In times of despair…

How do you cope in moments of great strain? How do you regain your equilibrium when you see or experience the problems of the modern world? How do you deal with roadblocks in your own life?

In Luke 21:9 Yeshua tells us:

But when you shall hear of wars and tumults, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet. [King James 2000]

These things have to happen, and sometimes we need to realise that those things we see happening around us and to us also have to happen, even if they are upsetting. Perhaps you have lost a friendship, or perhaps your family is breaking apart in disagreement. Perhaps, as I am, you are feeling stuck and your life seems to have a roadblock in some area.

We can expect persecution – persecution comes when we proclaim Christ. We don’t get persecuted by the enemy – satan cannot have a foothold unless we give it to him. He will try and we may feel we’re being persecuted, but really persecution comes through people. One of the saddest things I hear in churches is the notion that as “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) that we are suddenly clean, and released from all past sins. Members of the congregation continue to struggle with intergenerational curses due to unrepented of sins, and the pain and suffering is very real.

So we need to place any ground given to satan over the years of sin firmly under the blood of Christ, and change our behaviour, clean our homes of sin- and curse-bearing objects – everything from vibrators (ladies!) to pentagrams, yin yang symbols, dream catchers – the list is endless! I have spent almost eight years cleaning house both my internal house, but also my actual house. The things I have found lurking in drawers would shock you – my “old man” – my past self – brought many of these objects into this house, or allowed them to be brought in. As I’ve cleaned house, I’ve burned books – hundreds of pounds worth. I’ve got rid of countless items. Everything from books and magazines to DVDs of films with inappropriate content. I’ve been quite the purist – perhaps more than necessary! But, “if in doubt, throw it out” is a good motto when it comes to the potential of objects to bring problems. I hope there are none left.

But in all of this life has moved forwards. Not at the speed I’d hoped, and I’m not where I want to be, and my timetable has not been followed, if you’ll pardon my forwardness. My timetable would have seen life move on way sooner, but God’s timetable was different, and I can see that now. I wonder when things will finally look like I want them to, or if they ever will. I do know that God is with me, and that “these things must first come to pass” – that just as there is an order to the return of Christ, there is an order, in the will of God, for my recovery. That my recovery is happening day by day, and that despair is an occassional roadblock to my faith, not a result of a roadblock in my route out of where I am.

So much “serendipity” along the way – which is how many people think, when really those moments are “God moments”. Yet just when I am crying out to God and saying “WHEN?!” and saying “where will the money come from?” and “why are my needs not met?” I am concentrating on the lack of the perceived need and not on the fact that it is impossible for me to be lacking anything which I need. I have simply misunderstood my own needs. Satan cannot take a job opportunity from me, he cannot affect my finances – everything in my life is under prayer and in submission to God!

So I need to press in, to trust more and to be extra patient as God prepares the way better and more fully than I can do myself. God is, in fact, repairing my very foundations. My mind, my imagination and my will are no match for His perfect will and His healing!

If God provided for what I want to do before He’d completed the work He wants to do in me, then things would not go right. Equally when He provides opportunities I have to see them and act on them, and not be passive. It’s a process and a learning experience all round! When satan is trying to mess things up I also need to recognise that and deal with the enemy the right way:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [James 4:7 KJV]

So don’t despair when things are not going how you want. Pray – place it all under the blood of Christ and wait. Doors will open when God has made YOU ready, not when you have struggled by yourself to “make it happen”.

We are told in Psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

And another vital verse for you in times of trouble:

Be not therefore anxious for the morrow, for the morrow shall be anxious for its own things; sufficient for the day is the evil of it. [Matthew 6:34 YLT]

Let times of despair be times when you trust God more fully to be doing the vital work in you which you didn’t know needed doing.

God Bless you

Lis

 

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The need for blinkers

We are told not to deviate to the left or to the right:

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:7

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Deuteronomy 28:14

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. Proverbs 4:27

We are told to keep walking straight – the narrow path which is compressed by pressure! We are to walk by the law, and we are to know sin because of the law. Paul says in Romans 7:7 “…Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law…”. We also know that sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).

And so we will find that the world will do all it can to besmirch the word of God, and, it would seem, the man Moses, through whom the law was given to the children of Israel.

Time magazine produced a Life special all about Moses, and here is Zach Bauer’s video commentary on it. As always Zach is forthright which is refreshing.

His words towards the end also ring true – there is a lot of flak hitting us right now, and we therefore must be very close to being “over the target” – hold on to your faith, and cling to God. Do not allow doubt nor that flak to knock you off target, in fact if anything causes you to stumble, don’t watch it, don’t read it. Put on blinkers, in fact be blinkered (an insult often levelled at Christians) and avoid evil!

Lis

 

If the law is done away with, explain Luke 11:44

In Luke 11:44 Yeshua says:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

Why would a grave which is unmarked mean anything? Why would it be significant? It certainly wouldn’t be significant if we didn’t know the law of Moses, which tells us in Numbers 19:16:

And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

Now remember that EVERY catholic church has, in the crypt under the altar, a “relic” (a bone or a skull, or a full skeleton of a dead person) and you might have another inkling as to why the catholic church is so full of sin!

