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Friday, February 22, 2013

What can Western Christians do as our Chinese friends are persecuted?
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“Bigotry and intolerance, silenced by argument, endeavors to silence by persecution, in old days by fire and sword, in modern days by the tongue” ~ Charles Simmons

 
Freedom of speech is something many first world Christians enjoy and in the West it is almost idolized.

Yet, it is something for which we have to be thankful.

We can believe what we want and follow the dictates of our conscience without being persecuted for the most part.

To pray or not to pray with others is not considered something significant or even an issue for many of us in 1st world countries.

Yet to those in China to decide to go to a prayer meeting is a life changing decision.

Threats are not only verbal in China!

In this last year Chinese Christians found there was a rise in persecution of house churches by about 40%.[1]

To go to a prayer meeting can mean being put under house arrest.

Yet people do not let this stop them and continue to do what they believe God wants. They also keep to the biblical request

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44  ESV

Some Christians comply with the regulations to join the state church movement, but others refuse only to be evicted from their homes and lose their jobs.

They claim the state church laws do not allow one to truly operate as a Christian. The way the Chinese persecute house churches seem to support this.

What can we do as Christians to help these people?

The simple answer is whatever we can!

Firstly we can become more educated on what is happening. There are articles that can be found on the internet that can be read and organizations we can join.

Next, we can publicise the fact that this is occurring. World opinion would not be for people mistreating others based upon religion, whether Christian or others.

Why is there such a fear in China of love and truth?

Is it because they actually see it has a spiritual power as well. Jesus came to bring the power of God into our lives.

Holy Spirit works through people with more than love and truth.

A power of God is enabled and this has supernatural effects. The Chinese power base does not acknowledge the true God’s direction so the evil decisions it makes get revealed in the light of truth and love. It that why there is such a persecution of loving people?

Finally the most powerful weapon a Christian has is to appeal to God to help in circumstances. Prayer can be applied into a situation across time, geographic and material barriers.

Let’s pray for our Chinese Christian friends and raise the profile of their difficulties into the minds of those around us.

Let’s be a little less self centered and more other centered. Try to think and pray for these people once a day. Perhaps supporting ministries that try to support these people is good as well.

Let’s do little to help those in a mission field that is perhaps one of the biggest in this world.

Let’s love them enough to remember them and try to help them

 

Have a great day!
Fri, February 22, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The gentleness of loving others...always

 

I've never met someone with a really low self esteem who was obsessed with loving others. ~ Anonymous

 

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Outward
directed living!

Living life focussed on the fact that God’s love should flood this world and we should be instruments allowing this to happen.

That is an outward directed life.

This world is full of rules regulations and decrees all aimed at getting us to live in correct relationship with those around us, and yet often this is exactly what we don’t do.

Why?

Paul summarizes the packages of rules and regulations and our response when he says...

Here are some commandments to think about. “Do not commit adultery.” “Do not commit murder.” “Do not steal.” “Do not want what belongs to others.” (Exodus 20:13–15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17–19,21) These and other commandments are all included in one rule. Here’s what it is. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) Love does not harm its neighbor. So love does everything the law requires. Romans 13:9-10 NIRV

Outward directed living takes away the need for inward focussed controls and yet at the same time it replaces those inwards controls by the way we see ourselves.

Like so much of God’s advice, when this commandment is applied, we find new layers of meaning within it.

If we live an outward directed life, one where we love others, then we help them. We give of ourselves to assist them and our love of them grows even when they themselves don’t always respond back to us with a caring disposition.

This is good love and the love is healthy for us as is the growth that comes from the challenges of that loving this way poses in our lives.

As this happens, our self-awareness of who we are, and our appreciation of ourselves grows as well.

We are able to love ourselves more and this in turn powers us to enable us to love others even more.

This is an escalating journey of love!

Once we start on this journey, we find we have to have God’s Holy Spirit building us up and helping us to love others. We therefore grow closer and closer to God.

Living in God’s will and doing what are our true activities of life gives us a love fountain that flows outward and everywhere and helps others wherever we are.

This is a wonderful experience! It is the true Christian experience! It is an outward directed life, directed by Holy Spirit for everyone’s good.

How about trying it out? You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Thu, February 21, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why start to argue?

Why start to argue?

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

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Have you ever considered the purpose of argument and whether we do in fact gain by getting angry and attacking another person with words?

Is arguing simply a means of destroying another person’s opinion and winning?

Truth is important! Yet, if someone will not accept it, what is the value of arguing?

