The Coptic martyr recognised by the Vatican.

I have connections with Our Lady of Margam near where I live. I have attended the Mass and received their newsletter, click here if you are interested in taking a look at their website. SEE HERE.

What I found in the Margum Newsletter

An article was posted in the Our Lady of Margum newsletter, which caught my attention. The article was all about recognising the non-catholic martyr of the 21st Century.

I appreciate the idea of celebrating and recognising 21st-century martyrs and saints. In the Free protestant Church, which I am a part of, does not regularly acknowledge those who give their lives for Jesus Christ.

For those of you who don’t know, the Free Church is all Protestant Churches and traditions apart from the Anglians, commonly known as The Church of England. However, the Anglians do routinely celebrate martyrs and saints, but the Free Church usually does not. Free Protestant Church does not regularly celebrate passed martyrs or Saints within their official liturgy either.

As a Protestant Free Church minister of word and sacrament, I have never seen any official liturgy acknowledging those executed because they refuse to deny Christ. I think this is such a loss to the Church. Acknowledging such people brings us the absolute seriousness of keeping the faith and the possible consequences of doing so.

In modernity, Protestant Christians of all sorts are watering down the Gospel to the point that it has lost its power to save a soul from the power of sin and death. SEE HERE. and HERE.

In my own life and ministry, I am examining this very thing and revisiting the nature of my Church tradition and my call to ministry. The Holy Spirit is challenging me regarding the ‘fluffy’ or ‘woolly’ theology, which is a steady diet of modern protestant Christianity, particularly in the charismatic and liberal camps, and please note that I have lived and worked in both.

I have seen for the longest time that, sadly, Christianity has become no more than a ‘spiritual’ community-based organisation that seeks to put bums on seats and fails to concern itself with the grave matter of sin and the salvation of souls. Recognising the martyrs and Saints’ past and present brings home to each of us how important it is to learn what sin is and its dire consequences. I will write more about this in future posts and how this thinking challenges me SEE HERE.

Below is an excerpt from an article from the Catholic Pillar about a modern-day martyr who is not Catholic.  Matthew Ayariga is one of only 21 people officially recognised as 21st-century martyrs by the Coptic Orthodox Church (which is not Catholic) and the Catholic Church. 

For the very first time, Pope Francis has joined with the Coptic Orthodox in this recognition, and I speculate that it maybe because of the doctrine of Divine Mercy- I don’t know- to learn more about Divine Mercy, click & SEE HERE.

Now, dear Christian, at this point, you may be thinking, ‘What on earth does all this have to do with me?’ Well, the death of a brother or sister in Christ profoundly affects us all, even if we have never met them- SEE HERE.

Today, I challenge you in love, as the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, has been and still is challenging me to work out our salvation with fear and trembling seriously, SEE HERE. 


With his inscription in the Roman Martyrology, Matthew Ayariga will be listed among the saints and blessed recognized by the Catholic Church. The feast day of the 21 martyrs is expected to be Feb. 15, the day they are remembered in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

A gruesome propaganda video released by Islamic State in February 2015 showed Ayariga and his colleagues dressed in identical orange jumpsuits as they were led along a beach by towering black-clad figures.

The 21 were lined up facing away from the waves, each with an Islamic State member behind them. As they were forced to their knees, the camera panned across them, showing Ayariga kneeling serenely in front of the leader, the only one of the terrorists not dressed in black. 

The workers — many of whom were clearly praying in their final moments — were then simultaneously beheaded. 

The five-minute video depicting their murder described the 21 as “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.”

It was said that the militants had questioned Ayariga about his faith before his death, no doubt wondering what linked him to a group of Egyptian Christians. Ayariga reportedly told them simply that “their God is my God.”

After the Islamic State was driven out of Sirte, local authorities said they had located the construction workers’ bodies. DNA tests confirmed that the remains were indeed those of the martyrs.

Twenty of the bodies were flown on May 15, 2018, to Egypt, where they were greeted with the nationwide ringing of church bells. They were laid to rest in a shrine dedicated to their memory. 

But Ayariga’s body remained in Libya. 

In 2019, a delegation requested that Ayariga “be joined with his Coptic brothers in their final resting place.” The Libyan government agreed, and his remains were transferred to Egypt in September 2020. The martyrs’ families were quoted as saying: “Our joy is complete.”

If this excerpt has caught your interest, click HERE to read the full article.

May God bless you all and keep you safe

in your witness for Christ our Lord and saviour.

Prayer for Christian Martyrs

Lord, so great is our love for you
That even though we walk in a world
where speaking your name can mean certain death
Your faithful still speak it
And speak it all the louder.

Help us work for a world where all may speak their creeds
And pray their prayers
Without fear of violence.

Hear the prayers of those who abide with you
in dangerous times
and in dark valleys,
And who die with your name on their lips.
Draw them quickly to your side
Where they might know eternal peace.


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Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

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Confusion is Part of the Learning Process

 John 16  New International Version 

 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” 

The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy 

16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 

17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 

19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 

31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 


What About You? 

Are you familiar with the meaning of Jesus’ teachings? While smugness may attempt to claim that you fully grasp everything, Jesus points out that we all are likely be in a similar state of confusion as the disciples in our scripture passage. It’s OK, confusion is not necessarily an unfavourable position to be in. 

First and foremost, the disciple’s confusion demonstrates that they took Jesus seriously. A good thing to do is to admit you don’t know it all because it enables you to be open to learning.

I am a learner. I studied for my master’s degree in my late 50s and then began a PhD in my 60s. I also study the Bible under various Teachers of different Church traditions to glean an overview of interpretation.  

I know a secret; the more I learn about the Bible, the more I learn about myself. Take a look at 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. ‘

 The Disciples weren’t indifferent or apathetic. On the contrary, they genuinely cared about and desired to understand His teaching. They must have possessed some level of faith in Jesus. Otherwise, they would have disregarded him. But they didn’t. They actively listened, sought to understand, and engaged in discussions about his teachings. They hung around Jesus, asking Him questions and strove to understand the meanings behind His words. 

Confusion is a part of learning. Before we actually ‘get it,’ we need clarification as we struggle with meaning. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t criticise their confusion. Instead, he errs towards the positive by recognising their efforts and acknowledging their faith. Even though the disciples are perplexed, Jesus continues to communicate using figurative language; he does not give up on them. 

 Instead of straightforward and clear explanations, the message is mystical because what he imparts is profound. The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are deep, as the book of Revelation points out to us- Revelation 2:29Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 


How can you cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mysteries of life and faith? Also, what steps can I take to humbly admit my confusion and seek the gift of faith from our Lord? 

Then some of his disciples asked us what he was saying to us?  

A little while, and you will not see me. And again, in a little while, you will see me. And for I am going to the Father, and they said, what is this that he is saying a little while? We need to understand what he is saying. John 16:17 to 18. 

This passage seems confusing to the disciples, who did not realise that Jesus would die, rise, and ascend to heaven.  

Read with Your Faith 

Because Jesus’ teachings are so vastly profound, and mystical, we cannot begin to comprehend them with our cerebral minds. To fully understand what is happening, we must first approach Jesus’ teachings through her faith. Faith only implies a partial understanding of some things. Instead, it is a supernatural gift that allows one to believe without foresight and comprehension. Faith is simply trusting without the need for explanation.  

Faith in God stems from God, not from one’s reasoning abilities. However, faith always leads to a deeper understanding, so as the disciples express their faith, they also come to understand. Ultimately, despite Jesus’ figurative language, the disciples believe anyway. 

John 16:30  New Living Translation 
Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” 

The Remedy for Confusion 

If you find yourself confused about matters of faith, God, morality, or other mysteries of life, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your confusion. We all need clarification. It’s a part of being human, particularly a part of learning.  

Admitting confusion is a humble recognition of the truth, and this humility serves as a crucial step toward receiving the gift of faith.  

Today, take a moment to reflect on whether you struggle with indifference toward Jesus teaching or something else. Commit yourself to imitate the disciples who intentionally grappled with all that Jesus taught, no matter your struggles. Don’t hesitate to confess your confusion, lay it before the Lord, and ask for His help. Strive to receive the gift of faith and let that flicker of faith become the pathway to a deeper understanding of life’s mysteries. 

 Let’s Pray.  

Lord my God, you are so profound and unfathomable that no one can ever fully grasp the debt, breath, of you. 

My mysterious Lord you open the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven to us who believe. Open my mind to a deeper understanding of you so I may profess my faith in you and all you have chosen to reveal.  

I do believe. I believe, my God, Help me in my moments of confusion and doubt.  

Jesus, I trust in you- Amen. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

To be notified whenever I post new content by subscribing using the banner as you come onto the site.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish💕

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 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses.

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How to Keep the Joy of The Lord

Joy is a Foretaste of Heaven

John 14:21-26 NKJV

He who has My commandments and keeps them; he loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us and not the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; the word you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

When you go for a burger, you order the main thing. Then you may order ‘fries on the side’, and other extras may take your fancy. Burger places offer so many options it is often hard to choose.

Sometimes as believers, we think that joy is an optional extra. You may buy into the salvation by grace but think that the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ and joy being one of them, are extra somehow and will come later.

 This view is a distorted view of what salvation does for you. Like all the 5 fruits (Galatians 5), the fruit of joy is a by-product of your inner change and not an ‘extra thing. 

Joy Un-Speakable

Joy is not an optional extra but is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Joy is not a side order but an essential ingredient of the main course.

