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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Life lesson from my friends Linda and Jesus
LindaWhereAreYouLife lesson from my friends … Linda and Jesus

It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. ~ Mark Twain

This happened! Really!
Her name was Linda and I will not give her last name because I don’t want to point her out to those that may still have some interest in her.

It was in those war torn Apartheid ending years in South Africa, where people died daily in the struggles. Linda was a friend of our family. She and her children came to our home each week and she attended bible study with us. We often took them all with us to church when we went.

So what?

I hear this unsaid question.

In most first world places, that would be nothing.

Yet, my family is white skinned, and hers was black skinned, and in South Africa we were not meant to love each other like we did.

It was actually against the law.

We didn’t care! We knew we all loved God and that made us family so we ignored the silly law that tried to break up our family. Turns out the country finally agreed it was a silly law, but in those years we were still taking risks.

Now Linda was a nurse as well as a strong Christian. More than that, she was a highly qualified nurse who worked hard and helped people not because it was her job, but because she was doing it for Jesus.

In those years most of the nurses around her were unqualified, and doing the job for money, and resented her dedication. Not that Linda ever did anything to cause issues for them. Despite this, they got together and the threat to her was so great that the health system management asked her to resign, explaining she was at risk.

What did Linda do?

She asked them to drop her in the hot sun under a tree in a South African Ghetto area of informal housing (made of cardboard and odd sheets of tin) with some medical supplies. She would run a clinic under a tree, without running water or ablutions, in the African bush. She was happy to endure the strain to help the poor.

Soon she was providing a service that was much needed, and had hundreds attending her clinic.

This caused the witch doctors (Sangoma’s) to get concerned, so she visited them and agreed to not get in their way, and had some influence in helping the health issues of people attending their practices too. She explained to us how she had convinced them to get the people to bring their own razor blades with them, instead of the witch doctors using their own blade to cut multiple people without disinfecting it. (the Sangoma’s cut nicks into people to push herbs into it, to “medicate” them”). Since “Aids” or “HIV” was rife, this saved many lives.

It was election time, so what happened, surely she would be left out of this because she never ever spoke on political issues. She only helped people.

Not likely!

The local ANC representatives, a band of tweens and teens with AK47’s and machetes, ran this informal settlement. Anyone they didn’t like, they called in front of a sham “court” and declared them guilty. The minimum sentence was whipping, the worst, a car outer tire filled with gasoline pushed over the victims head and set alight, burning them alive. A sad truth of the times!

Linda was identified by this bunch of misfits as a threat. Not because she agreed, or disagreed with them, simply because people appreciated her and so she could influence them if she chose to. Better to have her out the way!

I will never forget that Wednesday evening she arrived at our home just as we were about to have bible study and asked us to look after her children. When she pointed out she was going to one of these kangaroo courts, as we called them, and may never return. “If I don’t come back will you look after my children?”

“Yes! Of course!” Penny, my wife, and I answered.

That night our prayer group prayed! We prayed with an intensity we had never prayed before. We prayed for confusion in the kangaroo court, for God to bring angels to protect her. For her to have wisdom, for Holy Spirit to be with her in strength.

What happened?

This…

She arrived at the allotted time to find the handful of youth awaiting her in this sham court setting. What she did not expect, was thousands of the community arrived as well. There were hundreds more than the youth had bullets in their AK47’s to contend with.  The solidarity was silent, but forceful.

Realizing any untruths would spell disaster, the sham court youths who had planned her downfall, had to identify in their number those who had spread untruths about her. Their planned manipulation didn’t work.

Instead of this, compatriots of theirs were identified and had to be given punishment. Whipping being the mildest was administered, and Linda was set free.

Like Jesus, Linda was willing to give her all for the people who both loved and hated her. Like Jesus, she never deviated from truth even when faced with death. Unlike Jesus, she didn’t have to pay that final price.

It was with joy we received her back in our home. It was joyful thanks that went up in praise of God.

How serious are you about God? How much do you trust him with your life?

Whenever I feel like I am faltering, I remember my dear friend Linda. I would love to hug her again, but I have lost contact with her. I would like to know she and her now adult children are well and praising our Lord. 

