In Developing Countries;
- it is easier to come up with gift ideas,
- (if you have the funds for it),
- there are many things that people need
- but do not have; indeed
- cooked food was the gift that
- my mother dispatched
- (through us children)
- to neighbors, extended family, and friends
- as a sign of good will at Christmas time;
- watches, shoes, garments, jewelry, dishes, sheets,
- pens, books, personal music player, TV, computers, toys, etc.
- are all also great gift ideas.
In affluent societies like in the Western World
- coming up with the perfect gift at Christmas
- can be a challenge;
- because most people use
- their regular incomes or
- credit cards to buy what they
- One option is to buy
- high-end gifts or
- exotic and rare versions
- (which can be very pricey)
- of things people use on a regular basis.
- Regular folks therefore have to work harder to give the perfect gift;
- here are a few suggestions of how to give the perfect gift.
The perfect gift takes time
- Start early, as early as September;
- listen to everyday conversations,
- listen to expressed desires and aspirations
- and make a note for gift ideas from those conversations.
The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’
- Gift ideas do not have to be ‘things‘
- they can be
- a vacation, cruises, concert, a trip to a destination
- museum/zoo visits or theme park rides, air fare, special trips;
- time off work, housekeeping, or baby sitting;
- an offer of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping;
- scholarship, tuition contribution, tutoring,
- a special radio station/you-tube, blog post announcement, etc.
The perfect gift should be personalized, customized or handmade;
- an autographed book/ticket/music/fan wear,
- (from the author or composer, or admired person)
- monogrammed items:
- a person’s name, initials or special message,
- can be inscribed on
- silverware, bathroom set, plaque, musical instrument;
The perfect gift must fit the personality of the receiver
- Some people want big
- (the amount spent is impressive)
- others look for small details
- (how rare, how much effort, how much thoughtfulness!)
- Some people are visual
- others are action oriented, still
- others are moved by sound, etc.
- Some people like things, others like ‘experiences.’
- Some people want to keep up with their peers
- (they get gifts that are popular)
- others want to know that ‘they’ are unique
- (they get gifts just for them);
- How do you know what is the perfect gift?
- People usually give the type of gift
- that THEY like to receive;
- use that to guide your gift giving
- TO THEM!
- not the other way around
- do not give what you cherish
- (I once gifted a hat to my wife
- that she has never used;
- it was something I fancied for myself!)
The perfect gift may be what someone tells you they want
- They tell you directly or respond if/when you ask.
- Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.
This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day. All the same,
“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,
I heard one radio announcer say:
“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”
T – THANK and PRAISE God
- for all things BIG and SMALL!
- And do not forget
- the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH AND LIFE
- are things we can all be thankful for
- even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
- the beauty of God’s creation around you.
N – NAME and NUMBER
- your blessings,
- its a rewarding experience,
- including the precious people in your life.
K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING
- in the heart
- are twin siblings in the same home.
S – A SMILE and a CHEER;
- want to see it on the face of the deserving?
- Just say, “Thank You!”
- from the heart
- and with a warm smile!
G – GIVING and RECEIVING:
- The one exists not without the other
I – ICTUS;
- Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
- Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
- at least one reason to “give thanks!”
V – VISION and VALUE:
- Nothing says:
- “I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
- A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
- Thanksgiving is always that
G – GOOD to GREAT:
- ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
- when it is received with a heartfelt:
Questions: Pain, Suffering, Evil, and God?
- What is my ‘SATISFYING ANSWER’?
- If God is ‘ALTOGETHER GOOD AND ALMIGHTY’
- why the pain, the suffering, and all the evil
- that we see in the world?
I now believe that this
- God-designed creation runs on a ‘natural order’ (!)
- based on the laws of science in
- biology, physics and engineering, chemistry, geology, astronomy
- mathematics and statistics, electronics, nuclear physics, etc.;
- based on the laws of society and human interactions in
- sociology and anthropology,
- political science and economics, etc.
- It is the challenge and opportunity of all men
- since the days of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, etc.,
- including Christians, and all genuine God worshipers,
- to discover and utilize these laws for their benefit;
- as stated in the book of Genesis when God’s says to man,
- “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1.28)
- “work it[the garden-creation] and keep it.“ (Genesis 2.15)
- Creation running on the ‘natural order’ is also ‘broken’ and
- all men are subjected to this broken natural order INCLUDING
- Christians, people of earnest faith, genuine God Worshipers;
- evil, vile and wicked men;
- evil schemes, wars, crimes, corruption,
- are to be expected and do happen;
- typhoons, storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, accidents,
- diseases like cancer, deformity, fatal accidents,
- God is making a NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH,
- a restored creation with a restored ‘natural order’!!
