2019 A New Year of Prayer

Prayer is so simple. It’s like opening a door and slipping into the presence of God. It’s about having a conversation with Him, sharing our thoughts, our worries, our joys, our thankfulness.

So why do we (why do I) find it so difficult sometimes?

We know from Scripture that an active prayer life is essential to our spiritual health, as individuals and as a church, and the start of a new year seems like a good time to think about ways in which we can sharpen our focus on prayer together.

There’s a general feeling that since some ecclesiae stopped holding regular prayer meetings they have lost a bit of that focus. Though it is good to know that various suggestions were made by their Arranging Committees, looking for ways to develop the prayer life of their community, and one was that they would have a monthly prayer theme which they can centre their prayers around, both as an ecclesia and in their private prayers.

That requires someone to manage/lead/coordinate. But the first thing to say is that this is should always also a community initiative and, if it’s to be relevant and inspiring to everyone, the ideas, the input and the energy need to come from everyone,
young and old.

We at this site shall also some thoughts but you too may let us know how you think we can improve our prayer life, and also what, or who, you would like us to pray for, week on week.

Paul says in Colossians,

“Continue steadfast in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”,

and giving thanks in prayer is as important as petitioning. Our monthly themes should encompass both. One idea already suggested for a January theme is to remember those who are homeless. This is the worst time of the year to be on the streets, or to be a refugee without a home; news reports are telling us daily about migrants who are desperate enough to risk embarking on small boats to cross the busiest shipping lane in the world.

Over Christmas most of us have most been enjoying the warmth of food and family, so it would be a good time to thank God for those blessings and also to remember those who don’t possess such things, who are out in the cold, physically and metaphorically.

We can pray for COG, for the Food Bank and West Berkshire Homeless and the work we do with them; our praying should then prompt us to even more generous giving to those in need.

A monthly theme like this is a good start. As we focus more and more on prayer, who knows where else this will lead us? It’s an exciting prospect.

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Related

  1. Being Vulnerable.
  2. Banging On The Lifeless Door
  3. Conversation
  4. Making a Spiritual Connection
  5. A Simple Invitation: A Lesson Learned this Advent Season
  6. Not What I Expected
  7. The Listener
  8. One-on-one with God
  9. Are You Praying Too Much?
  10. When Should We Pray?
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A truth to face often to do with time

A truth we all have to face is that the days pass by and that we are always limited by time. It is the ticking of the clock which may remind us that we have to take in account the time. Day and night bring us to face the reality of the day, where we have to make a distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception.

We may not forget that “Truth” is unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. Truth might be unrecognised, but it will not be changed. Truth applies to everything that God created, and only what God created or allows to exists is real and true. This is beyond learning because it is beyond time and beyond the limited awareness of processing thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

Truth has no opposite; no beginning and no end. Truth is real, unchanging and it is the serene peace of faithfulness.

Manny may be looking for truth at the wrong place. We would like to know that the best place to find truth is the Bible.

As we come to the end of 2018 it is perhaps not bad to check how media distorted truth and how much we were confronted with fake news. True news shall be that we soon shall have to face an other year with again new steps to undertake. People should know that there is also the truth that time is starting to run out. Every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, we are getting closer to the moment of truth. Before it is so far, make sure you are ready. Come to know who is the way to God and how you should be ready for hard times to come.

Today we are still connected to the time, not able to escape it. We are not able to stay young and healthy. We are all confronted with difficulties in life and illnesses. And at a certain point in life we shall have to face it that we shall not be able to be under the living on this earth. We even shall not be able to stop the time when we die. Then our body shall decay to become dust and nothingness again.

The truth of life is that there is no nothingness. When you get drown in the idea of being a nothing or to live in a nothing, you are strangling yourself. Speak of nothing can bring to mind a sense of desolation and darkness, plus can bring you in a space where you feel the emptiness

Although we may describe times of our life interchangeably using nothingness or emptiness, they have different meanings for Christians.

