What does it mean that Psalm 23:1b says that ‘I shall not want?

This is an extract from CHAPTER 3 of the book I wrote called Psalm 23 Unwrapped available on Amazon- Enjoy!

I Have All I Need

We have explored the God is our Shepherd in the first part of verse one. Now we will examine the second part and ask the question – why do we have no need?

 Needs are a part of our human existence. From the time we draw in our first breath to our last, we have needs. Humanity has one main thing in common, and that is to fulfill our needs so we can survive and thrive. When David says “I shall not want” he is acknowledging how completely reliant he is on God as his Shepherd. “I shall not want” because God, as a good shepherd, will ensure I have everything I need. “I shall not want,” not because of what I have done or can do, but because God loves me. “I shall not want” because I know God personally as Shepherd. This is comforting indeed and makes sense in the light of the first part of this verse. However, what might this look like in the highs and lows of everyday life? 

Social scientists, Medics, philosophers, and theologians alike, tell us that the fundamental human needs are not recognized as every little individual need, but as a category of needs. It is generally recognized that there are seven categories of basic human needs, as shown below. These needs are interrelated and form a system that may look slightly different for each individual, and yet these needs are the same in all humans across all cultures and at all times. People in different periods of life will fall at various places on the scale of needs. This is the reason why there is no set order, which is why I have not numbered them. However, to remember what these  categories are, the categories of requirements are represented by S.U.C.C.E.S.S,

Subsistence

Understanding and growth

Connection and love

Contribution

Esteem and Identity

Self-governance (Autonomy)

Significance and purpose

I will take the point individually to untangle their meaning, determine the relevance to us, and where verse 1b fits into all this. You will find the meaning of the other points in my book, Psalm 23 Unwrapped available on Amazon

Subsistence is the need for survival, safety, security, self-care, structure, and control. Generally, it incorporates everything needed to sustain life. This includes physiological needs like food, water, air, breathing, excretion, reproduction, warmth, shelter, rest, and sleep. Personal security, work, resources, property, and health are the to thrive. It also covers self-care needs, like leisure, entertainment, healthcare, etc.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide have significantly increased across the world. In order to survive and thrive, we have the need to control the structure of our lives making us feel safe and secure. During the pandemic, we have experienced imposed locked downs and unwanted social restrictions. The control and structure of daily life have, on the most part, been taken away, which has increased our vulnerability to negative influences. Therefore, finding help to put back a secure structure of some kind is especially important. It has been said that people search for meaning in religion at the most vulnerable times in their lives. This is true. 

We need to accept that our need for control and certainty is always unsettled because we live in an ever-changing world. The only thing we can guarantee is that change will happen. The people around us and our environment are always changing, and we can become exhausted with it all. However, change can be of benefit, and very often, it is not until we run out of our own resources do, we then search for something outside of ourselves, and many people look to God.

Jesus taught the eight beatitudes, which are in essence, about beautiful attitudes. We find these in the gospel of Matthew:1-12. Beatitude 1 v 3 says this… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “

The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and need before God, and so recognize the need for God’s intervention in their lives. Another word for this is ‘humble’. Humbleness is an intentional approach to gaining meaning and purpose. The kingdom of heaven is theirs, because they seek it, and therefore find and abide in it. In order to find the kingdom of God, there must be the emptiness of self (ego) before there can be fullness, and so poverty of spirit precedes riches and grace in the kingdom of God. So, in a sense, we have no need.

The Lord, who is our Shepherd, becomes and provides all that we need. This is because we have put God in control of our lives, so the supply emanates from within that divine relationship. In other words, we have placed our subsistence issues in God’shands. We are following the Shepherd despite the dark valleys of life. Consequently, we feel secure and safe. We adopt the conviction of needing nothing because the Lord is the Shepherd taking care of things, giving us a personal sense of life meaning and a greater sense of individual agency.

Pause and think about your life and experiences to find a unique sense of life purpose and significance. It might be worth to give it some thought to how your Shepherd is providing for you.

