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Reflections and Poetry

LOST: a poem

Lost in such a fast-paced world

Lost being tossed to and fro

No one knows or sees or cares

That life is full of woe.

“Not true” says the stranger on the road

“Not true” no one can cope;

Someone sees and knows and cares

That life is full of woe.

“Speak above the noise” I call

“Speak aloud to me — and all”

“I have” “I am” “I always will”

Declare: Life is full of hope.

I hear, I trust, I follow now

I finally know what’s true

Found at last, I know what’s right

Found amidst the roaring crowd

He sees, He knows, He cares for me

The One who took my woe.

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Reflections and Poetry

STOP: song lyric

Busy, bustling, hastily progressing —

ambition or lust for power?

Stop and see the man upon the tree.

Raging , roaring, fiercely drawing:

images for sale or free

Pause, look, see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

Fuming, flaily, risk exclaiming

giving up with dread

Stop, stare, see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

Starting, waiting, hope proclaiming

rest and stillness led;

Now at last: you have stopped

To see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

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Reflections and Poetry

Where I am in my journey of life: a reflection

Welcome to this New Year 2024.

Time marches on… Life is brief, funny, ironic and blessed, isn’t it?

At this time early in the year, I’m contemplating where I am in my journey of life.

Chronologically, I reckon I’ve lived about 75% of my years. The time dial turns regardless of who is living the life, who is marking their time, and I take this moment to reflect on my time so far…

My life remembered

GOD, you’ve never left me. Even before I knew You, You were waiting for me. Life has sometimes been hard. It became more challenging and more enriched when I became one of Your children.

GOD. You gave me so many talents. As a young woman, I tried to develop them all, naively. Ambitious, hopeful, almost none of the things I thought I wanted did I achieve. Yet what I learned in the process of life was that I didn’t want those things at all.

In early years, fame, praise, performance work was what I chased after. But I didn’t want those things. I had some talent; I studied to develop those talents; I worked hard. But I didn’t want those things really, and so I never understood how to achieve them. I lacked real courage.

Instead, I had a very simply desire to be loved. And through marriage, parenting, and especially through You personally, I have been loved. I have experienced the joy and pain of deep love, and I am so grateful.

As I stand in the autumn of my earthly life (perhaps it is early September metaphorically:), I look back and reflect. Then I look forward. I lacked courage but I was granted my deepest desires neverthelsss.

One of my favourite scriptures has always been from Philippians 3, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on….”

I do not mourn missed opportunities, where I lacked the courage to seize all the opportunities presented to me. Instead, I pray for the courage now to take every opportunity to be my best self: effective, purposeful, useful to the LORD and for others.

My Prayer

“LORD I pray, let me be kind consistently, ever thoughtful of others, gracious as You have been so gracious to me. Let me be bold to be myself, whom you have created me to be. Let me praise others as I would have liked to have been praised. Let me hope for others as I hoped for myself. Let me trust You totally and with abandon. And let me yield to You at every turn.

“As I stand at the end of the past and at the start of the future, let me have no shame, no fear and no regret. 

In Yeshua Jesus’ mighty and loving name, Amen.”

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Reflections and Poetry

Relinquishing Control

When we feel stressed

It’s a sign

We are holding on:

Let go control.

When we know peace

It’s a sign

We’ve let go control

And are trusting GOD.

When we are surrendered

It’s a sign

We are growing in GOD

We have yielded control.

Control is an illusion

It’s a sign

We are self determined

And need to lean on GOD.

If you’re holding on

Let go control.

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Reflections and Poetry

When we hurt for someone else: A reflection

“Unless Your law had been my delight
I would have perished in my affliction.” (Ps 119:92)

I have come out of a dark season. We all have them, from time to time don’t we?: a time when we can’t see ahead of us, don’t quite know what’s bothering us (or maybe we do) and are stuck in the dark. Well, I’m through, thankfully, and it was coming upon the scripture above that confirmed the end of that darker season.

When we hurt for someone else

Recently, someone I love had a disappointment. They took it in their stride. I did too, or so I thought. Then there was an added ‘incidental’ shock which hit me so hard! Someone looking on might have thought it presumptuous of me to be so moved by someone else’s problem. Perhaps it was because the person who experienced the disappointment soldiered on without complaint, that brought me to feel so protective.

I was angry at GOD. 

Couldn’t GOD have protected the person? Couldn’t there have been an ease surrounding the circumstances? Why didn’t He keep a closer watch or make things less difficult?!

It took time but I have adjusted. I know that GOD is sovereign, He is loving, He knows best, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Not only do I quote the scripture, but also my past experiences have proven it to be true.

Certainly GOD knows what is best. I do trust GOD sees and knows. But for a moment, I objected to His strategy, which in turn led me to a dark place. It’s probably for that reason He allowed the situation to crop up in the first place… He knew I’d challenge GOD and He wanted me to learn from it. I learned it was foolishness and even arrogance within me that doubted His wisdom.

Judging GOD

Basically, for the past week or so, I’ve been judging GOD. I’m so sorry, LORD, and I thank you that you forgive me. You brought me to this situation and to the realisation that I always have a choice: To trust You or to judge You. 

It’s completely irrational not to trust GOD. With everything I’ve been through in my life and with all He has done for me — both corporately in going to the cross, and in my own personal journey, I know that He has steered me faithfully, blessed me, protected me (against myself most of all!), loved me. I don’t and won’t doubt Him now, for if I do, not only do I break relationship with Him and break His heart, but it’s a self-inflicted blow.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

My gratitude

I don’t want to be without You LORD. Thank you for bringing me to my senses: aware of the pain, understanding the reason, leading me back to You.

