Tuesday, July 26, 2005

One more roll of the dice in Maine's growing reliance on gambling revenues

One more roll of the dice in Maine's growing reliance on gambling revenues - Fosters

While Maine gets ready for its first slot machines to go into action, the state is weighing how it can assist compulsive gamblers.

Like Phillips Morris running Quit Smoking programs....

These messages are obviously contradictive.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Maturity a rebuke


Maturity, maturity
How thou hast changed!
From glory to God
To sin-bound chained.

From praise to excuse,
Honor to debasement,
God's gift to devils enticings,
Fallen attic to basement.

How mightily, how dramatically
Thou art falling.
How do you retain your glory?
You fraud! Despiser of your calling!

Wisdom stands on the corner,
Foolishness also beckons,
As if judgment will never come
and sins never reckoned.

Discern, oh young person -
From whom do you get your bread?
What glitter and ego stroke?
From what fountain are you fed?


The rest as they say is HIS story.

I was once married to Law. He was overbearing, always condemning me telling me don't do this, you must do that, that's wrong, no don't do that. Not once did he lift a finger to help me- said he was powerless to do so. Worst of all Law was always right. I could never divorce him and he was always going to live forever and so I was totally trapped, without hope. My overbearing husband was simply killing me!!

Then I died to the law........................

The rest as they say is HIS story.

Found on http://s8.invisionfree.com/philippians3 .. author.. NickM

As soon as I post this, I'm numbered among the hypocrites. So I post, not without risk, but maybe with the hope that we all find ourselves in the same boat, and laughing, maybe we can ask God for help for a change.

Humility vs Hypocrisy

It is vital we understand that Jesus did not condemn sinners; He condemned hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who excuses his own sin while condemning the sins of another. He is not merely “two-faced,” for even the best of us must work at single-mindedness in all instances. A hypocrite, therefore, is one who refuses to admit he is, at times, two-faced, thereby pretending a righteousness that he fails to live.

Indeed, the hypocrite does not discern his hypocrisy, for he cannot perceive flaws within himself. Rarely does he actually deal with the corruption in his heart. Since he seeks no mercy, he has no mercy to give; since he is always under God’s judgment, judging is what comes through him.

We cannot remain hypocrites and at the same time find Christlikeness. Therefore, the first step we truly take toward transformation is to admit we are not as Christlike as we would like to appear. This first step is called humility.

In our desire to know God, we must discern this about the Almighty: He resists the proud, but His grace is drawn to the humble. Humility brings grace to our need, and grace alone can change our hearts. Humility, therefore, is the substructure of transformation. It is the essence of all virtues.

At some phase in each of our lives, we all will be confronted with the impurities of our hearts. The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness, not to condemn us but to establish humility and deepen the knowledge of our personal need for grace. It is at this crossroad that both holy men and hypocrites are bred. Those who become Christlike see their need and fall prostrate before God for deliverance. Those who become hypocrites are those who, in seeing their sin, excuse it and thus remain intact. Though all men must eventually stand at this junction, few are they who embrace the voice of truth; few are they indeed who will walk humbly toward true Christlikeness.

Therefore, sanctification starts not with rules but with the forsaking of pride. Purity begins with our determined refusal to hide from the condition of our hearts. Out of self-discovery comes forth humility, and in meekness true Christlikeness grows. If we are not enlightened to the depravity of our old nature, we become “Christian Pharisees,” hypocrites, full of contempt and self-righteousness. Did not our Master warn of those who, “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt” (Luke 18: 9)? Every time we judge another Christian, we do so with an attitude of self-righteousness. Each time we criticize another church, contempt is the motive behind our words. The irony of our Christianity is that so many churches look upon each other with identical attitudes of superiority!

The modern church has become overstocked with those who, thinking they were holy, have become the exact opposite of holiness because they so lack humility! Yet the humility we seek is drawn from a well that goes deeper than the awareness of our needs. Even in times of spiritual fullness, we must delight in weakness, knowing all strength is the product of God’s grace.

