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Failure Changes Us, But Sometimes We Fail to Change

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By PK Christian Writer

I am a slow learner. All the basic things in life that a boy my age is supposed to know, I learned them quiet late.

Basic bathroom rules, tying shoes laces, drinking milk in a glass instead of a baby bottle, and so on.

I was not the physically proficient as well, as far as sports were concerned.

Why am I talking about all this today? Because I feel the need to put some things in perspective. The mind can process only so much information, and hence it is better to write it down.

Life is not going smooth. As time passes, I am realizing that it isn’t supposed to go smooth. And yet we are expected to stay calm and keep moving forward.

I still remember the day when I woke up during the school holidays and sat at the breakfast table. As I was eating, my parents broke the news that they collected my result from school, and that I had failed the 9th grade.

I didn’t know to how respond. Neither did my parents. This mutual numbness (for a lack of a better term) continues to this day whenever we are faced with bad news.

It was sad to have flunked, but even worse was the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to understand the situation. Was I supposed to apologize, grieve, or hurt myself? I couldn’t  bring myself to open up emotionally, and hurting yourself physically requires courage, which I obviously lack.

But then the best thing happened to me. I was born again.

To cut the long story short, I was experiencing a change in life as started my personal journey in the Christian faith.

I found something that gave direction to my life and I was able to push myself through school, while also managing to get couple of other personal issues resolved .All the while, I engaged in worship, research, debate, and fellowship.

Things went on like this for another 5 years, and then I woke up one day to realize that we are going through a financial crisis. Once again, I did not how to react. The numbness returned.

Anger and frustration started boiling inside, and eventually it all burst out. My emotions got the better of me, and this changed my relationship with the people closest to me.

Today, I have put on more weight than I had when I started my life in Christ, even though the Bible calls gluttony a sin. I also experience occasional bouts of anger and depression. I am also exhausted, both mentally and physically, which is why you may notice some typos despite the fact I did proof-read the article.

It as if failure once changed me for the better, but now I have failed to change myself.

But there are other things that happened in this same period:

  • I developed a personal collection of books on topics like evolution, astro-physics, comparative religion, history, poetry, psychology, and of course, Christian theology. Currently I am reading Jacobo Timerman’s The Longest War and The Greek Myths by Robert Graves.
  • Still an undergraduate, I am earning more than $400 per month in a country marred by unemployment, and where the minimum wage is around $120.

What is the moral of the story? At 22, I am too young to make a learned comment on what pattern a person’s life takes. But what I do know is that as my faith changes me for the better, I have not grown immune to failing. New challenges will influence me, but God will continue to make his presence known.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I also started this blog around the same period, and today is it’s 2nd anniversary. In the coming weeks, I will not only post new articles, but also translate some selected posts into Urdu.Click here to subscribe.

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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Religious New Year Values for Christians, Muslims and Jews

Symbol of the three Abrahamic religions.

Symbol of the three Abrahamic religions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Each year millions of people make new year resolutions to improve their lives. This autumn is an especially good time to do so, because three ancient New Year festivals fall in the 99 days between Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year (September 25, 2014), the Muslim New Year (October 25, 2114) and the Christian New Year (January 1, 2015).

And the simplest way to improve your future is to improve your attitude to the present by learning to down play the media’s constant emphases on all that is bad and elevate your attention to all that is good in your life.

For example, American highway fatalities rose during the 50’s and 60’s until they peaked in 1972, at 54,589. Since then they have declined by more than 40% even though the number of cars and drivers has more than doubled.

If traffic deaths occurred at the same rate in 2012 as they did in 1950; over 180,000 more people would have died in the U.S. last year. This fantastic achievement in increasing traffic safety has gone largely unheralded.

Why does the news media devote so much attention to bad news and so little attention to good news? Why do people seem more interested in the occurrence violence than the absence of violence?

The Abrahamic religions teach us that we should count our blessings.
Politicians and the news media teach us to count every single thing that is wrong; everywhere in the world.

How can people keep their optimism, sanity and balance in our media driven democracy? A religious answer for Jews, and a good way for all others, is to say a hundred blessings every day.

A person who can sincerely voice a hundred blessings a day will feel truly blessed.

The best way of influencing yourself to think positively about your live is to learn the importance of saying blessings for the many things we experience, both in our ordinary daily and weekly life, and at occasional extraordinary times.

