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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine’s day and Christianity


Valentine’s day and Christianity
heart.jpg

Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!” ~  Thomas Hood

 

Are you aware that romance as we think of it today was probably only invented in the twelfth century by troubadours as mentioned by Joseph Campbell, in the Power of Myth.

Before that time marriages were generally arranged and agreed to between families and were for political or economic gain.

Over time, and as the rights of woman were affirmed by society, the romance industry grew and today the book and film industry makes millions every year from promotion of this relationship.

Harlequin, one of the largest book sellers of romance stories did surveys on how romance was changing and provided a report[1] that gave facts like;

·         91% of modern-day women surveyed believe dating rules have become more flexible, but 59% of these women still expect a man to ask her out.

·         Modesty is no longer a virtue in contemporary society – in the news or in real life

·         single women in the U.S. aged 18 to 40, 43% of all respondents admitted to "sexting" – sending a text message containing suggestive and highly explicit sexual language. Though 65% of those women will "sext" only while in a serious relationship, 36% of casual daters polled admit to sending a risqué message after just a few dates.

·         Twenty-seven percent of all respondents had sent nude photos via emails or text messages.

·         The traditional charms of a man, such as a sense of humor (82%) or a killer smile (57%), remain the most popular "turn-ons

·         Respondents still believe a man should ask a woman out (59%), hold the door for them (54%) and pay for the first date (51%).

·         56% of the respondents reported that they feel pressure to be married or in a committed relationship

·         Almost 75% of the respondents reported that their dating life was "boring," regardless of their relationship status.

·         Of the top 5 factors women respondents listed as "deal breakers," 3 were technology-related:

o   Too needy (32%)

o   Dependence on a BlackBerry/ iPhone (31%)

o   Having too many Facebook photos with an ex-girlfriend (29%)

o   Grammatically challenged (24%)

o   Married to his work/ still lives with his parents (20%)

As a Christian, where are we on romance and Valentine’s day?

My opinion is that romance that lies within what is explained as good male to female love relationships within the bible is to be enjoyed. The bible has a whole book written about lovers and loving called the Song of Solomon. This makes statements like...

Many waters cannot quench love;

    rivers cannot sweep it away.

If one were to give

    all the wealth of one’s house for love,

    it would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:7 NIRV

 

Love is encouraged but wild romance is not!

Romance today has unfortunately become to woman what pornography is to many men. Romance raises the expectations of a married partners performance to unrealistic proportions making disillusionment potential and discontent likely.

Why would 75% of dating relationships be labeled as boring? Perhaps because it’s a “me” focus instead of a “we” focus.

Maybe romantic expectations are no longer reality based? Perhaps if we allowed God’s love to grow instead the love would become more realistic, more focussed on our loves desire, more enriched by their presence and we would become more content?

Perhaps like of ancient times woman would be able to acknowledge of their lovers...

My love, among the young men

    you are like an apple tree among the trees of the forest.

I’m happy to sit in your shade.

    Your fruit tastes so sweet to me.

4 You have taken me to the dinner hall.

    Your banner of love is lifted high above me.

5 Give me some raisins to make me strong.

    Give me some apples to make me feel like new again.

    Our love has made me weak.

6 Your left arm is under my head.

    Your right arm is around me. Song of Solomon 2:3-6

 

Men would be responding (okay maybe the words are to old, but I am sure you understand where I am going)...

My bride, you have stolen my heart

    with one glance of your eyes.

My sister, you have stolen my heart

    with one jewel in your necklace.

10 My bride, your love is so delightful.

    My sister, your love makes me happier than wine does.

    Your perfume smells better than any spice.

11 Your lips are as sweet as a honeycomb, my bride.

    Milk and honey are under your tongue.  Song of Solomon 4:9-11

While the bible accepts romance, it wants it within the permitted relationships God endorses and blesses.

Let’s enjoy the thrill of romance, but keep it within the bounds of dating and marriage that enable true love and not mystical disillusionment.

Wild flings are not Godly or Christian! Deep committed love is Godly and Christian!

Have a great Valentine’s day!


[1] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/harlequins-2012-romance-report-findings-indicate-romance--technology--itscomplicated-139001069.html

Thu, February 14, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Walking barefoot

 

 

Walking barefoot

 

barefoot.jpg

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.” ~ Nadine Stair

(Note: to any Arab person viewing this image it is a western representation so please do not take it as an insult.)

Many years ago there was an Olympic athlete that ran her races barefoot.