During our most painful losses and sufferings, we discover just how deep the supply of Christian joy is. Such joy is not thin, frivolous, and empty but thick, substantive, and complete.

The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1: Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.

The joy of the Lord may be peculiar to those who don’t have it. But, for the believer in Christ, the joy of the Lord comes as naturally as grapes on a vine. So, as we abide in Christ, who the True Vine is full of His strength and vitality, the fruit we produce, including joy, is His doing John 15:5.

Keep Joy Alive in You

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Philippians 4:4-7 

Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll repeat it: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation, let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

You have the joy as a result of salvation- so allow it to grow, and nurture it to keep it alive. 

Acts 8: 34-39

In this passage, the Ethiopian Eunuch heard, understood and believed the gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ, so they wanted to be baptised and asked Philip to baptise him. However, when they came out of the water, the Holy Spirit caught Philip away, and he disappeared; even so, the Eunuch rejoiced. (39). This is the Joy of Salvation.

The Joy of Salvation: What Is It?

Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is an experience that brings deliverance, restoration, and preservation, and as a result, you are filled with joy.

It is a deliverance from the grip of Satan, a restoration from eternal shame and a U-turn from the pit of hell. Salvation and the joy of salvation are closely connected though separable. Joy is the natural fruit of salvation, which you open yourself up to, so you experience it. 

Joy is a foretaste of heaven (1 Pet. 1:8). Unfortunately, not many people have this joy, including those who attend Church services regularly.

This is because they don’t nurture the joy they have but neglect it and allow it to dry up. 

Spiritual dryness is one of the worst things to happen to a believer. Joy is the water that will bring your life. Joy results from infilling the Holy Spirit, the Living Water Revelation 21. 

Preserving Your Joy 

What steps can you take to be more open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

How can you ensure that you remember the lessons of faith that you have learned in the past?

John 14 verses 25 to 26. I have told you this while I am with you. The advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name. He will teach you everything and remind you of everything I told you. 

Sometimes we forget all that God has spoken to us. For example, we may have some clear experience of God’s presence in our lives, such as a powerful spiritual insight gained through prayer.

Hear His Voice

The deep conviction of his voice speaking through a sermon, the transforming freedom encountered through the sacrament of reconciliation, or some form of unmistakable clarity imparted through the reading of the Holy Scriptures. 

When God speaks to us, imparting his truth, strength, forgiveness, joy, and every other form of grace is yours. We are spiritually consoled as we are sent his closeness. However, moments of clarity can be easily lost when trouble comes our way.

Each time they encountered the power of God at work, they would have grown in their conviction that Jesus was the Messiah. The disciples would have had many instructive experiences during the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. They marvelled at the spiritual authority they encountered in his ministry as the son of God, the world’s saviour.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

The disciples heard sermons, witnessed countless miracles, looked at sinners who were set free, saw Jesus transfigured in glory and watched our Lord enter deeply into prayer with the Father. Yet, the same disciples would soon have their faith in Christ deeply shaken. As they looked on from a distance in fear, as Jesus was arrested, beaten and killed, they would start to forget all they had previously experienced. Fear can cause confusion; tier joy is gone.

When Jesus knew that his disciples would soon fall into the trap of confusion, Jesus spoke the words of love and comfort to his disciples. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would soon come upon them. The Holy Spirit would teach them everything and remind them all that he told them, and their joy would be complete.

How nice it would be if every lesson we learned from God remained front and centre of our lives. How nice it would be if we never allowed fear to confuse us and cause us to forget all that God has spoken to us in varied ways, just as. Jesus knew the disciples would need the help of the Holy Spirit to remember.

The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Jesus knows that we need help from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the word spoken to the disciples is also spoken to us. The advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I told you.

What faith lessons have you learned in the past that you need to be reminded of? It is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring those lessons to mind whenever we need them. Therefore, as we move closer to the glorious celebration of Pentecost, it is an excellent time to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for the gift of remembering the many ways God has revealed himself to us.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working perfect harmony with each other. But each has a distinct role in our lives. The Holy Spirit’s role is to lead us daily into fulfilling the Father’s will to perfectly conform to the person of Christ Jesus.


Reflect today upon our Lord’s powerful promise to his disciples and us. Pray to the Holy Spirit. Open yourself to the Spirit’s ongoing direction in your life. And never allow fear to lead to confusion instead but leads to joy. Allow God to dispel all confusion and remind you of all he has spoken to you throughout your life.

Let Us Pray.

Most glorious Lord Jesus, you promised the disciples and all your people. The Holy Spirit would remind us of all you have revealed.

 Holy Spirit, please continuously empower me.

Teach me and guide me. Please help me never forget the many lessons I have been taught so that I will never let fear lead to confusion but maintain my joy.

Jesus, I trust in you.


Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.To be notified whenever I post new content by subscribing using the banner as you come onto the site.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to Recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses.

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Let Not Your Heart be Troubled!

John 14. 1-6

What steps can you take to overcome the fear & anxieties that keep your away from a deeper relationship with God?  

Jesus told His disciples, ‘ Don’t let your heart be troubled; you have faith in God, so have faith in me also’. 

Chapters 14-17 in John’s Gospel present to us what is known as the Last Supper Discourses, also known as the  Final Discourses.  

These discourses are a series of homilies our Lord gave to the disciples the night he was arrested, full of symbolic imagery. 

Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, the advocate, the vine and branches and concludes with Jesus’ High priestly prayer.  

In these homilies, Jesus addressed coming persecutions and troubles, so he exhorted them to not let their hearts be troubled; in other words- don’t allow themselves to be fearful. 

When Jesus said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled’, and looking a little closer, we find that it is not a request but a gentle command. Our Lord knew his disciples would soon see him arrested, falsely accused, mocked, beaten, and finally killed. Jesus knew to witness all would stress his followers becoming overwhelmed by fear that they too may suffer such treatment. The disciples’ vision and hope of a better world through Jesus would come crashing down in disillusionment.  

The Many Faces of Fear 

Fear can come to us from many different sources. Some fear can be helpful to us and protects us from harm. However, there is another fear that is just plain unhelpful or highly destructive to us.  

The fear that Jesus pointed out if the disciples succumbed to it would cause them to make irrational decisions, confusion,  hopelessness and despair. 

 Jesus loved his followers and wanted them to succeed in spreading the Good News, and fear would cause them to withdraw from their calling and mission. Therefore he commands them not to be fearful.  

What causes you to fear at times?  

Many people struggle with anxiety, worry and fear for many different reasons. If you struggle with this, allowing Jesus’ words to resonate within your mind and soul is vital.  

Trusting in Jesus is the Cure for Fear 

The best way to overcome fear is to deal with it at its source. Hear Jesus say to you,  listen to his command, ‘Let not your heart be troubled’. ‘ You have faith in God and also have faith in me’. When we have faith, we put ourselves under God’s control. We hear his voice clearly, which settles our hearts and calms our fears.  

It is God’s truth that comforts us and helps us to overcome the difficulties we are facing. Fear can lead us to irrational thinking.  Irrational thinking can lead us deeper into confusion. Confusion will lead us to fear. It’s a never-ending cycle of destruction designed to rob and destroy our faith in Christ. 


Reflect today about what causes you to worry, fear and be anxious and deal with it at its core. Allow Jesus to call you to faith in Him through the scriptures and holy sacraments. When you have faith in God, you’ll be amazed at what difficult things you can endure. The disciples eventually endure their crosses.  

Allow Jesus to speak to your heart so you can endure and overcome whatever is troubling your heart today. 


Let’s Pray

 My loving shepherd, you know all things. Give me the courage to face every temptation and trial so I may not fear but have complete confidence in you. Bring clarity to my mind and peace to my troubled heart. I love you Lord….

Jesus, I trust in you. Amen  

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

To be notified whenever I post new content by subscribing using the banner as you come onto the site.  

  Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

🖤Want to help support me as an author? 

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;  

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to Recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses. 

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.  

What Is True Greatness?

John 13:12-20 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition  

12 When he had washed their feet, taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.   

For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[a] is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.   

I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 

  I tell you this now, before it takes place, that you may believe that I am he when it does take place. But, honestly, truly, I say to you, he who receives anyone I send receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”  

How can you actively cultivate a spirit of humility in your daily life?  

What fears do you need to overcome to serve as Jesus did? 

Are You Blessed?  

The Thursday before Good Friday, Jesus spent His final evening of freedom with his disciples. Jesus said you are blessed if you understand and do what He taught.  

So what did Jesus teach? Jesus shows his teaching through His actions by taking the role of an enslaved person and washing the disciple’s feet. His action is louder than words. The disciples were humbled by this act, and Peter initially refused it. 

Jesus lowered himself in this humble act of service and made a powerful impression upon His disciples. 

Our cultural view of greatness differs from Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. In our world today, to be great is to elevate oneself. Striving for recognition or approval by praising and boasting about one’s self to others seems to be an accepted way to be ‘someone’ in the eyes of others. People are impressed with this rhetoric and deem the person ‘great’. 

But this worldly, superficial greatness is a far cry from True Greatness. 

Often worldly greatness can be driven by fear of not being accepted or a fear of others’ opinions of you, and maybe a desire to be honoured and adored by all.  

True Greatness  

Jesus made it clear that true greatness happens when we serve the good of others from the depth and sincerity of our hearts. We must put others before ourselves and humble our will to the Father. In serving others, we are showing them the love and kindness of God with deep respect.  

