The newest reality series is a shocker

WE are on the set of a new reality series, African Village Makeover.
“Tell us Khadiji, how has your life changed since you became a blonde?’’ asks the stylishly dressed, heavily made-up hipster host.
A startled young African woman looks right down the barrel of the camera (as she’s been taught to do).
“Well Mike, I get many more stares from the men in the village. And when I go with the other women to get flour off the aid trucks, I feel more . . . um . . . confident.’’
OK, this is not real. There’s no such thing as African Village Makeover. Not yet, anyway.
But there really was a bizarre follow-up to one of those wildly successful home-makeover series. It’s was called They Hated It and, on camera, dissatisfied participants captured at the moment of truth, react to their new-look homes with stunned silence, profanities, violence or walkouts.
Of course, there’s a basic truth at work here. External makeovers are seldom satisfying or lasting, especially when other people try to remake for us.
Not that we’re much better ourselves.
We can go to the gym six days a week, but eventually the wrinkles and sagging flesh will appear.
Our lives cannot be fixed by a cosmetic tweak here and there, or a new coat of paint. We need spiritual makeovers.


51 thoughts on “The newest reality series is a shocker

  1. The early Christians talked of people transforming from the inside out to become a bright new creation that would never go out of style.
    Paul the Apostle experienced an ambush makeover on the road to Damascus and said his life was never the same. Some of the changes in him were instant, but most, it seems, were gradual. Spiritual makeovers take time in this broken world.
    We are all called to change and to grow up into God’s image, but we live complex lives. Inside most of us is both a saint and a sinner.
    Writer Henri Nouwen once wrote about his own divided heart.
    “I want to love God, but also to make a career. I want to be a good Christian, but also have my successes as a teacher, preacher, or speaker. I want to be a saint, but also enjoy the sensations of the sinner. I want to be close to Christ, but also popular and liked by people. No wonder that living becomes a tiring enterprise.’’
    Growth means change and change involves the risk of stepping from the known to the unknown. That requires remembering God’s commandment not to be afraid.
    Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation—the enemies of worthwhile makeovers.


    • bryan, why is loving God and having a career mutually exclusive options? Doesn’t the Bible say that whether we eat, drink or whatever we do to do it to the glory of God? Let’s have a look in the Bible at one very little known person who did this. Hannah the mother of the prophet Samuel is portrayed as obsessed with becoming a mother (nearly to the point of making a god out of becoming a mother). Yet she gave birth to a person that combined the office of Judge, Priest and Prophet in the land of Israel. Can you see how a career does not have to be mutually exclusive to loving God?


      • Ah Strewth,
        Some important points there. As you say, the High Priest had absolutely no jurisdiction in Syrian Damascus. And in any case, when you think about it, in order to travel up there, then arrest Christians (heaven knows just how many of them!) and then travel all the way back with the prisoners in chains and guarded… well, just imagine the sheer cost (feeding and accommodation) AND manpower required to do it all. It shows up as just so silly.

        Why on earth anyway would the High Priest be concerned about Christians up there at all? So far away and no problem about them causing trouble. [We see later on that the King (was it Aretus or some such name?) got very upset about Paul’s visit later on.] Think about it, a large armed squad coming in from Jerusalem, with the intention of arresting local citizens etc.

        After all, there is no indication that he was grabbing the Christians in Jerusalem. A local group identified as Damascus back in Judaea would be much more believeable.



  2. Paul may not have been on the road to Damascus, but to Little Damascis, as Qumran was known.

    “Syria, at the time, was not a part of Israel, but a separate Roman province, governed by a Roman legate, with neither an administrative nor a political connection with Palestine. How, then, could the high priest’s writ conceivably run there? The Roman Empire would hardly have sanctioned self-appointed ‘hitsquads’ moving from one territory to another within its domains, serving arrests, perpetrating assassinations and threatening the precarious stability of civic order. According to official policy, every religion was to be tolerated, provided it posed no challenge to secular authority or the social structure. A Jerusalem-based ‘hitsquad’ operating in Syria would have elicited some swift and fairly gruesome reprisals from the Roman administration – reprisals such as no high priest, whose position depended on Roman favour, would dare to incur. Given these circumstances, how could Saul of Tarsus, armed with warrants from the high priest, possibly have undertaken his punitive expedition to Damascus – if, that is, ‘Damascus’ is indeed taken to be the city in Syria?

