Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Believers, let not our minds get lazy: a reflection

“Age before beauty”

I have been recognising that I am slowing down a bit. I’m not as vigorous as I used to be. That includes me physically and mentally as well. I’m realising I’m having to work to keep myself alert.

There’s nothing wrong with my health or my age. I just don’t have the quickness of movement I used to have, and perhaps even my thinking is slowing down. This is not a bad thing because it is inspiring me to write to you, believers… to “let not our minds get lazy!”

I’m sure the slowness and stiffness in my body has to do with getting older…. Although I’m thinner than I used to be and within the boundaries of ideal weight, and although according to medical science I’m healthy, I am aging; so physically, I’m less flexible and less quick than I was a few years ago. I exercise most days to try to keep age at bay.

As for my mind though, I don’t think the reduction of vitality is age (or at least not entirely), but rather, I think my mind will be as fit and healthy as I choose it to be, based upon the choices I make every day. Just as what I eat and what I do keeps me physically healthy (or not!), so too what I feed my mind and how I use it will determine significantly how dexterous my thinking remains.

What isn’t good for me

I have learned too much tv or internet is not good for me. It deadens my acuity. I’ve written about that before: I can choose to watch a movie or read a book; I can choose to surf the net or not! But also, what I watch will either stimulate or deter my mental clarity and agility. This is the nub of what I want to write about today…

Proverbs 22: 24-25 says,

“Make no friendship with an angry man,

And with a furious man do not go,

Lest you learn his ways

And set a snare for your soul.”

On the surface, this proverb speaks of associations and friendships, but it can also mean influences. Today, we can influence people in the millions without ever meeting them, simply through what we post on the internet.

So too, can we be influenced by people though we never meet them in person. We don’t know the character of such people, we don’t know their personality. We only know what we see from our screens. And yet, many of these people act as pastors in our lives, or philosophers, or are our source of news and information. 

If a person is raging — either in temper or accusation — he or she is angry, unsettled or in slang, “mad”. And why do we call it mad? Because ‘emotion is hot, and reason is not’.

Irrespective of how a person portrays himself or herself on social media or the in news media, they may — and probably do — have an agenda behind their postings. If the person is angry, is it righteous anger driving them, or self-righteous anger?

Anger: righteousness or self-righteousness

Righteousness can only come from GOD. When Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, he was very angry. But out of that anger, he said clearly and simply,

“… It is written, ‘My house is a ‘house of prayer’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Luke 19:46)

If we follow writers or speakers who are angry at government or science or the rich-and-powerful, why are we following them? What they say may be accurate, but what is their attraction and what is their effect upon us: on our minds, on our relationship with GOD and sharing the Gospel, and with our brothers and sisters with whom we may not agree?

The litmus test is simple

If, from what we are digesting, we are not growing closer to GOD and to loving Him and others more, then what we are digesting is not of GOD.

Making healthy choices

How much non-spiritual food do you want to digest?  A little bit of chocolate is not unhealthy physically, but how much proportion of chocolate do you put in your daily diet? Likewise, a little bit of news can be interesting and can even inform for our prayers. But how much “bad news” is healthy to digest or even desirable?

(Insightful aside: This morning I thought about how I tend to nibble snacks and sweets whilst I’m watching the news. I just realised: I think I’m doing it as a comfort… and actually it is to comfort myself from what I’m watching! Therefore, what I’m watching must not be making a positive impact upon me.)

Spiritually speaking, for my mind, as Paul suggests in Philippians 4:8, I will aim primarily to choose, “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.”

These are righteous choices, these are healthy choices, these are wise choices to make.

Be aware

I write Preparing the Bride because, as a watchman, my call is to observe and notify. What I observe is that a whole lot of people in the body of Christ are getting seriously distracted, and sometimes even disturbed by evil plots and conspiracies of the powerful elite. 

If this time spent upon such matters is not growing us toward Yeshua our Saviour, then it is time badly spent.

If these powerful elite are evil, are we praying for their souls? If they are of the devil, why are we giving them time? 

“Resist the devil and he will flee” James writes. But I don’t observe the people I’m observing as resisting, but rather they seem to be dwelling upon the evil, sharing it — which is gossip — and being antagonised by or even fascinated with it. To my mind, this is a big red flag!

Evil exists, but I don’t choose to hang around it

Someone may respond to my provoking this subject by saying, “But we must pray against it.” Yes, and we must also pray for our leaders.

The devil is fascinating, the devil is deceptive, the devil will do anything to entice us away from Jesus. 

How close are we to our Saviour and how far from the devil in these days? How ready and prepared are we as the Bride? At the end of these days, that is all that matters.

Bless the reader and know my heart is simply, to love Yehovah GOD, the Creator of the universe, and to encourage us all to do the same.

Shalom, Shalom.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

When will I go home? – a poem

When will I go home?

“Abide with me”

my friend said.

And so

long days and evenings 

I did spend with Him.

“I can do all things”

he wrote.

And so I believed

and have lived.

“Do not be dismayed”

he said.

And so

I walk in strength.

“I go to prepare a place”

For me?

he said.

And I wait.

‘Live more abundantly’

He promised.

I am

though not how I expect.

Abide, 

All things, 

No dismay, 

Abundant life:

I await my Kingdom home

away from home

with others like me.

