Lessons from the Book of Job 

Prince William, Catherin, and Harry founded a mental health charity after figures showed the number of female suicides rose sharply in 2015.

The number of women who killed themselves rose sharply last year as the number of suicides for England and Wales reached a 20-year high. According to figures released from the Ministry of Justice, there were 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015. This was more than for any 12 months since 1995 when the data series began.

While the number of men who killed themselves fell to 2,997, 23 fewer than in 2014, the statistics for women increased by 70 to 902. The fewest suicides were in 2007 when 3,007 such verdicts were recorded, and the number has risen consistently since then.

What is it that causes a person to take their own life? The easy answer is to say its’ mental illness, shrug our shoulders and move on. But who assesses what mental illness is? By what measuring rod does one assess if a person is mentally ill or not?

I have ministered to perfectly healthy people who outwardly seem successful, and happy but have experienced an acute amount of stress that caused them to despair for their very life. However, these people were not mentally ill. 

I really believe that some people will not admit they feel suicidal for fear of being labeled mentally ill. However, wanting to die in the face of acute stress, illness or circumstances is not so unusual. 

For example, in the book of Job, we read how he wanted to die and cursed the day he was born. The Bible did not label Job as mentally ill, but we see a very human reaction through Jobs’ despair when there seems to be no hope. 

Lessons from Job 

Job can be a difficult book to understand, however, it can help us in our everyday life. I am studying Job in my personal daily quiet time and found it a wonderful insight into the human condition. None of us need to feel ashamed by having such thoughts, even if an attempt to die has been made. Like Job, we are human, and we are weak at times and may feel there’s is no way out of our circumstances expect to die. 

That’s why, just like Job, we need to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives us hope and strength to live each day. Read John chapter 3 & 1 Corinthians as the whole 13th chapter.  

You have Meaning & Purpose.

We were born for a purpose, and that purpose is to love. To be loved by God and love God back and love other human beings. Each of us is unique and very important and much loved by God. We may want to end our life, but God wants us to live life to the full.

 If you haven’t already, give your life to Christ and wait on Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will have the passion to live out God’s purpose for your life. You will find true meaning and happiness and courage to face the most difficult of circumstances. 

Every day you will be living in God’s strength and not your own. 

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with life, pass this article to them, and pray for them. Be light in someone’s darkness today.

The real problem arises when we don’t know what to do with our troubles. We wonder how on earth do we get through this! And how do we survive this phase of mourning and not allow it to immobilize us in some way? How can we make sense of what is happening?

 This is where the 23rd Psalm helps us. As you read on, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will minister to you and heal you in this time of grief. Psalm 23 is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It is important to understand who God is. If really difficult to receive healing from someone you know little about. So, let’s take a brief look at the character of God.

So, who is God? There is no name for God as we understand the term to be. God is not a John or an Eric or even a Fred, for example. But what we believe are names for God are actually descriptions of God’s nature, characters, and actions.

For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known. This denotes a God who always discloses who He is. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people and can be understood as “The Lord, my Friend.” 

 GOD HAS NO GENDER

I refer to God as Father a lot however it does not indicate that God is a man. To be able to accept help from God. we need to trust who God is and will do what he promised us. Therefore, understanding God will benefit our faith greatly. So here we will briefly discuss who God is. God is Spirit- not a man.

People get hung up on God’s gender, but God has no gender. Why is this so important? I have found that some find it challenging to receive from God because God is a man. Past or current toxic relationships with men cause their relationship with God to become problematic. Therefore, understanding that God has no gender is especially important. 

Well, He’s a father, right? He’s a he – The concept of a genderless God can be confusing.

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

In Christianity, the Hebrew scriptures are referred to as the Old Testament. Here, God is a He. The ‘he’ simply is an allegory for His authority and creativeness. The Hebrew word he is usually not written out, but more understood from the verbal form. Then he is used as a reference to God not to be confused with the Latin HE, which refers to one’s gender.

 All the names of God in the Scripture are simply a description of his actives in creation. By this, we then understand who God is. Therefore, the is He is referring to the Infinite Being (Ain Sof), who is the creator of the universe and is above all divine names. So, God is not a he or she (Numbers 23.19-20). God is a spirit.

