From Gary... Fractals, art and Divinity

This is labelled a "Light Smphonia 3D Fractalscape" and it is!!!  The complexity, the symmetry and the color become more beautiful with each and every second that you view this beautiful artwork!!!  Since all things are created by something, whoever created this must be very special indeed.

Looking up "fractal" resulted in this definition:

"A fractal is a mathematical set that typically displays self-similar patterns, which means they are "the same from near as from far".[1] Often, they have an "irregular" and "fractured" appearance, but not always. Fractals may be exactly the same at every scale, or, as illustrated in Figure 1, they may be nearly the same at different scales.[2][3][4][5] The definition of fractal goes beyond self-similarity per se to exclude trivial self-similarity and include the idea of a detailed pattern repeating itself.[2]:166; 18[3][6] "

 If you would like to read the entire article, go to:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

This is interesting; difficult for me to understand, but interesting!!!  The mind that can conceive of such things is way beyond my comprehension, but then again so what?  Each of is special in our own way and for those of us who really know God- well that makes us very special indeed!!!  Read on to see where I am going with this...

Psalm, Chapter 8

 1  Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth,
who has set your glory above the heavens!
  2 From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.
  3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
  4 what is man, that you think of him?
What is the son of man, that you care for him?
  5 For you have made him a little lower than God,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
  6 You make him ruler over the works of your hands.
You have put all things under his feet:
  7 All sheep and cattle,
yes, and the animals of the field,
  8 The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea,
and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
  9 Yahweh, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Not just a few of us, but all of us that strive to understand our maker.  We are special!!!  And if WE are special; then what about the one who made us?  As beautiful as this picture is, it can not compare to God Almighty!!!  Doubt that- when it gets dark tonight, go outside and look at the stars and wonder!!!

From Ben Fronczek... Patience Boosters

Patience Boosters                                                                                                                                             
Reading: James 5:7-11  “Dear brothers and sisters,[a] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” NLT

How many lessons have you heard, or have read of our need, as Christians, to become patient? Probably many times.

It is one of the fruits of a Spirit fill person as seen in Galatians 5:22.  Over and over in the Bible we read about the importance of becoming patient. In the book of Proverbs the wise teacher instructs us to be patient.

- In 14:29 he writes, Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”

- In 15:18 he writes, “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.               

– In 16:32 he writes, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”   

- In 19:11 he writes, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
The importance and encouragement to become patient is also seen over and over in the NT, especially in the apostle Paul’s writings.

– In Romans 12:12 he writes “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” 
- In Colossians 3:12 he writes, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”                          

- In Ephesians 4:2 he writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”       

-  In 1 Thess. 5:14 he writes, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 

Actually the English word ‘patient’ is a weak translation of the original Greek word used in James. It is really a compound word which means:  to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish.’  The idea is to be self-restrained and not quick to retaliate. It is seen when one goes without complaining, giving up or striking out.

So why is our need to be patient such a big deal in scripture? I actually took some time to research some on the pro and cons of this topic. As I see it, the more you understand what patience is, and how it effects you,  you begin to realize that it really does have an effect on almost every part of our life.

It effects how you think, how you act, It can affect you emotionally, socially and even on a spiritual level. It can even affect you physically; how you feel. Those who are impatient experience a rise in blood pressure, an increase in anxiety and stress, and your over all happiness goes down.

Whereas those who learn to be more patient reap many rewards; for example:

- If you are more patient you reduce your stress level, your blood pressure, you won’t get as angry as often, you’ll sleep better, you’ll actually be healthier, and happier.

- More patient people can actually think clearer and make better decisions,  and they don’t make as many mistakes. Being more patient also enables a person to hang in there longer and work toward achieving goals and dreams.

- Being a patient person also helps one cope with difficulties, hardships and obstacles graciously and they respond to life’s challenges with more courage, strength and optimism.

- Learning to be a patient person also gives you a calmer spirit, and you have more peace of mind rather than being overwhelmed and frazzled all the time.

- And finally, more patient people usually have a better relationship with their spouse, family, friends and co-workers.

In our text today, I believe that James was writing to some Christians who we struggling, maybe oppressed or even persecuted. He instruct them to be patient and hang in there; be long suffering and not to grumble and complain, but realize that God has a great reward for those who hang in there and remain faithful to Him, for the Lord is sees all and is full of compassion and mercy.

I would like to believe that as James grew up with Jesus he observed one the most patient people who ever lived.  Jesus lived His whole time here without ever sinning once yet  He was surrounded by flawed and sinful people. He knew what it was to be patient and long suffering  when it came to living in a house with many siblings as well as a world full of  sinful and foolish men.

