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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.

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Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Who is the Accuser?

Who is the accuser? 

Satan is the accuser. How does he work? Through people. Which people? Predominantly the people of the church. Let’s be sure we are not his tool.

The church is in perilous times. The church is in challenging times. The Church as a body of believers has never had such opportunity for growth and never been so vulnerable to attack — because the two necessarily go hand-in-hand.

God is sifting

Are we going to grow in person and congregation, making way for new believers in Yeshua Jesus? OR are we going to implode from within? 

GOD is sifting the wheat from the chaff. Each of us is both: wheat and chaff as we are both flesh and spirit. Sanctification (1Corinthians 1:30) is the process of growth from being led by our own thoughts and intents to being led of the Spirit’s. Also, just as we are one body in Christ, so the congregation — local and international — is being separated or sifted: the wheat from the chaff. 

Individuals and Congregations

How is GOD separating the wheat from the chaff? He allows the accuser to operate; how we respond will expose our chaff or our wheat. Our individual and corporate response to the accuser’s meddling reveals what in us is either godly or not. Then we choose whom we will serve… We can recognise our corruption and repent or we can allow it to take over and accuse.

Self-righteousness v Righteousness

Who is the accuser? Satan. He is prowling around, seeking whom he may devour. (1Peter 5:8) How does he devour? Through accusation. If you are accusing, are you not his handmade?

I have discovered, through my own journey of failed good intentions, that there is a very fine line between what is righteous in GOD’s eyes and what is purely righteous in my own; the latter is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness wreaks havoc in its self-imposed exercise of judgement and condemnation. It sees evil in everyone but itself, and looks to spiritualise actions and motives of others. It is key in Jesus’ proverbial: ‘seeing the log in the other’s eye rather than spotting the plank in his/her own.’

I’m being blunt because I’m seeing the accuser operate. I’m seeing him infiltrate churches and individuals. I’m seeing him devouring congregates and congregations by putting thoughts into peoples’ hearts and minds — good people, sincere believers — who are feeling justified to attack others (usually covertly rather than directly because the devil is, after all, a coward). When accusations are behind backs and behind doors, you can be sure the enemy is at hand.

What is to be done to combat the accuser

First, please note I am grossly over-simplifying matters for the purpose of this short post. The devil devours in many ways and accusation is just one of them. But accusation is the epitome of condemnation and remember, 

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8) Therefore, if one is condemning, one is not operating in the spirit of love or Christ.

Remember, you shall be known for your fruits:) The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness and self control. (Galatians 5:22)

Open discourse doesn’t allow the enemy to get into congregations. Face-to-face confrontation, however difficult, is the (messy) way to avoid gossip and back-biting. But most of all, love, trust and mutual respect are keys to ensuring godly relationship persists and the enemy does not get a foothold.

Jezebel spirit

Jezebel was Ahab’s self-serving wife (read 1 Kings 16 – 21 for the full story), the sort of person from whom the character of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth might have been derived. 

Today we have teaching about the Jezebel spirit of control that operates through other people. I’ve had that spirit and I’ve seen it in operation through others. Jezebel, in the spiritual sense, is a sense of manipulation and control that seeks to “get its own way at any cost”. BUT it is all-too-easily given as a label to anyone who doesn’t agree with the accuser (which tells me it’s likely operating more in the accuser than in the ‘accusee’). 

We need to remember Christ died and saved the believer. If one is truly demonised by any spirit (and theologically, I recognise there are many who will weigh in on the debate as to whether a believer can or cannot be possessed by anything ungodly) he or she needs love, sound teaching, deliverance and more love. Condemnation, accusation, and gossip are not on that list of “how to help a person oppressed by demons”.

Does anyone really believe a sister or brother in Christ deserves to be hurled onto the street and devoured by dogs as Jezebel was as GOD’s response to her evil intent? Does anyone really believe someone who declares love for Jesus is motivated to destroy anyone or anything that gets in his or her way? Because that is was the accusation implies.

