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Friday, December 6, 2013

Hard vs. soft issues
oops.jpgHard vs. soft issues

Try to go hard on the issue and soft on the person.” – Dr. Henry Cloud

Everything we do has nuances, levels and shades of intensity. Our lives and decisions are no different. How we deal with these with others is important.

Character and integrity in Christ during these times of review add overtones causing decisions to become more complicated.

Often we need guidance.

The bible has some aspects that are clear and well understood. I guess some of these can be best be described by example. Take a look at the 10 commandments. The statement “You shall not murder” is fairly clear and so easy to know if we are following it correctly.

Yet there are many less obvious aspects. Take for example just one other of these commandments...“You shall not commit adultery.”

For many years nobody had any trouble understanding that one! It meant that having sex with someone else’s wife was forbidden. By not doing it, we were complying. We could settle into self-satisfaction and claim righteousness (as many did) using this to judge others and our self with the same biblical tool.

Yet God didn’t let us stay in that state of bliss.

When Jesus came he changed the requirement from a “do or do not do” state to a much more complex issue.

He said “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.

He moved to goal posts to meet modern sensibility in that many things we think of doing things, but do not action on these thoughts.

Now, God wants our thoughts to be pure as well.

Modern man has a much more significant command to comply with, it addresses the softer aspects of the command with a much harder perspective.

It is so much harder to comply with isn’t it?

What does it really mean? Is it that exposure to any images of women that create impure thoughts are wrong? Maybe by removing the images we win? What about underwear adverts in the west. Should they be banned as many would suggest?

Not really!

To pick a less volatile example to explain my perspective...I hazard to guess that a man seeing a face of a beautiful woman in the areas (like middle east) where woman’s faces are always veiled, has an erotic value that is way above that of a man seeing the same face in western society. In western society we are more immune to those impulses since we are exposed to them daily.

Who is deeper in sin on reacting to seeing the face, the westerner or non-westerner?

Is the exposure the issue or is it deeper than that?

We need to understand our relationship with God is as an individual. The issues we face have a difficulty that is specific to ourselves. This does not mean that grouped they do not have societal effect.

They do, but the accumulation of these in society settings differ significantly depending on the society and it is almost impossible for one society to judge another. That is God’s prerogative.

Knowing this when we interact with others we need to remember that the issue at hand can be addressed with intensity, but the person should always be dealt with softly. People sometimes are experiencing much more intense emotions over the same subject or issue than we are. Knowing this enables us to react the right way and build a relationship rather than damage a relationship.

God wants us to love others. The way we react to issues is part of that loving.

Today as we face different issues, let’s remember to be hard on issues but soft on people. To love them with God’s love and try to leave judgements to god as we are all impure to differing levels that only God knows.


Fri, December 6, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The ripple effect of our lives
relaxed_day.jpg Such is life...
To live, to die...
To be but a ripple in the waters of time....
And when the ripples do finally clear...
As does the truth of your existence...
Disappear.
~ Takashi Azathoth Faust

Do we really just disappear at the end of our lives?

Christians know better and know we are eternal beings. Our lives are the launching pad from which eternity is entered and our true adventure begins. Life is a touch point of existence, one where there is little revealed and much to be learned. We are infants entering an everlasting existence.

Life is the learning area where we get to have one simple task to complete.

That task is getting to know, accept and love God, or not.

Some do, some don’t, yet all of us live forever.

Some of us in joy, other of us in darkness.

The choice is ours and only we can be blamed for the direction we take as we will all see when all is revealed. We will end up judging ourselves as failures or successes. The test bed against which we will do the judgement is the glory of God and what we did with it while in this life. How did we treat God, our neighbours and ourselves while on this fragile earthly existence.

We are warned “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34

This is in the context of God's words in the previous verse, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Let’s be wise and push away the anxieties of life, and the bad behaviours.

 Life is too short to include those aspects and live successfully.

