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Showing posts from October, 2016

SETTLING FOR PSEUDO BLESSING

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The Beatitudes are the words of Jesus pronouncing God’s blessing on the most challenging things we face. The word he used for ‘blessed’ is the Greek word makarios conveying the meaning of self-contained happiness or bliss.


The Greeks called the Island of Cyprus "the happy isle." They believed that because of its geographical location, perfect climate, and fertile soil that anyone who lived on Cyprus had it made in the shade. And the term they associated with the island was makarios. They believed everything you needed to be happy was right there on Cyprus.[1]
To experience the blessed life that Jesus gives, we are not dependent on finding the perfect island resort life. And yet, there are many Jesus’ followers who still seek and settle for a pseudo-blessed life instead of entering into the tough life that produces lasting joy.
Jesus encountered a successful young man whom was looking for ways to improve his religious life. He wanted everything that he heard Jesus offering and …

THE GREAT HAPPINESS OF A TOUGH EXPERIENCE

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L’chaim! This is a traditional Jewish toast or blessing when a couple gets engaged. They lift a glass and utter ‘L’chaim’ which means ‘to life’.


It is a social custom repeated in many cultures whereby the desire is stated that those involved would experience the blessing of God. Blessings are pronounced over the birth of children, new partnerships, etc.
To invite or proclaim a blessing over someone is an invitation for our world to be aligned with Heaven’s intentions.
Dr. Ephraim Radner says, ‘Blessing is primarily the act of God in creating life, sustaining it, and extending or propagating it.  By contrast, the notion of “cursing” (qalal) seems to imply “thinning out” reality, making it light and superfluous, and finally lifeless.’[1]
When we were children praying at bedtime, we were taught to pray like this: “God bless mommy and daddy, grandpa and grandma and all my brothers and sisters.”
But what exactly did we mean? Our childish understanding may have been that we wanted them all to b…

THINKING LIKE A PAWNBROKER

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We may be inclined at times to think like a pawnbroker—how can we get the best deal for a valuable treasure? Who hasn’t fantasized for a moment about becoming wealthy?



Several of Jesus’ parable stories feature people who have the responsibility of handling treasure; either their own or managing it for someone else. In each story there is always the question of price and responsibility. What is required to gain the advantage? Here are a couple examples of treasure stories from Jesus.

Matthew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

In the first instance, there is the fortunate and unexpected discovery. The worker comes upon the treasure quite by accident in the course of his duties.
Un…

OUR FASCINATION WITH PAWN SHOWS

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Have you been to a pawnshop lately? Windsor has several of them including Economy Exchange where Mark Bradac is the proprietor. 


You may remember him from the two seasons of ‘Pawnathon Canada’, a reality TV show in which customers brought in items to see how much money they can sell it for. He’s one of Windsor’s local legends.
This is Mark’s second time enjoying celebrity status. He was a guitarist in Windsor’s successful band Teaze from 1975-81. He is a likeable guy who does well in front of an audience.
But, let’s get back to pawnshops. All of the TV pawn shows are fascinating on a couple accounts. First, you discover the valuable treasures that people sometimes have and are willing to sacrifice for a price. Secondly, you see the reality of running a business where the pawnbroker wants to be fair, but still needs to make a buck and will buy treasure at the lowest price he or she can.
The shows appeal to our curiosity about treasure and the tension of getting less for it than it may be w…

THE BELIEVER

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In the art of approval seeking, there are some common patterns of human behaviour. There may be more models, but let us look at four classic responders in their need to be affirmed.