Jesus taught us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.24). A spirit is a genderless being who is eternal, beyond time and space. God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end) of all things. Beyond time and space (Revelation 21:6). It is the eternal creator who lives in you by his Holy Spirit so you can succeed, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” Philippians 4.13.

 We could grapple with meanings of words all day, but the vital point to grasp is that God is Yahweh, which means, I Am who I Am. It is not God’s name but describes the Eternal Divine. God in Christ is above all names, in other words, God just IS. God is past, present, and future. God is a timeless, genderless Spirit being whose essence is love.

God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as One beyond the universe or human imagination and yet present with us in our worst fears and the most profound grief. God shows himself in Christ, on earth. I know it’s mind-blowing, but that same Christ lives in you, who we call, the Holy Spirit. Colossians 1:27-To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

To place that into today’s understanding – Christ is the matrix of all that is. Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. ( the promise of beauty). How wonderful!

God is also depicted widely in Scripture as having female attributes. This is a beautiful metaphor depicting his nurturing character. We see this clearly in many scriptures, and just for an example here Deut. 32:18 “You forget the rock who begot you, unmindful of the God who gave birth to you“. Here we understand that God is not a rock, but the allegory is used to describe the steadfastness of God’s nature. Likewise, ‘he’ is also used in this way. Job knew the steadfastness of God and place his trust in this infinite being.

In my book ‘NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF: from grief to recovery’ I go into this in more detail.

 When we know who God is, we come to understand God in Jesus Christ, securing us in our journey through our darkest valley. 

You have meaning & purpose because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for a happy life.

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How to Survive Transition – Ruth, the Bible’s Cinderella Story

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Ruth in the Bible :

Ruth is a person I identify closely with. I’m drawn to the story of Ruth again and again. Ruth was a widow in a strange land with a family not her own, her life went terribly wrong for her, yet God provided for her in her poverty- why? Because she loved Naomi and trusted in the God of Abraham. There is a book in the Hebrew Bible devoted to telling Ruth’s story, and Jews read her book every year at the Feast of Weeks.

The Gospel of Matthew mentions Ruth as a Gentile who was adopted into the Jewish family for doing the right thing. It’s interesting to note that The genealogy of Jesus includes Ruth the Moabite.

There are only two books of the Bible named after women: Esther and Ruth. Ruth is also one of the few women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew when women weren’t ordinarily included in genealogies.

Ruth’s story – it’s an important one. A simple Moabite widow becomes an essential character in the powerful story of salvation woven through the Bible. Ruth’s story is commonplace, and possibly that’s what makes Ruth’s story so fascinating. She doesn’t come from a famous family. She doesn’t have great riches or a great position. Ruth is just a widow from a foreign land. At first, nothing is going in her favour, but she’s brave, and her faith never wavers. The life of a foreign widow who has nothing becomes so vital that it’s included in the Bible and her name recognized in the lineage of Jesus.

RUTH BEGINS HER JOURNEY 

A food crisis in Canaan forces Elimelech, Naomi, and their sons, to migrate from Bethlehem to Moab. In Moab, the sons marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Unfortunately, Elimelech passes away, and about 10 years later, both of Naomi’s sons die, as well, so Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah become widows.

Being a widow back then was even more difficult than it is today. In fact, Naomi encourages both girls to go back to their parents and find husbands who can take care of them. 

The story goes that Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Ruth 1 NIV -In – Bible Gateway

 VERSEThen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye, and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons? Who could become your husband? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13, would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this, they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. So go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

So, Ruth and Naomi both return to Bethlehem; unfortunately, they have nothing, so Ruth works in the grain fields to survive. It’s there that Ruth meets Boaz, who also turns out to be her “redeemer.” This means as a relative of her dead husband, he has a legal right to claim her as his wife.

 After Boaz legally secures his place as her redeemer, the two are married and later produce a son named Obed – the grandfather of King David.

What you do see is an ordinary – and challenging – life shaped by faith and guided by the God she believes in, and today we can look back and see the mighty way her life was used.

There are many things to learn from the story of Ruth, however in this article, here is just ONE powerful lesson that helped me when I was in crisis.

