I read, this morning, on the Christian Concern site, what the Archbishop had supposedly stated to the General Synod..whether the writers viewpoint is correct or not I picked up on this…..
“St Augustine described it so well when he wrote “Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find themselves in Thee.”
Justin Welby has re-written this theology and implies instead. “Thou made us to do as we please, and the only solution to the restlessness we feel is to change Christian ideas until they conform to secular ones.””
Personally I think Archbishop Welby would have stated the alternative “St Augustines” quote (if indeed he did) as a recognition of how people were using scripture today, rather than saying that is how we, as Christians should be behaving.
Whether you believe in hell or not, the bible teaches us, … to love, obey, give grace as we received it from Jesus, honour our parents (and everyone, I should think), to hate sin, to love truth, to walk in the light (and so much more).
The fear of the Lord is not a random comment, it is a necessary action in our thoughts and behaviour. It does not mean going around being scared of an angry Lord, it means love the Lord first…remembering that we will be held accountable eventually….store your treasures in heaven, (including your obedience) if you hope to enjoy eternity to all that is promised!
I don’t know about you, but I am becoming more and more alarmed at how “the church” is breaking apart on its morality …so many viewpoints, so many factions, so many twists and turns of the most basic commands, so much cherry picking.
First alert was a few years ago when someone declared that we don’t have to be saved to go to heaven….there has been much on that and beyond, despite what the bible teaches. Just because we don’t like what scripture says, it does not mean it has to conform to our here and now! The love of the Lord surely, brings obedience in the deepest desire to please and walk that narrow path so beautifully depicted in Pilgrims Progress?
No one can be perfect, (and I stand as shameful evidence of that fact) no one can be sinless but that is not an excuse, surely, to not bother trying? Stick to what the bible says and don’t make your own one…an idol chosen by you to comfort you in your sinfulness?
The Christian walk never promised to be easy, comfortable. We sing of freedom. I don’t think this is freedom to do as we please, but freedom from the weight of our sins, through amazing Grace from God our Father. We should be mindful of ourselves.
A fine dividing line between legalism and religiosity v loose living. The middle line is probably the safest one to walk…narrow but not joyless, winding but not legalistic, pitfalls with temptation but a determination to look up and walk on.
A spiritual wilderness is a strange place to wander. It is a place where there is nothing, no connection to anything living. It is a place that is uninteresting but it is a place where you can find solitude and if you are intelligent, a reconnection to that which you have lost.
Sadly, I have not been intelligent. I have dipped in and out of this place for too long. Tested it, then run back to the world to seek satisfaction, only to find nothing but distraction and temporary enjoyment.
To know what is required and to do little about it, to give up the moment it requires effort and discipline is such weakness and shameful dishonour to whom you should be seeking.
Slowly I have been clawing my way back into the place I want to be, I am reconnecting spiritually with the One I desire to be with beyond anyone else. The only One who can love me how I need to be loved. The only One who can comfort me in the places I need comfort. The only One who can restore me to the person He wants me to be. The only One who can heal me.
I have felt so desperately sad and yet hidden it for so long it has become a way of life. I am a good actress in that area. I have shied away at “letting go” for fear of the tsunami of emotions that will eminate from me, such brokenness.
I have touched on this before from time to time, then got a grip and backed away as though all was well. I have stated that “it is well with my soul” when it most definitely has not been. I have laughed when I wanted to weep. I have been gentle when I wanted to be violent. I have kept silent when I wanted to scream and I have gritted my teeth when I’ve wanted to wail.
Well it is time to change. I speak often of the time when I lost everything I held dear and clung to God, a place where I had such deep pain but joy and peace. I am driven now to find the place of joy and peace, but not to share any part with any pain.
So, I am seeking God. Silly statement. God is there. God is here. He is indwelling and He has been all along, its just that I became too tired to try anymore. Too tired to pray i the way I used to pray, which was all day… too tired to study scripture or even attempt to understand it, too tired to keep on keeping. Sundays are wonderful, they buoy you up for the days ahead, or certainly for the rest of that day. They remind you why you claim to be a Christian.
There is change. I am trying, fighting the tiredness, reading more, praying more, and including God in my wanderings rather than trying to sort it out myself.
There is change. My focus had been to move north, it was what I was clinging on to. New beginnings, affordable living, a different denomination.
There is change. Being asked to do something you don’t feel worthy of doing or being. Making a commitment.
There is change. Not being the person you think people think you are, but finding out who God says you are. That is big change, that is changing a lifestyle, showing your vulnerability, being honest!!!
There is change. That there are some who do not know you very well yet can see to the depth of your being and know your heart was ripped out of you, for God was with me when that happened. That God will restore what was stolen and a new thing will be born in my life. (if you are reading this GS, thank you)
There is change. There has to be. There has to be more than this. There is more than this and I want it. Don’t you? Time to surrender again.
Following on from my facebook post, the other day, in asking; “As Christians, we are forgiven our sins, the ones committed yesterday, today and those of all our tomorrows. Praise God, thank you Jesus! However, the question arises, bearing in mind God has forgiven and forgotten our trespasses…why are they brought into account on Judgement Day? If they are not, what are we held accountable for? Why are we to be judged, on what precisely”?
I received a number of great responses, which really helped, thank you to those who are willing to contribute and debate. However, as usual, my beloved husband had a treasure up his sleeve, and last night revealed a chapter in an ancient book on his bookshelf….which I have, laboriously (puts hand to brow and looks a tad self pitying) typed out this morning, to share with you. I have also highlighted the areas that are most relevant, in my present ability of understanding, to my question and my need for clarification.
I do confess that the entire article it is a little over and beyond my fullest comprehension, but would like to say it all sits happily in my mind. The fear of the Lord, the need to be accountable, “disciplined” (a word many despise) in my walk, for fear of lack in Heaven, (as in some will have more than other’s) . “For the Grace of has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age”. (Why should we be expected to change and why is it such a serious command)?