And Him.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

An End of things as they’ve been: a short poem

Time is marching

Clock is ticking

UK dying

Need for grace.

*The author suggests that a read of the short prophetic book of Habakkuk is timely.*

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Believer, let not your mind get lazy: a self reflection

Believers, let us not allow our minds to get lazy

I have been recognising that I am slowing down a bit. I’m not as vigorous as I used to be. That includes both my physicality and my mentally as well. Spiritually, I praise GOD because I seem to continue to grow!

There’s nothing wrong with my health or my age. I just don’t have the quickness of movement I used to have, and perhaps even my thinking is slowing down.

I’m sure the quickness and stiffness in my body has to do with getting older…. Although I’m thinner than I used to be and within the boundaries of ideal weight, and although according to medical science I’m healthy, I am aging; so physically, I’m less flexible and less quick than I was a few years ago. I exercise most days to try to keep age at bay.

As for my mind though, I don’t think the reduction of vitality is age (or at least not entirely), but rather, I think my mind will be as fit and healthy as I choose it to be, based upon the choices I make every day. Just as what I eat and what I do keeps me physically healthy (or not!), so too what I feed my mind, and how I use it will determine significantly how dexterous my thinking remains.

What isn’t good for me

I have learned too much tv or internet is not good for me. It deadens my acuity. I’ve written about that before. I can choose to watch a movie or read a book; I can choose to surf the next or not! But also, what I watch will either stimulate or deter my mental clarity and agility. This is the nub of what I want to write about today…

Proverbs 22: 24-25 says,

“Make no friendship with an angry man,

And with a furious man do not go,

Lest you learn his ways

And set a snare for your soul.”

On the surface, this proverb speaks of associations and friendships, but it can also mean influences. Today, we can influence people in the millions without ever meeting them, simply through what we post on the internet.

So too, we can be influenced by people we never meet in person. Do we know the character of the people we watch on YouTube, for example? We don’t know their personality, unless we know them personally. We only know what we see from our screens. And yet, many of these people act as pastors in our lives, or philosophers, or are our source of news and information. 

Gauging the Character of those whom we watch

If a person is raging — either in temper or accusation — he or she is angry, unsettled, or in slang, “mad”. And why do we call it mad? Because ‘emotion is hot, and reason is not’:)

Irrespective of how a person portrays himself or herself on social media or the in news media, they may — and probably do — have an agenda behind their postings. If the person is angry, is it righteous anger driving them, or self-righteous anger?

Anger: righteousness or self-righteousness

Righteousness can only come from GOD. When Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, he was very angry. But out of that anger, he said clearly and simply,

“… It is written, ‘My house is a ‘house of prayer’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Luke 19:46)

If we follow writers or speakers who are angry at government or science or the rich- and-powerful, why are we following them? What they say may be accurate, but what is their attraction and what is their effect upon us: on our minds, on our relationship with GOD and with our sharing of the Gospel, and with our brothers and sisters who may not agree?

The litmus test is simple

If, from what we are digesting, we are not growing closer to GOD and to loving Him and others more, then what we are digesting is not of GOD.

Making healthy choices

How much non-spiritual food do you want to digest?  A little bit of chocolate is not unhealthy physically, but how much proportion of chocolate do you put in your daily diet? Likewise, a little bit of news can be interesting and can even inform for our prayers. But how much “bad news” is healthy to digest or even desirable?

To my mind, as Paul suggests in Philippians 4:8, I will aim primarily to choose, “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.”

These are righteous choices, these are healthy choices, these are wise choices to make.

Be aware

I write Preparing the Bride because, as a watchman, my call is to observe and notify. What I observe is that a whole lot of people in the body of Christ are getting seriously distracted, and sometimes even disturbed by evil plots and conspiracies of the powerful elite. 

If this time spent upon such matters is not growing us toward Yeshua our Saviour, then it is time badly spent.

If these powerful elite are evil, are we praying for their souls? If they are of the devil, why are we giving them time? “Resist the devil and he will flee.” (James 4:&) Often I don’t observe people resisting, but rather dwelling upon the evil, sharing it — which is gossip — and being antagonised by or fascinated with it.

Evil exists, but I don’t choose to hang around it

Someone may respond to my provoking this subject by saying, “But we must pray against it.” Yes, and we must also pray for our leaders.

The devil is fascinating, the devil is deceptive, the devil will do anything to entice us away from Jesus. 

How close are we to our Saviour and how far from the devil in these days? How ready and prepared are we as the Bride? At the end of these days, that is what matters.

Bless the reader and know my heart is simply: to love Yehovah GOD, the Creator of the universe, and to make Him known.

Shalom, Shalom.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Surely Politics is not meant to be a Game

My Observation (an opinion piece)

Today I watched the Prime Ministers Questions, a weekly time slot in the British Parliament when ministers are given the opportunity to ask the PM questions directly. This is a weekly Wednesday televised event as typically, the Leader of the Opposition grills the PM publicly. Tonight (at the time of writing) I watched the recording from this afternoon.

I am disgusted with both leaders, PM Boris Johnson and Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer, and with both parties. Before I go on, this is an opinion piece, a response to what I watched, nothing more.