Here in James he illustrate some who have to wait before they are rewarded, like farmers who plant and then have to be patient and wait for the harvest.  He also mentions Job and the prophets chose not to give up on God, but were long suffering and patient, as they waited on upon God.

So how patient are you?  In my reading I came across some good suggestions to help boost our level of patience.  In her book, Ryan makes a comment that I agree with, that : “Patience is something you do, not something you have or don’t have. It’s a decision you make again and again. Patience is a quality that can be strengthened like a muscle.”

So, How to Develop Patience: In some ways its like exercising and developing a muscle. First of all its about making a choice and deciding to develop that muscle. Becoming more patient involves making some choices on how you are going to act or react in a certain situation. First we need to decide to make patience a goal. Try starting by deciding to do your best to be patient in all circumstances for the entire day, then purposely try it to 2 days, and then 3, and so on. Like exercise, the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Just like some of muscles are stronger and some are weaker, we are stronger and more patient with some things, and some people, but not so much with others. Take note of when you are less patient. Be more careful in those situations or with those people. Those areas where we are less patient are what you will have pay more attention to and work on more.

Also take note of how you feel. Are you tired, hungry, or off physically in some other way? Be aware of your weaknesses and be even more careful when you are not feeling 100 percent. If at all possible  when you feel off, try not to subject yourself to those things or people that frustrate you, bore you or set you off. Don’t go shopping at Walmart Friday evening if you are tired, hungry and a hurry to get home because you have a headache, because more than likely the lines of people will test your patience.   At least knowing your weaknesses will help you be a bit more cautious as you deal with the situation.

Get rest when you need it. Take care of your body. If you don’t, it will affect your mood.

#2) Practice thinking before you speak. If we pause and go over what we want to say, we can avoid hurting or offending others. Do you remember what James wrote in 1:19? He wrote “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  
In other words slow down!   Take deep breaths to try to relax when you find yourself getting impatient and anxious. When we are stressed we tend to lose our patience and get frustrated.

#3) Next time you have to wait for something, it helps to take that free time to do something useful. Do something constructive while waiting. It keeps your mind and your time occupied and helps you avoid unnecessary stress from worrying and getting yourself uptight. Even plan what you are going to do before hand just in case you have to wait.  Pray, or make a mental note of the things that you need to do that day. Or you can sing a song.  When I have to wait as I get my vehicles worked on I always take a book, some paper and pen. I have prepared a number of good sermons and Bible studies as I sat there waiting.  It’s all about preparation; having a few things you can do in case you have to wait.   Plan ahead!

#4) Take the time to help others. For example, having to deal with the elderly and the hearing impaired definitely requires patience. By choosing to help others on a regular basis, such as watching children or the elderly, you will find yourself slowing down a bit and becoming more patient. Patience can bring out the compassionate side of you.

#5) Here is a real important one:– Realize daily that no one is perfect except Jesus.  So practice tolerating and loving people even though they are flawed. We are all flawed in one way or many. So even before you get out of bed in the morning, make a conscious effort to love people no matter what. Not their sin but the person. This will help.
James wrote in verse 9, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”   Decide to cut others some slack if they mess up. Learn to be patient and even cut yourself some slack when you mess up.

#6) Cultivate Faith.  I believe patience and faith walk hand in hand.  The more faith you have in yourself, in others, and in God the more patient you will be.   If you are a very patient person it is a sign that you trust and have faith in others, especially faith in God.

Hardship, difficulties and tragedies are part of life. They will test your faith. Believe in God’s providence and care. Believe that there is a purpose in all that happens and that setback may only be temporary.

#7) Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Many times we’re impatient because we’re overloaded. Someone once said, “There’s no prize at the end of your life for doing too much, particularly doing it in a frazzled state,”

#8) And finally, read, read, and learn from scripture. Over and over we not only see how patient God is with us, we also see how much we are encourage to do the same when it comes to dealing with others.  Being patient with others is actually a form of LOVE.  In 1 Cor. 13:4, Paul wrote, “ Love is patient.“

It is said that, ‘Patience is a virtue’. Why is that so?    Because learning to be patient make us better people.  I don’t know about you but I want to become a better person, the kind of person that God wants me to become

If you struggle with being patient you are not alone. Many times it’s just a matter of learning a little more and changing our frame of mind. I pray that our God will continue to be patient with us as we try to become more like Him.