I do believe that God wants us to be “us”, the individuals He created us to be, to love, to enjoy, to work, to labour, to be joyful, but I also believe we need to be very serious about our sinfulness and terrible lack. We will be held accountable. It is a terrifying thought that we may live here on earth, thinking all is okay, cos Jesus died for our sins, we are forgiven and nothing matters but that we love each other.
No! Our faith requires so much more of us if we are to receive the rewards we hope for in heaven, and no, I don’t mean “by works”, but I do mean “storing treasures in heaven” as opposed to carte blanche on earth.
Our love for our heavenly Father, our Creator, our Saviour, should motivate us to be obedient in order to please Him. How could it not, when we so readily accept the gift of forgiveness? Are we a people of just words but no action? I speak not from a place of holier than thou, but that of a person desperate to progress, to be what God created me to be. Holy, sinless, and if I were to start all over again, and have been saved at a very much younger age, would I get there? No! but isn’t it in the giving of ourselves?
I also wrote a post, recently on facebook, about present giving…do wives buy/choose their own presents from their husbands? I feel that if one is going to give, then give with your heart, wholeheartedly, not just tick a box off thoughtlessly. So that should be with our love of Jesus. Going to church on Sunday is not “it”. Being able to quote scripture is not “it”, nor are any of the hyper spiritual acts many of us do….let us examine ourselves before it is too late! I don’t want to be found wanting, but know I am far off the mark.
Excerpts taken from The Triumph of the Crucified by Erich Sauer. Chapter 11 The Judgement Seat of Christ.
The return of Christ is the “blessed hope” of the church (Titus 2:13). Nevertheless it is connected not only with heavenly privileges but also with holy responsibility. Even as the rapture is a refreshment for the heart, so is the judgment seat of Christ a spur to the conscience.
There are seven facts as to this which especially the Holy Scripture permits us to know:
- The time – the “day of Christ” 1 Cor. 1:8
- The judge – Christ Himself 2 Tim 4:8
- The persons – “We all” 5:10:
- The severity – its fire. 1 Cor. 3:13
- The standard – our faithfulness 1Cor. 4:1-5
- The result – reward or loss. 1 Cor. 3:14,15
- The time is the “day of Christ, or of the Lord”. (six times in the NT, 1Cor.1:18
The time is the “day of Christ, or of the Lord” (six times in the NT, 1Cor.1:8; 5:5; 2Cor.1:14; Phil.1:6,10; 2:16) “that day” (2Tim. 4:8;1:12), “at His coming” (Parousia 2Tim.4:8), which means, according to the testimony of the whole NT, the time before the setting up of the visible kingdom of glory, and therefore before the Millennial Kingdom. In consequence the “judgement seat of Christ” is to be distinguished from the “great white throne”. This latter will be set up only after the visible kingdom of glory, indeed after the destruction as the old universe. (Rev. 20:11)
But it is also to be distinguished from the judgment at the beginning of the millennial kingdom (Matt.25:31-46; Rev.20:4). For after the return of Christ the then living nations will there be judged. The “last day” will thus include three judgments to be distinguished as to time:
- The judgment upon the Church, i.e. the raptured; at the “judgment seat of Christ” before the millennial kingdom.
- The judgment upon the nations, i.e. of the dead (Rev.20:12) at the “throne of His glory,” at the beginning of the Millennial kingdom.
- The general judgment, i.e. of the dead (Rev.20:12) at the “great white throne” after the Millennial kingdom.
The judge is Christ, “the Lord, the righteous Judge” (2 Tim. 4:8) For the Father has committed all judgment unto the Son (John5:22). Therefore, also before the Millennial kingdom it is both the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor.5:10) and also the judgment seat of God (Rom.14:10).
The persons are “we all” (2Cor.5:10; Rom.14:10) the “at home” and the “away from home”, all redeemed, the then living and the already asleep when the Lord comes (2Cor.5:6-10). True it is that he who believes on the son is free from the final judgment of condemnation (John.5:24; Heb.10;14,17), for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:1) but the question of faithfulness (1Cor4:2-5) and the determining of the reward (1Cor.3:14; Co.3:24) or of the loss (1Cor.3:15;2John8), demand a special day of judgment (1John4:17) even for believers. Here it is not a question of salvation but definitely as to the measure of the reward of grace.
The severity. “The Lord will judge his people” (Heb10:30). Even for His own the day will be “revealed in fire” (1Cor.3:13). Therefore, in strict connexion with the judgment seat of Christ, Paul speaks of a “terror of the Lord” (2Cor.5:10, 11). “Damage” and “loss” (1Cor.3:15; 2John8), a shrinking with shame from Him at His presence (1John2:28), “burning up” of one’s whole life work (1Cor.3:13-15), oneself saved, but only as a brand out of the fire, as one who escapes from a burning building with his bare life (1Cor.3:15; Amos4:11 and Gen.19:16, 29 Lot) – these are possibilities which we must look in the face.
Indeed, in 2Cor.5:10, the Scripture says that we shall receive not only according to our good works, but also according to our bad works. “We” (that is, all members of the church, whether “at home” or “away” when the Lord comes, “must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done by means of the body, according to what he hath done, whether good or bad”; and in the Colossian epistle (Col.3:24,25) in connection with the receiving of the coming recompense, and in reference to the everyday life of the members of the church, it is declared that “he that doeth wrong shall receive again the wrong that he hath done; and there is no respect of persons,” With this compare 1Cor.3:15; Luke19:24; 12:45-48. Let us therefore, not blunt the point of the sword of the Spirit (Heb.4:12). To be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ is a more serious matter than perhaps we often think. Mere reference to “gain” or “loss” seems scarcely to do full justice to such extremely serious statement of the NT.