Going forward: For the other person

When we hurt for someone, we can be there for them… if they want us. Availability is our responsibility. Receiving is the other person’s choice. So now I’m back in my “right mind” and can be useful again, if needed.

Trusting in the LORD

We who choose to trust the LORD will go through adverse times. He leads us into dark valleys sometimes, but when He does, He is refining us.

Refining process for silver goes something like this: the fire, the fire, the fire burns, burns, burns… It is only silver when the workman can see his own reflection in the metal.

I reckon I’m a little bit more refined by this recent experience. It was bruising. But the thing about GOD-the-Silversmith is that not only is He holding the silver in the fire, He’s also in the fire with the metal, in the very midst of the refining fire. He’s in the fire and He is the fire.

Faith is hard sometimes. It’s worth it. But I suppose my message is, 

When GOD seems to be making a mistake, wait patiently. He will reveal Himself to you and you’ll realise you’re the one who is in error. When you are reunited with Him, fully trusting Him once again, you may be bruised but the relationship — and your character — will have grown. And you will be better for it.

GOD “will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:16)

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Empty Chair: GOD Always Remembers – a reflection

This week I went to my son’s high school graduation. After 14 years of education, he can put the certificate in its folder (not right away I hope) for safe keeping, and move forward.

It was an efficient and memorable ceremony. I watched as son and friends passed through a pivotal moment, a landmark rite of passage, a time when there is only forward, no looking back. Fond memories yes but life moves on….

As for me there was another very personal, surprising moment. It didn’t involve my son at all, at least not directly. And unless he reads this blog post he’s unlikely ever to know about it.

I was sitting in the crowded hall, focused on the stage. There were a few empty seats scattered about the room, but not many I think. There was one next to me.

As it happened, no one had sat next to me. And then, just as the ceremony was starting, just as the head-of-year teacher began to introduce the next hour, I realised: the seat was an Elijah seat so-to-speak, though not literally and certainly not so profoundly. Tender though. For I realised the seat was for my Alan, my son’s father, who is now in heavenly places amongst the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

GOD showed up in that moment before the graduation commenced. He’s so loving, so thoughtful and so tender — He had kept a seat empty for me — for Alan. That I could put my hand on the seat and think, ‘Yes, this seat is reserved for the man who will not appear, but would have been so very proud of our son’.

I’m not weeping now. Nor did I weep then. I just sensed a profound love from GOD, my Father in Heaven, who reserved a seat for the father that would have been so delighted at the achievement of his son.

And so am I.

Let’s treasure our special moments, the moments that are fleeting and then they are gone. There are photos and memories. But the special sense of fulfilment that GOD provides is the most precious of experiences that comes with such landmark moments.

Every blessing,

Sarah xx

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Joy can be natural

My heart is full of Joy! All the time! But is that natural? I testify that joy can be natural. The world is imploding, one disaster after another but we can keep our joy.

Right steps or Slip sliding

“By the works of Your lips,
I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.

Uphold my steps in Your paths,

That my footsteps may not slip.” (Psalm 17:4b-5)

The Word of GOD can keep us on the straight-and-narrow path, in terms of right behaviour and also in terms of our state of mind. As we meditate on His Word, as we ask Him to keep us in balance and in righteousness, He will not fail us. We can rely on Him… and the subtext is we must rely upon Him in order to stay on the path. 

And what is the path? Joy!

In Romans 7:15 Paul says he doesn’t do what he wants to do but does do what he hates to do. So true of us all, isn’t it? Certainly, I fall into this cycle sometimes. How do we get out of it?

Speak it out!

Reading the Bible is good. Reading it aloud is better! Let us speak out the word, so that we hear as well as see it. It’s not just for reenforcement to our minds. It’s powerful too!

How numerous the times the Psalmist says he praises GOD. Just the Psalms alone repeat and repeat this encouragement. So reading the Psalms aloud, the Bible too, brings me joy, lifts me up as I lift up the LORD, and leads me in a right attitude to this life I carry on earth.

This is joyful living!

It isn’t frantic or frenzy; it’s pure joy

When we are weary, when we are down, we must praise!

When we are happy, it’s so easy to praise. But when we are down, it is not the first thing that comes to our minds is it… But we must!

GOD gives us the way to keep on the path of rightness with Him and of joy: Rejoice!

Rejoice in all circumstances. Not just because of the Gospel we share, but also because it is our walk in holiness, rightness and peace. 

Emotion is of the mind

And joy is of the heart… Joy is deeper, richer than happiness, and can aid, comfort, help our emotions to overcome pain, disappointment, disillusionment. Happiness is of the mind, but joy is of the spirit.

Overcoming sadness

It is not wrong to be sad or nervous — in fact it is rather natural and normal as part of the human experience. But a right perspective gives us a right proportion. “Rejoice in the LORD always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) We do not have to bow down to our circumstances, or be bent low.

Let His Word lead us above and beyond our circumstances and our emotions. Waves of happiness and sadness, come and go. Our joy remains, our hope in the Lord is everlasting.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Life

Life is not a series of tick boxes on a to do list;

life is an adventure to be shared with others.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

A World Racing By

Where does time go?

In the quest for night have we missed

the day; as you reflect

simply danced the time away?

So fast —

Time is rushing passed

to sit and ponder Day and Light 

ticking along, and flicking

moments passing, blink: it’s night!

To wait and think and hope — take flight

A luxury.

The World is passing by

Time is rushing passed

I do not know 

Which way to go

Grab a breath, then on we go

On quest

Time is rushing passed

It’s time to stop and stare

time to wait and glare

Into the mirror of life 

shall we dare

to Stop?

