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Friday, January 24, 2014

COSY guide to Ethical Living, what are our thoughts?
COSY guide to Ethical Living, what are our thoughts?

WritingPen.jpg"This guide is designed to help you make the right decision in certain choices in your life – particularly choices about what you buy and how you spend your money," the introduction reads.

A guide put out by the Church of Scotland Youth, forms a guideline that everyone could review and use.

Why?

Today the world is adrift in new ideas and situations, many never dealt with in the past. The general ethical and moral baseline addressing many of these issues changes all the time, so where do us as Christians rest on these issues that are not specifically dealt with in a biblical text?

The young people who wrote this guide put out good arguments for many contested subjects. Christian today on 16 January reports these as follows;

Climate change: "Support movements that rally for environmental friendly ideas."

Sustainable energy: "Turn your lights off when you're not using them, and try turning down the thermostat."

Transport: "Taking a train or bus is much better for the environment than driving or flying."

Consumerism: "Look out for shops that are open about their long-term environmental policies."

Water: "We are truly blessed with one of the cleanest, safest natural water supplies in the world...at a time when we're trying to reduce our consumption of natural resources, manufacturing plastic bottles is not the way forward."

Food miles: "One of the biggest things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is to not waste food."

Fairtrade: "While it is not necessarily universally 'right'...purchasing Fairtrade products is a big step in the right direction."

Pharmaceuticals: "There is really no good reason to pay extra money to buy branded drugs when 'own-brand' generics are available."

Recycling and upcycling: "Manufacturing recycled materials uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products."

Tax and banking: "As a consumer, you can choose to put your money in a bank that behaves more ethically."

Boycotting: "Boycotts are a peaceful way of standing up and showing that you will not be associated with a group and its practices."

Homelessness, asylum seekers and refugees: "Volunteer your time to an organisation that works to support homeless people."

Good principles for people with good hearts. For Christians the guide points out it bases the decisions it promotes on these verses in Mark 12

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4,5) 31 And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) There is no commandment more important than these.”

We need to do things that help people day-to-day. Maybe as Christians we should consider each of the categories above and decide what we could do to improve our world.

That’s a thought for today?

By the way the full guide can be read at http://issuu.com/cofsyouth/docs/cosy_guide_to_ethical_living
Fri, January 24, 2014 | link          Comments

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Was God wise to get the Israelites to circumcise their sons?

oops.jpgWas God wise to get the Israelites to circumcise their sons?

For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. ~1 Corinthians 7:19  ESV

Circumcision is one of the most debated medical topics that the common man has addressed throughout the ages.

Yesterday Annie Steed, writing in Scientific America, reported on Newborn circumcision pointing out that in 1999 the America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) deemed circumcisions unnecessary and within a short time 11 UAS states dropped the procedure from Medicare coverage.

The article goes on to explain rejecting newborn circumcision didn’t save costs, quoting the Wall Street journals research. It turns out that without circumcision as a newborn, the number of boys requiring circumcision at an older age rose significantly and state costs skyrocketed.

It turns out newborn circumcision is not only less traumatic for the boys, but that it costs less, about $250 compared to the $6000 for older boys, never mind the fact that newborn circumcision is safer, it is a fact that older boys are at far more risk for complications.

I guess science has come to the factual understanding that in this aspect maybe those ancient Israelites were wise in listening to their God.

The ancient rule was explained as 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Genesis 17 NIV

Then in New Testament times this circumcision rule was overcome by God permitting people to choose for themselves and non-Jews didn’t need to take part in this procedure.

Paul goes as far as to say, “
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”

This brings me to the question on my mind.

For years people have been mocking physical circumcision without seeing its benefits.

The question is “How many people are mocking spiritual circumcision without seeing it’s benefits?”

Do we realize that Christians are honorary Jews because of Jesus death and resurrection? Do we get that?

God the great physician does a procedure on our hearts making us right for heaven and bringing us into the nation of God’s people. Rules and regulations don’t mean much it’s the reality that counts.

Those older boys who developed urinary tract infections and other complications probably wished their parents had helped them at birth. The AAP changed its ruling in 2012 to allow to reinstate Medicare coverage.

Will we change our attitude to God and allow him to circumcise our hearts, taking the bad and evil away and giving us a pure clean and beautify spirit that is welcomed into heaven.

