In Developing Countries;
it is easier to come up with
(if you have the funds for it),
there are many
things that people need
but do not have; indeed
cooked food was the
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
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
or gifts exotic and rare versions
(which can be very pricey)
of things people use on a regular basis.
therefore have to work harder to give the Regular folks
here are a few suggestions of how to give the
The perfect gift takes time
Start early, as early as
listen to everyday conversations,
listen to expressed desires and aspirations
and make a note for
ideas from those conversations. gift
The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’
ideas do not have to be ‘ Gift ‘
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)
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 just for them); gifts
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
TO THEM! not the other way around
do not give what you cherish
(I once gifted a
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
or respond if/when you ask. They tell you directly
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.”
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T – THANK and PRAISE God
for all things
and BIG !
And do not forget
the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH LIFE AND
are things we can all be thankful for
even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
the beauty of
around you. God’s creation
N – NAME and NUMBER
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?
from the heart
and with a warm
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
V – VISION and VALUE:
“ like when you say
I see and I value what you have done”
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
, expressed heart in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
Thanksgiving is always
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G – GOOD to GREAT:
become ‘Good Gifts’
when it is received with a heartfelt:
There are three sources of Evil and Suffering in the World:
A BROKEN NATURAL ORDER
According to the second law of thermodynamics:
matter always tends to the lowest state of order
meaning, in nature all things tend towards decay.
The start and sustenance of ‘life’ itself
proceeds in the opposite direction;
living things autonomously draw energy
(in the form of ‘food’)
from the surrounding environment,
but then eventually succumb to this law,
when it ends in illness, accidents, and death!!
For example, storms, earthquakes, and volcanoes
occur on the other planets and in other parts of the universe!!
When these happen on earth,
where human beings live,
they cause suffering!!
A PERSONAL EVIL BEING CALLED SATAN
Personal experience with a presence
outside of human beings,
possessing the ability to reason with and influence individuals,
and whose sole purpose appears to be
to instigate, encourage all things
evil, painful, and
opposed to goodness and to God’s purposes;
demonstrated in real ‘supernatural’ and demonic encounters, and
described in the events and exhortations in the scriptures,
is a source of much of the evil, and suffering upon the earth;
OUR FALLEN HUMAN NATURE, THAT IS,
the evil tendencies in everyone of us and/or combined with
our human limitations
(limited in knowledge, memory, ability etc.)
to use our God given freedom,
for selfishness, opposition to goodness and God,
as individuals or together as members of communities;
causes evil and suffering
upon one another,
and upon the earth.
The ULTIMATE RESOLUTION (HOPE) FOR ME! AKA:
I HAVE PEACE BECAUSE OF THE FOLLOWING *:
I KNOW GOD LOVES ME in the face of all the evil and suffering in the world:
“but God demonstrates his own love for us [ME] in this: While we were still sinners [I WAS STILL A SINNER], Christ died for us [ME].”
Paul in his letter to fellow Christians at Rome
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR A FALLEN CREATION:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, … 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” …
“I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Jesus’s BFF, John in his letter to some very young churches in first century AD
SATAN, (THE DEVIL) WILL BE DEFEATED FOREVER
10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
John the BFF of Jesus
MY FALLEN HUMAN NATURE:
In Christ we are a
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the has come: The old has gone, the new creation is here! new Paul in his letter to believers at Corinth
In Christ we have a
and are under a New Heart
33 “This is the I will make with the people … [NEW] covenant
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their [NEW] hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord. From the writings of the famous Jewish ‘weeping’ Prophet
We now and will have only one
NEW COMMANDMENT: LOVE!
“A I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. new command Jesus according to his BFF John
THEREFORE I LIVE BY FAITH TRUSTING IN GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
Paul to his believer friends at Corinth
*All quotes are from the New International Version (NIV).
and our Satan fit Sinful Nature
in explaining the evil that is in the World Today?
As a Christian
I learn about the existence of ‘
‘ and of the ‘ Satan ,’ but Sinful Nature I have not fully resolved
how those two (sinful nature and Satan) interact to bring evil in the world.
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(the devil, serpent, tempter, accuser, destroyer, etc.) Satan
Is he present everywhere at the same time?
everyone appears to be constantly being affected or
How is he able to tempt each person individually?
How come he knows what we are thinking?
How come he knows so much
about our individual histories, personalities and weaknesses?
, ‘the devil’
can tempt, deceive, dissuade, discourage, destroy individuals
even as the human population on the earth
continues to grow and
has reached over 4 billion; and if he
can work his evil from generation to generation for thousands of years;
the way some people say he does,
does not that make him a very powerful person
with some attributes like God(!)?
But he is NOT GOD!