Time: Wait!

No pace, no watch; just wait

and wait

lingering into a life of rest

meandering to

ease and nature and 

peace with time…

Time: not your master.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

At This Time

At this time…

The Earth is straining

The Nations striving

Existence without You

Burning consequences of unexpected pain.

Tears shed, the strain so trying

Crying to you

Crying for Your loss:

At every independent heart

Rejecting You, rebuking,

Spilling hatred to all who truly love.

The Earth strains

The Heart breaks

The Lord blushes

At our shame.

What is to come:

I shudder, I quake

Echoing the prophecy

Of humanity’s self destruction

Salvation for all who choose —

Far too few choose.

And I sigh at the truth of it

At this time.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Deep thinking v Shallow Thinking: a reflection

What do I mean by deep thinking v shallow thinking?

Shallow is quick, superficial and efficient.

Deep is time consuming, meaningful and profitable.

Shallow is like skating, whereas deep is like scuba diving;

one scrapes the surface and stands out, while the other is silent, invisible, investigative.

One flits across the senses. The other penetrates the soul.

Shallow thinking is like a dance in quick time, elegant yet soon over leaving something ethereal: a memory, emotion or longing.

Deep thinking takes time. The body and mind rest while the heart contemplates life.

GOD is in the deep places. He’s in the speck of cloud far away, He’s in the hurricane and the eye of the storm. And He’s at the bottom of the sea where no-one goes, no one sees, unless we become like Him.

GOD is everywhere, so He’s in the shallow as well as the deep. But in the deep we have limitless time. 

And time makes all the difference.

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Reflections and Poetry

A New Thing: little ditty on a not-so-little matter

I am in a new place

Perfectly peaceful and assured;

Traveling in my child’s independence

I too, reap the reward.

Autonomy works two ways

Up and down a street;

He goes alone to venture forth

And I too am released.

Do not sweat the little things

Nor the milestones either;

Life is a journey of surprises

Whether passenger or driver.

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Reflections and Poetry

Finding an old note in Scripture: a reflection

Finding an old note reveals my growth

Recently, in finding an old note in a pocket Bible, I discovered my spiritual growth in the last twenty-five years.

I had written inside a booklet of Solomon’s Proverbs something of my state of mind which was quite revealing: it showed the state of my own complicated-but-honest heart dated 1997…. I was not yet fully broken but willing to share with GOD on the journey of surrender. I will share it with you momentarily, because what it reveals personally how far I’ve journeyed since writing it — growth is so encouraging — and also how John’s first letter is so captivating and helpful in our growth toward holiness.

1 John 2:12-14 says,

“I write to you, little children,

Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

I write to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

Because you have overcome the wicked one.

I write to you, little children,

Because you have known the Father. 

I have written to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I have written to you, young men,

Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,

And you have overcome the wicked one.”

When I wrote the note which I’ll share below, I was on the cusp of becoming one of whom John refers to as “young men”.

A witness opportunity leads me to the old note

This past week I had the privilege of discussing Our Lord with a workman who was in my house. It isn’t the first time he’s been doing some updating of plumbing. But on this day, I had the opportunity to offer something of GOD’s word to him to take away, and he was gracious and interested. Hallelujah! Isn’t it such a privilege to share about Jesus?

Well, in prayerful consideration of what to give him, I had a fresh copy of the Gospel of Mark. But I also felt to give him Proverbs (this gentleman has a lot of wisdom, common sense and is a deep thinker so it seemed appropriate) but I only had a copy of the booklet of Proverbs from the Message version by Eugene Peterson which was my own, and marked up by pencil.

As I poured through paraphrased Proverbs before the man was due to arrive, rubbing out pencil marks, I found a note I’d written in the back of the booklet dated 1997. I share it with some hesitation as it is quite personal, but I risk sharing with the desire to reveal how we all have dark corners where GOD needs to shed His light. It may even jog some of your own personal memories. We all are growing towards complete freedom from our flesh. Flashing back to “where we were then” can be so encouraging as we recognise “where we are now”, We all are on the road, travelling through the stages of maturity from children, to young men, to fathers in the faith. 

Here’s what I wrote

“Proverbs 12 (page 42): ‘I sow war’ — How to sow peace? I love pain? I hate pleasure? When chips are down, I excel. I fight much better than I can love. 

“To sow peace one must want to sow peace. I want to so war because I like victory. I like to spread my wings and talons and prove my righteousness. I like my own way, I like to demonstrate my one-up-man-ship. I get satisfaction, stimulation, from expressing my anger. It’s kind of a lust to fantasise conflict with people. License to squash.”

Now this is not a nice note. But it was years ago and a reference point of fleshly honesty between me and the LORD. So, what does it tell me?

Twenty-five years ago I was already saved and had a warrior spirit but clearly, was not fully surrendered to the LORD. I was aware of my shortcoming, and recognised the dark corner of my heart with its tendency toward conflict. Psalm 51 comes to mind, David’s psalm and one of repentance: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

The question marks suggest I was considering my preferences, exploring my mind and wondering what was really going on inside it. Where there are questions, I’m inconclusive. But I’m certain I’m competitive, temperamental and hostile.… (My own memory serves to confirm this.) Yes, I used to hold conversations in my head where I told someone off; isn’t that quite common? But as I reflect on past and present, I realise I no longer do that. I have peace instead.

In fact, I came from a background where there was a lot of conflict and so eventually, after 1997, I would become aware it was not so much that I wanted conflict, but rather conflict was what I was used to. I was deeply devoted to truthfulness, but also greatly accustomed to feeling the need to defend myself. Face to face, I might lose a battle of words but privately I could win, and so I had fantasy conflict to prepare myself for real conflict with people. A sad state really, and one the LORD has since freed me from. It is a very negative way to live. 

