Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Circulating around the Email and Blog world at the moment is the following Post. I have been unable to confirm its origins but it is worth a read so I've joined the chorus and included this for your consideration. Its my belief we should always be aware of the reactions and actions of those around us especial during difficult circumstances as they can throw light on our own behavior and give an example of how we should live also.
So here's 10 things we can learn form Japan's reaction to catastrophic disaster (Author Unknown)
1. THE CALM
Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
2. THE DIGNITY
Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.
3. THE ABILITY
The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.
4. THE GRACE
People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.
5. THE ORDER
No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.
6. THE SACRIFICE
Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
7. THE TENDERNESS
Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.
8. THE TRAINING
The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
9. THE MEDIA
They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.
10. THE CONSCIENCE
When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Bible says God is not the author of confusion, He never sends conflicting messages - we are the ones with the contradictions. Here is an acrostic of 9 things people often do that authors confusion in their own lives.
1. Conceal…. “He who isolates” rages against all good judgment. Get your stuff out in the open don’t conceal a matter; get the matter out into the light for life to flow. Nothing grows well in darkness. Sometimes it’s hard to understand some things till you get them out of your packaging for closer inspection. Prov 2 says It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of a king is to search out the matter. Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel that is finer, worthy of greater honour. What you bring out into the open has the potential to be purged and well defined. Conceal a thing and it will grow more unrefined. Truth sets people free, untruth ensnares you. Be real about what’s going on, concealment creates contradiction because you become subjective not objective in your thinking. Jesus in the garden battles for the real human intention to be observed and looked at in plain sight… His will was in conflict with God’s will. Only by facing it could it be conquered.
2. Object- Psalms 102:5 says Because of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. God doesn’t shift but we often do and what makes it worse we become confused about who’s at fault, blaming God for it. When we object this creates confusion, but by maintaining faith this creates confidence. Job says our fear is our confidence .. in the middle of the storm your integrity is forged. So don’t object when life seems a contradiction. When the overly religious complained telling Jesus his miracles where in fact the work of the devil Jesus said they needed to be careful because their objections where hard to forgive, why? Simple, when you assign the work of Christ to something very wrong this causes total confusion. How can you find forgiveness from what you now call the devil? Faith not doubt is the key to confidence.
3. No objection… we are called to give account of the hope that is in us, never the objection or the confusion we are experiencing. At some point in the argument the prosecution must rest. We allow all our objections to be put to rest. Bring them to a place of resolution in our soul. We must cast down our imagination and give up the argument. Our view of life must ensure that God knows what he is doing with our lives and holds our life and times in his hands. No matter what the situation may say.
4. Fuss – fussing all the time about your life. Jesus said don’t worry about everyday life… Why do you have so little faith? This is probably one of the most important things Jesus ever said. Paul said a similar thing, I’ve learned to be content with what I have. What does it profit you if you gain the whole world yet lose your soul. Before you fuss about life think about this, let your words be few… because God lives in heaven and you live on earth, so you don't have the heavenly perspective. Too many of our words conflict with words like faith or trust, hope and love.
5. Understanding. Don’t live your life clueless, filled with misgivings or misunderstandings about life. For example, forgiveness is not only about others its also about the benefits and release you receive form forgiving others. People sometimes say I’ll forgive but won’t forget, but you need to understand to forget is actually to forgive, they are one and the same thing. I’m confused, I thought I’d forgiven them, why then do I still feel animosity toward them? That’s because you failed to understand the impact forgetting has on forgiving. This is just one example of the power of understanding. God doesn’t author confusion we JUST don’t understand stuff, we could and should.
6. Sadness or suffering-if not handled correctly will lead to confusion, thinking like this…I just don’t understand God, why did this have to happen TO ME? Pain will break you or make you, because God is always looking for simple trust. All he says about pain is simply give thanks at all times for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Blessing flows from believing, never from doubt. So suffering will always bring confusion unless we shift our suffering to sweetness, our hurt to healing, the slander to celebration. Matthew 6:16 when you fast, don’t be like a hypocrite, all sad in your countenance: don’t disfigure your face, so that you will appear to be fasting. Listen to me you will have your reward. My mother would have said it this way .. Boy, the wind will change and you’ll be stuck like that! Jesus is saying a very similar thing when he says sadness becomes “the” reward. Ever seen those pictures where people look like their dogs? One of the explanations for this is you end up looking like what you're looking at. The Bible says it like this, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also".