Humility can be difficult for us to understand. This is why Jesus demonstrated to us what being humble should look like. Jesus realised that His disciples, as well as all of us, do struggle to understand what true humility really is.  

By washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus showed the natural way to Godly greatness that will last and find rewards for all eternity. 

Jesus invites us to live by His example, Jesus invites us to humble ourselves before his mighty hand, and he will lift us up on that great day- James 4.10 

Humility and Blessing 

According to our story today, living a humble life will bring us great blessings. You will not be blessed in the eyes of the world, but you indeed will be blessed in the eyes of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

When we overcome our fears by purifying ourselves of the desire for honour and prestige, God’s desires become ours, and in serving and blessing others, we serve God. Seek to eliminate every selfish desire you struggle with. I have found that this is a daily struggle, but we are victors nonetheless. Understand the gift of humility and live it; only then will you be truly blessed. 


Reflect today upon this humble act of the Son of God lowering himself before those he led and taught the mysteries of the kingdom. He enslaved himself to serve. He denied himself for the blessing of others. Try to imagine yourself doing this for others.  

In this coming week, How can you bless others?  

Let’s Pray

My humble lord, you set a simple yet profound example for us. Please help me to understand this beautiful virtue and to live it each day. Free me from selfishness and fear so I may love freely, and you love us all. 

Jesus, I trust in you- Amen. 

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Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

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Are You Hearing God’s Voice?


 JOHN 10.22-30 

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[ no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Why is it that these people didn’t know that Jesus was the Christ? 

They wanted Jesus to speak plainly so they could understand and surprise them by telling them that he already answered their question.  

This gospel continues the teaching that Jesus is the good shepherd. Interestingly, these people want Jesus to speak clearly about whether or not he is Christ. He answered them, yet they did not believe. They did not believe for the simple fact that they were not listening. They completely missed what he said,  

One thing that this story teaches us is that God speaks to us in how own way. His way is not ours and is not always how we want Him to speak to us.

Through the mouthpiece of Jesus, God speaks the mystical, profound, gentle and often hidden language. He only reveals His most profound mystery to those with an ear to what the spirit is saying… Revelation 

But for those who do not have an ear- in other words, honest seeking and genuine heart-felt interest, God’s words can be confusing and difficult to understand. 

If you find yourself confused in life or about the plan God has for you, then maybe it is time to examine how carefully you listen to God’s words. Of course, we could beg God day and night to ‘speak plainly’ to us, but How will he only speak in the way he has always spoken. So, how does He speak? What is the language?? 

On the deepest level, it’s the language of love-infused faithful Prayer.  

This kind of Prayer, of course, is a lot different than just ‘saying’ prayers.  

Infused Prayer

Infused Prayer is different from just ‘saying’ prayers. Infused Prayer is born from a loving relationship with God the Father through Christ. To develop such a relationship, it takes commitment, time and effort on your part. Father is ready to meet you- are you ready to meet Him? 

A prayer is an act of God within our soul by which God invites us to love, believe and follow Him.  

This invitation is continually offered to us, but far too often, we fail to hear it because we fail to connect with God in Prayer. 

Hear with Your Soul

Much of John’s gospel mystically speaks to us. Therefore, it is only possible to fully comprehend what Jesus is saying to us at a glance or a quick read. No, we must diligently propose to learn and understand, which means we must commit to studying the Bible in its context.  

Jesus’ teaching must be ‘heard’ in your soul, touching the deepest part of your humanity. This approach will open the ears of your heart to the freedom from doubt to the voice of God. 


Reflect today upon the mysterious ways in which God speaks to you. That is a good starting point if you need help understanding how He speaks. 

Spend time in the gospel, prayerfully pondering it. Meditate upon the words of Jesus, listening for His voice as you read the Gospels.

f reading is a problem for you, you can download audio Bibles cheaply off the internet. Being a dyslexic, I use my audio Bible often and find it a great help to me to learn Jesus’ words. Learn His language through silent Prayer and allow Jesus’s holy word to draw you to Himself. 

Let’s Pray

My Lord and God, you speak to me day and night and continually reveal your love. Help me learn to listen to you so I may grow deep in faith and genuinely become your follower in every way.  

Jesus, I trust in you- Amen.  

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

  Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

🖤Want to help support me as an author? 

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;  

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to Recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses. 

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.  

Who Do You Follow?

Psalm 23 —–John 10. 1-10    Acts 2:14 a & 36-41

Who do you Follow? Do you follow someone on social media? What about a famous celebrity? Maybe you follow one of your peers or someone close to you?

I share with you in this article below following the One who leads and guides us through life IF we allow Him to. That person’s name is Jesus Christ, who is the Good Shepherd. If you want to know more— read on.

What does it mean to know the voice of the shepherd? 

 And how can faithfulness to the one true Church, which is Catholic and apostolic, make a difference in your life? How can we navigate the competing voices we encounter in our lives?

The people of Jesus’ time would have easily understood this story. It was common practice for shepherds to talk to their sheep throughout the day so the sheep could become familiar with the shepherd’s voice as he led them through various grazing pastures.

At night several shepherds would bring their sheep together within secured gates for safety. IN the morning, each shepherd would then call his sheep- they would hear his voice and follow him. The sheep knew his shepherd’s voice and distinguished it from the others.

The first question to ask ourselves is, ‘Do I know the shepherd’s voice’?

Have I become so familiar with my shepherd’s voice that I can clearly distinguish it from all the others?

Try to imagine several shepherds calling their sheep at once. Would you know which one was your shepherd?

The question remains, is there only one voice we follow, and is it the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour? God come to earth in a man to be like us so we can be like Him. God in Christ invites us to follow- how do we respond?

Do you know His voice? Or do you need clarification with the many voices in our world today? Do you need clarification with the many impulses, desires and attractions that flood our living rooms daily through the media and internet? 

What about the voices of well-meaning People?

The voices of family, friends and others often compete for our attention and draw us away from following Jesus in a pure and holy way.

There is only one voice to hear and obey—

Jesus continued his teaching, saying, He is not only the Shepherds whose voice is known by the sheep, but He is also the GATE. ‘I am the Gate; whoever enters through me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture’.

What does our Lord mean when he calls himself the Gate?

As the Gate, Jesus is the Word of God revealed to us through the Holy Scriptures. Fidelity to the Word of God is one of the surest ways to a life of grace. He is the Word of Truth as it is handed down from the ancient Church Fathers- the authority of the Church. Fidelity to the authentic teaching of the Church fathers SHOULD speak in union with all Church leaders-

 I wonder if many Church leaders even consider the traditions of the Church fathers. The writings and teachings of the Church fathers help us to navigate the many errors of our age. Jesus is made present with us through the Holy Sacraments, which are the door to His grace and the entryway to the food for our spiritual lives.

Any time the Lord comes to us through the preaching of the Word, the witness and preaching of the saints and the life of prayer through the Church or in any other way, er enter the Gate and are admitted to his sheepfold. He then leads us to green pastures, and we find rest.

Jesus is the Gate, not only for the sheep but for each of the shepherds who lead the sheep in Jesus’ name. |These are the Pastores of the Church who have been entrusted with the mission of Chris to lead God’s people.

Today, if a shepherd of the Church fails to preach Jesus Christ and him Crucified and resurrected, then that shepherd only comes to steal and spiritually slaughter the sheep- destroying the sheepfold. 

Pastors of the Church must listen very carefully to these words so that they never fail to shepherd God’s people by leading them through eh Gate- Which is Christ Himself. They must all be faithful to the traditions of the Church- which St Paul admonishes in —– and not deviate from the pure deposit of faith.

They are not true shepherds if they preach their private gospel or are negligent or misleading in their preaching. Therefore, God’s true sheep will not recognise them. But if they are faithful to all that Jesu taught, they will lead the sheep with the heart of the Good Shepherd.

Reflect today- upon the image of Christ the Good Shepherd, calling us in various ways. First, we must learn his voice through being in the scriptures and praying in faith. Then once w hear His voice, we will more easily discover Him ministering to us, inspiring us, and calling us into a life of grace and mercy.

Let’s pray- 

Good Shepherd, you speak to me continuously, revealing your presence and guidance. May I become so familiar with your heavenly voice that I will always recognise it? Lead me to yourself, the glorious Gate to the life of grace, and transform me into a faithful and obedient sheep. 

Jesus, my Good Shepherd, I Trust in You.


Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to Recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses.

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.


We Rise as Easter People

As a Pastor/Minister, working with different denominations is not always easy because they are different.

There are different ways of working, rules and regulations, and ways of thinking. However, one common thing across all three denominations that came across loud and clear was to get back to basics, worship Jesus Christ from our heart, and know why we are doing it. Once a pagan festival celebrating fertility, Easter is now exclusively a celebrating God in the flesh freeing us from the dark bondages of this world,

Sometimes we can go along merrily in our Christian life, thinking and doing the same old things we’ve always done, not understanding why we think or do them.

Once in a while, it’s good to allow the Word of God to challenge us, causing us to reflect upon our own spirituality.

We are now coming out of the season of Lent, which has given us space to reflect upon our faith. Lent has given us space to be challenged, helping us face what we believe, don’t, and why.

We are approaching Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter/ Resurrection Sunday. Between Palm Sunday and Easter, Saturday is a holy week to reflect upon such questions again. By the time we all get to Easter Sunday, we see the revealing of the answer to what life is all about.