Yeshua also said in Matthew 23:27:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

How could this be important if the law was being “fulfilled” to do away with it (a ridiculous claim in any case)? Why would it matter if you touched a dead body, or walked into a sepulchre? Because the law still stands.

Yeshua said:

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19

Are you keeping the commandments, or at least trying to? If not, and you claim to love Yeshua watch out:

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23

Read more about whited sepulchres here: Dead men’s bones and uncleanness

Read about how I fell in love with the law: Falling in love with the Law

Lis

 

Reality Checkpoint

I grew up in the University City of Cambridge in England. Cambridge, like Oxford, has a somewhat rarefied atmosphere. The separation of “town and gown” was fairly clear even in the 80’s during my teens.

As my teenage years went on I heard from my older brother about something called “Reality Checkpoint” – I asked him what it was. It was an old Victorian, cast-iron lamppost in the middle of a green space called Parker’s Piece. Parker’s Piece was divided by two diagonal paths, and in the centre, where they crossed, was the only source of light – the lamppost named by locals Reality Checkpoint.

How it got this name, it is not clear, although one theory is that it related to the problems of crossing Parker’s Piece in the dark or in the fog, and being unsure of your whereabouts without the lamppost to guide you. The name stuck though. Other theories are postulated, and the post now has its own Wikipedia page (Link).

In my youth the words Reality Checkpoint were continually scratched into the paintwork of the base, as you can see here:

Reality Checkpoint.jpg
By Cmglee – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Every time it was painted over, some wag would do it again. Eventually the council renovated the lamppost fully (it now being, believe it or not, a Grade II listed structure), and when they did, they clearly decided to honour all those rebels, and whoever it was who first named the post, and now its name is there, picked out in gold paint for all to see.

Reality_Checkpoint_-_New_paintwork.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_Checkpoint

It looks great. I am rather fond of Reality Checkpoint, having passed it many times on various nights out in Cambridge.

But why am I telling you all this?

There is another Reality Checkpoint – one which we must have if we are to cross the dark, to navigate in the world: The bible – the very word of God!

bible 2.jpg

In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we are told:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

The glass there is a mirror, but it’s the verse which sprang to mind when thinking of crossing the fog, the dark – we struggle to see our way without Reality Checkpoint.

Everything that is going on in the vile darkness of this world has to be navigated by us. The evil is so prevalent – and we have to know our way.

When we doubt what is real from what is fake we need our Reality Checkpoint. We need to refer to the word of God to see if these things be so: [emphasis added]

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. Acts 17:10-12 NKJV

We need to cling – not drunkenly to a lamppost in the fog, but to the word of God in these last days. Our bible should be with us!

bible.jpg

The story of Reality Checkpoint is an illustration of what we, as people, do when we cannot find our way – when there is little to point the way safely for us we invent our own way – we lean on our own understanding, as we might rely on a cast-iron lamppost in the fog.

The bible is there to be a lamp unto our feet:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV

Praise the LORD!

We can walk more surely when we close our minds around the word of God.

God Bless you

Lis

The fracturing of the spirit

Youch! Words can hurt. The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was the “yaboo-sucks” of the playground when I was a kid. If you were bullied you were expected to pick yourself up and react with those words, retaining your dignity. In life we may well experience times when we are dealt with badly by random people – someone in a shop, or someone on the street. We know better than to be overly bothered by the opinions, and “perverse tongues” of strangers, but those words can be very hurtful. It is much worse when they come from those close to us. No one can hurt you or wound you like family, loves, or friends.

In general it ought to be assumed that a careless word here or an abrupt word there is not intended to harm – indeed while we are told to guard our tongues, it is the perverse tongue which seems to have the power to harm us the most.

Proverbs 15:4 says:

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. [KJV]

There are many different translations of this proverb, and you can see them all here: Link. I think it takes looking at the original words and their meanings to bring out the full depth of meaning this verse has:

proverbs 15 4.jpg

Let’s look at three words here. You can do this word study yourself at the link here.

Firstly marpe, Strong’s 4832. For brevity I will use only the Strong’s exhaustive concordance, it’ll make the images easier to read. You can read the full page at the link above.

healing

Healing – curative – wholesome. So a tongue which is healing (some translations say soothing, but healing is more correct, I think) is a tree of life! So when we build people up, we do them good!

Next let’s look at waselep, Strong’s 5558.

perverseness

A tongue which is perverse – distorted – vicious. Ouch, we’ve all known people like that, haven’t we? We avoid them when we can!

Lastly let’s look at seber, Strong’s 7667, which deals with the effect this perverse, vicious tongue has on our spirit!

fracture

It can fracture – ruin – destroy our spirit. So when people say cruel things, when they are perverted (which means to be vicious, cruel – some translations say devious) they can fracture, ruin and destroy our spirit within us.