So when your heart is living in sadness, then sadness is all you’ll ever enjoy. Don’t let sadness regulate your life, as sadness will find the seat of your soul, it will never sit in the background for later reference. The Bible says it will roar for your attention night and day. Ps 32:3 says it will groan all day long. Sadness can’t coexist without an area of sin as a host. For example, where there is Unforgiveness or fear it’s impossible to please God because faith cannot be present there. Fear or pride can never reside next to faith. I may feel hurt but I must reach a place of courage or live in courage to avoid confusion.
7. Interests. Your interests will consume you. The devil used our interests as a means to convince mankind to compromise the stated God intention of our lives. The Garden of Eden is a classic example of this. It’s here the devil defeated humanity on the level of its desires or personal interests. Food and knowledge was the Bait. The desire to know as much as God knows, Its the old struggle for simple faith and trust again. The great God Question is… will I find any faith left on the earth when I come, or just a bunch of knowledge? Our interests in "other things” take us away from our interests in a Holy God who says – in Exodus 20:3 I’ll have no others gods before me. Note, the word gods here is small (g) little gods, things. The attention you give to things other than God determines the level of interest you’ll show in God. One of the tragic stories of the bible is Esau who gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew. Amazing when you look at the consequences of allowing our interests to get in the way of God’s higher purpose for our lives. There’s a wide road and that road leads to destruction and many choose to walk that way, but a narrow road that leads to life everlasting. Narrow your interests to God pursuits for what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul. List your interests and beside each one write the amount of time and attention you dedicate to them. Beside mark them C for Christ. If Christ rates only marginally in comparison, its time to readjust your interests.
8 Offense - Isaiah 8:13 Let him be your dread. 14 And he will be a sanctuary; and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
Dracula was not a vampire, he was a 14th century king who ruled Romania. He saved his nation from being conquered by the Turkish Empire when many other neighboring nations where overwhelmed. One of his strategies was to demonstrate the serious consequences of taking the bait. Every day he would place large quantities of money at different places around the city and would have it watched from a distance by his authorities. If anyone took the bait, money they knew was not theirs, he would have them arrested and they faced serious consequences for their offense. Not only was his nation impenetrable from opposing forces, but during his reign crime was almost nonexistent. Because of this protection, his people to this day have a great respect for King Dracula. Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get behind me Satan: you are an offense to me: for you savor not the things that are of God, but those things that are of men. That’s how offense is spurned in our lives by our interests, our desires, things we savor more than God things. Stuff you allow to linger in your appetite. Offense is intoxicating, as it tastes so good to our flesh. Acts 24:16 In this I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men. The word for our conscience here is co–perception this means - to have two perceptions about the one thing. To look at something two ways: - 1: to have the perception of heaven, God's view and 2: - to savor our own view. For example to have God's perception of people, the way God sees people running parallel to our perceptions of people. To hold on to hurt, becomes a duality of perception; you can’t try to carry both viewpoints. You can’t serve two masters; you’ll love one and hate the other. Offense cannot live in an atmosphere of God’s love toward people. Like the servant who begs forgiveness of his master for his debt, gets forgiveness then goes right out and throws his own servant who owes him money into prison. The master is furious when he finds out, and he should be. Both views can't live together. You can't love God and take the bait of fleshly desires.
9. Narcissism- which is simply your flesh crying out for what it wants. This creates such a confused state in the light of the Spirit's will for your life. We can choose life and Godliness, death or resurrection, blessing or cursing, peace or pain… SO hey, simple choice! Choose life. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 Understand this, that in the last days people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Then this… Avoid such people. Confusion is in the church today, because we so easily become narcissistic, lovers of self, of what suits us, not God. Its all about me, what DO I get out of this, what’s in it for me? Narcissism often drives our doctrines. In the last days people will no longer endure sound doctrine but follow after ideals that tickle their ears, grace with out sanctification, forgiveness without repentance etc. We are not interested in striving toward Godliness we are not sure what that even means any more. Welcome to Me Church, where you can have it all now. You can be blessed, famous, fabulous and fantastic all at the same time. Its all good! Rather than, its all God! This has become our catch-cry. The temptation is to be driven by our own desires, which silence the greater desires of God for our lives. Christ in the garden of Gethsemane is struggling in a confused state, why? To put to death, His will, so that the confusion between His own will and the Will of God could be clarified forever. Only then would He free all mankind of the contraction of their failed flesh so that life could emerge.