The Ethics of Giving & Receiving

Preface

I think most people in our society understand that when a person gives or donates something of value to another person or organization, that transaction is done with no expectation of anything in return.

In other words, if I give something, a material possession of mine, to a friend, I have absolutely no expectation of a return favour. That gift, which my friend has received, is theirs to keep, and to do with as they see fit.

Continue reading “The Ethics of Giving & Receiving”

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Turning a blind eye…

San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico before hurricane Maria. f/8 @ 1/200 second. ©2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

Have you ever wondered why the US and Canada have so many social problems in spite of the fact that the aforementioned nations are some of the most prosperous in the world?

Good question. Obviously, there is no easy or simplistic answer to the complex social problems that we experience. But, there seems to be a whole lot of pointing of fingers going on each and every day of our existence. If we are honest with ourselves, the person we see in the mirror each morning is often guilty as charged.

Who is to blame for all the heart wrenching social problems of North American society? Well, the short answer is – we are. Each and every one of us, regardless of ethnicity and race, religion, gender, and so forth, is responsible for the society that we live in. We are indeed our brother’s or sister’s keeper.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV

On the grand scale of things, it does not appear that we are doing a very good job of benevolently and selflessly watching over each other. Honest self-evaluation has a way of silencing our own pride and arrogance. How wonderful we see ourselves and our accomplishments often has no bearing on reality.

Although I have chosen to tackle some complex social, cultural, religious, and political issues and problems in my writing, I am painfully reminded that one person can only do so much in terms of informing, enlightening, or influencing others. I am thankful that, in the final analysis, I am primarily responsible for my own sphere of influence, most importantly, my own real life interpersonal relationships. How I live my life DOES affect others around me for better or worse.

Sometimes, I feel really small and do not think that I have much to offer to this often incomprehensible North American culture and society. Invariably, God has a way of reminding me how dependant I am on His grace (undeserved favour) and strength each and every moment of my life.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT

There is a time and place for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). Recently, I made a choice or decision to wait on God, for wisdom, strength, and direction to take over the next decade of my life. We all need purpose in our lives and purpose demands long-term planning.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps Proverbs 16:9

Whether or not that includes a continuation of my writing and posting on WordPress is a question I need to settle. I am somewhat troubled about my direct involvement on social media. Sometimes I think it is more like the Show & Tell events of my childhood school years, rather than serving any useful long-term purpose. I do take some satisfaction in sharing about God and His ways, as I understand Him. I am just not sure anyone is really listening.

Time has a way of solving the most perplexing issues in our lives. As for me, it is time to wait upon God for some answers.

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow…

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Thankfulness is more than an attitude…

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Giant pumpkins in Nova Scotia bring beautiful smiles. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

This morning I actually slept in until 8:00 AM. My wife was already up, nursing a hot cup of coffee and reading something on her iPad. The sun was literally beaming through the blinds of our living room windows, almost too bright for my preference in the morning. Fall is upon us, the morning sun is rather low on the eastern horizon, the cold air outside signalling that winter is just around the corner.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I have so much to be thankful for over the last year. As I read the posts of both family and friends on FaceBook, I was visibly reminded that life can be mixed-bag for all of us. Some were posting pictures of their new babies (such a joy), others posted pictures of their travels around the world, and some were posting their viewpoints over current political and social agendas, and so forth.

It suddenly occurred to me that much of that does not really matter in light of knowing God. Regardless of how people celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am reminded of who we are truly expressing our thankfulness towards – Jesus Christ.

If you are having considerable difficulty coming up with ANY reason to be thankful today, may I suggest the following:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper and write out who you THINK you are. It does not have be a long drawn out affair – just go with your instinct or gut-feelings on this one.
  2. On the other side of the paper write out how you THINK God sees you.
  3. Somewhere in this process, you will discover something to be thankful for – I suspect that the second half of this exercise will provide the insight you may be looking for.

Have a great day 🙂

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Peace in the midst of chaos…

The Might Atlantic
The mighty waves of the Atlantic crashing along the Nova Scotia coastline. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

I would like to briefly talk about the recent tragedy in Las Vegas and similar incomprehensible acts of evil that have occurred in Canada and around the world. Although I was made aware of a number of terrible events, in a recent telephone conversation with my mom, I purposely avoided reading or watching the news concerning the aforementioned until this morning.

Continue reading “Peace in the midst of chaos…”

Christ & Culture: A Way Forward

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Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Lebret, Saskatchewan. f/11 @ 1/500 second.

It is my understanding that our witness to Christ and His influence comes precisely from NOT coercing and enforcing as the world does (regardless of the end behaviour we seek to bring about) but by demonstrating genuine love and vulnerability to all.

We are not at liberty to be repulsed by contemporary culture. Instead we are to engage with and transform culture – to love and serve all people by seeing everyone as God actually sees them – created in His moral image.

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Will God Forgive Me?

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God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. Romans 5:20 NLT

A story of hypocrisy confronted with overwhelming love and grace…deeply moving.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine
Songwriters: John Head / Sue Mitchell-Wallace
Amazing Grace lyrics © Hope Publishing Company

via Will God Forgive Me? — Godinterest Blog

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So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt?

KeithGreen-SoYouWannaGoBackToEgypt

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt is the third album released by American contemporary Christian music pianist and singer Keith Green, released on May 7, 1980.

The album was listed at No. 49 in the 2001 book, CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.

It includes several notable Christian artists, including Matthew Ward, Kelly Willard, and Bob Dylan playing harmonica.

Wikipedia

So you wanna go back to Egypt
Where it’s warm and secure
Are sorry you bought the one way ticket
When you thought you were sure
You wanted to live in the land of promise
But now it’s getting so hard
Are you sorry you’re out here in the desert
Instead of your own back yard

Eating leaks and onions by the Nile
Ooh what breath for dining out in style
Ooh, my life’s on the skids
Building the pyramids

Well there’s nothing do but travel
And we sure travel a lot
‘Cause it’s hard to keep your feet from moving
When the sand gets so hot
And in the morning it’s manna hotcakes
We snack on manna all day
And we sure had a winner last night for dinner
Flaming manna souffle

Well we once complained for something new to munch
The ground opened up and had some of us for lunch
Ooh, such fire and smoke
Can’t God even take a joke? Huh? NO!

So you wanna to back to Egypt
Where your friends wait for you
You can throw a big party and tell the whole gang
Of what they said was all true
And this Moses acts like a big shot
Who does he think he is?
Well it’s true that God works lots of miracles
But Moses thinks they’re all his

Oh we’re having so much trouble even now
Why’d he get so mad about that c-c-c-cow (that golded calf)
Moses seems rather idle
He just sits around, he just sits around and writes the Bible!

Oh, Moses, put down your pen!
What? Oh no, manna again?

Oh, manna waffles
Manna burgers
Manna bagels
Fillet of manna
Manna patty
BaManna bread!

Written by Keith Gordon Green, Melody Green • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

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