I also believe that God rendered himself ‘Almost Powerless’
- in the affairs of men
- when he gave man total freedom to make choices!
- Most of the evil in this world
- comes from men and societies making evil choices,
- spouses cheat, abuse, and abandon families;
- wayward children choose wrong paths;
- criminals, political leaders, sociopaths,
- make wrong choices that harm others,
- ensure continuing cycle of evil
- as their ‘broken’ victims
- turn around and victimize others.
- God let’s men have their own way so that they can see
- in themselves and in the results of their choices
- a need for God,
- if they would believe
- (Romans 1.24a, 26a, 28b).
- God’s purpose and plan is seen
- in those who willingly let his kingdom
- reign in their hearts and lives
- becoming his “witnesses” to the world,
- “salt of the earth”, and
- “light of the world.”
- As before though
- God will judge.
- God will restore all things.
- God will be proven right, just, loving, faithful and true.
- God will remake a new order
- without the problems of this old order.
I also believe that God is incredibly Great, Powerful, and Sovereign
- If (since) there is an ALMIGHTY God
- from our knowledge of astronomy
- he must be incredibly great
- (Please take a look at this astonishing video on YouTube
- This limits the extent to which my puny mind
- can understand him or his purposes
- for the world he has created.
- If (since) he made the universe as we know it,
- he is sovereign over it;
- (free to act as he pleases)
- he owns everything!
So how then shall we live?
- God takes pleasure WHEN we trust him
- so I will trust him, what is the alternative(?)
- Can you change him?
- Can you change his purposes against his will?
- Can you fight God?
- If you reject God and abandon your faith
- what difference will it make?
- what will you replace God with?
- God has revealed himself to man in the only way he can
- by becoming man through his Son – Jesus Christ!
- God has demonstrated that he cares
- when Jesus died on a cruel cross
- as we struggle in this fallen creation
- so I will trust him
- that he will make all things right again!
We can still pray for and expect ‘miracles’
- God breaks through the natural laws of creation
- from time to time,
- to let us know
- that he is there and he is not silent;
- to demonstrate his power and
- to encourage our trust in him;
- (all answered prayers are miracles!)
- God sometimes answers prayers
- which appear to be the result of the ‘natural order’ but
- which are ‘too coincidental’
- since we prayed specifically about it!
- The genius of God is that
- while it appears that things happen
- according to the natural order of things,
- according the fallen-ness of creation and human nature
- according to the arbitrariness and capriciousness of human choices;
- his purposes are clearly still being fulfilled in the world:
- righteousness matter,
- evil is wrong,
- truth is desirable,
- and faith in him is
- enduring and cannot be destroyed;
- meaningful and practically rewarding!!!
Notice, I did not say anything about Satan?
- HE IS NO MATCH FOR GOD! BUT more about this next time!
Let me know what you think. Send me an Email, or a tweet. Please share!
I believe in a reality
- that is governed by observable and verifiable laws
- of science operating within God’s creation.
I believe that scientific laws and discoveries are valid
- for ALL human existence
- including those of the children of God(!), that is, the laws of
- gravitation, motion, thermodynamics, relativity, atomic energy,
- mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, electromagnetism, etc.
- I do not accept evolution BY CHANCE but
- I cannot rule out evolution by divine design.
- Denying the laws and verifiable discoveries of science
- on the basis of so-called ‘faith’
- is a futile endeavor because
I believe and accept the scientific advances behind modern technology
- that have revolutionized human existence in the fields of
- agriculture and food production,
- medicine and fighting disease and illnesses,
- communication and transportation,
- astronomy and even (sadly and unfortunately)
- warfare, because
- GOD PUT THEM THERE (!!!)
- to be discovered for human use!
I also believe and accept verifiable theories and observations of the social sciences
- concerning human nature and human interactions:
- the quest for power,
- how and why people attain, keep and exercise
- organizational behavior,
- group dynamics;
- the quest for possessions including
- the universal principle of scarcity,
- (human desires and wants are unlimited but resources are),
- the economics laws of demand and supply,
- the quest for pleasure,
- Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, etc.
- are valid because GOD PUT THEM THERE!!!!
I believe that God is therefore the greatest scientist;
- the greatest, physicist, mathematician, astronomer,
- molecular biologist, surgeon, sociologist, etc.!
- God is above, over, and beyond all of his creation.
I also believe in the writings of the Bible
- It is a revelation of an otherwise UNKNOWABLE God.
- How else can we know the God
- who is the origin, and is over, above, and beyond the cosmos?
- This revelation gives meaning and purpose to life.
- It is ultimately the only viable answer
- to the question:
- “What is the meaning and purpose of life?”
