Is He your Hero?

Book of 1Samuel Chapter 12 Verse 21 NIV
Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
Our Western society has turned from its Christian Judeo roots of worshiping God, to a culture obsessed with fame, celebrity and literally pop idols.
Amongst other things, reality TV, often cruelly focusing on people’s weaknesses and less desirable traits has provided a road to a spotlight where you can set yourself on a pedestal and speak to the world. Whether the eyes that see you or the ears that hear you are delivered foolishness and return mockery seems to many a small price to pay in exchange for their time under the sun.
This highlights our societal change in focus from character and integrity to skill, talent and ability. A good example of this is the world of football whether players are now celebrities and by extension so their wives and girlfriends. Many of these players have become idols despite appalling behaviour off of the field. For example, repeated sex scandals, involving the married, who have looked to excuse their behaviour citing reasons such as overconsumption of drugs or alcohol and have experienced little consequence as their partners choose to accept repeated humiliation in order to maintain the right to a gilded lifestyle.
Our music industry has fared no better. Over the last couple of years death has taken many idolised legends of pop and rock, some at tragically young ages. Their genius destroyed as their money allowed them access to just about any poison, human or chemical that could help them self-destruct.
Let’s me clarify; is it wrong or sinful to enjoy sport or music? Absolutely not. Is it wrong or sinful to admire the talents and abilities of others as they compete or entertain? Absolutely not.
But, is it wrong to actually worship these men and women? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Book of 2 Kings Chapter 17 Verse 12 NIV!
They worshipped idols, though the Lord had said, “you shall not do this”.
Admiring, appreciating and valuing peoples skills, team’s abilities, bands production and enjoying them is not sinful; but worshipping them is!
Are these the only things in our lives that can become objects of worship? No. Anything that becomes more important to us than Him, becomes an idol! That could be our business, our bank accounts, our house value, our pension ‘pots’, the latest must have gadget or our status in society. Additionally addictions can mean we idolise food, sex, drugs, alcohol and individualistically, just about anything else that we can become obsessive about!
Anyone not sure about this, what follows is the very first of the Ten Commandments:
Book of Exodus chapter 20 verse 2 NIV
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
At and for this time, God has stopped or altered globally financial markets, sporting events, concerts, theatre, non-essential work; summarily many of the things that we spend much of our time focused on.
Only a very short while ago, Carers were being described from ‘on high’ as unskilled. There was little recognition for those working at the front line, nursing the sick and caring for the dying. Did we truly value the delivery drivers, the couriers, the warehouse staff, the cleaners, the retail workers and the supermarket cashiers who have all recently been risking their lives to serve us? It was a joy to partake in the clapping, whooping and even setting off of fireworks in my neighbourhood recently to honour those working in our NHS. As our supermarkets struggled with supply and demand, many small and struggling local businesses have stepped up to deliver and support the local community.
By comparison, some of our footballers and their organisations have not shown themselves in a good light at this time. They are not the only ones, oh no, some with the highest media profiles have used this time to espouse more of their banal and self-focused utterings and our celebrities have dispensed some averagely vacuous and unhelpful opinions, Madonna speaking from her bath tub (on the coronavirus) comes to mind; “and what terrible about it is what’s great about it, it’s a great equaliser,”
Meanwhile our beloved Queen has rallied us with an encouraging speech, praising those “coming together to help others”.
There is a huge learning opportunity here to change our priorities and our values. If we choose to see and to hear, then not just as individuals but also as a society, we can press Re-set.
My prayer is this; I pray that we seek God for His purpose during this time and that whenever we return to whatever the new normal is, I ask that we remember what we have seen and what we have learnt.
God bless you all.