With our present powers of understanding it does not seem possible to comprehend the matter more in detail, and above all, to see how glory and solemnity can here combine, because it belongs to the eternal realm. In many respects our perceptions and sentiments there will be quite other than those here, which suit the present conditions of life.
But the Scripture gives us these so very serious words to impress upon us the necessity of practical holiness and faithful self-sacrificing service. With all the certainty of salvation and all the efficiency of the Divine work in us, this word still applies; “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil.2:12)
The standard is our faithfulness (1Cor.4:1-5; Matt.25:21,23), the sum total of our life, the product of our development: not only our deeds but also our possibilities, not only what we were but what we might have become, not only our actions but also our o missions (Jas.4:17); not the work but the worker, not the number but the weight of our deeds (1Sam2:3); not only what we attained, but also what we strove after. Of our works, sacrifice counts for most; of our disposition, only selfless love; of our possessions, only what we employed in service. As to our sins that word applies: what we have judged He will not judge again (1Cor.11:31); what we uncovered He will cover (1John1:9; Heb.8:12); what we have covered He will uncover (Luke12:2). And in everything He will take note of the most inward elements, of the impulses and motives, of the counsels of the heart, of the secrets of the soul hidden in darkness (1Cor.4:5; 1Sam.16:7: Heb4:13; Psa.139).
The result will be very varied. Even with His own people the Lord is “the Righteous Judge” (2Tim.4:8). One has built of wood, hay and stubble – his work will be burned up; the other has built of gold, silver and costly stones-his work will stand the fire (1Cor.3:12-15).
These have served faithfully-they will be great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt.5:19:25; 21; Luke19;17); others have sown to the flesh-they will reap the corruption of their life-work. (Gal.6:6-8).
These are pure, faultless, and irreproachable (Phil.1:10; 1Cor.1:8) – they will win the prize (Phil3:14); others are (spiritually) poor (Rev.3:17) and disapproved (1Cor.9:27)-they will suffer loss (1Cor.3:15); 2Tim2:5).
These have boldness in the Day of Judgment (1John4:17); shame will be the portion of others (1John2:28).
Thus each receives his due (Heb.6:10; 1Cor.4:5; 2Tim.4:8) without respect of persons (1Pet.1:17; 2Cor 5;; Col3:24,25).
Thus each receives his due (Heb.6:10; 1Cor.4:5; 2Tim.4:8) without respect of persons (1pet.1:17; 2Cor.5:10; Col3:24,25). Salvation depends upon faith, reward upon faithfulness. As sons we receive His life, as servants His recompense. “Behold, I come quickly, and my wages with me” (Rev.22:12)
But finally all will be saved and all will shine, if in different degrees of glory and splendour (1Cor.15:40-42). There will be great and small vessels in the future, but all will be filled. There will be degrees and stages of glory (Matt.25:14-30). But no difference in happiness (Matt.20:1-16). For THE servants and the service are many, but there is only one Lord.
But the faithful will be specially crowned:
The victorious warrior- with the crown of righteousness (2Tim.4:8);
The steadfast racer – with the unfading crown (1Cor.9:25-27)
The one faithful unto death – with the crown of life (Rev.2:10; Jas.1:12)
The unselfish worker – with the crown of honour (1Thess.2:19, comp.3-6; Phil.4:1);
The example to the flock, with the crown of glory (1Pet.5:3,4)
The glory. Though all this will come the consummation for the church. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah; for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth. Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory until Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready’…Blessed are they who are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Re.19:6-9).
But simultaneously has broken the great day on which the Lord will punish the host of the high ones that is in the height and the kings of the earth upon the earth (Isa.24:21), and on which it will seem good to Him to give the great kingdom of power and glory to His “little flock” (Luke.12:32). “I saw thrones and they sat thereon, and it was granted to them to exercise judgment” (Rev.20:4). “The saints o the Most High will receive the kingdom” (Dan.7:18,22). Those who at the judgment seat of Christ had been adjudged worthy of the prize will be made judges of the world. They will be the ruling aristocracy in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
And because they are “one body”, the individual will not be glorified before the community. It is all one “inheritance of the saints in the light” and the individual has only a portion therein (Col1:12). It is together that they are a royal realm, a kingdom (Rev.1:6; 5:10), and the individuals are priests and kings therein. The whole is superior to the individual. The individual is set in his place in the entire course of the whole. Therefore the individual cannot be perfected as an individual but only in personal living connection with the perfected community.
Therefore, the waiting of those who sleep for the perfecting of the future generations (Heb.11:40: Rev.6:10,11)
Therefore the clothing of the “soul” with the coming body of glory (2Cor.15:23) does not take place directly at death (Rev.6:9 Heb12:23)
Therefore there takes place at the same time the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the “clothing upon” (2Cor.5:2-4) of the then living by the rapture (1Thess.4:15). For the goal of the whole is an organism; not only the salvation of the individual but the glorifying of the community; not only individual blessedness, but the “kingdom of God” (Matt.6:10).
And even as now God’s cosmic universal State is under the government of regional angel princes, so then will the company of the glorified saints reign as kings, with Christ their Head, over suns and worlds (Rev.22:5; Heb2:5) “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1Cor.6:2,3). Therefore “he that overcometh to him will I give to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne” (Rev.3:21). “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he comes shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them” (Luke12:37. This is the greatest promise of the bible.
It is a commonly accepted procedure that when “believing” you have heard from God, that you then chew it over, seek His affirmation and even seek a trusted mature Christian to share with, who will come alongside you and pray with you.
What if you were so taken aback by the audible voice that you struggled to believe in it’s source? Again! What if, having remembered after the second event, that you had heard that voice before, but you had ignored the warnings and you continue to rue that disobedience to this day. You are not likely to make the same mistake twice…or are you?