Lesson – WE WILL LIVE PURPOSEFULLY WHEN WE TRUST GOD

At the very beginning of the book of Ruth, she’s living in Moab, her home nation. Moab was a place that most Israelites didn’t like. It was an enemy nation, and Israelites hated the Moabites. To make matters worse, Ruth was a widow, she was childless, and she lived with her mother-in-law, in other words, not socially acceptable.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi and help her, all the while knowing that life would be hard. Her country of origin made her an outcast, and so it would be the same in Israel. Having no husband, no children gave her plenty of reason to disappear and simply live the rest of her life in obscurity.

But that’s not what she did. She decided to go with Naomi to Bethlehem, left her country and her family behind. Ruth didn’t let her past hold her back. She chose to serve the God of Naomi while believing she would live purposefully and meaningfully.

No matter your past, it does not count for anything-you still have a purpose in your life. 

You will find meaning if you put your most authentic faith in Jesus Christ. Your past is not the predictor of your future when you make a choice in faith. Your fantastic Future Awaits YOU!!

Can you relate to Ruth in some way? If so – leave a comment- I would love to hear from you!

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

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also, head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for my SHOP, lifestyle tips, and details of my Stress Relief Master Class. 

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

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My Top 5 Tips to Self-Awareness of Mind, Body & Soul

The phrase ‘know thyself, is a famous adage that is often attributed to Socrates or Plato. It’s a great saying, and we know it well, but what does it actually mean to know oneself? Of course, this can be a subjective question. However, here are a few questions to start your thinking.

· Do you welcome change? 

· Do you believe that you can learn self-awareness?

· Do you believe that if you become more self-aware, it will change your health and life?

Bad Habits

Today, hundreds of thousands are battling a chronic disease, and many have multiple chronic conditions. Statics say that by 2030, these chronic conditions could cost sufferers upwards of 47 trillion U.S. in healthcare spending. Why is this happening? Two short words give us part of the answer- Bad Habits. Changing habits is not easy, and for most people, one habit alone isn’t to blame. Realistically, it’s repetitive, multiple negative habits over time that is the culprit. This is because habits lead us to be well in our mind, body, and spirit. 

Alternatively, they can lead us into struggling with un-wellness and eventual sickness. If you want to find a way to overcome feelings that drag you down, you must become aware of what is going on. My mission is to help you work with you through the destructive mind, body, and spiritual habits that hold you back from a fruitful life. I will help you to cultivate good habits. In fact, I like to call them Well-Habits! Let’s get first things first. You cannot develop sound habits if you are not self-aware.

So, let’s take a moment and ask yourself-

· What drives my decisions? 

· How do I honestly feel about myself?

· How do I honestly feel about the people in my life?

· What causes me to behave the way I do? 

Jesus said, ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Do you want to be free to be the real You? If the answer is Yes! I invite you to read on.

In this article, you will learn my Top 5 Tips for self-awareness 

  1. Tip Self-awareness is important
  2. Tip: Understand what self-awareness is 
  3. Tip: Become self-aware of your mind (mindfulness)
  4. Tip: Become self-aware of your body (body awareness)
  5. Tip: Become self-aware of your spirit (inner self/spirituality)

I am not explaining each tip but will point out a few points. These tips are for you to explore for yourself, to give you food for thought. 

What is Self Awareness?

Self-awareness is often defined as the ability to engage in honest self-reflection. Seeing yourself as others see you. Self-awareness is about understanding why you feel what you do and why you react in a particular way.

Once you begin to understand this, you then have the opportunity and freedom to change things about yourself, enabling you to create the life you want. You will become the CEO of your own life. No longer will you be bounced around by unruly behaviours and emotions. You will be better able to keep yourself in check because you know ‘how ‘you work.

It’s almost impossible to change and become self-accepting if you are unsure as to who you are.

Having clarity about who you are and what you want is empowering, giving you the courage and confidence to make even the most challenging change. How self-aware are you are? Being self-aware is vital for both personal and professional success. It is also vital to overcoming negative behaviours and habits.

When you are self-aware, you empower yourself. You have the power to choose where to focus your emotions, your energy, and your personality so that you can improve and direct the course of your life. Self-awareness helps you be much more aware of your thoughts, emotions and behaviours and helps you guide your life. 

Create Good Habits 

The best way to continually develop self-awareness is to learn the habit of looking at yourself objectively. In other words, see yourself as others see or perceive you. The more self-aware you become, the more you can improve and make positive changes in your life and lifestyle. As you develop an awareness of the self, you begin to connect with your uniqueness. You connect with the essence that makes you – You!