I am disquieted by the jovial nature of the discourse for, underneath their grit and attack, lay smirks and smiles and a general feeling of self-satisfaction by both of them, and many in their respective parties were jeering and baiting….. and effectively cheering each other on.

We are at war. This is not a funny season. My sadness is only just super-ceded by my disgust because the world situation, the moral decay across the world, is no joke. And while the Prime Minister uses clever slangs to sling at his opposition, and the Opposition uses words that suggest he despises the moral degeneration of this opponent, underneath the sparring, it all seems as though it is a game.

Mr Starmer asks the PM to resign!

Perhaps Mr Johnson doesn’t resign now only because he feels no real sense of moral failing, but recognises also that the other side is just as tainted and to resign only bats the degeneration into someone else’s court. It’s a cynical way to look at things but also pragmatic. And in one thing he is correct: we are in dire times and to change leadership now is “bad timing” at best.

By I digress… The nub is after all, party gate*.

In the meantime, while the nation is dedicated to supporting Ukrainian refugees and a war-torn nation, we observe the rotten disregard for the law in “party gate”.

The truth is, at party gate’s core, I reckon, the vast majority of parliamentarians were working long hours and were wanting a bit of a breather, relaxing with their own work-day colleagues. But while Conservatives were discouraging other offices from meeting, they themselves ignored their own rules. Now they’ve resisted admitting they were doing just that. Police have seen through the inconsistency but Boris cannot, or will not. The Opposition understands but uses the situation to their own advantage. And no-one really cares about right and wrong.

I voted for Boris. I knew he was an immoral man: a serial adulterer. But he would (and did) get Brexit done. But now, instead of sitting in front of a camera and genuinely explaining the detail to the nation, he glibly “regrets” what he did not perceive as criminal action, and wants to move on.

The media is great at pointing the finger. It rants about hypocrisy… whist some of the key journalists, who did precisely the same self-centred partying — even in public venues — are leading the charge. There is no sense of irony, no repentance, no sufficient humility, only a slinging of arrows and taunts and jeers of accusation. To the journalists it’s exciting news. The the PM it’s another hurdle to jump. To the public it is pathetic, infuriating, sad and dire.

I agree that the nation should not have the upheaval of a leadership contest, nor an untimely election. But this leader has no scruples and the nation suffers as a result. 

There is no better alternative

A nation gets the leadership it deserves. It seems the UK does not deserve much.

And why should it? 

We endorsed abortion. We endorsed gay marriage. We endorsed transsexualism: Human Rights has run amok. The aim of HR was for people to be protected across the world but the battle has become a joke, where the terrorists are given their Human Rights and the Judaeo-Christians are shunned for crimes their ancestors committed before they were crimes (for example slavery) and the values of “thou shalt not commit adultery” and “thou shalt not kill” are manipulated beyond recognition to excuse human abuses and crimes against GOD. The result: the total breakdown of the family, moral decay and hedonism to the level of absolute and unspeakable depravity. Yes, it is in the West, but it has spread and has infested, in its various shapes and forms, the globe.

My heart cry

Who can lead this nation — or any other — towards the values of GOD’s laws?

I simply resort to this: “Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus. Please LORD, Yehovah GOD, do not let society worsen still. Come, come now, come soon, Jesus.” 

*party gate (so nicknamed in reference to the Watergate scandal in the 1970’s during the Nixon presidential campaign): the term given to the leaked information that while the country was in lockdown, Westminster was engaging in parties — certainly work parties amongst those already working in close proximity during the work day but then holding drinks parties on Westminster premises during out-of-office hours.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Following the Holy Spirit: a poem

Following the Holy Spirit

I urge you into my life

If you will come.

I’m useless without you

I urge you to come.

I lay myself bare

If you will come;

Soul at the ready

Broken and barren

I urge you to come.

I wait patiently

Hoping you will come.

You don’t disappoint

When I’m still:

Then you come.

Thank you Lord Jesus

For He has come.

The Spirit is willing

You left, so He’d come.

I yearn for this flesh

To exit the stage

Make room for the Spirit

Then You do come.

He’s simple, divine, 

Wholesome and pure —

So what is the fuss?

Why so many defer?

I build my life,

To tear it down

For mine is yours now

Refined by Your love;

I beckon the Spirit

You willingly come

Whenever I ask

Taking time to be still.

The noise of the music

The rush of our fear

Can push out the Spirit

Not bring Him near.

So let’s be still and wait

If He will come;

I believe it can happen

When the Body is One.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

GOD’s Peace in War

GOD’s peace

Amidst war

is possible

and powerful

and essential

© Sarah Tun 2022

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Wind of Change: a poetic question

The wind of change is blowing blowing hard fast to stir and move us shake us to our core.

Awake oh nation to the beck and call

resurgence of military
leadership a must!

Who will take the baton?
Who will rise in this hour?

Darkness surrounds
— never to invade —

yet looms eerily distressingly

power to destroy.

Balance is shifting

Wind is blowing

Darkness is coming ever-closer.

Someone must stand who will not quake
for this nation and her commonwealth not to fall.

(written 21.02.2022) @Sarah Tun 2022

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Church needs to Change: a look at 1Corinthians 14 – part 14

How can the church change? Through Exhortation, Edification, Comfort

The church needs to allow itself to be transformed by GOD.

