big words of the dayJ ).

 In making this statement(under the picture above) Darwin was saying he was not finalizing the statement on the origin of life because he knew he didn’t know enough to make the statements conclusively. I wish people today would have that type of ethic or courage.

  Darwin is not the author of how life originates, he agrees! Others have tried to do this and have also failed.

  Years ago a guy by the name of Alexander Ivanovich Oparin said that there is no real difference between living and lifeless matter and suggested methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapour could produce life (he was a Russian scientist). Then another guy, John Burdon Sanderson Haldane  (a  British Marxist and evolutionary scientist) supported this and two guys, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did an experiment at the university of Chicago in 1953 where they claimed to have produced amino acids from what they considered was the original atmosphere.

 While there have been many attempts to produce life from matter they have all failed, although a few amino acids have been produced.

 So far no-one has been able to produce life from matter, and the components require fancy laboratory conditions. No-one would consider trying to duplicate this in an actual earth environment.

 The Miller-Urey experiment assumed an atmosphere that is unlike what they now believe the original earth atmosphere to be. That means its results were proving the wrong thing.

 So, life origin is still in dispute. That said, we can turn to the bible with confidence and read the following in Genesis 1 [NIV]

 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

       
 God doesn’t say how he did it. or even if there was vegetation in the seas before this. All that is said, is that he formed vegetation on land and it developed to the point that there were trees and they had seed. He also says they reproduce after their various kinds.

 Now if we look at what science says, we see that science does not disagree with this basic statement.

 The scientists suggested the first type of life energy used photosynthesis (I guess you could call them plants, but actually they are just small photosynthetic organisms like algae and bacteria). The best guess to date is that they started somewhere between three billion and two billion years ago. Life then becomes way more complex and diverse just under a billion years ago.

 They say we had an earth covered with snow and ice about 750million years ago give or take a few tens of million years(they call it the snowball earth). After this life started and then it developed to the point we have seed plants. The first of these were Pteridosperms (a type of seed ferns) and Cordaites which they say lived about 416 to 359.2 million years ago in a period they call the Devonian Period.

 In fact the vegetation timeline of science is roughly as follows;
Multi Cellular plants    1 billion years ago 
Ice age716 million years ago 
Plants with vascular tissue     443 million years ago“Cooksonia” was growing
Seed plants    416 to 359.2 million years ago
plants with woody roots    360 to 300 million years ago
grasses35 million years ago
 

In another letter of Darwin to N. D. Doedes on 2 April 1873, Darwin says this; “I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose.”

 We are naturally interested in how things come about! The bible says that vegetation creation follows on land after land is created. This is logical and turns out to be correct as well. So we have no issues with the bible account (bearing in mind it was a simplistic text written for escaped Egyptian slaves to show them their God was the true God and not the Egyptian God’s). This text needed to be succinct and of summary form. Those ancient Hebrews would not have been able to conceptualise, let alone transfer the knowledge that we have today!

 Yet even with this knowledge we want to know what was behind this don’t we? I suggest it was God himself.

 What is important to realise is that we as people are remarkable complex in our thinking and we are creative as well. These are attributes of God himself.
 
 Our creativity needs to be constrained to seeking and understanding truth in all its varieties and if we let Holy Spirit guide the process it can become an adventure.

 We can read the bible as a book, the first chapter as being difficult to understand and so put it down, or we can investigate it’s truths with enthusiasm and find out amazing things about our world past and present.

 This is my approach! I want to understand what God did and rejoice in the complexity and incredible variety of ideas that come into play.

 I find our God amazing in that he could write a text about three and a half thousand years ago that has application today, don’t you?

 Today as I walk around our marvellous world and look at the plants, trees and grasses I want to thank God for them. As I sit in the cool shade of a tree, I want to thank God for his creation. What about you?

Wed, July 27, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Light has come into the world, but what are we doing with it?
    
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A light is still a light-even though the blind man cannot see it.
Austrian Proverb


 When that sun flared into existence many years ago, we were not there to see it, but it flared into existence without us.

 Perhaps God smiled as that first glow flooded our immature baby earth.


 We don’t think of it much but almost all the energy we use in this world comes from that source. Nuclear and heat from the earths core are perhaps exceptions, the sun is our basic source of energy.

 For example, oil is simply sun locked into carbon creatures that then died and made their life form available to us for energy, coal is no different. All plants require that same sun to flourish, and the light and heat to exist. Animals can only exist by preying on those that eat vegetation or by eating vegetation themselves. We are no different!

 That sun powers our crops, our cars, our lives!

 Yet, do we even pay it attention?

 If the day is murky, moody and overcast we complain, if it is steamy hot we do the same! Only when we get those beautiful sunshine days with blue sky, just the right temperature where the greens are more vivid and the day seems to have a sharpness and clarity that brings us an understanding of the joy of life, do we appreciate the sun’s greatness.

