What is My Identity?

We often find ourselves asking, who am I, what am I supposed to be? What am I here for and what are my goals in life? We asked these questions of ourselves especially when things are not working out for us, we suffer many setbacks. Likewise, often we are told to discover ourselves, find out whom we are, then find and take our place, in the world. That way we find our truthful selves. However, they never told us truly, how to get there, and how to find our way? They never told you about the many bends and humps, and hills you must climb. Few tell you how difficult are the race of life and the many disappointments along the way. Of course, there are many pointers, many roads leading in all direction, and many suggestions.

They told you about the anchor of religion, but so many in the market place advertising their brand, you never know which one to choose, or which is the right one? To muddy the water even more they try to tell you anyone is OK, they all leads to God. Just chose a brand they all are calling on the same God. However, are they right? Does all religion leads to the true God, and if there are false teachers and preachers how do we identify them? They deny that Jesus Christ is God the Son come in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). They deny Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Lord (2 Peter 2:1). They will say that Jesus has already returned (2 Timothy 2:18, Matthew 24:23-27). They pretend to be Christ’s servants but they actually preach a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4 and 12-15, Galatians 1:6-7).They are in disguise, and taking off the arsenic label of a bottle, replacing it with honey don’t make the content any less deadly.

Humanity can identify the right type of strategy to solve the purpose of his existence, by identifying the true religion. To solve the purpose of existence he must settle comfortable with whom the true God is. Alternatively, he must solve the problem of his identity by asking two delicate yet apparent questions: How well can we define the problem of man? How well can we define the ability sphere obligatory to disentangle its complexity? Once we disentangle the complexity of Man and our understandings of God we will determined our identity, and find our purpose in the world.

So that after resolving the problem of our identity, we must answer, is who we are a choice? Alternatively, can we change who we are? Do identifying who we are and our purpose on earth determine our life choices? When we choose to belong to the human experience, we agree to unite and engage with the known world. However, the legend of the jagged nonconformist disregards the fact that humans are communal by natures, we need each other. That we desire inordinately for love, companionship and community. We are stronger together; we have a need to belong – a desire to succeed in the race of life. In addition, community have a need for all to be good to each other.

When we were born we became part of a family, develop relationship, in schools, in church, we become members of groups. We become part of the wider community without choosing and without being offered a choice or agreeing we become part of the human family. We also volunteer to do things the way society do them; we contribute to its stability.  We agree to play by societies rules, or otherwise we are punished. This in philosophy is known as voluntary conformism.

Some folks often query whether these kinds of societal conformity offer us ‘freedom,’ of choice. However, because it offers the freedom to choose what assembly to belong to and, though illogically, the freedom to do what others expects us to do, we can affirm, positively it is freedom. Therefore, though humans have the freedom of choice, the right to act, to speak and to think, we must ask, what is the limit to freedom? Can we then dare to assert that with freedom comes responsibility? I am free to speak, but I must know when to speak. I am free to shout, but shouting in a place where quiet and silence is beneficial, even healing will cause disgust. I am free to walk but there are laws against trespassing on others property. So freedom have limits, no?

Adam and Eve, had freedom to their hearts content. God made them free moral agents with the power of choice. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1: 27). They were given all things God created in the garden, they were in control, and they identify with God as long as they made the right choices. They lost that identity, and ever since humankind is trying to find himself. Though they we are advised that a particular choice would cause their death, they ignore that advice, follow a lie, and humanity has suffered ever since. Our best choices prove inadequate, causes self-hate and personal regrets and disgust unless it centres on God. “Unless a man is wise his own circumstances will not please him; every kind of folly is plagued with self-disgust” (Seneca, Letters 9.22).

However, it will be well with us if we heed the advice Joshua gave to the people of ancient Israel: ‘But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24: 15NIV). Joshua puts the clear choice before the people in concise form, but not as if he was unconcerned, whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is place plainly before you. He resolves to serve God, whatever the people of Israel did. It is essential that the service of God’s people be performed with this kind of willing and resolute mind. They identify with and chose to serve the God of their fathers. After the service of God is made the peoples clear and deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant.

