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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Joy of Quality living
Mihaly.JPGThe Joy of Quality living

“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.”

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly also said “Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason. 

Mihaly is a professor of Pyschology and has made it his life’s work to investigate happiness and creativity. A man with a mission led life.

He says to be happy we have to link our personal values to the information of our lives and if we link that to how we live we have a powerful force for happiness and will be creative.

How different is that from the more ancient truths taught in the bible?

My thoughts are there is perhaps only one fundamental difference in the bibles approach. It teaches what our personal values need to be.

We need to know what our personal values need to be in order to have the correct values in life.

This assumption must underly Mihaly’s work since there has to be truth underlying personal values. A choice to inflict pain and suffering on the world could become a personal value but would not in the end bring about true happiness or creativity but rather a horrible, distorted living.

God our creator wanted us to be like him. Right at the beginning of the bible it says,

 

“So God created man in his own likeness.

He created him in the likeness of God.

He created them as male and female.” Genesis 1



  We create in a similar manner that God creates. We love truth since God, sending his son to inform us has him tell us,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 16:6

God provides us the way, or the set of guidelines, directions and examples to live by.

The way is insufficient since without truth it becomes distorted to easily. Jesus directs us to truth and when he left Earth to go into heaven, he left Holy Spirit telling us,

“But the Father will send the Friend in my name to help you. The Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14


 Holy Spirit teaches us truth, absolute Truth. When we understand these things and grasp them and internalize these truths making them part of our life, Holy Spirit comes to live within us.


“Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is in you. You have received him from God.” 1 Corinthians 6


 Having God’s pure guidance within, having internalized these truths deeply, we have not only linked our personal values to the information but to Truth and the Creator of the Universe. Deep strength flows form this source. Deep wisdom is available without restraint. Deep happiness can result and we live well. Not easily, just well!

Consider what is available to us due to this. We have happiness and creativity, the blessing of the God of the universe and the honor of God within is.

How can we fail to be happy?
Thu, May 22, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, May 19, 2014

Living in Neroís time, Peterís challenge
Nero.JPGLiving in Nero’s time, Peter’s challenge

“Qualis artifex pereo." ("What an artist the world loses in me.")…Nero

In the first century, they had political challenges and a man that many considered a political monster.

The “civilized” world was ruled mainly by the Roman Empire. There were chiefdoms in Europe, most of Africa, the America’s and most of Asia.

Around the middle of the century the Christian leader Thomas arrived in India and in the Middle East, Jerusalem, the church formed a Christian Council.

The most advanced and dangerous society in the world at the time was undoubtedly the Empire based in Rome.

The man running that Empire was Nero. He was an adopted son of the Caesar who was his great-uncle.

His mother was sister to one of the cruelest Caesars of all time, Caligula, and she was the great grand-daughter of Caesar Augustus. "Wildly ambitious" could be a description of his mother.

AD 54 Claudius died, most likely poisoned by his wife and Nero's mother Agrippa the Younger was made into regent while Nero (then 17 years old) grew into his role.

Various sources describe Nero as “about the average height, his body marked with spots and malodorous, his hair light blond, his features regular rather than attractive, his eyes blue and somewhat weak, his neck over thick, his belly prominent, and his legs very slender,” he was also described as “a strange mix of paradoxes; artistic, sporting, brutal, weak, sensual, erratic, extravagant, sadistic, bisexual.”

This was one mixed up kid that grew into a mental complex and probably later deranged man.

His mother disapproved of his affair with Poppaea Sabina, the wife of his friend. He was obviously displeased his mother who also started to push for others to be Caesar, so he attempted to have her killed. It is said that he “made various attempts on his mother's life, three of which were by poison and one by rigging the ceiling over her bed to collapse while she would lay in bed. Thereafter even a collapsible boat was built, which was meant to sink in the Bay of Naples. But the plot only succeeded in sinking the boat, as Agrippina managed to swim ashore. Exasperated, Nero sent an assassin who clubbed and stabbed her to death.”

This was in 59 A.D.

Then in AD 64, a Great Fire burned in Rome for six days and seven nights.

Tactitus a historian describes it as follows “...Now started the most terrible and destructive fire which Rome had ever experienced. It began in the Circus, where it adjoins the Palatine and Caelian hills. Breaking out in shops selling inflammable goods, and fanned by the wind, the conflagration instantly grew and swept the whole length of the Circus. There were no walled mansions or temples, or any other obstructions, which could arrest it. First, the fire swept violently over the level spaces. Then it climbed the hills - but returned to ravage the lower ground again. It outstripped every counter-measure. The ancient city's narrow winding streets and irregular blocks encouraged its progress.