That’s a thought for today isn’t it?
Thu, January 23, 2014 | link          Comments

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

St Augustine’s 4 states of Man and the choice of monergism or synergism
Augustine.JPGSt Augustine’s 4 states of Man and the choice of monergism or synergism

In the 5th Century a guy by the name of Augustine discussed free will and our ability to come to God.

His first state is living according to the flesh

His second state is recognition of sin through the law

His third state is Faith in the help of God, but perseverance in trying to please God

His fourth state is full and perfect peace in God

State one is that of people who are able to do those selfish, nasty and horrible things as a result of original sin (original sin means we are all born with selfish, ignorant and nastiness in our life -a different subject J ).

We see that in people who live for themselves, chasing whatever whim or fancy dances past them. They have no strong moral base to their lives and if they do, they will bend it to satisfy their needs. We have all been there at some time. Now we know just how worthless that type of life is and how loudly we proclaimed it to be the best and only way of life when we were there in that thinking. I guess we need to have compassion for those who are lost in this blind living, and we should pray for them trying to help them (despite the fact they will deride us and reject our advances to help them most of the time).

His second state is the recognition of sin through the law. Again, some of us have walked in these paths as well. This is when we realize God has laws we need to obey and in fact these laws often make us more aware of the selfish, ignorant and nasty things we do. Yet in our own strength at the time we were incapable of avoiding doing these things. The pope recently pointed that out, indicating that life in the world is to hard to deal with without Jesus.

Augustine’s third state is where we start to have faith in God, but try continually to by human effort reach perfection. This cannot be done! This is one of the most tiring and trying places to be. It is often in these times people fall down and fail themselves completely by turning from God in frustration. If we try we find we cannot be perfect without God’s intervention. This person does not yet have the deep loving acceptance of God’s salvation. They are still trying to earn heavenly safety by pure living. This is an impossible task and will tire a person into failure every time.

The fourth state comes with a realization that we cannot be authors of our own salvation. It needs God to intervene and through Holy Spirit change us in an instant to be children of God.

Here is the point where people differ with Augustine. Augustine believes when we distribute God messages to others, whether they accept or not is totally God’s choice. (something called monergism).There is a different perspective(synergism) that says God gave men free will so that they can choose freely and we have the ability to choose or not choose for God.

Either way, if we are hearing an offer of eternal life through Jesus empowered by Holy Spirit that will enable us to live in harmony with the Father through grace and do not accept it, it does not matter we are monergists or synergists, we WILL be lost.

The only reasonable response it to cry out, “Oh God, thank-you for dying and rising for us, let my life die to sin and rise with you into eternity and I accept your free offer of eternal life and purity through Jesus

If you are reading this now that offer is being made to you right now!

What is your response?

It does not matter in which of the first three states you find yourself.

It does not matter if you are a monergist or synergist.

It matters that you know and love God, then that you learn to love yourself and others as yourself. That’s what God wants from us! It’s simple really.

Then we start on experiencing the relationship which involves talking to God and then watching as he intervenes in our life, growing us and guiding us. That’s eternity on earth. It’s available for taking for those with courage, acceptance of God in Jesus and for those that will enjoy a life of true love.

Think about it and if you have already achieved this, pray that someone you know will come to experience this as well.

Have an awesome God inspired day!
Wed, January 22, 2014 | link          Comments

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You do realize Christianity is not there to “make mankind better”?
BeggarMan.JPGYou do realize Christianity is not there to “make mankind better”?

Do gooders!

That’s a term I often hear used to explain Christians.

Yet if I understand God’s relationship with us, God never sees anything we do as good enough. Never ever!

The best person’s efforts on this Earth are stinking sinful when they are put in front of the pure Holy God.

Rather, like a beggar from the street offering us a grimy handkerchief that has been in unwashed pockets and hands for a few years, it has good intentions but the result is it is still incapable of being acceptable.

God cannot accept our unworthy gifts of good deeds due to the sin that has poisoned our lives.

That is not important however since God’s message to us is that despite the dirt of our sinful lives, he loves us so dearly that he has worked out a way to make us acceptable no matter what the darkness of our sin is.