    If ‘Damascus’ is understood to be Qumran, however, Saul’s expedition suddenly makes perfect historical sense. Unlike Syria, Qumran did lie in territory where the high priest’s writ legitimately ran. It would have been entirely feasible for the high priest in Jerusalem to dispatch his ‘enforcers’ to extirpate heretical Jews at Qumran, a mere twenty miles away, near Jericho. Such action would have thoroughly conformed to Roman policy, which made a point of not meddling in purely internal affairs. Jews, in other words, were quite free to harry and persecute other Jews within their own domains, so long as such activities did not encroach on the Roman administration. And since the high priest was a Roman puppet, his efforts to extirpate rebellious co-religionists would have been all the more welcome.

    […] Roughly speaking, then, Acts is contemporary with some, if not all, of the Gospels. It may predate all four. It almost certainly predates the so-called Gospel of John, at least in the form that that text has come down to us. The author of Acts is a well-educated Greek who identifies himself as Luke. Whether he is the same as ‘Luke the beloved physician’, mentioned as Paul’s close friend in Colossians 4:14, cannot be definitively established, though most New Testament scholars are prepared to accept that he is. Modern scholars also concur that he would seem, quite clearly, to be identical with the author of Luke’s Gospel. Indeed, Acts is sometiiries regarded as the ‘second half of Luke’s Gospel. Both are addressed to an unknown recipient named ‘Theophilus’. Because both were written in Greek, many words and names have been translated into that language, and have probably, in a number of instances, altered in nuance, even in meaning, from their Hebrew or Aramaic originals. In any case, both Acts and Luke’s Gospel were written specifically for a Greek audience – a very different audience from that addressed by the Qumran scrolls.

    Although focusing primarily on Paul, who monopolises the latter part of its narrative, Acts also tells the story of Paul’s relations with the community in Jerusalem composed of Jesus’ immediate disciples under the leadership of James, ‘the Lord’s brother’ – the enclave or faction who only later came to be called the first Christians and are now regarded as the early or original Church. In recounting Paul’s association with this community, however, Acts offers only Paul’s point of view. Acts is essentially a document of Pauline – or what is now deemed to be ‘normative’ – Christianity. Paul, in other words, is always the ‘hero’; whoever opposes him, whether it be the authorities or even James, is automatically cast as villain. “


      • “Paul’s Jesus is a full-fledged god, whose biography, miracle for miracle, comes to match those of the rival deities with whom he is competing for devotees – one sells gods, after all, on the same marketing principles that obtain for soap or pet food. By James’s standards – indeed, by the standards of any devout Jew – this, of course, is blasphemy and apostasy. Given the passions roused by such issues, the rift between James and Paul would hardly have been confined, as Acts suggests it was, to the level of civilised debate. It would have generated the kind of murderous hostility that surfaces at the end of the narrative.

        In the conflict between James and Paul, the emergence and evolution of what we call Christianity stood at a crossroads. Had the mainstream of its development conformed to James’s teachings, there would have been no Christianity at all, only a particular species of Judaism which might or might not have emerged as dominant. As things transpired, however, the mainstream of the new movement gradually coalesced, during the next three centuries, around Paul and his teachings. Thus, to the undoubted posthumous horror of James and his associates, an entirely new religion was indeed born – a religion which came to have less and less to do with its supposed founder.”


      • Threat To Christianity?
        By Fr. William G. Most

        Not long after the first group of scrolls was found, reports began to circulate that they contained things that would harm, perhaps gravely harm, the Catholic Church or all Christianity. How true are the reports?

        The matter became more acute when the last group of scrolls was finally released. Then in 1991 there appeared a book by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, The Dead Sea Scroll Deception. It charged that the reason for the almost 35 year delay in releasing most of the scrolls was the Vatican, which knew or feared it would be dangerous to the Church.

        However, even before the book was published in the U.S., Hershel Shanks, a fine Jewish scholar, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, who had taken the lead in campaigning to have the scrolls released, reviewed the book in his BAR of Nov.-Dec. 1991. He was, rightly, very hard on the book, even said flatly, “the charge is hogwash,” and “their central thesis is so badly flawed as to be ludicrous.”


      • Monica, I was thinking the same thing. There’s always something new that is going to disprove the Bible….


      • Hi Mon,
        Yes your quote is quite correct. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception was most certainly wrong when it was making the claim about a cover-up of certain of the Scrolls. It was exposed pretty quickly soon after it came out. I remember well, since I read it just after it was published.