Thus, it is a Mitsvah for a Jew, and everyone else, to say blessings at every meal over food and drink.

Every morning when we awaken it is a Mitsvah to say several blessings because various parts of our mind and body still work. There are blessings for daily prayer and the weekly celebration of the Sabbath.

Their are also many blessings to say for special occasions. The rabbis urged everyone to thank God for as many blessings as we can, since the more blessings you can say, the more blessed you are.

Indeed, Jewish tradition maintains that everyone who is able to say 100 blessings a day is truly blessed. Among the special occasion blessings there is a blessing for seeing a non-Jewish sage and another one for seeing a Jewish sage.

There is a blessing for hearing good news and another one for hearing bad news in accordance with Rabbi Huna’s view that we need both joy and suffering in order to experience the ‘very good’ of the sixth day of creation. Here are a few examples of blessings for special occasions:

On beholding fragrant trees: Praised be Adonai our God, Ruler of space and time, creator of fragrant trees.

On seeing trees in blossom: Praised be Adonai our God, Ruler of space and time, whose world lacks nothing we need, who has fashioned goodly creatures and lovely trees that enchant the heart.

On seeing an unusual looking person: Praised be Adonai our God, Ruler of space and time, who makes every person unique.

On seeing evidence of charitable efforts: Praised be Adonai our God, ruler of space and time, who clothes the naked.

On seeing people who overcome adversity: Praised be Adonai our God, ruler of space and time, who gives strength to the weary.

This last one is one of my favorites, because it sanctifies the human value of being non-judgmental in most areas; and the Divine value of plural opinions and human physical variety.

According to the Talmud (Berakhot 58a) when you see a large crowd of people you should say: Praised be the Sage of enigmas, for just as no one person’s opinion is the same as another, so are their faces different from one another.

The best way to preserve your sanity and balance in today’s world is to make a New Year’s resolution to count your blessings every day.

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com


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Zed urges Vatican Synod for sympathetic look at marriage laws

RELIGION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE LIVES ...

The largest group of Churchgoers are Roman Catholic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindu religious figure Rajan Zed is urging the upcoming October Synod of Bishops at Vatican to exhaustively re-look into the Church marriage laws to make these more relevant to the contemporary society.

The Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will to take place in the Vatican from October 5-19 on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, requested the Synod to deeply, sympathetically and honestly look into the predicament of remarried and divorced Roman Catholics and complexities of the law governing marriage annulments with a forgiving and merciful attitude.

Quoting a study titled “Modeling the decline of religion” by Richard Wiener (University of Arizona, USA), Haley Yaple (Northwestern University, USA), and Daniel Abrams (Northwestern University), which pointed out that “societies in which the perceived utility of not adhering is greater than the utility of adhering, religion will be driven toward extinction”; Rajan Zed suggested to organizations and leaders of various world religions and denominations to make religion more vibrant, attractive and engaging if they wanted to keep the people in God’s fold.

Zed noted that people with “no religion” were increasing and we (religious leaders and organizations) were responsible for their alienation. We as religious leaders should live exemplary lives to add credibility to our preaching. Accept the people who and as they are, Zed added.


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True Religion

15th century depiction of Cain and Abel, Specu...

15th century depiction of Cain and Abel, Speculum Humane Salvationis, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

Now all of us know there are many religions in the world, and each one is further divided into schisms, factions, and sects. Christianity has its denominations, Islam has its sectarian differences, and even Buddhism is divided into different schools of thought.

Moreover, there are tons of ways to classify these religions. So you can have “Eastern & Western religions”, or “Monotheistic & Pantheistic religions” so on and so forth. But I suggest that there are only 2 kinds of religions in this world.

One is the God-centered and the other is the man-centered religion. We also have to name these two religions, so let’s call the God-centered religions the “religion of Abel” and the man-centered religion the “religion of Cain”.

The story of the Cain and Abel is popular worldwide. The Qur’an says:

“Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to God): It was accepted from one, but not from the other. Said the latter: “Be sure I will slay thee.” “Surely,” said the former, “God doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous.” Sura 5:27

So here are two brothers who both worship the same God. We see that even since the inception of humanity, religion has been a divisive issue where people always have differences in beliefs and practice. But the question is, why did God accept one offering and the reject the other?