The humility we hope to find must go beyond the pattern of living proud lives, interrupted momentarily by intervals of self-abasement. Meekness must become our way of life. Like Jesus, we must delight in becoming “lowly in heart.” Like Jesus, His disciples are humble by choice.

Hypocrites love to judge; it makes them feel superior. But it shall not be so with you. You must seek earnestly for lowliness of heart. Many zealous but proud Christians have failed to reach Christlikeness because they presumed they were called to judge others. Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Anyone can pass judgment, but can they save? Can they lay down their lives in love, intercession, and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and, rather than criticizing, fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel is lacking? And then, can they persevere in love-motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!

It stands, notwithstanding, as one of the best pieces on humility vs. hypocrisy I've read in a long while.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Muslims should" by a Muslim

A challenge for Australia's Muslims

As a state legislator and as an Australian Muslim it distresses me to say that the London bombings should be a wake-up call to the Australian Muslim community, and to the Australian nation as whole. The brutal fact is that bombs like those used to murder in London could have been and, could still be, detonated here in Melbourne.

The profiles of the London bombers are all too familiar to any person who has been involved with the Muslim community anywhere in the Western world. It's a common story: young Muslim men discover Islam after leading a life of vice: drinking, gambling, meddling in drugs, womanising, then suddenly, without any warning, they are engrossed in Islam.

The initial transformation or conversion appears positive due to the disappearance of the past negative behaviour. For the overwhelming majority of these people, the acceptance of Allah brings about an inner peace and tranquillity that really is remarkable. In this case the conversion has been positive for society.

However, for a small minority, conversion brings to the surface in the individual a ferocious anger and zeal. Not satisfied to keep their newly found spirituality to themselves they constantly push it down everyone else's throat (causing grief particularly to non-practising Muslims). They constantly condemn the "decadence of the West", and are obsessed with the political injustices suffered by the international Muslim community.

The rhetoric is always the same. In fact, the template conspiracy theories perpetuated by the extremist left and right throughout the world get a good work-out. Zionist plot to take over the world, IMF, United Nations, etc - the lexicon is the same as that of any other lunatic extremist group.

These people appear to be vulnerable to brainwashing by charismatic zealots who inculcate them with a cult-like mentality.

Within the Australian Muslim community I have come across a number of former extremist Marxists who have converted to fundamentalist Islam. These people could not just maintain a moderate position between Marx and Muhammad - it seems it's all or nothing with them.

Until two weeks ago, I did not believe the rhetoric of these brainwashed fanatics would ever be matched by action. I thought that al-Qaeda operations would be too sophisticated for them and I believed that, ultimately, underneath the rhetoric, they were rational enough not to throw away their comfortable lives in the West. Unfortunately I was very wrong.

The challenge for the Muslim community now in Australia and other parts of the Western world is to stand up to these psychopaths. Muslims must say enough is enough - we will not let a small lunatic fringe hijack the Muslim religion.

The Muslim community must weed out those that advocate violence or incite hatred of other sections of the community.

The Government should be pro-active in ensuring that Islam is mainstreamed, and that a version of Islam that is compatible with Australian society is propagated. This goes against the grain of our secular system of governance - but if the Government does not act other sinister forces will move to fill the vacuum and, I fear, poison the minds of our citizens.

The State Government's much-maligned racial and religious vilification law should be vigorously enforced against Muslims vilifying other religions. The events in London are justification enough for tough action to stop faiths vilifying and inciting hatred against each other.

On the other hand, the state should not succumb to the temptation of viewing Islam and Muslims as subversives or a fifth column for potential aggressors.

Islam is a religion of peace; however, disturbed individuals commit criminal activity under the name of Islam - Muslims should recognise that and act to weed out the bad apples.

Adem Somyurek is the Labor Party MP for Eumemmerring.