CHURCH ( In case you ever wondered……)

CHURCH
It’s not vestments and raiment’s
And exotic smells
Uncomfortable seats and
Loud ringing bells,
Stained glass, (though that depicts a story,)
Icons and statues, stone celestial glory
Note perfect worship, choir or band
No, nor sins forgiven, not by human hand
Not fine buildings reaching up, steeples so high
Signposting our eyes, up toward the sky
Not rituals or symbols, traditions of men
Repetitive utterings, a muttered amen,
But, if not this then what? What should it be?
Salvation by blood, Christ died for me!
Assembly of brethren, a part of the Body
Fellowship, prayer, this isn’t a hobby,
Our lives surrendered, given in trust,
Breaking of bread, good doctrine a must
The word is expounded in fullest measure
So we can grow fatter in all of its treasure
The gospel of Jesus in ‘sola scriptura’
The good news of Christ doesn’t get purer
In faith and hope we lift others up,
He overfills our joyful cup
Worshipfully raise our voice to the Lord
From sinners to saints, so He is adored
In good times and bad times we follow Him
For our Lord Jesus is the King of all Kings
The bible’s our plumb line so no compromise
With Satan himself, the father of lies
Sheltered by Father, safe under His wings
Acknowledging God, creator of all things

Fellowship and Focus

I consider myself a good driver but I must confess that, although our vehicle has adaptations, I haven’t felt that my reactions have been swift enough recently to warrant getting behind the wheel.
However, my husband would say that my verbal reactions are spot on and whether in the front or rear passenger seat, I obviously still consider myself co-pilot!
I must confess that this is true up to a point but having taken a wrong turn in Devon, we found ourselves travelling along a hilly, windy and single track road, heading for the coast on probably the longest route possible!
Given the potential for rounding a bend and coming face to face with another vehicle, the two of us were concentrating on the road ahead, at least as much of it is as was practically visible.
But, then we rounded a bend and instead of coming face to face with another vehicle, we came to a break in the hedgerow with an absolutely glorious view of the distant blue sea, off to our left hand side.
“Look at that view”, I crowed, “It’s absolutely breath taking”! It quite took my breath away but as I turned back to my husband to extol the beauty viewed, I realised that I alone had enjoyed the panoramic spectacle. My husband’s profile hadn’t changed, as he had, absolutely rightly, kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead. I found him unmoved, eyes still facing resolutely ahead and realised that although I had laid down my co-pilot duties, he had upheld his duty as driver for us and for anyone travelling in the opposite direction!
I sat back in my seat and pondered what the bible had to say about this:-
Book of Proverbs Chapter 4 Verse 24 and 25
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
I mulled these scriptures over and I realised that, on a much wider spectrum of my life, for all my self-appointed co-pilot roles and audible opinions, actually, I am able to relax, knowing that I am in the safe hands of a bible believing, spirit led and God fearing man who quietly steers the ship and ensures that under his leadership, we both move forward in the right direction, following Jesus.
However, I am very aware that many of my fellow saints are walking singly or against the beliefs of much loved husbands and wives. An uphill challenge to be sure but the fellowship of the Holy Spirit ensures that we are never alone in our walk. However, we all absolutely need the fellowship of our brethren and thus the individual relationship with our Lord leads to a corporate and social outcome. The Bible gives us scripture to follow;
Book of Acts Chapter 2 Verse 42 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Book of Hebrews Chapter 10 Verses 24 and 25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

We are Christian soldiers and we fight as a battalion, holding each other up if we grow tired and raising our spiritual shields together to form a protective barrier around us. So, whilst we all have an individual path to walk, we walk, not in isolation but with hearts and minds joined together in the love of Christ.
God bless you.

Nothing New Under the Sun!

