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Friday, March 29, 2013

The sonís bright this morning

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Looking out across the snow and the small lake in front of our home in Canada this Good Friday morning, the sun is reflecting brightly and the air is crisp, clear, making the world vivid and beautiful.

The morning promises a beautiful day to come and this is all the more so because today we remember how God did great things for us all!

Bright sun casts long shadows, and where there is light, any darkness is emphasized.

 I found this got me thinking of the bible verse...

The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.’ 2 Samuel 23:3-5 (NIV)

King David spoke these as part of his last words on this Earth and he was greatly loved by God.

Our respect for God and willingness to do what God wants makes our life shine out like the sun in the morning. There is freshness to that light. It is a mobilizing light, one that inspires and activates. It is a life empowered by Holy Spirit that opens up joy of life to others.

Men and women who love God can awake this morning and give glory to God. We can consider what Jesus did  so that today we can have the light and power of Holy Spirit in our hearts, not only invigorating us, but giving us an enthusiasm for the day and opportunity of true life to those around us.

Today let’s be generous and pass on the gifts God has given to us! Gifts of hospitality, joy, peace and love! Let’s push back the darkness and claim life for our God. Let’s feast and fellowship! Let’s honor God above men and other as ourselves. Let’s open our homes and hearts to others and proclaim the joy of the risen Christ.

It’s a privilege to be alive today. Let’s use that privilege wisely! lets enjoy the power of a risen life.

 

Have a magnificent, blessed and Godly Good Friday!

Fri, March 29, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Preparation for Easter

 

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Tidying up the home and buying those Easter eggs, or planning hiding places for them are simple preparation activities for the Easter celebrations.

Children get excited and parents took forward to a long weekend and some relaxation with family and friends.

Yet, these are modern traditions and not the ones that took place on the first Easter.

What happened to prepare for that first Easter...

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” Mark 14:12-15

Jesus asked some disciples to go and prepare for a Passover feast. This was a task done each year. They would have bought lamb or goat, got bread and obtained some wine. Bitter herbs would have been found from some merchant, and the table prepared for the crowd of apostles to follow.

Notice it says “first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb

This was the day the lamb had it’s little throat cut and the blood collected that was part of the sacrifice.

 A horrific experience for the children, and particularly the eldest who helped. They had to look after this lamb that had been picked a week before.

A week earlier, Jesus came riding into Jerusalem, now he was to be slaughtered. Like that Passover lamb his death was a protection.

The child of the family where the lamb was sacrificed would have been told the story of Exodus, how the blood of the lamb saved the sons of Israelite families from death. The lamb died to save their lives. Can we imagine how that eldest son felt on the Exodus day when he woke up and heard that all the firstborn sons of Egyptians were dead! Tens of thousands dead in one night, but Israel escaped this curse.

Only a child of this background could fully grasp what the Passover meant. There is nothing soft or gentle about the Passover.

There is nothing soft or gentle about Easter.

Jesus was to die! Horribly! We watch over the years and it softens this reality.

The knife used to cut the lambs throat has probably never been in our hands. We don’t know the pain of taking a life (at least most of us in first world countries don’t, I guess that some of our third world brothers and sisters do).

For a little while the world looked after Jesus, as for a little while the family looked after their Passover lamb. Then the lamb died for their sins.

Similarly Jesus died for everyone’s selfish, ignorant and nasty acts. Mine, yours, everyone’s. Whether we approve or agree doesn’t change that fact. His life was taken, yet also freely given.

He wanted to die for us, but Jesus didn’t want the pain of that sin filled death. How human! How Godly!

We hear he was “deeply distressed and troubled. 34 ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to them.” Mark 14:33-34

Anguish is part of Easter! We may have family issues we need to deal with that we don’t look forward to doing, but know we must. Jesus had a family issue he didn’t look forward to, but dealt with by going to his death with determination.

If Jesus was willing to do all this for us, we must be worth saving, right?

Let’s never put our value too low. God was willing to suffer and die to reconcile us to Him. What are we willing to do?

The joy of Easter is in our freedom, but let’s not forget the price of it.

Today as we prepare for our coming weekend of celebration, let’s spare a prayer for those who have yet to understand God’s deep love that drove him to accept pain so we could avoid it.

That’s love supreme! That’s “agape” love! Love that loves even when it is not returned by the person loved. That’s our loving God’s love.

Let’s go out today knowing we are loved, selected and protected!

Thu, March 28, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The New Covenant

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“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

A covenant is an agreement, a coming together of two parties with a promise that has to be kept with repercussions for failing to keep the agreement that are severe.

In the Christian world these agreements fall into two categories, the old covenant and the new. In fact, the Christian bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament aligns with the Old covenant and the New Testament with the New Covenant (mostly this way at least).

