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Politics and Society today

Tucker Carlson interviews President Putin

This was written even before Alexei Navalny’s death.

Tucker Carlson interviews President Putin. Here’s the recording:

https://twitter.com/search?q=tucker%20carlson%20putin%20interview&src=typeahead_click&f=top

The interview between Tucker Carlson and President Putin of Russia is over 2 hours’ long but it’s the last 20 minutes that is riveting. Previous to this it is a lot of meandering and posturing from Putin and Carlson just lets him talk. 

But TC becomes invested in the last 20 minutes, asking about the release of the young American journalist Evan Gershkovich in prison in Russia for espionage. He also asks Putin, ‘What do you really think about the fate of the world in combat?’

Putin doesn’t change a beat throughout the interview, doing a decent job at feigning sincerity but too static to actually be believable. Carlson, however does change his mood. As I see it, it’s because he cares.

He took a huge gamble interviewing the Russian president. And although he was fodder for criticism before and after, to my mind, he made a valliant effort to allow the West to see who Putin is. The sheer fact that Putin didn’t allow us to see into his humanity demonstrates to me, that he is a monster: a hit man, a mafia leader, a cold-hearted and calculating monster. No one needs to fear the interview. — anyone with heart can see how cold the Russian president is. Congratulations Tucker Carlson. By being neutral and by caring passionately for the fate of a 32 year old journalist, you exposed the heartless man in Putin.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

What angers GOD and how does He measure anger?

GOD’s anger is for a moment but His favour is for a lifetime. (Psalm 30:5)

What angers GOD?

Israel and the Hebrews disobeyed. At the heart of it all, this is what dismayed GOD and caused Him to be angry with them.

Likewise for us, we must walk with Him, surrendered to the degree of our understanding, willing to grow in His likeness. This is our call as disciples of Jesus. This means we are called to obey Him. He seeks a “contrite spirit” and to be followed on His terms, not our own.

Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”

In this GOD takes delight.

How does GOD measure our obedience?

GOD looks to the heart of mankind, and of an individual, to see How close (or far) from Him is their walk.

“I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease;

For I was a little angry [at the Israelites], 

And they [other nations] helped —

but with evil intent.” (Zechariah 1:15)

Let’s look at GOD’s behaviour towards Israel

When we look at Zechariah 1, we see that the LORD allowed nations to overcome Israel as a consequence of her disobedience. And yet, when entreated upon by Zechariah, GOD says that although He allowed “four horns” — four nations — to rise against and conquer Israel, their motive was impure. Part of their motive was for evil. And so, He was even more angry with these Gentile nations.

GOD recognised the evil in the nations who conquered Israel and they would not have their reward.

So we today must discern our motive

Today, why are we following Jesus? Is it out of fear? Yet perfect love casts out fear. Fear is unnecessary.

Why are we following Jesus? Out of duty? 

Why are we following Jesus? Because He’s True?

We need not be afraid

When we look through scripture, we see how devoted GOD is to Israel, in spite of her sin.

Inevitably, the people of Israel are brought back to the land Israel, as promised in Zechariah 1,

“I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts,
“And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:16)

So, that temple later is rebuilt…. and in 1948, that nation is reborn. GOD keeps His promises.

And we who are In Christ

We who have Jesus and abide through the Holy Spirit, have no excuse or reason to disobey, to frustrate the plans and purposes for our individual lives nor as the Church. Just as we see GOD keep His promises to the nation of Israel even though they are disobedient, we also can trust He provides for us and protects us. We need not fear… nor disobey, but must allow ourselves to surrender fully to Him so His work can be achieved in and through us as is His intention and desire.

Let our Light Shine

Matthew 5:16 say, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let us not grow weary nor disobey His voice when He speaks to us. Let us not take lightly the following of His will and His timing. Let us not frustrate the will of GOD but let us shine brightly, so that others can see the path and follow it.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 52 Brother’s Keeper

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.

Genesis 4:9

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The answer is Yes, we are our brother’s keeper. Yes and Amen.

We are our brother’s keeper

The Father has put into our hearts a love for one another. He has created us in His image and His love overflows toward all His children, as we also must do. We are called to watch out for and watch over our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are also called to love our neighbours, those who may not know the Lord as their LORD. Yes, we are called to be our brothers’ keepers.

Let s all meditate on this well known parable in Luke 10:30-37,

“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

How will be “do likewise”?

What GOD says we are to do

Show love and compassion.

GOD’s love and compassion for Cain

Even Cain the murderer was shown compassion.

Genesis 4:10-15 reads,

“And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.”

There was a consequence for Cain’s sin and yet, as he received the consequence and was full of fear, the LORD GOD committed to protect Cain’s life.

The LORD is good. His mercy endures to all generations. (1 Chronicles 6:34)

From GOD’s point of view

We are to model the Lord. From His point of view, He is full of compassion for all. There is no-one who cannot receive the Kingdom of Heaven. 

And so we are called to “go out into all the world….” (Mark 16:15)

And so we do!

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Preparing the Bride for the New Earth

Eureka moment

Sitting with a group of Christian artistic friends last evening and sharing insights about GOD’s direction for the Arts, I had a Suddenly! — you know a sudden moment when a lot of understanding comes all at once. This suddenly is about GOD’s preparing the Bride for the New Earth.

Angels and Heaven

In recent weeks, I’ve been studying about angels (as suggested by a bishop friend) and about Heaven (as encouraged by a pastor friend). I’ve been in agreement with the general thrust of what I’ve been looking at, which is that life in eternity is on a real planet, where we are flesh and blood, have proper jobs and responsibilities, with perfect bodies and perfect peace.

Carrying this perspective into the meeting last night, I listened as one in the circle said she’d been preparing for ministry in the Arts through prayer, sowing into the ground as though a crop of potatoes was ripening but unseen, and that we were meant to continue in fellowship and prayer without developing any particular project going forward.

And there-and-then I had a “suddenly” about this internet posting stream: Preparing the Bride.

We are being prepared as the bride for the New Earth

I’ve been writing about developing our character to be ready for Jesus for some years now. I’ve been examining and exploring our depth and breadth of understanding and maturity in Jesus. That’s all fine. BUT I’ve just realised that matters are changing….

All that we as a body of believers are doing right now, all we’ve done, all we are called to do in this life going forward is more about being and about being ready, than it is about doing. The being is not only for the next phase of our journey with GOD here on this earth, but also (and probably more) about living with each other and with Jesus on the New Earth.