        But when it was dealing with the matter of Saul’s/Paul’s jobs on behalf of the High Priest, and some of the problems connected with the book of Acts, it only joined convincingly and legitimately with works by a number of other significant writers, who dealt with the same matters.

        None of the points that Strewth and I raised about the unlikeliness of Paul being sent by the HP up to Syria, is disqualified.


      • Oh, thank you for the clarification Rian,

        But, what do you think of this article?:

        The Historicity of the book of Acts

        Paul’s Commission: Acts 9:1-2

        It has been claimed there is no historical basis for Paul’s commission from the High Priest to extradite from Damascus to Jerusalem any Jews who had become Christians,[1] and that neither the High Priest nor the Sanhedrin had any jurisdiction in Damascus.[2] [3] [4]

        Evidence & Commentary

        Peerbolte raises a parallel in the history of the Maccabees, in which a Roman consul ordered Jewish rebels in Egypt to be extradited to the High Priest for punishment according to Jewish law[5] (qualifying this with care[6]); noting support for the record,[7] he still urges caution.[8]

        The Maccabean parallel is dismissed as historically inadequate by Légasse[9] and Marshall,[10] but Bruce defends it with reference to a decree by Julius Caesar re-affirming all the previously held rights of the High Priest.[11] Kistemaker and Hendriksen likewise believe the High Priest actually had extradition authority.[12]

        Dunn disputes the idea of formal jurisdiction,[13] but notes the informal influence of the high priest and Sanhedrin over provincial synagogues was far higher.[14]

        Bond[15] and Williams[16] note similarly that the letters would have carried influence despite their lack of formal weight.

        Wallace and Williams approach the legal-historical background with care.[17] Observing the letters were addressed to the synagogues not local officials, they argue the matter was internal Jewish business in which Roman officials would not become involved.[18] Noting the apparent absence of Roman forces in Damascus at the time, they suggest this would have reduced the probability of Roman interference. [19]

        Klauck and Bailey also view the letters as simply letters of introduction rather than legal documents with which to exercise authority over local officials,[20] and note no difficulty with the record. Oepke,[21] Bond,[22] and Gaertner[23] take a similar view.

        More here:


      • Hi Mon, — re your post of 20.04, 8th Feb.

        Thanks, that is very interesting information. I’ll study it up if I can. There are certainly a whole lot of factors involved in the matter. Information and sources can never go astray.

        Love and Cheers, Rian.


      • The Damascus Document is the only Qumran sectarian work that was known before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

        There were a number of fragments from the scroll found in the Cairo Geniza before the Qumran discoveries. It was discovered by European scholar Dr Solomon Schechter in 1897. He found over 190,000 manuscripts and fragments that were written in mainly Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic.

        The fragments were quite large, and a number of them matched documents found later in Qumran.

        The fragments found by Solomon Schechter in the Ben Ezra Synagogue were originally called the Zadokite Fragments, but after the work was found at Qumran, the name was changed because the document had numerous references to Damascus.

        The way this Damascus is treated in the document makes it possible that it was not a literal reference to Damascus in Syria, but to be understood either geographically for Babylon or Qumran itself.

        If the Essene movement started during the exile in Damascus, and on return they ‘exiled’ themselves in Qumran, that might be why they made so much reference in the document to Damascus, and Qumran became known as Little Damascus.


    • James cast a villain? Really? Have you even bothered to read the scriptures? If so please show me the verses which cast James a villain! And what on earth do you mean the conflict between James and Paul? There is no conflict whatsoever! All you need to understand is that they are discussing different aspects of the same gospel. But the message is essentially the same.


      • Of course davinci,
        you are reading the book of Acts as if it is literally and historically true. But there are many researchers who regard the book as being cobbled together with a very careful agenda to cover up the real history, and especially to whitewash Paul. It has been observed for centuries that Paul’s Epistles do conflict with the accounts in Acts in important details.

        I have several books in my library that point out the discrepancies. And on the Internet I found some pretty damning material that shows up the Book of Acts as occasionally being sheer whitewash. Whether James was considered a villain or not depended on whether the observer was Jerusalem bound or Paul bound. In the long run, Acts of the Apostles was accepted as history, and the very real warfare in the early church was carefully covered over. Very convenient in that regard that the destruction of Jerusalem happened when it did.