Yesterday I blogged about some of the different aspects of the Covenant, and how men and woman failed to keep these agreements.

Jeremiah in the Old Testament writes about the coming new covenant and in Hebrews Paul explains how this changed everything;

Jesus has been given a greater work to do for God. He is the go-between for the new covenant. That covenant is better than the old one. It is based on better promises.

Suppose nothing had been wrong with that first covenant. Then no one would have looked for another covenant. But God found fault with the people. He said,

“A new day is coming, says the Lord.
    I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel.
    I will also make it with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their people of long ago.
That was when I took them by the hand.
    I led them out of Egypt.
My new covenant will be different because they didn’t remain faithful to my old covenant.
    So I turned away from them,
says the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will make with Israel
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds.
    I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God.
    And they will be my people.
11 A man will not teach his neighbor anymore.
    And he will not teach his friend anymore.
    He will not say, ‘Know the Lord.’
Everyone will know me.
    From the least important of them to the most important,
    all of them will know me.
12 I will forgive their evil ways.
    I will not remember their sins anymore.” (
Jeremiah 31:31–34)

13 God called that covenant “new.” So he has made the first one out of date. And what is out of date and getting older will soon disappear. Hebrews 8:6-13 NIRV

The old agreement with God was failing and Jesus negotiated a new agreement on our behalf. God made himself into a man, Jesus, to review our case perfectly, and Jesus then died and rose from the dead to establish a perfect relationship with the Father. A relationship that we could associated ourselves with, and in that way, be able to escape the judgement clauses of the old agreement.

Nothing we do, or did do, gets us earning this gift from Jesus. It is freely given by God to give us all a way out of horrible circumstances.

With Jesus the need for human temple worship disappeared, no wonder the temple itself soon disappeared after Jesus lifetime. God no longer needed to have a place for mankind to worship him. (He actually never needed it, it was requested by the people after the Egyptian Exodus, and it replaced their idol worship desires with a God worship place. This God worship place was the tabernacle that eventually morphed into the temple worship practices)

Temple worship was not enough, and so God’s laws were continually abused. These laws also only dealt with externals and what people put into themselves such as food and drink.

Jesus came as a High Priest to change all this. Instead of animal sacrifice, he sacrificed himself. His blood and not the blood of animals was spilt. Through Holy Spirits power, he removed sin completely. He is the one who explains to God why we are free despite our selfish, ignorant and nasty acts.

Jesus didn’t enter a temple, he entered heaven. His sacrifice is so perfect that it holds forever and never needs repeating.

We will all die once, and after that God judges us. Yet ,we are Holy because Jesus makes us Holy by his sacrifice.

What is our task in all this?

Simply to love with the love of God as supplied to us by Holy Spirit and to show others what it’s like to be a child of the God of the universe.

That’s our position in this universe, child of the Father of the universe. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way but the reality of the fact never changes. Jesus free loving gift sets us free to love others unconditionally and live our lives under Holy Spirits control. Let’s accept this gift with thanks and pass it onto others.

Hey, have a great thank filled day!

Wed, March 27, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

God establishes agreements (his covenants) with mankind
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“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

A covenant is an agreement, a coming together of two parties with a promise that has to be kept with repercussions for failing to keep the agreement that are severe.

God made a whole lot of these with mankind and generally mankind broke them until God made a better plan for us.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these.

Genesis 2 & 3 is the story of Adam (first man) and Eve ( his wife) and how they screw up on a covenant. God creates man and gives him everything on earth to be his with the exception of one thing that must be avoided. Mankind screws up and abuses this agreement and with this abuse, introduces sin and pain into this world as well as the knowledge of good and evil.

God directs the punishment as...Gen 3

 The Lord God said to the woman,

“I will greatly increase your pain when you give birth.
    You will be in pain when you have children.
You will long for your husband.
    And he will rule over you.”

17 The Lord God said to Adam, “You listened to your wife. You ate the fruit of the tree that I commanded you about. I said, ‘You must not eat its fruit.’

“So I am putting a curse on the ground because of what you did.
    All the days of your life you will have to work hard
    to get food from the ground.
18 You will eat the plants of the field,
    even though the ground produces thorns and thistles.
19 You will have to work hard and sweat a lot
    to produce the food you eat.
You were made out of the ground.
    And you will return to it.
You are dust.
    So you will return to it.”

Men and women are banned from finding eternal life on this Earth and send to work.

Sin starts to multiply and so does mankind and soon the world is a dark and evil place. God sees a cleanup is needed or soon sinless men will be no more.

A flood wipes out all living creatures of the known world and a few are saved. These are Noah and his family and God makes a new agreement;

 “Here is my covenant that I am making with you. The waters of a flood will never destroy all life again. A flood will never destroy the earth again.”