1Corinthians 14:3 says, “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” 

Where are the prophets today? Or if you disagree the prophetic exists for today, how then are we to edify one another, to exhort, and to comfort? This is not the job of one man: the minister or pastor, for if it were, we members and congregations would not be so weak. The system has existed for 1700 years and either GOD has failed to create an effective organisation or we’ve missed what He has ordained. Somehow, I don’t think it is GOD who is the weak or ineffectual One. 

He gave the means by which people can be uplifted and corrected and put at ease. Even if we don’t know prophets, there are those who, from time to time, act in the prophetic. If we allow these people to practice, encouraging them when they try, and supporting them when they fall short, we would all fair better.

I recently had an experience where I exhorted the congregation — no one single person — but I said “We’ve run out of time for polite worship!” I was so shaken by my words and felt embarrassed and said so. But the others listened and considered what I said. I was shaken for the next 12 hours, but the grace I’d received from GOD and from man helped me to relax and gradually to recognise that GOD had spoken through me. 

We need the voice of the prophetic to be given opportunity to speak.

“I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interpret, that the church may receive edification.” (1Corinthians 14:5)

May we allow tongues and give space to interpretation during a service, so we all might learn, grow and discover the heart of GOD for the moment? Yes there needs to be order, but most services are so ordered there is no room for the Holy Spirit to touch us at all. And the purpose of the Holy Spirit Comforter, for prophecy and meeting together, is at least in part, “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.” (1Corinthians 14:12)

And so, we must seek to grow: to excel, to be transformed into he likeness of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshua/Jesus.

How will the church change?

We the people who follow Jesus: the saints, the congregation, the fellowship of believers, are the church. As we change individually and relate corporately in love, joy and peace — in fact in all the fruits* and gifts** of the Spirit — and as we enable one another and surrender wholly and completely to GOD, the body of Christ: the Church, will be changed into the likeness of Jesus’ Church.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” LORD. As we swallow our agendas, our plans and best intentions; as we give up ourselves, not to death and not to another person, but to You and You only, then just as the Christians were fed to the lions in the first century Ad, so will we be fed to the world. 

And that’s okay because we do not love the world. (1John 2:15)

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with GOD?” (James 4:4a)

Where are the prophets?

We need real prophets of GOD, not only evangelists to touch the world. Atheism has a grip on the West, that needs to be displaced. But reason (intellectual debate) has not achieved this. Miracles are few and seem to be seen as trickery. But prophesy can touch even the hardest of hearts:

“And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship GOD and report that GOD is truly among you.” (1Corinthians 25)

The hard-hearted can be pierced with a prophetic word from the LORD: a word of knowledge, a show of understanding, an answer to a deep question, pain or heartache delivered supernaturally can cut and transform the heart of any person.

And so let the church behave differently

1Corinthians chapter 14 talks a great deal about  prophecy, about edification and exhortation. We in the church need to hear from GOD personally and corporately, for who in the body of Christ believes his congregation is ready for hardship, ministry, terror and violence put upon them? Are we even ready for a revival which will not only transform the church of believers but those in the world as well? Many may flock to our churches; but are we ready if they do?

The world is entering a tailspin. We have seen it coming. Yet, Is the church being transformed to be ready for it, and for the changes that are coming to our world as we know it?

Let us take Paul’s word literally and come together in our meetings as he describes:

“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1Corinthians 14:26)

Shall we come to fellowship together, prepared to share? And as we wait expectantly for the opportunity, the ideal moment, surely it will come. If we listen attentively to one another, expectant that what one brings will line with someone else’s offering, and if we come with a heart to serve and to edify the body. then surely, the church will be transformed and prepared for what is next to come.

Hallelujah! Just as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds as individuals (Romans 12:2) so we can be transformed as a body.

That at least must be our expectation and our aim.Then comes, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) And His awesome power and presence will move and shake us in ways far more transformative and lasting than anything we can do ourselves.

  • fruits of the Spirit: ref Galations 5:22-23

* * gifts of the Spirit: ref 1Corinthians 12

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Testimony: Why I still believe

Television appearance

Recently, I appeared on Revelation TV to talk about the protection and blessings which have come following the tragic passing of my dear husband, Bible teacher Alan Tun. Though we had prayed for his recovery to full health, and although instead, Alan died, we know that “all things work together for good to those who love GOD, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans:28)

For those who would like to see the programme, see R Mornings (February 24th, 2022), second hour of the programme, here.

Why I still believe

Although I lost my husband to illness even though many, many including myself were praying and believing for his full recovery, I still believe in the wonder and miracle-working GOD and Saviour Jesus. I still believe the Holy Spirit leads and guides those of us who seek Him. I still believe.

Why? There are physical miracles over the years, some of which I’ve been witness to. But there are character miracles too. I experience it in my own life, day after day, where He has altered my responses, renewed my mind to purer, more gracious ways of thinking, and touched my heart. I still believe because of who He is and who He leads me to be.

After some thirty-five years of following Jesus, I have become a kinder, gentler, more patient, and wiser person. Would this have happened as I aged naturally? No. I am sure that without the word and spirit of GOD actively in my life, I would not be the person I am. 

Each of us knows our own hearts. Mine once was full of fear, anxiety, desperation, self-absorption. This is no longer the case. Instead, my heart is aspirating towards grace, peace and love. I achieve it in some measure… all due to the teaching and grace of GOD. 