Our most important life choices are not just about finding ourselves, or discerning how we fit into the big picture of the human experience. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1Cor. 12: 27NIV). I conclude it is not about personal identity, independent of God, but rather in Him. Our experiences, has everything to do about discovering who we are in God and what He created us to be in the world! Our human identity can only find fulfilment and contentment in Christ Jesus. Without Christ we are nothing, and can do nothing, out life choice is complete in Him alone. God created the human family to have distinctive characteristics and purpose in the world. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1Pet. 2: 9NIV). However, God designed us also to have a commonality of contentment with our lives through His will. We discover our identity when we know and choose Christ, and the more closely we are drawn to Him. All other names and prophets are a nonstarter.

Muslim Imam denies the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is never new and continues unabated among Muslims, despite in existence of clear evidence, documented proof in videos and still photographs, thousands of living eye witnesses and personal stories. The Holocaust among Muslims is a concocted tale of Zionism and supported by Western and European white lies.

Why would Muslims want to deny one of the most horrible historical blots on the human experience and psyche? Could it not be that the Muslims themselves have an agenda, which is not so subtle? Could it be that by denying anything to do with the Jewish people, who God has chosen to establish His name among the entire race of humanity, is to deny their credibility? Could it be then, that by of denying Judaism, which gave birth to Christianity, is affirming Islam’s credibility? If the Jewish history and experience were wiped out, there would be no doubt, questioning, or denial of the Islamic prophet and his message in the Koran? Historians and biblical theologians agree Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures by holy men as they were moved and influenced by God, was/is the true prophet and son of God, the saviour of humanity and the final messenger to humankind! Many researchers have found little evidence of Mohammad claims of divine inspiration, of being the final prophet or his claim, that his message replaced the Jewish prophets and Jesus himself! Therefore, what is the inheritance of the Jewish people, for Christianity, and all of humanity if in fact the Koran later replaced the biblical literature Christians believe was divinely inspired?

I digressed, but deliberately to prove a very pivotal point, which is denying something that is so evidence is like putting petrol on your house, torched it, watched it burns, someone point it out, took pictures, videotape it, but you will not accept that your house is on fire. Christ said to Paul, ‘it’s hard to kick against the pricks’ and Muslims agenda is really believing that if you deny something never happen will make it disappear from memory! One very prominent Holocaust denier is Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali who was named ‘Muslim Man of the Year’ in 2005 and Australia most senior and longest-serving Muslim cleric (1988-2007).

Hilali in 1988, when imam of the largest mosque in Australia gave a speech at Sydney University described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity.

In July 2006, Hilali refers to the Holocaust as a ‘Zionist lie’ and referred to Israel as a ‘cancer.’ This kind of dangerous rhetoric is not new among Muslims or unique to Australia.

In October 2006 insinuating that the long prison sentences handed to Sydney’s Lebanese gang-rapists for attacking young teenage girls in the year 2000, were unfair he compared Australian women who do not wear the Islamic veil to meat left uncovered in the streets and then eaten by cats. During his long career, Hilali also praised suicide bombers as heroes and called the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States “God′s work against oppressors” and “the work of 100 per cent American gangs.’

At the time, Hilali’s principal adviser and spokesperson, Keysar Trad, wrote, ‘The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and… the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.’ Trad subsequently served as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils the national umbrella organization, which represents Australian Muslims at national and international level from July 2016 until May 2017. 

The Auschwitz Institute, the Holocaust memorials are among the thousands of places where evidence exist if Mr Hilali and his lot are interested in some history lessons, but I suspect they are not! However, I will offer some anyways, because as George Santayana remarked, ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ Though the quote is most likely due to, and in its original form read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ As Mr Hilali and his cohorts will find, between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 40,000 camps and other incarceration sites. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labour, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and mass murder. The total number of sites is based upon on-going research in the perpetrators’ own records.

Concentration Camps

From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called ‘enemies of the state.’ Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behaviour. These facilities were called ‘concentration camps’ because those imprisoned there were physically ‘concentrated’ in one location.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in the Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, all located in Germany. After the violent Kristallnacht (‘Night of Broken Glass’) pogroms in November 1938, the Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in camps for brief periods.

Forced-Labour Prisoner-of-War Camps

Subsequent to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazis opened forced-labour camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure. SS units guarded the camps. During World War II, the Nazi camp system expanded rapidly. In some camps, Nazi doctors performed medical experiments on prisoners.

Succeeding the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis increased the number of prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. Some new camps were built at existing concentration camp complexes (such as Auschwitz) in occupied Poland. The camp at Lublin, later known as Majdanek, was established in the autumn of 1941 as a POW camp and became a concentration camp in 1943. Thousands of Soviet POWs were shot or gassed there.