      • The controversy over faith v. works leading to salvation has been negated in later years by the theory that we are justified by faith, and sanctified by works, thus ending the controversy. Do you believe, Davinci, that such controversy wasn’t there in the early church?

        Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).

        Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).

        Jesus ministered to the sinners, with no reluctance to engage adulterers, prostitutes, publicans, tax collectors, lepers, or any other “unclean” person (the whole need not a physician; a church is a hospital for sinners rather than a showcase for saints).
        Paul contradicts Jesus in 1Cor 5:11: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

        Jesus taught in Matt 25:31-46 that our final salvation and judgment would be based in large part on our willingness to feed the poor. Jesus further emphasizes the importance of feeding the poor, apart from salvation issues, repeatedly throughout his ministry (Matt 19:21; Matt: 25:31-46; Matt 26:9; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22; John 12:6). Jesus never, not once, imposes any qualification or conditional limitation on this requirement. Paul contradicts this: 2Thess 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

        In Ephesians 6:5 and Titus 2:9-10, Paul exhorts slaves to obey their masters, yet Paul never even once condemned this evil that was so widely practiced in his time. Here, Paul again contradicts Jesus, who exalted the “least of these” (Matt 25:31-46) and elevated the servants above masters (Matt 20:27 and 23:11; and Mark 9:35 & 10:44).

        Paul ordered that women not be allowed to speak in the churches (1Cor 14:34-45) and that they stay home and take care of the kids (1Timothy 5:14), and that wives should be submissive to the mastery of their husbands (Ephesians 2:12; 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18-19).

        This, of course, is in direct opposition to Jesus, who elevated women — even women of lowly status such as prostitutes, Samaritans (woman by the well), and everyday women such as Mary and Martha — to a degree unprecedented for that time. Note that in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus even chastises Martha for accepting a traditional woman’s role, while he praises her sister Mary for choosing the “better part” of more active participation. This was obviously recognized by the women of that time, as Luke 8:2-3 lists the names of a number of prominent women of means who provided economic support for Jesus’ ministry.

        Paul is the one who introduces the concept of original sin and the “inheritance” of sin, in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
        It is interesting to note that while Paul invents a theology of atonement based on the offering of Jesus as a human sacrifice for sin, Jesus explicitly rejects this doctrine. The gospel according to Matthew twice, in Matt 9:13 and Matt 12:7, states that Jesus said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (KJV). More modern translations, such as the RSV and NIV, update the archaic meaning of the word “will” and translate Jesus’ statements in both verses as: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”

        Jesus and Paul left contradictory legacies as to the manner in which worship should be conducted. Mother Theresa asks us to not worry about numbers but begin with those nearest, which is what Jesus did. Paul on the other hand organised a great system of churches.

        Paul gained so many followers because –

        1. It is the easy way. Jesus requires you to actually transform your character and put it into action. Paul says, “Just have faith and believe” and you get a free gift, without ever having to actually DO anything — something for nothing; the easy way out; the lazy man’s way to salvation; the free ride.

        2. As has been noted previously, Paul was wealthy, educated, and had the rare status of being both a Jew and a Roman citizen, affording him both the means and papers with which to travel. He was able to travel widely, throughout the entire Roman empire, converting gullible victims by the thousands, giving him extraordinary power, and all of them had their interpretation of what Jesus taught coming by way of Paul’s version, so it gained traction early.


      • Once again, I am not anti-Paul. He preached much that was good, and perhaps his message was better than Judaism. I just don’t know.


      • Hi Strewth,

        “Once again, I am not anti-Paul”.

        Okay, but from my perspective, anyone who pits Jesus against the Apostle Paul is in reality attacking God’s Word. And since when are Christians encouraged to chop the Bible up and teach either in principle or practice that some portions of the Bible are more authoritative or more true than others? To claim that Jesus’ words carry more weight than Paul’s is to cut themselves off from the entire council of the word of God.

        The Bible states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

        So therefore if ALL Scripture is “God breathed” then we cannot say that some passages hold more weight than others. Pitting Jesus against Paul tacitly implies that Paul’s Epistles are less inspired and less authoritative than Jesus’ words recorded in the gospel narratives. But, nothing could be further from the truth.