Why is Significance and Purpose, Important to your Life?

Please enjoy this excerpt from my Book called Psalm 23 Unwrapped💕Available on Amazon!

We all need meaning, purpose, and the pursuit of a goal more significant than the self.

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life” Victor Frankl

The inner ache of the heart is to find meaning and purpose in life.” Ravi Zacharias

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis that is focused on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for meaning. His work became popular and was publicized in his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, it illustrates the significance and universality of meaning as a motivating force in human life.

The need for meaning is a powerful and fundamental human need. We cannot thrive without significance and purpose; it gets us up out of bed in the morning. Nietzsche’s’ work outlines this, and his work is readily accepted among academics.

Nietzsche, however, did not hypothesize anything new. His thesis echoes the Biblical principles of significant meaning. The concept of significant meaning is an age-old need that is in-built in all of us. It’s worth noting here that if we are created in God’s image, and we need a love connection and significant meaning, then God needs that as well. This might be why he took to the task of creating and keeping in touch with his handiwork – how do you view this?

 One thing is for sure in order to find a healthy way of life that is lasting, you must believe that you are valued and very much loved. The Shepherd values you and you are very much loved and wants you to be free to love yourself and others. Each of us is unique and made in God-image. Whether we realize it or not, we are connected to our Creator, to each other, and to all of creation, giving us joy, meaning, and purpose.

Each of us is incredibly special and loved by God, our lives have deep intrinsic value; therefore, we need to value and love ourselves. This means looking after ourselves and asking for help when needed. We hear so much about loving our neighbor, but how often do we hear about loving ourselves?

You are of immense value and a significant human being in time and history. Today is yours, you are created for a particular purpose, so go and find it. The real you, the true self, naturally strive toward this end. 

Why we are a Greedy western society- Need or Greed?

This is a short expert from my book, Psalm 23 Unwrapped, available from Amazon to give you a flavor of the content- enjoy!

How can I tell if it’s a Need or just Greed?

If we have all that we need, why do we keep gathering those things to ourselves that we think we think are necessary?

I think we can have a distorted view of what our needs really are. These days we are bombarded with advertising that sells us stuff that we are told we need before we knew we needed it! We have grown up with continual advertising negatively affecting our psyche. Marketing is part of our moment-by-moment lives and we are so accustomed to it, that we respond quite unconsciously to advertising. In fact, social science confirms that we very rarely buy something unless we have been sold the idea at least 5 to 7 times.

We usually do not respond to advertisements unless we are inundated with pictures of that beautiful item that we didn’t know we needed. The item pushed on us may be a little bit outside of our budget, but we disregard that. Our heart starts pounding, and we respond somewhat emotionally. We convince ourselves with self-talk like-

 ‘Well, perhaps I do need this, perhaps this would help me to make my life easier, or maybe this will make me happierAll my friends have this, so perhaps I really do need this.’

Having persuaded ourselves, we take ourselves down to the shops, or we click the buy button on our laptops, and before you know it, we are a little poorer than we were 5mins ago. The day comes when our parcel arrives, or we walk out of the shop, and we look at this beautiful thing wondering what the heck am I going to do with it?!!

We are all familiar with this kind of lifestyle, it is very typical of our modern lives, which often leaves us dissatisfied. We try to fulfill our category of needs through ‘things’, but it doesn’t work. We find ourselves wanting more, striving for more. We get ourselves in debt, so we have difficulty sleeping at night with worry. We assure ourselves that we need more and more to justify our spending. Perhaps we have lost the real sense of the word – need

Is that the true meaning of Psalm 23:1b I shall not want? I think not. There is a saying that there is a fine line between need and greed and are spelled remarkably similar. We do not really hear about the word greed very much, and most of us don’t like to consider ourselves as being greedy. After all, it is not the thing to be. It is not a desirable trait to have. So, we never really think about greed very much at all. But in actuality, that is what most of us struggle with – greed.