We will receive crowns in heaven (Revelation 4:10-11). We will have jobs to do as opposed to sitting on thrones (Revelation 20:4, 6).

He is preparing us — whether it’s for rapture or for Heaven, depending upon your theological perspective and level of revelation with GOD — He is preparing us to be His bride for eternity. That destination ultimately, is the New Earth: His New Earth (or the revitalised Earth that we inhabit now, reclaimed and renewed by GOD). (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1)

On the New Earth, we will not be singing and strumming harps endlessly, and floating on clouds in spiritual-rather-than-physical bodies, but (according to my reading of scripture and secondary readings) we will be living life on this renewed planet Earth, with joy, peace, love for one another, free from strife, anxiety or any other sort of pain, eating and drinking, working and playing, with Jesus, in perfect fellowship altogether. (Revelation 21:4)

In order to live that life, we need to prepare for it now.

And now, what we need to do is hone our fellowship skills

For some of us, the preparation now is on our fellowship skills. Some of us have used our talents (Matthew 25:14-28) to the best of our ability. Some of us are aged or infirm or have disability. Some of us are healthy, fit and full of zeal to do GOD’s will. But whatever our situation or condition, He is calling us to deeper fellowship with Himself and with one another.

He delights in our unity. (Psalm 133)

In John 14:2 Jesus says,

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

As we meditate on this scripture, and any others you look up which I’ve referenced above, please let’s all wait on Him and begin to absorb the current responsibility we carry: to grow in our fellowship so that we are the beautiful Bride He will have with Him in the time to come.

Categories
Politics and Society today

England is in decline

I rarely have a word such as what I’ll say now but here it is: 

I claim to have a Word from GOD today, which of course needs to be tested:

Prophetic word

“England is in decline.” 

That may seem obvious, not particularly insightful or discerning as we look at the social and political landscape, but what I am suggesting is that this decline is not temporary nor based upon current circumstances, but rather there is a downward path which is set and irreconcilable until Jesus returns…. or unless something incredibly dramatic takes place — perhaps such as revival — to provoke a major transformation before He comes.

Although we pray consistently that Britain will be a sheep nation by Jesus’ gracious judgement and not a goat nation at the End of the Age (Matthew 25:32), nevertheless as I write now, Britain is in decline; I don’t think it’s going to bounce back. In particular, England is drifting downward into decay.

I heard GOD say specifically England

Historically, it was England that socially, morally, politically, geographically and economically dominated the world, arguably from the reign of Elizabeth I through Queen Victoria and beyond.  Although it sowed cultural disregard for other of those nations over which it ruled, dominating them with their superiority complex, it was a British Empire who’s power brought to the world an increase in prosperity, advancement in culture, education, health care; and of course it took the Gospel of Jesus to many nations — from the British Isles particularly to significant parts of the continent of Africa and into the Far East. It did so not without error unfortunately, attaching cultural bias to the Gospel and therefore misguiding and misrepresenting the Gospel in some situations. However, it’s my view that the good outweighed the bad. Great Britain did a lot of good in the world in a different era. However it has been a long time since it made positive contributions to the betterment of the world. It’s been living on borrowed time and the time is up.

What sort of decline?

What sort of decline is this nation experiencing? Is it purely a spiritual decline as Christianity is declining in popularity, or is this largely a political or economic decline?

I believe the moral decline in the West, including by association Britain, has had the direct consequence of destroying the fabric of society. Judeo-Christian values have been replaced with “anything-but” in the West. This has triggered instability worldwide. Social and spiritual decline has led to a decline in political and economic influence and power across the Globe, destabilising the balance of power. Britain is no longer fulfilling its mandate to influence the world in a life-giving way.

A USA and UK connected

The reason the UK and USA have often been in sync is because they are both leadership nations, capitalist and with the same bedrock of Judeo-Christian values. They’ve worked together based upon an interlinked history and world view. In recent years, the emphasis of both administrations have become increasingly secular and Globalist (with some exception as represented by a Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump’s presidency in the US), with the significant consequence being a decline in their international influence.

And so, as their influence and power wain, the world is looking at other influences. I believe GOD has allowed this because these nations have largely turned from Him.

Decline…

The decline is perhaps inevitable. Nations rise and fall. But if these nations turned back to GOD, perhaps the decline could be reversed. Certainly, without a turning, the end of the West as we know it, lead by these two nations, is finished.

What shall we do now

We who know GOD pray. Pray for stability. Pray for revival. Pray for GOD to reign in the hearts and minds of people, including government leaders and ministers. We pray and when asked, we may have to act: join support networks, even engaging in politics… That may seem to get our hands dirty, but if we are concerned, pray even, but never engage with our Members of Parliament or our Local Council, how can they know we object to ungodly decisions and biases. Unless we speak, they will not hear our voices.

Every blessing.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 49 Immortality

Man created Immortal

I’ve decided to back track a bit in the look through Genesis because there’s an important point to address, rather than assume it’s common knowledge.

Did you realise mankind was made to be immortal?

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal, but part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality:

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

After the sin of Adam, mankind lost immortality. That means we lost not only our relationship with GOD, but our physical strength and power became limited, and our immortal existence was lost.

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.

Man became mortal

With the recognition that we became mortal through sin, the reality that Jesus brings us back to immortality through faith in Him is also true.

Salvation of Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit that eternal life. It is not only spiritual but physical rebirth…

BUT ALSO

That we were created physically immortal implies GOD intention is for us to be physically immortal. Ah but don’t our physical bodies still die? Yes, indeed! So how does the truth of physical immortality line up to our mortal, physical death?

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. All humanity lost the opportunity to maintain immortality both because of our sin which we inherit from Adam, but also the “ticket” through eating of the tree of Life… Until Jesus.

GOD did not want us to have immortality AND sin. So we were denied the privilege of remaining in Eden.

We know that through our faith in Jesus: our faith in who He is and what He has achieved through His death and resurrection (Ephesian 2:8-9), once our sin is removed it is logical that the physical immortality is also made available to us once again. But how? We don’t see the evidence of that, but rather we see the evidence of our mortality every time a loved one dies.

We will inherit new flesh

We who are in Christ — saved by faith — are not going to be disembodied spirits for eternity. No. That is not what GOD had for us at the Creation and it is not what He has for us forever.

