Writing Competition

To all you budding amateur writers out there (and i know i’m not the ONLY one…)

Check out this link: http://www.writersdigest.com/yourstory

A chance to become a published author in a predominant Writers magazine for the best short story voted on from a simple one line premise.

The next comp. closes 10/10 so get your writing skates on. You can post one entry per day on the same theme.

Alece? you listening?? 🙂

Seven Deadly Sins: Part VI – Pride.

(Gee this is taking way longer than i intended?)

For those of you who have forgotten the idea of these…

After a brief description of the ‘Sin’ i hopefully begin with some personal experience of it i can relate and what, if anything, i have found as a way to overcome it; – then you comment with your own (Confession if you’re ‘game’, or ideas to overcome if you have never had the sin/confidence to tell anyone). Hopefully we all benefit from the contributions/thoughts.

Pride: ( i probably should have ended with this one. i reely Should have started with this as ‘Part 1’, but it’s too late now so i’m sticking with the alphabetical approach).

In almost every list pride (or hubris or vanity) is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). ( ref:Wikipedia)

a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself.
a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem..

Synonyms: conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory.

Antonym: humility.

You may know the saying ‘Pride goeth before a fall’? Indeed, the most famous fall of all due to Pride would likely be that of Lucifer, once one of God’s brightest of Angels, who because of Pride and desire to replace God was forever cast down from Heaven.

The saying, like many of today, comes from the Book of Proverbs:

18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Prov 16:18,19).

A haughty SPIRIT? Hmmmmm?

Pride, like all our personality flaws, can be a really ‘tricky’ thing.

None of us wants to think of ourselves as full of boasting self-pride and so affronting Christ and God. (mainly because we are too proud to want to think of ourselves that way!) 😉 and yet most see nothing wrong in being ‘proud’ of some good deed we do or people we know do (“i’m so proud of you!”).

First on the list of the six abominations God hates (Proverbs 6) is a ‘proud look’ – first! Prime place of importance!

WE are told incessantly in Scripture to be humble and have a humble appearance to please God.

So how is being proud in any way Christian?

Only when we do Him ‘proud’ – which itself is a bit suspicious because, again from Scripture, we are reminded that nothing good comes from our flesh, but from Him, and that therefore only He is ever able to be ‘proud’ – anything good that one of us does is solely because of Him and that we have let Him ‘in’ us.

Pride is an ‘earthly’, fleshy thing and we are to not entertain it within us and give all glory to Him (pride is a synonym for VAINglory) thus remaining humble by not ‘claiming’ any pride for ourselves or other people/family.

Self-esteem (a synonym for pride) is a likewise ‘tricky’ area as, like alcohol and many drugs, it can be very difficult, in having ‘some’, to know when to ‘stop’. A person with no, or very low, self-esteem (when comparing themselves to any other) is unlikely to achieve all that, as a Child of the Almighty, we are created for.

Having said that, the words of Paul to the Philippians (Ch 2) should be borne in mind:

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (pride); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Note that it says to (hold in) esteem (each) other better than them(your)selves. Which is not to say that we cannot have SOME esteem (regard) for the good work we do – or for our ability to do something well, providing we do not do so to the loss of others, or consider ourselves in some way worth higher regard (esteem) than others.

So, onto my personal sin of Pride (Ok, ONE of them) 😉

The greatest sin of Pride (and the widest ranging one, of so many different ‘faces’) i can think of are the ones that put me ‘above’ God – that puts what is important ONLY to me above the things that are of Him. ( and sadly i don’t think any atheist has a good understanding of why this is so important to alll of us).

I, like all of us, have many personal examples of this at various times in my life – indeed for the first three decades – that was pretty much all i did. I ‘survived’ and i could well have gone on and had a ‘successful’ life and perhaps even have done some GOOD in the world. Probably more good than harm, which, most would suggest, is all we can ever hope for in our four score years or so we each average on Earth.

In the last two decades however i am becoming convinced that there is a higher ‘power’ than myself in my, and everyone’s life. Many people on this planet understand that power by the single word: God. Some know it as a different name but whatever you call it and whatever personality or power you give to it it is simply far greater than any single one of us can fully comprehend… and we ignore it at our permanent peril.

I have NO ‘proof’ of this – although i know and love some people who have a deeply personalised experience of it and am fully prepared to believe their experiences are totally genuine. To me it is simply a matter of Faith.