I wonder if this is perhaps a more common habit, a way of existing for others as well as it was for me? Well, Jesus healed me through a renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). I pray for the same for others.

How to relate to 1 John

John identifies his audience as comprising children, young men and fathers. I don’t believe this is age-related but maturity-related. 

A child is a child of the LORD because he or she is saved (sins are forgiven) and knows who GOD the Father is.

A young person in the LORD is one who has overcome Satan, has strength of faith and knows the Word of GOD.

A father is a person who knows GOD intimately as Creator of the Universe from the Beginning (even before Time).

Where are you on this path?

We who are in Christ know we are growing into maturity and holiness, becoming more like Him. But I suggest it is also useful to know where we are currently on this path. Spiritual and character maturity is not about chronological age but is all about our intimacy and surrender in Christ.

Let’s aim to become Fathers — but not by skipping a stage — so we can support others more and more in their journey, and draw nearer and nearer to GOD in ours, for His glory and His pleasure.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Yet I will trust in You: a poem

Tho the earth stirs

trembles and shakes

Yet I will trust in You

The world tumbles

falls into disrepair

Yet You uphold me

with truth and love

GOD IS our refuge

He truly is our strength

tho men destroy

Yet GOD restores

Hope in Him

He is the light 

tho hope deferred makes the heart sick;

so turn your eyes to Jesus

and know you are saved.

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Reflections and Poetry

The Mathematics of GOD: a reflection

The Mathematics of GOD

GOD: The Mathematician. Where does it say that in scripture? Well, I could stretch a point and refer to the talents: 5 talents brought 5 more, 2 brought 2 more, 1 didn’t multiply by anything to bring more. 

LORD GOD is the god of addition and multiplication. He likes to grow us, to add to our character and multiply our blessings. That is the mathematics of GOD.

GOD’s sovereign perspective

But seriously, I’m talking about how GOD adds up the costs and benefits to our life, looks at the long term, and makes sovereign decisions about nations and individuals. 

We in Western society are in a crisis. Economies are in a global mess; most countries are in huge debt, and certainly in the UK there seems to be low growth and rising interest rates. Human beings are trying to fix the problem but the problem only seems to deepen (witness UK politics and the current state of its government). GOD is adding up the costs and benefits to bailing us out of our own poor choices and hypocrisies, and seems to be saying, “Nope, it’s better if you fail — better to your life — so that you end the hypocrisy, stop the greed, and learn to live reliant upon Me. If only the leaders would recognise the message and act accordingly!

Shocking reality: Death brings Life

Recently I have experienced just how personally GOD’s mathematics has added up in my life. I am actively praying with positive effect as part of more than one intercessory prayer group; I can see GOD is moving in the society and in my sphere of influence. Praise Yehovah!!

As I experience the joy of fellowship in ministry and the praise that is within me for answered prayer, I realise my growth and my industry would not have surfaced without tragedy in my life. 

My husband died eighteen months ago. But in that departure to heaven, I was led to move forward in ways I would not have as a married woman, not because my husband would have resisted it but because I would not had to find the courage to express “my” prayers. I have been pushed to be self-reliant — directly reliant upon GOD’s leading and prompting.

My husband’s passing is a human loss, but it is a heavenly gain and an earthly release. As a member of the Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) my husband is doing as he is called to do in heaven. I am doing the work the LORD has specifically designed for me to do on the earth at this moment in time.

The LORD was pleased with Alan. And Alan was satisfied in this life. He did his assignment on earth. With his passing, now I am released to focus upon the work the LORD has for me to do and I have the courage to do it.

Philippians 3:12-14 is one of my favourite scriptures

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

We must not look back as Lot’s wife did, mourning our losses and regretting the past. Rather, after a period of grief and reflection, we must choose to trust in the sovereignty of GOD and in His perfect mathematics, if we are to complete His plans and purposes, living our lives as He intends for us. In other words, as tough as it may seem to be, loss is also release to live new chapters of our lives, so that we can move forward in ways we most certainly would not otherwise be able to do. GOD gives and He takes away, but mostly he releases us so that our gifts, our purposes, our lives will bring forth multiplication: some thirty, some sixty, some one hundred fold. (Matthew 13:8)

GOD’s leadership

GOD wants His kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven. He has crafted us to be a part of that kingdom. We must look ahead in our lives, trust GOD’s craft and creation is perfect, and allow Him to perfect us. 

I am a single person again, not by my choice but by the LORD’s hand. This is not because GOD didn’t have the authority, power or will to keep my husband on earth, but so that we would both continue to work for GOD’s kingdom in GOD’s way. 

One day all of us will be with the LORD as we trust and believe in His son, Yeshua Jesus. But in the meantime, when our surrender, our promise to follow Him is sincere, we take what is given to us, trust Him and run with it. Alan didn’t die by accident; GOD didn’t take His eye of the ball and lose the man to his mortality. No. GOD looked at us, did His sums, and decided in His mathematics: Alan in heaven and Sarah on earth would yield the most and best fruit. 

When we look at any loss or tragedy in this light, His light shines into our lives and brings joy, peace and perfect sums.

Hallelujah, GOD reigns!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Grief’s Healing: a song

Grief’s Healing: a song

When I think of you, I feel like you’re with me

When I mention you, you are here

Someone mentions your name and I smile;

I know just the thought of you heals me.