 Even at night as we make a fire or switch on a light, we are using the power of our sun, captured in the forces that harness it. No sun, no water only ice, therefore no life, no hydro electric power!

 This we understand when we consider it!

 In the universe there is another light force. Jesus talking to Nicodemous (a smart guy from the ancient Jewish world) says in John 3[NIV];

 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

 Just like the sun is physical light, Jesus, the son of God, talks of his coming to us as a light coming into the world.

 
 This is a spiritual light and is no less important than the physical sun. Jesus is the powerhouse of our spiritual lives. Since the spiritual gives rise to the physical, we know he is the one that even keeps our physical sun going. (There are other verses that support this statement J )

 Perhaps he chooses this analogy because he knows how easy it is for us to understand. Light and darkness cannot co-exits, neither can Jesus and evil. Where he is, evil is not!

 Coming to a realization of who Jesus really is, forces an awareness and viewing of the reality of the difference between light and darkness, between truth and lies, between good and evil!

 Good is not defined here as doing nice things others approve of, but rather doing what God wants and rejecting the evil of the world as defined by God’s guidelines.

 Light enables others to see things more clearly. When we get to heaven, we will have the light of Jesus’ life against which we will be able to clearly see how poorly we lived! Then, because we love and accept Jesus, forgiveness for failing to be all that we could be is received. We will be forgiven for not doing what we could have done by living in this light. Jesus will make the difference and we will get to experience a new challenge, that of living a vibrant and challenging everlasting life with him!

 This is good for then, but equally as good for now! Instead of waiting until then, we can permit ourselves to connect to the power source of the light in this life.

 The spiritual energy is available to us if we open ourselves and allow it in. We need to draw back the drapes hiding the light from entering our lives. Pull back that unbelief, the unforgiveness, the hates, angers, hurts of life, and let the light of God enter our lives healing, generating joy and warmth of life.

 That’s my plan today, what is yours?
Tue, July 26, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do I explain my message clearly, or hide the truth in the message to be discovered later?

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The art of communication is the language of leadership.
James Humes




      I was reflecting on how we often believe that we must improve on the clarity of our communication to get a point across, but is this true?

 If history is to be believed, Jesus was the communicator above all communicators.

 His message, told to a small group of people in an occupied land where they were oppressed and controlled by the foreign power, has reached the world, shaped western civilization (do you know the Ivy League universities in the USA we started due to Christian influence?), and changed the lives of millions.

 Every day, people die willingly to be part of life that is communicated by Jesus.

 Yet, his communications were not without misunderstanding and confusion that he didn’t try to clear up immediately.

 How dare I say that?

 Let’s read something written by John, the guy that followed Jesus, that Jesus loved. . .

 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
 
 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
 
  They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

 This is found as the second main event in chapter 2 of John’s writing.

 So here we see Jesus communicating non-verbally with a whip!  A loving God, whipping people? Clear message here right?

 

Secondly when asked about his authority to do it he answers “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

 Okay folk, don’t tell me Jesus wasn’t doing and saying these things deliberately because then we would be getting illogical. Making a scene, overthrowing tables and upsetting the business commercial activities  is not something you do without wanting to be noticed. It’s a bit like someone going into a bank and shouting at the top of their voices that all tellers are to empty all money form their machines onto the floor and get out the bank. Do we really think people would not notice this?

 So Jesus’ actions were designed to be noticed!

 Yet, the message they conveyed is not the message he was here on earth to deliver, was it. This could easily be misconstrued as that of a militant radical, which Jesus was not!

 Secondly, this answer to his authority to do this is deliberately misleading. It appears that Jesus has a tendency to speak truth in ways which people found difficult to understand and disentangle!

 They are standing in the temple Herod built. It is a magnificent building, huge, and when Jesus says “destroy this temple” no one would have thought he was talking of his own body in the way the disciples later understood it to be!

 My only conclusion is that he was hiding the true meaning behind his words until they would have maximum impact.

 At the time, people would simply have considered him crazy!

 So, I come back to my thoughts on clarity of communication, something we all desire today. We get lots of advice on how to structure language for meaning, but at the end of it all, the message provides it’s true impact if God design’s it. If God sets it up to reach the mind of the person receiving it, at just the right moment, when it is likely to have greatest meaning and be best understood.

 Only God can know these things, not us!
 
 So in our communications, the best advice is to pray about it beforehand, allow Holy Spirit to filter the message down through your soul into your mind (which means removing blockages from that process), and then faithfully reproduce the desired message whether people will fully understand it or not.

 It took years of walking with Jesus for the disciples to understand those few words. He had be killed and had to come back to life again, before the meaning is understood and started to take effect. Then, consider the effect it had!
 
 Those men were willing to give their all, even their lives for the message.

 In our communications, do we allow God to use us, in similar ways.

  I hope I can be of service in this way and pray you will also have this privilege.

 God bless you as you have a wonderful, Godly directed day!
Mon, July 25, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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