Fairly recently, my husband and I were guests at a retreat, at the same time as a local church leadership group. One morning, we were privy to a passionate conversation between these other gentlemen guests, who happened to be enjoying their breakfast in the dining room, whilst discussing a particular book.
We were seated nearby, waiting for the second breakfast sitting that morning but the excitement that they shared had led to a rise in the volume of their speech and their conversation became clearly audible.
The gist of the conversation was the number of ‘coincidences’ or ‘evidences’, dependent on your view, that an author had laid out in their book, depicting past events in the Old Testament which, they alleged were being literally replayed in modern times.
My ears pricked up at this as one gentleman confessed how cynical he had been when lent to the book but how his view had changed, literally as he turned the pages, by the facts that were staring him in the face!
Embarrassment at acknowledging my eavesdropping fought hard with my curiosity to know the title of the book that had caused this much debate. My pride took a blow and as the men began to leave, I poked my head through the open door and pink faced, rather sheepishly asked them the title of the book.
Seemingly surprised but smiling kindly, they told me that the title of the book was The Paradigm by Jonathan Cahn. I thanked them and withdrew as quickly as propriety allowed!
I had previously enjoyed The Harbinger, also authored by him, so I had the book ordered online and winging its way to our home before we took our places at the breakfast table!
Once back at home, this book was devoured before we were fully unpacked! Just prior to this break, I had been led to read the book of Ecclesiastes and the verse that had stuck out to me was: –
Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 Verse 9
“What has been will be again, and what has been done is what will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
Reading this book ‘through the lens’ of this verse added greater depth meaning and understanding. Did I find this to be a powerful book? Yes! Did I find the paradigms within too close to be coincidental? Yes! Would I recommend it for a good read? Yes, without hesitation.
However, although I gained a deeper understanding of the typology and repeated prophetic fulfilment pattern, this is not a post to advertise the aforementioned book, this is not the purpose, heart or intent of my Blog.
Of course, the plan and purpose that God has for each and every one of us is as individual as the prints that he placed on our fingertips. I had no idea that God would use this as the beginning of a new journey that has taken me to very different place both in the natural and also spiritually. As Christian soldiers we have to be prepared to be posted in new places as our lives are no longer our own and where we are stationed is determined by a much higher rank, indeed, decided by a King.
It is only with the wisdom of hindsight, that I can pinpoint this as the beginning, and in fact the ending, of many things.
May you follow Him, His word a lamp unto your feet, into the year 2020.
God bless and Happy New Year to you all!

Wakey Wakey Rise and Shine!

