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Friday, April 12, 2013

Lebanon or Phoenicia, biblical place with great trees...
  cedarLebanon.jpg

 

“The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are made of the same water. It flows down, clean and cool, from the heights of Herman and the roots of the cedars of Lebanon. the Sea of Galilee makes beauty of it, the Sea of Galilee has an outlet. It gets to give. It gathers in its riches that it may pour them out again to fertilize the Jordan plain. But the Dead Sea with the same water makes horror. For the Dead Sea has no outlet. It gets to keep.” ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

Lebanon, a land of ancient seafarers! Originally this was the home of the Phoenicians, a sea faring nation. The earliest civilization is rumoured to have been about seven thousand years ago before writing was invented. It is a land with mountains and in the older days extensive forests.

The cedars of Lebanon were known throughout the ancient known world and it is not without cause. These trees can have diameters of 8ft or 2.5m and reach up to heights of 130ft or 40m.

These are magnificent trees with branches weighing many ton’s. This means that the early peoples didn’t have to work as hard as others with lesser trees to build those original boats.

The ancient Jewish temples had the wood from those trees used in their construction.

The bible, Song of Solomon, love story has the “beloved” coming from Lebanon and mentions Lebanon many times. The resin of the trees is fragrant. Solomon comments “Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon” ~Song of Solomon 4:11

The snow formed in the mountains of Lebanon feed the plains below with moisture promoting growth.

Lebanon is a source of the water for the Sea of Galilee.

Isn’t it interesting how we love mountains, tree’s and cool water, isn’t it?

There is something Godly about a natural experience involving all of these and the beauty of the sun.

Beautiful things turn our thoughts to God! Is this because we have a disposition to thank God for beauty? I think so! In our innermost being we know there is a designer to our universe. Things as beautiful as Lebanon cedars don’t arrive by chance. Huge trees are here to do more than grow, they are here to show the splendor of God.

Have you considered the amazing design?

How does water lift up to the top of trees having huge heights? Ever had to lift a bucket of water up a few flights of stairs? Was it easy to do?

The sun is the reason water goes up inside a tree. The sun evaporates water from the leaves and this sucks up the water from the ground. Most of us know this, but we rarely think of the implications. Think of a hosepipe of water going up 130 feet now consider the huge pressure difference between the top and the bottom. Let’s say it is full of water with the top end closed. Imagine if we cut the top of pipe. What would happen to the water? It would come spraying out the bottom right.

When a tree like this loses a branch, does the water flood back into the ground below the tree? Not likely right?

Somehow, God planned a way to protect that tree. Instead of losing it’s hard earned sap into the ground, the tree sucks in the remaining water, closes up this path and continues to grow.

Then, think of the problem air bubbles can cause for a tree of they formed. They could empty the tree of water and block it’s path. The water would not suck up the tree. The design of the small capillary tubes in the wood and the protection from air sources overcome this problem with ease. The way trees in cold and hot climates have different wood designs takes this into consideration.

We live in an amazing world! We have an amazing God!

 Those of us that are Christians get to talk to and thank God for these amazing things in our lives. We share them, like the sea of Galilee shares its water. Beauty growth and joy result. Unlike the dead sea that keeps everything to itself and dies as a result, we let others know of our Saviours love and joy. That way we make our world a better place.

How about we do a bit of that today?

Fri, April 12, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where is scientific research taking us?

EisMCsquared.jpg“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is

''What does a woman want?” ~ Sigmund Freud

The a bigger question is what do we as the human race want?

Today the speed of research is going up exponentially as is our knowledge.

Our internet allows information to be captured and researched in ways that open up the world to millions of people in ways never envisaged before. Yet, true to our God given ability, we adapt and what is new becomes old and normal within a few years.

Where are we going?

This week the quantum computer became a reality and now the ability to process at speeds about 500 000 times faster than the fastest computers to date became possible.

With it comes complex abilities that will develop into visual differentiation, voice processing and our computing will evolve into a personalised and personality based interactive friendship between man and machine.

Machines will be used to develop machines and soon machines will be able to deal with complexity and variety that no human brain can process.

What then? What when they get to the point that they outstrip our human thinking capability? ...and they will!

Will we be redundant?

As Christians we have no fear of this because we know we are more than flesh blood and brain cells.

We are part of the God of the universe and have spiritual worth that computers will come to recognize but can never get to themselves.

