The Blessing of Poverty

The keys to happiness delivered by Jesus contain the paradox of a blessing in poverty.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:1-3

This beatitude encourages an inner quality of sacrificial humility.

The disciples literally gave up their source of income to follow Jesus Christ. Peter, James, John, Andrew all forsook their fishing business. Matthew forsook his tax collecting. They literally impoverished themselves for the sake of the Gospel. Although Christ does not require an oath of poverty, He has given us a promise of blessing when we suffer for His sake. Suffering yields spiritual reward in this life.

girls on green shirt holding a silver round bowl

This beatitude celebrates the inner quality of poverty.

Not poverty of possessions or finances, but the lack of pride in one’s spirit. God’s concern for the humble is their spirit, not their bank balance. Those with plenty often struggle with God’s existence. The poor usually do not. They are the ones who glean off God’s goodness.

God wants to help the down trodden of society by reviving their heart.

That is why the poor in spirit are the ones given this promise for blessing. This spirit is one of repentance, not greed. Money is not what God requires: He asks for a good spirit from your heart.

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revision of original published 17 March 2009

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Building Trustworthy Relationships

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. Romans 14:19

Trust is a requirement in the world of relationships. It is a greater compliment to be told you are trusted than to be told you are loved.

Many a church leader assumes if he loves and receives love in return, the right atmosphere wherein God’s people can grow is created.

Love, however, is only part of the equation. Whether you are a leader in the church: pastor, trustee, treasurer, secretary, teacher; or a leader at home: husband, father, mother; or a leader on the job or at school; trust is the greater requirement.

The ideal atmosphere is when love results from trust.

woman carrying baby at beach during sunset

Trust is the foundation upon which a mature love can flourish. You usually have to stretch yourself beyond your current abilities when it comes to living and working with others. You have to develop skills to meet the challenges faced when dealing with others. You may be loved by your spouse or children, but that does not mean they trust you.

The ancient text instructs you to follow those things which make for peace and those things are connected with the edification of others. To edify is to build up that person. Every Christian duty includes the moral improvement of fellow believers. Building trust with a loved one or work colleague requires character and competence.

You have to become trustworthy in order to build trust. The challenging question:

Am I trustworthy?

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originally published 30 April 2007

Communion as Prayer

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14

Our text speaks of the communion of the Holy Ghost. Communion is a form of conversation between persons of like mind. When the Christian enters the prayer chamber, God’s Spirit unites the saint with his Saviour in communion. That is how supplication and praying yields peace. You make your requests known unto God and His peace is given in return. When you pray in peace, the Holy Spirit enables you to receive answers to your requests.

person hands woman girl

Communion as prayer is a form of true communication. When two persons truly communicate, there is first a desire to listen. You seek first to understand the person you are listening to before attempting to be understood. In praying, you have to be willing to listen to God’s word and understand God’s will for you before you can expect God to hear your request.

Praying is having a heart open to hear God’s word; pausing to consider its message; and then responding in such a way as to demonstrate an understanding of what you heard. Only then are you in a position to give your requests. You do not expect to be understood if you are not open to listen.

Most people communicate by either giving a speech or preparing one while the other is giving one (a collective monologue). Praying to God is not a monologue, but a dialogue made possible by the Holy Ghost. Such communion is an intimate dialogue.

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originally published 11 February 2007

The Blessing of Mourning

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Pain hurts. Most people avoid pain at all costs; however, pain is a part of life. Learning to deal with pain is a mark of maturity. God has promised blessings for those who mourn  among which is the blessing of comfort.

Our Lord promises comfort to those who boldly lament and are not ashamed of their grief. Sorrow is a painful aspect of human existence. This Beatitude encourages Christ’s disciples to deal with it, not avoid it.

Those who try to run from pain’s reality do so at a cost. Indeed, most people do not realize the extravagant expense of avoiding pain. Those who refuse to deal with something in their life causing pain are only putting off the inevitable and intensifying the sorrow.

Remember this: if you avoid the pain, you are also avoiding the comfort.