This is a blog that God has put on my heart. It has challenged me and I hope that it challenges you.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Intelligent design is visible to all. In short, God is not deniable.
However, God has given every one of us a gift that is impossible to repudiate. Whether you want it or not, you have been granted this. I am not talking here about the acceptance or rejection of His son Jesus Christ as your Saviour. No, I am talking about the godly gift of free will.
I want to clarify this. God has granted you the ability to choose to walk a path outside of His will for your life. You won’t be alone; in fact this path is wider and busier than the narrow path taken by those who make the alternative decision. But if you choose this path, do so knowing that ‘self-determinism’ is a gift of God and therefore in its purest form, as self-prescribed, it is a lie.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God created both sexes in His image. There is equality in this. Both are created in His image. God created man first and then woman. There is a Godly order and intent to this. There is headship for the male and subjugation for the woman and also a difference in prescribed roles by design. A man is taller, stronger, designed to be a father and to love, provide and protect. A woman is smaller, physically weaker, designed to be a mother and to love, nurture and care.
Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And He named them mankind when they were created.
He created, by design, two genders. In the post Judean/Christian western society in which we live, we can see, if we choose to do so, that the ‘God of this Age’ has driven obviously conflicting ideologies into bed together. An obvious example being Feminism, the Homosexual Agenda and the Minority Ethnic search for a voice and a platform. This, with a purely natural power behind it, should have collapsed at the outset, given these bedfellows seriously conflicting ideologies. Instead this has quickly morphed into the three powerful entities that we see now; The Transgender LGBTQ with the weaponised and powerful fear of transphobia, which last week has led a successful campaign to shut down a new Chicken restaurant just opened in Reading, which is owned and run by Christians. They have staged a loud, angry and foul mouthed campaign, littered with false accusations but the ill named ‘Oracle’ shopping mall has caved in already and won’t be renewing their lease. Also last week, Trans Athlete, Rachel McKinnon, won the Women’s World Cycling competition for the third time. Top British cyclist Victoria Hood has criticised McKinnon, saying the science is there, the science is clear – it tells us that trans women have an advantage. McKinnon responded, ‘We are either full and equal women, or we are not. We are.
What about Islam and the equally dreaded accusation of Islamophobia? We have seen nationally the appalling fate of vulnerable young women raped and abused by some groups of Muslim men and the systemic failure of our social services, police forces and ultimately our media to defend them. These cases are both historical and current with cases in Aylesbury and Banbury ongoing now. The media were too afraid of being called Islamaphobic and it took an outcry from other ‘Asian men’ appalled at being wrongly corralled by purely geographic identity, to require our media to be more specific and accurate.
Feminism, having predominantly served its initial purpose to undermine men, both the need for them and their traditional roles in society, was side swiped and squashed back to an almost powerless entity on similar gender based fronts. ‘Radical’ feminism is currently fighting and losing the battle to keep the symbol for ‘women’ visible as in last week’s war of words with the Always brand of sanitary pads, who are both offering and being lobbied to remove this symbol from their product. Also the previous billboard campaign which used Googles definition of women and had to be removed as it made transgender people feel unsafe. Meanwhile, keeping the former ‘safe spaces’ in society for those who are actually born female separate, such as women’s prisons and public bathroom facilities, it is increasingly failing to do. However, horrifically, it has turned its attention to leading a loud and celebratory scream to allow up to and now increasingly during full term partial birth abortion, in the name of women’s rights. Your right to choose to terminate a pregnancy can now in various places, dictate that even as a baby descends the birth canal, it is not actually a live human being and therefore needs no pain relief despite pre term neonatal surgery for heart conditions etc being performed with anaesthesia for the baby. We know that a baby feels pain in the womb, the medical knowledge is there but again, it is now up for dispute.
If you doubt this then look for an example, at the very recent legal changes in Northern Ireland.
On the other hand, trans men (born female at birth) are declared pregnant and headlines scream about men celebrating giving birth!
My use of ‘current’ and ‘last week’ are both accurate and deliberate.
Matthew 11:15 For those who have ears, let them hear.
Science was once delightedly held up high in society as counter-evidentiary to Christianity but as Science is increasingly making discoveries in our top international universities that confirm rather than conflict with God’s word then, science is being rebuffed from its place of the absolute and relegated behind the establishment’s concept of self-determinism. Equally common sense seems to have lost its place and its value.
It appears that to be accused of bigotry is fast becoming the new and dreaded accusation and this dread is real and the results are powerful.
Gods word says;
Matthew 19:4 – 6
Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh’. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no-one separate.
God’s word also says;
Genesis 9:13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.
Well now we see the rainbow everywhere don’t we? From the White House in 2015, to other world landmarks such as the Marble arch in 2019 to a more humble Rainbow Crossing painted by RBC ahead of this years Reading Pride event. But this is not to acknowledge God, no, certainly not. It is a sign chosen by the LGBTQ with either no thought or deliberate intent to cause offense to Christians worldwide.
Your right to choose and change your gender trumps all scientific knowledge of the massive physiological differences between male and female and is being allowed for those too young to be allowed to choose the contents of their packed lunch boxes!
Strange things are happening!
On a different note, personally, I like a good crime drama and one of my favourites has an excellent detective character, who when faced with two or more strange or unusual concurrent events. announces an intent to investigate because he doesn’t believe in ‘co-incidence’!
Well, I have to ask, do you?
Can you accept as coincidence that every concept that has been ordained by God for society is being rapidly torn asunder but also that those who value and wish to hold to those ideals are more and more being viewed, not just as politically incorrect but as dangerous and bigoted?
I will remind you that as Christians we are commanded to love not just those that don’t love us but also our enemies? We should be showing kindness and praying for all our fellow humans whether different in religion, ideology and or other beliefs. We do not seek to kill and destroy those of other beliefs and we are not dangerous to society but there is a truth of a spirit that is. Also, to that spirit we are dangerous and it is to the awareness of that spirit that this article is pointing.
We are made in the image of a Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); we are also triune, we are Spirit, Body and Soul.
Briefly and simplistically the body is our flesh, the soul is our mind and our spirit is our intuition and our conscience. Our spirit is eternal.
This is why we can see through books and cinematography the heart of man yearns and responds to stories of the triumph of the force of good against evil. Stories, that have a hero or heroine who will risk and sometimes sacrifice their life, for the good of their people.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Titanic and the Terminator to name but a few.
Taking Raiders of the Lost Ark, this film is absolutely saturated with Christian ethos. In short summary, the Ark is representing the Ark of the Covenant and Indiana Jones has to pursue and rescue both it and the girl Marian who is left dangling helplessly above a pit of serpents. They have a treasure map where X marks the spot. We have a treasure map too and the cross marks the spot!