Terrified, shrieking women, helpless old and young, people intent on their own safety, people unselfishly supporting invalids or waiting for them, fugitives and lingerers alike - all heightened the confusion. When people looked back, menacing flames sprang up before them or outflanked them. When they escaped to a neighboring quarter, the fire followed - even districts believed remote proved to be involved. Finally, with no idea where or what to flee, they crowded on to the country roads, or lay in the fields. Some who had lost everything - even their food for the day - could have escaped, but preferred to die. So did others, who had failed to rescue their loved ones. Nobody dared fight the flames. Attempts to do so were prevented by menacing gangs. Torches, too, were openly thrown in, by men crying that they acted under orders. Perhaps they had received orders. Or they may just have wanted to plunder unhampered.

Nero was at Antium. He returned to the city only when the fire was approaching the mansion he had built to link the Gardens of Maecenas to the Palatine. The flames could not be prevented from overwhelming the whole of the Palatine, including his palace. Nevertheless, for the relief of the homeless, fugitive masses he threw open the Field of Mars, including Agrippa's public buildings, and even his own Gardens. Nero also constructed emergency accommodation for the destitute multitude. Food was brought from Ostia and neighboring towns, and the price of corn was cut to less than ¼ sesterce a pound. Yet these measures, for all their popular character, earned no gratitude. For a rumor had spread that, while the city was burning, Nero had gone on his private stage and, comparing modern calamities with ancient, had sung of the destruction of Troy.

By the sixth day enormous demolitions had confronted the raging flames with bare ground and open sky, and the fire was finally stamped out at the foot of the Esquiline Hill. But before panic had subsided, or hope revived, flames broke out again in the more open regions of the city. Here there were fewer casualties; but the destruction of temples and pleasure arcades was even worse. This new conflagration caused additional ill-feeling because it started on Tigellinus' estate in the Aemilian district. For people believed that Nero was ambitious to found a new city to be called after himself.

Of Rome's fourteen districts only four remained intact. Three were leveled to the ground. The other seven were reduced to a few scorched and mangled ruins." (See http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/rome.htm)

Suetonius a historian of the time says that Nero was heard singing in the tower of Maecenas as he watched the fire consumed Rome. Other reports indicated he did do his best to control the fire, even helping personally instruct others on fighting the fire during the first day.

Despite this, he upset people by building his huge “golden palace” on the area between the Palatine and the Equiline hills that had been utterly destroyed by the fire.

This made people suspicious. Rumors started! Even paying out of his own money to rebuild parts of the city didn’t suppress the rumors, one of which was to arise in future centuries that he “Fiddled while Rome burned”. (He couldn’t have done this as the fiddle hadn’t been invented yet.)

Nero needed a scapegoat for the rumor suppression and the small group of Christians provided a target. He blamed the fire on them and had many arrested to be thrown to wild beasts or crucified. He also had them burned to death at night, serving as 'lighting' in his gardens.

His mental challenges resulted in others wanting to remove him and in AD 65 a plot known as 'Pisonian Conspiracy' led by Gaius Calpurnius Piso, tried to kill him and start a republic. It failed! There were “nineteen executions and suicides followed, and thirteen banishments, without trials.”

He became increasingly erratic and people started to want to keep out of his way. Finally the tide turned against him. He woke one night to find his palace guard had left. The senate declared him a public enemy.

He had his grave dug. He wanted to commit suicide but wasn’t courageous enough for this and forced his secretary Epaphroditos to kill him. His dying words were "Qualis artifex pereo", which translates into English as "What an artist dies in me!"

It was during the year of A.D. 64 that it is thought that Peter wrote the letter we have in our bible.

Read in the context of this evil, it is amazing how gentle and loving it is.

He probably dictated the letter as it’s says “I consider Silas to be a faithful brother. With his help I have written you this short letter. I have written it to cheer you up. And I have written to give witness about the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.” 1 Peter 5. 

The letter starts “I, Peter, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am sending this letter to you, God’s chosen people. You are strangers in the world. You are scattered all over Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. You have been chosen in keeping with what God the Father had planned. That happened through the Spirit’s work to make you pure and holy. God chose you so that you might obey Jesus Christ. He wanted you to be made clean by the blood of Christ. May more and more grace and peace be given to you.”

Why he had to dictate it we do not know. Perhaps he was already in chains. He was in a stressful environment!

Grace and peace are strange in times that had none.

It’s hardly surprising Nero chose the Christians as scapegoats. Grace and peace in the mess of those times must have seem totally weird and out of place. Easy to explode suspicions into hate. At least, that was his plan. An Antichrist, perhaps the first or second(if we consider Caligula).

We as Christians are not of the world, but live in it!

We Christians are representatives of heaven, on Earth!

Let’s bring a bit more of heaven to those around us today. Will you join me with that?
Mon, May 19, 2014 | 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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