 We are a greedy society and encouraged to be so through advertising. Greed is when you are not satisfied with the perfectly good things that you have, and you want more, and more, and more – and more!

 Advertisers tell us what we need, and some people will do absolutely anything to get more. The scary thing is that some folks will commit murder or robbery, and all sorts of other horrible things to get what they think that they need, but really, it is under the guise of greed.

So, if I shall not want has nothing to do with greed, what does it really mean then? I invite you to read my book to find out!

So, -what will you do now?-Read this.

David started out in life as a humble shepherd, and his needs were limited compared to ours today. David did not need a mansion, a washing machine, or a car, all he needed was food, water, green pastures, rest, and safety for his sheep. He needed a safe place away from the bears, wolves, and the other beasties that were lurking around looking for a lamb chop.

David Loved his Sheep

David was concerned, not for his own well-being, but for that of his sheep. He loved his sheep, and he will ensure that they are fed and watered, rested, and kept safe because they were his livelihood. If David had lost his sheep, he would be unable to put food on the table. David worked to provide for their essential needs and ultimately trusts God to supply.  This reflects God’s mindset toward us. He loves his sheep, and he will ensure that they are fed and watered, rested and kept safe.

 So, what has the humble Shepherd of Psalm 23 got to do with us, in our modern time? Well, that answer is found in the word- need. What do you need? I know for me; I need my gas and my electricity to be paid. So, I need to keep my job. My mortgage payments need to be consistent throughout the year to keep a roof over my head. I have bills for water and for council tax to pay for folk to take away my rubbish and keep the streets clean. I need food – good healthy fresh food, to restore my body and to keep it healthy. I need rest and exercise to keep my body revitalized and healthy. I need to have fun and relaxation and a consistent spirituality. I need all these things to be healthy and safe in my mind, body, and soul. Being able to provide for oneself, fosters a worry-free life.

David our Example

David started out in life as a humble shepherd, and his needs were limited compared to ours today. David did not need a two-storey mansion, a washing machine, or a car, all he needed was food, water, green pastures, rest, and safety for his sheep. He needed a safe place away from the bears, wolves, and the other beasties that were lurking around looking for a lamb chop.

David was concerned, not for his own well-being, but for that of his sheep. He loved his sheep, and he will ensure that they are fed and watered, rested, and kept safe because they were his livelihood. I David had lost his sheep, he would be unable to put food on the table. David worked to provide for their essential needs and ultimately trusts God to supply.  This reflects God’s mindset toward us. He loves his sheep, and he will ensure that they are fed and watered, rested and kept safe.

A Lesson for Us

 So, what has the humble Shepherd of Psalm 23 got to do with us, in our modern time? Well, that answer is found in the word- need. What do you need? I know for me; I need my gas and my electricity to be paid. So, I need to keep my job. My mortgage payments need to be consistent throughout the year to keep a roof over my head. I have bills for water and for council tax to pay for folk to take away my rubbish and keep the streets clean. I need food – good healthy fresh food, to restore my body and to keep it healthy. I need rest and exercise to keep my body revitalised and healthy. I need to have fun and relaxation and a consistent spirituality. I need all these things to be healthy and safe in my mind, body, and soul. Being able to provide for oneself, fosters a worry-free life.

 I have a car; I need the car taxed, MOT and serviced annually and make necessary repairs. My need is to put fuel in my car so it can be in regular use. What else do I need? I need the love and the fellowship of family and friends. I need to feel good about myself and develop healthy attitudes like self-esteem, desire for personal development, and that sort of thing. I need to have a holiday every now and then to recharge my batteries. Well, I have a perfectly good car, it meets my travel needs. However, if I were to deeply desire another car I don’t really need it, but I want it for my own ego, because my friends have one like it, so I want one. Maybe I must have it because it’s a status symbol and makes me look good, I want it because of its luxury mod-cons do I have a need? No, I do not. Why? The reason that I don’t need another car is that I have already got a perfectly good car that gets me from A to B.