Beware a spirit of accusation

Rather, I think we need to be wary of any accusation that we may carry. We are responsible for our hearts and out of our heart speaks truth or lies. Accusing someone else of lying, deceit, or evil intent is a very dangerous thing to do. Sadly I’ve seen it done all-too-quickly and all-too-easily. Yes, many do so out of fear of the power of that evil spirit, and in that sense, exposure of it is intended for good. But fear is also a tool of the enemy, the remedy for which is GOD’s “perfect love [which] casts out fear. (1John 4:18)

I am not condemning

I am not condemning anyone through the writing of this post. I am warning. If your heart is convicted through the reading of this post, we both can praise GOD. For through conviction comes repentance. And after repentance, comes the reparation: the apology to the falsely accused and their forgiveness in return.

Through conviction, apology, and forgiveness, the enemy is thwarted and the real accuser, the real Jezebel, the real evil is thwarted.

Please GOD

The enemy must not be given a foothold in our hearts, even if our hearts are well-intended. Please GOD expose this accuser of falsehoods in our own hearts and teach us to love one another well, by your gracious spirit.

Amen.

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Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

No fear of death

We who are in Christ are free to live knowing the GOD of all creation knows us and loves us. He guides us as much as we allow Him to, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of His testimony. 

And when this life is done, where are we going? To our heavenly home. In fact, we are pilgrims, we are passengers, we are aliens of this world. (1 Peter 2)

So, then do we cling to life? It’s an odd thing, knowing we are bound for heaven but not seeking it, and dead to this life through baptism and yet very much alive to enjoy one another, to enjoy life.

What do you most enjoy? Rustling of leaves in trees on an autumn day? Twittering of birds in the spring? Snowdrops on your tongue in the wild north? Laughter with friends, or hearing your grandchildren shriek in delight? Or the smell of a wonderful roast beef dinner (or the equivalent for you… considering your culture or your diet)?

What do you savour? What do you miss when it’s gone?

We are more than on the brink of war. Dotted around the globe there has virtually always been war somewhere, but now with the Ukraine and Russia fighting, and refugees escaping in the millions, war is here, in one form or another, in Europe and effecting the globe.

And what about us? Do we fear invasion? Or starvation? or Death?

I remind us all: we who are In Christ, have no need to fear, have no fear of death. 

Paul said, “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) As we trust in GOD, His word and His love, we know that we know we will see Him face-to-face one day. 

I am not afraid of when that day might be. For if I stay, I am with the family I love. And if I go, I go to the LORD and the the family I once had. 

What can we gain if we fear death? 

What can we gain if we do not?

Perhaps it is time to live as though this may be our last breath, not in fearing the end but in relishing the present. 

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6)

I have people I treasure here. I have people I treasure who have gone before me. Either way, I trust in the LORD. I shall fight the good fight and continue the race until it finishes, but I will trust the LORD for the timing of the end. And I have peace.

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Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Taking GOD out of the box: freedom v religion?

Do you know how much GOD loves you?

Do you know you are free to make any choices you want? 

Do you know, really know, GOD is sovereign over everything? 

How big is GOD? 

Do you get anxious? Concerned you might fail? Do you fear making a mistake in GOD’s eyes or offending someone else?

How much do you trust GOD? How much do you trust yourself in Him? How much do you leave your life in His almighty hands? How much do you know it’s okay if you can’t say honestly, “I know, I believe, I trust!” to all those questions.

How much do you dwell in the peace of GOD’s Shalom, confident in His saving grace? Do you know that: The bigger your GOD, the more you will relax!?

TODAY, my point is to get us to realise just how absolutely incredibly HUGE Yehovah GOD is, and how powerful, and that He leaves nothing to chance! And next we are to recognise we are saved to walk in freedom not religion (which has a peculiar and persistent way of trying to trick us).

  1. Let’s look at GOD’s law to help us to see how BIG He is:

“Oh, how I love your Law… Precepts… Statutes…”

Matthew 12:1-2 “At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!””

The Sabbath is very important to GOD, just as His day of rest is important for us. But GOD is bigger than our understanding of Sabbath rest and is bigger than our interpretation of scripture. We can get very bogged down or hemmed in by what we think GOD intends when really, we can explore and learn by study and intimacy with GOD, what he really means in His word.

For example

Matthew 12:11-14 “Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.”

The Pharisees perceived that Jesus was breaking the law and encouraging others to do so. It infuriated them. Led by a pharisaic — a religious – spirit, they sought to yoke others.