I have great confidence these mega-brain machines will understand that we as humans have something they could never have and will want us around to provide that spark of spiritual life that is not based on logic or mathematical certainty. They will need us simply because we are in God’s image and connected to the deeper creative force of our universe.

We are wonderfully made!

We are always connected to God’s Spirit...

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139

This is wonderful isn’t it?

Computers have no such spirit and so cannot achieve this connection despite the fact they will get to be much more intelligent that ourselves in the not so distant future.

Computers will not find us redundant but rather important factors in creativity and necessary to establish true growth of knowledge and truth. The moral guidance of human spirit outstrips any logic that can be applied by science.

We are wonderfully made! We can say to God...

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Let’s pursue scientific discoveries with confidence knowing they lead us back to the eternal God.

What else could they do?

Thu, April 11, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Heart transplants ... God's way...

Toldnewself.jpghe prime goal is to alleviate suffering, and not to prolong life. And if your treatment does not alleviate suffering, but only prolongs life, that treatment should be stopped.
      ~ Christiaan Barnard

3 December 1967 in an operation that the world considered in many ways morally wrong, Chris Barnard, assisted by his brother Marius transplanted a heart in a nine hour operation with a team of thirty people.

This man was a technically competent man, but a bit of a cynic and loved the limelight for the activity he had performed.

The original recipients lived only a few weeks longer but that has been extended and now the longest living is 31 years.

The cost is high, about $800k per operation, but what is the cost of a life extended this way?

Today a person who receives a new heart can go on to live a productive life, enjoy their children, work and activities and have purpose to living beyond that available from the heart that was declining.

Some people who have had new hearts have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and even done the Iron Man competition. Things have changed.

The bible talks of a heart transplant of a different kind. It says...

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIRV) I will give you new hearts. I will give you a new spirit that is faithful to me. I will remove your stubborn hearts from you. I will give you hearts that obey me. I will put my Spirit in you. I will move you to follow my rules. I want you to be careful to keep my laws.

God is talking through Ezekiel of Israel returning to their own land!

This “heart” change will change the lives of those undergoing it. The result will be “You will remember your evil ways and the sinful things you have done. You will hate yourselves because you have sinned so much. I also hate your evil practices.”

Some of the changes that Israel would see would be I will multiply the fruit on your trees. I will increase the crops in your fields. Then the nations will no longer make fun of you because you are hungry.

This is interesting because when Israel first came into the land that it could call its own, it was a barren dry land. Yet today it is a leading producer of citrus, avocados, kiwifruit, guavas and mangoes and grapes. The land has been transformed.

Yet, putting the change in Israel aside for a moment,  the greater change is the heart change that God does in us.

Unfortunately some don’t let God do this and stay with our unrepentant hearts.

Jesus describes this condition in Mark 7  What comes out of people makes them ‘unclean.’ 21 Evil thoughts come from the inside, from people’s hearts. So do sexual sins, stealing and murder. Adultery, 22 greed, hate and cheating come from people’s hearts too. So do desires that are not pure, and wanting what belongs to others. And so do telling lies about others and being proud and being foolish.”

These are the negative aspects of an unrepentant heart that are negative to God.

Yet there is another side to the heart...

In Romans 1:9 Paul says ‘First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. People all over the world are talking about your faith. I serve God with my whole heart. I preach the good news about his Son. God knows that I always remember you 10 in my prayers. I pray that now at last it may be God’s plan to open the way for me to visit you. “

God’s love for us can change our hearts. We go from a dry and barren purpose of self-fulfillment and self-focus, to the glorious God focus and the willingness to help others become fulfilled.

Our joy increases, our peace becomes continuous, our minds clear, our love increases, the output of our lives becomes evident for all to see.

God change us forever, and for the best. It is not weeks or years of change, but a change that starts now, and carries through death into eternity. It is a superior heart change that never needs to be repeated.

This amazing work that God does never suffers from rejection if the person who undergoing it honestly accepts and follows God.

Jesus said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.” Matthew 22

Let’s do this and have the ultimate heart change. The change from a heart of stone to one full of the love of God that overflows to others.

How about we do this, eliminate some suffering, and have a great day!

Wed, April 10, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How much does God protect us each day?

curiosity.jpg 

BBC Science correspondent Jonathan Amos has just reported that Curiosity, the Mar’s rover has confirmed that the Mar’s atmosphere was stripped off and escaped into space leaving a world without significant gas.