- Think of God as the Unlimited Energy that birthed everything
- (energy appears to be one of the main constants in the entire cosmos)
- but which/who is also a PERSONAL being!
I believe God wants men to live within the natural order of creation
- FOR THE MOST PART(!!),
- that miracles of the dramatic kind
- are rare occurrences and
- designed by God to be so(!),
- because he wants us to live by faith(!!)
- and because he wants us to live
- within the scientific (natural) laws of his creation!
- GOD PUT THEM THERE!!!!
- Neither Abraham, nor Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Paul, Peter, or James
- discovered the aerodynamics in order to build an airplane, nor did they
- discover penicillin, the microscope, electricity, the Periodic Table, DNA, X-rays, Quantum Theory, or the connection between smoking and cancer;
- gun powder was discovered by the Chinese, and
- Archimedes had to discover the buoyancy principle because,
- THAT’S HOW GOD INTENDED IT!!!
So child of God
- don’t give up on dramatic miracles, but
- don’t wait for them either.
- It is God’s will that you live your life in obedience to him
- with or without miracles.
- The ONE MIRACLE that you can be sure of is this:
- LEARN, UNDERSTAND, AND USE
- the laws and principles
- that God has put into his creation,
- and seek his favor, and
- YOU WILL MEET YOUR GOD GIVEN GOALS.
- THAT’S HOW GOD INTENDED IT!!!!
LET’S DO THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS!!
(Next post: how the perspective above helps us deal with the problem of evil and suffering!!)
But I also believe in scientific laws of creation
- That is, all knowledge and discoveries that are
- objective, demonstrable, repeatable, and
- irrespective of race, geography, time, or status
- namely the laws of Physics, chemistry, electronics, gravity, geography, etc.
- are valid and placed there by God.
Here is why I believe in Miracles:
- I believe in God
- It follows that if (since) there is a God
- and if (since) he is involved in his creation, then
- by definition he is able to overrule the laws of creation
- that is the definition of a miracle!
- I also believe he responds to (answers) prayers and
- that is the definition of a miracle!
- I believe in Jesus Christ
- I believe he did all the miracles
- that the gospels say he did.
- I have experienced events in my life that qualify as miracles
- The events around my repentance and believing in Jesus Christ as savior
- feels like God responded to my desperate cry
- for him to reveal himself to me!
- Coming to the USA for the first time
- I have ‘sensed’ (‘felt’/’known’) things before they happened
- I ‘felt’ (‘knew’) God say to my heart
- that the woman who is now my wife
- of thirty-six years,
- will be my wife before I had met or spoken to her;
- I ‘felt’ (‘knew’) God say my first child will be a girl
- I ‘felt’ (‘knew’) God say my second child will be a boy
- (Note: I did not have any leading about the third and fourth).
- I ‘felt’ (‘knew’) in my ‘spirit’ to mourn for a colleague
- after a kind of vision (vivid image/thoughts)
- before he was outed as a cheat/crook
- even though I had no prior knowledge of it.
- I ‘feel’ (‘know’) God say to me that I will not die before I am 70
- (caveat: I have now grown to respect the natural laws
- that safeguard good health and long life, despite this).
- I survived the civil war in my home country:
- one time shot at
- four bullets in my direction
- two bullets through the window my father and I
- one time on the ground slated for execution
- by trigger happy troops;
- in a civil war,
- with exploding bombs within a couple of miles away
- Once, we had an accident
- that had me and and my motorcycle slide under a huge truck
- between its wheels,
- but me and my passenger survived!
- I have also had some dramatic answers to prayer:
- A Demon oppressed neighbor girl
- was delivered as we prayed ‘in the Name of Jesus’.
- My son with a medical condition
- that could not be treated in my African country,
- got treatment in the UK by clear answers to prayer (miracle):
- funds were provided, and
- doctors: general practitioners and specialists
- gave free treatment and
- their own money and time to care and
- continued to provide costly and continuing support;
- without which he would now be wheelchair bound,
- By inspiration, I named him
- “One born to see wonders!”
- A married woman who could not bear child after several years
- delivered within the year after prayer and
- A married woman whose pregnancy was going past ten months
- delivered the baby by the next morning after prayer and
- the ‘laying on of hands.’
- A series of ‘answers’ to prayer that brought my family to the US
- after fifteen years of prayer and then,
- at the US Embassy,
- an initial visa application appeared ‘Rejected!’
- but dramatically changed to
- and after provision of funds
- that also went way beyond my ability.
- And lots more
- I believe other people have experienced miracles too!
- I have heard first person narrations and
- I have read about experiences of others.