 As you honestly examine your inward self and your associated behaviour, in comparison to your core values, you become self-conscious and an objective evaluator of yourself, which is a very important well-habit to develop. So let me share something with you.

Good Stress

When feeling overwhelmed and panicked, it’s easy to plunge into negative habits that often worsen matters. Stress is your body’s way of responding to any demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response. What makes me feel down isn’t always clear to me at the time, which adds to my distress. However, when I realized why these unwanted feelings occurred, I realized more than half the battle was won, which makes me hopeful that things will be okay. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but the stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working correctly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. 

There is good stress that gives you extra strength to defend yourself in emergencies. Healthy stress can save your life, for example, urging you to slam on the brakes to avoid a car accident.

Write it!

Over the years, I have learnt the considerable value of jotting things down. So, when I feel low, I note it down. I briefly describe how I feel and the circumstance that led up to it, then date it. Later, I can look back and understand why a particular activity, circumstance or situation made me feel out of kilter.

Inner self/spirituality

 My faith has been paramount in helping me to become self-aware. I am not always aware of myself, but I am mindful of being so every now and then through my day. I also pray, asking God to help me in this. None of us has arrived. None of us is perfect. However, we can work each day to learn by becoming self-aware.

Are you Learning to be self-aware? What Have you learned so far?  Let me know- Leave a comment- I  would love to hear from you!

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

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Stress Relief Master Class.  

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

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

https://health-well-being.uk/2022/01/26/tips-on-how-to-stay-well-when-experiencing-family-estrangement/

How to know you’re dealing with a toxic person: Matthew 11:23

Mark 11:28 Context

25And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father, which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 27And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men? answer me. 31And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

When the Bible talks about scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, we pretty much know what to expect. They were religious leaders, but we know them as Jesus’ enemies. This is because they were constantly scheming against Jesus, trying to trick him, trap him, and try to trip him up.

This story is about Toxic people, and we can learn how to deal with such people who are in our lives.

Sometimes it’s fun to read the stories about them because they often find themselves caught in the trap they had set for Jesus. Reading about the scribes and Pharisees is a little like watching a Roadrunner cartoon. If you are around my age, you may remember the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote? 

The scene would open with Wile E. Coyote standing at the lip of a cliff, struggling to push a huge boulder to fall on Roadrunner as he comes by on the road below. Then we would see Roadrunner running along the road at warp speed and Wile E. Coyote struggling to push the boulder in time to squash him. Then, finally, Roadrunner would zip by–beep, beep–before the rock ever posed any danger, and Wile E. Coyote, in his panic, would trip and fall over the cliff. 

We would see him falling through the air and being squashed flat as he hit the road. He would then pick himself up and begin to pull himself together, then he would look up–and there the rock would be, right above him–and Wile E. would find himself squashed flat one more time by the rock that he had intended for Roadrunner. And then we would see Roadrunner again, still moving at warp speed–beep, beep! I love Roadrunner cartoons.

The Toxic People

The Scribes and Pharisees are toxic people, they try to trap Jesus, they often fall into their own trap. It’s fun to watch–especially if you’re a Roadrunner fan!

In our Gospel lesson today, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus where he gets his authority. That was a legitimate question! The chief priests and elders were responsible for the religious life of Israel, and Jesus was doing some pretty provocative things.

For one thing, just before today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Yet, at the same time, the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And Jesus did nothing to correct them.

Then Jesus went into the temple, where people were buying and selling animals for temple sacrifice, and others were serving as moneychangers. These sellers of animals and moneychangers were well within their rights to do what they were doing. Nothing happened in the temple without the priests’ permission, so the sellers and moneychangers must have asked for and received permission to do what they were doing. In other words, they were AUTHORISED!

If you have ever served in the military, you know that word–AUTHORISED! If you are authorised, you can do it. If you are not authorised, you cannot. It’s that simple!

Well, these animal sellers and moneychangers were AUTHORISED! They had permission to sell animals and to change money on the temple grounds. The priests had given them permission, or they could not have done what they were doing.

