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Reflections and Poetry

Deep thinking v Shallow Thinking: a reflection

What do I mean by deep thinking v shallow thinking?

Shallow is quick, superficial and efficient.

Deep is time consuming, meaningful and profitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And time makes all the difference.

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Reflections and Poetry

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

I am in a new place

Perfectly peaceful and assured;

Traveling in my child’s independence

I too, reap the reward.

Autonomy works two ways

Up and down a street;

He goes alone to venture forth

And I too am released.

Do not sweat the little things

Nor the milestones either;

Life is a journey of surprises

Whether passenger or driver.

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Reflections and Poetry

Finding an old note in Scripture: a reflection

Finding an old note reveals my growth

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

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

1 John 2:12-14 says,

“I write to you, little children,

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

I write to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

Because you have overcome the wicked one.

I write to you, little children,

Because you have known the Father. 

I have written to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I have written to you, young men,

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

And you have overcome the wicked one.”

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

A witness opportunity leads me to the old note

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

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

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

Here’s what I wrote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to relate to 1 John

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

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

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

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

Where are you on this path?

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

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

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Reflections and Poetry

Yet I will trust in You: a poem

Tho the earth stirs

trembles and shakes

Yet I will trust in You

The world tumbles

falls into disrepair

Yet You uphold me

with truth and love

GOD IS our refuge

He truly is our strength

tho men destroy

Yet GOD restores

Hope in Him

He is the light 

tho hope deferred makes the heart sick;

so turn your eyes to Jesus

and know you are saved.

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Reflections and Poetry

The Mathematics of GOD: a reflection

The Mathematics of GOD

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

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

GOD’s sovereign perspective

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

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

Shocking reality: Death brings Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD’s leadership

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah, GOD reigns!

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Reflections and Poetry

Grief’s Healing: a song

Grief’s Healing: a song

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

When I mention you, you are here

Someone mentions your name and I smile;

I know just the thought of you heals me.

When I laugh, you’re in the laughter

When I dream, sometimes you’re there

Sharing a memory of you

Brings you home to me, and I sigh.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own

Just for a moment

We remember

And laugh and smile

At the thought of you.

When I sing, I think you listen

When I dance, do you dance too?

When someone says your name

I know my heart jumps and you’re home.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own

Just for a moment

We remember

And laugh and smile

At the thought of you.

Just for a moment

You are with me

Just for a moment

I’m not on my own.

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Reflections and Poetry

Combing through old journals: a reflection about Love

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

What I wanted most in life

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I made this discovery

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

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

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

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

Memories and Memorabilia

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

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

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

Why does Love matter?

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

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

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Reflections and Poetry

Innocence v Sophistication: an argument for parenting

Innocence v Sophistication

We are not to be “of this world”. 

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

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

We must learn to be outside the pull from this world

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

Christian parents

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

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

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

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

Innocence

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

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

Sophistication

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

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

Your child

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

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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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Reflections and Poetry

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

Elvis, Cinema, and this Christian’s walk

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

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

My viewing

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

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

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

How to cope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even children’s cinema is plagued by speed

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

Can we get slow back?

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

We just have to choose.

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

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Reflections and Poetry

What is Loneliness: a poem

Loneliness is having a lot to say

but no one to say it to.

Loneliness is having people all around

but no one who knows you.

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

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

Loneliness is not a matter of proximity to people

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

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

and no one is there.

Loneliness is not a lack of people

but a lack of people with whom to share

Your heart.

We have an epidemic of loneliness:

we can speak to people from across the world

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

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

or across the table

about what is really going on

inside.

That’s loneliness.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

What makes us Human: a reflection

What makes us unique to all other creatures?

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

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

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

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

That’s the basic theology of eternal life.

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

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

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

This is what I’ve been reflecting on.…

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

Memory

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

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

Relationship

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

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

Here’s a joke which addresses this:

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

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

Conscience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity is unique

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

At our worst, we become barbarians. 

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

What I dwell upon

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

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

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

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

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Why I still believe: a sort-of poem

I still believe

God exists.

God is good.

God is sovereign.

Why do I still believe?

I still believe because God has heard my prayers

I still believe because God has answered my prayers.

What God has done in my life:

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

into

A gracious lover of others.

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

into

A kind mother and friend.

God has transformed a sad, lonely creature

into

A happy, contented lady.

Grace of God in life…

Grace is receiving goodness that we don’t deserve;

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

Grace is humbling to receive but

a joy and relief to forward to another;

that’s now the way I live life

and recommend it to others.

Bumps but no bruises

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

“Oh! this must be serious!!” 

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

I prayed: from birth to nine, asking God,

“Please protect my son from bruising”

and He did.

Healing of God

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

Eyesight improved, toothache removed

and

thought processes changed…

The miraculous

God does miracles yesterday and today

Healing broken thoughts

time and again

… even my broken heart.

Why I still believe

God is true

God is good

God is kind

But most of all

I still believe 

because

He has transformed me

more and more

Into what I’ve asked Him to make me… 

which is simply, 

more like Him.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

I’m longing for Worship: a reflection

I’m longing for worship

I listen to worship such as this:

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

and I’m provoked to worship.

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

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

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

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

What is Life: a poem

What is life:

An experience

a journey:

from birth to death

to life.

If you’re “lucky”

you choose wisely

and surrender

in order to live.

But in faith, first

you must die.

then-and-only-then

are you free from fear

of life and death

and you can truly thrive.

So is the first part of the journey:

the mystery of Christ — 

salvation and all that —

to be truly alive

to thrive and dive into life

is first to die to self

and so to live.

So is the beginning.

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.