If you know someone like that, whilst it’s imperative for you to forgive (which is a decision, NOT a feeling – if you are struggling with that give it to God, He’ll get your feelings into alignment with your decision if you surrender it to Him) it’s also very wise to protect yourself from that person at all costs.

I’d also like to remind you that this goes both ways. It is not just the barbed words of others which can fracture your spirit within you, but your words also can affect your own spirit, not only other people’s!

James 3:6 tells us:

And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna. [WEB]

Jesus also tells us in Matthew 15:11:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. [KJV]

Our words can defile us, as well as hurt others. Our perverse tongue wounds others and destroys us too.

In conclusion, we must always be ready to speak truth in love – to rebuke with love, and to speak the truth. This can be shocking to others, but it does them good! It is constructive! But when our words are not constructive, they can be destructive. If we mock, berate or demean others we are hurting their spirit, breaking them down and bringing them to a point where their spirit is fractured, or even destroyed. Our intentions – the intentions behind our words and actions – mean everything!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, dear brothers and sisters!

God Bless you

Lis

Hyper Grace doctrine – why the church is open to being deceived

Christians (awake ones that I know, anyway) talk a lot about deception. We sometimes might sound paranoid, but we are called to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matt 10:16).

So what does it mean to be as wise as serpents?

It means to be discerning. It means to know and recognise sin and the works of the devil. And it’s not easy, I can tell you! I have found over the years that I have been misled, misguided on a number of occassions and on a number of different issues.

Discernment, then, is perhaps like a muscle – that if you exercise it in avoiding sin, that you may be able to see other things which are sinful. A bit like removing the beam from your own eye, before helping your pal to take out the speck from their own, we need to realise that until or unless we walk with God, avoiding sin, we will not even realistically be able to SEE the sin around us.

If we don’t know His word, we cannot even know right from wrong, and if sin is trangression of the law (1 John 3:4) then we absolutely need to know the law.

transgression

Grace is a blessing – it’s God’s unmerited favour. Wow! It’s unmerited because I can NEVER be as good as God, and nothing I do can make me perfect. Willfully disregarding the law, however, is not a cause for thanking God for Grace, it’s an abuse of Grace, isn’t it?

I’ve written enough about that before to just redirect you there. Are we under the Law, or under Grace?

The modern church is open to more and more deception because it has turned it’s back on righteousness, as if trying to be righteous is ‘works’ and that we mustn’t even try to be good. How foolish – because if sin is an open door to satan, then ignoring the law and being ignorant of it is an open door. Grace is for the sin you confess! How can you confess your sins if you ignore the law! You can’t.

This is a Hyper Grace doctrine. The church has become reliant on Grace for everything, and we don’t even know what sin we should be confessing. I know someone, a great guy, so warm and friendly, and what I can only describe as a living Christian – he is just a lovely person all the time to everybody. Yet he said to me that the Muslims worship the same God we do, they just don’t have Jesus!

Um…

John 14 6

Without Jesus they CANNOT have God! And no, they can’t even say that Jesus is a prophet, because in doing so they are saying Mohammed is ‘the way’ and we know that Jesus is ‘the Way’ (and the ONLY way).

If we don’t know the Word, we cannot know sin. If we do not know sin, we cannot confess it. If we cannot confess it, we cannot learn to avoid it, and without knowing what sin is, we cannot discern it and avoid deception.

Get yourselves a KJV and read it. I thought reading the KJV would be hard work, but it’s not. It’s easy once you start. At least it is complete. Only the KJV is complete and easily available at this time in history. I really recommend that if you aren’t already, get into the word. Learn the law and try your best to apply it. Ask God to write it on your heart, so that you have joy in it, and so that you might be set apart from deception.

God Bless you

Lis

Joel Osteen is NOT a hypocrite!

Nope, sireee Bob – he is, in my view, a more honest ‘Christian’ than many who purport to preach from our pulpits.

You see Joel has abandoned the law so completely that his error is OBVIOUS to us all. I quote:

When asked directly if people whom are openly practicing homosexuals are accepted into the Kingdom, Joel Osteen responded with “Absolutely, anybody is.” […]

Joel does acknowledge that some things are “sin” but says, “I don’t address these things from the pulpit. They only come up in interviews.” When asked if openly practicing gay/homosexual people will be accepted into heaven, Joel Osteen responded, “I believe they will.”

He makes no mention of the need for repentance. (source)

So unlike the churches who teach that homosexuality is sin, while handing round the ham sandwiches on SUNDAY, yep, Joel is NOT a hypocrite.

He is so obviously in error that perhaps it’s time for those churches which have partially abandoned the Law of Moses to reconsider that – specifically in light of 1 John 3:4

transgression

I love God and I love the law – it’s what helps me to walk in righteousness. I don’t do it well, but I try. Because I love God, and I want to walk in Yeshua’s footsteps and do what He did. I believe He shows us how to apply the law – with mercy.

Joel Osteen, I pray, is making some pastors reconsider their stance on the Law today.

God Bless you

Lis