What if you took this information to a few reliable, mature, Godly folk, and without mentioning names, gave them a description of what happened? What if they categorically told you that the voice you heard was God. What if they told you that it was a warning, one to protect you but also to prepare you?
What would you do?
This is what happened this time, and what I did. Right or wrong, no motives, just me being me, open and honest and always keen to know the absolute truth. Belts and braces!
Keith and I, were having a meal at a friend’s house and during the meal I was having a fairly in depth discussion with the man of the house, I shall name him Fred for ease of purpose. Fred then suddenly whipped out his tongue, waggled it between his teeth, withdrew it and said “you know what that means don’t you”. I was shocked, for the tongue waggling appeared to be sexual. I chose to deny the possibility of it being so and simply said “no”, Fred then said “you should do”. I turned to my husband and Fred’s wife, in this case I will call her Wilma, who was serving the dessert, they were in conversation and had not seen the interaction between Fred and myself. I was about to ask my husband what Fred had meant by his act and words but I was stopped.
We moved on a little and adjourned to the sitting room. Fred was asked to make the drinks and I requested coffee. The coffee was presented and once everyone was settled I picked up my mug to drink and suddenly a voice, an actual voice, loud and clear said “don’t drink that Fred spat into it” I immediately put the mug down. Feeling very flustered, shocked, and a tad panicked I tried to calm myself. The other three were in conversation with each other, as was the norm, so my silence did not create attention. The next thing the voice said to me was so shocking, and I braced myself for more unwanted information on this man. I sat puzzling as to why Fred had behaved as he did, his sexual overture was not uncommon, he had often made inappropriate jokey remarks to me, and I had always reported them back to Keith, but this was different. I was longing to get out of the house and speak to Keith
As soon as we were in our car and had driven out of the driveway I asked Keith about the tongue waggling, he immediately told me that in his school days that boys who did that were inviting girls to have oral sex. Just as I had suspected. Then I explained all that had happened. Keith was very quiet but then told me he was uncomfortable with continuing to see his friend. I assured him that I was happy with his friendship with Fred, but I did not want to see Fred again. I did not want to come between the two, but I did want to extricate myself from his questionable behaviour.
Over the weeks ahead I became very troubled by the whole thing, I wanted clarification and we asked our Pastor to visit us at home. I asked him if the voice I had heard was God or was it something demonic? He stated it was God and explained why I have received the information after the act at the table. That I should not be troubled by it, but thankful that I was being protected. We mentioned the scenario to a few other people, always without mentioning names, not that anyone we spoke to would have known Fred and Wilma. Not once has anyone even hinted that the voice I heard was anyone but God’s voice. I have not had any funny looks, jokes, or statements about my sanity or the possibility that the voice was demonic.
I continued to meet with Wilma for the occasional coffee but Keith had written to Fred to say he was bowing out of their regular meetings. There was no argument, but I guess Fred knew why, for he did not question Keith about his decision.
Eventually Wilma approached me and wanted to know why Keith had withdrawn from Fred. I told her not to worry about it. But I discussed it with Keith and we agreed that if she asked me again, we would tell her, together. She did ask me again, so I invited her to the house, as we did not want her to be told in a public place. I explained some of what had ensued that night. (Not the third thing) She said she could not believe it, which I expected, and that she would have to share it with Fred and come back to us. We said that was fine. We also told her we had never mentioned their names in the retelling of the story. She was thankful for that.
Wilma came back to us and told us that Fred had denied all of it. That was to be expected. She also told us that God does not lie, so therefore it could not have been God. She asked me if I had an issue with the friendship between Keith and Fred!!! As if. I was beginning to feel rather defensive now, first of all she insinuates that because God does not lie I must therefore be lying, as her husband has not! Then she creates a motive for me to lie. Then she tells us that she had taken it to a few close friends who had known them for a long while and they had denied that Fred could possibly have behaved in such a manner. However, she then stated that she could not tell us what those friends had said about me! All said very calmly, but oh!
I stood and told her that as God is my witness I have no motive and I only told her because she kept asking, I also told her that I would not lie about such a thing, it was as shocking to me as it is to her. I also reiterated that I had not told anyone their names, yet she had not bestowed the same respect on us. She said she could not meet with me again, and that she was sad about that as she enjoyed my company!!!???
Since then, we have bumped into a mutual “friend” of Fred and Wilma’s and given short shrift. Our name has been blackened. I find that offensive. It seems to be the way of the world these days. If you stand on moral ground you are hauled through mud. The actual truth is never reiterated but only a version of what happened, their version.
I know Wilma has not have recounted what we told her accurately. When she reiterated the scenario to us that last time, she said “you accused Fred for spitting in your coffee “. I said no, I had not done that, I had been told by the voice that he had spat in my coffee. She then went on to say, “how could you know whether Fred had spat in your coffee, you did not see him make it”. No, I did not see Fred make my coffee and I did not accuse him for doing such a thing, I simply didn’t drink it for the voice had warned me that Fred had spat into it. So if she has gone around telling people I accused her husband of spitting in my coffee?…..As for the tongue waggling, that has been put aside, by her, as a licking of lips, despite the fact that the lips were untouched by the tongue!
It is hard to stand firm at times, when people can be so disbelieving of what you say or experienced and so forth. But as God is my witness, what happened, is what happened. It was God, and no, God does not lie. Humans lie. This human is not lying.
I have been told, that if it had not been of God that I would have not continued to grow in Christ but would have withdrawn and been troubled. I find that so reassuring.
So often one hears folk saying “and God said…..”, which tends to make a listener somewhat sceptical, especially when that listener does not “hear” from God very often and in my case, never in the manner of this particular evening. I am truly believing that it was God and I will know His voice next time.