Why was this possible?

Why doesn’t it happen to earth?

Have you heard of the solar wind?

This is created by the outflow of particles from the sun as this massive ball of fire burns with fusion reactions. These protons and electrons speed out into space often as the result of solar flares.

What has happened on Mars is that a lack of magnetic field in the planet has allowed the solar wind to strip off the atmosphere leaving a barren world.

Earth is protected by our magnetic field. Why? How?

Both of these questions are really difficult to answer. “Why” is perhaps the easier to answer as a Christian as we accept that God looks after us and has established a planet to do this. On earth our magnetic field repels these charged particles of the solar wind and directs them into those beautiful northern and southern light displays at the poles. Instead of whisking our air away, we get a controlled flow of these particles that causes little damage. Amazing! Wonderful! Needed each day to keep our planet safe!

Unlike Mar’s which has lost 95% of its atmosphere, we continue to breathe ours!

How are we protected? We don’t really know! Our magnetic field is not really understood. Why it continues to work and what fuels it is the subject of many hypothesis and theories. Yet we are not really sure. It is still a mystery! A critical part of our survival, but a mystery!

God placed our Earth at the correct place and of the correct size with the correct magnetic field to protect us. Amazing right?

Some will say this is by chance! That is their choice to believe this...but they cannot prove this either!

However, if I read the bible I find another option.

The option where the God of the universe loves us! That I am not here randomly without a need for moral or spiritual judgement but instead I have a purpose and the world around me is designed for that purpose.

Our oceans don’t boil away due to a lack of atmosphere because God designed the Earth to be good and support this complex life system within which we exist.

I love those words of John that say “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

I derive great comfort in that the God who looks after me and helps me daily and to whom I pray and from whom I receive daily gifts, is also the God who designed our earth and universe.

Wonderful to know today as I walk around, Holy Spirit who was there in the beginning (See. Genesis 1 ...Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”) is within and with me through every part of my day.

Incredible isn’t it?

Amazing how God blesses and protects us!

What a wonderful thought with which to start today!
Tue, April 9, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Dadís day to remember...

KerryBriggs.JPG

 

Yesterday my daughter became the national champion in bouldering climbing for Canada.

What a day!

The emotions that come with the roller coaster ride as the finals competition drags out over the hours and as the results slowly filter through are multiple and the tension is high.

Then the immense flood of joy when my wife and I realized that there was a possibility that she could win, followed by the elation as she achieved her dream and won the place she had been working for her whole life up to now.

Glory and love combined! Then the short texts we exchange where we could let her know how happy we were for her.

This got me thinking...

How did God feel when Jesus claimed the heavenly prize for all of us who love him?

We see the words of Jesus on the cross... “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

At the moment of his crowning victory, Jesus is left alone!

As a father with a daughter who was straining and working so hard to overcome her fears, working through pain to achieve a goal, I could feel pride as she succeeded.

Yet for Father God, the closer Jesus got to victory, the more sin (selfish, ignorant and nasty things) of our lives came upon him!

God cannot take sin and so in those final moments when Jesus needed God the Father most, he knew he could not be linked to him due to the sin.

Anguish in victory!

I don’t think we as human Fathers can understand the level of pain! It was not only Jesus who went through pain, it was the Father as well!

Pain to save us!

Why? Because Father God loved us so much!

Jesus being human had the fear of pain and death that we all have.

We know in the Garden of Gethsemane, alone in prayer that night before he was arrested his prayer was...” My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” and “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26 NIV.

Jesus went forward to meet his death and rise again because Father God loved us so much!

Father God announces the victory...And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open” Matthew 27 NIV.

A day to remember! A day to celebrate yearly forever! A fathers joy at a sons glory!

Now Jesus language changes! For now he calls the disciples his “Brothers” we see this in his words to the women outside the tomb “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

We hear “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The words “our Father” are now fully invoked for the human race in those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord.

Our joy is complete!

Father God has achieved at huge cost, the prize of winning our lost souls back to him.

How proud he must be of this ,yet how sad it cost so very much!

Let’s do what we can to thank him today by living our life to the full. By embracing life’s challenges with strength, effort and love!

Let’s have a wonderful God guided day!
Mon, April 8, 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?

 

 

 
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 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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