Jewish Genocide Centres

In order to expedite the ‘Final Solution’ (the genocide or mass destruction of the Jews), the Nazis established killing centres in Poland, the country with the largest Jewish population. The killing centres were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first massacre centre, opened in December 1941. Jewish and Roma people were gassed in mobile gas vans there. In 1942, the Nazis opened the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka killing centres to systematically kill the Jews of the General government (the territory in the interior of occupied Poland).

The Nazis constructed further gas chambers (rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside) to increase killing efficiency and to make the process more impersonal for the perpetrators. At the Auschwitz camp complex, the Birkenau killing centre had four gas chambers. During the height of deportations to the camp, up to 6,000 Jews were gassed there each day.

Jews in Nazi-occupied lands often were first deported to transit camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands, or Drancy in France, en route to the killing centres in occupied Poland. The transit camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing centre.

Additionally millions of people were imprisoned and abused including starvation in Nazi occupied territories and the various types of concentration camps. Under SS management, the German secret police, the Germans and their agents murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centres alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.

Does one need spiritual visions and inspiration to see this flagrant denial and contempt for the truth of history? Is this then not a clear Satanic inspired attempt to deny the truth, which can be found in Christ Jesus alone? ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14: 6). Satan’s attempt to deny Christ, and the Scriptures that testify of His divinity, and his objective, is to establish, that the bible lies and the Koran is truth! To deny the Jews and their suffering is denying history. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge once remarked, ‘If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.’ Establishing there is another way, gives credibility to Mohammad’s teachings, which has no credible history! As to accept Islam is to deny Christ! In fact, many others have now accepted that all religions are equally true, there is one god, so that there are many ways to him! When the water is so muddy, people will not see a difference. My friends, removing the label of an ‘arsenic poison’ bottle and re-label it, as ‘fruit juice’ will not neutralise its deadly content!

With such credible documented evidence of history, how does Muslims and imams like Hilali are allowed to get away with such blatant Holocaust denial?

Muslim Imam denies the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is never new and continues unabated among Muslims, despite in existence of clear evidence, documented proof in videos and still photographs, thousands of living eye witnesses and personal stories. The Holocaust among Muslims is a concocted tale of Zionism and supported by Western and European white lies.

Why would Muslims want to deny one of the most horrible historical blots on the human experience and psyche? Could it not be that the Muslims themselves have an agenda, which is not so subtle? Could it be that by denying anything to do with the Jewish people, who God has chosen to establish His name among the entire race of humanity, is to deny their credibility? Could it be then, that by of denying Judaism, which gave birth to Christianity, is affirming Islams credibility? If the Jewish history and experience were wiped out, there would be no doubt, questioning, or denial of the Islamic prophet and his message in the Koran? Historians and biblical theologians agree Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures by holy men as they were moved and influenced by God, was/is the true prophet and son of God, the saviour of humanity and the final messenger to humankind! Many researchers have found little evidence of Mohammad claims of divine inspiration, of being the final prophet or his claim, that his message replaced the Jewish prophets and Jesus himself! Therefore, what is the inheritance of the Jewish people, for Christianity, and all of humanity if in fact the Koran later replaced the biblical literature Christians believe was divinely inspired?

I digressed, but deliberately to prove a very pivotal point, which is denying something that is so evidence is like putting petrol on your house, torched it, watched it burns, someone point it out, took pictures, videotape it, but you will not accept that your house is on fire. Christ said to Paul, ‘it’s hard to kick against the pricks’ and Muslims agenda is really believing that if you deny something never happen will make it disappear from memory! One very prominent Holocaust denier is Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali who was named ‘Muslim Man of the Year’ in 2005 and Australia most senior and longest-serving Muslim cleric (1988-2007).

Hilali in 1988, when imam of the largest mosque in Australia gave a speech at Sydney University described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity.

In July 2006, Hilali refers to the Holocaust as a ‘Zionist lie’ and referred to Israel as a ‘cancer.’ This kind of dangerous rhetoric is not new among Muslims or unique to Australia.

In October 2006 insinuating that the long prison sentences handed to Sydney’s Lebanese gang-rapists for attacking young teenage girls in the year 2000, were unfair he compared Australian women who do not wear the Islamic veil to meat left uncovered in the streets and then eaten by cats. During his long career, Hilali also praised suicide bombers as heroes and called the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States “God′s work against oppressors” and “the work of 100 per cent American gangs.’

