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Politics and Society today

Has all News become Gossip?

Recently, I had an “Ah ha!” moment while I was watching a news commentary programme on TV.

I’m discovering that almost all political news is gossip. Perhaps it’s borne out of 24/7 news broadcasting with the need to discuss a news story before the topic has had time to be exposed naturally, that “news” has become speculation, opinion and gossip more than hard core, evidence-based information.

News as Gossip

Sensationalism and speculation keep the viewer or reader engaged, but it is at an unnatural, heightened level.

I’m not sure innuendo and speculation are very good for the conscience. Certainly they can spike our interest and get the prayer engines running; but perhaps this is somewhat unnecessarily, as the “news” isn’t based on fact but suggestion, speculation, and a drawing of possible outcomes based on possibilities rather than a series of facts.

Keeping people watching or reading is the goal of the producers and editors, rather than sharing information to enable the audience to draw their own conclusions.

Ignoring the headlines

It may be cynical of me, but I’m not going to get caught up any more in headlines. Without a reporting of factual details, I’m learning to be wary of the snippets that suggest disaster is looming. Instead, I look at the detail. If there isn’t any, then there’s no news. Politics as gossip isn’t politics at all, but merely a temptation to get excited over what could possibly be. 

Prayer amongst the Chatter

Instead of frantic worry or speculative thoughts about what might evolve, I’ll look at the gossip for what it is, and pray for the parties being talked about.

I’d like to pray that communication might occur and truth might be exposed. Then there will be something substantive to talk about.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

GOD’s Mercy Seat: His protection against Himself

The LORD GOD loves us. He is  all powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, an all consuming fire…. And all loving.

GOD’s Power

When we recognise the powerful presence of GOD, then we might begin to fathom the depth of His love for us. He could fry us all in an instant, and yet, He does not. 

How can we see the depth of His love in original scripture right back to the beginning of time? Well, let’s at least look at Exodus and Psalms to gain some insight…

GOD’s Mercy Seat in Exodus 25 reveals His protection even against Himself. He has to judge mankind because of their association with sin and Satan. Yes, His Psalm 91 is just one Psalm which declares — and reveals in action — His love. And  all this is even before He sent His son to die on our behalf!

These two amazing passages of scripture reveal GOD’s love for us, His commitment to us and His power over us.

GOD’s mercy seat

Exodus 25 reveals GOD’s love for us in that He protects us…. from Himself.

First, a read of the whole chapter will offer context. Then, look at verse 2, “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” 

What does GOD offer?

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold… (Exodus 25:17a) and “two cherubim of gold” (verse 18a) “And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim will be toward the mercy seat.” (Verse 20) “And there I will meet with you and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim…” (verse 22)

What is happening? GOD is offering His mercy: a way of communication, a way of protection against His judgement, a way to be a part of Him rather than against Him. Against Him draws us to judgment, fire, death; but with Him draws us to Him and Him to us, in relationship, safe within His mercy.

He even includes His angels’ protection for us, as symbolised by the cherubim on His mercy seat.

GOD’s Psalm of protection

Psalm 91 begins, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” GOD is our “refuge”, our “fortress”. Wow! What are we up against? Yes, Satan. But also the wrath of GOD if we are not with Him. He offers us protection even against Himself.

Again in verse 11, He offers us angelic protection rather than their power against us:

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.”

But why does GOD give us His protection?

GOD offers protection “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver Him…” (Psalm 91:14)

GOD is not random

In His Word, sampled in Exodus 25 and Psalm 91, we see that when we love Him, when we honour Him, He protects us.

It is not because He is an egotist, but because He loves us and wants to protect us. He offers protection from Satan and also from our own sin.

BUT we can truly receive only when we love and honour… otherwise we are in the hands of the enemy and vulnerable to both the evil of Satan and the wrath of GOD.

When our heart is pure, our safety is sure. We hold our protection in our own will. 

GOD loves us and wants us to choose Him. He has chosen us. What will be do with that, every step of our day? Salvation from the beginning of the Word of GOD has been available. It is all about offering our love to Him. He’s waiting with open an heart.

Something to ponder. 

Amen.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Punctuality

Recently I awoke from a dream. I don’t know that it was prophetic but personally, it was a wake up call (yes, pun intended!)

