Grabbing Lisbon with My Grubby Mitts

To call Lisbon a great place is to insult the beauty of this marvellous sunny city almost to an libellous degree. As soon as I arrived here, I knew that it was here that that I was going to fulfill my God-given mission. Not only was it free from that punishing northern darkness that had been numbing my mind for so long-the city was close to the beaches where Europe’s best wawes for surfing splashed ashore.

I felt alive for the first time in along time. All my senses that had been numbed by the monotony of a grey city existence life burst violently into life.
I was blind, but now I could see. I felt reborn.

The next month was one the happiest of my life. Life was simple and life was great. Occasionally, I’d have another beer, and order some wonderful seafood with crabs, or have a surf in those cold wawes.

Why for God’s sake was I and everyone else in Northern-Europe putting up with another hideous winter rabbiting about unimportant shit and getting stressed?

We spend our lives working in jobs that we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. No more of that.

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Do You Dare to be Different? To Think Different?

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BEING UNPOPULAR AND AN OUTCAST is often necessary to become a visionary. Experiencing loneliness and isolation might sometimes be necessary to become revered and followed. If you don’t spend some time reflecting about what goes on in your mind, how can you ever proceed in the way that is you.
Ignoring what goes on in other people’s souls – did anybody ever come to grief that way? No. But if you won’t keep track of what goes on in your mind and what your own soul is doing – how can you not be unhappy.
It’s about truth – the truth about who you are: and what you want and will sacrifice for having just that. Are you being honest about this? Are you ready to pay the price for having those things you dream about? Make no mistake, most people are not.
How people perceive your truth passes through three stages – First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Say you wish to become a pianist, an artist or an aviator. Or a truck driver.
Expect to be mocked, criticized, ignored – even avoided. “Have your heard, Charlie is of the trolley-he wants to become …”
You want to leave the parents proud about your choices, achievements, etc. Well, it might not always happen in the way you expected! You might in fact have to ‘disappoint’ them first.
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The Roman Character: Confidently Facing the Future, Conserving the Past

ROME NEVER FOUGHT TO IMPOSE a political idea or a religious creed. On the contrary, she left local institutions and manners of thought untouched.

In Rome’s imperial expansion, self defence was accounted the first motive; but trade inevitably followed and the first motive was mingled with that of commercial exploitation. True, reasons of safety safety were sometimes alleged in order to hide greed and ambition.

Rome fought to ‘impose the ways of peace’ and by peace she meant the positive blessings of settled order and security of life and property.

We can’t say that a religion such as the old Roman religion promoted greatly the religious development of man; it carried no intellectual appeal and was therefore unable to contribute a theology. But it is certain that with the associations and habits which clustered round its contribution to Roman character was great. Great men were almost canonized for their characters or for their achievements.

To the beliefs and manners of these days we must ascribe that sense of subordination  or obedience to exterior power, whether a god, or a standard, or an ideal, which in one form or another – marked the Roman to the end.

To the same source must be traced the feeling for continuity which preserves the constant, assimilates the new and refused to break with the past. For the future could be be faced with greater security if the values of the past were conserved.

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The Roman Character: Let this determine what you do and say and think

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NO ONE EVER SAID THAT life is fair.

As for you, do you gain strength from Nietzsche’s adage ’that what does not kill you makes you stronger’ ? Or do you put your fists in the pocket and boil for the next hour, or days?

If you want to master this day, understand from those that have been and predict those to come.

Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many times you have given way to confusion. At some point you have to recognize what world you belong to; what powers rule it and from what source you are made of. There is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself, it will be gone and will never return. Everyone gets ONE life. Let that determine what you do and say and think.

Ignoring what goes on in other people’s soul – did anybody ever come to grief that way? No. But if you won’t keep track of what goes on in your mind and what your own soul is doing – how can you not be unhappy.

Concentrate every minute – on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine conviction – tenderly, willingly, with justice. Yes you can – if you focus and do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life. Stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you – stop being hypocritical, self-centred and irritable.

Then you see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life.

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The Roman Character: Firm and Righteous Will

 

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The Romans were bound up with the duty laid upon househould and state. Here is to be found the root of that sense of duty which marked the Roman at his best. It might have made him unintersting, but he could become a martyr for an ideal. He did not argue about what was honourable or just; his notions were traditional and instinctive and they were held with an almost religious tenacity. Thus the Roman was hard.

