Posted By Nan
I realise my blogs lately have not been very regular. Still working on that!
In the meantime, my little family and I are having a much needed break.
The blog will return on 24 October.
Blessings
Lotus Christian Ministries
 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 17:21 

This verse is about having a child who has no faith in God.

Church doctrine tells us we must pray for our children, constantly, for salvation. And I have done that all my children’s lives. When I wasn’t praying for them I was teaching them about God and His love for them. I taught them about Jesus and all He did for us. I have taught them that they need to make a personal decision to accept God in their lives.

When my husband and I realised to our horror that the church we were attending was turning them away from faith due to the hypocrisy of church leaders and the cliqueiness of the congregation, especially the young people who were my children’s peers, we obeyed God and walked away from church and instead taught our children at home.

We should have done it years before. We had church after church that we belonged to that behaved that way. The last was just the most extreme.

Then they reached adulthood and stepped out into the world.

And they are still wounded by the behaviour of the churches they grew up in.

And they don’t like other Christians.

And they accept God but are wary of having a strong relationship with Him because of what these churches have done.

And I have prayed and prayed. And God has answered me every time. “This is their journey.”

And I believe God. He has heard my prayers, just as He heard the prayers of my Grandfather for my salvation. He has my children in His hands and they will come to Him in His time.

So many people I know are terrified their children will not believe in God. So much so that they surround them with churchianity and its activities and try to marry them off young so that they don’t become soiled by the world. And so many children rebel and walk away.

Because they have to make the decision themselves.

And they have to become themselves before they can make that.

And they have to freely choose God.

So we as parents need to back off and allow our children to make that decision at the time that God knows they will be ready. 

Yes, it is sad when our children don’t believe. But remember, you do everything you can. You pray, you teach, you sew the seeds of love and knowledge of God. And you wait patiently for God’s timing.

And while we wait for God’s timing, we allow ourselves to experience His Joy.

 

 
Posted By Nan

I have always loved German culture. I have been fascinated by the language. The history has been particularly absorbing, especially modern history of the formation of Germany and its involvement in two world wars.
I have always wondered why this is so. I know that I wondered about what it would have been like to live during the Nazi era. I have often wondered if I would have had the courage to stand up for God and resist the Nazis. Whether I would have sheltered those hiding from the Nazis. 
I wondered how the German people found the resilience and strength to rebuild after the devastation of world war two.
As for world war one, I felt the German people were misrepresented as being the cause of the war.
I have a strong sense of justice and always seek justice for all.
Then I lived in Europe for eight years and felt the spirit of the land mass and visited places where the wars had taken place.
I experienced the culture of the Germanic Europeans and felt an affinity with that.
When I studied my bachelor degree in counselling I learnt about Existentialism and immediately understand and connected with it.
I recognised the culture behind Existentialism and considered that I had experienced and felt an affinity with that culture.
But there was more to it than that.
I realised my grandfather taught me his Scottish Celtic culture and that down to earth spiritual connection with life was very existential. I understand my grandmother was raised in the Cornish Celtic culture with all its richness.
I understood more recently that the Folk Tales, such as those by the Brothers Grimm taught me that deep spirituality of Old Europe. Europe and Britain as it existed before Western culture became so divorced from spirituality. Before faith in God was replaced by secular interests.
That is true existentialism. The way people lived, knew God and their world. The way it was before self-seeking overtook simple faith.
We who live in western cultures hanker for that connection. We think we cannot find it in western cultures, so we pursue other cultures. We envy first nations people with their connection with the land. We seek Eastern religions. We fill our homes and our practices with pseudo Eastern ways and practices. And we miss the connection that exists in Western Culture. We who live in invaded lands, stolen from indigenous peoples. We long for the connection to the land in which we live, as if that would give us some legitimacy. But you don’t have to have millennia of ancestors to connect to the spirit of the land. You just have to open your spirit to connect. And you don’t have to steal other people’s cultures to feel that spiritual connection in your culture. You just have to honour historic Western Culture. You have to go back to that time when existence in Europe was precarious and far from safe. You don’t have to live that way. You just need to know the way people thought. The things they did to be safe. The way they related to the world they lived in.
Starting with old European Folk Tales, such as those by the Brothers Grimm, is a good way to learn that rich culture. Read the old translations, not modern sanitised versions. Study the tales of all of Europe including Britain and Ireland. Understand the culture that exists. Feel the richness of the millennia of history. Know that European history is not as old as that of other continents, but that does not mean there is not a richness there.
Learn the old rhythms of life. Learn how people related spiritually with their environment. Learn how they related within that environment with God. Remember that Christianity is not western. Jesus was not a westerner. He was from the middle east. His culture was not that of western culture.
If you are of European ancestry, or caught up in Western culture, step back and learn how to relate to God as Europeans did before money and power became more important. 
If your ancestry is from a different culture and you have disconnected from it, then go back and study the folk tales and legends of that culture. Learn the history. Understand how your ancestors related spiritually to the world around them. This is how they related to God. 
One of the writers I loved as a child, and still love as an adult, is C.S.Lewis. I loved the way he wrote about God. He wrote about a land where animals talked and trees danced. This was a land where people lived with a deep spiritual connection to creation.
Lewis put in that land God as the mighty lion Aslan. Aslan was impossible to truly understand. He was beyond the comprehension of the sons of Adam. The animals and trees, with their deep connection to creation understood that. It was the sons of Adam who struggled. They had forgotten how to stop and allow the spiritual connection vital to knowing God.
It is time to truly know God. It is time to forget the legalism of modern day Christianity and reconnect with God. It is time to connect to God on a spiritual level. I don’t mean the often choreographed “anointing of the spirit” style of worship in some churches. I mean sitting in silence and connecting to the rest of creation. Then allowing God to come to you. I mean not getting out your God to do list, but just sitting in God’s presence and allowing whatever will be to be. 
When we who profess to have faith in God and to follow Jesus have learned to truly connect with God, then others will find that what we have is as irresistible as they currently find other religions. 
It is our faith in God and our walk with Him that brings people to faith in God. 
So lets work on our faith walk.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs 15

