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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why do we, as a society - as a culture, enjoy seeing people win lots of money? Is it because we are truly happy for these total strangers who are winning cold hard cash via illusive lotteries and game shows like Deal or No Deal?

Okay, so yeah... my friend won $4000 on Wheel of Fortune this year, and it was a blast watching him on TV. I'd probably go on Wheel of Fortune too if I lived in California!

But what motivates people to sit in front of the TV, often on a daily basis, to cheer on contestant's decisions or abilities? I understand why we do that when we watch a sporting event, but game shows? Reality shows? Fear Factor reruns?

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire! I do, I do!! I mean, c'mon! Don't YOU?!

But instead, I sit at home and get excited about other people becoming rich. Wow. That is sad. Especially when some of these contestants get real greedy and shout no deal!
...poverty is the curse of never having enough. Poverty is not the state of being poor or needy, it is the state of wanting, it's the torment of never having enough. Two Hebrew words for poverty are translated as "want" or "poverty", not to be mistaken with "need". If one has plenty but is always wanting more, that is poverty. Wanting is the opposite of being content, those who cannot stop wanting are entrapped by desire.

Baruch Ben Daniel

There is a difference between being poor and needy and living a poverty lifestyle. The Bible says, there will always be poor people in the land. [Deuteronomy 15:11] Even Jesus said, the poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. [Mark 14:7]

Throughout our lifetimes we all experience financial limitations being imposed on us because of circumstances and challenges that we face, but the common lie of the enemy is to believe that we will be satisfied with more money!

In his book Never Enough: Breaking the Spirit of Poverty, David Holdaway says,
Poverty is a state of always being in need - no matter how much comes in, more always seems to go out. But it is more than not having, it is an attitude that is always fearful of not having.
So how do we break the spirit of poverty - in our lives and the lives of others? President Bush believes that entrepreneurship helps break the cycle of poverty. [September 15, 2005] But Mr. President! Wouldn't it be much easier if we just all went on a game show and won lots of money?

I'm getting off track. Yet I remain frustrated for two reasons: 1) I, personally, battle this spirit - but usually overcome it by bringing the truth of God's promises to the "I need more" lie; 2) I feel so helpless watching people live poverty lifestyles - you know, spending money before they get it from the welfare office, living to drink away their money on the weekend, neglecting their children's food and clothing needs by purchasing a new video game at the pawn shop, renting gigantic widescreen TVs and satelite dishes for their subsidized houses...

These people are not poor, but they are living in poverty.

[Sigh.]

Yes, I do believe we have poor and needy people among us, but most of them live in other countries. On the other hand, there is a poverty epidemic in North America, the wealthiest continent in the world.
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

Deuteronomy 8:18-19

Deal. Or no deal.

Red Flowers

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My Flickr pics have garnished 6,573 views. My pics on SXC have been downloaded 17,481 times and used in everything from website designs to a digital scrapbook kit. I even got paid for the use of one of my pics recently by an educational publisher! First time that's ever happened.

I have posted 627 pics to date, (not counting pics uploaded to the Walmart Photo Centre, Photobucket or Fotolog), plus I started 4 online photo groups and belong to over 150!

Can you say Photographers Anonymous?!

Calcutta's Red Light Kids

Monday, September 11, 2006

A few months ago while visiting my sister in Illinois I went to the local Blockbuster video store. They were having a special sale on previously viewed movies. I spotted two DVDs that I had heard about and quickly snatched up the only remaining copies.

One of them is called Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids. And it wasn't until this evening that I finally decided to watch this Academy Award winning Best Documentary.
Admist the apparent growing prosperity of India, there is a dark underbelly of poverty of another side of the nation that is little known. This film is a chronicle of filmmakers Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's efforts to show that world of Calcutta's red light district. To do that, they inspired a special group of children of the prostitutes of the area to photograph the most reluctant subjects of it. As the kids excel in their new found art, the filmmakers struggle to help them have a chance for a better life away from the miserable poverty that threatens to crush their dreams.
Now YOU know more than I even knew prior to watching this film. Even so, the documentary's bio doesn't highlight just how important photography became for these children. It was so significant that one of the children earned a trip to the World Press Photo conference in Amsterdam. Only nine children from around the world are selected to attend each year.

I have loved taking pictures since I was a child. I was given my first camera before I reached the age of ten and I've never looked back. During my teen years I considered becoming a professional photographer. I even looked into attending Rochester Institute of Technology for Photographic Arts. I changed my mind and decided to work for two years before attending college.

But that didn't stop me from taking pictures. Lots of pictures. And this film, although tragic in nature, inspired me to take better pictures.

You'll have to rent it to find out why.

And Jesus said...

Saturday, September 02, 2006
Just listen. So I did. And He said a LOT!

This is what I heard Him say:

Trust My promises.

Hear and obey.

You lack nothing.

Don't pray, just listen!

THIS too, shall pass.

Worship Me.

My peace, I give you.

Nothing is too difficult for Me.

This is a season of harvest.

Creation cries out in praise!

Be My hand extended.

Shut up and LISTEN!

I am the God that heals you physically.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Be still and KNOW that I am God.

There is none like Me.

Behold, your redemption draws nigh.

Come to Me when you are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.

Say 'yes' to My promises.

Be gentle and kind, slow to anger, abounding in love.

I love the people in Brantford; I died for them; they are precious to Me.

Stop praying and listen!!

That one is Mine.

Glory to God in the highest!

Let the little ones come to me; do not forbid them to come.

The Holy Spirit is hovering over the earth; He is there.

Satan is only prowling the earth.

Today is the day of salvation.

A seed must fall to the ground and die first, before it can spring up again and bring life.

I am your friend; I will stay closer than your brother.

Lay your burdens down and rest.

Trust me, with all your heart; don't trust your understanding of the situation.

I am a great, big God.

Okay, you can praise Me now.

Mammon

Friday, September 01, 2006
Fifteen years ago, in his book Wake Up America, Tony Campolo wrote:
Living in the "free world" has become synonymous with having consumer goods. [And] ways have been found in our consumer-oriented society to reduce spiritual hungers to emotions that can be gratified by purchasing the things being sold to us through the mass media.

In all of this media hype, things are sold to us on the basis that our deepest emotional and psychological needs will be met by having the right consumer goods. The spiritual is being absorbed by the physical.

The fruit of the Spirit, suggests the media, can be had without God and without spiritual disciplines. It is not simply that we are materialists who crave the goods that flood our markets, but that we are now people who subconsciously have been made to believe that in these things we will find an end to the spiritual longings at the ground of our being.
It always amazes me how money, or the lack of money, effects people emotionally. I have found myself getting depressed when I thought I may not be able to pay an outstanding bill. And to deal with my desperate emotions I would go shopping to feel better!

I've watched others who immediately must spend every penny they have, lest it burn a hole in their pocket. And they seemingly receive instant gratification once their money is spent, that lasts every so shortly.

Quick up, real quick down.

I met a lot of happy people when I lived in Brazil, and I always wondered why they were so happy? I mean, they were dirt poor - some, literally. They may have had a roof over their head, but not much else. Homes were sparse; cupboards empty. But none of that seemed to matter to them.

Why?

Because they had God. And they believed that He was their source, and that He would meet all of their needs according to His riches. Spiritually and physically. [Philippians 4:19]
Perhaps the most evil consequence of selling consumer goods in this manner is that people like us no longer know what spiritual longings really are. We have become alienated from our real needs. Spiritual longings, which most of us can no longer even define, have come to be so identified with consumer goods that these consumer goods have taken on a quality of ultimateness for us.

Tony Campolo

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."