And there was a good purpose behind their activity. People came from afar to make sacrifices at the temple, and it wouldn’t work to require them to bring their own animals. Sacrificial animals had to be outstanding specimens–perfect–no blemishes. Just imagine trying to bring a lamb from Nazareth or some other faraway place–having picked out the best of the flock–and seeing the animal injured on the long journey. Then you wouldn’t be able to make your sacrifice. And then you would have to take the injured animal home again.

No, that wasn’t practical, so, the priests had AUTHORISED these sellers of animals and the money changers in the temple. It was a public service–and it also brought in some money to the temple. It made sense, and so it was AUTHORISED!

But Jesus walked into the temple and drove out the buyers and the sellers, and turned over their tables, and scattered their money all over the floor. He accused the merchants of making God’s house into a den of thieves. Can you imagine! These people were well within their rights! They were AUTHORISED!

And then Jesus set up shop inside the temple, as if he owned the place, and began to teach. Now, to teach in the temple, one needed to be a rabbi. To be a rabbi, one had to go through the proper training–and the laying on of hands–in other words, ordination. Jesus was not adequately trained, and no one had ordained him. What right did he have, then, to teach in the temple? None! But there he was, teaching the people, and the people were acting as if Jesus were someone extraordinary. 

But Jesus was NOT AUTHORISED!

So, the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! Exactly the right question for them to be asking!

“By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?”

In other words, they were asking Jesus if he was AUTHORISED–and, if so, who AUTHORISED him. There was only one correct answer because only the priests could authorise a person to do what Jesus was doing–and they had not AUTHORISED Jesus.

If Jesus were not AUTHORISED, he was clearly wrong to do to the animal sellers and the moneychangers. Perhaps even criminals that made his teaching in the temple questionable. So, the priests and elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! It was their job to ask such questions!

But Jesus responded by asking them a question. He told them that if they answered his question, he would answer theirs. So, Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” 

 He talked about John the Baptist, the great prophet–greatly respected by the people–dearly beloved by nearly everyone–but not dearly beloved by the chief priests and elders. So, Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

That was a good question, too, because Jesus was asking who AUTHORISED John the Baptist to be a prophet. But, of course, as a prophet, John’s authorisation came straight from God. 

Everyone knew that–everyone except the chief priests and elders. The chief priests and elders would not admit that John was AUTHORISED because they had not AUTHORISED him. It was a power thing! The chief priests and the elders were in charge. 

They didn’t like people like John and Jesus coming out of the blue–claiming authority from God–challenging the authority of the priests and elders.

By this time, John was already dead–killed by King Herod. The chief priests and elders must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the news of John’s death. One down and one to go!

But now Jesus was asking, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” That put the chief priests and the elders in a bind. If they said that John’s authority came from heaven, then Jesus would ask why they had not obeyed John. If they said that John’s authority did NOT come from heaven, then the people would rise up against them because they knew that John’s authority DID come from God. That was very clear to the people. They would not tolerate anyone–even these powerful priests–saying anything wrong about John.

Then, the chief priests and elders said, “We don’t know!”. But it was their JOB to know! It was their job to protect the people from false prophets. It was their job to make decisions about prophets! But they said, “We don’t know!” then, Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things”.

Jesus Explains in a Simple Way

Jesus told a story about a father who had two sons. He asked the first son to work in the vineyard, but he said, “No way!” But then, later, the son realised that he had been wrong, so he went into the vineyard and did what the Father had asked him to do. In the meantime, the Father asked his second son to work in the vineyard, and the second son said, “Sure, Dad!” But then the second son wandered off, doing his own thing. He never did go to the vineyard.

Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders, “Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Now the chief priests and the elders indeed realised, at this point, that they were in deep trouble, but they couldn’t say, “We don’t know!” again. Everyone was watching, and they already looked pretty foolish. To say, “We don’t know!” one more time would have confirmed that they were, indeed, incompetent. So, they answered that in the first song, the one who initially looked disobedient but turned out to be obedient–that first son was the one who had done the will of the Father.

So, Jesus said to the chief priests and elders–and I want you to hear this–keep in mind that Jesus is talking to the best of the best–the holiest of the holy–and Jesus said to these holy men – ALBEIT TOXIC PEOPLE!

“Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes

are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness,

and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.

When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward that you might believe him”.

 That was harsh language for Jesus to use on these holy men, but we’re glad that he did. We’ve seen people who seemed to be something that they were not–in other words, fakes –and we’re glad to see them exposed! 

