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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reading more than words?

 

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ~  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dictonary.com says of the definition of poetry, that it is  the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.

I like to think of it as words that contain more meaning than is packed into the words themselves. It is where form and structure of the words and their placement has value that complements the words expressed.

What has this got to do with the bible?

This!

Often we skip over the poetry in the bible unaware of its existence. This is true even though the very way it was written was deliberately poetry and even though the form of poetry is totally translatable.

Here is an example from the first part of John’s message of good news.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Now most of us would realize we don’t speak this way naturally, but few would stop to consider that neither did the ancient people of the 1st century.

John was deliberately writing in a specific way to elevate our minds above the mundane and emphasise something he expected us to get. Not only that but he was deliberately writing it so that it could be easily remembered.

Let’s take a look at this piece of his writing, which is an example of the use of poetry called chiasmus. John uses it in 1 John 3:9 as well. It is made of parallel components A/A’ and B/B’ that include the core component centrally.

A whoever has been born of God 

B does not sin 

X for His seed remains in him 

B’ and he cannot sin 

A’ because he has been born of God

Can you see it is concepts that surround a central concept, layering it from the outside inwards?

Let’s take a look at that beautiful first part of John’s gospel...

A In the beginning was the Word,

B and the Word was with God,

B’ and the Word was God.

A’ He was with God in the beginning.

Notice the linked concepts that reinforce specific messages.

 

In the beginning was the Word, He was with God in the beginning. Is the first concept.

 

Let’s look at the chiasmus of this chiasmus constructed sentence

A In the beginning

B was the Word,

X He

B’ was with God

A’ in the beginning.

Do you see this emphasised the Word was with God in a deeper manner and that the Word is a person, and that this provides more emphasis than the words themselves would have?

Going back to the original main Chiasmus of the sentence

A In the beginning was the Word,

B and the Word was with God,

B’ and the Word was God.

A’ He was with God in the beginning.

The central concept is the central two lines which overlaid say

And the WORD (was / was with) God

Not only to we get emphasised that the Word was a person in the outer lines, now in the inner lines the fact that the Word was with God is again emphasized, and overlaid is the core concept, The Word was God!

John was communicating, re-communicating and overlaying meaning to make sure we knew God was a person, that this person was God and that this person had been around with God from the beginning.

 

Why?

 

Why start with these deliberate words to describe a life of Jesus? He could have started with anything, but this was his core concept. It is what he wants us to know most. It is the Gospel in one sentence. It is the essence of Christian faith in one well set out sentence.

Even his choice of the Greek word for the English translated word “Word” was deliberate.

The Greek was “λγος (logos)”

It has a double meaning in the thinking and speech patterns of the day. The Greeks used the word logos to link rational thought and words, but it conveys the concept that the words cannot fully convey the rational thought. The word meant words but not fully. It also conveyed a meaning of this abstract link between man and godliness. The Stoics (Greek people with a particularly philosophical view of life) took logos to mean the active reason pervading and animating the universe.

Can we see John was communicating deeply through this one word?

I guess what I am trying to show is that by chasing through our bible without stopping to consider the words deeply, we miss so much!

Maybe today we could take our favourite part of the bible and go back to it to read it slowly and carefully. Then in reflective thought, start to analyse each aspect of it drawing deep meaning out to nourish our souls.

That would be a great way to start of continue our day wouldn’t it?

Thu, June 20, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why do people have to swear in movies?

 movieFilm.JPG“What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine'?” ~  Friedrich Nietzsche  

I have just finished watching a movie called “Beyond Borders” that starred Angelina Jolie. The amount of swearing in this movie was excessive. The amount of raw suffering of humanity was overly emphasised in telling the story, and the misuse of small damaged starving children (real starving children as actors) to horrify the audience was an effective but debatable practice.

I thought it was a poor movie as it had an opportunity to be great and didn’t.

It could have showcased some of the wonderful loving people who do this work with humility and love, who don’t swear and get angry but instead attempt to make a difference without resorting to these useless instruments of self-righteous dramatization.

I have lived in Africa and been part of humanitarian activities. Most people in this field never swear, are tireless in showing love and compassion.

They are sad and sometimes rather disillusioned by the horror of the world they have to face daily, but inside them the love of God burns brightly and it shines forth helping people not only physically, but spiritually.

Perhaps if the movie had tried to capture the quality of the human soul instead of displaying it’s inadequacies and failures people would have supported it better.

This “romantic” movie was a movie of betrayal of the starving people of the world(true), and betrayal of the lead woman of her husband. The romance it depicted was at the expense of despising and using the man that stood by the lead woman character. She exchanged love for her husband for a man that was flighty, swearing and coarse, a man coarse  even in his handling of the people he was trying to assist.

The movie had a budget of $35million and only grossed $11.7million at the box office. Hardly surprising since it is not one I would want to recommend others seeing and I would never want to see it again myself!

I wonder when people will realize that great movies deal with great subjects!

The great movies rise above the squalor of life to depict greatness of man rising above his inadequacies. They are movies we want to see again and again. They are movies that in the end enable us to feel good about the world, that enable us to motivate ourselves to improve ourselves as individuals.

I think we would all agree these are the movies that we impact our lives.

A great movie is the movie we would want made depicting our life.

Yet, what sort of life are we leading? One that would score big at the box office, or one that would flop due to the evil it depicts? Where are we on that everlasting scale of eternity, improving our world ,or abusing it for our own purposes?

We get to live once, rather like a movie is launched once. Fortunately unlike the movie once launched, our lives are still in production. The script can still be changed! We can remove the swearing and self-interest, and change it all for greatness.

Let’s think about that as we talk to and help others today. It may change our lives from empty failures into box office hits!