There has also been a rise of those that are driven by a strange passion to destroy the faith of others and they have been given platforms but will generally hide behind books and television series, choosing not to debate live, the likes of Professor C Lennox and with good reason. Christianity is evidential, historically, presently and futuristically. We are living in a time when we are seeing age -old prophecies fulfilled right in front of our eyes and it is with a heart felt sense or urgency that I raise the call to rise and shine!
Currently the murder of Christians around the world has reached genocidal proportions. Western society has been protected by its Christian heritage but as God is removed then so is our protection. Satan, knowing the battle draws near is frantically moving to stamp out and destroy our faith but as it is written, he will never prevail!
I believe that everyone here has an understanding of why Jesus came and gave His life to be our saviour. However, I wasn’t sure that everyone knew that this journey and epic battle was not dusty, musty and merely legendary but is in fact adventurous, dangerous and very, very real.
If your faith is dry old bones then you have religion and not relationship with the living God!!!
God bless you all.

Frothy Coffee – What Lurks Within?

Recently after some treasure hunting in unique boutiques, (read as, scavenging in charity shops), my hubby and I had worked up quite a thirst and needed a boost to our flagging energy levels so, we headed into a nearby local café to rest on our laurels for a bit and top up our caffeine levels.
A strong and encouraging scent filled the air and we could literally ‘smell the coffee’.
An order for two Lattes was placed, some table space was located and my anticipation began to build as I watched hubby begin to wind his way towards me, carrying a tray with two large white mugs resting on it. Finally my drink was placed before me on the table. As you can probably tell by now, he and I are rather passionate about our coffee!
It looked good, it smelt good and it was even branded with a professional looking logo on the froth so, we were in the house with all the systems go, so to speak!
But oh the disappointment! So deep was the layer of froth that I almost had to dip my nostrils in to get to the liquid beneath and after all the effort something was very wrong. It was lukewarm and the taste was so very distinctly ‘off’.
Everything appeared authentic. The name on the door advertising what was being served, the aroma of coffee beans, the numbers of customers seated inside, the appearance of mug, logo and froth all presented well. However, the meat of the matter, the coffee itself was offbeat, as if the sacrilegious addition of not just a spoonful but copious sachets of sugar had been added to make this challenging medicine go down.
Speechlessly, hubby and I looked at one another, unwilling to verbalise the truth that our expectations of sustenance weren’t going to be met here and yet, also unwilling to give up on our hopes and expectations too quickly.
Almost simultaneously, we took another mouthful but our taste buds were telling us that something artificial was being passed off here as the genuine article. Also, as there had been so much froth, on this mouthful I got a delivery of the dregs that formed the foundation of this masquerading counterfeit. We didn’t need much discernment here to recognize that no refreshment was going to be found but instead a lukewarm, saccharine sweetness with a very bitter aftertaste.
We left without further ado.
As I considered that the only cost of our error of judgement on this occasion had been disappointment and a lighter pocket, I felt Holy Spirit bring this scripture to mind;
Book of Matthew Chapter 24 Verse 4 NIV
“Watch out that no-one deceives you”.
We are told to be alert, aware and discerning. In the secular world the cost of being duped by appearance rather than content may not be too high but within the church, a wolf in sheep’s clothing can be fatal to a flock of sheep.
Our taste buds were the plumb line for the coffee but the Holy Bible is the plumb line for deception within the church. Line up everything against the solidity of scripture and do not be deceived by the appearance of what just looks or sounds good.
God bless you all.

The Child Within

I have been recently blessed by an extended-family holiday in a large house in a beautiful setting. There were four generations, from a toddler to an octogenarian, with an average of a dozen people sharing times at the beach, times in the garden and times at the table, amongst other things.
At one of the meal times around a very large table, I watched my little grandson request to be lifted into his high chair as soon as the aroma from the kitchen wafted through. Hungry, he requested his dinner and behaved well as it took some considerable time to bring all the serving dishes through and for his then plated up meal to cool down.
His dinner consumed, he then politely requested his pudding and was told to wait for everyone else to finish their dinners. Next, pudding was served and he consumed his at great speed! So, then he requested to be allowed to get down and play with his toys but again he was gently told to wait for everybody else. He managed, with a huge effort not to self-combust and with praise from everyone he was finally set down to re-engage with his pre-dinner activities.
Watching this scenario repeat throughout the week, I observed that he, having accomplished the weaning process, was now learning the social skills that would be required by society as his age and independence increased.
Reflecting on this, I realised that although every one of us at the table had learnt what the acceptable standard of behaviour was, inside of each of us, the child within or our flesh if you like, still clamoured for ‘I want, whatever I want and I want it now!’
But biblically, Jesus gives us this command, (in second place).