Some may see this as ‘poor’ thinking – unsupportable as a way of living an ‘intelligent’ and logical ‘provable’ life. – a kind of childish fantasy. I once felt that way myself but i see it differently today.

The thing that changed my world view (very gradually) was the understanding that developed, through long observations of Humanity, that by placing myself as the first and foremost ‘Authority’ in my life (and allowing for all others doing the same as me in theirs) constant conflict is the only possible outcome. Humanity on it’s ‘own’ will never achieve a consensus and work towards a common and just goal. The evidence ( even within Christianity) is irrefutable.

To me the ONLY Hope for mankind is to do exactly as Christ did (i would hope we could avoid the need for the physical crucifixion, while ensuring the internal ‘death’ on the Cross) and learn how to do ONLY the Will of the ‘Father’.

Sadly, as the two thousand year long history of schism, division and ‘sin’ of Christianity as a whole shows, even today, the majority of us don’t have any real clue how to do this.

Despite Christ, despite the written word of God (in numerous languages and religions) for instructions, despite the effort of millions through all churches throughout time….

WE still can’t just do as He did – die to ourself (personal ego) and put a single Higher Authority as our common Father… and just love one another as ourselves.

I don’t claim to yet be the personification of that myself… but i do see the need and i am a work in Progress (forgive the copyright infringement!) 🙂

My ‘way’, which i believe is also His, is to allow my Spirit to be grown into a real entity within me (via His aid) to make sufficient room within my hard logical, proof-demanding mind and heart and body for the Love of ‘God’ to change me into a being who can see the Unity of all mankind into a single ‘body’ and who can ensure my own ego always takes a back seat to His Authority/Will. (and wherever possible ‘dies’ so that something greater can live and take it’s place).

Sorry for taking so long – but it had to be said.

So now… what examples of pride are in you? and how do you deal with them?

Now There’s Something You Don’t See Every Day of the Week! :-)

I dunno Doc... Ya think mebbe he suspects??

I dunno Doc... Ya think mebbe he suspects??

(Amended) Bill of Rights.

Two wrongs don’t make a right… But two ‘Right’s often make a ‘wrong’.

Just because you think you have a ‘Right’ to do something, does not make that something the RIGHT thing to do.

Your Rights are NEVER to be seperated from your Responsibilities (to others, as well as to yourself!)

The Right thing to do is seldom the one we think of first! (and never if the only love in it is love of self. ie. from ego)

‘God-given’ Rights are rarely the ones we claim they are and are never given without a commensurate Responsibility we need to observe and obey.

“Late Amendment:”

It is not a matter of being on the ‘winning side’ – but of being on the ‘Right’ side. ie. His side.

It is important for each of us that we are on His ‘side’ and not on the side of those who, out of pride and envy, vainly boast Him to be on ‘theirs’.

God is not on your side – He’s on His. All are welcome to join Him. All it will cost you is your life.*

* for any who might be so inclined – taking another’s life from them when you give up yours to Him definitely excludes you from membership! 😉

Some things we notice… Some we don’t.

A bit of poor health a while back resulted in me missing making a comment i wanted to make..

Well Done Michael Phelps! A truly remarkable achievement that no doubt great masses of us around the world heard about and admired you for. (Personally, having witnessed the 100m Butterfly live i can’t see how that was a gold medal performance, but History will forever say otherwise).

Few would believe anyone could come close to Mark Spitz’s record, let alone exceed it in a single meeting. Phelps’ is a name that will live long in Sporting History.

But does anyone know the name Michael Cowdrey? (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/07/2357481.htm?site=local)

Probably not – he’s an Aussie. He’s also a Paralympian – not an Olympian athlete. He was at the Beijing  games as a swimming competitor.

He wanted to emulate Michael Phelps.

He failed

He only won five gold and three silver medals.

No-one will recall his name by next week.

Anyone remember Usain ‘lightening’ Bolt from Jamaica? World record time and gold medal in the 100m, 200m individual Sprints and Gold with a new WR in the 4 x 100m relay – never been done before in Olympic history? Sure you do.

How about the name Heath Francis? Another Aussie. He only won three individual Gold medals at Beijing in the 100m, 200m and 400m T46 Men’s Sprints, setting two World records in the process and did it with only one arm. he also got the Bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay for Australia He ‘bolted it in’, but hear of him? Hardly.