The Pharisees had put GOD into a box, calling the box the Law. All Jews were meant to adhere to the Law and failure meant condemnation and sacrifice. And yet, GOD knew there would be failure to keep the Law which is why He gave them the sacrifice so that they could repent and move forward from condemnation and sin. In an even greater way, through faith in Jesus, because of His death and resurrection for our sin, we are saved from the sacrifices of the former Law and know we are saved to eternal life.

A religious spirit says Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t sufficient, but we must earn our salvation. This is completely contrary to the Gospel message which Jesus personified.

Salvation by grace or by works?

Although we are free in Christ, do we do the same as the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus on earth, putting heavy burdens of shame upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters? Do we condemn people (rather than their sin) or do we encourage one another to overcome? Is our GOD big enough to forgive anything when repent?

GOD is sovereign. His ways are not necessarily our ways and His understanding is not necessarily our understanding (Isaiah 55). This outlook has been lacking in many religious people throughout history, which is likely why a large contingent of people are not interested in Christianity today. Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi said something like, ‘The teachings of Jesus are good but it is the Christians that I can’t accept.’

Know the Word to distinguish GOD’s heart

IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE WORD — not so we can break it but so we can know our freedoms in Christ. When we know “all things are permissible but not all things are helpful” and follow His Spirit, trust Him, and know He’s sovereign, we can rest in Him. We strive to ‘be perfect’ as He is perfect, and when we err, we repent and move forward. 

Resting v Relaxing

Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Allowing GOD to be BIG means we can rest in His will and purposes, trusting Him to reveal His path. As we surrender and rest, He leads us. GOD’s rest is walking in obedience whereas relaxing is “idle hands” which has negative consequences.

There is no need or room to be anxious when we rest in Him!

Free from Religion

Let us also not be religious or heavy-handed or pharisaic like some of our predecessors but rather let us practice the Law of love: “Love the LORD your GOD… and your neighbour…” It is what Jesus said and what he lived.

GOD’s Standard

And yet there is a standard, isn’t there. Jesus said of the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you… Go and sin no more.”

How did Jesus make that proclamation of forgiveness and commandment of changed behaviour? GOD was not kept in a box. GOD is and was — for Jesus —completely sovereign. He was righteous. Jesus followed Him, was intimate with Him in prayer, so much so that he did nothing that was not from the voice of His Father. Therefore, Jesus could step forward knowing the Law but using it for its intended purpose: not to lay heavy burdens but to guide towards righteousness.

2. Let’s look at GOD’s Word to see how BIG He is:

Born again, Bible believing followers of Jesus believe GOD’s word is accurate, complete, and any action of belief needs to be in line with the Word.

BUT do you know we don’t have to put that Bible Word first. WHAT?!!?

GOD comes first. That’s how big He is. Even Jesus doesn’t know when he’s returning, only the Father knows… That’s because even the word doesn’t stretch as far as GOD does.

Living in this knowledge we have Shalom. Denying it keeps GOD in a box, making us fearful and vulnerable. The flesh convinces us that our choices, activities and behaviours influence the ultimate outcome. This thinking is like mixing linen with wool. The Hebrews were told not to do that…. nor to put new wine in old wine skins… remember that? (Matthew 9:17)

3. So, what do I mean by “taking GOD out of the box”? :

WE NEED A PARADIGM SHIFT

When we think we’ve got an issue sorted and clear in our minds, it’s so often a sign we probably don’t. The issue will arise again one day, for us to recognise: “Oh, I thought I understood, but now I see more clearly.”

Saul — who later became known as Paul — was a pharisee and had his Creator in a box. He was certain he was doing GOD’s will in destroying the followers of the upstart rabbi Yeshua. The Pharisees were the leaders of the faith at the time of Jesus, but they didn’t see the Messiah coming! They needed a paradigm shift, which is exactly what Paul experienced when on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9)

4. So, how do we live?:

We have freedom!

Is it total abandon? We have freedom but not licence. “Do we sin so grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1) 

We also don’t want others to stumble. Rather than to tempt others, we put aside our freedom on occasion for the sake of others. 

When we look at loving GOD and one another, we look not to get the most out of our freedom but rather, in caring for the spiritual wellbeing of one another, we measure our actions, showing self control and restraint, not because of law but out of love for others.

In this way, GOD is outside of the box we may have put Him in, and likewise we discover our place outside of a box, free to be alive.