This event took place some months ago, and due to the response from mutual friends with Fred and Wilma, I feel the time is right to share the facts of the event, in the very real hope that they, or other’s will read this and hear the truth of what happened. One friend suggested I leave it alone, leave it for God to sort out, good advice, which I took for a while, but things have developed since then.
What do you think?
The picture was discussed and then we moved to the next photo, one of a 13 year old, her eyes showed an absence of self, she also looked sad and rather lost.
Then to the next photo, that of the sixteen year old, who continued to look sad and unsure of herself.
One may wonder, is she just a miserable character or has she been made to feel the way she looks? The thing is, I know that person, and I know there are a great many pictures of her smiling and looking full of joy, not a worry in the world, certainly not affected by any sadness or harm…. she abides in me.
Last week, on the 13th of an 18 week counselling plan for healing from childhood sexual abuse, an attempt to do a gentle form of regression took place. I don’t think my counsellor has met anyone like me before. I am certain that most clients are deeply emotional and even angry at what has happened to them. Justifiably so…but I feel quite resigned and over it, really, I think.
So why am I receiving treatment for something that is not really troubling me? Good question. Because it is known that the acts of sexual abuse go far deeper than the physical and emotional, but to the spiritual…and it is there that I need healing. I have forgiven my abusers, long long ago, I can even excuse the third abuser, much to the disgust of some. I was told I am justifying his action…displaced loyalty/love? Who knows….but God. But my answer?…they will have all been held accountable by now, as all three are deceased…
We are told to not live in our past. To let the past go, to live in the here and now and look to the future. Good advice. But if your past continues to damage you, unwittingly, if it keeps an evil grip on the very core of your being, then it must be dug out, examined and put away. The past must be, perhaps, cleansed before closing and moving forward. It is not good to dwell on the things that are unlovely, but in the right circumstances, with the right people…..and so this is what I must do…again and again, until there is nothing left to hinder my tomorrow. Like a good gardener, digging out the roots of the weeds to make room for new growth and pruning the dead wood.
So to move on…not to dwell on self but to look outward and to other’s not self. To love as you love yourself…to not be self seeking, self satisfying, self needy. To serve others brings joy, there is more to giving than receiving, and by giving we inadvertently receive that which is so much more than if we had not given.
Which brings me to where I am in the present. I have been in a difficult place, a no man’s land, trying to go somewhere, not sure where, waiting on God to direct me, feeling frustrated, health declining, putting on weight and generally not feeling like progress is happening…feeling stuck in a rut, useless, unworthy, bereft, not myself. If you ask anyone who knew me before 2000 they would have told you that I was seriously organised, efficient, fast worker, “sorted”, thriving best when pressured and stressed and blooming when giving or being needed. The trouble with that was a drivenness to be what I thought everyone needed me to be, a constant seeking of approval, people pleasing, perfectionist etc. No leeway for being just me.
But then, I was hiding and I have hidden for so long I am lost. The labels which gave me “identity” have long gone, and the newer label of “not required” hangs heavily. So the compassion but dismissiveness over the little six year old is superceded by the horror of having all you have known and loved removed from your life. The anger and tears come over those situations, far more than the disgusting act of removing my innocence at such a young age.
Coming to terms with all that has been stolen is a heck of journey to take over an eighteen week period. I am not sitting here weeping as I write, I am simply stating the bare facts in a matter of fact manner. There is no self pity at this precise moment in time.
This place I am at, on my journey, is a middle ground, a place where more healing is being received, a place of reflection, of thankfulness, but also a sense of urgency to press forward, to move in and move on. As the counselling is coming to the end, I am also preparing for surgery to my right foot and possibly later to the left…then there is next year….always looking forward hopefully….being free, growing closer to God, being well and being fruitful. Oh how I long to be fruitful.
This is merely a journey. Joy is coming.
I really enjoy this writers posts. Thought I would share this with you as it highlighted my feelings of unworthiness and how thankful I am that God chose me as one of His many lowly houses in which to dwell.
God Has Friends In Low Places. https://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/god-has-friends-in-low-places/
The other day I was sitting out in the backyard listening to an audio book and getting a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Two Mockingbirds were darting back and forth just feet in front of me and were making so much noise that it was becoming difficult to hear my audio book. I knew that they had a nearby nest and were only trying to protect their young from a potential threat (apparently Mockingbirds don’t understand that paralyzed people in a wheelchair don’t pose a threat).
Then I saw two beautiful Bluebirds sitting in a nearby live oak tree just minding their
own business. Like me, they seemed to be doing their best to ignore the noise and the antics of the paranoid Mockingbirds. Every five minutes or so, one of the Bluebirds would fly over and land on the roof of a dilapidated birdhouse that Mary’s been meaning to replace. After observing this for almost an hour, Mary came outside and told me that the Bluebirds have a nest in that old birdhouse.
I was thinking that there must be a serious birdhouse shortage in our area for these beautiful Bluebirds to have chosen this run-down dwelling to build a nest. Then I remembered that Jesus was born in a smelly stable. Maybe there was a pair of Bluebirds was nesting in that stable too.
I had somewhat of a revelation about the beautiful and holy taking up residence in dwellings that are far beneath them. It’s the one thing that distinguishes genuine Christianity from every other belief-system that can be named; the Holy Spirit (literally) resides in the followers of Christ.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
It’s not a coincidence that Jesus was born in a place that most homeless people would have avoided. But, even if Jesus would have been born in the greatest palace on earth, it would have been far beneath Him. It’s as if God chose the lowest of places to emphasize this.