We should not be afraid of the time passing, of empty moments, of scaring moments, of darkness coming over this world. By time we should come to see the signs of the times the book of books speaks so many times. We as Christians are to pour ourselves out in time, treasure, and talent and be ready for others to help them come through the times. When others are afraid of darkness or certain times coming we can show the the light in that darkness.

When at 24.00 hours today sounds the fireworks and light up the skies, we should be happy, because we know we received again one more year to be here on earth and to come closer to better times. And let us not forget, having time, it means also we have to consider our obligation brought by the time. Our responsibility to make the best out of time and to take up a responsible position in times to come. Are you aware of the content you are going to bring in time, this coming new year?

For the time being, we hope you had a nice 2018 and wish you all the best for 2019.

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Concerning time, read: Coming to the end of 2018

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Related

  1. Now that autumn is over, winter is here
  2. A cogitative and brief interpretation concerning time
  3. Lose All That Importance
  4. Nothing Remains
  5. Ego, you go
  6. Nihilism – not waving, drowning.

Kler the Polish Spotlight on Poland’s Clergy Sexual Abuse

The oh so Catholic Poland now begins for many years later than our country to feel the consequences of the wrong attitude of the Catholic Church towards priests who abused young people.

New research shows that church attendance starts going down very quickly now. The Polish church also for the first time has to pay compensation to a victim of abuse.

In 1980, more than half of Poles regularly went to church, in 1986 it had dropped to a third. Nowhere in the world is church attendance decreasing so massive, the Pew Research Center concludes.

Karol Wojtyla, alias pope John-Paul II, may still be the most popular figure, but the Catholic Church not any more.

From the 28th of September the film “Kler” from the director Wojciech Smarzowski entered in cinemas. He says

I’m just a director. But I would like the church financing system to be open, paedophile priests to be sent to prison and that the Polish Church should finally take responsibility for the victims.

Wojciech Smarzowski – born in 1963. Director of the films ‘Wesele’, ‘Dom zły’, ‘Róża’, ‘Drogówka’, ‘Pod Mocnym Aniołem’. His previous film, “Wołyń” (2016), the president of TVP Jacek Kurski, awarded a special prize at the Gdynia festival.

Tadeusz Sobolewski thinks:

“Kler” will be the Polish “Spotlight“?

Spotlight (film) poster.jpgThe Oscar-winning biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer follows The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests.

Initially the team believed that they were following the story of one priest who was moved around several times, but soon they came to understand it was a systematic system of the church hierarchy to cover up several sexual abuses of children by Catholic priests in Massachusetts.

For Poland Wojciech Smarzowski believes:

It’s a different situation. It must be remembered that in no country has the Church itself purified itself of the fault. There had to be state help, secular institutions. Anyway, “Kler” is not just a movie about paedophilia. It was important for me to make a movie about people who only distinguish themselves by wearing cassocks. There are three vectors that drive this story: the lust for money – greed, lust for power, and sexual desire.

And since we’ve started from it, let’s take care of this sin. Studies in Germany, which were carried out by secular commissions commissioned by the episcopate, showed that there are 4 percent of priests. paedophiles. But the episcopate provided archives to the commissions. In Australia, the episcopate made available all church archives and it turned out that it was 7 percent. Of course, we did not have any research, but even if only – as in 2014, Pope Francis said – 2 percent. all priests are paedophiles, and so more or less 600 pedophiles in cassocks walk each day between our children.

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A few years ago, three Catholic priests’ fates were joined together by a tragic event. Their lives were miraculously saved. Now, on every anniversary the clergymen meet to celebrate their survival. Each took a different path.
Lisowski is moving up the ladder in the church administration in a big city, dreaming about the Vatican. Standing in his way is the Archbishop, a luxury-loving dignitary who uses political influence to build the largest sanctuary in Poland…
The second priest, Trybus is a rural pastor. Serving in a place full of poverty, he slowly succumbs to human weaknesses.
Kukula is not very successful, either, and despite his fervent faith, loses the trust of his parishioners overnight.
Soon, the clergymen’s paths will cross again, and the events that will take place will have an impact on the life of each of them.