My surrender originally came out of hope and desperation; then from a passion for truth; now it comes from knowing through experience and commitment that GOD truly knows best. And so, for His love and His grace, I give my all to Him.

There is a story of a man, Horatio Spafford, who lost his children, lost his fortune. Still he wrote that well-sung lyric, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” You can listen to it here


No one avoids tragedy in life. It comes to all. But when we look at our own miracles, we overcome tragedy, knowing that GOD is faithful, GOD is sovereign, and He allows all things for our good. Loss of life, for those who know Jesus, is only loss of physical life as we know it. And for those who remain alive on the earth, we will grow more in GOD’s likeness even through the sadness, as we draw close to Him.

Miracles

I have personal miracles in my life to give me the ability to trust GOD. I have a son who would not be on earth if it had not been for GOD prompting my husband and I to have a child when we had not planned on it. That young man is a wonderful testament to GOD’s will being done.

I have travelled across much of the world, and have had several adventures, simply because I allowed GOD to lead.

I have a resilience even in loss, even in widowhood, that I know GOD has given me and my son, through the prayers of many brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom I have never even met personally.

Life is not ease

Walking faithfully with GOD, we are not promised a life of ease. But we are promised peace and hope. GOD has delivered both to me, time and again, in abundance!

When I experience trials, how I endure

The most doubtful moment I ever experienced was following a hurtful occasion in church, some years ago, when I was passed over. I had a gift I knew GOD wanted me to use. There was an appropriate occasion. But I was not given the invitation to use that gift. I was hurt. I sat in church on that day and said, “What is all this about, this Christianity?”

Immediately, an answer spoke to my spirit: Jesus is the son of GOD. Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus died and rose again, Jesus will return, Jesus is true. 

Jesus is the heart of the Gospel, not we ourselves, not our answered prayers.

Physical proof of GOD

There are many instances when I have prayed or have watched others pray, and have seen physical miracles. I once prayed for a man in the street who needed new spectacles. I prayed that GOD would take away his need for glasses; instantly, He did! Hallelujah!

I’ve seen others pray for people with back issues, and have seen legs grow and people healed.

But above all, above all the physical miracles I’ve witnessed, I know I am a better human being for following Jesus’ wisdom and Jesus’ walk. I guess you could say, who I am now is a miracle.

Be blessed in your walk. Amen.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Gracious Thoughts: a reflection

Some people are so nice

Have you ever noticed that some people seem so sweet, nice? You know, you’d think they never have a nasty thought about anything nor about anyone.

I’m not naturally inclined to be nice in that way. I’d like to be. And so, I was so pleased recently, as I was driving my car and thinking about another driver who was being inconveniently and unnecessarily slow (from my point of view), I thought to myself,

“Gracious thoughts, Sarah.” 

I thought for a moment, and then I said aloud, “Gracious thoughts. That driver is doing just fine the way he is.”

And in a nutshell, I realised the basic difference between truly nice people and me is, they have gracious thoughts. 

So, I’ve already begun to practise changing thoughts of annoyance or disturbance to thoughts of grace. I am better for it, I am certainly happier for it, and I am being changed.

I may never be as truly nice as some other people I’ve met. 

But GOD is changing me, bit-by-bit, so that I am more a reflection of His grace-full person. 

So, I encourage us all, to transform our thinking “by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2) and choose to be gracious to others, not only in our actions but in our thoughts as well.


GOD BLESS.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

LOVE: Church needs to Change Pt 13

A snapshot of scriptures about Love and my gut response vis a vis the Church

1. “Love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13)

The Church needs to rid itself of gossip.

2. “Love does not keep a record of wrongs.”

The Church needs to forgive — its leaders and its congregants.

3. The GOD of love commands, “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.” 

Who is our neighbour? Are we not each other’s neighbour? The body of Christ, aka the Church, needs to love GOD with all passion and love our brothers and sisters in Christ too. Then, we need to embrace our fellow man, with the same love, grace and mercy of GOD that we have received.

4. Amos 5:15 indicts us to “Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate.”

Let us hold neither grudges nor offences.

5. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Let us be ready to welcome all into church services and events, giving the best places to those of the most humble estate, showing no favouritism to the wealthy nor those of social position.

6. Let us practise “Fear not” which recurs in scripture so many times!

Let us be transparent… with GOD and with one another. That takes courage but it is what we need to be prepared for revival, for a huge influx of new believers, and for Jesus when He calls us or comes for us.

I pray we can change… for we are the Church.

1 John 3: 18-23 says, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

When we are operating in this way, simple, earnest, loving, surrendered, then we are a ready Church indeed!

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Reflections and Poetry

Self-sustaining church: Church Needs to Change – part 12

What is a Self-Sustaining Church

An organisation which relies only upon itself in self-sustaining, just as an individual who is self-reliant is able to sustain themselves independently of assistance. 

By profession, Paul was a tent-maker. However, with his missionary travels, it must have become difficult to stop to make tents along the road, at least sometimes.

Looking at 1 Corinthians 9, Paul goes to some lengths to explain that he does not seek income from the believers to whom he writes and yet he does need to eat:

“Do we have no right to eat and drink?” (v4)

“Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?” (v7)

Should Paul not receive some kind of sustenance from those to whom he teaches?