It’s also not a coincidence that we see this same pattern with the birth of the Church (Acts chapter 2). The Church began with the Holy Spirit indwelling a bunch of very ordinary men and women that were gathered together in a room. From a Holy God’s perspective, that “upper room” was a very “stable-like” scene. But even if the Holy Spirit began His work in the hearts of the holiest of men on earth, it would have been far beneath Him.
The disciples were grief-stricken after Jesus explained to them that He would have to die. He comforted them with the following words:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 1:16-17)
Later Jesus told the disciples that all of them would abandon Him. Peter stated emphatically that he would die with Jesus before denying Him. We now know that, out of fear of being arrested, Peter ended up denying Jesus three times within hours of making that vow.
But after being indwelt with the Holy Spirit (the “helper” and “Spirit of truth”), this same Peter stood before thousands of the very people he once cowered before and boldly declared that Jesus is “both Lord and Messiah.”
This man that was so afraid of being associated with Jesus on the night that He was arrested that he denied even knowing Him, years later would ask to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as his “Lord and Messiah.”
Biblical knowledge is so important, but theological knowledge alone cannot transform a person the way Peter and the other disciples were transformed: only the Holy Spirit can do that. And this kind of radical transformation is the true and lasting message of the Easter story.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Often feel weary and unworthy of calling myself a Christian. My human instinct is to hide but I have a wonderful husband who covers me through these times with prayer and love, encouraging me to attend church and to pray.
I am so blessed to attend a church where the teaching, preaching, fellowship, worship and prayer is so solid, so heavenly, so God centered. Further blessed by facebook friends who tolerate my outpourings of angst, who reach out their hands and offer support and encouragement as I struggle against my inner torments.
Then there are those who seem to have an inner knowing, an understanding, of who I really am and who I am to become. They know the mask, the horrible wall built up around me and how much that needs to be demolished so that freedom is accomplished and His great works can begin in me.
I have nothing to offer except thankfulness.
This song was suggested by Alan, a well loved and respected man of God and Pastor in Lincoln, one of those unique people who seem to have a deeper understanding.
Although one would never wish these feelings and places of darkness upon another living soul, it is always encouraging to know that you are not alone, it gives hope when you know many of the people who have struggled at this depth have conquered and triumphed through it all.
I share this with you so that you may also know hope, that whatever you may be going through right now is only temporary and to hold on to that hope that better things are most definitely coming…it is promised.
I have always enjoyed reading Proverbs, dipping in and out from time to time, it all makes perfect sense, I am aware of nodding my head in agreement, as I am sure many do. However, one particular verse struck me recently and then, several other writings landed on my lap to impact me further. The verse…”Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Proverbs 1:28
Personally I know this to be true…I know God hides His face when you refuse to be obedient. Having set me free in 2007 I was hungry for him, and despite the pain of separation from family I was in total obedience to Him, which was when He revealed Himself to me. I have pondered upon those events many times during the last six years.
I entered into a friendship/relationship with someone which totally absorbed my time and energy and finances. It was, clearly, an ungodly friendship and despite a few verbal concerns from close friends, I continued as though in disobedience. In my heart, I knew, but my flesh wanted companionship and as I had lost so much, I sought the warmth of closeness with one other. Foolish, utterly foolish. One can make all sorts of excuses as to why one does things, but there is nothing like accountability.
Anyway, long story short, that association came between me and my God. It does not have to be an ungodly association, of course, that can come between you and our maker…distraction, worldly otherness, idols etc etc. It is putting other things, or people, first. It is only when that alternative “first” has gone that you are aware of the distance you have gone from God…you cannot “find” Him and usually at a time you desperately need to be aware of His presence. It is a devastating but common happening.
Time passes and one thinks that reconciliation can take effect tomorrow, but tomorrow comes and the effort of confronting ones own sin is put off until the next day. So it goes and years pass. The effort of making things right becomes harder. It is only by laying our hearts open and surrendering ourselves to God that we can even begin to make the wrong, right. That is the beginning and that is the easy part. The hard part is being obedient, is being consistent, is humbling yourself day in and day out and staying on track. It is so easy to slide sideways. Time passes. Other things come along and interrupt the process of getting on track. In my case a ton of unforgiveness.
There are certain people in my past that I have to forgive time and again, people I don’t want anything to do with but I keep praying about, telling God that I want to forgive them and forget them. Even with my own mother, I chose to forgive her and I did, easily, but I did not want to have a relationship with her. I was fearful of more hurt, more pain, more false accusations. So I kept her at arms length, just touching base three or four times a year. However, in the last four years, we have built a relationship and heartfelt forgiveness on both sides has taken place. The incredible release on removing the boundary, trusting God by being obedient to His will. When we use boundaries as self protective armour we end up creating walls to keep others out. And the close relationships that we do have will be fragile and filled with anxiety. We were born for intimacy and we must let nothing steal our ability to be vulnerable or confrontable. Boundaries cause separation and confusion.
There is a trend today that encourages separation especially if a relationship is toxic. Separation is never right unless one party cannot desist from actually harming the other. Usually there are many ways to confront or deal with such situations. There are plentiful counsellors, but be discerning on who counsels you, more harm can be done, and in Church there are people who can step between and create a safe place to discuss and resolve such situations.
Gentle loving resolution is the way forward. Honesty and understanding is all that is required. Sadly people take the easy option today and cut themselves off from such situations unaware of the devastating effect it can have emotionally, and spiritually on all associated with this relationship, and there is the knock on effect of generational damage.
I closed the door on my mother and if I had been well and had the right support around me at the time, I may have approached it very differently. I too have had doors closed on me by my children, (although delighted and thankful that reconciliation with my younger daughter has taken place) …the ongoing despair and trauma of that, has been devastating, especially as no one has explained to me what it is I am supposed to have done to have deserved that…nor have they been willing to have mediation or seek help through the right the channels Who knows what damage that is causing them and the knock on effect to any children they may have. Spiritual connection between relatives is, generally, looked upon as myth, hocus pocus, even today. I do believe that families have generational issues, I am living proof of such “myths”. Prayer, deliverance, healing are very necessary. Grace, understanding, Forgiveness, are powerful tools that need to be used to keep family whole.