Isaiah 65:17 says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

and Revelations 21:2 says, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Therefore a newness to Earth and Heaven is coming where Jesus will dwell with those of us who are saved.

Ezekiel 11:19 says, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh” in the context of taking dry, dead bones and bringing them back to life.

Revelation 21:3-5 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

GOD does not speak about an etherial reality in time to come but a physical reality. He speaks of a revived earth, where Jesus sits on a physical throne. And He is with us. There will be no more tears, pain or death. The things former are gone and all is new. He tells John to write things down, which John does — We have the book of the Revelations as evidence.

There is physical immortality as there is spiritual immortality

Praise GOD.

Those of us who have chosen faith in Jesus have everlasting life: The spirit is revived yes, but also the body too is made new and immortal.

Eternal life is through Jesus, both spiritual and physical life. Thank you LORD!

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 48 GOD’s Will always wins

Man created Immortal

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal. Although this was lost, it has also been restored because GOD’s will always wins.

Part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

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.

Today we’ll see that GOD’s will always wins. How?

Man became mortal

With the rebellion, the fall, the sin of Adam: which ever way you choose to label it, man lost his immortality when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:22b-23 reads,

““And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. Did that mean GOD didn’t want man to have life forever?

As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all of humanity lost physical immortality, inheriting the same consequences. All born from Adam, we all have inherited mortality. 

…. But then comes Jesus who offers us eternal life once again. 

Salvation from Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit eternal life. 

Praise GOD.

Although all are born into mortality — eternal life is through Jesus. 

GOD’s will is done

GOD created humanity in His image, immortal. This was and is His will for us. His will ultimately is done as He offers salvation to those who choose it, through faith in His son’s death and resurrection. It is a huge cost which GOD bore, and yet, it was and is in His will. 

No matter what’s Satan tries, GOD has His ultimate way forward, and the ultimate victory, always. Hallelujah!

So we can move forward in all our circumstances, knowing GOD wins, always.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Where I am in my journey of life: a reflection

Welcome to this New Year 2024.

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

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

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

My life remembered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Prayer

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

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

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

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Relinquishing Control

When we feel stressed

It’s a sign

We are holding on:

Let go control.

When we know peace

It’s a sign

We’ve let go control

And are trusting GOD.

When we are surrendered

It’s a sign

We are growing in GOD

We have yielded control.

Control is an illusion

It’s a sign

We are self determined

And need to lean on GOD.

If you’re holding on

Let go control.

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GOD'S STORY

45 GOD’S STORY: Adam’s sin

Adam’s Sin

Satan engaged with Eve; he set her up. Adam was present and allowed her to be deceived. He observed, he took the fruit and ate as she had eaten. 

What was his motivation? I think Adam didn’t want to lose Eve. Just as she prioritised Adam over GOD, so did Adam put Eve first rather than GOD. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

This is where we left off in GOD’S STORY last week.

Why is it that Eve was deceived but Adam sinned? Why has Eve been painted throughout history as the one whom Satan tricked but Adam was the one who rebelled against GOD, sinned, fell from GOD’s grace?

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. 

Genesis 3:6 reads,

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” 

When Satan was speaking to Eve, for at least part of the conversation Adam was present. He didn’t interrupt, he didn’t divert Eve’s attention. He watched, listened and did not intervene.

So when Eve ate, he watched her. When Eve offered him fruit, he took it. Why?

I think he wasn’t deceived but he let Eve be deceived. That’s just conjecture. But what is clear is, she took some fruit and ate, and then offered it to him. He took it and ate it.

Why did Adam eat the fruit?

The only conclusion I can draw is that Adam wanted to go along with Eve rather than be separate from her. And ultimately, they were together … even though they became separated from GOD.

In the garden, Adam observed Satan when Satan was talking to Eve. And Adam is the one held accountable for eating the forbidden fruit. He disobeyed GOD’s command and is held responsible for the rebellion. Eve ate because Satan got her to believe it would be a good thing to become wise, and for Adam’s sake she ate and offered it to him. While Eve’s motive may have been pure, simply wanting to help Adam, Adam didn’t need to help someone else. His calling was to name the animals and look after the earth. His motive to sin then, was only for himself.

Personally, I don’t see that Adam believed it was within GOD’s will that he be wise, and yet he went along with the act of disobedience. He must have wanted to be with Eve more than he wanted to obey GOD. And his behaviour suggests he wanted to be wise for his own sake, even though he knew it was against GOD’s intentions.

Adam’s motive, Eve’s motive

Motive is key to how GOD views us. GOD looks at the heart. While Eve’s heart may well have been to be helpful, Adam’s motive was for himself. At its heart, that was Adam’s sin.

And so Adam is held responsible ultimately for the fall of all mankind. He broke our relationship with GOD.

Salvation through the man without a human father

We inherit sin from the male. We all have a human father…. except for Jesus. Jesus was born without sin because the Holy Spirit was His father. He didn’t have an earthly father from whom He inherited sin.

And so when Jesus died, He died for all of us. When He was resurrected He defeated death for all who believe. 

We all need Jesus’ sacrifice to receive forgiveness for our sinfulness. Eve was deceived but Adam sinned. And Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to restore the relationship GOD intends for us all. Adam broke it; Jesus restores it. Hallelujah!

Categories
Politics and Society today

An Immediate Call for Prayer: Gaza, Hostages, Israel

Psalm 122 asks for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 123 cries to GOD for mercy.

Psalm 140 prays for deliverance.

The hostages have been held in the tunnels in Gaza for nearly 40 days. I write today because today the IDF is getting closer to rescuing them.

Praise the LORD for His peace, His mercy, His deliverance.

But only GOD

Only GOD can rescue. Only GOD can bring peace. Only GOD can show powerful mercy. Only GOD offers deliverance.

Gazans

Those in Gaza who are truly innocent, truly loving toward their enemies, be they Israel or Hamas… only those who love are innocent. I pray for their deliverance.

Father GOD

I pray for those who are cursed by Your Covenant with Abraham, cursed because they despise Your people, will recognise their curse and be changed. (See Genesis 12; Exodus 3:6)

I pray that soldiers in the IDF will love their enemies, will rescue the hostages successfully, and none will turn to hatred or revenge.

I pray that Hamas members will experience Your transforming love and power. For those who are demonised, I pray for their deliverance. I pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and for peace in the region.

I pray for these miracles, in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 40 Marriage

What is GOD’s Perspective on marriage? 

Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman just as GOD made Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, to start off humankind.

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. 

Genesis 2:18 reads,

“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.””

Equal but different

We can argue ’until the cows come home’ whether women are able to preach or teach. There is scripture that can be picked out for both cases.

We can debate whether woman obeying husbands is dated or current.

We can discuss homosexual Rome and elsewhere in Ancient Times.

But this space is not about debate. It is looking into GOD’s point of view from Creation until now, as best we can…

Why GOD created women

I purport that in making woman for man, it means to GOD’s eye, it was not good for man to be alone. Male and female animals had been created. GOD was Adam’s companion. And yet, man should also have a partner, a female person who would help him.

This means women have something to offer that men don’t have, as I see it. That’s why man needs help from someone else, who is female rather than male. 

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

One flesh means equal. Of course we’ll explore this more when we come to this verse in our chronological approach. Two parts become one and make a new “whole”.

Partners

Marriage is a partnership. What is a partnership? 

Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity…” 

Partnership in GOD means both members trust Him, both believe in Him, both follow Him (not to be unequally yoked). It means rowing together not against one another. It means supporting each other and adapting strategies so that they can work together to achieve the common goal. It means having the same common goal.

Partnership is two or more equals striving together, complementing one another. In the case of marriage, it is two people rowing together.

Obedience and Love

Ephesians 5:25 states,

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” and for far too long, for some, this has been overlooked, with emphasis going to that which comes before, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

Since, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16) then I will use this truth to discuss the relationship between man and woman from the time of GOD’s Creation.

There are a couple of verses telling wives to obey their husbands. Then there is a stream of verses telling men to love their wives. I wonder if that is significant. Is it GOD’s sense of humour? Or do men need to be given detailed reason rather than simple instruction to get them to recognise GOD’s guidance in this matter?

What is sure is that obedience and love go hand-in-hand. One is not conditional on the other. One is not more important than the other. From GOD’s perspective, wives need to obey and He tells them so, likely because it isn’t easy for women to do so… and because men inherently need respect. Equally, men need to love their wives, and instruction is plain, probably because men need it spelled out…. and women need to be loved.

Both obedience and love are difficult for us. GOD prefers obedience over sacrifice, though He gets a lot of sacrifice historically. And He is love, expressing it perfectly as no human can manage.

Conclusion

There is not hierarchy in marriage. There is partnership. There is no superiority in marriage. Both answer to GOD. That’s the starting place. He encourages each to reach beyond their ability for the benefit of the other and of the partnership.

Of course there will be cultural nuances. Of course the buck needs to stop somewhere and so husbands are responsible, ultimately, to GOD. Eve was deceived. Adam sinned. There is a difference in GOD’s eyes between the two. Men are physically stronger than women. Women are more naturally empathetic, and so on go the differences.

But all-in-all, to my mind, the LORD does not suggest men are more equal and women less so. We need to love one another and respect one another (my opinion) and follow the pattern GOD outlines in His Word. 

The two were one flesh — Eve made from the flesh of Adam. And so goes the pattern of a Godly marriage.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 39 The Tree (pt2)

What is GOD’s Motive? 

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” Genesis 2:15-17)

What is GOD’s ultimate motive behind including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil being in the garden but not permitting it to be eaten?

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. 

GOD’s higher calling for mankind

Was it necessary to give Adam the option ie the tree and commandment not to eat, so that he would discover the knowledge of good and evil, and then be able to combat it? And through that strife, mankind would embrace the truth of GOD but at a higher level than where is Adam in his innocence in the garden. This is where we left off from the previous post.

GOD’s love, GOD’s perspective

Although man will surely die if he eats of the tree, that death is first physical and second spiritual… but not eternal. Although his physical death is not immediate, he becomes mortal having a finite number of years to live in his physical body. That is the consequence of his disobedience to GOD. That death is also spiritual, becoming separated from GOD with mankind’s spiritual death. And yet, the soul will live on in eternity. 

But GOD!

In GOD’s plan, that death gives way to rebirth. Man, both societal and individually, struggles and in that struggle his character is refined. Though with the Fall of man, all things become subject to death, so too do they become subject to rebirth on a higher level. Plants die, seeds are buried, new life comes forth. 

In GOD’s redemption plan, He makes way for all to return to Him as ‘He wants that none should perish’.

He sends His son,

“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” (Isaiah 49:6)

Satan and his demons are not given the same option. Those who follow GOD are rescued and those who do not, are destroyed. Evil is conquered and destroyed.

The Glory

And so perhaps the purpose for the tree and the subsequent events is to allow Satan to see the result of his rebellion… and that he can never defeat nor rise above Yehovah GOD. Satan can never win!

Perhaps GOD’s motive has little directly to do with mankind, so confident is He in the ultimate goodness of mankind, through His son. But perhaps it is much more about the entire universe, His Creation and all that is in it.

This walk with GOD

All the glory is in and from GOD, not with mankind, not even with His creation, but only to Him — because He is righteous and good. And no glory will ever go to Satan. 

Ultimately, all glory goes to GOD and Satan will experience this. 

All the glory belongs to You, Father GOD. Thank you for your resurrection power and grace.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Peace

I can think of 3 categories of peace: peace of mind, political peace, and the peace of GOD which passes all understanding….

No anxiety

When we seek to control, we are inevitably going to suffer anxiety because a situation will arise which we will be unable to control. 

The solution is to surrender our will to GOD’s and to trust His course and care.

No war

When there is disagreement within a nation or between nations, inevitably there will be debate that might then transform into physical battle. 

The solution is to give way to GOD, to Jesus the Prince of Peace, to the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. Those who can, must pray for the nation(s).

No fear

“Perfect love casts out fear” (1John 4:18a) and when we allow the Father of Creation to rule in our hearts and in our minds, we have His peace, which goes beyond human reasoning, beyond understanding, to a joyous experience in His care.

The means to this peace is through surrender and trust. When we give our control, our will to the goodness of GOD, and when we trust the outcome of our lives and those of our loved ones to this same Creator, we are choosing peace. 

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

Let us abide in Him (John 15:4), in His shadow, in His shelter. 

Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” In Jesus, the Prince of Peace is a life of peace, a life without fear. 

“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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

There is only one pathway to real and lasting peace, and that is the peace which GOD offers to us. I pray each of us reading this will receive His lasting peace today.