Book of Mark Chapter 12 Verse 31
The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The Apostle Paul reiterates;
Book of 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 Verse 24
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour.
This is such a challenge as, in short and simple summary, our neighbour is anyone and everyone. Arghhhh! This clashes headlong against our selfish inner natures and ensures a second by second battle to choose the last place in a world where coming first is seen as the recognised position to covet.
Potentially, this holiday could have been a rehearsal for a remake of The Clash of the Titans as our party also included young people, a heavily pregnant lady and a disabled wheelchair user, all with very different and sometimes opposing wants and needs! However, thanks to everyone being thoughtful, kind and considerate, we all had a wonderful time. Are we all Christian? No, but we do all love each other and that makes selfless decisions easier to make for everyone.
However, for those of us walking the narrow path, the call to love your neighbour as yourself includes those you don’t know, don’t like and you certainly don’t love!
Book of Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 46
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Oh my, this high calling feels all but impossible, doesn’t it? But. Yes, there is a ‘but’.
As we receive Him and respond to His sacrificial love for us, our minds are renewed, our spirits are strengthened and our hearts are softened, thereby making possible and enabling us to obey Him and make decisions wisely for His sake, walking out the culture of the Kingdom and not the culture of this earthly world. Thank you Lord Jesus.
God bless you all.

Pick and Mix

Who remembers the Pick and Mix stands so enticingly arranged within the sweet shops of our youth?
Little white paper bags, weighing scales to check the cost as you go, a generous selection of different sweeties to pick your favourites from and the hygienically attached plastic scoops to remind the owners of grubby and sticky mitts not to just thrust outstretched hands straight into the sweetie containers!
Constrained by our pocket money budgets, we would survey tubs of rainbow drops, various flavoured bon-bons, liquorice straws, chocolate mice, sherbet centred boiled sweets and chocolate covered raisins, to name but a few! A real cornucopia of the sweet but with a few sours included. The pick n mix offered us a chance to bag up our own selection of favoured flavours without the need to invest in full size packets of the whole thing.
So, here is my food for thought this week; are we in danger of applying this approach to our faith?
Do we avoid the whole package of the bible and choose instead to suck on selected verses, maybe taken out of concept but tasting sweeter perhaps, without the wrapper?
I could have written of many potentially misapplied or misunderstood scriptures, frequently quoted without context today but I’ve chosen to go with possibly the most frequently heard.
I am not good at remembering scripture by chapter and verse numerically but even I can quote the following verse, ad infinitum:
Book of John Chapter 3 Verse16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Could this be the most oft quoted verse ever? Please don’t misunderstand me, an often quoted verse is a beautiful and powerful thing in itself, but and there is a but, I think that this verse is used too frequently within Christian circles in isolation, with the idea or intent of supporting a faith based solely on declaration rather than a faith of love expressed, that has a tangible visibility to it. I have encountered some brethren who appear to almost defend themselves with this verse, whose depth of faith is of course, unknown to me but in terms of the fruit of their lives, were they to be accused of being Christian, the evidence, simply put, would be in very short supply!
The following verse doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as popular in the realm of Christian soundbites but within the same book and the same chapter, some verses later, we read;
Book of John Chapter 8 Verse 51 NIV
Very truly, I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
Aha, could there be more to Christianity then than simple stand-alone belief then? Should we comprehend more from the concept of belief than our current day culture suggests? Also, obedience isn’t such a popular word these days is it? However, reading both verses shows us that belief and obedience are both important ingredients of the outworking of the Christian faith and they call out for further reading as, surely, you cannot believe in or obey the commands of someone with whom you are not reasonably well acquainted? So even two verses give us more depth but when the scriptures were written, there was a plan, purpose and intent in the Holy Spirit inspired order of words.
I blog with soundbites of scripture but hopefully with respectful intentionality of both the content and the context of the verse and I use my life experiences, or that of others, to illustrate my application or understanding of the scripture.
So,summarily, what I am saying today is that we cannot simply pick and mix the scriptures that suit our tastes and chew on them as stand-alone nuggets of wisdom. Why? Because they come with packaging, content and the wider reading of detailed and Godly instructions!

God bless you all.

Is our God Binary?