So, let us be free to live, love and learn… that we might become more and more like our Saviour and role model, Yeshua – Jesus the Christ, lamb of GOD, risen one.

Shalom and Every blessing to you as you navigate through life by the power of the Holy Spirit who resides in all who have given their lives to Jesus.

Categories
Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Loneliness: the 21st century disease

Massive change to society

What do you suppose has changed this world most rapidly and most profoundly in the past 2 decades… even the last decade? What has transformed the way we live, interact, study, learn… not what we study, but how we study? What is the single-greatest influence in recent years that has transformed the way people around the world live?

INTERNET! If I say it’s the internet would there be much opposition?

What do you suppose is the single-most crippling disease in recent years or even just months? Not Coronavirus, although Covid has certainly made this other disease more obvious… It isn’t heart disease, at least not literally… I would say, and this is just my opinion, but I’d say many would agree with me… The #1 disease in the 21st century is Loneliness…

Loneliness

Loneliness isn’t mental illness, per se, although sometimes it can be closely linked. Isolation has crippled our world — yes economically through the pandemic, but also this by-product: isolation has been around a lot longer than the pandemic. Isolation is largely a result of the internet.

While the internet has expanded our list of contacts, and has enabled people to link up with “long lost friends” — yours truly included — it has also created a shallowness to our relationships, because we have less time as we spread ourselves thinner and thinner with each person, and have less face to face time with one another.

It is vital that we learn how to enjoy our own company as a healthy basis for human relationships, and we’ve had plenty of that especially over the last 2 years. BUT BUT BUT as well as “me” time, we also need “we” time: time with me and Jesus time!

Time with Jesus

We need abiding time…. John 15:4 says,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

This abiding with Jesus helps us tremendously. And we also need occasions to be with flesh and bone friends: for companionship, discussion, fun! … and of course, spiritually: iron sharpens iron.

Companionship

If I had to pick one single thing I miss most with my husband who has passed way, it is our conversations.

What does John write about companionship? Continuing in John 15:9-13,

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”

Then he instructs the disciples: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Inherent in this is that we have friends, we need friends, and Jesus recognises this.

Then he puts a bit of a definition about quality friendship in verse 13 when he says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Jesus values friendship. We are not meant to be alone. GOD even said “in the beginning it is not good that man should be alone” and therefore He made female as well as male.

PART I: IDENTIFYING LONELINESS leading towards the #1 cure

First premise: We aren’t meant to be lonely. Being alone is not the same as being lonely…

What do human beings need for contentment as a way to deal with Loneliness? 

  1. Self acceptance — for Inner Peace: John 15:11 “joy may be full”. We need a ‘relationship with ourselves.’ To have ‘fullness of joy’ we need: i. acceptance of self ii. acceptance of circumstances iii. reaching out to others though calm, confidence and love iv have something to offer and v to be ready to receive also. In these ways, we experience fulfilment even when we are on our own.
  2. Relationship with GOD: We are made in His image, male and female. With our current gender blurring and natural/biologicial boundaries being removed, there is a lot of confusion. BUT we are wonderfully and fearfully made, Psalm 139: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. There is one GOD who made us according to the Bible and He is in relationship: Father, Son, Holy Spirit (who perhaps has the most female personality aspects). Other gods are either remote or powerless. Here again in Psalm 139, David knows GOD does not leave nor forsake him, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence….

“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.”

3. Loneliness and human relationship: Have you ever felt ‘alone in a crowd’? Have you been the centre of attention and yet felt completely misunderstood? Have you hidden your true self (we all do in some measure, don’t we?). These mark our sowing of loneliness. I recently watched a documentary about Cary Grant, the famous and award-winning actor during the 1950’s and onward. He and many Hollywood stars are prime examples of being famous and yet totally lonely. Have you or anyone else you know been the ‘scapegoat’ of the family and felt isolated as a consequence? Rather, have you been blessed with a great friendship in your life, either with a spouse of good friend? Look at David and Jonathan and what devoted friends they were? Friendship is valuable and to be valued. We are not meant to be alone.