Our lives are to grow in gradual stages towards God’s glory. Each plateau is reached in elation. Once existence at level achieved, a discontent develops that forces us onwards and upwards. Therefore we need to know pain, discontent and other worldly pressures! They are simply the means to growth in eternity if we approach them from a Godly perspective.

Many of us wallow in self-pity and if we land there we get caught into despondent thinking that threatens to topple us from the heights we have already achieved.

Growth into eternity is our challenge and it is achieved through addressing each day with God’s power, a soul resolved to do right, avoid wrong, pursue truth, and love others as God loves us.

With that we can rise through the challenges of life and “soar on wings like eagles;

… run and not grow weary,
    walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

That’s my prayer for all of us today!

Let's not be ripples, but rather waves that crash over coral reefs to rise and fall onto life's warm sandy shores,  slowly with the extent of time forming the coastlines of successful living.
Thu, December 5, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Those annoying dinosaur “facts” that aren’t!
Those annoying dinosaur “facts” that aren’t!Juramaia.jpg Truth seems to be a commodity that the movie making media is unable to grasp.

Over the past few weeks I have watched a few documentaries about dinosaurs and the time period when they were on the earth. Now before I delve into this, I must indicate that I do not necessarily discount evolution, nor do I fully accept it so that you know that these comments do not come from the slant of either perspective.

I like to look for truth and then once I understand what I consider to be the facts, then I assemble them within context as much as I can and draw conclusions from these.

This is where I had problems with the movies. Maybe I am not understanding something, but here is what I found annoying…

At one point it states about a specific dinosaur that it “ran at 65miles/hr”. Well folk, I do understand we can make assumptions based on their size, body structure and what we can guess of their metabolism, and this gives us some ideas, but to say 65miles an hour is pushing facts just too far.

Yet this is the junk that is dished up in a documentary.

With this in mind let’s just point out metabolism is a factor in speed and that while most paleontologists think that some were dinasaurs were endothermic, this is not a fact, but a commonly accepted supposition. There are paleontologists that disagree and think they were ectothermic. This is difficult to prove since you need a live dinosaur to really know.
 
That 65mile an hour was also really a stretch since I checked and the faster dinosaurs are presumed based on educated guesses to have perhaps been 30 to 40 miles an hour in speed (but we don’t really know).

Enough on speed, how about their color? The movies have these wonderful colors. How do they know?

In simple terms nobody knows their colors except in one or two exceptional circumstances. They have found some feathered dinosaurs and have “inferred” one (Anchiomis) had predominantly black white and grey feathers with a red crest on its head. (This was one that looked like a bird). More than that is simply not known. Those movie colors are all imaginations!

How about what they sound like?

The problem is the parts of creatures that make sounds don’t fossilize! So we have no idea! The roars and chatters we hear in movies are all imaginations of sound engineers. The T.rex shriek in Jurassic Park was a mixture of elephant, tiger and alligator sounds. Nothing that was even close to what was thought to be dinosaur sounds.

Why mention all these?

Simply to show how easily we are misled if we do not check out facts.

When it comes to Jesus, we need to be as diligent. There are gnostic gospels written in the third century that say things about God and Jesus that are simply not true. The sort of thing someone could write about you or me in the year 2200 if they never knew us. Stories made up by imaginations.

The books in the bible were however written close to the time by eye witnesses or those that were there immediate friends.

Choosing between these writings required some fact gathering and logic. We need to apply this and not get knocked about by these “gospels of Judas” and the like.

Truth is an interesting commodity that is not well respected today. Let’s be the people who try to find it today.
Wed, December 4, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The righteous do get tired sometimes don’t they?
 

helpTheDrowning.jpg“It is easy to tell the toiler

How best he can carry his pack
But no one can rate a burden's weight
Until it has been on his back” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing in difficult circumstances?

I do sometimes!


Sometimes when we have to do the right thing when others are up to their necks in selfish nasty and ignorant ways, when we have to gently help them out of the mud of life mistakes that are sucking them down, we find we get tired.

 Helping the first time is normally followed by joy and elation as the person pulls free, we rejoice together.