FYI: Bittersweet Victory for Chocolate: Study Confirms Health Benefits

ABC News: Bittersweet Victory for Chocolate: Study Confirms Health Benefits

...the effects seen in the group of dark chocolate eaters were significant. Those who ate a bar of chocolate every day had a drop in blood pressure, an increase in blood flow, and were more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates sugar in the body.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Hebrew Mind vs� The Western Mind

The Hebrew Mind vs� The Western Mind: "In the table that follows, we compare the Hebraic mode of thinking with the Western, Hellenistic mode in a variety of categories"

"To try to distill the Bible, which is bursting with life, drama, and tension, to a series of principles would be like trying to reduce a living person to a diagram" – God in Search of Man by Abraham Heschel, p. 20.

"To the Jewish mind, the understanding of God is not achieved by referring to a Greek way to timeless qualities of Supreme Being, to ideas of goodness and perfection, but rather by sensing the living acts of His concern, to His dynamic attentiveness to man. We speak not of His goodness in general but of His compassion for the individual man in a particular situation" (Heschel, p. 21).

-- To know Him (it is an intimate knowing) ... to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength...

Hebrew for Christians :: View topic - Hebrew "Block Logic" reference

Hebrew for Christians :: View topic - Hebrew "Block Logic": "Let us turn, then, to some of the many examples of block logic found throughout Scripture. The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it ( Ex. 8:15 ; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful ( Isa. 45:7 ; Hab. 3:2 ). The New Testament refers to Jesus as the �Lamb of God� and the �Lion of the tribe of Judah� ( Jn. 1:29 , 36; Rev. 5:5 ). Hell is described as both �blackest darkness� and the �fiery lake� ( Jude 13 ; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, Jesus said, �whoever comes to me I will never drive away,� yet no one can come �unless the Father draws him� ( Jn. 6:37 , 44). To find life you must lose it ( Mt. 10:39 ). When you are weak, then you are strong ( 2 Cor. 12:10 ). The way up (exaltation) is the way down (humility) ( Lk. 14:11 ). �Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated� ( Rom. 9:13 ; Mal. 1:3 ).

Consideration of certain forms of block logic may give one the impression that divine sovereignty and human responsibility are incompatible. The Hebrews, however, sensed no violation of their freedom as they accomplish God�s purposes. Upon a more careful reading of the biblical text, one can often observe that the Bible views one block from the perspective of divine transcendence�God says, �I will harden Pharaoh�s heart��and the other from a human point of view��Pharoah hardened his heart� ( Ex. 4:21 ; 7:3,13; 8:15). The same is often true of Scriptures which deal with the themes of predestination/election and free will/ human freedom. "

Friday, July 08, 2005

Pastor Ray is my papa.

My father can talk to anyone. He is a senior who saves $1.51 every time he gets coffee at MacDonalds, which he does every Saturday morning. There are several regulars there. We pulled up last Saturday and a young man out for a cigarette hailed him from the sidewalk. I caught the first two words of the exchange, "THAT woman," he said. He was unloading the story on my Dad. People do that. They seek his ear and his advice. However, the man was not confessing, by his body language and pitch of voice I guessed it was more of an acquisation or gossip. I headed into the restaurant.

Apparently, it turned out that the young man is a homeless guy who recently had a bicycle stolen (some kids ripped off this homeless guy, gees!) He got mad and he got drunk. In unfortunate timing, while having a bout of consoling booze, he also had a bout of loud words with THAT woman. To the young man it seemed THAT woman didnt care that he was hurting and blowing off steam from the injustice done to him by some kids who had just ripped off his whole life! And the woman, offended by his drunkenness, and volume felt the guy had no respect for anyone and she didn't appreciate his foul language and in no uncertain tone and terms had let him know. As a result, the exchange was futile, no one was seeing the other person and everyone was/is offended.

It is easy to see how we get into such things. How do we get out of such things???

"This is a classic example of being previous offended," I mentioned to my Dad. The light went on in his eyes, "YES!," he leaned forward and put his hand on my shoulder. He spoke softly "Are you having a bad day, dear?" Pastor Ray laughed out loud.