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Friday, June 7, 2013

Christian school entry requirements: Signing a statement of faith? What is wrong with that?

 

WritingPen.jpgWhen things go wrong as they sometimes will. When the road your trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and the debts are high and when you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing down a bit . . . by all means pray, but don't you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out, God’s hidden gift in the clouds of doubt. You never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar.

So trust in the Lord when you're hardest hit . . . it's when things go wrong, that you must not quit! ~ Anonymous 

Many Christian schools have admission requirements which I am using as an example of the types of constraints my wife has been encountering (sorry folk but I had to pick on this).

Let me explain...

My wife works as an occupational therapist as a rehabilitation consultant for children with brain injury. In simple terms, that means she tries to get hurt kids back to the same level of functioning that they had prior to their accident, which for most of those she helps means back to where they were prior to a brain injury.

To do this means she needs to get the young folk into schools that will care and love for them, and teach them good principles.

 

Now, one of the constraints she comes across is

a requirement of Christian schools for the parents of the kid to sign a statement of faith in Jesus Christ

 

What is wrong with that?
 

Let’s take a look at the request from Jesus before he left for heaven and sent back Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us.

Then Jesus came to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.” Matthew 28

Okay, it says “all nations”

This means that we should not be limiting our Christian education to only Christians. If we are to make disciples, we should be taking anyone in, even Satanists. We should be getting them to sign something like...

“I hereby give permission for my child’s teacher, and/or other members of the school staff and administration to enforce all classroom regulations and school policies in a manner consistent with Christian principles of discipline.” [1]

It would be fine to have the kid acknowledge they will accept Christian teaching and stick to the upholding the principles in the school if they are to attend.

They should not have to sign that they accept Jesus as their personal saviour. That may not be where they are when they enter the school. It’s where we hope they are after leaving, but that is God’s work not ours.

Forcing parents to sign a statement of faith to get their kids into a school is silly, even stupid. Let’s remember, the parent, if not a Christian, probably will sign it anyhow. That way we have forced another sinful action out of them. So wrong!

We as Christians need to understand that God wants us to mix with those of other faiths. We should love them and have friends in multiple faith disciplines. We need to be able to talk freely about our beliefs and equally, listen to others.

 

We don’t have superior authority over others!

 

 We are sinners like everyone else, the difference is we have God’s
compassion for us while we are sinners and realize it!

Let’s extend God’s wonderful love and gifts to others without setting up false fences and limitations!

Sure, we don’t want to be limited in what we can teach about our wonderful God, but lets also not limit those who we can teach these wonderful things to.

It’s rather worthless teaching only Christians, they already have eternal life!

It’s those that don’t that need it right?

So, if you have influence in a Christian school, please think about how you set those entrance criteria.

The rest of us need to pray for those of us trying to correct this wrong!

Have a blessed and successful day!
Fri, June 7, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Views of eternity
Namaqualand.JPG You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. ~Henry David Thoreau

“life sucks!”


The voice calls out, angry, disappointed
, a dry desert of life calling into the wind with anger that the rain of love had not fallen on the thirsty experiences of the unhappy soul.

How many times does our anger and despair hide our true feelings?

We search for what we believe life must offer, but often fail to see that to offer ourselves to life may end that search.

In anger we may even view life as better without our human intervention, but what does that mean?

A teen, naming themselves as blackroseless writes this…

The wind it spins and spills upon a barren landscape
covering the lands with long forgotten snow.
The sounds are quiet, no technology
no destruction
no hatred
no death or life remain.
The world is at peace
and all men at rest.
The destruction is over
as is the war
the suffering
the pain
Eternity has settled in
our paths are now at rest.

Inverting this poem into the life of the writer suggests that blackroseless is finding no rest and that technology, destruction, hatred, suffering and pain haunts their life.

Can removing people from our world achieve anything?

Hardly likely!

A world with no human is a world without communication and song, without ability to explain the beauty that is around us.

Such a world would be incapable of understanding the incredible complexity and beauty established by it’s creator.

A world giving no glory to the God of the universe!


However, eternity can start here and now! It can be a wonderful experience!

In Southern parts of Africa where it is very dry, in a place called Namaqualand, the year is spent with the ground hard, brown and arid.

Yet once a year, the rains come! Then the world changes incredibly.

 The whole barren landscape is changed into one huge extensive garden.

Flowers cover every inch of land from under ones feet ... to every distant horizon.