The man of firm and righteous will,

No rabble clamorous for the wrong,

No tyrant’s brow, whose frown may kill,

Can shake the strengths that makes him strong

Romans had no sacred writings beyond the formula of prayer; there was no myth-made morality to be undone. The individual’s purpose was to establish right relations with the gods, not to speculate about their nature.

The Roman attitude was always the same – Tolerance, provided that no harm was done to public morals and that no attack was made upon the state.

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Salvation

Stack of stones

Stack of round smooth stones on a seashore

IS IT POSSIBLE TO DISCUSS the price of salvation? Is it appropriate to ask whether salvation is a cheap or valuable thing?

In no way is a person believing in Jesus Christ unaware that saving his (or her) soul has required more, been more expensive than any other thing. To God, saving your soul certainly was not cheap. Heaven gave his best, Christ – who by no deed nor thought made himself guilty of sin.

But can we follow Christ without paying a price? Is not Christianity specifically that we can throw us in the goodness of God, and Christ who has done all for us.Why should we talk about something that we have to do – is not all done for us by Christ who died for our sins on the cross?  Can we not only receive his goodness – be thankful and feel blessed? Yes. Yes, indeed we can only do this. When talking about receiving salvation; being saved. This is the foundation. You cannot take any of your pennies nor any deed and by that increase any value for yourself. You can only receive salvation by the grace of God. Period.

However, there are 3 challenges to those who, after being saved – wish to follow the path of Christ and apply their belief in daily life. Heaven expects that you do something, that you don’t only receive – but also give. Yes, when you have a foundation in Christ the words ‘have to’ and ‘must’ cannot be left out from your life … (to be continued).

 

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Interactive map of asylum seeker flow to European countries

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First click on the picture – it will take you to the interactive map.

Each moving point on the map represents 25 people. Only a small fraction of refugees fleeing their homes make it to Europe. Hover over countries to show details. Click on a country to lock the selection. The counts shown on hover represent the number of people who have left or arrived in a country since 2012.

Please feel free to leave a comment or share with others who might be interested to grasp the scale.

Published 26.10.2015 | By Ville Saarinen and Juho Ojala| http://www.lucify.com/the-flow-towards-europe/

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Christianity is proclaiming the good news. Then why are so many Christians unhappy?

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Why it is important to face this question is because we are living in a pragmatic age. People of today are less interested in truth, and more in results. And they ask – does Christianity work?

Well. Does it?

Many say of Christian people: ‘Look at Christian people, look at the impression they give. They look so unhappy and troubled and downcast. They have written on their forehead – I’m not good enough’. All this while the people of the world are excited and thrilled about football matches, museums and culture – and they sure want everybody to know it!

There is no doubt that this ‘display of unhappiness’ by Christians is a big reason why large numbers of people have stopped to be interested in Christianity – and let’s honestly admit that there is some justification in their claims. Christians too often give the appearance of unhappiness and of lack of freedom and abscence of joy.

There are large numbers of these Christians, or more specifically – miserable Christians, in this unhappy situation. Their Christian life seems to them be a constant problem, they read books, attend conferences which are meant to give instruction about the Christian way of life – yet they always seek this something which they don’t find and seem to live a life of defeat. Astonishingly, most of them have a clear perception of the Christian faith, and here is often the problem. They often focus more on the question of sanctification and being righteous and doing good works – than justification. They have assumed they are on the right tracks and have forgotten or ignored about the basics of salvation and justification. The question they need to ask is ‘Do I know God’ not ‘Do I believe in God’. ‘Is Jesus Christ real to me’ not ‘Do I believe in Him’.

The best remedy for overcoming doubts, discouragements, regrets and fear for the future is learning to live the Christian life wholeheartedly. This is of course not easy. It is not an act of righteousness. This demands that you take time to explore whether you are humble or just play a game of appearing righteous! No, this is not in fashion today with all the social media hype about appearing so cool, right?! We are all in such a hurry to congratulate ourselves – and, we have to have everything at once. We also think that all truth can be stated in a few minutes, all questions answered immediately without contemplation. The answer to that is that it cannot, and so the reason why so many today are living superficial Christian lives is because they will not take time to examine themselves. Before we face anybody else, we must really face ourselves.