“For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?” (v9)

and

“If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” (v11)

Likewise, do we not need to support the church in the measure we are able, to ensure it is financially healthy and viable?

I’m not going to discuss dept or tithing. Rather, I’ll simply say that we are not responsible for what we do not have, but we are responsible for what the LORD has provided to us. 

And I’ll hi-light one other point which I think is important:

Government proceeds

We the church body of Christ, must not be unequally yoked.

This is a corporate matter just as it is a matter of individuals in business or marriage partnerships. 

Being yoked to government may enhance income but it can block our communion with and our reliance upon GOD (through His people) alone. 

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

We “cannot serve GOD and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

Worldwide we are in a time of increasing darkness. Some governments may still seek to do righteously by their citizens but there is much darkness in politics today. And the governments who once served — or at least paid lip service to — the Creator GOD rarely exist, though praise the LORD there are many individual members within governments to do worship GOD.

Countries that allow charity status to churches are rarely Godly nations now. Darkness is and is coming. 

Do we really want or need money that comes from ungodly sources?

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Reflections and Poetry

Photo Finished: a poem

Staring at a photograph 

from 15 years ago

I look at you.

*

Returning from a film

based on a murder

I think of the victim.

*

If we knew our date of death

how different would we live

savouring the moments?

*

I’d be more carefree

more relaxed

have more fun.

*

So, shall I pretend my date of death?

“Teach us to number our days”

I think now — I know how.

*

And so, I shall.

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for Writers Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Reflections and Poetry

FREE MANUSCRIPTS

I am giving away the files of the four current publications under my name and Larus Press. I gift this for Christmas, for Life, from me to you.

Go to the book pages and scroll to the bottom of each book page to access the files.

If you wish a formal print version, you will still have to buy from Amazon. But you don’t need to buy an e-book. You can have the file. I do ask that you respect copy write*.

May my stories and insights be a blessing to you and your family and sphere of influence.

Shalom and GOD Bless.

*Copy write means Sarah Tun has written the book(s) and that remains constant. Share the book, share the website, draw others to discover what “Preparing the Bride” newsletter has to offer.

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Reflections and Poetry

Happiness: a song without a tune

I had a dream that I was happy

It came as such a surprise!

I’d slipped away and suddenly

There it was again.

Love had come in romantic form

Another surprise to me

I don’t expect it to be real

But it was pleasant to imagine.

Joy is fleeting

Though everlasting

Smiles through a window

With no pane

I have a feeling

Life is beginning

Sadness leaving

Time not in vain.

I had a dream that I was free

I laughed and held someone so dear

Not in this life will it come

But in sleep, surprises to appear.

Joy is fleeing

Though everlasting

Smiles through a window

With no pane

I have a feeling

Life is beginning

Sadness leaving

Time not in vain.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

INTEGRITY: Church needs to Change part 11

The church needs to be squeaky clean! 

GOD deals with His own before He deals with the world.

Do you remember decades ago when Catholic and Anglican priests were caught up in historic and rampant paedophelia? Or when tele evangelists were hauled to court over misappropriation of funds? The world looked on and shook their heads. 

Then the world exploded as regards child abuse in the sport and entertainment industries.

And of course fraud has always been in the world.

What is Integrity?

According to Google Chrome, it is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.


Integrity is having no urge to cheat, no swerve, not even a glance to the right or left, away from what is the right course to take. Integrity is taking a stand and sticking to it, aware that the right thing to do sometimes costs but still you do not back down from it. Integrity is a valuable and honourable character quality: to know how to live and to live nobly, consistently, reliably and with honour.

People notice, trust and respect a person of integrity, whether they practise this lifestyle or have this quality themselves or not.

The church needs Integrity 

To be taken seriously, to be respected and to be valued, the church needs its moral compass in tact. 

It needs to practise what Jesus preached: It needs not to judge others but to love others, and its fellow congregants

It needs to maintain its moral principles of sexual purity until marriage.

It needs to rise above worldly desires such as fame, wealth and worldly admiration.

It needs to love GOD, love one another, just as it loves itself.

The church is not a building, not a denomination. The church is the living breathing entity of its leader and master, its shepherd Jesus, and it needs to practise what He preached if we — as a church body — are going to regain our self-respect and our standing as the moral compass in the Western world and a foundational basis for civilisation around the world.

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Reflections and Poetry

Youth Walking Death: a lament

What is this terminal disease called adolescence

that robs the young of peace

that takes the freedom of undying joy

transforming it to glum expressions of despair

or apathy?

What is this walking down the road

in hood to hide his face

the face that blossomed for years and time…

expressionless, reclusive, declining

or dying?

Where is the vivacity, the joie de vivre

that soaked and luxuriated in laughter

that revved the engines of parent and sibling

facing fury, force, with pleading

or glee?

Tease me again, oh morose one

that I may laugh with you

the face that glowed and grinned and cheered

enthusiasm alight in every fibre

shout again!

I pray and hope this time will die

and not the person inside

with relative ease and satisfaction

find new reason for life and laughter

live again my boy.

The Spirit takes us where He leads

with life and death at hand;

will you choose turning, remaining, steadfast in truth

knowing, living what you know

and enjoy!?