This brings us to another source of evil in the world:
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in all of us. Sinful/Evil Nature
A ‘celebrity’ (in the early church) once said this about himself:
(in the first century)
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me,
that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.
For I do not do the good I want to do,
but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
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This is what that
looks like: sinful nature
He(She) is lazy, slow, and a procrastinator.
He(She) lies, exaggerates, and deceives
He(She) is incredibly selfish;
He(She) is greedy, proud, boastful, and self-promoting
He(She) can be lewd, nasty, and insensitive
He(She) is utterly against God
He(she) does not want to submit to God’s rule or to worship him;
He(She) does not like to humble himself before God;
He(She) does not like to pray;
He(She) does not want to read sacred scriptures;
He(She) does not like limits
if the speed limit is 40 mph, he(she) wants to go at 45 mph or
if the speed limit is 55 mph, 65 mph seems attractive to him/her
He(She) lacks self control, prefers excesses,
he(she) does not want to wait or to accept limit on him/herself
whether it’s with regard to food and drink, or
in relation to social interactions,
including sex, and marital fidelity;
he(she) does not want to go to bed or to wake up early;
with regards to words and conversations,
he(she) can be mean, insensitive, inconsiderate, gossipy, and crass.
He(She) is never satisfied, always wants more.
He(She) works against the interest of the person in whom he dwells;
the excesses of the sinful nature may cause
disease, physical harm, crime and punishment;
auto accidents, fire, financial ruin,
ruined relationships and broken families,
loss of face and status, loss of power, etc.;
but this does not stop him or cause him to change direction .
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I believe that
is in every human being;
it can be conditioned/tempered by
parental discipline and personal experiences;
Christian (religious) conversion and education, and by
custom, and the laws of society;
is a “he/she” because
it is a part of but
not the totality of who we are as individuals
because he(she) appears to operate by ‘reason’ and ‘persuasion’
to our minds and/or to our will
(See Paul above in Romans 7.15-25);
as individuals we have still have the ability
TO MAKE A CHOICE
the persuasion of what the sinful nature wants and what
commons sense, conscience, laws of society, and the dictates of our faith, tell us.
(Personally, I refer to this sinful nature as
). “THE BEAST” Bring a community of people together
with this sinful nature and its tendencies,
we then have endless possibilities for evil,
NEXT POST: BRINGING THE TWO TOGETHER:
SATAN, OUR SINFUL NATURE, AND THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD!!
Questions: Pain, Suffering, Evil, and God?
What is my
If God is
‘ ALTOGETHER GOOD AND ALMIGHTY’
why the pain, the suffering, and all the evil
that we see in the world?
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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,
(Genesis 1.28) “fill the earth and subdue it”
(Genesis 2.15) “ work it[the garden-creation] and keep it.“
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
to the world, “witnesses”
, and “salt of the earth”
“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
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:
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 ADMIT IT!!!
I have had a lot of questions that have plagued me for a long time
about pain, suffering, evil, and God!
I have seen (first person) or heard and read about
Christian men and women (young and old)
faithful to Jesus Christ,
active witnesses for Christ,
righteous in their lifestyle choices,
selfless in service to others,
regular and authentic worshipers,
loved by all, and then
fall ill and die,
drown at a Church outing or swimming in a home pool, or
killed in gruesome road accidents, sometimes
while out or soon after evangelizing, or
while going about their normal business;
leaving behind grieving
(sometimes young) families,
congregations and the church at large,
while their ‘less worthy’ and sometimes criminal compatriots
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I have read about
how about five million Jews
were killed in the second World War;
two hundred thousand people
were killed during the Tsunami in Asia in 2004,
how hundreds of thousands (including many innocents) were killed during
World War I, World War II,
Genghis Khan Wars, Alexandra the Great wars, Roman Empire Wars,
wars of Independence in US, India, Nigeria, Pakistan,
in South America, Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe,
in civil wars and terrorist plots all over the world, etc. etc.
I/We have seen TV/Video clips of infants and babies
struggling with cancer and other horrible diseases
that adults find it difficult to cope with, much less little children
born with birth defects
(blind, deaf, without limbs, joined with other children etc.)
I/We have seen the crooked and the unrighteous
get rich and powerful
by engaging in ruthless, unethical, and evil schemes, swindling their customers, investors, and society as a whole,
beat the system instead of paying for their crimes,
appear to continue on with their lives
after destroying the lives of others
including family, trusting friends, and associates.
I/we have also seen
the poor remaining poor
the sick remaining sick
the rebellious child remaining rebellious
the marriage not becoming healed
even after a lot of prayers!
PAIN, SUFFERING, AND EVIL, GOD! QUESTIONS?!!
I CAN NOW SAY THAT I HAVE ANSWERS THAT SATISFY ME AND I WANT TO SHARE THEM WITH YOU.