Easter is not all about Easter eggs; it’s time we hear Jesus saying to us, ‘what do you believe?’

Why do you believe the things you do? Do you believe in me being God in the flesh? So Jesus challenged people by asking them, ‘who do you say I am?

In modern terms, I guess it’s about being honest with ourselves and God. On Good Friday, we reflect upon the cross coming face-to-face with the ugliness of sin and what it means to be saved by grace. We reflect upon how Christ took upon our sinful nature and nailed it to the cross and laid it in a tomb, and left it there.

Finally, on Easter Sunday, we rejoice because Christ has risen and is victorious over the power of sin and death. Jesus didn’t do this for himself but for you, me, and the whole world.

I invite you to use the Holy Week to reflect upon the last part of Christ’s journey to the cross and your relationship to that journey.

We rise as Easter people in the light of God, free from sin, assured that our relationship with the Father God is solid and sure.

So the next time you look at an Easter egg, think about the new life that an egg produces; new life for you is the Easter story.

I hope you all will be a very happy Easter, and may God richly bless you.

How I try to Live a Full Life in Christ

How your Mind, Body, and diet can be Your tools for good Health and Well Being.

Since having the COVID-19 vaccination 2 years ago, I’ve had things change dramatically in my health. I have been out of sorts for at least three months, constantly feeling weak and tired with losing my appetite, and I lost a lot of weight. I also had a rash on the upper part of my body that no amount of cream could get rid of. The doctor told me I had a severe reaction because my immune system was so strong that it fought the effects of the vaccine, and my body violently reacted. I was advised to have no more COVID boosters. I am pleased about my strong immune stem, as medical professionals have informed me of this in the past. However, when one is suffering, it is of little consolation!

 Through diet, the rash is primarily gone. It also left me with terrible shooting nerve pains in my legs, arms, hips, and shoulders. This has stopped me from moving at the pace I am accustomed to. As a result, I stopped doing my daily workout because it was just too painful to do. On sharing with friends and the medical profession, the feedback I received was all similar. They all agreed that now 67, I should expect aches and pains and things to go wrong with my body – REALLY?

Then when a fourth professional opinion chimed in with this, I decided to do anything to be healed because I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with chronic pain syndrome. 

Ordinary painkillers did not touch the pain, so I chose something more potent. Unfortunately, long-term solid painkillers can mess with one’s kidneys and liver, and I undoubtedly didn’t want to go that route. 

 I’m not happy taking medications; however, I am interested in holistic health, good eating, a good mindset, and exercising regularly. My faith has kept me going because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I appropriate that truth; I find that to be so. So I got irate and said, no, I won’t live like this anymore; I’ve had enough! 

 I could live for another 20 to 30 years on this planet, so there’s NO WAY I will live with this pain for that long! So I said out loud- “this pain is not mine- it does not belong to me!”

So, I prayed and asked God to help me gather ideas of what to do.

My Mind Workout

I got the idea to consistently listen to many audiobooks on youtube, which is free to change my mindset. The topics I chose reminded me about our minds, how thoughts affect our bodies and how having a healthy mindset makes for a healthy body. I will list the books below this blog. I learnt that my mind will dictate to my body, so I began to practice mindfulness and meditation and learn positive scriptures from the Bible,

My Body Workout

I soaked up audiobooks for several months and decided to start power walking again. I hadn’t powered walked for over six years because my knees began to give out. After all these years, I am still waiting on the NHS for a knee replacement – maybe soon! I can hear and feel the grinding bone upon bone, but I keep walking.

But I felt that the pains in my legs were so severe it would take something severe to stop them. So I prayed and asked God for healing, but like everything, sometimes we need to get to the cause of this problem to cure it. I knew that the nerve pain had affected my muscles. 

So I set myself defiantly against the pain by creating an exercise program, and I am now steadily following that program. 

It took a lot of work to start, and it still is. My legs felt like lead as I dragged them around, making the poor things run. But, by the end of the first week, the pain in my legs, arms and hips subsided; I no longer did need painkillers during the day. 

My Diet Workout

I have changed my diet and am now finding that I can sleep all night without being aggravated awake by intense pain. I also researched the nerves and revised them from my past experience. Our nerves are protected by the myelin sheath. The sheath is fed with vitamin B12. So, I wondered whether I was not getting enough vitamin B12; the other Bs’ were to feed my nerves, so I reviewed my diet.

Recently I decided to go to carnivore. I’ve done keto, but the inflammation in my joints remained. The carnivore diet does not cause inflammation, and it’s the information that causes my joint pain. I researched the carnivore way of eating and decided to switch from carbs zero to total meat eating in the next few weeks. Red meat provides B vitamins.

I discovered that my vitamin B12 reserves were low, and one of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is weakness and tingling in my arms and fingers and pains in my legs and hips, which is precisely what I have had. 

I also looked up the effects of magnesium and potassium on the body. A lack of these essential minerals results in muscle cramps. So I would get terrible cramps also. So I purchased magnesium and potassium liquid because the liquid is more readily absorbed into the intestines. 

Doing Something Positive 

It’s still early days, but I’m feeling much better. My joints are not as swollen and stiff in the mornings as they once were. I look forward to my workouts each day.

Now I hobble along, but as I regain my power walking confidence and get into the swing of things, I’ll improve. I still hear my knees grinding (hoping to get a knee replacement soon). However, exercise causes my heart to beat fast, and strengthen my muscles. I pick my legs up and find that my legs don’t feel so heavy anymore, and the pain is much less. 

Be Consistent- Keep On, Keep On! Set Your Health Goals.

It is still a struggle, but as I keep my mindset and affirmations positive, I will gain strength in my mind and body.

I want good health, so I must do something to achieve that goal. So I have set that goal because I need to be healthy to continue to help and serve others in my ministry. 

Your Thoughts Have Power.

And this is where mindfulness comes in as well. However, we only can have a mindfulness lifestyle if we change our mindset. Our thoughts are powerful, and the Bible tells us we will become what we believe. Indeed, neuroscientists have discovered this truth in more recent years. And this is why having a mindfulness lifestyle is essential for holistic well-being.

 I am advocating a lifestyle of mindfulness living, meaning your attention is in the NOW. It means giving your full attention to the thing that is before you. This helps to heal your brain, heal your emotions and body. Mindfulness enables you to control your thoughts, giving you happiness and appreciation of what you’re doing right then and right now. Time goes quickly- you will never have this day again, so enjoy and be mindful of it. 

Focus is Key

The opposite of mindfulness is non-intention – constantly pushing to get to the next thing to be done. The opposite of mindfulness is failing to focus on and appreciate what is right in front of you. 

Create a Gratitude Attitude

And so, when I run or work out in my mini gym at home, I am mindful of that moment. I concentrate on my body, how it feels and how I want it to feel, and I visualise my body being strong and well again. Then, I give thanks to God for my surroundings and joy in it all.

 There is so much more that I want to share with you on mindfulness and the power of gratitude. My goals are to bring you Hope, joy and love by encouraging you to live a better lifestyle for your happiness and well-being in Christ.

If you are unhappy with what you have, you can change it by changing your mindset, so you too can live a full life.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please come back here, as I post regularly. 

 Check out my menu bar above; there, you’ll find online courses about mindfulness masterclass that will help you begin your mindfulness journey.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

Spiritual Abuse

Many years ago I was a Post Graduate Researcher at the University of Derby, UK. For those who are interested in the subject of spiritual abuse, I have posted an excerpt from my Master’s Thesis. The wording is dense being academic. Please cite as you wish, but please be aware of plagiarism and clearly acknowledge your source.- Thank you


This study investigates the human experience of a phenomenon that is little researched or understood. Stories of those who have identified themselves as having been spiritually abused within the Christian tradition are explored, together with existing theories, whilst the implications for counselling practice are also briefly discussed. This study acknowledges and builds upon previous research in spiritual abuse; however, much of the research completed to date has its origins in the United States and within the Christian Fundamentalist Movement; it is also ten or more years old.

From a cultural perspective, research into spiritual abuse is generally inadequate within the United Kingdom. Furthermore, study exploring the implications for counselling practice is lacking in this context, resulting in noticeable gaps in academic work. Research into counselling spiritually abused victims who are Christians is also very limited within the United Kingdom and there is therefore a fundamental lack of awareness of spiritual abuse within the Church and the social sciences.

Spiritual abuse is often thought to be limited to a phenomenon of sects or cults and not generally viewed as a problem within the Christian community. Therefore, to raise awareness of the problem and further the research, this paper examines what constitutes spiritual abuse within Christianity, its core features and causalities, and the counselling implications that are likely to be encountered. The literature reviewed is of a qualitative design and a phenomenological analysis.

Key words:

Spiritual Abuse: Pastoral Care: Counselling Practice


Aims and purposes of this study

This study is a review of research literature into spiritual abuse and answers the questions that the literature provokes. Material is gathered from a range of literature, crossing the full spectrum of the Christian tradition and secular organisations. I have employed a phenomenological analysis and have identified from the data, links between individual pieces of work, and a cluster of meanings from significant statements, sentences, or quotes that provide an understanding of lived experiences.  Furthermore, I have identified what is meant by spiritual abuse and its key themes. A phenomenological approach is implemented in attempting to gain an understanding of human experiences and the meanings they attach.