Zola Budd was her name.

This amazing little farm girl twice broke the world record in the women's 5000 metres and twice was the women's winner at the World Cross Country Championships.

She is best known for getting boo’d in a race in America where it was believed by the crowd she had tripped the USA favourite Mary Dekker. She ran on, but slowed at the end, finishing well under her customary time with the crowd booing.

Why?

Because she had tripped the favourite?   No!

Mary Dekker was later to say many years after the event “The reason I fell, some people think she tripped me deliberately. I happen to know that wasn’t the case at all. The reason I fell is because I am and was very inexperienced in running in a pack."[1]

Zola then slowed because she didn’t want to win with a crowd of people booing her. She could have won but chose not to!

This was a simple farm girl who found not only she had an amazing talent, but also found she enjoyed the freedom of running with bare feet, the way God designed us. She endured much strain and stress from the press and political people, but she experienced great happenings the average farm girl simply dreams of experiencing and never does.

Have you ever taken time to experience warm beach sand under your bare feet, the soft feel of fresh grass, rubbed an itchy foot against the bark of a tree, dipped hot feet in cool spring water, trudged over a gritty path feeling those tinny pebbles rolling and scattering and sometimes getting caught in between your toes?

Coming from Africa, I spent many a childhood day in the sun shoeless, running, playing, climbing (toes grip well) and swimming.

Freedom!

Yet, freedom to be used carefully!

 Broken glass needs to be avoided, rocks must not be kicked and although the soles become tough and can withstand most simple thorns, those nasty half to one inch white thorns must not be stepped on or serious pain ensues.

Many in North America and other first world environment don’t know the joy of running shoeless through life, and think of it as below their dignity.

They miss a great delight!

I enjoy thinking that God must wryly smile at this.

The poorer people have a joy the richer could have, but fail to respect.

How much of our lives do we spend hiding ourselves from simple truths like this one?

 How much of our intellect is based on a false tradition handed down by others.

Sometimes we get a glimpse of reality in something someone says. Maybe through my description of the delights of barefoot living you can touch those joys momentarily as you consider them. Perhaps they are not real to you, perhaps too real.

Reading God’s word is like that for me. It is that short interval of eye opening understanding that opens each day. Today I read...

The Lord Almighty has a day in store
    for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
    (and they will be humbled),
13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
    and all the oaks of Bashan,
14 for all the towering mountains
    and all the high hills,
15 for every lofty tower
    and every fortified wall,
16 for every trading ship[b]
    and every stately vessel.
17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
    and human pride humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
18     and the idols will totally disappear. Isaiah 2:12-18 NIV

We need to be less proud and mighty when it comes to opening ourselves up to God.

In my analogy, we need to take off our shoes and feel the truth of life beneath our feet.

We need to know God is real and everything that we bring between him and ourselves is simply a covering that will one day be removed. How will we be able to walk when this happens? Will it be joyfully, or stepping into pain?

A person who never removes shoes and walks barefoot cannot enjoy the experience easily in that first day. This is simply because they have allowed their feet to become soft, and their feet unable to perform as feet are designed to perform.

It takes walking for a while in different avenues of life to experience the joy of being able to move barefoot without considering each step.

Similarly, a person who comes to God has much to learn in the beginning before they become who they are in God. Then they gain ability to move and live in the Spirit the way we are born to live.

Think about it!

How about trying going barefoot?

Alternatively, and more importantly, how about letting Holy Spirit lead you in life?

Maybe Holy Spirit will become so much part of your life you will never ever consider walking without him. Maybe new and wonderful experiences will open up in the well-trodden paths of life. The path may be similar but the experiences vastly different.

Have a great day!


[1] Parker-Pope, Tara (1 August 2008). "An Olympic Blast From the Past". Well – Tara Parker-Pope on Health.

Wed, February 13, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Celebration and the Pearl of great price!


Celebration and the Pearl of great price!

Pearl.jpg

“Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase” ~  John Balguy

 

I once desired to obtain something exquisite, beautiful and that seemed beyond  my abilities to have and hold.

Have you ever felt the same way?

Sometimes desires can lead us astray can’t they? Something of beauty can loose it’s attraction as the years go by.

The bible has Jesus telling of a story about someone who wanted something precious...

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 14:45&46 NIV

Today that story resounded in my heart because it’s the day that thirty years ago I married the lady of my dreams.

It’s our pearl wedding anniversary!