        Jesus is the One who breathed out the very words that the Apostle Paul penned in his epistles. Paul didn’t record his mere opinions about the gospel and sound doctrine, he wrote inspired and authoritative scriptures which bear the imprimatur of the Kingdom of God. This fact is even born out by the Apostle Peter. Said Peter:

        “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14–18)

        From: Was Paul’s Gospel Different Than Jesus’ Gospel? Extreme Theology


      • What is the Origin of “Amen”

        The word “Amen” makes its first appearance in the Bible under the most solemn circumstances. When a husband accused his wife of adultery, and she protested her innocence, and she had not been caught in the act, the matter was settled by God under the test of bitter water (Num 5:12-31).

        Egyptian god Amen-ra?

        The word “Amen” probably goes back a long way. Some imagine it is of pagan origin, there being an Egyptian god called Amen-Ra . They say that Moses introduced this name into the worship and religious language of the people he led out of Egypt. If Moses had done such a stupid thing, God would have been so angry! Instead, in the Bible, we first found the word “Amen” commanded by the LORD (Num 5:22). It is not credible that God would invoke the name of a false pagan god.

        What Does “Amen” Mean?

        Oddly, to get a scriptural answer to what “Amen” means, we go to a place where it is used not as the last word but the first word. Jesus would often start a solemn statement by saying “Verily” or “Truly”. In John’s gospel (eg John 3:3) Jesus is recorded as using the word twice in succession, “Verily, verily, I say to you…”. This is actually the word “Amen”.

        When we compare an instance of this in Mark, with the same statement in Luke, we find Mark has left the word untranslated (just as αμην “Amen”), but Luke has translated it using the word αληθος “Truly”. (Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27). This shows us that the underlying meaning of the word “Amen” is truth and verity. It is a solemn affirmation. When we say, “Amen” we are saying, “Yes before God I agree with that, I believe that to be true, I want that to be so”.

        Note: One of God’s names is “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Rev 3:14).


      • Thanks Monica for that explanation of Amen. It is a beautiful word and like Bryan says, comforting.


      • Monica, if my post caused you pain, I am truly sorry. But I know that even if you came to accept the possibility of truth there, your faith would be undamaged. God loves you.

        You should not be surprised that I don’t hold with inerrancy of scripture – I have repeatedly said so, though I believe it is an invaluable guide.


      • Well I’m anti-Paul for all the obvious reasons ~ and a few more nebulous ones.
        But the attitude about women attributed to the Jesus character is equally anomalous (and probably PC-generated given the timeline) particularly since he’s claimed to be the same god who deliberately and undeniably created Eve as a chattel, with no rights, no property and no status other than a walking womb.

        ‘twould suggest that:- ” Luke 8:2-3 lists the names of a number of prominent women of means who provided economic support for Jesus’ ministry.” had more to do with the supposed “elevation” of women that ideological convictions.

        As any nightclub owner (for example) knows:- let the sheilas in and as many blokes as you can handle will follow.


      • Hi Strewth,

        Please, no apology is necessary. On the contrary, I am delighted that you feel comfortable enough here to say what’s on your mind. I just vehemently disagree with you at times, and even after six years of being here, listening to the differing views, and learning, I still sometimes take the attacks against God and His Word personally. I can’t help it……I love Him.

        I listened to R. Albert Mohler’s spring 2014 convocation address the other day and I must say that his words resonated with my thoughts on the subject, although I am still working through what he said. In his address, “‘If You Do Not Believe His Writings, How Will You Believe My Words?’ — The Authority of Scripture and the Gift of Salvation,” Mohler said the inerrancy of Scripture is inseparable from the gift of salvation, and to believe otherwise is dangerous because without the first, the second is impossible.

        “Scriptural authority and the gift of salvation are inextricable,” Mohler said. “We cannot have one without the other. We cannot be a gospel people without also being a Bible people.”

        In John 5:39-47, Jesus confronts the Pharisees who seek to understand the Scriptures, yet do not believe Moses’ words in the Old Testament, so they do not see Christ or truly believe the Word of God, Mohler noted.

        “[The Pharisees are] not denying the truth of the Word; they’re simply refusing to see what is there,” Mohler said. “They are missing the point. They are diligently studying the Scriptures because they think that in them they have eternal life. But they’re missing the fact every single word of Scripture, specific here to the Old Testament, bears witness to Christ.”

        And, he said, if all of Scripture bears witness to Christ, the result is an inability for Christians to have faith in Christ without confidence in the Scriptures and its authority in their lives. Instead of being solely New Testament Christians, Mohler said, they need to be whole Bible Christians.

        Jesus’ question, “If you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” formed Mohler’s argument. If the Bible contains errors, according to Mohler, then the gospel’s trustworthiness is questioned.