  1. Hart, A. (2004). The body/mind/spirit connection: Is spirituality always a good thing?

Rationale and Contribution to Knowledge

The rationale for this paper is drawn from relevant literature, personal experience, and testimonies of victims of spiritual abuse. Little has been written that focuses on spiritual abuse in the cultural context of the Christian tradition and considers the implications for pastoral care or counselling practice. It is therefore important to investigate issues relating to spiritual abuse and relevant existing theories and to create a dialogue between the research in spiritual abuse, the Church, and the social sciences, 2whilst also investigating gaps in the literature.

This review explores individual experiences of spiritual abuse, their descriptions, definitions and meanings, providing a rationale for further research and knowledge for pastoral care and counselling practice. It provides a significant contribution to the Church and the social sciences and provides counsellors and clergy in particular, with a greater understanding when working with those who have been spiritually abused. The aim is to urge professionals to consider the fullest range of abuses and including spiritual abuse; by examining the very structures and processes that aid the perpetration of this form of abuse Spiritual abuse can occur within virtually any organisational structure, (Henke 1996) whether it is a family, Church, or any other authoritarian relationship that involves faith issues. As Oakley and Kinmond confirm spiritual abuse is often thought to be limited to a phenomenon of sects or cults and not generally viewed as being a problem within the Christian community.

Explaining Spiritual Abuse

Ward (2007) argues that a problem arises in the definition of the term spiritual abuse because it is somewhat new in general literature and, to date is sparingly used. ‘Abuse’ is a broad term that is generally understood, ‘spirituality’ is equally broad and however, it is less implicit.

The phrase spiritual abuse rarely appeared in literature until around ten to fifteen years ago and remained mainly within the context of Christianity. There was some earlier material that explored the dynamics of unhealthy spirituality, but it failed to specifically name this as spiritual abuse.

According to Henzel spiritual abuse has been described as the abuse of power in the context of Christian fellowship with the core features of legalism, authoritarianism, spiritual intimidation, manipulation, and excessive discipline.

  • Creswell, W. C. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Second edition. California. Sage.
  • Beed, C. (1998). Cultures of secrecy and abuse. Cara Beed, PO Box 2190, Hawthorn LPO, Vic 3122, Victoria Australia.
  • Oakley, L. and Kinmond, K. (2007) Spiritual abuse: raising awareness of a little understood form of abuse. Thresholds summer 2007. pp9.
  • Ward, D. (2007). Wounding the soul: the lived experience of spiritual abuse.

(Unpublished thesis) The University of Queensland. M. Phil. School of Social Work and Applied Human Services.

  • Henzel, R. (1997). The Bible and spiritual abuse: Available at: (Accessed April 2009).

How Does it Happen?

Blue suggests that all abuse occurs when someone exerts power over another and uses that power to hurt.

Ward clearly, describes spiritual abuse as, spiritual bullying, this being the maltreatment of a person in a spiritual context. Churches with sound and solid Biblical doctrine can be considered cultic when they practice techniques of manipulation and thought reform (brainwashing). In general, spiritual abuse is acknowledged to be the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help. It occurs out of a doctrinal position, or of legitimate personal needs of a leader that are being met by illegitimate means.

A Spiritually Abusive System

Spiritual abuse is an issue of power and, according to Benyei, power is the ability to influence an outcome. Beed also confirms that power is a necessity of life and that humans need to exercise power to organise society.

The behaviour of persons in a community is determined by where they are placed in relation to others and  Benyei points out that this has to do with issues of power.

Religious institutions see themselves as communities because their members share commonalities of religious history or tradition. This type of community has similarities to a family system where members move within it according to their perception of explicit and implicit rules. Moreover, members of the Christian Church generally see themselves as a family of faith where the Clergy and congregation ideally function within an egalitarian partnership. However, many Churches develop into an uneven hierarchical structure, similar to a parent-child relationship. In these settings, Clergy may become very powerful and lead from the top of the hierarchal structure, accountable to no one, and congregations tend to idolise them. Unless there is the accountability of the Clergy to a higher body or peers, and/or explicit codes of conduct and ethics, there remains a potentiality to abuse within these structures.

In a spiritually abusive system, an authoritarian stance often develops where the leader or person in the system claims the right to command their followers. This system tends to be scrupulous in attempting to maintain an image of consciousness of righteousness at all costs, which gives rise to secrecy. The suppression of criticism occurs where questions cannot be allowed and, as a result, there is no place for criticism; this is seen as a direct challenge to authority.

A perfectionist philosophy in an abusive system means the person’s accomplishments come through the performance of spiritual requirements and failure is strongly condemned.

  • Blue, K. (1993). Healing spiritual abuse: How to break free from bad Church experiences.  Downers Grove Illinois.  IVP Books.
  • Ward, D. (2007). Wounding the soul: the lived experience of spiritual abuse.

(Unpublished thesis) The University of Queensland. M. Phil. School of Social Work and Applied Human Services

The Problem with Leadership

In some Christian denominations leadership is seen as a powerful symbolic authority in representing God Biblically 15 .  16Hunter argues that the responsibility of leaders within the Christian Church is to serve others in a way that represents the incarnation of Christ to humankind; serving as Christ served, laying down their lives for the sake of others.

The leader is therefore an ambassador of this relationship, leading others into association with God through Jesus Christ, and not to themselves. Ideally, the Christian leader should not govern others under a hierarchal leadership. Conversely, the leader is an overseer, an advocate, leading in order to serve and, in doing so, following the example of Christ.

Hunter points out that the philosophy of serving guards against the possibility of Clergy abusing those under their care and is ideally implemented through the structures of the Church in all its activities and teaching. However, within hierarchal structures, leadership is incredibly powerful.

17 Henke argues that organised hierarchical structures are especially well suited to the perpetration of systemic spiritual abuse. 18 Shupe echoes the declarations of 19 Henzel,

20 Johnson and Van Vonderen, add that leadership that hides its true management plans, and promises empowerment to its followers, is making its authority absolute.

21 Shupe refers to the phenomenon of the abuse of religious followers by its leaders as Clergy malfeasance.

Clergy Malfeasance

Irrespective of whether or not the abuse is perpetrated intentionally or unintentionally, the issue remains that spiritual abuse is inflicted by persons who are accorded respect and honour in society, by virtue of their role as religious leaders and models of spiritual authority 22. 23 Shupe states that Clergy malfeasance is a core feature of a spiritually abusive system. It is the misconduct of a religious leader abusing his/her position and in doing so, perpetrating harm to others which occurs within a unique type of altruistic institution where power is equitably distributed. A Christian organisation is a trusted hierarchy where followers believe in, or are encouraged or instructed to believe in, the good intentions, sincerity, and wisdom of the leadership.

  1.  (Ward 2007 p51).
  2. (Hunter 1990 p599 &  p636).
  3. Henke (1996)
  4. Shupe (1998)
  5. Henzel, R. (1997). The Bible and spiritual abuse: Available at:  (Accessed April 2009).

  • Johnson and Van Vonderen (1991),
  • Shupe (1998)
  • (Enroth 1992).
  • (Shupe 1998).

Power Play

Historically, Clergy has been the professionals who sought to help guide communities through the difficulties of life. They offered spiritual guidance and direction with emotional and family issues and with everyday life. Although spiritually orientated, these leaders are comparable to the contemporary psychotherapist, although they lacked the title and specialised training available today 24 .

In western culture, Christian Clergy/leadership is considered to be in a prominent position to provide human services on a spiritual level. However, this vocation has rarely been the focus of psychological research, assessing work-related stressors they experience, or their health and coping responses.

Using qualitative methodology, 25 Rhoads-Meek et al investigated clergy malfeasance by a studying 874 Clergy in 45 states of the United States of America by way of a survey, and 398 provided responses. This represented a response rate of 45% and findings indicated that, because of the nature of their work, an advocate was needed who would listen and understand, and who would be beside them in assessing and solving the problems they faced. It is not the remit of this paper to discuss the difficulties with which Clergy cope; however, it is useful to consider that, without support, regular reviews or assessments of any nature, there is a possibility that the pressures of leadership may lead to intentional or unintentional Clergy malfeasance of any type. This important issue could possibly provide a subject for future research.

The process of this kind of abuse is subtle, thus explaining why many respectable, well-thinking people are ensnared in abusive systems.

Christians are asked to give their loyalty to an organisation, Church, or leader and in doing so they believe they are obeying God. This enables the abuse to be accepted by reasonable Christians and permits it to continue long-term. Because leaders within abusive systems actually believe they are representing God, they consider themselves to be beyond support or assessment of any kind. As a consequence, these systems become abusive and therefore create an environment for the perpetuation of spiritual abuse. 26 Ward confirms particular structures and modalities of leadership are used as a means (intentionally or intentionally) to initiate abuse.

Any form of review or assessment of the leader or system may prove to be difficult because it challenges loyalty and faith issues. Similarly, 27 Shupe argues that a long-standing hierarchical Church structure and its polity provide opportunities to abuse. 28 Anson examines pedophilia within the Catholic Church and concludes that the avoidance of Church structures to review its polity establishes abuse in the long term.

  • (Rhoads-Meek et al 2003 p1).
  • (Rhoads-Meek et al 2003 p1).
  • Ward (2007 p85)
  • Shupe (1998)
  • Anson (1998)

Thank you for reading this article. Let me know if you want more about spiritual abuse and I will post more articles from my thesis. Spiritual abuse is a worldwide problem in all church denominations. It’s not God’s fault but the fault of unscrupulous people disguising themselves as believers. (the book of Jude)

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

  Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

Stepping into Lent #1

Matthew 24:36-44 The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will grind with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the house owner had known the thief was coming at what time of night, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Isaiah 2:1-5. The Mountain of the Lord

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
    and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord.