At the time, Hilali’s principal adviser and spokesperson, Keysar Trad, wrote, ‘The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and… the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.’ Trad subsequently served as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils the national umbrella organization, which represents Australian Muslims at national and international level from July 2016 until May 2017.

The Auschwitz Institute, the Holocaust memorials are among the thousands of places where evidence exist if Mr Hilali and his lot are interested in some history lessons, but I suspect they are not! However, I will offer some anyways, because as George Santayana remarked, ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ Though the quote is most likely due to, and in its original form read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ As Mr Hilali and his cohorts will find, between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 40,000 camps and other incarceration sites. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labour, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and mass murder. The total number of sites is based upon on-going research in the perpetrators’ own records.

Concentration Camps

From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called ‘enemies of the state.’ Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behaviour. These facilities were called ‘concentration camps’ because those imprisoned there were physically ‘concentrated’ in one location.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in the Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, all located in Germany. After the violent Kristallnacht (‘Night of Broken Glass’) pogroms in November 1938, the Nazis conducted mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in camps for brief periods.

Forced-Labour Prisoner-of-War Camps

Subsequent to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazis opened forced-labour camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure. SS units guarded the camps. During World War II, the Nazi camp system expanded rapidly. In some camps, Nazi doctors performed medical experiments on prisoners.

Succeeding the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis increased the number of prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. Some new camps were built at existing concentration camp complexes (such as Auschwitz) in occupied Poland. The camp at Lublin, later known as Majdanek, was established in the autumn of 1941 as a POW camp and became a concentration camp in 1943. Thousands of Soviet POWs were shot or gassed there.

Nazis Genocide Centres

In order to expedite the ‘Final Solution’ (the genocide or mass destruction of the Jews), the Nazis established killing centres in Poland, the country with the largest Jewish population. The killing centres were designed for efficient mass murder. Chelmno, the first massacre centre, opened in December 1941. Jewish and Roma people were gassed in mobile gas vans there. In 1942, the Nazis opened the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka killing centres to systematically kill the Jews of the General government (the territory in the interior of occupied Poland).

The Nazis constructed further gas chambers (rooms that filled with poison gas to kill those inside) to increase killing efficiency and to make the process more impersonal for the perpetrators. At the Auschwitz camp complex, the Birkenau killing centre had four gas chambers. During the height of deportations to the camp, up to 6,000 Jews were gassed there each day.

Jews in Nazi-occupied lands often were first deported to transit camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands, or Drancy in France, en route to the killing centres in occupied Poland. The transit camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing centre.

Additionally millions of people were imprisoned and abused including starvation in Nazi occupied territories and the various types of concentration camps. Under SS management, the German secret police, the Germans and their agents murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centres alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.

Does one need spiritual visions and inspiration to see this flagrant denial and contempt for the truth of history? Is this then not a clear Satanic inspired attempt to deny the truth, which can be found in Christ Jesus alone? ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14: 6). Satan’s attempt to deny Christ, and the Scriptures that testify of His divinity, and his objective, is to establish, that the bible lies and the Koran is truth! To deny the Jews and their suffering is denying history. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge once remarked, ‘If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.’ Establishing there is another way, gives credibility to Mohammad’s teachings, which has no credible history! As to accept Islam is to deny Christ! In fact, many others have now accepted that all religions are equally true, there is one god, so that there are many ways to him! When the water is so muddy, people will not see a difference. My friends, removing the label of an ‘arsenic poison’ bottle and re-label it, as ‘fruit juice’ will not neutralise its deadly content!

With such credible documented evidence of history, how does Muslims and imams like Hilali are allowed to get away with such blatant Holocaust denial?

The ‘Goodness’ Virtue

The ‘good’ or ‘goodness’ virtue is understood to be the quality that directs us as humans to take another step, to go a little bit further above and beyond the call of duty. That looks beyond the typical insignificance and take a deeper more meaningful and substantive look at others with a deeper and resounding level of love and care. This goodness quality guides our desire to offer special attention to others’ well being, happiness and personal development when we make our resolutions.

It is of boundless worth, even the excellent way to comfort the wicked, the corrupt and the vile because of the good, the noble intent of the heart though prevalent, remain mostly concealed in the world. Rather than fail the virtuous because of the prevalence of evil, the dominance of the ruthless and the popularity of the decadent in our sphere.

Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

‘Desiderata’ (Latin: “desired things”) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann

Demand of Human Psyche

We make a daily effort to choose friends consciously and unconsciously because the human psyche needs that kind of grouping sensitivity to exist. We are not an island that stands alone in the middle of the sea without any other support. However must be expressly vigilant in selecting and deciding if they are worthy of our investment of time and energy. Even the offering of aspect of our lives and whether the giving of our space in time add meaning or make any difference to their welfare. Some people are givers for our services to them even before we make an investment in them.

Athenodorus of Soli a Stoic philosopher and disciple of Zeno of Citium, claim that he ‘would not even go to dinner with a man who did not thereby feel indebted to him.’ I suppose you realise how much less inclined he was to visit those who repay their friends’ services with a meal, and count the courses as largesses, as if they were overdoing the honour paid to another. Take away their witnesses and spectators and there is no fun in private gormandising.  You must consider whether your nature is more suited to practical activity or to quiet study and reflection, and incline in the direction your natural faculty and disposition take you. Isocrates forcibly pulled Ephorus away from the forum, thinking he would be better employed in writing history.

Inborn dispositions do not respond well to compulsion, and we labour in vain against nature’s opposition.  However, nothing delights the mind so much as fond and loyal friendship. What a blessing it is to have hearts that are ready and willing to receive all your secrets in safety, with whom you are less afraid to share knowledge of something than keep it to yourself, whose conversation soothes your distress, whose advice helps you make up your mind, whose cheerfulness dissolves your sorrow, whose very appearance cheers you up! To be sure, we shall choose those who are as far as possible free from strong desires; for vices spread insidiously, and those nearest to hand are assailed and damaged by contact with them.

It follows that, just as at a time of an epidemic disease we must take care not to sit beside people whose bodies are infected with feverish disease because we shall risk ourselves and suffer from their breathing upon us, so in choosing our friends for their characters we shall take care to find those who are the least corrupted: mixing the sound with the sick is how disease starts. But I am not enjoining upon you to follow and associate with none but a wise man. For where will you find him whom we have been seeking for ages? In place of the ideal we must put up with the least bad. You would scarcely have the opportunity of a happier choice if you were hunting for good men among the Platos and Xenophons and all that offspring of the Socratic breed; or if you had access to the age of Cato, which produced many men worthy to be born in Cato’s time. (It also produced many who were worse than at any other time and who committed appalling crimes: for both groups were necessary for Cato to be appreciated – he needed the good to win their approval and the bad to prove his strength.) But in the current dearth of good men you must be less particular in your choice. Still, you must especially avoid those who are gloomy and always lamenting, and who grasp at every pretext for complaint. Though a man’s loyalty and kindness may not be in doubt, a companion who is agitated and groaning about everything is an enemy to peace of mind”

 

– Seneca, On Tranquility, Book VII

 

 

#stoicism  #friendship

What are the characteristics of a mature and godly leader?

If we see leadership as the world does, we missed the mark of Christ. If we focus on titles, positions of prestige and power or sequence of functions that focus on result and not the man. If we remove nepotism, favouritism and materialism, we need spiritual focus. Leadership is Jesus life exemplified His utility influence others! If we are focusing on someone presently in world or church leadership positions (Trump?) that pushes more than they inspires and lead.

God through Paul leaves us with the kind of qualities necessary for leadership in the church, if not in our workplaces or communities, then certainly in our homes as parents. If we as leaders will be open with our experiences, we will admit that there are times when we do not demonstrate the qualities of a Godly leadership Christ exemplified. Surely, there are a great many books out there, but here are a few I think are a good start.