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Related

  1. Sex Offenders Have Faces Like Yours and Mine
  2. Clergy Sexual Abuse – Compassion for the Victims
  3. By it’s own definition – the Catholic Church is lacking credibility Update
  4. Feds: Priest Blamed Sex Abuse On Cancer He Didn’t Have
  5. Oakland Diocese To Release Names Of Clergy Accused Of Abuse
  6. File it under “It’s About Time” – Catholic Church to disclose names of all clergy accused of child abuse
  7. Priest Abuse As A Child
  8. Can you hear the scream of silence?
  9. Prosecutor: Catholic priests ‘weaponised’ faith to sexually abuse children – Mark Scolforo
  10. Pope John Paul II and the Vatican sex scandal cover-up – Saxasalt
  11. Righteous anger
  12. Cardinal Murphy O’Connor’s Cover-up of Child Abusers Must be a Lesson to the Catholic Church by Keith Porteous Wood
  13. ‘So many I’m sorry’s’: Why some survivors of sexual abuse won’t or can’t go to

An Escape Mechanism

To remember

  • God = a ‘wish fulfillment; a fictional father figure projected in the sky of our imagination + created by our desire for security.’
  • Heaven = imaginary projection of our extinction + death
  • religion = psychological escape mechanism => we don’t have to face life as it really is.
  • atheism = flight from reality > projection of desire not to have to meet God one day + give account for your life.

God does not believe in atheists

escape

The new Atheists quote Sigmund Freud, that God is a ‘wish fulfillment; a fictional father figure projected in the sky of our imagination and created by our desire for security.’ On this view, Heaven is an imaginary projection of our extinction and death. And religion is simply a psychological escape mechanism so that we don’t have to face life as it really is. Well, of course, that’s all true; provided only that God does not exist. But if God does exist, exactly the same Freudian argument will show you equally convincingly that it is atheism that is the flight from reality. A projection of the desire not to have to meet God one day and give account for your life. If God does exist, then atheism can easily be seen as a psychological escape mechanism; to avoid taking responsibility for one’s life.

–John Lennox

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Finding the Messiah in Hebrew dictionaries – 1.

Brit In Jerusalem

I’ll carry on with more about my trip round China shortly.   My blog follows a sort of ‘Reader’s Digest’ pattern of stories that start and stop mainly on themes of my faith in Christ, travel in places of the bible and other countries that interest me.

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This week I was really blessed to get this set of 4 volume Hebrew dictionaries, these used to belong to a library, I know that the Hebrew language actually gets ‘updated’ with new words for modern things, these books are from 2000.   So I don’t know how out of date they have to be to be retired!

I’m not a biblical scholar.  I have no Jewish background in my family as far as I know.  I’m a Christian who did some volunteering in Jerusalem, and I learned some Hebrew out there.   Not very much, not enough to be much useful.   I can’t remember many words…

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Did the first followers of Jesus have ‘church’

Did the first followers of Jesus have ‘church’
  A. Amos Love searches for the the word “Church” in the Bible.

Makes an interesting study. An interesting challenge.

Print out every verse with the word “church” in it…
Read every verse, over and over, again and…
And ask yourself… Ask Jesus…

In the Bible?
Did any of ”His Disciples?”
Ever?

1 – ”Go to” Church?
2 – ”Join” a Church?
3 – ”Lead” a Church?
4 – ”Plant” a Church?
5 – ”Pastor” a Church?
6 – ”Attend” a Church?
7 – ”Tithe” to a Church?
8 – ”Look for” a Church?
9 – ”Teach” Go to Church?
10 – ”Bring their friends” to Church?
11 – ”Become Members” of a Church?
12 – ”Apply for Membership” in a Church?
13 – ”Call themselves, Pastor,” in a Church?
14 – ”Call themselves, Leader,” in a Church?
15 – ”Call themselves, Reverend,” in a Church?
16 – ”Give Silver, or Gold, or Money” to a Church?
17 – ”Build a building with a Cross” and call it Church?