 If you have a spare prayer pray for Linda, and all the Linda’s in this world, please pray!
Thu, December 18, 2014 | link          Comments

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review of Movie Exodus: Gods and Kings
Exodus Copyright believed to be 20th Century Fox downloaded by fanReview of Movie – Exodus: Gods and Kings

Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

The box office is pushing the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings as an epic this December 2014.

Looking at the Wikipedia post I see it says “Exodus: Gods and Kings is a 2014 biblically-inspired epic film directed by Ridley Scott. It was written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley. It is an interpretation of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as led by Moses and related in the Book of Exodus. The film is dedicated to Scott's younger brother and fellow director, Tony Scott, who committed suicide in 2012.”

Biblically inspired maybe, biblically accurate – definitely not!

This is a mockery of the actual events unfolded in the biblical text. The major inaccuracies from my perspective are things like Moses meets a boy representing God at the burning bush instead of only hearing God’s voice. He does this lying on his back in quicksand or “quickmud” instead of having to take off his sandals because walking on Holy Ground is to be done unshod as it says in the bible.

Here’s the actual biblical account…

Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3

In the movie, he is dreaming, and this doesn’t actually occur.

What is there about the biblical statement “warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll” These words aree given to us in Revelations 22, What did Ridley Scott not understand?


Okay so what else?

Moses chief item he carried was a sword from Pharaoh according to the movie, with this he influenced the sea parting by throwing it in. Let’s see what the bible says…

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground… 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left… Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.’ 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place.” Exodus 14

The movie had Moses getting caught in the same sea coming together as the Egyptians ,and Pharaoh escaping and swimming to safety. Yet the bible says…” The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

The plagues were well depicted, but attempts were made to explain them which is not biblical, but is okay from my perspective as it is also potentially correct. God can use any natural force as he is the creator and sustainer of these forces. What I found inaccurate was that Moses is the speaker to Pharaoh, whereas in the bible he gets Aaron to do it.

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.” Exodus 4 and then it says “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh…”

It is Aaron’s staff that becomes a snake in front of Pharaoh, not Moses. Aaron spreads his hands over the Nile to create the blood waters, the frogs, the Gnats. Aaron was a huge part of Exodus, and yet he has only passing reference in the film.

There are so many inaccuracies that this blog would become too long if I continue.

The summary is that it is good the Movie is there to increase awareness of the Exodus, but nobody should think it does more than this. Truth is not found in the movie, only the bible. Seeing it, helps understand the times but the storyline is poorly reflective of the biblical truth.

Worth seeing? Somewhat. If you do, read Exodus first!

Wed, December 17, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, December 15, 2014

Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem

Each year I find out a little more about the Christmas story. This year I was looking through the various options for the Bethlehem star again. There are various options for its explanation.

Here are a few...

  • A meteor

  • A Comet

  • A planetary Conjunction

  • A nova

  • A supernova

When we look at these there are some we can discard almost immediately. A meteor is to quick and the Magi who were expert mathematicians / astronomers / astrologers of the time would not have been conned by a meteor.

Comet we thought to be the bringers of bad conditions and disasters, not Kings, so that is unlikely to have been the star (despite the many depictions of this in nativity scenes).

A planetary conjunction is more likely. These occur when planets come together from the viewers perspective on earth. Strangely enough, these can actually come together and then go backwards(an activity called retrograde) and come together again because of the viewpoint of the different orbits of the planets.

This is much more likely since some star systems represented nations, some stars kings and some planets similarly.

It is highly likely the movement of these planets into specific formations could cause awe and concern in these ancient people. The words in the bible in fact seem to indicate this is likely and some people are certain these were what led to the brightness over Bethlehem as those guys travelled into town. There was a triple conjunction at the time!

Okay what about a Nova. This occurs when a star strips another star of its hydrogen and burns more brightly. Its possible but Nova’s don’t move or indicate direction. The bible story indicates this occurs, so its unlikely (but I suppose possible it was a Nova). A supernova which is a spectacular collapse of a star is similar but falls under the same judgement so is also unlikely.

So, if I had to choose, I would say our Star of Bethlehem was a planetary conjunction.

However the real star was Jesus who was probably a toddler at the time.

Mary did you know your boy, the light of the world,  would one day save the world?
Mon, December 15, 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.

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Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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