 Lent is when we can look soberly and reflect upon our walk with the Lord.

St Matthew issues warnings about the days of Noah. Noah’s story of the ark is a memorable one. Even those who are not believers know something about Noah’s ark story. For believers, it’s an important story, and the NT writer thought so as well, so they mention it by example to their hearers.

The point about Noah’s days is that they were ordinary days. People ate, drank, conducted business, married, and had families. They were engaged in ordinary activities, just getting on with life as we do today.

There was no sign that trouble was ahead or hint that their lives and everything they built was in jeopardy. But they did receive a warning from Noah that one day they would lose their lives if they did not heed God’s call to prepare themselves to get on the ark.

We know the story; they laughed at Noah’s predictions, called him a fool, and subsequently lost their lives. God’s warnings fell on deaf ears.

Noah’s story contrasts the previous verse in Matthew, where clear signs herald Jerusalem’s destruction. Some suggest this is a different ‘Day’ and ‘hour’.

The second coming might occur anytime, not necessarily after a generation.

Alternatively, these warnings can too be interpreted as relating to Jerusalem’s fall.

 However, Christians have read this text from the early days referring to the end times. A future that will usher in the end of the world as we know it.

And the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD was just a foretaste, a rehearsal of what was to come, where some will be taken in judgment, and others left in mercy.

We must also balance the Matthew reading with our Romans reading, which wakes us up to the fact that we can not become complacent and lazy.

We must live as children of the day and not of the night. The night-time is for sleeping, and the day is for alertness to work. Therefore, God calls us to be alert and not to be found sleeping when that great day arrives.

 And today we must not be found sleep, today is the day of salvation- we have today- that’s all we don’t have tomorrow yet, today is the only thing in our control, and God wants us to be alert, and whatever we do, we do with an eternal purpose.

The celebration of Holy Communion is designed to help us to remember. We remember the death of our Lord, and if we remember what Jesus said to his disciples while they were in the Garden of Gethsemane only a few hours before Jesus’ death-

Matthew 26:40-45 New Living Translation (NLT)

He asked Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me for even one hour? Keep watch and pray so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Isaiah’s promises of universal peace must be taken to ourselves in the same way as the call to holiness as our agenda.

We must neither look helplessly at a dark and sleeping world nor think that we, as a church, are alright as we are. 

We must wake people up to the fact that the sun is already shining and that the judge of the nations is at the door, longing to see his justice and peace enfold the world in a single embrace.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

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‘I have heard about Your Faith’. Easter Lee, Taiwan’s’ first Women Pastor.  

Recently I was asked to speak at a World Day of Prayer meeting here in South Wales (formally Women’s World Day of prayer). The chosen theme was prepared by the Christian women of Taiwan called ‘I have heard about Your Faith’. I was excited about joining because Taiwan is close to my homeland in Austrial-Asia, and as an Australian, I meet a lot of Taiwanese folks. The following is the talk I gave about inspirational women of faith. I hope it may encourage you to follow what God Has called you to despite the odds.

I read about this lovely woman in the Taipei Times article last year.

Easter Lee was born to a Buddhist fishing family in today’s Shezidao area. Her mother contracted tetanus when she was pregnant with Lee and sought treatment at the nearby Mackay Clinic in Tamsui, where she was introduced to Christianity.

After recovering, she attended Canadian missionary William Gauld’s services and eventually, the entire family converted to Christianity before Easter Lee’s birth.

Per the common custom then, Lee was betrothed when she was 11. She still received an education, enrolling at age 15 in the missionary-run nursing program at Tamsui Girls’ School. But after a financial setback to the family, her mother asked her to drop out so that they could afford to send her younger brother to a teacher’s college.

Lee recalls asking why they favoured her brother’s education. Her mother replied: “Even if our daughter is well-educated, she’ll eventually marry, have children, and become part of another person’s family. That is not the case with sons, and we hope you can accept our arrangement.”

Lee begged them to let her finish the semester and even contemplated suicide if they refused. However parents eventually relented, and she worked at Mackay Memorial Hospital for a few years until her “vision from God” set her on a different course. It’s unclear how she got out of her arranged marriage, but she says in her biography that it felt like she regained her freedom.

Easter Lee, the Young Woman 

Still bitter about nearly having to give up her schooling for her younger brother, the ambitious 18-year-old cancelled her arranged marriage, attended seminary school abroad and became Taiwan’s first female Pastor. Easter got this idea when an apparition appeared in a vision telling Easter Lee to build a seminary, which was nearly impossible to meet for a woman born in 1909 to a modest family with 22 children. But with God, nothing is impossible.

Easter Lee completed theology classes while working as a nurse and “prayed day and night” for the chance to study abroad. It finally happened in 1934 when the church recommended her to today’s China Bible Seminary in Shanghai, an all-women institution.

Upon graduating in 1936, Lee served as a missionary in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, until the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out the following year. She was jailed under suspicion of spying for the Japanese. She headed to British Malaya after the English Presbyterian Mission negotiated her release and returned home in 1941.

Ironically, she was also imprisoned for several months by the Japanese after her return for collaborating with Western powers due to her work sheltering widows, children, and other disadvantaged people at the Tamsui mission.


Easter Lee helped establish the Qianjin Presbyterian Church in Kaohsiung in 1946 and served there when an anti-government uprising that was violently suppressed — broke out the following year. She turned the church into a temporary clinic for the many wounded and helped to retrieve dead bodies and conduct burials because men were afraid to go outside.

Easter Lee made history when Tainan Theological College and Seminary president W. E. Montgomery ordained her into the church.

 According to a National Museum of Taiwan History entry, many religious leaders initially disapproved of Lee due to her gender. Still, she proved to be a charismatic speaker who quickly attracted a following with her “gentle, warm but magnetic” sermon style. By the time Lee moved on in 1954 to focus on her seminary, the church had expanded to Siaogang and boasted over 500 members.

Easter Lee started at Tao-sheng seminary in 1953 with temporary headquarters at the Qianjin church. She moved the school to Taipei the following year, and after several moves, it was established on its current grounds in Beitou District.

In 1957, she established the Yuanping Dawson Presbyterian Church in Taipei’s Dadaocheng area. The distinct building was erected in 1937 by Taiwanese followers of the Japan Holiness Church, and Lee raised funds to renovate it after World War II.

Lee only got busier over the years, handling pastoral duties at Taipei’s Christian New Life Mission for several years. She expanded the Tao-sheng brand in 1974, opening seven directly affiliated churches during that decade.

In 1953, she fulfilled her promise by founding today’s Tao-sheng Theological Seminary. She sought to advance women’s education and rights through the school’s institutions while tackling social problems such as the often-abusive foster daughter system.

 After moving the seminary to Taipei, she started her quest to build 100 churches with the launch of the Yuanping Dawson Presbyterian Church in 1957. She founded seven more Tao-sheng-affiliated churches during the 1970s.


Lee’s mission was cut short in 1989 by a stroke that left her bedridden for the last eight years, leaving her unable to speak.

The grand-nephew Lee writes that the family knew of his grand-aunt’s wishes to open an assisted living centre. Despite the project stalling for over a decade, it finally happened in 2011 when her family donated her savings to help her fulfil one more goal by opening the Dao Sheng Assisted Living Facility 2011 on the seminary grounds.

As for her dream to build 100 churches? “That’s the tougher one, and we can only do our best,” Lee Jen-hao writes.

Easter Lee, Taiwan’s’ first women Pastor, a woman of great Faith in Christ, went home to be with her Lord in 1997. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love 

Paula Rose Parish💕 

🖤Want to help support me as an author? 

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;  

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses. 

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.  

Ordinary People–Extraordinary Results!

Christ doesn’t need our ability. But our Availability

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew 4:12-23


If you think you’re too small to have an impact.- try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.

Our scripture text starts by saying, “Now when Jesus heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee” (v. 12).  It then tells us that Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (v. 17).

This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  Matthew has told us about Jesus’ birth (chapter 1)–the visit of the Wise Men (chapter 2)–the ministry of John the Baptist in the wilderness–the baptism of Jesus (chapter 3)–and the temptation of Jesus.  It is at that point that Jesus officially kicks off his ministry.  He calls four disciples–Peter and Andrew–James, and John.

It’s interesting to note the kind of people that Jesus called:

o They were brothers–two sets of brothers.  Peter and Andrew were brothers, as were James and John.

o They were fishermen.  Peter and Andrew were casting a net into the sea when Jesus called, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men” (v. 19).  James and John were helping their father repair nets when Jesus called them.  All four men dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus.

o All four men were ordinary people.  They weren’t the worst, and they weren’t the best.  They weren’t poor, and they weren’t rich.

o As far as we know, these four men were successful fishermen.  That meant that they worked hard and worked smart.  It meant that they used their hands and their heads.  It meant that they seldom went hungry, but they just as seldom had money left over at the end of the week.