        “You can’t have faith in Christ without confidence in Scripture,” Mohler said. “We have no access to the gospel without the revelation of God.”

        Mohler briefly reviewed the history of the debate about the authority of Scripture, beginning with the Enlightenment and its turn from the authority of Scripture to the rationality of the mind. From the Enlightenment he talked about the rise of Protestant liberalism in the 20th century, mentioning Southern Seminary’s turn from liberalism in the 1970s and 80s to its commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture.

        Mohler said that, despite the victories won in the battle for inerrancy, “How can so much be gained so quickly to be lost?” noting today’s generation as the most confused about this doctrine.

        But, it isn’t just confusion, Mohler said, but an agenda of trying to find a new way to discuss Scripture’s authority to make it more “cool.” Today’s evangelicals, he said, want a new understanding of the gift of salvation without the authority of Scripture that doesn’t necessitate such a specific definition of biblical inerrancy.

        Still, said Mohler, the primary issue is reading the Bible to see Christ.

        Mohler said he hoped students would never miss the point of their study of Scripture: “Christ, and the point of the text is the gospel, who Christ is,” he said.

        “Our affirmation of the Scriptures can be no less than our affirmation of the gospel because we have no knowledge of the gospel, we have no power of the gospel, we have no concept of the gospel, we have no message by which to teach and preach and share the gospel if it is not the direct, trustworthy, true revelation of God in the Scriptures,” Mohler said.


      • And………I’ll be courageous enough here to also share my convictions.

        God is a speaking God, and just as He has always spoken through the scriptures, He continues to speak to us today through other means as well. Prophecy is one such means, as is prayer, a still small voice, through circumstances and through others, to name but a few ways in which we can hear a present word from the Lord.

        Enoch is the first one recorded in Scripture to have prophesied (see Jude 14). When we desire God’s wisdom above all else, we will begin to see with His eyes, hear with His ears, and understand with His heart. God is beyond time. He sees from the perspective of eternity. To Him the future is just as clear as the present.
        Prophecy is not just predicting the future, but it is speaking on God’s behalf. Jesus, the One all things were made through and for, is called “the Word of God.” It was by His Word that all things were made, and His Word, His communication, is found in everything that was made.

        I’ve been seeking an answer to prayer recently, and it came in such an unexpected and exciting way, and surely is a present word from the Lord and an answer to prayer. It came through Brenda @ Journals of the Heart. And what’s more, it came as a confirmation of what I felt the Lord was saying to me, personally:

        A Strangers Voice You Shall Not Follow
        January 31, 2014

        Word of the Day

        Beloved, you are the sheep of My hand and the apple of My eye. I am absolutely one-hundred percent in love with you. I gave My very own life and laid it down for My sheep…for you (John 10:19). My heart is a heart moved with compassion at the distresses and ignorance of the heart, for I long for all to know Me as the Good Shepherd…as the door (Mark 6:34).

        I am the door plain and simple for all sheep. There is no other way no matter what a stranger might have to say…no matter what wiles and deceptions he might employ. There is no other way to the Father and there is no other door. I am the one and only Door. If you know My voice, and I have told you My sheep know My voice, you will never be deceived by anything from an imitation to flat out lies.

        The best way to know My voice and what I say is to read the Word. The Word is full of My voice…My love…My instruction…My wisdom and revelation. When you delve into the heart of all I have said many things will develop for My Word is a living thing and has the power to renew the mind…to renew the way you think(Hebrews 4:12; Romans 12:2). The Word will develop a discerning spirit within you and the stranger…the enemy will be much easier to recognize.

        Beloved, you contain the thoughts and intents of My heart within you and when you read the Word understanding will come for I am in You (1 Corinthians 2:16).

        Therefore, I am sharpening your discernment…sharpening your early warning detection skills to see the enemy…to recognize the stranger who longs to lead you away if only just a little bit. A lot of little bits can lead to a subtle slow deviation from the path I have set before you…a path of life and not death…a path full of a future and a hope.

        …….to be cont’d


      • Part 2

        “The stranger’s voice often calls out in such a way as to cause feelings of doubt about the direction I am leading you. He regularly challenges the path you are on by either telling you that you are not doing enough, that you have missed it, that you are not qualified or that your mistakes are too costly, by enticing you to engage in busyness, entertainment and so on. He will do anything to keep you from being focused on My voice…to keep you from listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as He directs and points you in the right direction.