(c) sarah tun 2021

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Youth Walking Death: a lament

What is this terminal disease called adolescence

that robs the young of peace

that takes the freedom of undying joy

transforming it to glum expressions of despair

or apathy?

What is this walking down the road

in hood to hide his face

the face that blossomed for years and time…

expressionless, reclusive, declining

or dying?

Where is the vivacity, the joie de vivre

that soaked and luxuriated in laughter

that revved the engines of parent and sibling

facing fury, force, with pleading

or glee?

Tease me again, oh morose one

that I may laugh with you

the face that glowed and grinned and cheered

enthusiasm alight in every fibre

shout again!

I pray and hope this time will die

and not the person inside

with relative ease and satisfaction

find new reason for life and laughter

live again my boy.

The Spirit takes us where He leads

with life and death at hand;

will you choose turning, remaining, steadfast in truth

knowing, living what you know

and enjoy!?

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Humility: Church needs to Change – part 10

What is Humility?

Humility is recognising you’ve made a mistake and taking full responsibility for your actions and your attitudes.

Humility is not making excuses, not avoiding nor resisting the responsibilities you’ve been given.

Humility is modesty, yet it is not lacking in confidence. In fact, humility is being so confident in GOD that you can do anything (but you know it isn’t really you that is doing it)!

Humility is granting others the recognition they are due, and accepting recognition you are offered: graciously, peacefully, quietly.

Humility is patience with others, forgiveness to self, and offering grace to all.

That is personal humility. So how does it work at church level?

A church is humble when its congregation and leadership row together and support each other.

A church is humble when it recognises its role in a community and does not compete nor feel threatened by other churches and organisations.

A humble church does not gossip.

A humble church perseveres.

A humble church knows who the Master is and does not look to man but to GOD, each member and each leader looking to the one Father who is in Heaven, for leadership, guidance and hope.

A humble church looks to see who it can help, not who can help it.

A humble church, and a humble person, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Yes, this is Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 but does not love intermingle with humility? Isn’t humility love in action and character and grace?

Humility for today

May I encourage us all to walk in true humility: not in false modesty and self-deprecation; not lacking in confidence but bold in confidence yet not having the urge to prove it; not fighting, debating or squabbling over issues that will not matter in a year’s time, but standing for the One Truth that matters above everything else: the Gospel of Yeshua/Jesus, the ultimate example of humility and perfect confidence combined.

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Reflections and Poetry

On My Own

In my mind

I quest

an idea

and grasp

a thought

without company

soundlessness

escapes 

conversation.

Solitude —

quiet imaginings

fill me

with ease.

I rejoice in 

my own conversation.

Stillness

encompasses

so I can

create.

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Reflections and Poetry

Testosterone: a reflection

The difference between male and female is testosterone. 

There are a number of biological differences, and similarities, between men and women, but for the purpose of this reflection, I focus on testosterone:)

When my son comes home on weekends from boarding school, it is lovely to see him. We get on quite well, even though we’ve not got a lot of interests in common at the moment. He has handled the recent, untimely passing of his father with great maturity, resolve and has drawn closer to me. I am grateful for that. I have handled the death with dignity and confidence in the LORD too. We both are doing alright… 

BUT to my point: when my son comes home part of my mind goes into a muddle.

That muddled thinking often occurred when speaking to my husband too. I thought it was that I was a bit overwhelmed by Alan’s personal power, but I reconsider that now, as it’s happening with Jordan too…. I think it’s the testosterone!

I wonder if that is one way of understanding, “Your desire will be for your husband, And he shall rule over you”? (Genesis 3:16)

The major way this muddle manifests/ed itself is in my memory and my speech; when I wanted to explain something to my husband, I would forget aspects or not explain as thoroughly as I would with a female friend — or even a male friend. The strong emphasis on chronological logical sequencing was what Alan needed, and I was weak on that, depending somewhat more upon aesthetic communication. 

My son and I communicate quite well. But I find my memory of things I want to do or to talk about gets pushed into the background; I frustrate him because I don’t finish conversations, but I can’t finish conversations because he is impatient and I feel the pressure from that.

I think it is testosterone that is affecting me.

In my husband’s case, he preferred I explain things a certain way so that he could understand. With my son, he prefers I get on quickly and thoroughly. In both cases, they have a strong preference counter to my own style, and the pressure puts me in a muddle. Who they are in my life and the value I place upon my relationship with them is a psychological reason I might feel pressure. But I also suspect that pressure is fuelled in them by their testosterone and passed onto me.

I wonder: does anyone have a similar experience?

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Faithfulness: Church needs to Change part 9

The Fruit of the Spirit

… is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)

What is Faithfulness?

There is so much we can say about faithfulness.

Recently I heard an Evangelist: Ryan Schiavo, speak about faithfulness as being reliable toward others as a mark of Christian character. In his context, faithfulness wasn’t just about belief in GOD but also about being consistent toward one another: following through on promises, keeping our word. I like that take, perhaps because I agree and aim to be a totally reliable person: my yes is yes; I keep appointments or request to be released and reschedule if I can’t; I stick to the commitments I make…. I need to work on punctuality as part of it.

Believing, trusting, being trustworthy, godly: these are all marks of faithfulness.

