Friday, August 28, 2009

Ten Step Towards Simplifying Your Life (Unknown Author)

1> Work toward a healthy sense of who you are. Remind yourself that you are striving for progress, not perfection. God does not expect perfection; only progress.

2> Jump start your heart with an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings daily and practice random acts of kindness.

3> Chose to live in the “now” and not in the past. Let go of yesterday and quit worrying about tomorrow because yesterday is gone and tomorrow will take care of itself. Slow down, take a breath and appreciate what God brings into your life today. Practice saying “no.”

4> Let go of hurts and disappointments, which are the “garbage” of the past. When you make mistakes learn to forgive yourself. Forgiveness means freedom.

5> Smile at yourself in the mirror. Smile at others. Give compliments generously and openly. Receive compliments gracefully.

6> Gently poke fun at yourself and learn to laugh at your mistakes. A little silliness will help you relax and become less self-conscious.

7> Hang around with positive, optimistic, and up-beat people who enjoy both work and play and know how the get the most out of each.

8> Set realistic goals on a regular basis. Beginnings and change help create exciting energy and new experiences rejuvenate your spirit. Take time to celebrate accomplishments, then reward yourself with a break from the normal hustle and bustle of life.

9> Try to keep your life balanced by prioritizing your wants and needs, and keeping them clearly defined. Need and wants are different; recognize that fact of life. Pray for wisdom and courage to know the difference.

10> Feed your soul at least once a week by doing something you love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Atheist (Part Two)

“Taking in separate bits and pieces of the Bible for information alone is like examining the discrete parts of a mosaic before recognizing its overall design. The Christian understanding of God affirms that we have been divinely wired for relationship with God - and that in Christ, God has come seeking us. Therefore, when we come to the bible with an open heart and an open mind, we can expect the sudden clarity of recognizing the living God who calls to us through its pages.

In the wake of the violence of the Bolshevik Revolution, a member of the Russian Imperial Diplomatic Corps immigrated with his family to Paris. His teenage son found himself adrift in the sudden shift from fighting hardship and danger to the relative ease of safety and peace. Happiness seemed meaningless if there was no purpose behind it. He decided that if he did not discover a meaning for his life within a year, he would commit suicide. As he neared the end of the year with nothing to show, the young man asked to attend a lecture by a Christian speaker. He did not believe in God and had absolutely no use for the Church, and the lecture did nothing to change his convictions. Angry at what he had heard, he went home and asked his mother for a Bible so that he could check to see if the Gospels truly supported these views or not. He chose to read the Gospel of Mark because it had the fewest chapters and he did not want to waste any unnecessary time. He was in for a surprise:

‘I do not know how to tell you of what happened. I will put it quite simply and those of you who have gone through a similar experience will know what came to pass. While I was reading the beginning of St. Mark's gospel, before I reached the third chapter, I became aware of a presence. I saw nothing. I heard nothing. It was no hallucination. It was a simple certainty that the Lord was standing there and that I was in the presence of him whose life I had begun to read with such revulsion and such ill-will.....This was my basic and essential meeting with the Lord. From then I knew that Christ did exist. It was in the light of the resurrection that I could read with certainty the story of the Gospel, knowing that everything was true in it because the impossible event of the Resurrection was to me more certain than any event of history.’

This young man became Father Anthony of Sourozh, who established the Russian Orthodox diocese of Great Britain and Ireland. Although he was not looking for Jesus when he went to the Bible, he found Him nonetheless; or perhaps, more accurately, Jesus found him. He was examining the "pieces" of the Bible's witness to Christ, but it was the reality of the risen Christ that revealed God to him which then enabled him to read the rest of the Scriptures in relationship to this central reality.”

An excerpt from the book--Life With God, by Richard Foster--which truly speaks to what can happen when the doors of biasness and pride are closed; and the door of possibility becomes open…God bless you and thank you for reading.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Atheist (Part One)

Atheist: One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

There are, of course, other definitions one could find in defining the atheist; however, in a nutshell, this has to be the simplest form and one that both the Christian and Atheist can agree on. Although simple this definition maybe, the atheist has proven that it can go evermore deeper or broader--if you will--of the true nature of one who claims the title: Atheist.

What you are about to read is a compilation derived from my own personal experiences; either through books, articles, blogs, personal studies, and conversations. If you are an atheist reading this; I just want you to know that I, throughout all my various experiences, have made something of a habit to step out of my religious box of thinking in order to maintain an objective approach; and in every instance, I have never once ran to my religious security blanket because the other truth scared me. In fact, I became more confident of my Truth, the only Truth, every time. Is there absolute truth? Indeed, there is.

With most atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothers them. What is it about atheists that would compel them to spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that they don't believe even exists? What causes the atheist to do that? They often attribute their intentions for caring for those poor, delusional people who believe in God in order to help those poor people realize that their hope is completely ill-founded. Atheists have also proven to go a bit further within their intentions; it is as if, they purposely place--out of deep curiosity--a challenge to those who believe in God to simply see if the God-believers can convince them otherwise. However, there is yet, an even deeper intention, as I have come to know; it seems they seek to become free from the question of God; and their persistence to convince the other side of their right thinking speaks to this. In other words, if they could conclusively prove to the God-believers that they are right, then the issue is off the table--debate won; and now, they can stop fretting about disproving God and live free to go about their life.

Nevertheless, what the atheist does not realize is that the reason why the topic of God weighs on their mind is because God is really pressing the issue--God wants to be known, not rejected. God created every one of us with the intention that we should know Him. He has surrounded us with evidence of Himself to keep the question of His existence right before us. It seems as though the atheists with all their blogs, books, and other writings cannot escape from thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, it might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people who believe in God is because God is actively pursuing them.

Malcolm Muggeridge, Socialist and Philosophical Author: “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.”

C.S. Lewis, Author: “...night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

Understanding the full existence of God is an impossible task for us in this life. God cannot and never will be fully comprehended by human minds; and the very nature of an infinite reality can never be understood by a finite mind: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD (9) As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”>> Isaiah 55:8-9

The Creator-God, The Biblical-God, The God of Abraham--The One and Only God of this universe--gave humanity that which is physically visible in order to gain the knowledge Him and His existence. To deny that is just mere excuses and the biggest error one can make. So, if you haven’t already, just open your mind and your heart to the possibility and see what you will find…What will it hurt?

“…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools,”>> Romans 1:19-22