The Qur’an does not give us the details. So let us move to the Torah and the books of Jewish scholars. What do we find there?

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. (Genesis 4)

So what was it about the meat that God liked it instead of fruits?

I asked the questions in my Sunday school class and received some interesting answers. I was told that “The fruits were old “and that is why God didn’t like them!

English: Sacrifice of Cain and Abel

Sacrifice of Cain and Abel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people even suggest that Cain did not bring the tithe, the 10%. That is why God did not like it. But obviously, scriptures do not provide these details.

The fruits symbolize man’s own efforts, and this is in essence what a man-centered religion is all about. On the other hand, when Abel offered a blood sacrifice, he was admitting the fact there is nothing a man can do that would please the Almighty. In other words, it is not my efforts that make God happy.

Centuries later, Jesus told us a story:

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God (Luke 18)

Those who show God their “fruits” will leave the alter empty handed, but those who admit that they can do nothing to please a Holy God stand justified in His presence.

However, that’s not the only difference between the religion of Abel and the religion of Cain. Man-centered religion is the religion of hate, whereas the God-centered religion works in the best interests on humanity.

Have you ever realized that the first murder in the history of the world was done in the name of faith? What Adam did to Cain is what religious people have doing all the time.

So instead of worshiping God hypocritically, we should rather sing with U2:

She stands with a naked flame

I stand with the sons of Cain

Burned by the fire of love

English: Cain and Abel; as in Genesis 4; illus...

Cain and Abel; as in Genesis 4; illustration from the Sunrays quarterly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is also interesting to note what the books of Jews says on the Cain-Abel episode:

We find it said in the case of Cain who murdered his brother, The voice of thy brother’s bloods crieth (Genesis 4.10). It is not said here blood in the singular, but bloods in the plural, that is, his own blood and the blood of his seed. Man was created single in order to show that to him who kills a single individual it shall be reckoned that he has slain the whole race, but to him who preserves the life of a single individual it is counted that he hath preserved the whole race.(Mishnah Sanhedrin, 4.5).

This is the value the God-centered faith places upon human life. Someone asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment?”, and he replied:

‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12

So what is the true religion? That we don’t boast of our own religiosity, but rather serve humanity in love.

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog for free. 

©PK Christian Writer 2012-2014

Author bio:

I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot. My strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially blogging and ghostwriting).


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The story behind The Bible

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mini review: An Introduction to the Bible by J. W. Rogerson

This introduction to the historical aspects of the Bible should be required reading for every religious person who talks about “The Word” without ever really thinking about what they mean.

Shows how the Bible was put together by (mostly) men over the centuries. God may have overseen the entire process, but the Bible didn’t drop down directly from heaven.

Here’s a freely online revised edition, with minor updates to the original >> https://archive.org/details/J.w.Rogerson-AnIntroductionToTheBibleRevisedEdition

—MC


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He suffered under the Pontius Pilate

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...

Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

It is simply amazing what you learn as you read, study, and share God’s word. While discussing the Apostle’s Creed with my youth group, I came across some interesting tidbits about this man who surprisingly found his name mentioned along Jesus in the creed of the church.

In fact, how many of you have ever wondered why instead of Abraham, David, Peter, or even satan, only one person is mentioned in this document alongside Jesus and Mary? Was he exceptional in any way? Let start with discussing who he was.

The evangelist-historian Luke tells us the Pilate was the governor of Judea under the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1). However, it is not only the New Testament that talks about Pilate, for we also find references to his existence in the writings of Philo and Josephus (for instance, see Antiquities 18.32f, 35, 39).

Not to mention, a stone was discovered in 1961 that had the name and designation of Pilate.¹ The question is, was Pilate really a bad guy, a villain as the Church remembers him?

While studying Arthur’s Miller “The Crucible” in my school’s literature class, I came across this dialogue “Pontius Pilate! God will not let you wash your hands of this!”, which obviously has a negative connotation.

Before proceeding with a discussion of Biblical texts, let me mention that even going through the secular references to the Prefect show us that he was not a good official, especially when it came to Roman-Jewish relations.

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy,...

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy, 1881 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He provoked the Jews more than once. On one occasion, he brought in idols of Roman emperors into Jerusalem, and it is also said that he once took money from the Temple to complete his administrative projects.