Categories
Politics and Society today

You call me a Nazi?

I’ve just visited Auschwitz and Burkenau

Auschwitz in Poland represents the largest network of concentration camps used by the Nazi’s during WWII to incarcerate and incinerate Jews and others whom they did not accept as fellow human beings.

Has it struck anyone else how the term Nazi is being thrown about rather casually and frequently today as an attack phrase by some leftist politicians and Social Marxists toward anyone who objects to their socially liberal view? “Anyone” includes socially conservative types like me, who believe that we are meant to be free to think for ourselves, that common sense should reign over what is trendy, and that allowing freedom of speech is fundamental to our existence in the West as part of humanity.

You who disagree with me, do you call me a Nazi?

If anyone wants to call me a Nazi to my face, because I believe in Jesus Christ, or I believe in the family unit as prescribed by GOD, or objective biology over subjective transgender feeling, then they haven’t visited Auschwitz… or if they have they explode my mind as to how they could call anyone a Nazi lightly.

Evidence of the evil that was done in the name of the Third Reich in Germany in the 1920’s to 1945, the murderous genocide (note: genocide, tragically, has also occurred in other nations and people groups in other periods of history) which sought to exterminate 11 million European Jews from the planet (and managed to achieve the destruction of some 6 million) is vivid when you visit. Thousands of shoes, plaits of hair, prayer shawls, lists of names, are just some of the evidence of death and the degree of mass extermination. But to bandy about this term Nazi today is to make frivolous the death camps under Hitler’s rule and labels people who disagree with Woke ideology and Cultural Marxism with the most heinous name imaginable.

Learn your history, Mr Trudeau. Learn your facts, university professors and indoctrinated students. Recognise what you are saying and reconsider. Otherwise, you sound as blind and stupefied by propaganda as the people of Germany in the 1920’s. Destroy history at your peril. Indoctrinate to your own destruction. Sadly, history has a way of repeating itself. 

The truth about the Christian voice

Learn instead to love your neighbour as yourself, even when you disagree with his politics. Whether it’s LGBTQ or Covid lockdowns, Global warming issues or anything else, everyone has the right to his or her opinion, however annoying or stupid it might seem to you. 

Those who seek freedom by stifling someone else’s, are sure to destroy the very fabric of the society which has enabled them to insult and verbally abuse others, and insist on their own rights, while attempting to destroy that of others.

To the Accusers

Discover the background to the vocabulary you use, you who label others, or you are very likely to look into the mirror one day and see the evil you accuse others of staring right back at you.

Rather, ponder these words from the Bible:

“In all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Solomon

“I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Jesus

“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but you do not consider the log in your own eye?” Jesus

The Power of Words

To consider the long term outcome of our words is crucially important to the health and well-being of society. 

James wrote that it is hardest to bridle our tongues (James 3). Words do hurt, regardless of the adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Words do harm: they condemn, the cut, they have the power to destroy.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” 

To everyone

Let us acknowledge the power of our words and speak wisely and kindly. The alternative is to speak like the ultimate accuser, Satan, who prowls around “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We don’t want to be the bringer of accusation and become the very thing we accuse others of: full of spite, hate, bigotry and venom.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

GOD’S STORY: pt 32 Eden (part 1)

A Garden, A Man and Two Trees

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9)

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. 

EDEN: A Garden, A Man, two particular Trees

So, why did GOD create Eden, put in it a man, and two particular trees?

GOD gave Adam choice.

Did He know Man would choose to ignore GOD, follow the woman, who would follow Satan?

Here is the crux of the Creation Story

GOD created beauty. He created life. He created opportunity: eternal life or knowledge of good and evil; a walk with GOD or a walk without Him.

In Satan, long before the time of Man, came self-seeking, vanity, evil. So Satan fell from grace and took a third of the other angels with him. (See Ezekiel 28)

Then we have Creation, and Satan lures Man and Woman from GOD. 

And what does GOD do?

He sacrifices — kills to create clothing to cover Man’s shame. He allows Adam’s life to continue, albeit without immortality and outside the Garden.

Why?

Perhaps the best perspective I can possibly offer is that of a parent. GOD is Father, Adam is His son. And as a father, GOD gives grace to His son. Also like a wise and loving parent, there are consequences to disobedience. Adam failed to protect Eve and he failed to obey GOD. So GOD allowed pain and suffering to come to them; yet He spared their lives.

He sent them out of the garden, we will soon learn, ““lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:22b-23)

GOD wanted relationship but Satan wanted power.
GOD wanted relationship but Adam wanted Eve, and the knowledge of good and evil.

GOD wanted relationship but it would be a long pathway for mankind to come back to Him. 

We who are saved through Jesus — faith in Him and through His death and resurrection — regain that relationship…. through the Sabbath Rest He offered in Eden and offers to us today.

As we attempt to gain a glimpse of understanding of GOD’s reasoning, we have to reconcile GOD’s brilliance with Man’s failure.

My conclusion

It rests with choice: GOD wants us to choose Him. But we must be allowed to do the choosing.

Next week I hope to delve into Eden a little more…

Every blessing,

Sarah

Categories
For Mothers

For Mothers: Letting Go

It’s a theme that comes round every now and then…

Being a mother is a lesson in letting go! So this is a message for mothers letting go…..

“I surrender all to Jesus, all to Him I freely give…” goes the old hymn. “I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Him my blessed saviour, I surrender all.”

This commitment is from my heart. And here is a chapter of it…

Letting Go

Legally, parents are given the responsibility for the care and control of their children. 

There is quite an attack against this principle, with a move by some to limit the rights and role of parents. But so far, this basic principle still exists in the western world. 

Gradually, in the lifespan of a child, the parent encourages and allows a child to make his or her own decisions on age appropriate choices. Bit by bit, we release them to make choices: which juice? which outfit? which extra curricular activities.

Allowing children to make choices is part of the “letting go” process for us as mothers. Children need opportunities to make choices because this is how any of us learns how to weigh up information and how we develop healthy independence. Making decisions is part of growing up.

And letting go is part of mothering.

Off to university

My son is heading off to university soon. I’m excited for him. I’m also a little nervous, but that’s mostly for myself. He will make some mistakes but he’s sensible and it’s his time to set off on his own. As for me, I’ll be on my own for the first time in  about 40 years… my husband passed away a couple of years ago and now my son is off! So, here I will be, with Jesus, alone in the house.