18 – *”Were any of **”His Disciples,” ever Hired?”**
As a Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
Preaching, to People in Pews?
Weak after Weak?

In a church?

NOPE…
NONE of ”These Things” exist in the Bible…
For one of ”His Sheep,” ”His Disciples.”
Who ARE, The Church of God.

”These Things” only exist in the church of man.
They do NOT exist In the Bible. Oy Vey!!! 😦

Seems those who do NOT “Go To Church.”
Are more “Biblical” than those who do. 😉

If, In the Bible…
Jesus did NOT teach ”His Disciples” to do these things?
And, ”His Disciples” did NOT do these things?

Why do WE?

dividinghisword  replied

I wish I could heart this, like it 10x! Trust me, …

I personally no longer desire and follow the model of ‘going to church’, where there is a building, a pulpit and an offering plate. I go to my Father’s House instead. The church is the faithful to God, not faithful to a denomination, a dogma, or a preacher.

Do You Want to Believe?

The “WEIRD-people” from the Weird world may have very weird ideas loving to belong to the Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic world but seem often to be blinded by their politicians, like the present presidents of the U.S.A., Turkey and Russia, who are of the same breed and love the tyranny of a dictatorship where they must play the lead, over a a group of people who are caught up in human doctrines of one of their religions, be it a very conservative form in Christendom, or in Islam, or in Russian Orthodoxy mixed with Stalinism.

We may be asked to calm down, but what happened to our family members, our teachers and friends in the 1930ies and 1940ies is clearly printed in our heads and  here in Europe we see history repeating itself.

In Christendom there is also once again a growing hate to those of Christianity. The ones believing in a Trinity got their agricultural fork out again, trying to get down who believe in the Only One True God of Israel, (Jews, Jeshuaists, Non-Trinitarian Christians and Muslims). Those who say they are Christian often do not take on the attitude of Christ, who should be their rebbe and show how they prefer to live without a God Who has given mankind His commandments. They want others to believe we do not have to keep those commandments any more, and do live accordingly a life full of indecent and immoral actions and foul language.

Our best hope should not be on that sort of community but should direct with open eyes for a better world where people of all sorts of culture, colour or race can live together in a global community of loving and sharing people.

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To remember

  • We all have friends who believe things that seem crazy, but we don’t think our friends are crazy.
  • People adopt beliefs based on several factors. If those factors are different, then the people tend to adopt different beliefs.
  • Differences in factors as: region, economic class, ethnicity, social circles, information sources, + life experiences lead people to different beliefs.
  • differences show up mainly in emotion + intuition, which influence our political + moral judgments.
  • perhaps half of Americans accept utilitarian + universalist ideas, but also value loyalty, respect for authority, respect for the sacred, individual liberty, + support for the common good.
  • disagreements exist + also a few genuine crazies + haters: in a population of over 300 million, that’s inevitable.

Don’t let a tiny minority of crazies and haters blind you to the fact that most people want to be good and to do the right thing – even if their idea of “the right thing” sometimes clashes with ours.

  • Screaming at people, calling them names, and dismissing their concerns as unworthy of consideration => on-going conflict + social disintegration.

The Thousand-Year View

graphic-01-newrepublicMy latest blog post for The Jewish Journal:

After a bitterly divisive election season, there’s one question on everyone’s mind:

“How can people possibly believe that?”

What “that” is depends on who’s doing the talking. It means one thing to Trump supporters, something else to Clinton supporters, and who knows what to third-party supporters.

We all have friends who believe things that seem crazy, but we don’t think our friends are crazy. So we’re completely baffled. Are the people who disagree with us ignorant? Stupid? Hyper-emotional? Or – this seems to be the favorite – are they just plain evil?

It’s usually none of those things. The true answer is simpler and more innocent.

People adopt beliefs based on several factors. If those factors are different, then the people tend to adopt different beliefs.

In 2016 America, those factors differ a lot – by region, economic class, ethnicity, social…

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