In my research into this chapter of Proverbs, I found four references to Joy. 

There is the reference in verse 20 to the joy of parents in the walk their child has with God. This is the joy of sharing in salvation with our children.

There is a more human joy, a poor imitation of true Joy. This is what those who lack understanding and see life as a pursuit of hedonistic pleasure chase after. Those who grasp the meaning of life as a walk with God experience true Joy. This is found in verse 21.

In verse 23 there is joy at seeing the delight of a person who, having heard the good news of our salvation, is so gripped with enthusiasm they joyously share that news. This is more about the delight at seeing other people saved and the contagiousness of their joy.

This is echoed in some translations which in verse 13 speak of the heart that is full of joy and gladness making a cheerful face.

n short, joy is contagious. If we are open to the good news and the joy of others in that good news we will experience joy too.

Proverbs 15 has a lot of references to joy. All these references can be confusing so I am stopping to consider what Bible dictionaries say about Joy. The following paragraphs are a summary of what I read.

In the Bible, Joy is usually seen as the mark of the believer, or group of believers worshipping together. It is a quality, not just an emotion and is grounded upon and derived from God. Joy is seen as characterising the life of a believer. It is also seen as giving us a glimpse of our experience of being with Jesus forever in Heaven.
In the Old Testament it was often portrayed as part of a festival with the noise of singing and dancing. Isaiah saw Joy as something that was more than just a ritual practiced in religious festivals. He saw joy with God’s salvation and was as much about anticipation for the future as current experience. 

In the New Testament, Joy became a vital part of the proclamation of the Good News of our salvation through Jesus who came in an unexpected way and died on a cross in a most unsaviourlike way. To complete Him throwing human expectation into disarray, he rose from the dead. The sheer unexpectedness of Jesus and the culmination of His ministry has enhanced the Good News and given the believer of the current period even greater cause for Joy. 

I haven’t reached the New Testament in this exploration yet, but we will see Paul address suffering and its relationship to joy once the exploration reaches that point.
Of course true Joy is a gift of God through the Holy Spirit. It is dynamic and comes from the purest and greatest love of all, that of God for His children.

If I relate this back to the joy references in this chapter, I can see the evidence of joy as a dynamic gift of God. God gives us joy because of His salvation. We experience that joy as a result of our relationship with God. Seeing our children embrace faith in God is an aspect of that joy. We want our children to experience that too so we experience the joy God has for all believers when our children embrace that salvation. 

We also experience joy at seeing other people experience joy. It is wonderful to hear people talk about their joyous experience of God. We join with all those who are saved in rejoicing at those who are saved.

The joy of God is contagious. It is hard to see another person experiencing the joy of God and not respond with joy ourselves.

Joy is a gift from God, but non believers use the word too. They think they are experiencing joy at things they do. But what they are experiencing is a poor imitation of what can only be given by God.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 14: 10,13

Throughout the terrible years of childhood abuse I called out to God.
Throughout the terrible years of school bullying I called out to Him.
Through times when supposed Christian friends have plotted evil against me and spread lies.
Through times when life has seemed impossible to survive.

I have called to Him.

Sometimes He has answered and he has sent a friend, or a great book to get lost in, or shown me a way out. But He has never delivered me from those things.

As a child I came to believe that God never intended anything good to happen to me. That horrible things were my lot in life.

I still sometimes believe that as an adult.

There have been few wonderful times and a lot of horrible times. There have also been great blessings despite all the horror.
So these verses resonated with me.

We all know our bitternesses. Those things that have happened that were hurtful and often traumatic. 

Here in these verses, there is a flip side. Our hearts can know bitterness, but they can also know Joy. And joy when it comes is unique to us.

There is another message too. We can laugh and still be sad. Our hearts can still ache with pain. As I have so often found in my life. Those times of great joy have often ended in extreme sadness. And maybe that joy has allowed me to manage the sadness.

But there is one thing I have noticed.

No matter how hard things are, I still seek refuge in God. (v32)

No matter how bad it is I know God is my refuge.

This is something that those who are intent on evil do not know. They do not have God as their place of refuge.

I don’t always believe God wants good things for my life, but I do believe in Him. I believe in God as my refuge. I believe that Jesus understands how hard life can be.

If God is my refuge, then it is possible to feel joy, even in the dark times.

I will never know this side of heaven why I had to endure so much pain in life.

But I do know that God has always watched over me.

I do know that God gives me joy, even in the dark times.

I do know that things may have been much worse without God there to intervene.

And I know that I survived because God was there to be my refuge.

 

 

 

 
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Nan
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