You would think Jesus could have done better!  You would think that the Son of God could have anyone he wanted–and you would think that he would want the best!  You would think that Jesus would assemble a team to beat all teams–a team of superstars–of super-disciples!  Each disciple should specialize in a particular skill:

But those weren’t the kind of people that Jesus chose.  Jesus chose Peter and Andrew–James and John.  He chose ordinary fishermen.

o Perhaps Jesus couldn’t find the kind of people he needed.

o Or maybe he didn’t feel like he needed great people.

o Perhaps he preferred ordinary people.

o Maybe he felt more comfortable with ordinary people.

o Or maybe he was making a point.

o He may have been telling us that it is all right to be ordinary.

o He may have been saying that God can use ordinary people.

o Perhaps he was trying to encourage us. After all, most of us are pretty ordinary.

o Maybe he was telling us that if we respond as these four disciples responded, we too can change the world.

I think that those possibilities have much to commend, but the bottom line is that God prefers to work with ordinary people.

o If God calls a brilliant person–a person with a genius IQ–then people will give that brilliant person credit for whatever happens.

o If God calls a rich and famous person, then people will give that person credit for whatever happens.

But we aren’t likely to accomplish much for God unless we’re God-powered–Holy Spirit powered–so God wants us to know that it was God who achieved the results.  So, God often prefers to work through ordinary people.

That’s Good News!  If God wanted only the rich and famous, we would be left out in the cold.  The call of these four disciples–Peter and Andrew–James and John–tells us that God can ordinary people and enable ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.  That’s Good News for us because we’re ordinary people–but God can use us to do extraordinary things.

. I was a young woman in my 20s and only came to faith in Christ for a few years. I was training as a nurse then and met other nurses working in a neighbouring hospital. They told me about the success of their Nurse’s Christian fellowship. Once I learned from them exactly what the fellowship was all bout by attending one of their meetings, I wanted to start one in my hospital. With the help of my Pastor, the group grew from 2 to 30 in no time at all. I am nothing special- just an ordinary person with ordinary ideas, and God did extraordinary things. We had four nurses give their lives to the Lord, two were baptised through that group, and several patients came to faith and were baptised.

When Jesus called these four fishermen, he didn’t invite them to read his book.  He invited them to follow him. 

He invited them to become his disciples. 

Jesus allowed these four men to live with him and observe him at close hands daily.  By doing so, they learned much more than Jesus’ ideas.  They became familiar with his moods.  They observed how he treated other people.  They saw how he dealt with problems and opposition.  They began to copy his manner of speaking and his gestures.  Slowly but surely, they became like Jesus in thought, word and deed.

That should speak powerfully to us about discipleship.  It’s not enough to accumulate knowledge from the scriptures about Jesus.  Becoming disciples involves spending time with Jesus.  We, of course, don’t have the opportunity to sit down with Jesus in the flesh. Still, we can develop an intimate relationship with Jesus through reading the scriptures–prayer–and faithful obedience.    Discipleship is “heart knowledge,” not just “head knowledge.”

Jesus chose these four ordinary men–and a few others like them–some better, some worse–some men, some women–and those disciples turned the world upside down.  It’s now two thousand years later, and everything has changed.  The Scribes and the Pharisees are gone.  The Roman Empire is gone.  But all over the world, people worship Jesus Christ.  That happened because Christ called these ordinary people to be his disciples and empowered them to do his work.

Christ calls us too!  Christ calls some of us to be preachers and others to be teachers.  Christ calls some of us to be youth leaders and others to be youth group members.  Christ calls some to be missionaries in Africa and others to be missionaries in the places where we live and work day by day.  Christ calls some of us to sing in the choir or play musical instruments and others to enjoy the music. 

But for all of Us- Christ calls all of us to love!  Christ calls all of us to bear witness!  Christ calls all of us to spread the Good News!

 Martin Luther  SAID : believe in Christ, and do your duty in that state of life to which God has called you.

If we obey and heed Christ’s call, he will make things happen.  Christ doesn’t need our ability.  He just needs our availability, so others will see the great light!

 Listen for his call!  Listen to hear what he is calling you to be–and what he is calling you to do.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses.

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

The Reason for the Season. Christ before time and space.

based on Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

For many people, the only time they think about God, religion or Jus is at Christmas time. And many more others, have never heard that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Saviour!

You may not realise it, but many of the traditions you hold dear such as Christmas, the expressions you use, and the ideas you have originate from a time and place in history.

We also change things and create our own traditions: expressions, ideas, etc. The given passage in Hebrews which I encourage you to read is about history. The writer is encouraging the Hebrew Christians about the value of their history in relationship to Christ. The history he is teaching occurred before time and space. So, in this article, I will take a couple of verses at a time and briefly explain them.

So let’s acknowledge the real reason for the season- which is Jesus! Let’s learn a little more about him and where he came from- Let’s jump in!


The opening affirmation in verse 1 that God spoke through the prophets is essential. While Hebrews as a whole is written to establish Christ’s superiority to the old covenant, which is a foundational belief. Thus, the old-new contrast presented in Hebrews is not arguing what is the finest, but between what is most excellent and the incomparable. It was no easy thing for God’s revelation in Christ to surpass the old ways — but it is terrific that it does!

Verses 2-4 present a series of assertions about Christ that establish this exceptional quality. Each describes aspects of Christ’s status as God’s Son, distinguishing Christ from the prophets. 

New Revised Standard Version readers may be surprised that Christ is referred to as “a” Son of God in verse 2, rather than “the” Son (most other translations add “his,” though there is no such word in Greek). 

Christ’s Divinity

The first point that the verse makes is about the superiority of sonship to being a prophet as a method of disclosure; it is not making a direct trinitarian assertion even if we suggest that the verse ultimately does point to the idea of the Trinity.

The second point is that the prophets were spokespersons for God; we would not claim that any of the prophets were “heirs of all things” or involved in the act of creation.  

These two points together establish Christ’s presence at the beginning and at the end, or as revelation puts it, the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13). 

Verse 3 adds the third point of Christ’s role in sustaining all things by his powerful word.” 

So, all three points combine to make a powerful statement about the son’s role and activity in creation throughout time from genesis to revelation. In other words, Christ always existed.

Such a claim of extensive pre-eminences makes no sense apart from understanding the son’s relationship to God, and verse 3 supplies this understanding. 

The meaning of Jesus is “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”  The emphasis on the unity of Christ and God is also seen in Colossians 1:16-20 and 2 Corinthians 4:6, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

It is worth reflecting on the whole meaning of such phrases is to fully understand the concept. The latter part of verse 3 adds that Christ “made purification for sins” and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” 

The previous claims focus on who Christ is and points out the chief elements for the Hebrew believers of the purpose of Christ. 

Christ’s exalted status at God’s right hand connects to the first claim in verse 2 that he is the “heir of all things.”  It is an image from Psalm 110:1, mentioned here and there throughout Hebrews and the New Testament as a messianic prophecy. 

It also provides the primary basis for the claim here in verse 4 that Christ is superior to the angels. In fact, the rest of chapter one is occupied with demonstrating Christ’s superiority to angels. This theme is continued in 2:5, which points out that God “did not give the coming world…to angels, but to Christ. This idea picks up again on Christ being the “heir of all things” and is seated at God’s right hand, and in the new world, which is the coming kingdom of God, and Christ will be overall.

Christ’s Humanity 

So, how can Christ’s humanity be reconciled with this superior status? The basic answer provided by Hebrews is that for Christ to atone for the sins of humans, he had to share in their humanity. Therefore, Christ’s humanity does not detract from his superiority but makes him relatable to us.

Hebrews 2:6b-8a quotes Psalm 8, as I have read, and the first part of the quote is translated in the RSV as, “What is a man that the Father be mindful of him, or the Son of man, that YOU care for him? the Father made him for a little while lower than the angels. 

Jesus, the Son of Man, referred to in the psalm, was temporarily made lower than the angels when he became human to fulfil this psalm’s prophecy. But, as the rest of chapter 2 explains, he had to become human to save humankind.

Christians today often stumble over the idea of Jesus having to be made perfect, but the claim here is merely about Jesus’ being fitted to his task. Perfection here is not about sin or morals or anything else regarding his character — it is about Jesus perfectly fulfilling his role in salvation. This role requires him to enter the whole human experience. In that sense, Jesus’ experience of suffering and death indeed was a matter of achieving perfection. Verses 11-12 affirm Jesus’ solidarity with humankind – he calls us his brothers and sisters. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

 ✔BOOKS BY PAULA available at AMAZON in the UK, USA, Aust;

📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses.

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Paula’s Story- How I came to Faith in Christ.

I know I shared this a few years ago in this community. However, I have a few people ask me how did go from an atheist to a believer in Christ.

Although It’s Christmas, If you’re interested in my story please read on. Also found my book Psalm 23 Unwrapped purchase on Amazon.

I was born in 1948: Grange Primary School - Moving the Old School
Grange Primary school, Adelaide 1960

The year was 1965 when the school bell rang. Usually, I never bothered to stop and chat with friends, but rather, I ran home as fast as my little legs could carry me. Nonstop I went as fast as I could, from Grange Primary School up the street to my home at Henley Beach Adelaide, South Australia.

The distance was just over a mile, and I had to get there quickly, or I would miss out. My goal was to park my butt in front of the black-and-white telly just in time to enjoy another adventure of superman. I couldn’t miss my daily dose of the Adventures of Superman, he intrigued me and made me think that there was more mystery to life than I understood. As the introduction began, I would chime in, Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Noooooo it’s SUPERMAN!!! – I loved it. George Reeves, an American actor, played the handsome superman. He was born on January 5, 1914, and died on June 16, 1959, the series continued long after he died and he became my hero.

super manI did not have a role model, and God was not in the equation at the time, and I thought superman was the embodiment of all that was right, good and just. As a ten-year-old, growing up in the 60s, I thought his outfit was quite fetching! Superman was more of a reality to me than God.