A cataclysmic event takes place when families collide or divide. A spiritual seismic eruption takes place, especially when it is between a mother and her children. A chasm is created which not only affects the people involved here and now, but will continue into the generations to come unless there is a wholehearted reconciliation. It can be too late! Tomorrow may never come. The person you are holding at arms length, the person you have not forgiven, the person you spread lies about may die tomorrow…reconciliation cannot happen. Who are you causing anxiety to? http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-move-from-forgiveness-to-reconciliation Is God hiding His face from you? Trust me when I say, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that is better than being with God in that secret place. Indescribable. Incomparable. The ability to humble oneself in full acknowledgement of the part you, yourself, have played in the breakdown of relationship, whether it was wilful, accidental, inadvertently or filled with motive, is necessary. To seek forgiveness and to forgive. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 And so it is with our relationship with God….. Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done. Micah 3:4
Sinfulness causes separation and confusion. “This isn’t the kind of scripture we generally like reading, but it does give us a clue about the people God hides Himself from. It’s those who refuse to humble themselves before Him and turn from their sinful ways. Instead they continue to practise evil deeds. They are the ones who won’t be able to find God when they call out to Him. Why can’t they find God? The writer of Psalm 91 gives us a clue when he refers to ‘the secret place of the most high’, and says of those who dwell there that God will rescue them, protect them, answer them when they call, and show them His salvation. There are those God’s hiding from, and there are those who are living with God in His hiding place!” excerpts from Seeds of the Kingdom. How can we enter, and live permanently, in that secret place with God, hearing His voice and knowing His presence. Psalm 25:14 says ‘The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant’. ‘Obedience to God is always for our good and His glory. You can never go wrong when you choose to obey Him. The cost of obedience is small, compared with the cost of disobedience.’ Be wise and seek Him. 2015 looms, more time has passed it is time to be wise.
It is amazing to find, although not unexpected, that when you think doors are closed and your life is really not going anywhere, and is perhaps over, that all you have to look forward to is a daily drudge of waiting for it to end, you find that actually the doors are not closed, they were ajar and simply waiting for the right people to invite you in.
Most who know me well, know that I am bold in proclaiming my faith, eager to share it, passionate in discussing it, terribly insecure in backing things up with scripture (for I cannot retain my studies) and of praying out aloud in the presence of other people.
Well things are moving, doors are opening and I almost dare not breathe with the anticipation of it all. So many people have said, so many times, especially in the last year, that God is going to use me. I have been thankful for their encouragement but terribly sceptical, wondering whether the words were merely words and not actually prophetic. I have had a foot in each camp, one that believed God would not use me unless I wised up in all things scriptural. Unless I was well. Unless I was healed emotionally and spiritually. The other foot is on the side of “I am worthy”…that God will use me and time and again I would (when alone) ask Him to do so. But maybe he knew my heart was not full enough, too many fractures, it leaked.
I attend an amazing fellowship….where the pastor does not take no for an answer, where the leadership is powerfully gentle and where discipling is par for the course. It is fantastic. Not forgetting that I am married to an anointed man of God, who is revered by so many and will never retire from ministry has probably helped somewhat!
So there I am, dreading the day someone will expect me to pray for them aloud on the spot and trying to overcome my hideous imprisonment in this field when our pastor calls Keith out to pray for anyone who would care to go forward. He also called my name, but there happens to be another Amanda in the church, so I assumed he meant her…but no, he called me. Mumble mumble. My husband prays like no other (that I have heard). He is loud, passionate, wordy, faithful, scriptural, and he prays like he means what he is saying, he prays like he expects the prayer to be answered. I suppose I could hide behind him? But it is not like me to be a parasite and that is how I would feel. Mumble mumble. Oh I felt so inadequate, but I mumbled…..where is my conviction?
Then again we were called out….same thing. Then invited to join the prayer ministry team, how can I say no. Churlish, safe box. Now I know that some who may read this might think this is such a ridiculous place to be at…I have been asked questions that have ridiculed me over the years, and yes, it is ridiculous, but so are all hang ups and we all have them.
First prayer ministry session I was just growing relieved that no one had come forward and no, I had not prayed that no one would come. Honestly. So we were about to abandon post when someone approached and after she had been prayed for by the other person I was also able to say a small something. Felt stupid, didn’t feel real. But hey, you have to start somewhere, yes?
That evening at church I had planned to go forward for prayer but I was called, with Keith, to come and pray for others, again! Now I know God has a sense of humour, but…..Well there were several people and I started to enjoy it! I was not sure that was right, but that is what I felt.
Another thing, those who know me know I don’t do all ladies things! I don’t like all female anything. I like mixed sex everything. I feel intimidated with groups of women. So there…another confession, another hang up. Well I joined the church ladies meeting…long story short…last week only three of us turned up. It was raining heavily and it was the Thursday before half term so…? Anyway, it was decided we would not carry on with the study but do something different. PRAY. Good grief. Did the person who suggested that know of my issue? Yes she did.
When you trust someone you feel released in being yourself and not someone who needs to pretend. You don’t feel the burden of that other persons’ expectations. I knew there and then that God had been leading me to this moment and I knew that the person leading the group was who He had sent to deal with this issue. I have often prayed and sung in worship that I surrender myself to Him. This was a moment to surrender. I also knew that it would be painless. Difficult, but pain free. It was. I can’t say the walls have tumbled down, yet, but they are certainly less thick and tall.
A new beginning and I am believing that it will grow, it will get better, and prayer will be answered as I give my all into it. It has taken a very long time to get to this bottom step, but at last, I am there and can only climb upward.