This is what history tells us. But what about scripture? Let’s go through some verses:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, (John 19)

In all this, we actually see Pilate, a Roman governor going to the limit in order to save a Jewish carpenter from the invisible town of Nazareth. To please the Jews, he had Jesus flogged and even tried to let a Jewish criminal (Barabbas) free. Why then do we call him evil? Where did it all go wrong? The passage continues:

but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Fran...

What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Français : “Qu’est-ce que la vérité ?” Le Christ et Pilate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man who tried to show justice killed his conscious when his authority came under danger. In fear of losing his position, he let a man be crucified, someone he and his wife knew to be completely innocent.

Only in one moment a man becomes the hero or the villain. This holds an important lesson for all of us. It is not sometimes the sum total of our lives that history will count us righteous or evil, it may only be a single critical moment.

When friends, family, and society pressurizes you to do something you know is wrong, remember that if you give in to their demands, the annals of time will come to haunt you.

This brings us to our original question. Why to we remember Pilate while reciting the Creed? The answer is Jesus and not Pilate himself.

Anyone who came in contact with Jesus became immortal, whether it was a young villager who had 2 fish, or the donkey who received a king’s welcome the original Palm Sunday.Time waits for no one and it tramples those who try to stand in its way. But when Jesus collided with time, He broke it into two pieces.

¹ Image via Wikipedia:

An inscription bearing the name of Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea, in the time of Yeshua of Nazareth

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog for free. 

©2012-2014 PK Christian Writer

Author Bio:

I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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Am I Called Or Am I Crazy?

English: Motorola L71 (China Mobile customised...

Motorola L71 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By George Fishburne, Jr.

I remember when I purchased my very first mobile phone in the early 1980’s. It was a beige colored phone and it resembled a block of wood. It must have weighed at least a couple of pounds and its big ear and mouthpieces could be spotted from several blocks away.

Whenever you touched one of the keypads, they illuminated with lime green fluorescence for all to see. I was forced to carry it in my hand, because it could not fit in any of my pockets. Occasionally, I would check my phone to see if it still worked because there were periods when no calls came through. In those moments, I would use my home phone to call my mobile phone and then when my mobile phone rang, I would answer it.

There is an epidemic in the Body of Christ’s pre-ministerial ranks of those who say that God called them, when in fact they called themselves. My pastor often reminded us as young ministers ‘if you just pick up the gospel ministry call on your own, people, problems, and pressures will make you put it back down.’ Throughout scripture, we find evidence that before God calls men and women to a work, they are first called away from a work.

When Matthew (known as Levi) was invited into Jesus’ fold, he was taken away from his lucrative and disreputable enterprise as a tax collector. Luke was often referred to as ‘the beloved physician’ to denote both his reputation and soon to be former occupation. Peter and Andrew were summoned from their prosperous fishing business in order to join the band of Christ. Essentially, you will know its God because God always seems to seek out those who are already busy doing something! God then creatively channels their energy, gifts, and commitment to a stream rolling towards God’s perfect will for their lives.

Those who call themselves run the very real risk of being left to fend for them-selves in times of crisis and calamity.

I can recall after wrestling for months with what I believed was God’s will for my life and sharing that jewel of information with my pastor, Bishop Victor T. Curry, he had nothing to say about it.

After he finally and publicly acknowledged my call, I asked him one day, why he had made me wait so long. He responded, ‘Because God always calls us first to preparation.’ During that waiting period, God was merely equipping me with the tools of patience and integrity, tools that must join forces with the call in order to fortify that very call.

Those who are called into ministry should cherish and make the most of those periods of preparation, allowing them to become thoroughly equipped by the Master. They are then doubly prepared to enter the ministry and mission field God has destined just for them.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/am-i-called-or-am-i-crazy-7060925.html

About the Author

Elder George Fishburne, Jr. (www.georgefishburne.com) is the Senior Consultant of A Higher Calling Consultants and the Managing Editor of The Write Stuff, a writing and communications company which offers an array of text composition and editing services. His talents include ghost writing, resume & cover letter creation, website text content developement and an array of other literary services.

He is also the former Chief Operating Officer of the Elizabeth Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia and is the author of ‘A Higher Calling: Serving God, His Leaders and His People with Excellence’ and the accompanying guide and workbook.

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