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Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost in corruption
  WalkingSnake.jpg

 

“Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”~ Assyrian clay tablet 2800 B.C.

Swirling thoughts of self-rejection!

Complete loss of oneself into the soul life of dread and dislike.

An unkempt host of lies that threaten to overwhelm every step we take and force us to loose our way in the activities of our life.

We are not alone despite these feelings!

 No matter how far we have descended into the mire of life, we cannot and will not get away from the Love of God.

God who loves us so much that while we were cursing and threatening his life on this Earth he was handing us our life back and protecting us from evil at the same time.

God cares! He cares deeply!

His love is not the soft desire to love of a teenage puppy love, or the cranky old love of the aged senior!

It is all of this and more!

Love overwhelmingly simple, and overwhelmingly forgiving! Love that blasts evil from our life with a warm wind of Holy Spirit and the caring hands of Jesus. We are not alone and never will be.

We may have lied, cheated, manipulated others and committed crimes unimaginable, but God still loves us.

No one else may love us, but God still will!

He will not only take us where we are and forgive us, but he will wash our sins away, and then as the sin blotches float away on that sea of love, he will enfold us in care and compassion.

Time touches us all and marches us towards our destiny.

We have to take hold of God’s offer with both hands to survive and flourish. Life in this world is not for the faint hearted, and with God we are capable of being like him. We can forgive the unforgivable, embrace the unloved, give glory to God in the worst of circumstances and believe in the basic good of men under God’s control instead of the basic evil of mankind’s own desires.

Today as we walk our paths of life, let’s be God like!

Let’s forgive the unforgivable, allow God to forgive us, and then step forward with a life of integrity. A life of glory loving others and ourselves as God would want us to do.

I’m game to try this out! What about you?
Fri, May 10, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dealing with disappointment

helpTheDrowning.jpg

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

 

Wow! There are those days where we feel like the world is crashing down around our ears!

Over the last few days a number of my friends that I pray for have had these setbacks.

A single mother with a low income and child sick since birth that has had him under the care of multiple specialists, had to move him out of programs that cared for him as he “aged out” not being 18. He is getting more ill and now the change in programs is introducing more costs and travel complexities not easy to deal with.

A single mother I have been praying and working with was retrenched in budget cutbacks and so is seriously worried and sad.

A couple who love the Lord had a parent that they were caring for forcefully removed from their home by a family member, and were labeled with injustices they never committed or even considered, by the family member who is now not looking after that parent correctly and spreading lies about what they did.

One of my wife’s family members found out they had cancer and need a mastectomy immediately.

Wow! Disappointments abound at times don’t they?

Each of these are items of prayer!

Each of these are aspects we have brought to God. In each of these we know that God will work everything for the good of those he loves in this universe. But, in each of these a sadness does touch my life.

How do we deal with this?

Well there are a number of things we must do.

Firstly we must resist bitterness which is poison to a Christian soul. Never let it take hold. We need to understand people fail. See Romans 3:10-18

“No one is right with God, no one at all.
11     No one understands.
    No one trusts in God.
12 All of them have turned away.
    They have all become worthless.
No one does anything good,
    no one at all.” (Psalms 14:1–3; 53:1–3; Ecclesiastes 7:20)
13 “Their throats are like open graves.
    With their tongues they tell lies.” (Psalm 5:9)
“The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake.” (Psalm 140:3)
14     “Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness.” (Psalm 10:7)

Let’s not put ourselves in with this group. Let’s resist bitterness.

Next it pays to review and change expectations as we cannot always do what we expect is the right activity. Sometimes the path of life leads in different mysterious ways. We need to look at Ecclesiates 2:11 that says

But then I looked over everything my hands had done.
    I saw what I had worked so hard to get.
And nothing had any meaning.
    It was like chasing the wind.
    Nothing was gained on this earth.

Realizing the author concludes;

Remember the One who created you.
    Remember him while you are still young.
Think about him before your times of trouble come.

God is with us, no matter what happens and by  letting him lead, we can learn and even gain from these tough experiences. Our Bible says...