Sometimes desires can lead us astray, but when we get led to the desires by God, when we pray asking advice, when we spend times with others in God’s word, in worship and praise of the heavenly Father, then it is less likely those desires will be able to deceive us.

My wife is the pearl of great price in my life! She is precious beyond measure and perfect for me in my walk with God. We have danced through the avenues of life, swirling past disasters and trouble spots simply by listening to the Holy Spirit as we keep in step with the heavenly beat that urges us onward. Tough times and good times are all times of joy as we work and minister together.

The experience of moving in the Spirit as a couple has been exquisite. The times of pain and difficulty are rewarding because together we have learned great lessons that we can now pass on to others.

The truth is that our wedding involved more than two people getting married. We both agreed we were getting married with Holy Spirit binding us together, Jesus in attendance and Father God administering the service.

The Anglican minister who performed the ceremony was not even considered as the one who married us.

Father God was forefront and central in that ceremony. We did not make promises to each other but to him and thereby to each other.

God’s power has been at evidence in our lives for more than thirty years now, and will continue to grow and get more amazing each day. Rather like my love for my wife.

Now many would say that after thirty years the pearl would have become less vibrant and beautiful to the beholder. With Father God polishing and bringing new light to bear upon it, this pearl God gave me seems to me to get more beautiful each year. I am content!

This is my experience of trusting God with everything important in my life. I don’t know where you are, what pains and troubles have impacted your life, but all I can say is let God direct you to the right desires, check them out with Him, listen to the quiet voice of Holy Spirit, and you will never regret it! Three way marriages have a way better chance of success.

Even many Christians often fail to understand three way marriage is what should be occurring on that special day and then miss the joy of God’s intimacy in their lives. Please don’t make that mistake! If you have, it can be rectified by both of you coming to God and asking him to bind you together in a new way with Himself as the true leader of the family. Let’s make sure we do everything to get the pearl of great price!

Our deep relationship with God is that pearl!

Have a wonderful blessed day!
Tue, February 12, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ever get tired of empty promises and rebellious attitudes?


Ever get tired of empty promises and rebellious attitudes?

Dunno.jpg

 

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. ~ Proverbs 17:1

Often life sends curved balls in our direction. Things are not easy and we have to deal with difficult and onerous situations.

We don’t always want to do so! We can become tired, lacking in motivation and distorted by the failure of life to deal with us fairly.

It’s in times like these that we often come against the difficult situation of someone who really makes our life a misery. This is often not something that we have any control over. It is sometimes a tiring and draining experience of having to deal with a continual drip of cruel cynical conversation that leads to empty places and unpleasant relationships experiences.

This is however something that needs to be dealt with in the paths of life. We cannot understand everything that comes our way or even make sense of it all. Loved ones can turn against us when we least expect it, and in so doing the pain we received is great. So many times it is our children that rebel against us. We as teenagers may have done the same.

Vociferous words erupt from the mouths of those we only want to help, love and protect, and we cannot understand this attack, and despite this we need to stay the course for the sake of the person who is filling the air with their vile attitude and comments.

What do we do as Christians? How do we react?

The simple standard answer is to love them, and yet often this is already a fact, or we would not be enduring the abuse or attempting to change the circumstances. Yet, true love is not a soft mystical thing. It is a hard love despite pain type of thing. It carries us into unknown territories and opens us to unexpected blows, simply to help the person attacking us. That’s the Christian way. That’s the way of the God of the bible.

Even a superficial reading of bible teachings shows that God continually gets abused by rebellious humankind. We reject him, mock him, we try to hurt him, and yet despite all this his love is unfailing. We take his greatest gift, his human life form and we torture and nail him to a tree to die horribly. Yet he loves us!

Why?

Why can God be so forgiving and loving?

It is because we hold something dear to him in our hearts. Our love of Him! It’s a simple yet rare and beautiful gift. It is one that we can wrap in praise and worship. It is exquisite. It is more valuable than the most valuable of jewels. More precious that the most precious of metals.

This love is what he wants to erupt from within our lives. Yet we rebel and refuse to allow it. Sometimes this refusal is because we are facing similar rebellion and rejections from those we love. Let us learn from God and allow the love to flow despite the circumstances. In this way we not only help those who need it, but we take a small part of God guidance in our lives and become more like him. It is in those tough moments of love that we are more Godly than we can ever imagine.

So, next time we face that rebellious unpleasant resistance, lets remember our response if we are God like, needs to be firm and loving, even if it isn’t respected by the recipient!
Mon, February 11, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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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.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

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