We’ve seen influential people who use their power to keep themselves in power rather than using their power to help people.

The Problem with this Story

But there are a couple of problems with Jesus’ story. One is the problem of today’s tax collectors and prostitutes–in other words, today’s unrepentant sinners. It’s easy for sinners today to read this story and think, “I am terrible, but at least I am honestly terrible–and so I am better than these holier-than-thou hypocrites who go to church every Sunday!”

We have to be careful not to take that attitude. Jesus calls us to holiness–absolute holiness–, not to a life of judging the other person.

The other problem with this story is that we might think that it concerns people who lived two thousand years ago–and has nothing to do with us today. That, too, would be wrong. 

This Story is about You and Me

This story has everything to do with us today. We all know toxic people and sometimes we just have to get tough with him like Jesus, and not let them walk all over us- like Jesus.

This story also speaks with extraordinary power to preachers and deacons and Sunday school teachers and–well, it speaks to all of us who try to be true Christians. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll become smug and self-satisfied. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll wake up someday to find that we good guys are really the bad guys, and the wrong people are the good people!

In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris talks about a Methodist pastor from Montana, USA.

This pastor told Kathleen about a woman who had become a member of their little church. She had been a drunk–a terrible drunk! She had been a cocaine addict! Some people referred to her as a “cocaine whore!” because she was sleeping with whomever! 

And then she sobered up! And then she started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and some of her AA friends took her to church! So now I want you to stop thinking about how much courage it took that woman to step inside that little church – but she went–and she kept going back–and then she joined the church. She began volunteering, and you know how hard it is to get anyone to volunteer. So she volunteered for everything that came along, and started studying, teaching, and visiting. Kathleen Norris sums her up this way:

“It was as if she had tasted salvation and couldn’t get enough of it,

or of the new relationships which these activities had led her to.”

Salvation took such hold in her that, however, she was no longer a promiscuous person. The difference was that she was no longer self-destructive but a bearer of new life to others.

In other words, the woman was no longer promiscuous with her sex, giving it to men randomly. Instead, she was now unrestrained with Christian love–loving people randomly, loving them as Christ would have her to love them.

What can we learn?

Going back to Jesus’ story, we can examine ourselves and ask- Am I a toxic person? which kind of son or daughter an I?

Are you liking the first son, who didn’t want to obey the Father–but finally did? Or are you liking the second son, who said that he would obey but did not?

Are you a renegade–a rebel–but a person who finally decides to do the right thing? Or are you one of those people whose name is on the church rolls but who never does anything for Jesus?

Or are you one of those people who obeys Christ when it feels right but who feels free to disobey the rest of the time (hidden toxicity?

Or are you one of those people who says, “I just don’t want to get involved!”

Or are you one of those people who just doesn’t care!

Jesus says, Careful! Get busy going where God has called you to go, lest you find the tax collectors and prostitutes going into heaven while you watch from the sidelines.

Get busy doing what Christ has called you to do, lest you find yourself watching the drunks and junkies at heaven’s gate while you ask, “When will it be my turn?” Time to get serious, to be the person that God has called you to be!

What strategies do you HAVE TO SPOT A TOXIC PERSON? Let me know- and If this article was helpful to you, please let me know, I would love to hear from you.

Has this post helped you in some way – If so – leave a comment- I would love to hear from you!

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

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also, head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Stress Relief Master Class. 

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

Paula x

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Your Best Life is Yet to Come! 

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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#95Inspiring Bible Psalm for Encouragement : You are cradled in God Love!

Psalm 139 

Here in the UK the weather – has been beautiful and hot, warm, calm light nights and early mornings. Gardening is a pleasure as we reap the harvest of our toil, picking our strawberries, lettuces, and other plants and flowers that we have planted in the spring. It is indeed a beautiful time of year, although changeable, so keep that umbrella to hand!

Brexit and the Pandemic brought changes into our lives. Recent history has presented us with a lot of change, some welcome, others not so much. Life is all about change. Nothing stays the same. I am a grandmother to five grandchildren now, the eldest 20 years old the youngest 2 months. I have recently met my new granddaughter. I couldn’t meet her until 6 weeks ago when she was 2 months old due to the pandemic lockdown. It’s been a while since I last saw her, she has changed a lot since then I am sure, she will continue to change as she grows.