When I laugh, you’re in the laughter

When I dream, sometimes you’re there

Sharing a memory of you

Brings you home to me, and I sigh.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own

Just for a moment

We remember

And laugh and smile

At the thought of you.

When I sing, I think you listen

When I dance, do you dance too?

When someone says your name

I know my heart jumps and you’re home.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own

Just for a moment

We remember

And laugh and smile

At the thought of you.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own.

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Reflections and Poetry

Combing through old journals: a reflection about Love

Combing through old journals, letters, and memorabilia, I came across a lot of accolade, a lot of turmoil, a lot of muck of a twenty-something year old… None of it spoke directly and yet all of it spoke of one thing: What I wanted most!

What I wanted most in life

As a twenty-something year old, what I wanted more that anything else was to be loved — married to a loving and godly man was the way I achieved it. I have been blessed. Life has been “a success”. 

I ended a teaching career — wonderful and challenging though it was.

I gave up an acting career — or the hope of one.

I gave up a singing career — I never really wanted one.

I swapped homelands. It wasn’t that important to me.

On the surface, I strove for excellence in everything I did. But underneath, deep within, I just wanted to be loved.

How I made this discovery

Recently I read a play, which triggered this flow of words — this blog post. The play had nothing to do with anything, except that it was a play and once-upon-a-time, plays were everything to me. Perhaps that was because plays ultimately are about LOVE — humanity’s need for love and acceptance. When I didn’t experience it sufficiently in my life I created it through involvement in theatre. When working on a play, the rest of my life was put on hold. Nothing came before the work of a play! Director, Actor, Stage Manager: The play was the thing!

And then I found personal love…. And then (eventually) the plays stopped. And I didn’t miss them one bit.

I loved theatre and plays once. Now they mean little to me. I found what I really wanted: LOVE in the real world. So, once I’d received LOVE, I no longer needed a substitute. “No substitutes please:)”

And yet reading through this play recently, it helped me to create this message — about LOVE.

Memories and Memorabilia

Memories triggered are lessons learned. Memorabilia isn’t about how wonderful life was or about our accomplishments, but about our journey; they take us back to where we were so we can realise where we are.

I’m a widow. I lost the love of my life, my best friend. But I found a life worth living through his love for me and my love for him. And above all, we both had the love of Jesus to teach us and to carry us through.

Plays, real life, hope… all of these things matter, but they all hinge on one thing: the greatest of these is LOVE.

Why does Love matter?

What does love matter? Why do I share my journey with you? Because I am no different from anyone else. What we want more than anything else, whether we aware of it or not, what we are created for, is to love and to be loved. The love of God, ultimately, is what we need most. But within every human relationship is the opportunity for love. Love truly is our single-most need because that is the way we are made. The narcissist, in his or her self-love, demonstrates our need for love. Lacking human affection — either in the giving or the receiving of it — the narcissist seeks to fill the void with self-centred, self-absorbed love.

We all need love, to give it and to receive it. And we who love Jesus and walk along His path, need to remember when we encounter others, the basic need we all have, is what he offers freely: the gift of love.

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Reflections and Poetry

Innocence v Sophistication: an argument for parenting

Innocence v Sophistication

We are not to be “of this world”. 

Why then are so many of us raising our children to manage in this world? I include myself here; pursuing the best education possible for my son was my starting point.

Now I find myself aware he is doing his best to stay out of temptation while finding firm friendships and to mix in. 

We must learn to be outside the pull from this world

It’s becoming more apparent as trajectories in medicine and the school system become more bizarre, that certain political agendas are so anti-establishment that even natural biology and common sense have become establishment which must be contradicted.

Christian parents

We must learn to aim for maintaining innocence in our children in a super-sophisticated world. Academic reason and reality are no longer considered sophisticated enough, and mainstream thinking now celebrates what is convoluted, irrational, and ludicrous. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

How we parent is defined quite specifically in the Bible based on principles of right and wrong, personal responsibility, and moral obligation. Healthy society is eroding only because, over a very long period of time, basic Judeo-Christian values have been replaced with wooly thinking and a liberal agenda which largely ignores the existence of GOD, proclaiming instead that mankind is basically good and a “we can handle this situation on our own”. Well, and how are the test results?

As parents, we must protect the innocence of our children and not rush them into a world which promises benefits but actually risks contorting their otherwise healthy minds.

Innocence

I am discovering it is okay for my child to be ignorant of certain evils. I am realising a sensitivity against liberalism is a result of an awareness of and respect for GOD. I am delighted that my child does not wish to embrace a lifestyle that is damaging emotionally and physically. Yes, he is innocent!

I look at other children who are strong in their faith. Some of them have had sheltered upbringings, steered away from the liberalism in this world having been home schooled or having progressed through an intimate Christian school setting. Others have been in a more worldly school, but have jeered at the worldliness. And what have all these teens have as a common experience? They have grown up with loving and consistent parenting, based upon their own love for and commitment to GOD. None of these teens are particularly sophisticated but all are emotionally secure, morally responsible, and intellectually stimulated.

Sophistication

Sophistication comes far too early in our society and only gives children a sense of freedom and liberty without responsibility or emotional maturity. Sophistication is exposure to intimate emotional relationship and sexual exploration. Sophistication is a sense of entitlement to freedom which used to be considered explicitly for married adults. Sophistication is the attitude of entitlement and expectation to make one’s own boundaries and explore without limits whims and fancies. It is children making adult decisions while still in the bodies and minds of a child, with few boundaries or limitations placed on their freedoms. It is life without restriction and without wisdom. 

Our society is crumbling because at too young and age people are acting ‘sophisticated’. 