From Mark Copeland... Fleeing In Full Pursuit (1 Timothy 6:3-11)

                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                    Fleeing In Full Pursuit (6:3-11)


1. In 1Ti 6:11, we find an interesting contrast concerning the "man of
   a. He is told to "flee" (Grk., pheugo)
   b. He is told to "pursue" (Grk., dioko)
   c. In the Grk. NT, these two words are next to each other,
      highlighting the contrast between them

2. So while one is fleeing from some things, he should be pursing other
   a. Are we fleeing those things from which we ought to flee?
   b. Are we pursing those things we need to pursue?

[Ask yourself these questions as we consider "Fleeing In Full Pursuit".
First, there are...]


      1. Contrary to the words of our Lord and the doctrine according to
         godliness - 1Ti 6:3
      2. Especially any error related to:
         a. The practice of fornication ("flee sexual immorality")
            - 1Co 6:18
         b. The practice of idolatry ("flee from idolatry") - 1Co 10:14
      3. This implies that we must learn the truth - how can we flee
         from an unknown enemy?

      1. What might be described as "word battles" - 1Ti 6:4-5
         a. Some people become obsessed with such things
         b. They love to argue religion, just for the sake of arguing!
      2. The outcome of such discussions are often:
         a. envy - the ill will one has when bested by an opponent
         b. strife - the condition that exists while argument is being
            discussed and people refuse to admit defeat
         c. reviling - abusive language (e.g., slander, scorn) regarding
            the opposition
         d. evil suspicions - mistrust, suspecting and impugning
            another's motives
      3. Where discussions become "useless wranglings"
         a. By men "of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth"
            1) They can't think straight
            2) They don't even know what is really true
         b. By men who think "godliness is a means of gain"
            1) Some think such arguing will make them famous
            2) Others think it will give them power, position, even
      4. Timothy was told to stay away from such "wranglers"! - 1 Ti 6:5; 2Ti 2:14-16,23

      1. Godliness with contentment is the great gain - 1Ti 6:6-8
         a. "You can't take it with you"
         b. Food and shelter are the only true "necessities"
         c. Contentment is a grace to be learned - cf. Php 4:11-13
      2. Those who "desire to be rich" endanger themselves - 1Ti 6:9
         a. They fall into temptation and a snare
         b. They fall into foolish and harmful lusts which drown them in
            destruction and perdition
      3. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil - 1Ti 6:10
         a. Some have strayed from the faith in their greediness
         b. They found not happiness, but much sorrow!

[Such things we are to "flee" (1Ti 6:11).  Are we fleeing from them, or
flirting with them?  It helps to flee when we are in full pursuit of
certain things...]


      1. The quality of being right, and doing right, in the sight of
      2. The righteousness we seek is that found in Christ, and Paul
         illustrates the "pursuit" one should have for it - cf. Php 3:

      1. This can be defined as "devotion to God which results in a life
         that pleases Him"
      2. I.e., one who is godly displays a truly pious conduct
      3. This godliness requires effort or exercise on our part - cf.
         1Ti 4:7
      4. The pursuit of godliness is well worth it, according to Paul
         - 1Ti 4:8

   C. FAITH...
      1. Faith in its subjective sense, "active reliance on God and His
         promises" - Hendriksen
      2. Such reliance comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:17
      3. At times, we must battle to maintain this reliance - 1Ti 6:12
      4. There is the danger of developing a heart of unbelief, which is
         why we must always be in pursuit of faith - cf. He 3:12-15

   D. LOVE...
      1. We are to love God, brethren, even enemies - Mt 22:36-40; 5:44
         a. This love is from the Grk. agape, "active good will"
         b. It involves a decision of the will, not the heart
      2. Such love does not come naturally, we must be taught it - e.g.,
         1Th 4:9; 3:12
      3. Thus it is something we must pursue, or we will not have it!

      1. Steadfastness, "the grace to bear up under adversities"
         - Hendriksen
      2. Especially in times of persecution, discouragement, hard times
      3. "Endurance" would be another word - e.g., Jesus, He 12:1-4

      1. This word is akin to "patience", but with respect to people
         rather than circumstances
      2. It affects how we treat others, even those with whom we differ
         - cf. 2Ti 2:24-25
      3. Where the virtues of righteousness, godliness, faith, love and
         patience are present, the virtue of gentleness naturally


1. These things to flee and things to pursue were important to Paul...
   a. He not only warned Timothy in this passage
   b. He warned Timothy again in another epistle - 2Ti 2:22-23

2. Perhaps because there is something in human nature...
   a. To pursue things we ought to be fleeing
   b. To flee things we ought to be pursuing

3. Hopefully these words of the apostle will serve us well...
   a. To keep us on the right track
   b. To motivate us to be more diligent about moving in the right

Are we "Fleeing In Full Pursuit", fleeing that which is wrong, pursuing
that which is right...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Jim McGuiggan... Randomness and good luck

Randomness and good luck

The dictionary says that "luck" is loss or benefit brought about by chance. We say "bad" luck when we see the result as loss or disappointment and "good" when we judge it to be benefit. There’s no mystery there—that makes sense.