PART II: SYMPTOMS of LONELINESS

  1. Loneliness and Hunger: Loneliness is like a hole, a void in our lives. It can ache, like hunger. So, what shall we fill it with? People-interaction or food? Comfort eating is a real problem in society today, with unhealthy snacks being the tasty temptation to fill/fix the problem rather than addressing it. Poor diet is just one health issue that can arise from loneliness. (more later…) But Matthew 5:6 says, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”
  2. Loneliness and Pride: We are proficient at masking our pain when we don’t want to appear weak or vulnerable, or perhaps unpopular. But while masking our pain is sometimes prudent, often it can lead to rigidity, high blood pressure, anger that can explode inappropriately — and even provoke our isolation with a “superiority complex”. Our personalities can become distorted. On the fantasy extreme, look at the super hero foes… aren’t they often people who have been shunned, excluded from the crowd? And on a serious, very serious note, Adolf Hitler was denied art school and was a loner. One of the profile aspects to mass murderers, serial killers, psychopaths is their isolation. Taken to extreme, pride and loneliness can be a toxic combination. Left on his own, King Saul wrongfully offered sacrifice to GOD which brought down his reign. And of King Uzziah it is written in 2Chronicles 26:16 “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” Solomon wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
  3. Loneliness and Despair: Depression, isolation, fear, emotional instability and insecurity all may stem from the barren landscape of the heart that is the result of long-term loneliness and the despair that comes with it. If we despair for any reason, how can we be revived? Psalm 119: 25 says, “My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” Spending time with the LORD and in His word lifts us from loneliness and all its consequences. This may be a temporary solution as we do also need human relationship in our lives. But GOD will bring us through if we will allow Him to do so.

PART III: AVOIDANCE TECHNIQUES to LONELINESS

  1. Loneliness and Busyness: “Be still and know that I am GOD” is repeated in scripture time and again. Without stillness, we can hide our loneliness behind activity. But overactivity can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, frustration and over-work. 
  2. Loneliness and (over)Eating: Poor diet and comfort eating is a way people cover up their pain, whether it is pain from loneliness or some other grief, anxiety or fear. But the medical consequences can be quite profound: diabetes, kidney disease are two serious diet-related illnesses. Cardio-vascular diseases can also result. Bad teeth / bad breath and obesity are results which are visually apparent. Rather than to feed our discomfort, we are meant to consider our bodies “the temple of the Holy Spirit”. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” When we try to manage our pain rather than deal with it, this is an example of ‘being wise in our own eyes” which brings destruction rather than well-being.

PART IV: CURE FOR LONELINESS:

  1. Search for, find GOD’s plan for your life: Jesus gave us clear instructions. i. A new commandment: to Love the LORD with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbour as ourselves. and ii. To go into the world preaching the Gospel, healing the sick and raising the dead. This will not only keep us busy but also engaged with others. Jesus also gave us a new family to be a part of: the family of the Church. Yes, we’ve messed up His plan, taking it onto ourselves; but if we search hard enough, we will find a family of believers who will honour and accept, love and encourage us, especially as we seek to model it. We all have a particular plan for our lives, but whilst we may not know quickly and easily what that is for us individually (it took me 3 years of concerted effort to discover what my calling is; I’m still waiting for it to be fulfilled completely), we have plenty of opportunity to engage with others and have purpose, while we’re waiting for GOD to unfold His complete plan for us individually. Being transparent, open, vulnerable on the one hand and being compassionate, encouraging and kind to others on the other will draw people to us who will provide human contact which eases and removes loneliness.

CONCLUSION:

  1. Loneliness is not an incurable disease. Rather, as we mature and reach out to others, as we recognise we’re meant to be part of a family, and recognise that following GOD is not a religious activity but a relationship-based life, as we are willing to go to GOD through His Word and His people, and as we resolve to be healed, so we will become whole. When we practise the great commandment to love GOD and love others, our isolation will end. “ In Him, may we live and move and have our being” both individually and corporately… Amen.
Categories
Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Intimacy with GOD and the Grace of GOD in us

Recommended Resource

I am reading a wonderful booklet called “A Call to Intimacy and Truth” by Judit Catan. In it, we are challenged to be completely transparent, totally truthful, and committed to the Holy Spirit and to seeking intimacy with GOD the Father even in the midst of our church, our congregation, our fellow brothers and sisters in a church service. 

I love this booklet because it articulates (well, I’m in Chapter 4 right now, so I must qualify and say, ‘so far as I’ve read’) how we need to allow ourselves to become unreligious in church in all aspects. 