What will life be like on my own?

The letting go process is just as much about my life as my son’s. Step by step I’ll make discoveries and adjustments. All is well. But I wanted to highlight this “season” for any of us who face major changes…. As mothers, let’s be aware that changes our children make effect us too. 

We need to let our young people go…. We celebrate with them as they venture into the world, trusting that we’ve trained them up and trust they will not depart from what they’ve learned* are right and true values. We need to find ourselves new focus and interests to continue to live a full and interesting life***. We need, once again, to surrender our children to GOD and our own lives to Him, so that our joy may be complete.

Letting go is a part of life, a part of parenting, a part of our journey toward the completion of the plans and purposes the LORD has for us all.**

Scriptures referenced: *Proverbs 22:6; **Jeremiah 29:11; ***James 4:8

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY pt 29 Creation History

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 history of Creation is encapsulated in the Genesis story. But why does the Bible restate so often the Creation History?

Genesis 2:4 says, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD GOD made the earth and the heavens,”

To follow the Word of GOD there can be no doubt in this and other statements that GOD is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

The time line may be debatable and for our purposes I don’t think it necessary to debate that here and now. GOD simply wants it reiterated that He made it all. Why?

Ages Past

In pagan times, before the western world heard the Gospel of Jesus and in the main accepted it, pharaohs and emperors led their people in worship to gods and demons. There was an understanding that there were higher powers…. or that the Pharaoh was himself deified and was included in the realm of the most powerful. Humanity knew there was power beyond themselves.

Then was the voice of Judaism and the beginning of a world understanding who ruled ultimately. Ruth and Rehab are just two examples of Biblical persons outside of the Hebrew nation who came to recognise Yehovah, Elohim: the GOD of the Universe. Some from outside the Hebrew line accepted the Hebrew GOD. Ultimately, when Jesus walked throughout Israel He brought attention to the Father of Creation and gentiles received the message. Matthew 15:21-28 reveals a Canaanite woman asking for the crumbs from GOD’s table.

After Jesus’ commission, the apostles began ministering, “into all the world and preach[ing] the Gospel to all nations.” So the Word of GOD became known and accepted by people of many nations and across the socio-economic spectrum. Thus the way was paved for the Creation story to be spread across the known globe. And so it was.

Scientists and Faith

Across the Middle East and Europe, there was no real debate for centuries. Scientists in Europe were struck deeply as they investigated the intricacies of their speciality, to discover how GOD, through His creation, was confirmed repeatedly. Galileo, Newton are just two incredible scientists who did not alter their belief in GOD but were in fact moved more deeply and more profoundly in their faith in GOD.

Then came Darwin. His theory of evolution challenged the time line of GOD. Those who came after him though not he personally, as well as philosophers jumping on the bandwagon, lusted after pushing out religion and the Bible and GOD in the name of science and philosophy.

Today’s challenges

So much for the scanty history lesson.

Today western society’s most vocal contenders for authority (the so-called Woke folk) have thrown out GOD and science as well, in favour of individualistic truth and attempts to put current individualism: feeling and emotion, above and before any biology or historical reality.

And so, whilst GOD had Moses record early history all the way back to His Creation, He knew such a time as this would come. As we have headed our way back into paganism and hedonism in the West, and as Christian persecution is by far the greatest religious persecution on the planet at 86% of the total, we know GOD has this all in hand.

GOD’s Message to us today

With my whole heart I believe the Father’s message to us today is, He is the Creator. He knows the heavens because He made them. He knows the earth, because He made it. As we look to Him we will know how to navigate the times and seasons we are in. He knows how to take care of the planet earth and He knows how we can best take care of one another. We are stewards. Nothing has changed since GOD commissioned Adam and Eve to look after the garden.

Nothing has changed. We can hold onto that.

Every blessing.

Categories
For Mothers

Hello Mums

I’d like to say “Hello” to any mum that might come across this blog stream. “Hello Mums!”

By way of introduction, I’m Rev Dr Sarah Tun. I’m a mum as well as being a watchman of the LORD, an author, an intercessor. Here, I’ll be sharing from my viewpoint, issues and thoughts as a mother. My aim is to share: to open up you the reader to me, so we can get closer and learn together how GOD is moulding us, shaping us in our roles as mothers (which never ends regardless the age of the offspring, so I’m told).

So here we go….

Today’s topic: A Mother’s Conscience.

Here is the question:

Do we ever get things 100% right? And if we do, do we ever allow ourselves the pleasure of enjoying we have got something 100% right?

My quick answer is to say, “Nope.” On the whole as a group, I speculate that we never can quite allow ourselves, by nature of the care and concern our biology or psychology provides, to say, “Yup, I got that perfect!”

Do you disagree? If so, how about this:

Have you ever thought you got something absolutely right? And how does the frequency of that compare to your thinking you got something absolutely wrong?

Why is it that — as I reckon it anyway — that we are predisposed to sabotaging ourselves? Could it be because we are predisposed to encouraging others and putting ourselves last.

What do you think?

Whether we are Mary types or Martha types* (see Luke10:38-42), whether we rest at Jesus’ feet (once the children are fed and we manage to have a quiet moment) or run around constantly to make sure everything is done which we think needs to be done, ultimately, resting is not easy for us is it? And when we do enjoy it, how long does it take before we feel regret? Yes, we can enjoy Jesus but we are predisposed are we not, to have an eye on our family and feel we’ve let someone else down if we’ve rested too long or enjoyed ourselves too much.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Feel like sharing your story? Please do!

Categories
Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Slavery 2

Slavery in Ancient times

I’m writing from the perspective of the Hebrew person who was rescued out of slavery in Egypt and trying to adapt to freedom.

I’m writing to scrutinise scripture rather than simply as a personal reflection because we are living in a society combating prejudice against historic slavery; many people locked into their own biases.

I’m writing, hoping to bring awareness to myself and to anyone reading, about how GOD’s perspective is from a completely different angle to ours with regard to slavery, and we need, I believe, to learn to look from His perspective in this an in all matters.

I’m looking at Deuteronomy 6

The written record has just reiterated the 10 Commandments in Chapter 5. Looking from Chapter 6 let us look at some of the language GOD uses to address those who will be left behind, to go into the Promised Land with Joshua after Moses has died…

“Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you… “ (v 3a)

“… when you have eaten and are full — then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall fear the LORD your GOD and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other peoples gods….” (v 12b-14a)

“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your GOD, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (v 17)

GOD’s address

The language is bossy, abrupt, direct, warning and without any subtly… because these “children” descended from their fathers who were in slavery, and they have not yet learned how to walk in responsibility that comes with freedom.