Conviction of sin: If you have not a conviction of sin, and if you do not realize that you are unworthy before God, and that you are utterly condemned and a complete failure before God – pay attention to nothing else until you have it, until you understand this because you will never get rid of your depression until you are right about that.

In other words: It does not matter if you have nearly entered within the gates of hell, if you are guilty of murder as well as every other wicked sin, it does not matter from the point of being justified with God. Because you are no more hopeless than the most respectable self-righteous person in the world!

Do you wish to be rid of your spiritual unhappiness? Then say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered by Christ. By his blood to be more specific. What you need now is not to make resolutions to live a more holy life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No, you just need to begin saying … ‘I rest my faith on Him alone’.

Therefore the conclusion is that a man is justified by faith without deeds of the Law.

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Darkness on the edge of town

Pedestrians footprints in road blue ice. Street sleet background

Pedestrians footprints in road blue ice. Street sleet background

THE LAST RAYS OF THE SUN are closing in on the Soukka beach in Espoo, Finland at 15.18pm on December 2014. The sea is covered with a thin ice.

I hate the winter darkness. Not the winter but the darkness. Winters are no more like when I was a child-plenty with snow, the white pushing away the dull grey. That’s why I prefer living more south. The grey of Nantes in France contains more light than the sun up north in December.

There is darkness and then there is November in Finland. The latter is far more mind-numbing. Darkness attacks first the mind, then enters the soul.
Far-away foreigners flicking through Lonely Planer assume the Nordics are living a life to die for. No crime, much space, wild nature next to the cities, a party with the health services…

But in October, the warm summer nights are long gone and forgotten-then darkness and frost arrives. Short, colourless grey days, and a chill that is felt to the bone ensure the mind won’t be able to reach for much light either. And as if THAT wasn’t enough, by November the dark brown sleet on the motorways and eternal lack of sunlight dispatches the most vulnerable and weak into the ‘recharging department’ at the country’s numerous mental institutions. Many foreigners are little aware of the dull and mentally mediocre life in darkness people put up with most part of the year in Scandinavia. Uninterested faces, grunts as greetings, avoidance of physical contact at any price. The security and efficiency of a northern nation turns into an isolated and silent zombieland.

Then Spring. Suddenly Helsinki wakes up to a March morning – alive and with a promise of something new. Temperature is still below zero at 7.30am, but it doesn’t matter because the sun is already high. The grumpy and silent inhabitants turn into smiling sociable companions. People looking past their feet, which is pretty much said of a Finnish person. After the dark, cold winter, the Finnish turn into open and spontaneous human beings, ready ro flirt anytime and anywhere. Almost compassionate and nearly warm.
Relief of the returning light. The shrill cry of the seagull. The girl in the tram giving a lusty look. Chatter on the street. Feeling of a weight being removed. How do you explain this to somebody living in Brazil or in the Caribbean? You don’t because anybody who hasn’t been through a Nordic winter can’t understand what it is.

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Know what you’re looking for

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FOR EACH TYPE OF FISH you must prepare in a certain way. Each species behaves different – prefers varying depth, light and temperature. Fish isn’t just fish. Got to have the right equipment to handle each type.
You have to study carefully the depth – if you miss the right depth you will end up hands empty. Each species prefer a certain depth. You’ll need a sonar to measure that. A couple of meters from the the bottom, a little vegetation close to the shore-throw in a metalpiece-and-hook, no pike can resist that! Or try a living bait. Different story altogether. Link the line onto a pole at shore for the night, then get in early.

Speed is everything. Put your boat running a few knots per hour. Once you hit a colony, you just need some muscle to start pulling them up. Sounds easy? Chuck in many baits at the same time and it’s a lollipop every time!
What about thickness of the line? If it’s too thick, the metal bait will swim unevenly from one side to the other. A line too thin will break when the pike strikes, then you’ll lose the effort.

Got to know your place. Got to read your echo-sounder. Got to know your fish. Got to know your bait. Got to know where to look, and how to look. And before anything else – you got to know what you’re looking for.
Right?

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