Your child

It is alright if your child is innocent in an increasingly sophisticated world. He may experience the bumps of misfitting in his world, but that is far less a risk than him fitting into a world in ultimate madness and despair.

Categories
Character Development Politics and Society today Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Reflections and Poetry

Equality Issue between men and women in the Church

“Neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.”

Why then is the equality issue between men and women still an issue in the church, even today?

Historically and Scripturally

Eve was deceived by Adam and so women are more easily deceived than are men. Therefore, women should not teach in the church in case they are deceived and lead others astray.  So goes one argument for holding women from leading or preaching.

Although I don’t fully acknowledge the logic, it’s the most valid I think and warrants that women have a covering and particularly when they are leaders; but so must men be accountable, for all are vulnerable to stumbling.

When Corinthians were being instructed by Paul in 1 Corinthians, a significant part of the church was being “told off” for carnal behaviour. This included the telling-off of the women for blabbing too much in services. ‘Talk to your husbands at home’ he said, for it is ‘shameful for women to speak in church.’ So goes the second argument… women must not teach or preach.

Ever since, we’ve had women suppressed in some congregations.

But Paul also wrote, there is no distinction in the Spirit between men and women. (Galatians 3:28) So logically, the two references cancel one another out. That would be logical wouldn’t it?

Women’s chatter

In matters of behaviour, women need to exercise self control. But in matters of the Spirit, we are equal to men and ought to be heard. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, comforter, protector, convict-or. Do we not all have access to the Holy Spirit in equal measure?

That’s my stand. In a nutshell, that’s my position. One of my callings is to convey this message, in grace, humility, boldness and steadfast faith.

Stocks of grain, a matt, and the Sabbath

When Jesus allowed his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath (Matthew 12), the leaders asked him why? And when the man whom Jesus healed was carrying his matt on the Sabbath (John 5), the leaders were very cross. Was Jesus tempting others to break the Sabbath? According to Jesus, he was not. He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the law of the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)

Men and Women are not the same… but they are equal

There are two keys to my believing what the Father wants me to do: to warn as a watchman and to stand in faith for righteousness, sometimes with words. It is not that I seek it nor do I “want” to do it. Sometimes it terrifies me; sometimes it is combative. If I get it wrong, I could cause someone to stumble and that would be on my watch. This is not my will, but to speak what I discern is my character and is my calling — or rather to say it is His calling for me. 

Reason 1: My entire personality and experience confirms I am a watchman and as such, according to Ezekiel 3 and 33, if I do not warn as I’m called to do, if a person stumbles, their “blood” is on my head.

And Reason 2: The Holy Spirit is not confined to our understanding of law. By holding the view that women must not lead based upon Paul’s reference for women to keep silent in church (1 Corinthians 14:34), Jesus’ wander in the wheat fields on the Sabbath and allowing his disciples to eat grain, or his encouraging the cripple to collect up his matt on the Sabbath, Deborah the Judge and Priscilla at teacher to Apollos (Acts 18:26) and other examples are each a contradiction to this RULE.

Did GOD make a mistake?

I am not perfect. But GOD is perfecting me as He perfects each of us who seek to surrender to His will. “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” said Jesus. 

Whilst I do not wish to cause anyone else to stumble, I don’t wish to remain silent on this issue. And for even raising it, I am blocked from ministry by those who disagree. This is sad.

Did I make a mistake?

And yet, those who fear GOD, respect and keep His word. Those who turn a deaf ear to the equality of women at least in their conscious mind, do so out of reverence for GOD. Although I may see they are wrong, they are doing it for the right reasons.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

And so, I know that I am correct in believing GOD gave me a calling I did not ask for, and for which He created me just as He willed. He placed me in contact with those who would disagree and would block my message. He did not make a mistake. So long as I am doing what I know to be right in His eyes, in love for my bothers and sisters, the rest is His responsibility and not mine.

Side-bar

For two reasons at least, there is an undeniable imbalance of men in ministry over women, both in the Bible and in our world today. Why is this? For one reason, women have children and bear the greatest portion of raising them. That is both cultural and (I believe) biological. Therefore, they’ve less time and perhaps their anointing/ministry is first and foremost for their children. Another reason why there are fewer women leaders, including in the Bible, is cultural. The rule is that men lead, but Biblically and historically, there are exceptions. 

I don’t mind being an exception. I do mind, however, being blocked and ignored on the basis there are no exceptions.

Peace and Joy

But never mind. GOD is sovereign and in His sovereignty, I have gifts which some will not accept. But I accept the gifts, and I accept those who don’t accept me.

Hallelujah and Amen. The truth does set us free! How we respond to the truth brings a consequence that can only draw us closer to our Father, Jehovah GOD, if we choose to allow it to do so. I leave others’ journey with the LORD. 

Shalom and GOD bless.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Elvis, cinema, and this Christian’s walk: a reflection

Elvis, Cinema, and this Christian’s walk

I came from the Elvis movie last night (at time of writing) — no spoilers I promise. I woke up this morning quite troubled. This has happened a few times lately. I’ve watched Elvis, cinema, and this Christian’s walk has taken a knock.

It isn’t that the cinema I’ve been watching is nasty or full of demons. Elvis is rated 12A. I’ve been avoiding anything 15 or higher rating, because I find my spirit steps away from my consciousness when I do.

My viewing

I’ve watched a number of biopics lately, especially those that straddle the 60’s and 70’s. And… this is a surprise but actually, what strikes me the most after watching these films is that I mourn the loss of the natural. Driving in a sedan, walking down a road, black and white tv, and technicolour film all harken back to a time which was modern but pre-“e-technology”. In spite of drugs inevitably taking part in the story of many of the rich and famous at this time in the 20th century, that seems to pale in comparison to our entire society having become completely transformed: dependant upon the internet.