  • Your broken heartedness will be comforted.
  • Your ashes associated with death and mourning will be exchanged for beauty just as the ancient patriarch Job.
  • Your black garments worn to mourn the loss of someone beloved will be exchanged for one of praise.
  • Your heavy, burdensome clothing of sacrifice will be exchanged for something much lighter, for Christ has proclaimed His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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Read 10 full length studies on the Beatitudes in my latest publication: Beauty from the Mountain.

Beauty from the Mountaing Cover

Creating Order from Your Chaos

The story of creation provides a model for new beginnings. All cultures share this story and at its root is order from chaos. By embracing the chaos in a person’s life or organization’s current standing; you position yourself to receive an orderly creation of something better.

Producing a new beginning for any person or organization means just that: creating order from chaos.

This powerful notion of success is discovered by using a shared language of the Elements. Comparing explanations of origin in different cultures, faiths, and ancient philosophies, there is a shared story. The traditions have passed down:

Fire, Air, Water, and Earth were combined through a Spirit process that began with chaos and ended in order.

The Genesis story of Creation widely known in our Western civilization also preserves this ancient understanding of the Elements. It begins by recognizing existing chaos: “The earth was without form and void.”

  • SPIRIT – And God said.
  • FIRE – Let there be light.
  • AIR – Let there be a firmament (space as in “outer” space).
  • WATER – Let the waters be gathered.
  • EARTH – Let the dry land appear.

Enjoying hard earned success is finding order in your life. To get there, you followed a process because your life or your business needed change. Something was missing. You were seeking fulfillment.

From within yourself (spirit), you articulated a plan (fire). You separated into divisions (air) everything surrounding your project. From there a plan was formulated (water) connecting the divisions and your success appeared (earth).

Following this pattern propelled you to success. Recognizing this configuration allows you to enjoy continued success.

I have applied this arrangement to assess several sales organizations. The company would have already enjoyed success. It reached a plateau and was finding it difficult to grow beyond its last level of success. It was usually bogged down with a toxic environment.

Every time I assess a successful team in trouble, I emphasize two truths:

  1. The current problem was a result of their success and therefore contains the very elements for the solution;
  2. To go forward they had to be willing to allow “Light” to shine in the darkness of their chaos.

Many a successful person repels such revelations. They don’t want to face the reality of their problems. They state they want solutions but in practice their pride stands in the way. As leaders, they know subconsciously they are responsible. After successfully building their dream, they personalize attempts to apply needed change. They interpret these efforts from well-meaning consultants, staff members, and even colleagues as attacks on their character and/or position.

To enjoy the abundance of your hard earned success, you must remain open and coachable. Success never changes that fact. You are right to repel judgment on your actions. You are successful! You fulfilled your dream. However, do not allow that to cloud the light of reality. Remember that rules change to sustain success. Embrace the chaos. It is proof you possess the elements of success.

Remain open to the light of truth. It is your friend. It will be the difference between enjoying good success and great success.

Affirmation: I am abundant enjoying my hard earned success.

From 56 Notions of Success

Child-like Faith in Creation Account

When I was just five, I made a conscious choice to become a Christian. My young mind and heart soaked in the moisture of spirituality. I was primed to bring out the water I drank.

At 8, a new pastor was installed at our little country Baptist church. He taught me to be a  ‘witness’ of the Gospel. That meant it was my duty as a born again Christian to persuade  others to believe what I believe. I was introduced, therefore, to my first measuring stick of  spirituality: possessing the courage to tell others the Truth of scripture.

Perhaps that scares you. It saddens me now, but it was all I knew. Yet in my maturity, I can glean from its good bits and allow the chaff to to dispersed in the wind.

My first four years of primary education were expended inside a little two-room schoolhouse of Berville. The locals call the village ‘Beer’-ville. It was smaller than a small town. Beside the school, there was one business, one dairy, a facility for the Lions Club, and a ‘hotel’, the local pub. Fifty or so houses still surround the afore mentioned buildings to house its community.

The  school no longer exists. The American Veterans now have the land, but tore down the two-storied school building. For a long time, I viewed its demise as a small reward for harbouring my initial persecution.

