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Friday, April 26, 2013

Letís be compassionate and fair!

 

Laughter.jpg“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin.

It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Contempt or compassion?

Which choice is best for us?

Almost overwhelmingly most of us would choose compassion. Nobody likes a contemptuous person.

So how does someone move from a loving compassionate person into being cynical contemptuous person?

Like most influences, it probably starts in simple ways.

Maybe by telling stories that are not quite true. This is often done by children who want to get out of trouble. Then as time goes on and life gets more complex, so do we. Soon a child who avoids being truthful (probably because some adult is too harsh on them at times) may join in with others of the same mindset. Instead of confessing to God their failures, they start to hide them and promote themselves as being better than others. Compassion is lost and contempt grows.

One way to turn this around and change for the better is not only to avoid being contemptuous of others, but to look for those subject to the bad treatment of others and to go to them and let them know they are okay. That as Christians we love them and let them know that we know lack of compassion is a sin that is used by the evil forces to take people down. To let them know that we do not agree with the bad treatment of others, and we are willing to be their friend.

This may result in our being rejected by the society in which we have been moving, but let’s ask ourselves if it is better to be with compassionate or contemptuous people.

Let’s be fair to others, let’s not want to gain by joining with those who take others down in an attempt to make themselves look better. Let's not be blind to truth, but focus of gentle honesty. The contemptuous crowd may try to take our words and twist them. They may even try to make us feel like outsiders, but we are in the ultimate peer group. The one that God made us part of! We are family of God and of all who would love others, even if some people in this world would consider these others unlovable. Even if our contemptuous "friends" consider us unworthy of being their friend.

Lastly, the true measure of the compassion we have is if we ourselves are not negative towards those who are contemptuous towards us and love them as well, even if they never return anything but merciless taunting.

Consider this...how much do we let evil take us down?

Who win’s if we are beaten into anger and hate instead of love and compassion? What is likely to make us better people, hating those who hate us, or loving those who hate us?

Tough choice right?

Let’s be compassionate and fair towards those around us .even if we don’t receive the same treatment from them.

Exodus 23:2 “Do not follow the crowd when they do what is wrong. When you are a witness in court, do not turn what is right into wrong. Do not go along with the crowd.

Exodus 23:9 “Do not beat an outsider down. You yourselves know how it feels to be outsiders”

Mercy, compassion and fairness are attributes we need to develop as our lives progress.

How about we practice this a bit today?

Fri, April 26, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crazy Christians, an unbelievers perspective on faith

 

BradPaisley.jpgCountry music has become the music that best represents the reality of American life.~Brad Paisley

Music is a way we express ourselves that exceeds the here and now and  draws us into the experience.

This is what Brad Paisley is doing with his new song which has lyrics...

Those crazy Christians, I was gonna sleep in today

But the church bells woke me up and they’re a half a mile away

Those crazy Christians, dressed up drivin’ down my street

Get their weekly dose of guilt before they head to Applebee’s

 

They pray before they eat and they pray before they snore

They pray before a football game and every time they score

Every untimely passing, every dear departed soul

Is just another good excuse to bake a casserole

 

Those crazy Christians, go and jump on some airplane

And fly to Africa or Haiti, risk their lives in Jesus’ name

No, they ain’t the late night party kind

They curse the devil’s whiskey while they drink the Savior’s wine

 

A famous TV preacher has a big affair and then

One tearful confession and he’s born again again

Someone yells hallelujah and they shout and clap and sing

It’s like they can’t wait to forgive someone for just about anything

Those crazy Christians

 

Instead of being outside on this sunny afternoon

They’re by the bedside of a stranger in a cold hospital room

And every now and then they meet a poor lost soul like me

Who’s not quite sure just who or what or how he ought to be

They march him down the aisle and then the next thing that you know

They dunk him in the water and here comes another one of those crazy Christians

 

They look to heaven their whole life

And I think what if they’re wrong but what if they’re right

You know it’s funny, much as I’m baffled by it all

If I ever really needed help, well you know who I’d call

Is those crazy Christians

 

I guess we could be labelled in a worse way and probably have been. Yet this guy gets the basics of a Christian life...it’s not focused on us but others. It’s not judgemental (although not all Christians get that). It is focussed on loving and helping and not only other Christians either. Helping everyone!

The toughest message for most people to consume on becoming a Christian is probably what Jesus said...

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.’ 44 But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.

Notice it’s not “take care of”, or “endure”, or “assist”, it says “love your enemy”

This gets us helping others because of the great love we have received. There is no expectation of reward. Sometimes they come, more often they don’t!