12 God continued, “My covenant is between me and you and every living thing with you. It is a covenant for all time to come.

“Here is the sign of the covenant I am making. 13 I have put my rainbow in the clouds. It will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen 9:8-17

Men clean up their act a little but are pretty soon back to their old evil ways. One man is however a true believer in God. His name is Abram. God renames him Abraham and there is another promise;

“I will make you into a great nation.
    I will bless you.
I will make your name great.
    You will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you.
    I will put a curse on anyone who calls down a curse on you.
All nations on earth
    will be blessed because of you.” Genesis 12:2-3

Abraham lives a fairly upright life and has a few children that populate a lot of the Middle Eastern territories in ancient times.

Yet people cry out to worship God in a way similar to the way others worship idols.

God listens to this what must have been a strange request and institutes priests, sacrificial laws and social commands. We know this best as Moses giving the people the ten commandments;

Exodus 20

Here are all of the words God spoke. He said,

“I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. That is the land where you were slaves.

“Do not put any other gods in place of me.

“Do not make statues of gods that look like anything in the sky or on the earth or in the waters. Do not bow down to them or worship them. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. I punish the children for the sin of their parents. I punish the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who hate me. But for all time to come I show love to all those who love me and keep my commandments.

“Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will find guilty anyone who misuses his name.

“Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Do all of your work in six days. 10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath in honor of the Lord your God. Do not do any work on that day. The same command applies to your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and your animals. It also applies to any outsiders who live in your cities. 11 In six days I made the heavens and the earth. I made the oceans and everything in them. But I rested on the seventh day. So I blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “Do not commit murder.

14 “Do not commit adultery.

15 “Do not steal.

16 “Do not give false witness against your neighbor.

17 “Do not long for anything that belongs to your neighbor. Do not long for your neighbor’s house, wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey.”

18 The people saw the thunder and lightning. They heard the trumpet. They saw the mountain covered with smoke. They trembled with fear and stayed a long way off.

19 They said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself. Then we’ll listen. But don’t let God speak to us. If he does, we’ll die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. God has come to put you to the test. He wants you to have respect for him. That will keep you from sinning.”

21 Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. But the people remained a long way off.

Now priests interpret Gods words and people are pushed a little future away form a direct relationship with God. Notice Adam and Eve talked directly with God. Noah did as well but started making altars, by Abrahams time its the Patriarch that communicates with God, now it’s the priests. Mankind is getting further and further from direct communication with God.

Then to be like others around them God’s people start complaining they want kings.

God warns them with kings come taxes and conscription but they want this anyhow. Saul is given to them and becomes evil. Good sends in another king, David. God sets up an agreement with David.

15 I took my love away from Saul. I removed him from being king. You were there when I did it. But I will never take my love away from your son.

16 “‘“Your royal house and your kingdom will last forever in my sight. Your throne will last forever.”’” 2 Sam 7

Now people are governed by a King and  worship of God is through priests.

Mankind is drifting further away from direct contact with God and is now setting up intervening controllers of social environments, instead of letting God do this.

It’s getting so bad that God has to break this up. The nation is captured and led in slavery but God makes a final promise before Jesus arrives.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 says

“A new day is coming,” announces the Lord.
    “I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel.
    I will also make it with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their people long ago.
That was when I took them by the hand.
    I led them out of Egypt.
But they broke my covenant.
    They did it even though I was like a husband to them,”
announces the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with Israel
    after that time,” announces the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds.
    I will write it on their hearts.
I will be their God.
    And they will be my people
.

God promises a new day of enlightened walking with God.

 This time he will write the information into men’s hearts. That way they cannot put things between them and God so easily.

However to do this mankind first has to pay for breaking their covenants.

The terms are death and spilt blood.

God himself realises that mankind is too far gone to save themselves yet mankind must pay as mankind is one party of the covenant and is the party that broke the covenant.

Simple, God would become man and die for mankind.

It’s here that Jesus comes to earth. He is God in human form. He dies and spills his blood to fulfill the covenant laws and in so doing releases those who accept his death as adequate to be released from the covenants.

Then his rises from the dead to break the power of death. Finally he sends Holy Spirit to live within men and women and in their conscience, he writes the law of God into their hearts and minds.

So how can men avoid God now. By distorting their thinking and warping the truth placed into their hearts.

Let’s not do that.

Let us respect this great gift of God and try and listen to the truth God has placed in our lives. Let’s accept Jesus and holy Spirit and our awesome God.

It’s our only true and right course after all. Anything else should get us eternal death.

Right?

Tue, March 26, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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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
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  • Pages: 208
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