  • A good leader seeks God’s direction. Is there anything more important in a leader than he or she seeking God’s direction? Proverbs 16:1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Verse 3 adds, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” In addition, verse 9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” A good leader seeks the Lord, commits his way to the Lord, and the Lord establishes the next steps.
  • A good leader is modest, not arrogant. We have all encountered the know-it-all leader, the “submit-or-else” type of leader. However, Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” I do not know about you, but I definitely do not want to be referred to as an abomination to the Lord. That is some scary stuff.
  • A good leader is a peacemaker. Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Yet so many leaders are not interested in examining an opposing viewpoint or other ideas. We have lost the ability to empathize with others, and compromise has become a bad word. There is something to be said of sticking to principles. I believe God calls us to be steadfast. However, He does not call us to be jerks. In addition, when our “boldness” is interpreted as “coldness,” we are not doing it right.
  • A good leader is fair and just. “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). I believe in goals and working hard to achieve them. However, the end always justifying the means is simply not true. A good leader is more interested in doing things the right way.
  • A good leader surrounds himself or herself with honest, trustworthy counsellors … and then listens to them. “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right” (Proverbs 16:13). Do you know leaders who surround themselves with “yes” people? Personal insecurity drives them to seek only positive reinforcement for every decision they make. A smart leader surrounds himself or herself with smarter people, who are willing to speak their minds and offer sound counsel. After all, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
  • A good leader is a good learner. Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” A good leader should always be learning, growing and improving. The day you feel there is nothing left to learn is the day that pride and arrogance have taken root. In addition, we have already discussed how the Lord feels about arrogance.
  • A good leader is humble. We have seen countless prominent examples of Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” From politicians and celebrities to CEOs and pastors, many have grabbed headlines as their empires have fallen. In most of these cases, it is pride that has crept in. They thought themselves invincible, but quickly found out that no one is. “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19).
  • A good leader is sensible and kind. “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Proverbs 16:22-23). Being smart and sensible makes a good leader more persuasive and effective. A good leader uses “gracious words” (verse 24), not speech that is “like a scorching fire” (verse 27).
  • A good leader is slow to anger. We have all seen the caricatures in movies and television of the angry boss; the person, who yells for no reason, barks orders, berates, and demoralises the staff. Perhaps you have even worked for such a person. The Bible says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

 

Enslavement of the mind is the Captivity of our Present and our Future.

What if I advocate that many of us remain captive to the past to our restrictive self-existence, rather than living the new life Christ offers. This remains so, though, we claim and proclaim liberation through the gospel message. This kind of enslavement is not about what we do, our daily activities, our failures and errors, but about how we think in the new economy of things. But it is about us not understanding that holding on to the past, not letting go of what was, the way things was done must be continued, maintaining the status quo, no change is an enslavement of the human spirit and restriction to our God given incredible human potential. The same way we cannot view the world when we are mature in the light of when we were teenagers, we cannot view our new life in Christ in light of when we were in sins chains. It is a heart, mind and soul transformation thing!

How can this be that that we are free in Christ, but still in chains? A seemingly yet very apparent inconsistent way to advance our individual and personal human self-development. I may be so bold to advocate that where this inconsistency originates, is that transformation between our human utility and our spiritual life purpose. No human focus his mind on what it is that he wants in life without predisposition; or if he does, he fails to proceed and so fall away into the packed lanes of human failings. He continues to see his existence in light of physical worth and self-aggrandisement rather than spiritual growth worth and accomplishment. Material possessions drive his daily utility, those who have nothing are despised, wealth is his message, and his gospel is increased worldly possessions. Listen to the message, it is not about the money, it is all about God and His Christ! Many with material wealth but poor in faith will not see God. However, many poor in possessions and material wealth but rich in faith will be in the kingdom of God. Therefore, many fail living the freedom Christ offers, not modifying our minds to new utility but essentially regressing, returning to the very comportment we had renounced.

We may then have to set aside our former understanding of wisdom and embark on one involves an all-incorporating process that whelms the entirety of the human experience. Freedom affords us the power or right to act, to speak, or to think as we desire and wants.

We have a certain degree of freedom of choice about what we want in life and where we go. We have certain right to live where we chose to life, to marry, to have a family, a certain or limitless entitlement under the human rights articles to our life! Therefore, freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Associated with freedom are terms like liberty, liberation, release, emancipation, deliverance, delivery, discharge, non-confinement, extrication; amnesty, pardoning, ‘the captives made a frantic attempt for freedom.’ This happens because they understand the value and worth of what it means to be free!

Enslavement is the opposite of freedom and is the action of making someone a slave; it is about subjugation of your will and God given purpose in life. Many nations experience in history, the enslavement of Jews and millions of Africans are fresh in the mind. Terms associated with enslavement are subjugation, disenfranchisement, suppression, tyranny, subjection, oppression, domination, exploitation, persecution; slavery, servitude, bondage, forced labour; bonds, chains, fetters, shackles, restraints, yoke etc. The enslavement of Africans continued for most of the nineteenth century and many millions continue in the modern world.