Independent of outcome, we are to move in love and live life fully, through every moment. I really like his observation...

They pray before they eat and they pray before they snore

They pray before a football game and every time they score

 

Yes, we talk to God all the time. Who wouldn’t? He’s our closest friend, loves us more than any other, has taken us through our darkest moments, lavishes us with forgiveness and love. Why wouldn’t we talk to him every moment we can?

Yes Brad! A good song! A honest song! Controversial, but a song that does reveal and open up understandings, for both Christians and Non-Christians.

 

My prayer is that there is not too big a backlash for you.

Unfortunately truth and honesty is not well respected in these days so I suspect it will not be a simple ride.

I however applaud your contribution! Way to go man!
Thu, April 25, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thankfullness a gift and blessing!

IBallAndChain.jpgn everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.~ Albert Schweitzer

The art of true thankfulness is an overwhelming act of love in a world thirsty for comfort and joy.

Time eventually traps us all at one time or another into doldrums of emotional inactivity as our minds are locked into a wasteland of regularity and unstoppable routine. Our lives can lack luster at times like these. We can even start to lose faith in ourselves, and then, little by little, start to lose faith in God’s greatness.

This is not necessary, nor advisable!

We are the living sons and daughters of the most high!

Born to rise above the mundane and be lifted on spiritual wings to heavenly places in the most mundane of circumstances. How else can people like John Bunyan have written The pilgrims progress (a great book to read to a child) while being in prison? We can be lifted up to great heights by birthing thankfulness in our lives, and engendering the same in others.

Thankfulness is a core attribute of a Christian and at the centre of our love.

The bible says...

“But love your enemies. Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will receive a lot in return. And you will be sons of the Most High God. He is kind to people who are evil and are not thankful.” Luke 6:25

We need to appreciate what God and others do for us!

The more people encounter God deeply the more thankful they become;

2 Corinthians 4:15  All of that is for your benefit. God’s grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God.

Paul that great man who walked with Christ his whole life says...

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace that Christ gives rule in your hearts. As parts of one body, you were appointed to live in peace. And be thankful.

Also

Spend a lot of time in prayer. Always be watchful and thankful.

Thankfulness is a gift to God, to others, and to ourselves.

As we take our appreciation of others into our hearts letting love expand, it overflows to thankfulness towards God and towards others. The flow then builds us up, gives us deeper understanding of who we are and our part in God’s great plan.

The gift given, gives back and builds us deeply in faith, fact, and fullness of life.

Never before can we say with such great intensity and love that the world is a great place, and mean it, than when we overflow with thankfulness for the gift of life used to help another.

God is not only good, but great!

We are most like God when our love is expressed, and one expression of this love is the reaching out to thank another. 

Love in action is always far better than love imprisoned in a heart!

Today, let’s look for opportunities to thank others.

Let’s understand we can rise above our circumstances in extraordinary ways as God fills us with appreciation for others and his creation. As we do this, we improve others and God’s creation. What a wonderful way to improve our day!

Wed, April 24, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who am I?
painAgain.jpgWHO AM I?

 

Do we ever ask this question?

Asking this shows we are still struggling with our identity, who we are deep inside.

Yet what does this mean?

 Am I exactly the same person today that I was yesterday?

Not really, right!

Things we do and what is done to us changes us doesn’t it?

Sometimes it’s small things that change us.

Our new hair style or new clothes that someone we like notices, or kind words we give to another that helps them. This is positive, but there is also negative. How about those nasty comment someone makes about us or if we say something true but unpleasant about someone, something like, “Oh look, that insecure fool is trying to make out they can give a presentation. They should give up and go home!”

Sometimes it’s big things!

I guess that most people have heard of that bomb that blew up at the Boston Marathon.

Did you hear of the boy that was killed, his mother who got brain damage and his sister who lost the leg? How do you think that mother or that little girl feel about themselves after they realize what has happened to them? They are unlikely to have the confidence they had prior to the incident and are probably asking who they are now? How come I survived? Why? These are also deep questions asked in these times of pain. This is a nasty life incident isn’t it?

Then there were all the runners who had trained to finish a marathon and couldn’t finish.

However, did you hear about the person who was sitting at the side of the race crying and upset when a couple came up to comfort them. One took a blanket of their own shoulders (that they got on finishing that marathon) and wrapped it around the person consoling them. Then the other took off their own medal they had just received and gave it to the person who couldn’t finish the race due to the bomb.

What would we have done? Let’s ask ourselves the question “Who am I?”

What should Christians have done? What should we do in those types of circumstances?