We have debates that teach a means of convincing others using the tools at our disposal.

We learn early on in life to pose truth in different ways to get specific results, and it is necessary to provide different points of view isn’t it?

Despite that, have you ever been on the other end of a person who is able to use words powerfully, and has smashed your opinions with carefully wielded sentences, that are used like swords to cut your opinion to pieces?

It’s a hard place to be isn’t it?

Sometime reason is not used to expose truth, but rather to ensure that one person’s truth statements are seen as superior to another person’s.

Yet as Christians, we know truth is absolute, even if our perception of it is distorted.

A wise person always is ready to see a different perspective on a matter. This means that for a wise person no matter is ever completely closed and everything can be revisited if necessary.

Truth being absolute, means we need to carefully position our viewpoints to others and hear theirs, in order to gain better understanding. This however should not be done in arguments, as arguments are focused attempts to force a view on another person, rather than to reveal a perspective.

Rather than even starting to argue, let us take time to think and find a way to reveal what is to be said without personalising, or focusing on the goal of destroying another’s perspective.

The bible says “Starting to argue is like making a crack in a dam. So drop the matter before a fight breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14 NIRV

Also it says

“The one who loves to argue loves to sin. The one who builds a high gate is just asking to be destroyed.” Proverbs 17:19

Let’s consider if our purpose is to help the other person, or bend them to our will.

 If it is to bend them to our will, then we should be very careful of what we then decide to do, as God gives each person free will, and in His wisdom didn’t influence us with overwhelming facts one way or the other, in such an important decision as that of accepting Jesus. Free will is precious to God, and so it should be to us as well.

Let’s never let ourselves descend to simply trying to destroy another with words. They are more important than that! After we have presented our facts, we need to let them decide. In love, we can give them our experiences which they can chose to accept or reject.

That is their God given right, and ours as well!

Have a great day!
Wed, February 20, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Pope and Copernicus

The Pope and Copernicus

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In 1473  a remarkable man, Nicolaus Copernicus was born, and in 1543 when he died his lifes work was summarized in a book called De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).

Today is the 540th anniversary of his birthdate according to the Google doogle that has appeared.

This man introduced the notion that the Earth is not in the center of the universe!

The church of the time was originally mildly interested in his thoughts, yet by 1633 the church openly condemning these ideas and put Galileo into house arrest because he continued with them and extended them.

Why?

Politics! Church politics!

What is politics? Is it not the way people choose those who lead them and make decisions for the group about what everyone should do?

Wherever there are people, we have politics don’t we?

Yet, people cannot govern perfectly for “Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory.” Romans 3:23

If this is true, it is true of the church as well! The church is run by sinners!

Recently Pope Benedict XVI resigned from the catholic church. This caused consternation because most Popes die in office. There seems to be a grudging respect for this among people of other religions. They seem to be appreciative that he could step down due to illness and inability to adequately perform duties. However part of it is glee that the “god” on earth has submitted to mortality.

People can be hard on others can’t they?

Maybe this Pope sees that it is time for great change in the church and doesn’t want to hold it back. Maybe a younger man will more adequately deal with the post-modern world.

Times change and the church must respond. Responding in fear and holding to past traditions instead of God’s living word and Holy Spirit is what gets the church into trouble.

Look at the past and you will see that as times changed God wanted people to move with them. We no longer required a tabernacle, the temple was built. We no longer require the temple since Jesus came and died for our sins, rising to sit with the Father and releasing the power of Holy Spirit on Earth.

Times change, God doesn’t, but the way people react to him is expected to change isn’t it?

Today many people who think they are enlightened, reject religion because they reject spirits exist.

This is a perfectly emotional decision since so far nobody can prove this with any experiment (either way that is). The spiritual world according to the bible exists and yet it is superior and outside the present realm of existence.

Today science agrees there are other dimensions than the three of space, and time. Yet people still reject God’s existence on what they consider to be “scientific” principles.

It’s a shame so few people who do this really understand science cannot reject spirituality by it’s own principles.

Then we have church politics!

Just like with Copernicus, there are Christians everywhere who do not subscribe to putting down scientific discoveries because “they disagree with the bible”.

These modern Christians understand that God unveils truths of the bible in new and fantastic ways that pervious generations reject.

These people investigate Genesis and do not find it wanting in any way, and in fact find that there is no other religious system that so accurately describes for ancient man the exact manner and sequence our universe and the earth was created.

These people are also people who believe in the bible as the first and foremost tool for evaluating truth.