Wed, June 19, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The art of happiness...
OutwardOrInward.jpg

 

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Anonymous

“Tedtalks” has a few interesting video snippets about how to build happiness in your life.

In one of them done a while back a person analysed the five things people said they regretted on their death bed and then reviewed the antidote to them.

I thought it might be worth taking a look at them again with current perspectives.

I found this collection at http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/04/27/the-top-5-regrets-of-the-dying/ and the regrets are replicated belowso we can discuss them.

1.   I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Hmmm, Christians live a life led by Christ. Yet, it is amazing! Instead of finding we are doing something that is not ourselves, the more we submit to God, the more he opens up our own attributes and gifts to give us a pure experience of who we really are. We no longer chase around trying to please the shifty world norms, fashions, wealth gathering goals. Instead we look at our own joy, peace, gentleness, humbleness and self-control. Christians cannot get to their death beds with this regret.

2.   I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

This came mainly from male patients of the person doing the survey. They found they missed their children’s youth and partners companionship. Christians are told in psalm 127

Children are a gift from the Lord.
    They are a reward from him.
Children who are born to people when they are young
    are like arrows in the hands of a soldier.
Blessed are those
    who have many children.

And about wife’s it says

May your fountain be blessed.
    May the wife you married when you were young make you happy.
19 She is like a loving doe, a graceful deer.
    May her breasts always satisfy you.
    May you always be captured by her love. Proverbs 5

God wants us to love our children and wife and enjoy them. If we do this, this second regret has no traction on our life.

3.   I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

This is one aspect a Christian really relishes in! The expression of feelings is prevalent in our lives for without this we could never even come close to explaining our relationship with God that is so deep and full of love. In speaking to other Christian feelings are exposed and allowed to be true and as they are. Christian that allow Holy Spirit to live deep in their lives have wonderful feelings that have to be explained to others, simply because we want others to have joy as well.

4.   I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Get facebook! (Okay ,so I am joking, but it is important to stay connected to friends isn’t it?)

So many of my friends are Christians and we are like a huge family. Not only do I stay in contact with people from decades ago, I find that daily I meet new Christians and in so doing form immediate deep friendships. God connects us together like nothing else could. Holy Spirit in our lives connects us across culture, language and even distance. Prayer for others connects us with them when they aren’t even near. I think daily of people like a wonderful pastor and his wife living in Niagara at the moment. People we love and care for are close and immediate, even when distance separates us. This is not a Christian regret!

5.   I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Wow! This is an important one. God says first to look to him and then other things get added. This is my experience with God.

Connecting with God brings a joy that overflows from my life to others.

Instead of only trying to make myself happy (That’s a difficult self-defeating job) I do as God leads, fully enjoying each moment of life including the challenges. I know Holy Spirit is with me each step of each day and so even disastrous events from others perspectives get used for good by God. As such I can step into my life with confidence and joy. Each day is a good day. Really! Could I be happier? Well someone asked me what i would do if I won the lottery and was a multi-millionaire. My answer was I have been a multi-millionaire, and that it does nothing for one’s happiness, that I would not change anything except perhaps plan to do more to help those around me and keep those bent on abusing others at a distance. I am happy! I love my life, my family and even this opportunity to communicate with all my friends worldwide each day.

 

I so hope your lives are full in the same way, that you can appreciate God’s work in enfolding us in true happiness and joy.

I leave you with a psalm that is a wonderful help in this way;

If the Lord doesn’t build a house,
    the work of its builders is useless.
If the Lord doesn’t watch over a city,
    it’s useless for those on guard duty to stand watch over it.
It’s useless for you to work from early morning
    until late at night
just to get food to eat.
    God provides for those he loves even while they sleep.

Children are a gift from the Lord.
    They are a reward from him.
Children who are born to people when they are young
    are like arrows in the hands of a soldier.
Blessed are those
    who have many children.
They won’t be put to shame
    when they go up against their enemies in court.

Psalm 127
Tue, June 18, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hell Fire Insurance? Wise?

helpTheDrowning.jpgCan accepting God into your life a minute or two before we die give us an open door to heaven?

Are we planning on avoiding an eternity of pain, by a last minute appeal?

What are the requirements for going to eternal bliss? Is there a prayer or good work requirement? How much hard work is needed to get to heaven?

This blog will try to answer a few of these questions. The simplest answer is that to have our response to God be acceptable, we have to be sincere and God reads our thoughts and intentions as well as our words so saying something as a way to manipulate God will simply not work!

Will we be sincere in our talk to God a few seconds before we die? It could be difficult!

Then, we need time!

No use thinking we will make the great decision and then get T boned at an intersection by a fast moving truck, or having a massive heart attack as we do the morning exercises or strain at some other activity.

Some things happen fast! There is simply no time to even thing, much less to ponder the great questions with God.

God has made this gift of eternal life FREE. That’s the catch for so many since today we see so little that is free. There is always a hidden catch!

 

Not with God!

 

He wants to enable us to spend eternity with him if we respect him and his son. Do we respect God? How much? Enough to tell him so and change? Enough to know that he is the only one who can help us with eternity? Enough to want to experience his love forever?

To get it simply means we need to accept Jesus as the son of God and live quality lives, helping others as God asks us to. Not only when it pleases us to help them!

Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. Serving me is easy, and my load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I guess the simple path is to trust God and sincerely accept him today. Last minute appeals with sincerity are valid, but we may never get that chance. Let’s not procrastinate on the greatest gift ever offered? In simple terms tell God “Father I love you and accept Jesus as your son, that he died for my sins, that he sent Holy Spirit to help and guide me in this Life. Accept me as I am into your eternal plan, and help me live my life for you”

Have a great day!

Mon, June 17, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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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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