“I believe, intimacy is God’s uppermost desire for us today. He wants us to be easy and intimate with Him and with each other……. It is also a call to genuine fellowship, unguarded and capable of taking risks.” (p7 “A Call to Intimacy and Truth: Pre-requisite for Revival”, Catan, Judit, © 2007)

Behaviour in Church

But what about decorum and politeness and grace? How can we get rid of all protocol (because as Judit does explain, there is a form of religion even in decorum) without being downright rude, since Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, love is never rude? 

I believe the answer is so simple: it is by grace toward one another. 

To say we do all things in love is too vague as there are so many things we can do or say and simply attach, “Well, I said a word of correction to you, but it was in love, wasn’t I?”

Grace-covered Lifestyle

Grace is receiving what is undeserved: forgiveness, acceptance, unconditional love.

This grace of GOD, which we receive and are grateful for, comes through His offer of salvation and Jesus’ sacrifice, and extends beyond human love. Grace measures everything — our every action and thought and word — if we allow it to. If we check ourselves and ask “Are we acting with grace?” or if ask GOD, “Is there anything I missed in my behaviour in church or with a brother or sister today?” He may reply “Nothing, well done…” or He may reply, “You could have shown more grace.”

This awareness of a less than perfect grace happened to me recently. I gave a word in a group, referring to the scripture where we are told that if we approach the alter of GOD but have a problem with a brother or sister, we need first to make peace with the brother or sister and only then make the offering to GOD (even now I cannot find the scripture — may a reader kindly and graciously offer it?) As I gave the word I was puzzled but also slightly dissatisfied that this word should be needed to be articulated in this particular group. And so, I was slightly judgmental, not perfectly acting in grace. I didn’t realise this at a the time, but alone with GOD in the evening, I did ask and He said to my spirit, “You did not demonstrate perfect grace.”

The most important aspect to this grace perhaps is not the magnificence of it, nor its power, but that we need it desperately to separate us from our own egos. Whether we experience rebuke or praise, His grace is sufficient to carry us. Our ego will love praise or crave affirmation from man. But His grace fills our spirit and restores our soul so that we do not need anything from man, but only from Yehovah our GOD. As we live and move and have our being, His grace is sufficient. We seek not man’s praise but GOD’s grace.

May we all experience the giving nature of absolute grace, living a lifestyle of grace toward others, even as we have received this from our LORD.

Categories
Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

2022: Getting Priorities Straight

2022: Our Getting Priorities Straight

I don’t “do” new year’s resolutions. I haven’t in years. Somewhere along the way I realised they didn’t work for me. 

And somewhere along the way leads me to my point now, today:

2022 has to be about intimacy with our Father Yehovah GOD. And it is about loving one another. This will bring together the church as the bride of Yeshua Jesus, and this will bring others outside the “church” — ie the communion of believers — to see our love for GOD, our love for one another. Either observers will mock us or will draw closer to GOD Himself.

“Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.” Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy and spoke of what we shall do to inherit eternal life.

This is a short post because I’m spending quality time with my Father this week. And today I’m also researching and preparing some words to deliver to our brethren in due season.

Let’s no longer seek approval from man but from GOD. As we do, we will find favour with some and receive attack from others. But if we know we are doing as the LORD commands, we have peace within. And that, in the BIG PICTURE will please Him, one another and ourselves. 

Let us be present with Him today. Let us be still. Let us abide (John 15). And let the world turn toward us and say, “Now that’s commitment!”

Categories
Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Worship the LORD and press through…

Worship is the heart of the matter

“Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)

To make this life full, we worship you, O LORD.

To make this life rich, we worship you, O LORD.

We give you praise while we have our being. This is the secret to the joy-filled, satisfying, wholesome and whole life. 

Simply worship

No matter the circumstance, worship the LORD.

No matter the challenges, worship the LORD.

No matter in heartache, depression, sorrow or shame, worship the LORD.

Be blessed for the start of 2022.

Worship the LORD for it is good to give Him thanks and praise.

Do not doubt

Does this worship seem to be an oversimplified solution for your situation?

Does GOD not see? Does He not hear? Is He not sovereign?

“Trust in the LORD, with all your heart….” (Proverbs 3:5-6) and in time, with faith which comes from Him, and perseverance, He will overcome, and with Him, you will overcome.

“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

And 

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)