I was convinced that if God did exist, he must be like an old man in the clouds ready to throw down thunderbolts as soon as I did something wrong. God was someone who didn’t think much of us mortals at all and seemed to take pleasure in punishing us. When I was at primary school when it thundered, the kids used to say- Oh, don’t worry, that’s only God upstairs moving his furniture around. I found that to be a frightening concept. So, for me, if there was a God, he was not a very approachable character, a thing to be feared.

My idea of God was that he was a thing, not a real person. Just like a cartoon character, not real at all. I was told by other kids that parents used the idea of God to put the heebie-jeebies in the kids to control them – maybe it worked- I don’t know. I considered that perhaps he was something that you really wouldn’t want to come face to face with within a dark alleyway on a rainy night. Putting all these ideas together, I decided it’s best to stay away from God for one’s safety and to avoid him at all costs! From what I was told about God, it was clear that he was a pretty mean fella indeed, and there was no way that I wanted to shake hands with him any time soon.

Over the years, here and there, I meet a few Christians. I was in high school for only six months, and I meet two Christian sisters. They attended a Methodist church and tried to persuade me to go with them. I refused as I didn’t see the reason for it. However, one of them told me that Jesus loved me and invited me to ask Jesus into my heart – whatever that meant I didn’t know. I certainly didn’t like that idea anyway. Well, it was stuck in my mind of a big bad God, an old bloke with a beard and there was no way that even with the kindest invitation that I was going to let that God get into my heart and life.

My teenage years proved to be difficult, often felt restless. I was dyslexic but was not aware of it at the time. This brought a deep sense that I did not belong somehow. I often felt like a fifth wheel, on the outside of life looking in, and so I began the search for life’s purpose and meaning. I asked questions of those who knew more about life than I did. I would often ask- what happens before we are born, and what happens after we die?

My questions were never answered, leaving me disappointed and empty. However, I still searched for them diligently, which usually led me in all the wrong directions and in the wrong places, bringing me more despair and misery, and also to my family. I reasoned that if a question can be thought of and asked, indeed it can be answered, so I kept looking. Then one day, I got fed up with life and all the unanswered questions.

   A few months before my 21st Birthday, in 1976, after a short time of planning, I took off with my friend Robyn to travel around Australia. I met Robyn at an Adult education class on clay sculpturing, it was an exciting time. We decided together to take time out and just leave all we knew to travel around Australia. It was the popular thing to do at the time, and thousands of young people from all around the world would arrive at Australia’s shores to begin their adventure to backpack around Australia. We thought we were lucky, because we were Australian, and we had a car, but little money, however, we could work our way around our sunburnt country. But we did not realise just how sunburnt Australia really was in 1976.

  We imagined that we were in one of super man’s grand adventures, we felt invincible. Our plan was to travel about 500 miles which would land us in the next state. We would then find temporary work to earn enough money to move on to the next destination on our itinerary. This sounded great and doable, however, what we did not know was that there was a severe drought across Australia and whole towns were shutting down. Bush fires raged everywhere, taking with its flora and fauna, houses, businesses and livelihoods disappeared.

  To our parent’s dismay, we packed up our worldly goods, into an old station wagon and off we went. However, the jobs we hoped to find did not exist anymore while people struggled to cope with the drought. This pushed us further northward, and it wasn’t long before our car broke down, and we ran out of money. Unable to find work, we ended up destitute. The story of how we progressed for the next few weeks is stuff for another book because it doesn’t really fit into the remit of this book. Anyway, we became homeless and had to abandon our car at a garage because we could not pay for its repair.

Through a series of different circumstances, eventually and a genuinely kind couple took us into their home. Their names were Xenoia and Paul. She was Russian, and he was Australian. I was so touched by the love and warmth they offered to us both.

Here we were, two total strangers, from the other side of Australia, taking us in as their own. Although Paul was a pastor of a church (I didn’t understand what a Pastor was) this couple had absolutely nothing to gain by helping us.

Xenoia and Paul. made it clear that they expected nothing back, except to just accept their kind hospitality, which we did. Over a meal, they shared with us the love of Jesus Christ, and this was when all my negative thoughts and preconceptions about God began to whirl around my head uncontrollably. I thought, ‘NO WAY HO-SAY, here we go, just like I was told, they are trying to brainwash me, I need to get out now!’ My heart hardened toward these people, my words became harsh, and I didn’t want to stay anymore. I voiced my objections, (actually, I swore at them) and they very calmly, asked me to stay for a short while to pray.

              ‘WHAT, pray, this is unheard of, totally, unacceptable! ‘

  Then the whole scenario took a turn for the worse when my friend Robyn wanted to become a Christian by asking Christ into her life, and wanted to stay and pray. I was appalled. I attempted to talk her out of it, as any sane person would. I pointed out that she will be trapped forever by this big old man with a grey beard in the sky, who is really just a figment of her imagination. Not to mention forever having every time it thundered to listen to him move around his furniture and should have to dodge his lightning strikes every time, she did something wrong!

   And of course, to my dismay, she did not listen. I was horrified seeing my dear friend kneel on the floor with the pastor and his wife as they prayed. What was kneeling down have to do with anything anyway? As they prayed, I sat as far away as I could. I positioned myself at the far side of the room, just sitting and watching cynically. Then I became bored, as one does because it felt like the prayers go on forever and ever. This was all very strange to me, I didn’t understand what prayers all were about, never really experienced the need for them before.

I waited patiently but then got more bored, so I began looking around the room. I thought about these lovely, kind folks, and how rude and unkind I had been to them.

My thoughts also went to Robyn, who was still grieving for her baby and was desperate for help and support. It was only a year prior that she had given her baby boy up for adoption, she named him John-Mark. She didn’t want to adopt him out, but this was the 1970s in Australia where a lifestyle of single unmarried motherhood was not socially acceptable. She was shunned by her friends and family, and she had no regular income. Robyn had little choice, but to bend to her parent’s wishes, to give John-Mark up. It devastated her. Robyn, must have been feeling very alone, and I felt such a wave of compassion for her. I looked up to the ceiling, and I thought, well, when in Rome do what the Romans do, and thought I’d better go along with it, just a little bit, out of respect for everyone.

The strange thing is that I did not know that the saying when in Rome do what the Romans do, came straight from the pages of the Bible. Because the others were still kneeling, I decided to conform and knelt; however, I refused to close my eyes to pray. By this time, I was feeling quite sad for Robyn and how hurt she must feel, so I just decided to chat with God on her behalf. My eyes wide open, cast toward the ceiling, I said out loud, God, if you are really there, I ask you to help Robyn because she really needs it! The last word barely left my mouth when the whole room disappeared, and a huge white light shone before me brighter than the sun. Its brightness seemed to penetrate my soul, but it didn’t hurt my eyes, it was drawing me in, while I gazed with amazement straight into it.

   It is challenging to find the right word to describe it, but that light was pure as could be, a shimmering transparent gold liquid light. There is nothing on earth like it and seemed to be a three-dimensional feeling that I could fall right into it. The vision excluded the whole room and the other people in it. It was just me and that light. Its brilliant warmth permeated my very being and coming from it, is what I could only describe as the feeling of intense love. I felt entirely accepted and loved. I was a bit perplexed because if this was God, why isn’t there an old man with a beard throwing lightning at me?

It was only a few weeks prior that I was doing all sorts of other things that one shouldn’t be doing. But instead, I was encompassed by this beautiful, indescribable light. I could actually feel it as well, it felt like liquid love, acceptance, and hope. And best of all it felt like I had come home.

  Then to my surprise, a voice spoke that said, follow me. I reacted quite quickly and responded out loud. Later on, the people in the room told me that they heard me say, show me the road, and I will follow. Because really, that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for a purpose. I was not looking for any road, but the way to life. I was looking for the right path to lead me to discover my purpose on this planet.

Throughout my life, I asked some of the most challenging questions, like; what I’m supposed to be, and what was I born for? When I heard the words, follow me, I knew I had found the way to live.

Suddenly out of that light emerged a road of the same liquid love of the brilliant white-gold light, pure and holy. The road came out of the light and surrounded me as I knelt. It covered my whole being, and with that, I felt as if somebody was standing behind me, hugging me. In reality, there was no person there, but I certainly could physically feel that hug. I was held with great love and care, it seemed like I was cradled for an eternity, but it was just for a nanosecond. It was at that moment that I knew that it was the love of God cradling me. I understood my own sinfulness, my pride, and selfishness. I saw my own shortcomings. In a split second, I understood everything that I had done to others and to myself. I broke down and cried and just wept in repentance. This holy amazing God bothered to reach out to me talk to me, hug me, love me, – a person such as me. It was humbling, I came face to face with pure love and beauty.

   Closing my eyes, I broke down and cried, and the vision vanished away. The room returned, and I felt people around me, asking me what had happened. I struggled to find the words to tell them. That was in 1976, and I think it was about April, but not sure of the date, it was a long time ago, and I have been following God on that road ever since.

Thank you for reading and  I hope this testimony has inspired you to seek God with all your heart for yourself – may you be blessed as you do.

Paula Rose Parish💕