An afternoon musings.
I want to walk into those prophecies…the words people have spoken over me. I want that anointing, I want to do great things for God. I want to be remembered for being a woman of God who fought the good fight and not the broken vessel that I am. I know, since becoming a Christian, that I have been remolded a number of times… I know that God will continue to reshape me …. regardless.
Surrender, sacrifice, listening, obedience, praying, sensing the direction of the Holy Spirit (which can be a physical manifestation) discernment, patience whilst waiting on the Lord for his direction in some aspects. Confession, seeking forgiveness, (don’t forget to forgive yourself as well), remembering His promises made to you (and all who are saved ). Fellowship. Love. Loving the unlovable! Forgiving the unforgiveable. So many aspects of being a Christian, a daily work. Checking ones thoughts, checking ones words, checking ones actions. Being accountable.
An evening ramble
Relating is not relationship. To have relationship is to surrender oneself, to make oneself vulnerable to another. It is impossible to think you can be in control of your relationship with God. So many put boundaries around their lives and how they relate and relationship with others, including God. You may hide from people, but you cannot hide from God. He knows you intimately, He knows your thoughts before you even think them. Watch yourself! Remember, you will be accountable, you will be judged, by Him. You are saved, you are forgiven, but you will be judged. Judged on how you treat other people. Judged on your behaviour, thoughts, actions. It is well worth accepting that fact and addressing your future actions…you may think you have the rest of your life and be sorry at the last minute…but why take the risk?
There have been a number of discussions on facebook of late, on the lines of greasy grace, hyper- grace, passivity The Mirror Bible and so forth, which bundled together discuss the opposing thoughts and beliefs of Christians in different “camps”. Although we all share the love of Christ, Grace, Salvation, we don’t all agree on what that actually means.
I am definitely not an authority on what it means, unread, uneducated, untrained, untamed, certainly don’t know scripture well enough to quote it left right and centre and only been listening to sermons for the last seven years, read quite a few books in a short space of time a few years back and came to know God intimately through relating to Him in prayer and supplication. Some of you may have read my, now deleted, blogs and know of the presence I experienced over a period of three evenings? Yes, I know my creator, my Father, my Saviour. So although I may not be qualified to discuss theology, doctrine and so forth, I do believe I have a place from which to state my beliefs.
I have a sense of urgency, a concern for those who are non doctrinal in their walk. Why take risks with your future. Yes your future is certain, but what sort of future. Does it not say we will count the cost…how many treasures have you stored in heaven. Good works don’t count. It is your heart, it is your obedience (not forgetting the ten commandments), it is love. Few treasures means a lesser place….remember that place is for eternity. I don’t know about you, but I want to be right up close to Jesus. My walk so far has been short, but my life has been long and prior to salvation I lead an unrighteous life. How many treasures can I store in the little time left? What if Jesus comes tomorrow?
Don’t throw the bible out because you have found a pseudo bible better suits your feelings. Please.
I asked a question the other day and it went unanswered…maybe you can help? (without being too technical) Can you become unsaved?
All previous posts have been deleted. That book is closed.
” It is difficult for people with a crushed spirit to fulfil their destiny in God because of all the lies and wounding that are affecting their ability to hear and know God. For our purpose and calling under God, is intimately tied up with our spirit”. Peter Horrobin
This year we were fortunate to be invited to attend a discipleship course, Freedom in Christ. Using scripture to give us the tools to overcome strongholds that prevent us from growth. To build us up and set us free. Tools we will be using for the rest of our lives.
Now we are on week 11 of Ellel 365… a personal transformation online course. Personally, I wish I had known about it years ago, it is enlightening and life changing. From my husband, a Christian, writer, pastor, preacher, theologian….. “fantastic“.
Ellel has been life saving as far as I am concerned. Diagnostics and treatments abound. Personally, I have been delivered from soul ties, generational curses, prayed over, and found to have been born with a fractured spirit (the poor counsellor was in tears when she relayed that information to me). To be told by those who have, over the years, counselled, listened, and treated many, that you are the most broken person they have ever known is somewhat frightening, an acknowledgement that my past is a heavy burden and I should be thankful I have survived albeit not very well. Battle scars abound. But not to dwell on those things, and to seek healing to enable growth is the stance I choose to take.
Acknowledgement and accountability stand… the past has afflicted much, but the future is bright and I am thankful (most of the time).
Today, as I write, I must acknowledge that I still struggle and probably always will, but God alone is my comforter and as I lean on Him more and more I know I will struggle less. So thankful for all my friends…those who have been loyal through the years and for the new ones I am making through a new fellowship. Betrayal leaves you phenomenally insecure but learning to trust is part of the future.
It is about finding the way to allow the truths of His promises to sink deep into my spirit and heal the fractured part of me which does not allow me to grow or move forward. It is being self disciplined in my responses when hurt or confused. It is about trust in Him in all things.
Thankful for my home, food, clothes, car to get me to church and visit friends, computer to enable me to do courses and communicate, but more than that, church, friendships (old and new), family, dog, a safe place to express myself (England) and last, but not least, my husband. This man came into my life at a difficult time and has remained through difficult times, promises to stay no matter what the future brings and has loved me through it all. This man says, when I collapse under the weight of the pain of the past from time to time, “it’s you and me against the world”. Assurance that no matter what he won’t let go. Thank you Lord for your provision.
I am so thankful for the reconciliation or reconnection which has taken place with one of my children and her family. There has been much misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
To have rekindled a relationship with my mother and to have received her forgiveness and to receive her admission of guilt and an apology was a huge release.
There is a long journey ahead and many, many hurdles to overcome. I will find my way around those mountains that will not be moved!
“The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 52:12, ESV
God always provides.