- But some of my prayers
- HAVE NOT been answered
- the way I wanted it to be;
- because God thought otherwise, and
- because we must live by faith, and
- because the ways of God is still a mystery!!
Next Post – God, Science and the Natural Order of Creation!
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
[Moses: Deuteronomy 29.29]
All the benefits of my Vote for Donald Trump Appear to be
Material, Temporal, Earthly
More Conservative Judges
- Inasmuch as I want a society
- where conservative values are respected, this
- pertains mostly to America, not the Kingdom of God,
- when judges are appointed
- by both sides
- solely for partisan control of the judiciary,
- and it will ultimately corrupt justice
- for everyone, forever (!);
- will not prevent the ongoing moral decay of humanity
- predicted in the Bible, as we move toward the end-times!
- Deuteronomy 1.16: “‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him.”
- That is, justice must be blind to even the closest earthly affiliations.
The Possibility of Overturning Roe vs. Wade
- Inasmuch as I am pro-life
- (in Church and personal life
- and I will work to reduce abortion in society
- in other ways other than using the force of law)
- I am also pro-choice (as a matter of law in society), and
- inasmuch as I will like to reduce abortions in the US,
- the church will do a better job to impact society for God
- by modelling selfless, holy, and cross-bearing lives as people of faith,
- than to try to wield the corrupting tools of political power
- to force social change; that is,
- making abortion illegal
- constrains action by force of law, it
- does not change people and
- is only a temporary fix, to the eternal problem of the
- sinfulness of man, and it
- does not address immorality within the Church itself;
- I also have hope that God has a plan even for unborn babies
- as I believe he does for infants who die early!
- Matt. 18.10: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
A friend of the (mostly white) Church in the White House
- is temporary, of this earth, not the kingdom of God
- if the Church cannot criticize that ‘friend’,
- if the Church must always praise that ‘friend’,
- if the Church must explain away, excuse, and lie (‘spin’),
- when that ‘friend’ lies, divides, and is unrepentant of
- deceit, meanness, pride and boastfulness, narcissism, and adultery,
- and thereby abandon its basic mission to a lost world:
- faithfully proclaim the truth and will of God
- that we must be
- true, loving, meek and lowly, selfless, and faithful to the wife of our youth, welcoming, be wronged instead of wronging others, give vengeance to God instead of always ‘fighting back.’
- Faithful prophetic witness
- to powerful (and sometimes corrupt) political leaders (kings)
- is clear in the Bible.
- It usually involves truth, rebuke, courage, and great risk:
- Samuel (Eli), Samuel (Saul), Nathan (David),
- Elijah (Ahab, Jezebel, Ahaziah), Elisha (Ahab), Micaiah (Ahab)
- Isaiah (Manasseh), Jonah (Nineveh),
- Jeremiah (Zedekiah), Daniel (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar),
- John the Baptist (Herod)
- Jesus (Pilate), Peter (Sanhedrin);
- the Early Church (the Sanhedrin); and
- Paul (Agrippa).
- It is never a cozy relationship as the one we see between
- the White House and white evangelical American leadership.
- As good as that sounds,
- a strong economy is of this earth, not eternal
- Mark 8.36: “What does it profit a man [nation]….”
- What if
- (as the signs are beginning to show, and
- as Donald Trump continues to gamble
- with the economy and
- with the livelihood of millions of Americans,
- using trade wars),
- the economy takes a downturn,
- as is expected every now and again?
Strong Immigration Enforcement?
- This excites those
- whose primary concern is America
- who may be driven by
- lack of knowledge and compassion, fear, distaste, and/or
- indifference towards
- those who are different, who are weak, and destitute;
- who have forgotten, who ignore the fact,
- that the Kingdom of God is all tribes, tongues and nations
- that everyone ‘came from somewhere else’,
- that the Bible overwhelmingly teaches love and welcome
- for the weak, the widow, the fatherless, the alien ,strangers (!)
- that Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus were themselves refugees
- to Egypt from political violence!
- Matthew 24.44: “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’”
- Revelation 7.9 “…from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….”
Strong Military and National Defense,
- pertains to only America, not the Kingdom of God;
- is material, temporary, and earthly.
- Ephesians 6. “For we do not wrestle not against flesh and blood…”
Second Amendment Rights
- Is only of this earth, and temporary, and
- when promoted unreasonably and at all cost, it
- UNDERCUTS THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS:
- selfless love,
- give instead of taking life,
- “turning the other cheek”,
- “Nevertheless, let your [God’s] will be done not mine”
- lacks any sound biblical and theological support.
- Matt. 16.24: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
- The choice between a gun and the cross is easy
Next Post – Why a Vote For Donald Trump has Negative Long Term/Eternal Consequences for America and the Church.