Ask serious believers if they believe in "good luck" and you’d only find a handful in a million that’d say they do. Why is that? Because they’re used to attributing all the good things in their lives to God. They thank him for everything and they seem to remember something like "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights."

In their tens of thousands they’ll tell you interesting stories about "remarkable coincidences" that they know aren’t really "coincidences". Food and money arrives from unexpected places in the nick of time, strangers that were heading elsewhere got lost and turned up precisely where they were needed to be, to save a life and a job turned up the very day the family was going to be evicted. It doesn’t matter that we say to them that these could be explained as chance events so that there’s no way to prove God brought it about. They know that but they insist that it was God that worked it out. They pray "give us this day our daily bread," go out and work for it and still say that God provided their food or rent or clothes or whatever money was needed to take care of these things. Try telling them that these things happen to others that don’t pray and the believers will still thank God for providing. A church gathers and prays for needed rain for their threatened crops and it arrives, a good crop is harvested and the people gather to thank God. Try telling them that it was all chance, that prayers in no way affect the atmosphere, that the wind and sun and other things just happened to combine at the right place at the right time. Tell them that and they’ll quote you texts and go back to thanking God for the rain he sent when they needed it.

There are as many random elements involved in the production of what believers will call a "blessing" from God as in the production of a tragedy.

Ask serious believers if they believe in "bad" luck and they may hem and haw a bit, unsure of themselves. Why is that? Well, part of the reason is that they don’t want to attribute pain, loss and tragedy to God because some of them think that God only has a hand in bringing about "good" things. They’re afraid that if they say God brings tragedy as well as blessing they lead people to hate God (and some preachers muzzle them by telling them that’s exactly what they’ll do). And, besides, there are all those difficult questions that poor hurting souls ask and that they can’t answer for them. Questions like, "Why my little girl?" or "How could God be good and do such a thing to my Grandmother?" or "How can you make sense of a tidal wave?"

They can’t answer these questions and it bothers them tremendously. But they can’t answer the difficult questions about "good luck" (answered prayer) either. It’s just that questions about the tragic have a different emotional content and it’s almost always the case that they have profoundly deeper passion connected with them.

God answers prayer! Jesus said he did and urged us to pray. And he himself prayed believing that prayer avails. It’s important to recognise that "request" prayers are only one of a score of different kinds of prayers that include confession, praise, communion and others. But we are called to bring petitions and requests to God. The Lord’s Prayer demonstrates that, so we aren’t to apologise for making requests.

Fundamentally we insist that God answers prayer not because we think we can prove it by our personal experiences—experiences that people not unreasonably attempt to explain as good luck or natural law or an occasional remarkable coincidence—but because he says he does. We insist that God answers prayer because we have come to believe in the God of the Hebrew-Christian scriptures and in Jesus Christ. In that light we understandably and gladly interpret events in our lives as blessings provided by God and we thank him.

We’re well aware of natural laws and the fixed sequences in nature but we still believe that God provides blessings to us. We’re not committed to the view that every answer to every prayer has to be a self-evidencing miracle. We believe that God is the Lord of harmony and chaos, of nature’s laws and choosing beings. We believe that as sure as a sailor can use the wind to gain his ends without obliterating or warping nature so God can use his mindless forces and free-willed creatures to gain his ends.

If our prayers of need, uttered only today, are met through a network of truth and kindness and generosity that God established in the world years before we came along, we’ll thank him for his answer to today’s prayers. We won’t call it good luck. If our prayers for rain this very day are met by showers that are driven in by winds that none of us can control or predict we’ll still thank God for giving us the rain in answer to that prayer. And if we can’t find or demonstrate the links by which he brought about the response we needed from him, if we can’t catch a glimpse of his hand just before it goes behind the veil again we’ll still thank him for it. And if today our heart is desperately hungry for the uplifting and sustaining word and it comes by way of some old utterance we won’t say, "It wasn’t God that lifted me up."

One of these days, perhaps, we’re going to believe that the calamities that befall the human family are the work of the God that adores the human family and that they are just as surely the grace of God as his blessings. Maybe one of these days we’ll offer poor souls more than, "Terribly bad luck!" Maybe one of these days we’ll see that to celebrate the wrath of God is to celebrate his presence in the form of his righteousness and lovingkindness.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.