Nature smiles and the colors are too amazing to even start to capture with photography or video. These mediums cannot grasp the immensity of the experience. A touch of eternity flows into the onlooker’s soul. Beauty incomparable brings out emotions that flow into life in a way that is unforgettable.

This lasts but for a few days. Then the landscape wilts and returns to its former desolate dry state.

Our lives need no such limitation on eternity and love!

Paul writing to the Ephesians closes with words that explain my wish for our lives...

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

God’s love is immeasurable!

It’s more vast than the trillions of flowers on the Namaqualand landscape. Yet this immeasurable love is dependent on one thing for which we are responsible...

Faith!

God’s gift comes at our relinquishing of our internal control to him.

Our choice is to angrily push Him away. We may choose to experience a desolate life, with the false assumption that it is due to having others around us, or that it is their fault, or alternatively we can accept him and become a flower in his landscape of life, blooming and seeding the world with love!. Making life and our world an amazing place.

I think the choice is ours...

What’s your choice?
Thu, June 6, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Little sins!
ComplexityToSimplicity.jpg “When Satan cannot get a great sin in he will let a little one in, like the thief who goes and finds shutters all coated with iron and bolted inside. At last he sees a little window in a chamber. He cannot get in, so he puts a little boy in, that he may go round and open the back door. So the devil has always his little sins to carry about with him to go and open back doors for him, and we let one in and say, ‘O, it is only a little one.’ Yes, but how that little one becomes the ruin of the entire man!” ~ Spurgeon

We like to say one thing is better than another, to contrast shades of color, or intensities, or levels in hierarchies.

I guess it’s a case us of liking to know everything has it’s place, and that we can organize life into nice neat little packages.

Unfortunately life is not neat, nice and tidy!

It is full of cavorting ambiguities, difficult decisions, mislead intentions, and mis-understood communications.

Christians have a failure that those who are not Christian don’t fully understand.

We often classify sin into levels of importance.

There are “white” lies, “small” indiscretions, “little” mistakes.

Let’s consider the sin of greed. That extra piece of cake, the want to have a “???”. Extend it a bit and we get covertness. Now we want what others have or do or their popularity etc.

Consider that Jesus died due to this! Judas was greedy. Was it a small sin?

His turning Jesus in was based on greed for money. Have we ever been greedy for some more money?

Do we ever think “ I’m a sinner but nothing really bad!”

By “bad” we mean things like adultery, or murder, or injuring another.

What does James say about this?

9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:9-13

Stumbles at just one point!

Sin is not judged by level or intensity, but whether it is or isn’t!

Do we sin, or not?


That is the key question. Do we do selfish, ignorant and nasty things that we know are against God’s wishes for our life here on this earth? Do I do this? Do you?

God want’s purity and holiness! Purity is being without the blot of sin on our lives. Is a white shirt with one blot of dirt on it considered clean. No!

Is a life with one blot of sin on it pure? No!

Turning to God and asking forgiveness puts us through the heavenly wash cycle and we come out pure. No blots! That’s what we need to do!

Then we are distinctive in a way that does make a difference.

We need to be holy, or set apart by God. We need to have NO sin! This means we are able to live in purity.

This is the desire of deep Christian life. To live the here and now without sin. To continually be put through the heavenly wash cycle that Jesus provided by spilling his blood and dying to rise again in power with the keys to hells gates.

God is king, and is our lord supreme and we can only approach him in holiness. To do that we must not consider any sin unimportant, but all worthy of the heavenly wash cycle that is Jesus forgiveness and the rework of Holy Spirit in our life.
Wed, June 5, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Confused communication and an antidote
shockedthought.jpgTruth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.~ Francis Bacon

Maybe communication failure is best described by Led Zepplin’s words in their song communication breakdown

“Communication breakdown, it's always the same
Havin' a nervous breakdown, a-drive me insane, yeah” 

It’s interesting that communication failures were introduced originally in the original language of the earth by God himself.

There is a biblical account of it that explains the situation…
 

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

This is a real interesting story!

Firstly it says there was a common language on the earth.

I guess going back in time we can trace language to a certain point. That’s because its written down. The time at which language is first written down is called the start of history. The time before that is called pre-history(Just and interesting fact)

Okay, during pre-history, we have no account of the language so we have to work on history and it does seem as if in the Middle East at one time there was a single language. It is an extinct language written in cuneiform ( a writing made by doing triangular impressions in clay and then baking it).

One of the oldest known fragments is found on a bowl at Ur. It is the Akkadian language.This could be after that first language as we see it seems widespread.

God confused language, introducing communication failures.

It was in response to people’s pride.