His instructions are clear avoiding any doubt or confusion: live this way in order to avoid dire consequences. 

The behaviour expected is a bit prescribed, because that is what these people are accustomed to. This does not advocate slavery but does suggest freedom is not without its expectations.

What is important to note

Slavery is nasty, undesirable, constrictive; it keeps one within harsh boundaries. But are all boundaries bad? These Hebrew people are going into the Promised Land where the cities will be taken from others and they will not need to build. The land will offer delicious food — it is the Land flowing with Milk and Honey. They will have absolute freedom, which they have never experienced before. 

Freedom is the ability to make decisions and choices without any inhibitions or barriers. GOD is offering boundaries to those who’ve not experienced freedom because freedom requires responsibility if it is to be blessed, prosperous, healthy leading to joy and fulfilment. These people needed to learn how to live in freedom.

Freedom with Responsibility is what we all need today

While we may desire freedom, our downfall occurs when we have freedom and make mistakes. We can learn from any mistake but some mistakes are better not to make. GOD sets boundaries to protect us: ‘To love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself’…. A focus on this keeps us safe from our human propensity toward selfishness and subsequent decay.

Holy Spirit and Boundaries

When we are filled with and walk with and are in partnership with the Holy Spirit, there is total freedom because Holy Spirit within us is our safeguard from error. Ignoring Him brings unpleasant consequences. Walking with Him and following His lead provides protection.

Slavery is unpleasant bondage. But absolute freedom is risky. Boundaries within our freedom protects us from ourselves.

From Slavery to Freedom

The Hebrews gained their freedom but it took a long time for them to grow accustomed to walking in it. They needed GOD’s boundaries and they needed to be thankful. Instead they often grumbled, doubted, complained, disobeyed. Let us learn from them and instead enjoy the liberty and freedom we have without forgetting who GOD is and what He has done through Jesus for us.

Sometimes scripture is cited ‘we are slaves for Christ’… that is not so that we obey the Law. It is not so that we feel condemnation when we err. It is so that we can enjoy belonging to Him and accept the safeguard of boundaries that our mature conscience and relationship with GOD offer, so that we enjoy freedom with responsibility.

Every blessing,

Sarah

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Working in partnership

We are meant to be partners with GOD. God working in partnership with us is His heart and it is the means to transforming society, bringing mankind back to Him.

How to partnership with Yehovah GOD

Writing from GOD’s perspective as I have been attempting to do for the past several weeks, I can’t possibly assume I know what He’s thinking or wanting to share; and yet, He reveals things to us through His Word and through His Spirit that complement one another and encourage us. GOD lives and breathes in and through us to the degree we allow, through our obedience, surrender, engagement and worship. We are saved individually, but also for the purpose of bringing others to Him. He is a good GOD, the righteous and generous father of mankind, giving good gifts to His children and desiring that none should perish.

“GO and make disciples of all nations…” said Jesus in Matthew 28.

A leaf from GOD’s STORY

So, this piece is not a part of GOD’s STORY per se, but about our relationship with Him and the depth and breadth He can draw us to Him.

Why did GOD create mankind? 

GOD created mankind for relationship — with Him, as well as with one another. 

Reading Genesis 1, He reveals Himself as 3 persons with 3 identities, aspects, personalities in the One Person of GOD. He is 1. Creator who creates. 2. The Word who speaks 3. The Spirit who hovers over the waters from the beginning. GOD spoke and creation happened. He was and is and will be GOD: “In the beginning, GOD”. 

As GOD is Creator, Word and Spirit – He is one GOD revealed in three persons, He is and always has been in relationship. Likewise, when He created Adam in His image, He did so for relationship. And then, He said it was “not good” that man was alone and He created woman. More relationship. 

And so it is with us, we who are born again, we who speak of a relationship with GOD, we who have faith and follow Him through His Word and by His Spirit — we are in relationship with Him.

In Partnership

But I choose to go a step further today to say: Yes, we have relationship, fellowship… and also partnership with Him.

I read a book recently which offered good teaching for young people about following GOD. I won’t quote it but I mention it to say this: It has solid information but it lacks one thing: It does not teach about partnership through Holy Spirit.

The book taught that since Word became flesh and that word has been written down, everything Jesus had/has to say to us is in the Bible; by following that Word, and using sound judgment, we walk the Christian life. This is true but it is leaving out a vital point: through Holy Spirit we have fellowship with GOD and the opportunity for complete partnership with Him. 

The Father wants relationship with us. He is relational; it’s a part of His identity. Even following the Bible with the best will and passion in the world, we are still walking in the flesh, which is still finite and, I purport, still limits our engagement with GOD. 

Only through the power and presence of Holy Spirit manifesting in our lives are we walking in complete partnership: yielding our flesh to His Spirit with each step that we take.

This does not mean we cannot tie a shoe without asking GOD. As the book rightly suggests, GOD is Sovereign and in that, He gives us freedom and room to choose, to think, to delegate, to “live and move and have our being” while He is also fulfilling His plans and purposes. 

But our walk can be so much more than applying the Bible to our lives. Applying the Bible is good! but it is still not the fullness of what GOD asks and what He offers. Rather, He offers and seeks intimacy that comes with constant fellowship — conversation with Him, seeking Him out, allowing Him to fill us with His supernatural presence and power through the person of Holy Spirit.

John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being”

Faith is Trusting in GOD

First and foremost, we commit our lives to faith in Jesus, as son of GOD, as the one who died and rose again. We trust Him with our salvation and with our lives, both here on earth and in heaven after our physical presence on earth ends. We believe and we trust. But there is more…

Rigidity without Holy Spirit

There is a danger in following the Bible totally fastidiously:  that danger is to become rigid in our thinking, becoming religious or even self righteous. Without the Word we have no compass. But with only the Word we can become legalistic, dictatorial. Alternatively, our attempting to follow the Holy Spirit can become whimsical, irrational, or can even lead us toward error in our thinking without the Bible support. If, for example, we think “GOD said to do X” when X is clearly contradictory to the Word, it cannot be true. We do need both the Word and the Spirit to walk with Jesus in the way He has always intended.