Like it or not, our society must constantly change to renew itself; otherwise, we will get stuck in the status quo and never progress. It is all change that will affect us in various ways, positively or negatively, depending on how we view that change and respond to it.

However, In the mix of all this upheaval and change, we may feel that we are just part of a nameless crowd, a mere statistic in an impersonal society that cares little for the individual. Compare that with the biblical understanding of how God views us as unique individuals in our own right valued for what we are. Psalm 139 says that we are fashioned in every part. God was there when we were woven together in our mother’s womb and are dependent on him from birth. Since before we were born, and God has loved us and been faithful to us.

Yet, we may not be aware that God knows all about us and loves us deeply. To me, to know how much we are loved by God is totally amazing, wonderful and beyond my human understanding comprehension!!!

Whomever we are and however our soul-less society can sometimes make us feel, there is one we can always turn to in confidence, knowing that our welfare and happiness matter. We can turn to our Father God through Jesus Christ.

As we continue to experience change, perhaps within our bodies, minds, family, or society, let us think about and pray for those who feel themselves to be alone. So many people feel they are in a cold and impersonal universe, having no sense of God’s love and care reaching out to them. No sense of his compassion or offer of salvation. Let’s pray for those who feel lost in a faithless and uncaring world and perhaps even within their own family. Let’s pray for those who believe that their personal well-being is of little concern to others.

So, let’s find our voice in prayer and our voice in our community so we can help make it better. Let’s find our voice in making everyone we meet feel valued, the significant human being that they are. Let’s find our voice in sharing the love of Jesus and his saving power- people need to hear good news!!

By His Grace

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please subscribe, you’ll find a button on the home page, and leave a comment with any questions!

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

Paula Rose Parish

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How to Pray: Five Simple Steps to Centering Prayer.

Letting go and trusting God is not always an easy thing to do. The practice of contemplation prayer moves us steadily forward.

Staying in a relationship within the God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit means finding constant pleasure in Gods divine company. We connect by simply chatting humbly and lovingly without limiting the conversation in any way. Contemplative Prayer is also about listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice. This is especially important in times of temptation, sorrow, and even in times of unfaithfulness and other sins.

Pondering upon and enjoying God’s presence is contemplation. The way of contemplation is nonverbal. Unspoken words and cries of the heart become thought forms manifesting themselves before the throne room of God.

Contemplation was shortened into a simple modern method in the 1970s by three Trappist monks, William Menninger, Basil Pennington, and Abbot Thomas Keating.

This method of prayer is traditionally called Centering Prayer, which denotes focus, to be present with, and to find balance. It consists of responding to the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Christ) by consenting to God’s presence and action within.

 Centering Prayer helps to quieten our sensory faculties to cooperate with the gift of God’s presence. This wonderfully supports us to move from more active modes like a verbal prayer, to focusing and resting in silence before God, even for a few moments is revitalising. This highlights of this kind of prayer is that its easy to foster a friendship with God.

Centering Prayer also fosters a deep discipline which serves the relationship to grow.

Centering Prayer It is Trinitarian in its source, Christ-focused, and pastoral in its effects, and brings and builds together different communities in unity and faith.

There’s so much to say on this vital subject. You have learnt a little about this method of contemplation called centering prayer and prepared yourself for it. Okay now is the time to have a go!

Five Simple Steps to Centering Prayer 

1) set a timer for 10 mins

2) choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intent to give permission to God’s presence and action within. This sacred word can be anything that calms you and helps you to be still. It can be or Jesus, mar-an-atha (come here Lord)

My Word is Yahweh meaning, I AM who I AM which describes who God is.

3) sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred Word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.

4) when you become aware of thoughts, return ever-so-gently to your sacred word.

5) at the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Make this a habit at least once a day. Soon you will feel comfortable, then increase to twice a day. With regularity, this will help you journey through the valley of grief. Over time it becomes habitual. Keep in mind that it doesn’t take away suffering but rather, takes away the fear of suffering, relieves stress and brings you closer to Father God.

You don’t have to think about God to be in God’s presence. God will never leave or forsake you but is always with you till the end of the earth, (Hebrews 13:5).

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please follow this blog, or leave a comment with any questions!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

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

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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