In my third year of Berville school, I began to practise ‘witnessing’. Out of 60 odd
students, I led 3 or 4 to Christ. I remember the names of two of them. John moved before the  year was out. He was my first ‘best friend’. I never did know to where he moved nor where he  is at today. Bob later became a Jehovah’s Witness and worked inside the Headquarters for the  Watchtower Society in New York. That’s a twist!

I was appointed the leader of a sect within the school. I was the teacher of ‘witnessing’. I led the troops into battle during recess. The playground was our battle ground. We set out to win the lot over to Christ! But we never got by Edgar. His rebuttal to our attack  led to my court-martial.

Our group had prayed together and believed it was of God that we  teach Edgar how to become a Christian. Edgar was Catholic. In those days, they didn’t like being called Christians.

Edgar believed in evolution—or more accurately in the authorities who espouse the philosophy. It is a philosophy, not a science. How do I know? Because after Edgar rejected our Gospel ‘witness’ and I parroted my pastor: ‘Evolutionists are out of their  skulls!’ recess was over and we began Social Studies.

The teacher began the class just after the aforementioned recess by having us read silently the next section in the textbook. After we read the section, she was going to expound its contents.

The reading was about Charles  Darwin and his theory of evolution.

It was introduced to me as a philosophy, not a science. I still believe it is such.

‘Psst. Tim—what are you going to do? Are you going to read it?’

That was one of my followers. I can’t disappoint him, but nor could I encourage rebellion.

‘Of course. It’ll be good for a laugh.’

The laugh was on me. After the appointed time to read was ended, the teacher asked if their were any questions. Edgar stood up. I went stiff.

‘Mrs Winnie, Tim Rose says evolutionists are out of their skulls’.

Silence.

My young world joined forces to smother me.

Mrs Winnie turned a bitter gaze in my direction. My classmates stared at me with curiosity. I don’t remember if I was asked to defend myself. I do remember my response. I stood trembling next to my desk. I lifted its top and pulled out my bible.

I read the Genesis account of Creation.

If only I would have realised that most of my classmates were happy with my response. I never knew until years later. I lost my confidence for many years after. It disappeared in the midst of the humiliation that followed.

Time for recess. Everyone got to go out and play but Tim Rose. Teacher pulled him into the back room. Many words were said. Most forgotten but the one stipulation to join his classmates on the playground were never forgotten:

‘Don’t let me EVER hear you read from that bible in my classroom again!’

Why God Created Evil

To many, my headline is offensive. Human Secularism has won the battle of Western thinking. There is no God.

The argument goes like this:

  1. If there was a God, God is good.
  2. Evil exists.
  3. Therefore, there is no God, for if there was a God, there would be no Evil.

The idea that creature can dictate the terms of his/her Creator’s existence is irrational. Nonetheless, the argument outlined above passes as “great thinking”.

Nietzsche God is Dead

Here are three reasons why God created Evil.

  1. Because there can be no Justice without Evil.

God claims to be the creator of Evil. God does not claim to create sin, but the judgment necessary for sin’s actions. If there is no such thing as Evil, there is no justice in life. Being Just is a part of being Good.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7

  1. Because there can be no Good without Evil.

What is Good? Without Evil, Good has no definition. Without Evil, there is no need for Good. Whatever Good is, it is not Evil. The two concepts cannot exist in a vacuum. They are interdependent on each other. Duality is reality:

  • Without the negative, there is no positive;
  • Without danger, there is no safety;
  • Without pessimism, there is no optimism;
  • Without Egoism there is no Altruism;
  • Without Chaos, there is no such thing as Order;
  • Without unconsciousness, consciousness does not exist;
  • Without slavery, freedom cannot be birthed.
  1. Because God’s goodness is what leads to Repentance.

Without Evil, there is no need to repent. To repent is change the direction of one’s path. To repent is to change the thinking of one’s mind. To repent is to change the attitude of one’s heart. If there is no God, no repentance is required. If there is a God, a change in one’s direction, thinking and attitude is required to align with God’s ways. Without Goodness, there is no means of repentance.

Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4

God’s Goodness is associated with forbearance and longsuffering. What makes God Good is the exists of Evil in our lives and God’s willingness to forgive.

To deny Evil is to despise God’s Goodness.