Punctuality is important to GOD, if this dream is anything to go by…

The Dream

A young woman was dressing in a room which was dimly lit. With her was a younger girl, chatting. The young woman was distracted by the chatter and ended up running late.

The attire she wore was a long, cotton, white summer dress. Her hair was sandy and long. When she was finally ready to leave it was 1:12pm.

She was double booked for 2 appointments: a dental appointment made especially for her at 1:15pm and another appointment… viewing a prospective home.

She got a man in her life (father? husband?) to drive her to the dental appointment. She was late but although it made the dentist run late, he accepted her (after 1:25pm)

I awoke, and I don’t know if she made the second appointment, whether it was postponed or what she did.

The Message of the Dream 

I accept that I am represented by the young woman, although I’m no longer young and therefore that is clearly wishful thinking! 🙂

I am too busy, too easily distracted, and rely too much upon grace to meet my appointments and my needs. Except for the child, all the others were male… perhaps each representative of GOD.

The 10 Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13 reads as follows,

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

There are many things that can be said of this passage. I’m only going to touch on one aspect here…

We must be ready. And as my dream would seem to dovetail with this: I must learn to be punctual.

Distraction and busyness are no excuse. 

We must all be ready.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: Pt 43 Leave and cleave

What GOD intends for married couples is the leave and cleave principle…

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Male discovering Female

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24-25)

Imagine as a man, awaking to the presence of Eve, a more beautiful, softer, gentler version of yourself. Wow!

And this is what happened for Adam.

Adam went to sleep alone but awoke with Eve in his presence (Genesis 2:21-23)

Significance of Eve’s arrival

When Adam says, “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23) he sounds excited! Then they get married and establish the template for marriage:

The man leaves his parents and becomes one flesh with a woman, his wife. And there is no shame.

That’s the template for marriage: one person in two, one body nurturing all its parts, soul and body laid bare and without shame.

Beautiful!

What about singleness

Paul talks about singleness and prefers it. But he also says it is better to marry than to sin (not to have sex out of wedlock, I assume he means). Singleness is a calling, just as marriage is a calling. We are not incomplete if we don’t marry. It is simply that if we do, a healthy marriage means the man no longer is tied to his parents, and the man and woman enjoy one another and feel as naturally comfortable when together as if they were still alone.

Leave and Cleave

So I hope and pray for marriages, that we can get back on track as a society, and at least for those who love Jesus, that we can love GOD, love one another, but especially prioritise and enjoy the marriage that GOD intends for us: intimate, free and surrendered to one another in trust, devotion and love.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Closer than a Brother

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Recently I felt a bit isolated, experiencing the loneliness of ‘a widow and orphan’ a wee bit, although I am not an orphan (my son has left home for university… does that count?).

Friendship

The necessity for friendship is so embedded in our human make-up that it is impossible to ignore its benefits and our frailty without it.

I love Proverbs 18. Reading the entire chapter before coming to this final verse, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” reveals the confidence of man and his/her frailty, so that when we come to verse 24, we see how valuable friendship is to our existence. How to win friendship is to be friendly oneself it reads. 

But there is a type of friendship which goes beyond company and the passing of the years. It is a kind of brotherhood

David and Jonathan: a beautiful example of friendship

When we look at the relationship between David and Jonathan, we see deep and lasting friendship. Mutual trust, respect, loyalty, love and a broken heart for the difficulties of the other — these are the traits which Jonathan personifies toward David and to which David faithfully responds (read the story of this friendship in 1 Samuel, chapters 18-23) In fact, years after Jonathan’s death, out of loyalty to his friend, David asks,

“Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1) There is! And when that person is found, David looks after him without limit or end.

Self inflicted loneliness

We who are in Christ may from time to time feel lonely, even when we are in fellowship within the body of Christ. Personally, I feel lonely when the house feels empty and quiet, with no one to talk to.

But mine is a kind of self inflicted discomfort, because I have a friend closer than a brother or sister, which I can choose to draw toward or not. That friend is Holy Spirit.

Yes, sometimes we need human companionship. But how much do we need it when we’ve spent time with Holy Spirit? 

Time well spent

As the effects of Covid lock-down wear off, as I become busy once again, I realise the quality time I am spending sitting with the LORD has shrunk. It is time with Him that I most need to spend, if I am to feel fulfilled and replenished. Time with Holy Spirit not only brings anointing and a sense of intimacy with GOD; it is also a time when we can reflect and share our hearts with Him.