I can practically feel my headspace being given space, relief from cerebral stress, when I watch these stories of a bygone era. I suppose there is a correlation to my own memories; I was a child in the 1960’s and stories about JFK or Elvis or other talent and politicians from that era, takes me back to my own childhood and youth, which was so much slower and simpler than what children and teens are growing up with now. No wonder depression is on the rise. No wonder many struggle with mental illness. There is nowhere to “stop” — the roller coaster of life is 24/7 and that is NOT a GOOD THING!

I am discovering that looking at old films is making me aware of how far we’ve drifted from reality: the physics of what is concrete material, and the etherial of the supernatural are two sides of the same version of the reality in which I grew up, and which are under threat. It’s ironic that although these two aspects seem to conflict, they are actually what is real, whereas today’s technology: satellite and cyber are the more intangible, like a hologram that floats and drifts but cannot actually stabilise into a fixed image.

How to cope

As I lay in bed this morning to process the heaviness and sadness I felt after viewing the Baz Luhrmann ELVIS (not because the film is bad but because it is good, and the exciting and tragic life of Elvis Presley is beautifully represented on the screen), I recognised this has happened a few times recently, each time following the the viewing of a documentary or a biopic of the bygone mid 20th century: about JFK, about Aretha Franklin , about Elizabeth Taylor for example. Each of these stories straddled the ’60’s and each had tragedy and death. It is no wonder that I felt emotionally drained afterwards.

But why I am relating this has a much more spiritual reason than it has psychological or sociological.

What do we do with the hyper speed unreality of satellite influence?

All things work together for good for those who love GOD and are called according to His purpose.… (Romans 8:28)

Rather than bemoan my uncomfortable consciousness, I analyse it and compare it to a mind at peace. I become aware… and blow the trumpet to say, 

“Worse than climate change, the erosion of our minds is gradually erasing our humanity!”

The world is racing to its collapse. We the people need to slow down. Never ever before has “be still” so resounded in my soul. “Be still for the presence of the LORD, the Holy One is here”, is a great worship song. We had Covid to slow us down. But now we are racing on. “Stop and smell the roses” — that’s another echo from the past. It is what we need.

Even children’s cinema is plagued by speed

Most everything we watch is fast and furious. I love adventure films like Indiana Jones and the Star Wars films. But we are racing and can’t keep up with ourselves. And I’m reminded of this as I linger on stories of the past. Not even so far past as Jane Austin or David Copperfield, but only 50 years ago things were still by comparison to now.

Can we get slow back?

How can we slow down in a world that is spinning out of control, as if adrenalin and speed boosters are dictating our pace? 

We just have to choose.

Shalom my friends, bless you and hoping for comment amidst awareness that even posting this on the internet is contributing to the problem. Such irony.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

What is Loneliness: a poem

Loneliness is having a lot to say

but no one to say it to.

Loneliness is having people all around

but no one who knows you.

Loneliness is not feeling intimate, not feeling in tune with another.

Loneliness is having no one to talk to, no one to listen to, no one to relate to.

Loneliness is not a matter of proximity to people

but a matter of proximity of heart, soul, mind.

Loneliness is being alone with your thoughts but wanting to share them

and no one is there.

Loneliness is not a lack of people

but a lack of people with whom to share

Your heart.

We have an epidemic of loneliness:

we can speak to people from across the world

at a moment’s notice, with a click and a laptop;

but we don’t share our heart with the person across the room

or across the table

about what is really going on

inside.

That’s loneliness.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

What makes us Human: a reflection

What makes us unique to all other creatures?

I’ve been observing humanity and wondering: what makes us human?

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

Theologically, the answer to what makes us human is that we have a spirit. GOD breathed into us and gave us life. For no other creature did GOD do this. Existent in any human being is the spirit. Whether or not the spirit within is alive depends upon whether we have given our lives to Jesus, for in so doing, our spirit is revived. 

We all inherit sin and so we all inherit mortality. As Adam’s spirit was alive at his creation, so did it die when he sinned against GOD. Faith in Jesus revives us and revives our spirit within.

That’s the basic theology of eternal life.

But what about our uniqueness as people, whether saved or unsaved?

What about the aspect of humanity as unique compared to all other living creatures?

This is important, particularly in an age that suggests for many that we are no different from animals? Many refuse to address the theological aspect.

This is what I’ve been reflecting on.…

To my mind there are three unique attributes which make us all human

Memory

When I recall experiences from the past, even the long distant past, I can enjoy all over again the people, experiences, events. I can even line up past experiences with present hang-ups or preferences. I have logic and I have reminiscences which trigger attitude or behaviour to certain stimuli. And I can alter my perspective by dealing with memory and addressing fears to remedy them. Forgiveness plays a huge part in healing.

I don’t think animals can rationalise past and present in such a way.

Relationship

We are designed for relationship. People need people. Even hermits at one time needed people, though they may have decided eventually to extricate themselves from society. There will likely be a reason for that, which takes us back to reflecting upon the above: memory.

Consider male and female. Not only do individuals each bear relationships in our lives but we can even draw a bit of a line between the sexes.

Here’s a joke which addresses this:

“A man is granted 3 wishes by GOD. For the first, the man says, “Can I have a zillion dollars?” GOD says, “Ah, I can give you a zillion dollars but extreme wealth has its challenges and I don’t tend to do the money thing casually.” Next the man asks for fame. GOD says, “I can make you famous but that won’t really be good for you because all your privacy will evaporate and you’ll be miserable.” Finally the man says, “Can you explain to me women?” GOD’s reply is, “How much money did you ask for again?”