However bad physical enslavement is, the captivity of our minds is equally paralysing. When we are unable to free ourselves from the constraints of our minds, our purpose, and our goals cannot be achieved. We can be physically free but our minds under constraints can limit our utility and block our progress. However if our minds are liberated, no physical chains can constrains us! Though not a believer in Christ, the late Reggae artists, Marley capture it well when he wrote, ‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.

None but ourselves can free our minds.’ When we are unwilling to let go of experiences and understanding and let God enlighten us. When we are claiming change yet see our church still in the 1950s – 1980s, we are still in bondage to the past. I got news for you, the church started long before those eras! However, no human is more desperately enslaved and remains in bondage than those who deceptively believe they are liberated. Enslavement of the human mind is the captivity of our present capabilities and potential accomplishment, thereby restricting our future hope.

This is so when we carelessly accept any unproven religion, any populist political, social or economic system, any unproven mythical doctrine, so we become like robots unable to think for ourselves. True freedom means we choose freely, we are free to express opinions and make meaningful decisions that affect our lives where we want to go. This kind of freedom comes to us through the redemptive works of the Lord Jesus Christ. No man can touch the freedom of the heart, mind and soul affords us through the liberated message of the gospel of Christ. ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ (John 8: 36NIV). This freedom is all encompassing and involves the totality of our being, mind, heart and soul! Wow, what a release and relief that brings. Our enslavement to the physical human utility and experience, the former way of thinking is no more. Our freedom in Christ liberates us from our confined human way of thinking and human utility. It affords us the ability to think clearly now, to understand our incredible human potential and guarantees our future, the kingdom of Christ. ‘He sets me free one day, Christ sets me free, He burst the bars of prison for me!’

Christ affords His followers to think outside the box, think in new ways, and to be willing to accept and embrace change. One size does not fit all, neither do we all have the same likes and dislikes. When it comes to understanding the scriptures we must never be redistricted to the eras when we first believe or accept Christ, but change as new truth comes to the fore. No man have all the answers to the Scriptures, and no church have all the truth. We must accept scholasticism, people who can learn the biblical languages and see the scriptures through the lenses of history, language, culture and understand what is prescriptive and what is descriptive. Not holding on to the past, rejecting the need for trained leadership! Christ trained his followers before he sent them out in the world as apostles.

Today the misguided reject this kind of training, misquoting that the Holy Spirit trained you, rather than ‘bringing things, (what they were taught) back to their memory.’ We accept everyone in our pulpits without any form of training, people who can quote a few Scriptures, shout ‘hallelujah’ a lot, speak a few tongues, you are spiritual, you are in! Especially when they call you, Holy Ghost man! Body-ism, nepotism is ripe in our present organisations. People are not chosen for biblical defined terms of gifted-ness and ability. Its about who you know, who knows you, how long you are in the church, and its about availability for some. What do we do with out tithes and offerings? People who start a church, believe they must lead it, despite their blatant biblical unqualified and unworthy leadership status.

I put it to you my friends, the church will remain stagnated, constantly complaining about the needs, enslaved to misguided beliefs and practices until we train our leaders in leadership! The Holy Spirit cannot operate in a state of confusion, you go to some church ans every two words spoken is mixed with tongue speaking. We are not willing to change, because our minds are still in captivity to the past, it is the way I saw it, and the way it must remain. Until we embrace the freedom Christ offers and live in that freedom there will be no change. Until we liberated our minds from the slavery we impose on our worship and church activity. Until we have spiritually liberated minds, people in leadership that are chosen by the Holy Spirit  and with the right gift set. Until we see leadership that are biblically trained, in the disciplines of theology, hermeneutics, at least a diploma in divinity, we lack vision and will continue to stumble in the darkness of spiritual mind enslavement. A degree in engineering even a doctorate in any secular field is not sufficient for church leadership!

For almost thirty years this has been my message. This message will not change no matter the rejection of any organisation. The church, the gospel it preach is not about man, but about God. When human put God first we will grow as a church, this can only happen when our minds are free to embrace change. When we accept Christ liberated message, we are able to see clearly where God wants us and where we need to go. We are truly liberated when we give up our human way of thinking and utility, let God control our minds and fill it with his message of liberation, what it means to be truly free.

 

 

 

 

Appreciate people for who they are!

Don’t go chasing after people after they reject you. There is a reason and a purpose for your rejection. Some reject because they took enough, already abuse and have no further use of you. You will miss many, but understand and abandon feelings of regret for your nonappearance to people who never appreciate the value of your company. The people who belong in your life will stay and add value, they may take but they will give back. They will seek you out, they will find you, and they will stay and help you smooth out the thorny issues. We all have them, those who value you will help you overcome and smooth the rugged terrain. However the lesson you must learn that will guide you safely through the remainder of your life, is you must never start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who critique and undervalue you.