When Jesus became sin and died, God became sin for us. He took on all the grime and dirt, and then went through the death and resurrection wash cycle to clean it all away. The beggars of sin became the heirs of the Kingdom. We are moved from the streets of Hell to the banquet halls of heaven. It’s not important how dirty we were, it’s important to know that the relationship with God’s son makes us into heirs and King’s kids.

We are lifted out of the grime of life into the light and beauty of heaven. Through Jesus, God reaches his hand down into the Hell of life, and in an instant cleans our life and makes us acceptable.

That handkerchief goes through the superwash and can be used by anyone in heaven. Our lives have worth and value!

It is with gratitude that we while on Earth respond with using our lives to help God touch others so they too can become pure and Holy.

Yes, we as Christians love helping our God in this world. It is love that drives us. Like beggars who get rid of the bedbugs and fleas of life, that enjoy the crisp clean clothes, the good haircut and wonderfully cleaning shower given in love, we get rid of sin and evil of life. We enjoy the armour of God and Gifts of Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness of our sins.

Who wouldn’t want this for others?

How about we ask God to help us provide others opportunities for change of this nature today?

Have a wonderful blessed day cleansed and empowered by God’s glory provided by Jesus and led by Holy Spirit.

"...If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone the new has come."

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Tue, January 21, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everyone on the side of truth listens to me
Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either.~ Aesop

ComplexityToSimplicity.jpg
Is there more than one truth?

Is Aesop right in his statement and what was he getting at?

Is it not true that when a decision is made, there is at least the chosen outcome and the outcome if the decision went another way?

I believe Aesop was suggesting that before we blindly believe the first thing presented to us that appears correct, we should check out the alternative as well. We need to know the facts.

Yet the question I pose today is what if the facts are not enough?

Sometimes it is not possible to know everything and the facts on which the decision is to be made may appear to carry equivalent weight for different outcomes that appear equally as accurate.

Let’s consider Pilates facts at the time of Jesus’ trail. He had the evidence presented by the Jewish leaders who were accompanied by a crowd who backed their statements. More than one witness shouted at Pilate that day. The charges level at Jesus were “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.” Luke 23:2

Three charges
1.   Subversion,
2.   Opposing taxes to Caesar,
3.   Being Messiah, a King.

 Pilate had to judge.

 Now we know the charge of subversion would have to have been applied in a Roman and not Jewish context, so Pilate could fairly easily discarded this as untrue. Jewish squabbles about religion didn’t interest him or Rome. There was not a Roman basis for this charge.

The second, of opposing taxes to Caesar is unlikely to have been supported. We know Jesus paid taxes because it is in his teachings (Mark 12) that we should “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” That, and the fact a tax collector was one of his disciples, seems to suggest that this was not going to hold up. Pilate also rejected these charges.

The final charge was more complex. Here there were two truths!  Jesus was a messiah and King, but he was not bringing in a revolution of the nature of an earth King against Rome. The facts presented to Pilate did not resolved the decision into one clear outcome.

Pilate asks Jesus “are you King of the Jews” and in Luke the answer is “yes it is as you say”, but John’s account (John 18) has more information and depth and in this account the answer is much more complex, (even if the outcome is as Luke explained).

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Jesus is not denying being a King, but is denying that the kingdom He has is in any way similar to normal kingdoms. He proves this by showing that nobody is out there fighting for him.

Why is he alone in captivity if he has followers that fight the normal way?

He is guilty of point 3, but he is also not guilty of point 3.

Pilate understands this, yet also understands the crowds outside are not looking for truth.

The depth of his dilemma is shown in his words “what is truth?”

That was what he had to judge. Jesus tells him.

“You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Strangely Pilate does listen to him. He claims he is not guilty!

Truth is complex, but when in doubt we should do as Pilate did, and listen to Jesus.

Today Jesus reveals himself through Holy Spirits guidance. We need to hear from God and do what God wants.

Did Pilate do that?

Initially, but when resistance came he gave way to evil.

This is the critical difference between Pilate and ourselves. . .

When resistance comes we should stand firm. God will take us through the situation.

I don’t know what your situation is today, what big decision faces you. What I do know is that to investigate truth and then do as God directs is the only valid way to go through each day.

I pray our God and father, Jesus His son and Holy Spirit will guide and support you today, no matter what decisions you happen upon. May God be the light of your life!

Mon, January 20, 2014 | 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
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