        Even more so, the enemy hopes you will forget that you have the mind of Christ…hopes you will forget how Holy Spirit leads and guides you into all truth…hopes you will forget grace and embrace the law you can never fulfill (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7).

        In this day and hour, it is even more important to be aware of the schemes of the enemy to impersonate Me by adding just enough truth to deceive many. Stick close and keep a watch over the gate of your heart. Be a diligent watchman who is only open to My voice and not susceptible to the accusations and lies of the enemy. When he accuses, go find out what I say. After all, I have already had the final word. Now, arise and follow Me more closely than you ever have before that you may be in place of safety and provision. The time and hour demand it…….”

        They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call (John 10:5)

        I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me (John 10:14 Amplified)

        As Jesus landed, He saw a great crowd waiting, and He was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things (Mark 6:34 Amplified)


      • Strewth regarding your statement:
        “Paul contradicts Jesus in 1Cor 5:11: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
        There is no contradiction between Jesus’ words and Paul’s. If you notice the text carefully, Paul talks about people calling themselves “brothers”. In other words these people should have known better, because as a condition of church membership they would have had to give such practices up. Paul makes another statement in Hebrews that if one wilfully sins after s/he has received enlightenment, then there is no redemption available (Heb. 10:29).
        Furthermore Jesus did not call people brethren indiscriminately. He defined the relationship of “brother” to those who did God’s will. Obviously doing God’s will does not involve participating in the activities that Paul lists. So no contradictions whatsoever.


      • “What so many people professing to ‘love’ others in the comments section forget, is that it was only the righteous and religious that Jesus was harsh with – it was for the ones trying to demean others He reserved His anger. Which I guess is a good reminder that religious trolls have been around since before Jesus time.” {excerpt from the article}


      • Sorry Rian, but you deliberately misuderstood the question. I asked what contradiction was there between Paul and James. And if you and strewth read James’ epistle and the Pauline epistles you would realise that there is no contradiction. This has nothing to do with the accuracy of the book of acts.


  3. As a matter of ‘reality’, can I stick in a quick catch-up comment to Kathleen about an earlier thread?

    The idea of not putting all your eggs in one basket is too daft for words!
    Consider:- the more baskets you put your eggs in the greater the risk that SOME of them will fail.
    Putting all your eggs into one basket not only reduces the odds of failure from, say, 25/25 to 1/1, but makes the task of being certain of the strength of the one basket much more reliable and less subject to error.

    It’s the difference between deliberately assuming an ‘acceptable’ risk and assuming no risk as acceptable.
    … the difference between a gamble and a ‘sure thing’.

    Moral: never accept old wive’s tales without examing the mental/emotional state of the Old Dear first. 🙂


      • Stocks, Compound Interest Savings, Property, personal Talents, and throw in a dash of Risk.


      • I get this sort of advice:-
        “Stocks, Compound Interest Savings, Property, personal Talents, and throw in a dash of Risk.” …. along with scads of “exclusive” info from dozens of ‘experts’ from around the world every day.
        ….and I sometimes ask them:- if they’re so clever how come they’re ‘working’ for a living?: unlike Warren Buffet and me! 🙂

        ‘Diversification’ is the First Commandment guiding the so-called experts (funds-managers, property agents, etc.) . You know, the ones who have lost up to 80% (or more!) of their clients’ capital every time the market crashes, but who nevertheless skim their fees and ‘management charges’ off the top…at the same rate as they did BEFORE the capital loss.
        I’ve been through four such market crashes and made more than tidy profits each time; several times spectacular gains.

        But I ramble. The point is:- If you can pick ONE investment that will safely provide a much better than average return (say 10 or 20 times the average), why on earth would you even consider investing in anything else at all…let alone something you KNOW may be risky?

        I’m surprised that ~ with that attitude ~ you pay allegiance to only one god! 😯
        Diversify!,,,,,Become a protestant, fundy, moslem and hindu as well! 😆


      • ….and a little Devil-Worship on the side, just in case? 😉
        (Y’can get much better property-deals in Hell… a bit slummy, perhaps, but there’ll always be a huge customer-base.
        …..unlike the sparsely-populated exclusive toffy-nosed precincts of Heaven……


      • You and Buffet? Lol! You’re cute Dabbles.

        My father used to work on the floor of the Stock Exchange back in the days when there weren’t computers taking over it all. He loved it and taught me from then to buy shares. So I believe in shares.

