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Posted By Nan

I am currently in the middle of a flood emergency and cannot blog this weekend. 

I would appreciate your prayers for those who involved in the floods and the many people who volunteer their time through the State Emergency Services to help people in this time of emergency.

 
Posted By Nan

“Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, “Oh, master! What shall we do?”

He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”

Then Elisha prayed, “O GOD, open his eyes and let him see.”

The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!” 2 Kings 6:15-17 The Message.

These verses are powerful examples of the spiritual forces God has at His disposal. Forces He can and does send to help us. We might not need such a massive army, but we do need that who are with us to be more than those who are with them.

In this world where we are taught to believe only what we see with our own eyes it is hard to see the spiritual.

For those of us who have had that personal encounter with Jesus it can be hard too.

Somehow we accept Jesus in all his Spiritual greatness but cannot comprehend spiritual forces around us.

Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes to the spiritual realm and God did. Suddenly the servant could see how great were the forces amassed against the enemy. 

Just as Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened, we need to pray for God to open our eyes to the spiritual.

This does not mean we go through our days seeing every spiritual being. Although for some that may be what God does. What it does mean is that when we need to, we can be aware of the spiritual forces God sends. The spiritual forces that surround us.

We can know and we can trust that the spiritual realm is full of God’s forces watching over us and defending us.

God will not necessarily give us a vision, he may reveal these forces through other senses. How He does it is God’s choice, not ours.

Don’t be afraid, remember there are more on our side than on their side, and ask God to show you.

 
Posted By Nan

Today I am breaking from the planned blog to talk about hearing God’s instructions and the cost of obeying them.

I am very grateful for the way God wraps His love around my blog and people who read it are respectful. I rarely get comments.

I don’t object to comments if they are helpful and are there to build others up. 

Sometimes they are. 

Other times they are not.

I have no problem with people leaving comments that are constructive and build others up. 

What I object to is comments that people leave out of arrogance. Comments that are designed to make themselves look good. Comments that give no consideration to the responsibility we all carry to build others up in faith.

If you are someone who wants to leave a comment like that, my question to you is: “What need are you meeting in leaving that comment?”

Do you believe your comment is helpful to others?

Or do you believe you are superior to others and therefore need to educate them?

The pharisees believed they were superior to Jesus and made many comments that were designed to build the pharisees up and bring Jesus down. 

They never succeeded, but they sure tried.

Comments that are unhelpful will be deleted because I write what God directs me to write and I do not want what I write to be used to lead others away from God.

If you have read the Bible you may be aware of the volume of prophets sent by God whose message was rejected by the people.

One of these prophets was Jeremiah who constantly and faithfully gave God’s messages and just as constantly was rejected and attempts were made to kill him. Jeremiah 18 and 26 give examples of this.

If you read Genesis 6 and 7 you will read about Noah, who obeyed God’s instructions to build an Ark. It is not written in the Bible, but I wonder what his neighbours thought about him over the years he spent building this structure. 

The greatest examples of the way people treat prophets are the way Jesus was treated. If you read John 15:18-25 you will learn that in verse 18 Jesus told His followers “If the world hates you keep in mind that it hated me first” NIV

In Mark 3:20-34 we read that Jesus family thought He was mentally ill because of His prophesies. At the same time, the Pharisees claimed He was being led by satan.

Doing what God has commanded is not easy. 

I have been rejected many times and disbelieved at others because of what God has told me to do and say.

One particularly notable time I met with a woman from my church who berated me for something I had done. When I told her I had prayed about this and God had instructed me to do this thing, she told me I wasn’t listening to God. As I walked away from this woman God told me very loudly and insistently that in rejecting the fact that I had heard His instruction and obeyed it she was rejecting Him.

Be careful how you judge others. 

Don’t presume someone is not a Christian based on your own interpretation of what that person has said. 

You can certainly wonder at people who fail to show the fruit of the Spirit, but don’t judge someone based on what they say about God. You don’t know what relationship they have with God.

Remember, God cannot be put in a safe little box. He will move in ways you don’t understand or feel comfortable about. But that does not mean He has not moved.

 
Posted By Nan

Today may seem like a bit of a departure from the theme of my blogs, but it is one I was directed by God to write and it is important.

I am writing about an incident that demonstrates the lack of spirit and the lack of spiritual understanding in someone who claims to have faith in God. Whether that person has that faith or not is between them and God and I will not make any assumptions here. 