 And that’s not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4

We need to dive into a deeper relationship with God and then as that gives us joy and hope, we also need to turn to our Christian friends. Friends that don’t judge or try to fix us! Friends that love us and care for us, no matter what the circumstances or what we do.

We need to realize our lives lived here have eternal ripples and the initiating event in this universe has consequences on eternal shores that we cannot perceive.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: 16 We don’t give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day. 17 Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.

18 So we don’t spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can’t see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can’t be seen will last forever.

We need to realize

“And what is eternal life? It is knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

Thu, May 9, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sometime we pray and pray and nothing happens!
  DespondentPrayer.jpg

 C. S. Lewis - "For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait."

 

Sometime we pray and pray and nothing happens, well at least not yet!

Hours of aching heart and deep anguish is part of this process!

I have eliminated the aspect of “not being right with God” because my prayer is not for myself but for others.

Then, it’s not that my prayers are not effective, I pray to God about many things and almost all prayers ARE answered and I do see the hand of God in my life.

Why then, for those few, do I not see the responses I so desire?

Why when I know we have so many people praying for the same aspect do we not get to see a response?

I know many people feel this way about prayer!

Yet, I also know that because I cannot see the outcome of the prayer that does not mean it is ineffective.

I am aware of the story Jesus told...

Luke 18: 1 Jesus told his disciples a story. He wanted to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge. He didn’t have any respect for God or care about people. A widow lived in that town. She came to the judge again and again. She kept begging him, ‘Make things right for me. Someone is doing me wrong.’

“For some time the judge refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t have any respect for God. I don’t care about people. But this widow keeps bothering me. So I will see that things are made right for her. If I don’t, she will wear me out by coming again and again!’”

The Lord said, “Listen to what the unfair judge says.

“God’s chosen people cry out to him day and night. Won’t he make things right for them? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, God will see that things are made right for them. He will make sure it happens quickly.

“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find people on earth who have faith?”

This says we should keep on praying and things will happen. However I think the most telling part is in the last portion of the story.

“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find people on earth who have faith?”

Can we have faith deep enough to leave these apparent failures to God’s wisdom?

We can love the people deeply, but we need to be aware that God is all seeing and all compassionate and it actually answering our prayers.

It’s not easy to see the outcome of the paths of life. Consider a child that breaks their foot. Is this because if they didn’t they would run in front of a speeding car tomorrow. We cannot know! God can!

We see with limited vision and must give space for God to have depth of wisdom we cannot even start to understand, never mind have ourselves. It is pride to think differently!

God says Hebrews 13:5 God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Let’s trust him!

Let’s decide who we are in Christ and act on that, independent of the outcome of our actions.

We are to DO right, not expect the doing will have outcomes that ARE right.

It’s nice when they are, but not necessary to the activity!

I also search the bible for advice. I think it’s wise to dive deeper into God’s words to get the guidelines to live well. Yet, I see in God’s word many examples of community sin or righteousness and the outcomes as a result. I know it’s not all up to me. To begin with, the other person has their own relationship with God.

Then I realize that sometimes the community influence has impact as well. God did leave the Israelites in Egypt for a long time because of the patriarchs behaviour. The people in Egypt we not all always sinning were they? We do bear the consequences of our parents and forefathers decisions and not all of them are good. This is to be a subject of our prayers as well.

Next, let’s remember the hundreds of times God has helped us. We ask for help again and if you are like me frequently whenever we consider the person or condition about what we are wanting to see changed. Yet, despite this, let’s know our faith should not be impacted. Our understanding of God may be inadequate but God is not!

The response to silence on an issue is to love the person, endure and help as much as we can in the circumstances, and continue to pray.

That’s what I will be doing today for people I love who are having a tough time. What about you?

Wed, May 8, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pride, the fall of sin into our lives
drownin.jpg“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Early Christians were a rather strange bunch of people. First of all we read that

ACTS 4: 32 All the believers were agreed in heart and mind. They didn’t claim that anything they had was their own. They shared everything they owned.

I guess in many ways the western world would call these people communists. Yet it seems that they all did this voluntarily, not because some system was imposed on them.

We also read...

ACTS 4: 34-35 There were no needy persons among them. From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them. They brought the money from the sales. They put it down at the apostles’ feet. It was then given out to anyone who needed it.