I often wonder if God had to do too much.
Surely if he simply didn’t help the communications stay clear they would have diverged in opinions as pride filled people do?

The second interesting thing is the word “us” in the sentence

Come, let us go down”

I think this is God’s sense of humor at work. He is confusing us! J

When we look at the Hebrew it reads somewhat like “Come go confuse their language so they will not understand another speech another’s”

No real mention of the “us” part is there? It is perhaps implied, so we can see how the bible came to have that word in the modern translation.

Nevertheless it is confusing!

Whom God requested to go with him to confuse the words is unknown, and rather interesting. Leaves space for wide guesses and good stories.One thing we do know for certain is that communicating clearly today is a real challenge and we have many people who try to do this well. They never fully achieve this.

Why?

Perhaps pure communication requires the removal of pride and the intervention of God.

To truly communicate requires humility, understanding of another’s circumstances fully, a perfect communication medium, a perfect understanding of language, and a perfect intent.

Most of this cannot be attained!

We do have help as Christians in the form of Holy Spirit!

There is a piece in the bible that explains how Holy Spirit enables our communications with God to be cleaned up…

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

We need to be in the right relationship with God, then God hears us.

With Holy Spirit within us, and also within another believer, our communication is stronger as we communicate not only with words, but our spirits connect through God’s holy Spirit and our Godly intentions.We can communicate even more clearly provided we throw out that communication disabler, pride, and  turn  toward humility.

God says…“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word
. Isaiah 66:2

So Jesus overcomes sin. In this he overcomes the sin that led to communication failures.

This means that by allowing his Holy Spirit to live and work in our lives, and following his guidelines our communications can be made better.
Isn’t that great! Have a wonderful clearly communicating day!
Tue, June 4, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, June 3, 2013

I get so disappointed in myself sometimes!
  KerryBriggs.JPG

 

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” ~ Robert Kiyosaki

There I was a Christian, wearing a Christian T-Shirt at an event, and being a brat!

 It was the world bouldering competition in Toronto, where the best climbers in the world were attending.

Finals day!

Seats were a first come first served basis
and to see the world’s best climbers one needed to see all the climbing problems (8 of them) at the same time. That meant good seats!

We arrive at 3:00pm for the 5pm start and the crowd is starting to arrive, but the weather is poor and they indicate doors open at 4:10pm.

We decide to stay in our car in the warmth and when we get to the doors at 3:30pm the line-up has started, we are quite far behind.

The weather had also cooled and now the wind was blowing and fine rain started to blow in. Some of us brave staying in the line, but others take cover against the building in a tree line.

They keep the doors shut!

I find myself complaining about how they are inconsiderate of the attendees.

Why am I complaining about a little discomfort?

I know inside they are working like slaves, setting up new climbing problems, preparing athletes, sound systems, video equipment. Yet complain I do!

Then the line starts to move, and I find myself racing to the front of the line heading out in front of the rest of my group who had braved the rain and were meandering in with the rest of the crowd.

Inside the building order dissolves . We get told we cannot go to seats directly, but are only been let in to enable us to get out of the rain.

We will have to stand around behind the makeshift pavilion waiting.

Everyone mills around jockeying for place next to entrances to the pavilion and I chase after the best position. Pushing through the crowd to get to the best position, I find myself ignoring the needs of others as I push through to find the best seats for my family and friends.

Selfishness entered my heart!

Gaining at the expense of others becomes firmly entrenched in my thinking.

These are not Christian attributes! Wearing a Christian T-shirt I find myself mocking  God’s direction in my life.

It’s sad when we sin isn’t it?

Sin creeps in so subtly we sometimes don’t even notice it.

I guess nobody really felt I was doing anything wrong, as everyone was doing the same thing.

Yet, I knew I was being a brat!

How do I know this?

The bible says...

But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. Galatians 5

Where was my patience, kindness, gentleness? Was I really in control of myself?

What would you have done in my situation? The same? Different?

Each of us has our own challenges and failure points. Each of us is tested differently!

We need to remember Paul’s wise words...

13 My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live in sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law can be found in a single command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

15 You must not keep on biting each other. You must not keep eating each other up. Watch out! You might destroy each other.

16 So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your sinful nature wants you to do. Galatians 5

Today let’s not use our freedom as Christians to live in sin, but rather to live in glow of Holy Spirits work in our lives. Let’s love, be gentle, kind, considering others.

That’s a good objective for today isn’t it?
Mon, June 3, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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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.

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  • Published: September, 2010
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