        He also told me of the number of suicides that happened from people who used to work there and placed all their eggs in the one basket. It can also be quite a gamble. but if you have saved and set aside a certain amount that you are willing to risk and that one egg breaks, it’s not going to break you. I agree with you in the most part.


      • Family are another benefit.

        Being one of 14 children my bros and I many years back were planning on buying property together. Split 14 ways you won’t get rich on it, but certain properties tripled in value over a 10 year period. Still good money.

        We didn’t get around to it though 🙂


      • Only for the dills who want to ‘play’ the markets like a roulette wheel, Strewth.
        ‘Investing’ in something ‘real’ is a good thing to do ~ even in the short term.
        I’ve never taken a loss. That’s OBVIOUSLY not gambling. 😉


      • I don’t believe it is exactly the same. Buying stocks is investing in someone isn’t it. You’re taking a gamble on them and their product after you have researched it. Like if you heard of a business called Microsoft and decided that that sounded like a good idea!

        Starting a business could also be seen as a gamble because it may not work out.


      • If for every winner there is no loser somewhere, perhaps unseen, then that’s okay by me. In the Great Depression my grandfather profited by buying cheap shares that his broke customers had to sell. He won, they lost. Not okay.


      • It’s not your grandfather’s fault that there was a great depression. The poor still would have needed to sell their stocks.


      • Well….” Buying stocks is investing in someone isn’t it.”, Yes.And no. The product is what counts, and the way to determine a sound product has several basic benchmarks.
        —> I’d never invest in something that someone else can do cheaper or better, now or -conceptually ~ later. Microsoft is a good example.
        Note that Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t own any Microsoft, but Microsoft owns a large slab of Berkshire Hathaway. Bill Gates isn’t nearly as silly as some of his shareholders.
        (From one of the ‘experts’ that keep sending me advice….sometimes useful.)

        Of course I was kidding about Warren and me, but ~ in my own way ~ my own investment rules and strategies arrived at before I’d ever heard of Buffet ~ run along similar lines to his. Undervalued, consistent, productive in terms of consistent and increasing* dividend, and NTA hopefully higher than the price initially. (Must say I was influenced by a fellow named William Clement Stone- years before I ever took an interest in the markets: heard a couple of lectures and spoke to him at some length. An impressive fellow on several levels.)

        The trick is to decide what it is you, personally, want to achieve, (never mind the ‘business’/competetive-gamesmanship and resultant ebb-and-flow of the markets) and then work out your own rules to achieve that.

        If I needed a god I’d go about choosing one in the same way as I choose shares. 😉

        * My rule is that if the price of a stock rises to where the dividend is less than the bank-interest rate it’s overpriced. My main failing is getting out too early!…even though it’s always with a large swag.
        Another is never buy a stock that you wouldn’t be happy to keep if you got stuck with it (pricewise).


      • But Strewth, (” He won, they lost. Not okay.”) that’s the ‘playing the market’ perspective.
        In an ideal investment circumstance EVERYone would be a winner, since the markets continue to grow and accumulate ‘value’ through greater production, more customers, inflation, etc.
        Everyone who ever bought Microsoft could, theoretically, have been a winner: Buy at $x, when the company was earning $5000 from sales, and sell at $x+1 when the company is earning $6000 from sales, and so on. Both the buyer and the seller profit. Follow?

        But, as always, you can’t protect fools from their own stupidity. (Even Jesus said so.) ….and it IS their right to be stupid. (eg deciding to “play” the markets.)
        Hope that perspective makes you feel better about your grandpa.


  4. A reality series idea.

    Don’t change your looks or even your house. Get a group going to a poor country and redo the town! Bring your skills, innovations etc and get the competition going! At least make it worthwhile.


      • It would be great wouldn’t it?

        I’m still searching for that documentary I watched (watching too much tv lately) about that English girl who trekked through poverty ridden areas and on her own, made some changes. She had no real skills or influence.


      • I found it!!

        When I first started watching this documentary I thought, what a sweet but ditzy girl. What is she going to achieve all on her own? Well, never underestimate a big heart.

        She has done a series and I’ve watched about three. The other was about child sex trafficking.


      • I’m the world’s worst Youtube linker. There was another I was trying to post first because it showed the work she was able to do.


  5. “We can go to the gym six days a week, but eventually the wrinkles and sagging flesh will appear”

    Seen any of Stallones movie’s lately ?


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