The point is, we are so complex as individuals. Yet, the difference between how men and women relate, though an overgeneralisation, can also be divided into more-or-less complicated, the woman being the more complicated. Whether or not you agree with the premise — I think the vast majority of folk who have male/female friends and family will agree. In any case, we are each different and we all do relate sometimes in very complex, sophisticated ways. Other times we may react from basic instinct; yet, on the whole, we do not live our lives solely on a reactionary basis the way animals instinctively do.

Conscience

This is the Big One as far as I’m concerned!

Romans 1:28-32 hits the nail on the head for me:

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Mankind is born knowing and knows inherently right from wrong but chooses to ignore it. By our conscience we know right v wrong, but in sin, we ignore it. Ignored long enough, the human conscience is seared. This is what has been happening in society over the last 50 years and has most rapidly decayed in the last decade.

First, in the 1960’s in the West, sex out of wedlock became “endorsed”. Fast forward to today, there is a push from the West upon all other societies to accept LGBTQ rights as Human Rights. I’ll join the dots:

  1. free-loving sixties motto: make love not war
  2. the pill is made available for women
  3. abortion becomes legitimised to liberate women
  4. common law lifestyle becomes legal partnership
  5. gay marriage becomes legal
  6. all sexual relationships are acceptable in society, mandated as human rights 
  7. children can choose their own gender and be prescribed hormones to change their biology

These are mere highlights to a gradual transition from Judeo-Christian values about sex and marriage upon which the Western society was built to humanistic, atheistic viewpoints fostered by the United Nations and all their tangents.

Children no longer experience the guilt of conscience when they sin sexually and so society has morphed into a situation in which we find ourselves now.

I could trace a time line about violence as well, by looking at removing the Ten Commandments from schools. 

Our conscience makes us human. Removing conscience is propagating behaviour as base as animals: i) sex to fulfil basic instinct and ii) killing for survival.

Humanity is unique

Whether we look at human beings as creatures uniquely created by GOD or not, the reality is we are different from animals when we are at our best. 

At our worst, we become barbarians. 

Perhaps, and so it seems, that is what we are becoming as we remove the restraint of human conscience which was in-built at Creation.

What I dwell upon

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I choose to dwell upon the concepts of hope and restoration. I choose to pray for this for humanity. 

We are in the Last Days (last days of the Gentile church before Jesus returns) I believe, and although far into the future nations and individuals will one day be judged by Jesus, in the meantime, we can behave as human as possible and endorse the purpose for which each of us has been born: to be in relationship and to love one another… And for those who choose to, to love GOD first. Getting the order and the balance is key to ensuring we know what love is (see 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John chapters 3, 4 for GOD”s definitions), and to practice it.

Practicing love, in its true unselfishness, is what makes us most human.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Why I still believe: a sort-of poem

I still believe

God exists.

God is good.

God is sovereign.

Why do I still believe?

I still believe because God has heard my prayers

I still believe because God has answered my prayers.

What God has done in my life:

God has transformed a self-centred, frightened, self-determined person

into

A gracious lover of others.

God has transformed a self-willed, ambitious, self-righteous woman

into

A kind mother and friend.

God has transformed a sad, lonely creature

into

A happy, contented lady.

Grace of God in life…

Grace is receiving goodness that we don’t deserve;

I’ve learned to receive God’s grace and grace from others.

Grace is humbling to receive but

a joy and relief to forward to another;

that’s now the way I live life

and recommend it to others.

Bumps but no bruises

Imagine a child of nine years getting his first bruise and thinking, 

“Oh! this must be serious!!” 

because he’d never had a blue patch before? All because

I prayed: from birth to nine, asking God,

“Please protect my son from bruising”

and He did.

Healing of God

I’ve seen God heal legs, backs, heads and hearts 

Eyesight improved, toothache removed

and

thought processes changed…

The miraculous

God does miracles yesterday and today

Healing broken thoughts

time and again

… even my broken heart.

Why I still believe

God is true

God is good

God is kind

But most of all

I still believe 

because

He has transformed me

more and more

Into what I’ve asked Him to make me… 

which is simply, 

more like Him.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

I’m longing for Worship: a reflection

I’m longing for worship

I listen to worship such as this:

https://www.facebook.com/radiantisrael/videos/1266674127090941/?extid=NS-UNK-UNK-UNK-IOS_GK0T-GK1C

and I’m provoked to worship.

I am deeply longing for the opportunity for corporate worship that will run deep, filling me (yes, me — am I ego-centric?) and all of us with the Holy Spirit — of with His joy, passion and expression of the love I have for GOD and the thanksgiving I want to express to Him: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit of Yehovah GOD.

Oh LORD, where is the opportunity to worship you in Spirit and in Truth? How I long for this.

In Jesus’ name, I pray: for all of GOD’s children to worship in Spirit and in Truth. I pray for release, expression, opportunity, joy, and the excitement of GOD’s power and presence and responsibility. I pray for an infilling for myself (not out of greed but out of desperate need to be close, intimately close, to our Holy Spirit) and for all His children to be aware, to long for and to experience GOD in His fullness through anointed worship.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

What is Life: a poem

What is life:

An experience

a journey:

from birth to death

to life.

If you’re “lucky”

you choose wisely

and surrender

in order to live.

But in faith, first

you must die.

then-and-only-then

are you free from fear

of life and death

and you can truly thrive.

So is the first part of the journey:

the mystery of Christ — 

salvation and all that —

to be truly alive

to thrive and dive into life

is first to die to self

and so to live.

So is the beginning.