Personally, a sharing of the Heart — both in giving and in receiving — is the core aspect of friendship I most need. I can run around busily and denying my need. Or I can run to, sit with, and share with Holy Spirit.

Time with Holy Spirit satisfies our need for intimacy

People are a blessing and we need folk in our lives. But when we feel most lonely, we can abide with Jesus through Holy Spirit and know we have the truest of friends who is closer than any brother, sister, relative or friend.

Abiding — being deep with Holy Spirit

“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.” (John 15:4)

There are many ways to explore abiding, but in this instance, simply put, abiding brings fruit and that fruit includes a sense of warm companionship essential for the thriving spirit within us all.

Prayer

May we all experience the simple reality that GOD is with us and fulfils our every need, even — and especially — a need for friendship.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Is GOD Demanding?

Is GOD demanding?

Not in my view.

I personally feel that, given He is the Creator of the Universe and has sent His son to die in exchange for our rescue from hell on earth and eternal damnation, whatever Yehovah GOD might stipulate for a peaceful and joyful existence for us is perfectly reasonable. Is GOD demanding? I don’t think so…. But He’s clear about positive and negative consequences of our actions.

I want to take a look at a couple of chapters in Deuteronomy that will help us understand better the principle from Luke 12:48, To whom much is given, from him much will be required.

A read of Deuteronomy 18-20

Our heavenly Father asks the Hebrews (and fast forward to today, that includes those saved by His grace) to be different from the people of the lands surrounding. “For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.” (Deuteronomy 18:14)

He goes on to promise them a prophet; one who is genuinely of GOD will be proven to be so, through the fulfilment of his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:15-22).

What does GOD say about wickedness

Let’s have a look at the LORD’s declarations…

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says, “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD…” 

So, GOD is clear about whom to follow and what not to follow.

GOD sets up refuge

In Deuteronomy 19, GOD distinguishes between accidental injury leading to death vs murder. He sets up property structure and inheritance law. He distinguishes between true and false testimony, and makes it abundantly clear that, “Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye…” in the context of deliberate guilt “so shall you put away the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 19:19)

The motive for GOD’s strictness is not so much to punish the guilty but rather to protect the innocent. The key is to deal with malicious intent, motive, for the sake of the innocent. 

We see this played out in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphire lie to Holy Spirit.

“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Peter no sooner makes this statement that Ananias — and later his wife — dies. They each have the opportunity to come clean about their falsehood, but do not. Therefore, they experience the same consequence. It is harsh, but it is protective for the young Church. And they die, not because they didn’t give all their money away but because they claimed they did. Big difference.

Motive matters to GOD

It is less our behaviour that matters to GOD but more the motive behind our behaviour. We make mistakes. That’s behaviour. But we repent and move forward. That’s purification and the process of forgiveness.

This purity is what GOD wanted for the Hebrews, it is what He wanted for the early church. And it is what He seeks today amongst His children of faith. Now however, because of Jesus’ sacrifice and our surrender to Him in becoming born again, we are purified supernaturally. Repentance is the gateway to forgiveness… rather than punishment (though we can suffer consequences of our actions in the natural).

When GOD’s people venture into the promised land, they are told, “you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive…. lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18) He wants His people to avoid temptation, to remain pure.

GOD is protective

Like a loving and committed father, GOD covers us. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

And so, GOD does not ask what we cannot do with His help. He seeks to relate with us intimately and to protect us. In this world of darkness and evil, He wants us to be safe and so He sets standards within which we have absolute freedom.

GOD is not demanding. He is protective of His children, always has been, and I reckon, He always will be.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY pt 30 The Mist

What is the Mist?

“…before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” (Genesis 2:5-6)

All the livestock and other animals, all the plant life, proceeded man. There was no one to tend and yet nature thrived… because of the mist that provided all the moisture necessary for life.

Day 6 brought beast and man. The commission to man was to tend and multiply. And so Adam did.

But what is the mist? And how does it provide for life?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

The Mist

Before rain came upon the earth there was mist. Moisture existed in the form of mist. No one went thirsty, not plant, not animal. No one trekked for miles to an oasis in the desert. The earth brought forth mist to quench the thirst.