The Word keeps us on a righteous path. The Spirit keeps us surrendered to GOD. 

Jesus said he did only what the Father told him to do (John 5:19). His Spirit will never contradict. We need to know the Word so we recognise the voice and the will of Jesus. But Jesus left earth in order for Holy Spirit to come, and we need that Helper to help: to lead, guide, teach, correct us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit will always have the same message, though they may express themselves to us differently. We need all three in our lives. We need Holy Spirit in order to grow in our intimacy with GOD, in order to become perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), in order to fellowship with GOD and with one another to the capacity GOD has for us.

There is nothing trivial with GOD!

Some might say that GOD isn’t interested in what we should eat for dinner, or whether we should wear these shoes or those, take this job or that, marry this Christian or that one. But I disagree. 

“As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13) He is watchful, He is engaged, He is interested.

Jesus adored and encouraged the children to come to him. Likewise, the Father relishes our time with Him. It is narrow for us to think He isn’t interested or that what is trivial to us is also trivial to Him. That is looking at ourselves as equal to GOD, as “adults”… but we are neither equal nor adult to Him.

1 John speaks of children, young men and fathers. And yes, we in the faith, mature. And Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians of teaching “meat” versus “milk” to the believers. We do grow in maturity as re are ready to hear.

But GOD does not limit our access to Him nor our prayers. Yes, He wants us to move and respond freely and as we grow, in a mature way. But this takes time and experience. We learn the Word and we discover Holy Spirit: both Jesus and Spirit of GOD are equal and of equal importance to grow us into the people GOD has created us to be. 

In one sense, we will always be His children.

Predestination v Arminianism

I think the debate between predestination — where everything is pre-ordained, and arminianism — where GOD gives us freedom to effect the outcome of our lives, is futile, because both purport a one way or other way view. 

I think the truth is in between, a both/and reality. GOD is sovereign. And yet, we must wrestle against flesh and blood to grow into His likeness. 

The Hebrew people were completely able to recognise competing truths. I think we gentiles need to be able to do the same.

Sovereignty and Partnership

Recognising GOD as sovereign does not mean we are puppets. Realising the active influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives does not mean we can foul up the predestination of GOD. Rather, we trust in GOD’s righteous and powerful sovereignty even in the midst of our attempts and failures at following His voice today through Holy Spirit.

GOD wants partners. GOD wants us to grow to full maturity. GOD wants to engage with us. And in my experience, I grew more though Holy Spirit than without. I failed more often too. But here I am, more surrendered, more intimate, more in line with the character of GOD as revealed in His list of Holy Spirit fruits (Galatians 5) , than I ever would have become with the Word alone.

I have studied the Word voraciously. But that alone was not enough to curb my impulsivity, my fleshly temperament, my ego. I needed Holy Spirit actively in my life to ensure my dependence and eventual maturity in GOD. 

Flesh v Spirit: obedience, wonder, worship, surrender, grace

We cannot walk in the flesh forever. Ultimately and sooner-is-better-than-later, we need to walk by the spirit in us. How?

“I die daily.” 

“I am crucified with Christ.” 

We must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Centuries ago, priests seeking to be more like Jesus literally flagellated themselves to try to defeat the sinful flesh. In the 1800’s many preached hell and damnation, not erroneously but without love, and alienated for generations those who would be lost; today Christians still have a rotten reputation for hypocrisy and judgementalism rather than for the lovingkindness of Jesus.

Seek Jesus, Seek Holy Spirit, Seek the Father

The Word of GOD is wonderful. It needs no editing, no addendum, no apology. However, Jesus was openly declared at his baptism by the voice of GOD and the presence of Holy Spirit. Only then did his ministry begin. Likewise, we need Holy Spirit to live our lives as Jesus teaches us. 

If we resist Holy Spirit out of fear, suspicion or pride, we miss an essential part of GOD and forfeit the power and presence He wants us to have. 

We learn to worship the LORD in Spirit and in Truth!

“Not my might, nor my power but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” (Zachariah 4:6)

As we ponder the Spirit of GOD, to the degree we allow Him to be active in our lives, we will determine our growth in character and our depth of relationship… that’s what I’ve experienced and that’s what I believe.

Going forward, I press on to the upward call of GOD in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13) and pray for the same for all of us. How we manage is up to the LORD and may we all surrender fully into this so that He can have His way entirely in our lives.

Shalom and GOD BLESS you!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Empty Chair: GOD Always Remembers – a reflection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so am I.

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

Every blessing,

Sarah xx

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Joy can be natural

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

Right steps or Slip sliding

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

Uphold my steps in Your paths,

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

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

And what is the path? Joy!

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

Speak it out!

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

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

This is joyful living!

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

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

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

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

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

Emotion is of the mind

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

Overcoming sadness

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

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

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY Part 19 Heaven

What about Heaven

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.” (Genesis 1:6-8)

Firmament. What a word, firmament.. What is a firmament? — a space, a non-space rather. A mountainous something which is indescribable and incredible. There is power in this word firmament. It suggests something tremendous.

He takes action

He “divide[s] the waters”… there He is divisive again (note last week’s post https://laruspress.com/gods-story-part-18-god-is-divisive/ ). What is He creating? A firmament – an entity which divides waters which are eternal, with no end and no beginning. Just like GOD. 

Heaven! That is what GOD creates the second day. It takes the entire day: to think, to create, to speak it into being: Heaven.

Some translations say “Heavens”. There are three heavens: the sky we see, the domain of the demonic, and the domain of the heavenly hosts of GOD.

Light, Dark, Waters, Firmament, two days. That’s what we know of His Story from the beginning, so far.

What is compelling GOD? Does He know what will become of His Creation even before He begins to create? Does He know the marvel, and the tragedy? What compels Him?

What moves GOD

Fellowship. 

Love.

Energy, creative energy. Power and love. 

It is a mystery. And we continue on…

Larus Press with the blog stream Preparing the Bride is all about enabling us to be ready for Jesus’ return, preparing also for all He has in store for us in the meantime.

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

Here at Preparing the Bride, I’m telling GOD’S STORY. Presumptuous?! Not when simply looking at scripture, because scripture is the unfolding of God’s story to those who read it.

As I crawl through Genesis to discover what is GOD’s point of view, I discover today that GOD is powerful, inventive, awesome and mysterious in His creation of Heaven.

He is simply, GOD!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Life

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

life is an adventure to be shared with others.