Notice they didn’t have to sell and they did own land!

Now ACTS 4 also says ...

A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, also sold some land.  He kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew he had kept it.

He brought the rest of it and put it down at the apostles’ feet.

This would be considered as simply the same as tithing by a good part of the modern world. People would even honor such a person and label them as spiritual.

As an aside where does this tithing come from?

Leviticus 27:30 “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord.

Tithing was a prescription in the Old Testament and had a reason for existence...

Leviticus 27:30-34 “22 Be sure to set apart a tenth of everything your fields produce each year. 23 Here are the things you should eat in the sight of the Lord your God. You should eat a tenth part of your grain, olive oil and fresh wine. You should also eat the male animals among your livestock that were born first to their mothers. Eat all of those things at the special place the Lord your God will choose. He will put his Name there. You will learn to have respect for him always.

27 Don’t forget to take care of the Levites who will live in your towns. They won’t receive any part of the land as their share.

28 At the end of every three years, bring a tenth of everything you produce that year. Store it in your towns. 29 Then the Levites can come and eat. That’s because they won’t receive any part of the land as their share. The outsiders and widows who live in your towns can come. So can the children whose fathers have died. Everyone can have plenty to eat. Then the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

When did it start? Well the bible first mentions it as something Abraham did...

Hebrews 7:1-12 Melchizedek was the king of Salem. He was the priest of God Most High. He met Abraham, who was returning from winning a battle over some kings. Melchizedek blessed him. 2 Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.

According to a doctor of Old Testament history that I studied under, this was not just a Hebrew activity at the time, the non-Jewish or gentile contingent also tithed. It was a common sign of respect and submission.

It’s really interesting Jesus links tithing and pride in this story...

9 Jesus told a story to some people who were sure they were right with God. They looked down on everybody else. 10 He said to them, “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee. The other was a tax collector.

11 “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people,’ he said. ‘I am not like robbers or those who do other evil things. I am not like those who commit adultery. I am not even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. And I give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood not very far away. He would not even look up to heaven. He beat his chest and said, ‘God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.’

14 “I tell you, the tax collector went home accepted by God. But not the Pharisee. Everyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up.”

Seems like Jesus didn’t like those who paid tithes and yet were proud. We do not give to God out of our abundance, but out of his provision.

Let’s see what happened to Ananias...

ACTS 4:3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart? He made you lie to the Holy Spirit. You have kept some of the money you received for the land. 4 Didn’t the land belong to you before it was sold? After it was sold, you could have used the money as you wished. What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven’t lied to just anyone. You’ve lied to God.”

5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. All who heard what had happened were filled with fear. 6 Some young men came and wrapped up his body. They carried him out and buried him.

When we lie to God in this way we are subtly saying we know better than God for ourselves. This is pride in action. We are in fact testing god. We are saying “I think differently to you God and what I think is better!”

What pure nonsense!

We cannot know better than God or hide anything from him.

Ananias did worse! He convinced his wife to follow him.

About three hours later, the wife of Ananias came in. She didn’t know what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me. Is this the price you and Ananias sold the land for?”

 “Yes,” she said. “That’s the price.”

9 Peter asked her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! You can hear the steps of the men who buried your husband. They are at the door. They will carry you out also.”

10 At that very moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in. They saw that Sapphira was dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 The whole church and all who heard about these things were filled with fear.

We need to beware of pride. It does not always have as disastrous effect as in this story, but it sure has a negative impact our a happy and joyous life. We are not built to grow, and have peace and joy when we are conniving, putting others or God down and trying to step over others to achieve our goals.

Maybe we should be looking for true Godly goals and allow holy Spirit to guide us in the right course of action towards them.

Then we can let God know how Good he is and look upward. Seeing God, we have a wonderful example of how to help others without getting proud.

Tue, May 7, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, May 6, 2013

There was no wind or fire at Pentecost

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“It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts... For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.” ~ Patrick Henry

 
We
often see what is not there and hope for what is but an
illusion.
 


How many times do we find we have been chasing after what we though was truth only to find it was not?

This is a common human flaw rather than a fault!