Evan O’Hanlon?? Team-mate to Heath? He only won his 100m, 200m and 4x 100m T38 races – with a World record time in all three – exactly like Usain Bolt but with one leg missing below the knee.

Anyone jumping up to offer him a million dollars or so? I don’t think so.

I only got to hear about these amazing individuals because i live in Australia and watch my news reports carefully.

I don’t for a second believe that other country’s Paralympic athletes have not had their own unbelieveable victories (like the Swimmer, i think from China, who hits the wall pad to stop the clock with HIS HEAD! because he has no arms. Or The unbelievable wheelchair athlete from Canada, Chantal Peticlerc, a total of 5 golds in track this games for a total of 14G,5S,2B lifetime tally) my point here being these performances are no less amazing than their ‘able’ bodied counterparts, yet their fame and their rewards are without doubt – second class.

That Sucks!

Any ‘sportsmen’ out there prepared to take some of their multi-million dollar contracts and put it into rewarding true super-human efforts? Or any promoters prepared to do these heroes justice?

Have a think about that next time you go to a sporting ground and pay your money to the Administrators/sponsors… or watch a multimillion dollar broadcast.

Remember where the money goes… and remember where it doesn’t go.

Remember the names Michael Cowdrey and Chantal Petticlerc.

And remember those names who don’t end up in the news headlines also.

Is our Spirtual Compass ‘drifting’??

 

The Chief Priests of Jerusalem would certainly have been aware what it meant to be ‘in spirit’ and believed THEY knew The Father…

But Jesus told them: had they known the Father, they would know Him also; and that ‘they know not what they do’ when He asked forgiveness for them of His Father; of God Himself.

It is easy for us to fool ourselves we are being ‘righteous’ and ‘in spirit’ when we are actually moving slowly, day-by-day, away from Him, from His Spirit.

WE need to be ever watchful of where our spirit (and our Heart) is leading us. If it is leading us away from the Truth in His Word then we need to re-adjust ourselves and not continue in our self (flesh) assured foolishness. If we are not doing as He commands (loving HIM with all we are, loving all others equally, forgiving, doing unto all others as we would have done unto us, etc) then we know we need to adjust. To correct our course and our spiritual ‘compass’…. back to that of the True ‘North’ (not moving instead towards the ‘East’, or the ‘West’) But ‘straight Up’.

Love your enemies….

A brother on the other side of this world to me has a great post here.

As i read it it reminded me of something that crossed my mind earlier in my day.

‘Love your enemies – it drives them crazy!’

That comment we have probably all heard and maybe most have laughed with.

It was not until this morning however that i saw something new in it…

Whoever wrote that did not have a CLUE about Love.

There is nothing wrong with the command of Jesus to love your enemies – those who spitefully use you, who beat you, who persecute you. He said we are to pray for them – not exact revenge out of spite and hate.

Jesus loved those who placed Him upon the cross and forgave them – ‘for they know not what they do’.

They (the one’s who delivered Him to the Governor and demanded his death, when given every chance to reprieve him) knew exactly what they were doing – they were doing exactly what they wanted because of their own fear and prejudices – their own selfish need to be ‘right’ and prove Him, their ‘enemy’,  ‘wrong’.

That thinking lives on today so obviously – and yet we who claim to know Him and believe Him can’t begin to see it in ourselves – or actually DO anything about bringing about the required, commanded ‘change’ and walk in His Way.

Loving your enemies will not drive them crazy – they are crazy enough already – that is the main reason they ARE your enemies, and seem to hate you for ‘no good reason’ other than they must just be filled with hate – so you hate them and cry out for ‘justice’ and to ‘blow them back to the stone age’.

Loving your enemies actually shows them your (His) love – it is a lot easier for THEM to love someone who loves them than it is to hate someone who loves them and shows it – especially when that love is backed up with actions that match.

But can any of us return love for ‘hate’? Can any of us be as Jesus and love someone who hates us enough to want us dead; love them enough to understand them and to offer them His solution – not our own selfish ones? Where we try to get what we want because we ‘know not what we do’?

Can any of us stop offering reasons why we don’t just long enough to start taking action and looking instead for reasons why we should… love our enemies?

Or shall we leave that up to someone else to do for us – or do first so we can stay just how we are untill we see others put into practice what we say we so strongly believe in??

OK – i’ve convicted me. i’ve looked at the way i think of and treat some people poorly and some ‘types’ and ‘classes’ of people the same… did i convict anyone else?

Please add a comment below.