They love Jesus and follow Holy Spirit. Yet, to many Christians they are labelled with that ancient term that they labeled Copernicus’ theories in Galileo’s day.

Heretical!

Was Copernicus heretical? Was Galileo wrong? Was it not the church?

Is the church not misinterpreting truth the way it has in the past?

Are not the hundreds of denominations all delighting in their differences, much of what Jesus was rejecting when he rejected Pharisees and Sadducees in that first century?

Are we as Christians one body, or diverse parts that do not work together?

When will have the courage to reject the denominalization of the church?

When will we stop building wealth in the church, and instead use it to help those inside and outside of the church who are having difficulties and suffering?

I believe food, health and heat are what God wants for those suffering, rather than well paid clergy and big buildings.

If we spent more time visiting those in need, putting our time and money into doing what Holy Spirit wants for others instead of building assets, if we reduce the time spent sitting in pews and absorbing money that could help the poor and widows, and instead go and work helping others, will Christians in fact regain the respect of the world?

Why do we build buildings? Why do we use so much money on ourselves and so little on our community and those needing help?

What would Jesus do?

Maybe the new Pope will answer some of these questions since the Catholic church is perhaps the “christian” organization with the greatest accumulation of wealth and assets for itself, but every other Christian denomination that wants to be relevant and do God’s work needs to start asking itself these same questions!
 
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As we head out to do God’s work today, don’t we also need to be asking these questions of ourselves?

What are we doing to move in the right direction in God’s new world?

 

Tue, February 19, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, February 18, 2013

No man is immune from Sin, not even Oscar Pistorius?

No man is immune from Sin, not even Oscar Pistorius?

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“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” ~ William Shakespeare

 It is interesting how hope fills our hearts and builds us up isn’t it?

The sight of a man without legs competing in the last Olympics raised hopes of many, and inspired many with legs to get up on their feet and do something with their lives.

Yet, in the last few days that hope hit a wall of incongruous disbelief in what we heard happened in the home of this global hero on Valentine’s day. Four shots rang out and police arrived to arrest and then charge Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steencamp.

This is a horrible situation whether he is found guilty, or not guilty. (They seem to have found evidence that suggests he is guilty, but the courts will decide that).

We will hear more as the media is sure to grab every snippet of information available, and leak it to the public who will devour it. There is nothing that sells better, than news of a fallen star, right?

To me, this shows none of us are immune from selfish, nasty and ignorant actions that lead us downwards, into the depths of human despair. Here was a man who had to fight negativity and win all of his life. He did so in an amazing manner.

Yet, when it came to the basics of life as a minimum, he let fear drive him, and it looks like it may have been supplemented with selfishness and greed, leading to murder.

Why? Why did he do it?

We will find out that there is a simple answer. .. he is human and allowed the prince of darkness, that evil spirit Satan to infect his mind with temporary evil madness that absorbed his soul into dark places.

None of us are immune to sin! There is none that can say they are able to completely reject sin. The only sinless human being was Jesus and yet, through him, we get forgiveness for our sins.

Whether the public will forgive Pistorius is still be determined, but when a person sins, God says there is forgiveness for that sin.

Pistorius may have done all the evil things many are saying he did, but if he honestly repents and turns to God for forgiveness, he will be forgiven.

Human judgement may find him guilty. He may even get the death sentence (I think South Africa sometimes hangs people convicted of murder) but God will forgive him, if he turns to Jesus and asks to be forgiven.

We are all guilty of some sin!

Maybe we don’t commit murder, or adultery, or steal things, but all of us have thoughts that are not God worthy at times. Many times we do things we know God would label as selfish, ignorant and nasty. We are all going to have to answer for these as we stand before the divine judge after we die.

Reeva Steenkamp is there right now. Oscar will be there one day. We all have a short time of life on earth before eternity fills our existence. When we face the judge of judges, let’s be sure we have the right advocate at our side. Let’s have the right relationship with Jesus, the only one who can pay the price our sad sin sodden behaviour has established over our life.

God is good, we need to know his love for us is so great that “here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIRV)

This means that even if Oscar is guilty, he can still have hope!

It means, we also if guilty can have hope!

It means that hope is available for each and every one of us. We do not have to be inspired by a man without legs, but rather we need to be inspired by a man without sin. Which is the harder battle to fight? Which is the more amazing situation to achieve?

Jesus loves us, of that I am sure. The question is, do I place my hope in him and in that way secure my future against the ravages of sin that could come upon me?
Mon, February 18, 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?

 

 

 
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  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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