It is an honest mistake
, made in times when we allow our past traditions, culture or common routine to overtake reality. It is the path of perceptual wandering that magicians use to create illusions. Misdirection takes an audience down a path well-trodden rather that enabling them to see the trick through the unkempt growth of mystifying facts.

Card tricks are some of the best forms of this flattery that causes us to mis-see our world.

Yet, Christians reading the bible often do the same.

Here is a text well known and well read...

The day of Pentecost came. The believers all gathered in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven. It was like a strong wind blowing. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like tongues of fire. The flames separated and settled on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this.

We read it and exclaim, “Ah ha!” “I understand!” 

But do we?

What does Pentecost mean? 50th day!

50th day from what? From the Passover celebrations form the day Jesus rose form the dead.

Did we know this? Maybe we did!

How many believers were there? Many would say twelve, but a bit of reading shows otherwise. Acts 1:15 suggests this would be 120.

“In those days Peter stood up among the believers. About 120 of them were there.”

So let’s take this to be the 120 reported.

It says they were gathered...they didn’t just decide to arrive, it was organized and coordinated.

These people gathered in one place.

Now a place capable of having 120 believers in that ancient day was not a poor man’s hovel, nor was it a middle class home. It had to have extensive space. With the architecture of that time this was a carefully constructed dwelling. Probably belonging to aperosn with some money and influence.

Now read carefully... it says...

“2 Suddenly a sound came from heaven.”

Notice it’s a sound that comes!

Where does the audio extravaganza occur?

In heaven?

Heaven? Inside a house?

We must be getting this wrong or we are missing some information aren’t we?

Well heaven was a word that could mean the air or atmosphere, it could also mean the stars, sun, moon and places above our atmosphere, or it could mean the home of God.

In this case it was alluding to the first meaning with hints of the last.

The sound came out of the air!

So how is it described (this sound), “It was like a strong wind blowing.”

“Like” means similar to... but different! 

In other words the sound was like a strong wind but it was NOT a strong wind!

Hmmm! I wonder how many people have thought for years a wind filled that house.

I was taught it WAS wind at the Catholic primary school that I attended as a child. But that is simply not true! In simpler terms, ... it is a lie! A deception! A misdirection!

Read the words and see if you agree or not.

Reading on...

We read it “filled the whole house”.

This means it was probably loud! LOUD! Very LOUD!

So loud that that people outside came to find out what was going on, and some could only conclude there was one huge party going on. Read Acts 2 to see why I suggest this.

Notice, they were sitting! 

Obviously they expected to be there for a while. We stand before we move off, or we stand on first entering a place. We sit once we are reasonably comfortable and sure we will be there for a while. We pick our spot, find our friends and sit and chat.

Probably what they were doing as well.

Okay so this noise alarms them and then the next event occurs that would surely have scared them...

“3 They saw something that looked like tongues of fire.”

Now let’s be careful to throw out our preconceived ideas.

What are tongues of fire?

What do you think of if you are looking at a campfire and someone remarks on the “tongues of fire”. 

We think of those flames licking up the sides of the logs, don’t we?

Taking our minds back to 1st century Judea, we will realize these people understood fire well.

They cooked with it every day!

So why say ... looked like” if it was fire?

Obviously it was NOT fire, it only LOOKED like fire!

Not fire! Just something that looked similar to, but was not fire!

It obviously wasn’t fire! It says the “flames separated and settled on each of them

What happens when flame hits our hair?

We burn!

Okay so it was NOT fire.

We get told it was Holy Spirit!

Now notice every believer is given Holy Spirit. Every one!

Do you think they were all at exactly the same place in their relationship with God?

Hardly likely in a group of 120 people!

No, some had less of a good day, some more. Yet God does not exclude anyone!

Holy Spirit is for all!

This is the first time Holy Spirit has been poured out on common people like you and me.

Before this time Holy Spirit was with kings and prophets and special appearances.

Now God is with us!

That’s the message we need to get!

God is with us! We may see the mundane and normal, but they are not as they have always appeared since God’s Holy Spirit changes how we experience and see things. Without God our life is lacking vitality, with him amazing things happen!

Let’s go have an amazing day!

Mon, May 6, 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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