But if we fail to know God as spirit then we will fail to experience and be able to share His love.

One of the things that has turned me away from any connection to church congregations is the lack of inclusiveness in these congregations. Sadly, most of the discourse being labelled Christian is coming from the harsh religious right. In this realm, people are judged, excluded and vilified. None of these things were what Jesus did when on earth. None of these things are what Jesus preached when on earth. Nowhere in this behaviour is any love.

This discourse has left non Christians, those stumbling in darkness, with the belief that God is not a God of love who welcomes us all, but rather a God of harshness and impossible expectations of us.

If we fail to show God’s love to the world then we are responsible for those we turn away from faith in God.

During the week a story emerged of a Christian school that has sprung on the parents a contract they had to sign. Failure to sign this contract would result in the expulsion of their child/children from the school. They had two weeks to sign, not enough time to scramble to find another school for your child, about to commence the school year with uniforms already purchased. 

This contract required parents to agree that their child would be at the school as the gender they were born with and there would be no homosexuality. Gender dysphoria and homosexuality are contentious issues, yet Jesus never mentioned them in His sermons. 

In my life as a nurse and later a counsellor, I have worked with many gay and lesbian people. I have friends who are homosexual. I know people who are transgender. There has always been this pressure from people who commit the most awful sins and expect their sins to be ignored but judge others based on their gender and sexuality.

I have spent a lot of time in prayer about this and the message from God is the same. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi we are to love the sinner and hate their sin. We should love everyone, no matter what they do. 

I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin. I don’t believe gender dysphoria is a sin. I believe people are born that way and should not be judged. References in the Bible to “sodomy” are more about a cultural practice in the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures where men had orgies that involved sex with other men, often young slaves who were not consenting to these acts. That is abuse. If you read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the men of the town wanted the homeowner to send the men staying in his house out to be raped by these men. This was not them asking for consensual sex, this was men wanting to rape another person. That is what was wrong. Along with this culture in Ancient Greek and Roman times was a marginalisation and abuse of woman that was not acceptable in God’s eyes.

I am reminded of Freud’s defence mechanisms in this situation. He spoke about people opposing the very thing they did themselves because they felt unacceptable. The classic example of this is the man who speaks with great hatred and opposition of homosexuality but is homosexual himself. He tries to destroy that which he knows he is because he cannot cope with that knowledge. 

I wonder whether those who first brought a hatred of homosexuality into church doctrine were themselves homosexual. 

In the Old Testament, sodomy was described as the result of man’s sin. Just as illness and death are the result of man’s sin.

There is much evidence from research to show strong evidence that homosexuality and gender dysphoria are caused by conditions in the uterus during pregnancy. In other words, this is how the person is born.

A wonderful man of God wrote an opinion piece recently about this issue.

He spoke of the joy of growing up in the church and of the fact that he grew up taking for granted a place being available for him in the church. I must admit, so did I. It never occurred to me that I would not have a place in the church. What I mean by that, is a place in God’s family of believers.

This man spoke of the usual young person wandering away from the church, secure in the knowledge that they would be welcomed back when they chose to return.

The Bible talks of that. The story of the Prodigal Son is all about that.

This man reminded us that Christian theology is about the belief that every single one of us is made in the image of God and loved unconditionally by God. He saw the purpose of the church to gather people together and show the world what love looks like.

In this man’s opinion, and I might add he has a fairly high ranking in his church hierarchy, churches are there to embrace diversity. He demonstrated how in the New Testament the early congregations were places where class, culture, sex and gender norms were challenged. The New Testament speaks of all of us being children of God. In God’s family there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free person, no male or female because we are all one (Galatians 3:26-28).

His concern was that the world and the church in pursuit of the world was busy separating people who didn’t fit our narrow definition of “people” and excluding them. 

But we are all children of God.

In the world Jesus was born into, diversity was the norm. There were people of multiple languages, cultures, faiths living just in the area Jesus grew up in. This was a rich mix of cultures and we would do well to remember the richness different cultures bring to our society. 

We would also do well to be inclusive of all people and to create an environment that is like the environment Jesus created when he was on earth. He accepted all. We would do well to remember that.

How can we bring glory to God is we are harsh and judgemental?

We need to separate the cultural observances of the world and be like Jesus. We need to love and include all.

And we need to know God in Spirit and Truth.

 

 

 
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Nan
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