In this piece from the Church Needs to Change series, I simply want to touch upon the faith we need as a church body to believe: 1. to trust the Holy Spirit’s leading as a mark of being trustworthy toward GOD and one another, 2. to behave in a more and more godly manner as we go through life. Jesus did nothing beyond what his father lead him to do or say, and he did so by the power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, he said, “Be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.” If this were not possible, he would surely not have commanded it.

The church, I believe, needs to be expectant for GOD to move

Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

  1. Let us expect when we pray that GOD will answer our prayers, rather than forget the prayer and continue to be anxious or concerned about the issue just prayed over.

And in Matthew 21:21, “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and cast into the sea,’ it will be done.”

  1. Let us ask GOD for His leading and then wait for it, rather than grow impatient, doubtful, or carry on with the programme as though we never asked for His lead.

And James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

  1. Let us dare to hope that GOD is moving and will move in our lives and that of our family’s, for salvations, for healings, for revelation, for His return.

The church needs to change its way of being

As the church truly is the body of believers and not a building or service structure, then can we make more room for GOD? Can we leave gaps in the service, or scrap the service entirely, so that our invitation to follow is proved sincere as we make room in our minds and in our lives, for GOD.

This sounds radical

We who love Jesus know that giving ourselves to GOD through a salvation prayer of confession is the start of a life following Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith. It is a wonderful start! But just as we make a fresh start at the point of salvation, perhaps it is time to allow the church organisation to be born again as well. Jesus said he would build his church — and then somewhere around 350 or 400AD we took over. 

How about we let him take the same tools he uses to convict and grow us, to build his church as well. 

Maranatha, Jesus come.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Loneliness is

Loneliness is a lack of shared memories

Its cure is creating new ones

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Life is in the Blood – fourth phase of Covid: Aftermath p2 Where Angels Tread

Six months have passed since Alan went to be with his Lord and Saviour, Yeshua Jesus. Through this time, the road I have travelled has been amazing… horrible because I’ve lost my life companion and best friend, my son and step daughter have lost their dad far too soon, and a wonderful Bible teacher has shared his last message on earth. BUT GOD…. In His majesty, wonder, and grace, has given all of us His comfort, encouragement; our brothers and sisters in faith have ensured we were built up through prayer cover. I would not wish this journey on anyone, but this experience has demonstrated how GOD can be so close, how life can be full of joy in spite of sorrow, and how there are always surprises which are life-giving and rich.

I’d like to round off this series Life is in the Blood over the next couple of weeks, because moving forward means dealing with the past and engaging with the future. That, I hope, is what I’ve conveyed in this series.

The Angelic in this Story

There has been increasing discussion about angels recently, in Christian circles. In the past believers were discouraged from engaging with angels because they may be “angels of light” — such as Mohammed encountered and from whom he was swayed from Yehovah GOD.

But these days, we are learning more about the blessing angels offer as we allow them to be a part of our walk with the LORD.

In my time battling for Alan during his illness, I believe I encountered angels. 

An angel to clear Alan’s lungs

It began with a close friend H, who now lives on the other side of the world, telling me she’d sent her guardian angel to watch over Alan. I was dubious (though this is a godly woman whom I love and cherish). But within days another bold man of GOD J said the LORD had told him He was sending an angel to clear Alan’s lungs.

Whoa! I thought… this IS GOD and I wrote to ask my friend H more about her understanding of angels.

I prayed for Alan and began to research about angels. One night soon after, I saw in the Spirit an angel standing next to the kidney machine beside Alan’s bed. The angel was immovable. He was not vast, nor small, just an immovable, not-to-be-distracted entity who stood guard. 

The next day the doctors said they had managed to clear one of Alan’s lungs by drawing 2L of fluid away. The other lung had less fluid but was trickier to access so they left it alone. In any case, Alan’s breathing almost immediately began to improve and this was a major step in his being able to be taken off the ventilator.

An angel to comfort me

I continued with research into angels during that time. Since my conversations with H and J, I discovered there has been a great deal of anti-angel information circulating which originated at the end of the 19th century and which we seem to hold on to. So, with guardedness, I allowed myself to consider the idea of angels in our present situation.

My appointed angel?

I experienced the presence of several which I found a comfort; but there was one in particular, whom I don’t sense now but did during the worst (coma) and best (return to consciousness) of Alan’s situation, and then after his death as well.

All I can say is that there was a comforting presence in my room on different occasions as I prayed. She did not interfere, she did not speak. She comforted. I did not have conversations with her, I did not exchange the presence of the Holy Spirit for her. She was simply another source of comfort. And sometimes I released her — and other angels to watch over Alan, simply by asking them to do so.

Where Angels tread

I am being deliberately vague in this post. If I were to write a book about the whole situation, I would write more. But I don’t want to push or cause anyone to strain or stumble. What I will say, with assurance and confidence, is that even the conservative Evangelist Billy Graham wrote a book about angels, that they are a support, comfort, and source of help, that we in the Evangelical and Charismatic “born again” branch of our faith in Jesus have largely ignored.

They are a source of help. We need to dig deeper. We must tread carefully, definitely, so we don’t substitute the glory of angels for the glory of GOD. But I do strongly suspect that we are missing something we truly may need as we continue through these Last Days.

Every blessing….

Sarah