This was how the atmosphere was until the Flood. People lived on average some 700 years and more. And there was no need to dig wells. (I’m not saying we didn’t drink… no idea, I wasn’t there. But there wasn’t rainfall, that’s for certain.)

Fascinating. GOD is so creative. And that He had a plan to start all over again when necessary is also amazing. He gave so much. With each step away from Him, mankind has made it harder for himself because each step away has brought consequences.

From GOD’s point of view

He gave us immortality. We threw that away. When we became depraved, He brought the flood so mankind could start afresh… With the flood came rain and a shortened lifespan….

GOD gives what is perfect. We mess up. He puts in boundaries to help us mess up less.

That’s my point of view of GOD’s point of view!

Then Jesus

Then He sent Jesus…. Jesus is the opportunity to be freed from 1. the shackles of humanity’s evil inclinations and 2. the law which is there to protect us from those evil inclinations. In Jesus, we surrender and receive our freedom back — that freedom that Adam had. Though we may stumble through it, and though we may not recognise the extent of our freedom, nevertheless, it is there, available, through surrender to Him and sharing of love from Him.

If the mist was there initially to give us all the moisture life required, now Jesus has cleared the fog and given us new life, hope, strength, power and love.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Is it time to take stock of your Christian Life?

Every now and then we need to pause, to “be still” simply to reflect on our proximity to GOD and His will in our lives. That’s my way of bridging my relationship with GOD to the present day in the world. 

Is it time to take stock of your Christian life?

I spent a recent Saturday evening in my rocking chair by the gas fire, talking with GOD. I haven’t done that in a very long time, and it was the most wonderful evening I’ve had in a long while. There was no hype, no intensity, no burden. Just conversation with the most important person in my life: Adonai Elohim, Yehovah: my daddy.

Thank you GOD for showing up. Thank you for waiting for me. Thank you.

It is always time

I’ve just had a lovely conversation with a brother who is relatively new in the LORD. His hunger, enthusiasm, plethora of questions, is such a joy to engage. And the questions he has are full of sincerity, faith and passion for the Truth. He’s also asking questions about poverty, power and money. And so, invariably, there are some attitudes that the LORD will touch in this friend’s walk, as he steadfastly looks to Jesus.

But even when we have walked with the LORD for decades, it is always the time to draw close, always the time to ask questions, and always the time simply to rest in Him. He promised us the Sabbath rest… Not just on a Saturday but every day, as we walk with Him, we can live in the peace, grace and stillness of GOD. When we pursue Him, when we are still before Him, we will be changed into His likeness.

Yes, it is always the time to take time to grow in Him.

“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:6)

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Deep thinking v Shallow Thinking: a reflection

What do I mean by deep thinking v shallow thinking?

Shallow is quick, superficial and efficient.

Deep is time consuming, meaningful and profitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And time makes all the difference.

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GOD'S STORY Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

GOD’s Story: 1 Protector

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? We learn GOD’s Story. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He walked. 

Today is a new step in Blog Posting on Larus Press by delving into GOD’s Story: 1 Protector. Yehovah GOD is our Protector…

“For He shall give His angels charge over you,

To keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

If you look at the entirety of Psalm 91 you’ll see the beauty and majesty of the LORD in His words. But this phrase is what He is sharing with us today.

He keeps us in perfect peace, He keeps us protected, He guards our steps and watches our pathways for us. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6.

Do you see how the scriptures dovetail or overlap, complement and show us one aspect of Him at a time? From Psalm 91:11 He reveals that He watches over us and has given us angels to look after us. (Perhaps even if we’re wise, we allow them to reign us in from time to time, as necessary…. Angels certainly have protected me as I drive in my car!)

And If we acknowledge the LORD, we see in Proverbs 3:6 there is a promise: He directs the steps we take.

GOD’s story today then, is that He looks out for us. And if we allow Him His choices, He protects us.

Satan tried to fool Jesus, though he failed. In the wilderness, Satan referred to Psalm 91 saying in Matthew 4:6, 

“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

But Jesus wasn’t fooled and said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Matthew 4:7

The key to GOD’s Story is always to rest in Him, to know His word, and to understand the devil prowls like a lion seeing whom he may devour.

As we trust in the LORD and walk in His ways, we are guided, protected and free to live safely in the knowledge that we are loved. “No weapon formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17) as we acknowledge His power and authority in the Creation and in our very own lives.