Those who undervalue will undermine, develop, build on, embellish slips and point finger at our shame. There is a saying, ‘appreciate those who appreciate you’ but the Christian way is much more powerful. We appreciate others even when they do not appreciate us! W appreciate others for who they are, not as we wished them to be! We are made in the image of God and if we hate people, we hate God! It seems easier to hate, and the difficult thing in life is to love those who hate us. We should be an example of good so that we be an attraction to those who will appreciate our uniqueness and love us for who we are. You work hard at being you; it is so easy to want to be like others. Do not abandon your God design distinctive self to be like someone else. You are not a carbon copy of anyone else; you are an original being, uniquely carved out by the hand of the master designer. We are all beautiful in His eyes, yet the world tends to place much emphasis on physical attraction. However, no physical magnificence can be as lovely as a beautiful heart.

Your Friends, the real Enemies?

Have you ever wondered why people you love, and who formerly expressed love and friendship towards you, end up hating you without a cause? Do you think this is a modern phenomenon? If you turn the pages of history, it would alarm you to know it is not a new thing. Listen to King David query of God: ‘Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil lodge accusations against me, though I seek only to do what is good’ (Psa. 38: 19-20). Did you get that? Wow, those who experience your good deed, the ones you know and believe was your friends, are the ones who repay kindness with evil. Read again the part that states, they ‘lodge accusation against me, (David). Those who seek to harm Davids were not his enemies, but those who experience his goodness, his friends. His close confidant, the real enemies? So should you not keep your enemies at bay, or should you keep them closer?

Did you know that up to 90% of people who are murdered, it happened at the hands of someone close to them, someone who profess love or that they considered friend? Why is this? People have to know you, to want to kill you, it rarely ever happened at the hands of a stranger! Therefore, the old and over used cliché, ‘there’s a thin line between love and hate’ is actually true. That is the problem with overused cliché they are often true indeed.

What happened between the statement or claim, ‘I love you’, and the point at which they want to do you hurt? David’s youthful vigour has waned; he was now an old man. He reached a point of his life when he needs love and support from those he love, his relatives, and his own people. The people of Israel knew his history, his self-sacrifice, his personal contribution to making Israel a great nation. However, so do many of his friends, close neighbours though he waged war against, the nation’s enemies and protected them, now hate and cast accusations against him. Ones true friends would never raise an accusations against you. If they were real friends, they would speak to you in confidence about any issue that may be damaging to your name and image. Your friends watch your back, and would want to healp clean up yout image not damage it.

David felt let down, as we all would be, he made an appeal to God, about those he loved, those who return for his goodness for them actions that revealed hate. If you have not yet seen what David experienced, you have not yet lived. I guarantee you that the ones who hurt you the most are the ones who are supposedly close to you. The stranger will never know your innermost thoughts, your personal life stories, but your friends do. They know it because you confide in them, expecting help, prayer and steps to solve your problems. However, it is because there is no God in them, no holiness, and Jesus blood has not applied to their gossiping lips; that they become treacherous by their actions. They never tell you anything, their secret life remain secret, but you never see it. You trust them so much, you are anxious to tell what going on in your life. They know what to tell you, just enough, but not too much that they can be accused. So they are in prime position to betray your trust.

Plainly they are those kind of people who only draw close, the ‘wolves in sheep clothing’, ‘the foxes that chew at the tender vines’, they seek only to do you hurt. Yet where is the cause? Why do they hurt you? Why do they betray your trust? They profess everlasting love and friendship was fiend! They hurt you because there was no light in them from the beginning. They are the dangerous ones, they are the so-called friends, the ones who dig to get into your life, with a show of friendship, show that they care, and hurt you without a cause. They are the sons/daughters of the evil one.

You must never be afraid of them, yet you must never return hate for hate or you will end up like them on the wrong site of truth. They have their place in the judgement of condemnation. Separate from them, be not partakers in their evil schemes! Remove yourselves from their attempt of encouragement, for their counsel is evil. Nevertheless, never stop praying for them, never stop loving them, never stop showing that you are different. That you are God’s elect, bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus. You will never return evil for the evil they do to you. Inspire of the evil they do to you, you must do good anyway.