We need to understand our thoughts, feelings, desires and fears better.

God can help us do this!

Do we think less of ourselves because we have done bad things?

Do those bad actions or thoughts influence our view of ourselves?

We need to understand God forgives us for all the wrong things we have done:

2 Corinthians 5:17  ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Next we need to know are made by God to good things, all of us...

Ephesians 2:10 (NIRV)

God made us. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good things. Long ago God prepared them for us to do.

Some of us, particularly woman,  judge ourselves by how we look don’t we?

Tell me, do black, brown, yellow and white people have different colored hearts? Can people getting a heart transplant get the heart of a different colored person or will it not work for them? It works! We are all the same inside!

 The outside bits of us are not that important. It’s people make them more important than they are. It is our true hearts (not the pumping inside us heart, but the attitudes to others heart) that really count’s.

What type or heart do we have? Do we know we have God in our heart? As Christians we should have!

Our bodies are built specifically to do specific things that have eternal value...

1 Corinthians 6:19

Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is in you. You have received him from God. You do not belong to yourselves.

Some of us believe popularity determines who we are and influences our success in life.

Popularity is not that important either.

Being honest, truthful and having deep integrity that comes from doing things God’s way is important. We as Christians want to put away the bad, reject chasing what makes us popular and do the right things.

Rom 12:2

Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.

When we do the right things and always treat others well, they tend to want to be around us right?  What types of people do you want to be around?

Is Jesus important enough to us that we want him around us all the time?

When he is, we find we can more easily answer the question “who am I”. We need to judge our activities, actions, words and thoughts in the light of Jesus presence if we are to know who we are.

I am God’s hands, feet, smile and loving person on this earth.

At least that’s who I believe I am through Jesus!

Who are you?

Tue, April 23, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lost in translation

Dunno.jpg

Translation is the art of failure.~ Umberto Eco

Have you noticed how symbols are replacing words in communication?

 Washroom(toilet) doors no longer have the words MEN and WOMEN on them, but instead have a symbol depicting this information.

Why?

If we are British, French, German, Chinese, Russian or American the symbol means the same to us without having to be translated.

Perhaps that’s why Microsoft and so many other software producers with international audiences have reverted to using icons to represent commands to software.

That way they don’t have to translate.

The knowledge is obtained in a purer form without intermediate steps.

Pictures are intuitively understood! They are not complicated by our mental processes to the point that we confound the meaning and abstract the goal of the words into undesired lengthy dialogues that can often mean little. (like this last sentence)

In the translation of the bible, we also fail...

On the weekend I was looking at one specific text.

Matthew 13:31-32 NLT says

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

However if we change translation it says

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Notice in one it describes it as a plant, in the other a herb. What does it say actually?

Looking a bit further to the Orthodox Jewish bible it says

31 Another mashal Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach placed before them, saying, The Malchut HaShomayim is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.

32 This that is indeed less than all the zeraim (seeds), but when it grows, it is larger than the garden vegetables and it becomes an etz (tree), so that the OPH HASHOMAYIM IYOV 35:11) come and dwell in its branches.

It seems that we have difficulty getting back to that original meaning and even if we could read and speak the language perfectly, would we actually still have difficulty understanding the meaning as Jesus originally intended it.

Was he standing in someone’s herb garden alongside a bush taller than himself that was mustard when he told the parable? Were there birds sitting in the upper branches at the time?

We know mustard plants do not grow into very big trees, so maybe he was using the term to show how large this herb does grow, almost the size of a small tree. Definitely the largest of the vegetable garden herbs!

Yet, how many of us consider a mustard plant to grow into a huge actual woody tree.

Not in the Middle East it doesn’t!

At least as far as we can determine it never has.

The meaning has got distorted in translation of over time. More by the readers than those who put pen to paper, as most translations accurately say it is a garden plant or herb.

Translation is difficult! If Holy Spirit is involved, why do so many pastors and priests take this story and use the word for tree over that for plant.

I guess because they focus on the core concept being communicated, which is about faith and not trees.

That meaning is clear. We get the final truth, but without paying attention to the detail, and we find we lose information in the translation.

The same can happen as we listen to others.

 Today if we have to listen to others explain things to us, let’s try and pay attention to the detail so we get all the message?

Let’s also ask God to help us pay attention to the right details. Lets’ paint pictures rather than flood out information in deluges of words. Jesus uses pictures and simple stories that are hard to misinterpret.

Let’s keep it simple and pay attention to details.

That way we are less likely to lose out due to our mind translating information incorrectly for us.

Have a blessed day!
Mon, April 22, 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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