Then, when we have to enter the fray again to rescue the next person, on their freedom over time our elation is less and our tiredness more. Time amplifies this and after a while if we are not careful, we become automatons.

To help us overcome this feeling there is a way out.

We need to tell God how righteous he is and that every guideline he has ever given us is right and true.

We need to understand that what he tells us is completely trustworthy.

Yet we can be honest and also let Him know that our energy is wearing thin and that so many of those who don’t love Jesus just ignore the Godly advice we give them resulting in pain for them and indirectly for us.

We know the promises given in our bible are true and have stood the test of time as we have lived in their light and they have stood the test of time. We love to follow them and they are true to us.

To gain energy we need to acknowledge that you dear God love us very much and that we love you in return and that we trust and love the guidelines you provide.

I acknowledge that even when low, tired and needed energy, I can trust your laws because you are always right and you advice is the best.

Trouble and distress may come upon us, but resting in the truth of your laws our God builds us up, lifts us like wings of eagles and we gain strength where there is none.

In your laws dear God, I desire deep understanding so that I may really live. No matter how tiring it seems to be!

I need to have your energy in my life to live fully!

May Holy Spirit be with me and those reading this today!

Tue, December 3, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, December 2, 2013

What to do with a hurting church that is splitting into factions
justicescales.jpgWhat to do with a hurting church that is splitting into factions

 It should not happen but it does!

Churches get into disagreements which can threaten to tear them apart.

Why?

We are human and even Christian humans sin!

Then we find people get hurt deeply. They become worn and exhausted. Even leaders can become in conflict within church members robbing everyone of the joy of God’s presence.

At times like these we need  to know our enemy.

1 Peter 5:8 says “Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.”

We need to know who we are in the fight with Ephesians 6:12 “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…”

If the target of our anger and pain in annoyance against people…then we have it wrong! Satan is the deceiver and established conditions to cause grief and pain.

We need to know what we need to do 1Peter 5:8&9 says “Stand up to him. Stand firm in what you believe. All over the world you know that your brothers and sisters are going through the same kind of suffering.”

Ephesians 6:11 says “Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil’s evil plans.”

This does not mean it’s easy to do!

Luke 6:27 says “But here is what I tell you who hear me. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.”

Yet there is one thing we know we can do

Ephesians 6:18 “At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.”

God wants us to be wise, Proverbs 29:11 says “A foolish person lets his anger run wild. But a wise person keeps himself under control.”

God wants us to be wise and keep short accounts, Ephesians 4:26 says “Scripture says, ‘When you are angry, do not sin.’ (Psalm 4:4) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

We must enable the fruit of the spirit. Check it is present. Galatians 5:22But 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.”

We must stand up and be counted for what we believe, Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
    Do not depend on your own understanding.
In all your ways remember him.
    Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.

God does not like those that promote division and in fact says Titus 3:10 “Warn anyone who tries to get believers to take sides and separate into their own little groups. Warn him more than once. After that, have nothing to do with him.”

Yet we also know if we repent God heals us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We must acknowledge our pride and ask forgiveness James 4:6  / Prov. 3:34
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Pride in a principle while not looking for reconciliation is not always wrong, but doing this without grace, compassion and doing it from a position of spiritual superiority is wrong.

Romans 12:18 says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

We need heavenly and not worldly wisdom, James 3:13-17
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

So the questions we must ask ourselves are:
      Do we know our enemy?
      Are we fighting with the right person?
      Are we standing firm?
      Do we put on
            Helmet of salvation – Jesus owns us?
            Breastplate of righteousness – remove all evil?
            Belt of truth - do we check all facts?
            Shield of faith – do we respect and trust Gods plan?
            Sword of the spirit – do we check our actions against the bible?
           Shoes to spread peace – how much peace are we trying to spread?
      Do we know our enemy?
      Are we pure at heart?
      Are we peace-loving?
      Is what we are doing considerate?
      Is what we are doing, submissive?
      Is what we are doing full of mercy?
      Would people agree our lives how good fruit, and that we are impartial and sincere?
Mon, December 2, 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

 
  
you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
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