Firstly I will clarify my understanding of the meaning of the word ‘Binary’. I consider that binary is a system of two options; black or white, on or off, 1 or zero for example.
I recently had an interesting conversation with someone whose intellect I respect but who challenged my view of scripture as infallible and further conversational exploration resulted in the opinion that I am too binary and that God, simply, is not.
Oh really? I am considered radical? I had some serious food for thought right here.
Is this true or is this to support our individualistic and autonomously driven society’s apparent need for fluidity in all things, especially things that were previously considered solid in nature, such as your gender at birth?
Sadly the church is unable to stand clear of the worldly view and is under the same pressure or metamorphosis, depending on your point of view. There are currently radical shifts of opinion within established denominations that are causing more than cracks and fissures in the theological foundations; splits and separations are happening, as I write this, to many different and mainstream churches.
Additionally, I must ask, are we attempting to redefine the concept and the definition of sin? Do we believe that the passage of time allows us to ‘move on’ and to rewrite the code of what is acceptable in the sight of, or in the house of, our Holy God?
I would expect non-believers to campaign for what they believe is fair, moral and acceptable behaviour and to shift mainstream opinions further and further away from our western Judeo-Christian heritage.
However, the sheer numbers of those professing belief in Christianity, surely by definition, believers and followers of Christ, who are also moving to redefine what is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord, is astounding to me.
So, my equilibrium rocked by a respected brother, I turn, as always, to what does the Bible say?
The Book of Psalms 119 verse 89
Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Also, from the New Testament we are told;
The Book of Hebrews Chapter 13 Verse 8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
The bible shows us clearly that our self-focus and need to define our own rules and morality is nothing new.
It also shows through the history of the Israelites and the prophetic scripture foretelling the future, the outcomes of such rebellion.
Please read and re-read diligently the inspired Word of God and then prayerfully and spiritually decide where you want to stand regarding the changes that occurring within the church right now. Now, these changes truly are radical!

Move Over and Make Room

Reflecting on my previous Blog (Re-centre the Sat-Nav), I pondered on why I had questioned the path that I was on and had tried to run ahead, striving to see what lay over the horizon?
I then realised that part of my confusion lay in the level of challenge that I was facing on a daily basis. In short, I was finding life really hard!
My ‘logic’ was based on some erroneous understanding of the joy that I was meant to encounter in everyday life. Please don’t misunderstand me, I first encountered and turned to Christ during one of the lowest points of my life and He returned, amongst many things, the concept of hope to me. Also, the last decade has had its share of mountainous adventures and abundance and also its deep valleys of grief and loss and I have needed Him every step of the way. However, I was finding that my current allotted mission field was impacting on the deepest and most vulnerable part of me. It was challenging me emotionally, spiritually and physically and I was battling fear in an area of my life that I had deemed was over and never to be encountered again.
God, it seemed, had other ideas!
Historically, I have witnessed and experienced doors ahead both open and shut tight as God has unfolded His plan step-by-step plan and I knew that Father had chosen this path for me. I had heard Him very clearly on this but, as the giants appeared in front of me, I began to re-tune my inner ear and to listen to the other voice instead.
Surely there has been some kind of mistake? This is too hard. A loving father wouldn’t allow even the narrow path to be this bumpy would he?
This sounds ridiculous to me now but as I inclined my ears to Satan’s seduction, my clarity of vision began to blur and I seemed to see scripture through a lens focussed solely on blessing and prosperity!
Now as the ground around me had begun to wobble, figuratively speaking, I was granted the wisdom to return to the cornerstone of my convictions. Back to Jesus and back to the gospels;
We know that Mary was obedient to her God given calling and in the New Testament, Luke tells us of the difficulties that she and Joseph faced on arrival in Bethlehem;

Book of Luke Chapter 2 Verse 1 ESV
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The King of all Kings was born into the humblest of places with just basic provision for Him and His parents as, in the town; there was literally no room for them!
We need to move over and make room for suffering and surrendering in our Christian lives, as we follow Him!
I may not understand right now but I know that God is good and afresh I commit to follow and trust in Him and repent of being deceived by the father of lies using my own selfish desires.
Jesus lived His entire life in surrender to the will of His Father, leading to His ultimate surrender in Gethsemane and then onto His suffering and tortuous death at Calvary, every step of the way was for our own good, God’s perfect plan for the salvation of mankind!