Another example might be that I have a two-bedroomed terraced house in South Wales. It is not a prominent place. It has a ridiculously small garden which is sufficient for me and easy to look after. It is not everybody’s cup of tea, but everybody does not live in it. I think my house is quaint, others may think it’s just old; however, I like it. I have lovely neighbors with who I enjoy chatting, and I feel safe and secure in my neighborhood. However, on the downside, it is around about 100 years old. My home and garden need a lot of repairs and renovation. Now, I could want and desire a different house, a bigger house, one that is newer, a house in an upmarket estate. Do I need it? No! Why?

Well, I have a home that shelters me, a place to work, rest, a place to enjoy and so I can express my gifts and talents. It is a place where I can be me. I have what I need, and my basic needs are met, so I am content. This is what David meant when he said he has no need.

What Are Your Needs?

What else do I need? I need the love and the fellowship of family and friends. I need to feel good about myself and develop healthy attitudes like self-esteem, desire for personal development, and that sort of thing. I need to have a holiday every now and then to recharge my batteries. Well, I have a perfectly good car, it meets my travel needs. However, if I were to deeply desire another car I don’t really need it, but I want it for my own ego, because my friends have one like it, so I want one. Maybe I must have it because it’s a status symbol and makes me look good, or I want it because of its luxury mod-cons. Do I have a need? No, I do not. Why? The reason that I don’t need another car is that I have already owned a perfectly good car that gets me from A to B.

Another example might be that I have a two-bedroomed terraced house in South Wales. It is not a prominent place. It has a ridiculously small garden which is sufficient for me and easy to look after. It is not everybody’s cup of tea, but everybody does not live in it. I think my house is quaint, others may think it’s just old; however, I like it. I have lovely neighbors with whom I enjoy chatting to, and I feel safe and secure in my neighborhood. However, on the downside, it is around about 100 years old. My home and garden need a lot of repairs and renovation. Now, I could want and desire a different house, a bigger house, one that is newer, a house in an upmarket estate. Do I need it? No! Why?

Well, I have a home that shelters me, a place to work, rest, and a place to enjoy and express my gifts and talents. It is a place where I can be me. I have what I need, and my basic needs are met, so I am content. I believe that this is what David meant when he said he has no need.

Make Your Choice

Perhaps you don’t think you need Christ because you see Christians who live like they don’t. Do not let this fool you – (Phil 2:21). the Son of God is alive and well, Christianity is not dead.

Jesus is alive and well, and lives in you by the Holy Spirit and because of this, We share Jesus Christ, not every trivia or mystery from the Bible. We share the Lord Jesus Christ, not any denomination, preacher, commentary, philosophy, or opinion.

God can supply all you need when you acknowledge your need for Jesus Christ. So why would you reject Christ and lack these things?

The need for Christ is more significant than anything else, but it is easy to ignore your greatest needs when you don’t know how to meet them. What is most important gets reduced to only those needs you can fulfil: food, money, temporary happiness. The greatest needs of humankind remain unfulfilled, and your life will be too without Christ.

Your need for Jesus Christ can be met by believing the gospel that Christ supplies everything you need for salvation, life, truth, and joy. Christ can be in you today, providing forgiveness, strength, the hope of glory, and grace freely when you believe he provided what you need.

Everyone needs the Lord Jesus Christ, but unfortunately, not everyone knows it. 

You read this, so you now know. What will you do now?

Trust the gospel, and receive what God has provided for you in Christ from God’s word rightly interpreted.💕

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse through The University of Derby, UK.

She Studies the BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK and is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

 Paula Rose Parish is a Pastor, Author, and founder, of Hope. Faith. Love, and Your Wellness Matters. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years, Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, and coach and taught at a Christian university. In addition, she has led workshops and retreats and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. 

Author of over 200 articles and two published books, Paula Rose, continues to write on the wellness of mind, body and spirit. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren and lives in South Wales, UK.

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Paula Rose is a Wellness Coach Ordained Minister, Speaker, 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.

Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

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So what next? What does God want?- Reflections for Lent

Here in the UK, we have had winter, where the days are dark and short, and downright depressing at times. As we are moving into the New Year, thankfully, now the days are getting a bit longer, and we no longer are under Coronavirus strict restrictions. It’s so lovely and oddly strange to be free at last and have the power to choose how we do things. I think it will take a while for our newfound freedom to play out, but we move forward together toward relative normality.

Here we are at the start of Lent and this is where we can ask ourselves the question- So what next?

We’ve been locked down forever disrupting our lives in every way. One thing I know is next for us, is that God wants us to build His Kingdom here through us, and not our selfish empires. It’s so easy to lose focus when everything else is going on around us. Through the pandemic, God taught us forgiveness, patience, love, and kindness, yet our focus can be taken away from Jesus by all that goes on.

 Another question we can ask is- what does God want?

We can discuss these questions with our family and Church. We have had two years of stopping and restarting and pausing and not knowing what will come next. But one thing has remained constant. God’s love never fails, His mercy and love endure forever, He is good, and He will never leave us.

So, as we press into the new year, maybe God is stirring up new things within us, so in that stirring, one more question needs consideration – If not now, ‘when’ do we decide what’s next, and what does God want, and how and when do we apply it to our lives and our Church?

Let us not put off seeking His precious face each day. Let us not put off taking the steps that lead us closer to Him and let us remember that God gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Ephesians 1:18-20.

Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

Virtual Hugs💕

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA

Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL, it’s free!.

Paula Rose is a Wellness Coach Ordained Minister, Speaker, 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.

Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals

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SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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How to see God’s Signs Posts to lead your life.

When I walked the Camino in Northern Spain, I knew how important the yellow signposts were to stay on the trail, especially in the remote and rugged terrain or new areas of exploration I experienced.  These markers kept me safe and focused on the experience, without fear of getting lost and potentially spending hours or days in a detour. Many people die on the Camino each year-why? Because they fail to follow the signposts, go off track and end up over a mountain cliff somewhere.

 Likewise, on the spiritual journey, there are signposts that mark stages in the journey, stages that usually correspond to certain spiritual, emotional, and psychological experiences. 

It is helpful to know about these stages and be supported at each one, especially because it is common to wonder if we’re on the right track or not. We might even think we are going crazy, or getting worse, or feel like abandoning the whole thing.  This is one of the reasons why it’s important to study the bible regularly, we see the actions and outcomes of the bible characters and we see how God deals with them, why, and what the outcomes will be.

I love Joseph. This is a great story to use as a guide to understanding what the signpost of your life is. Joseph was an innocent and somewhat naïve guy, but everything just always went wrong for him. Trouble seemed to find him and even follow him. But in the end, God raised him up as a mighty leader- why? Because he kept the faith and understood the signposts God had placed in his life and followed them.

These characters intentionally consented to God’s presence and God’s action in their life.  If you do the same, you will see God’s provision and will work out as they did. Enjoy reading those stories and others and glean all the truth you can and live-in faith, joy, and peace, in our savior’s name- Jesus Christ.

 WHO WAS JOSEPH?

Joseph was born in the Mesopotamian town of Haran, to his parents Jacob and Rachel. At the age of six, he left Haran along with his family and journeyed to the land of Canaan, eventually settling in Hebron.

Joseph was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a son of Jacob and his wife Rachel. Joseph was known as “the righteous one,” he was highly favoured by his father because he came from his favorite wife who bore him in his father’s old age. Jacob gave him a special-coloured coat to show his love for his son. This triggered feelings of jealousy within his brothers, especially the sons of Jacob’s other wife, Leah. There was a lot of competition between Rachel and Leah who were sisters, to how many sons they could give their Husband Jacob. This may have prompted the jealousy that Leah’s children felt toward their half-brother Joseph.

These ill feelings make worse when Joseph told them two of his dreams, in which he described he is ruling over his brothers. In the first dream, the brothers were gathering wheat in the field, and the brothers’ bundles bowed to Joseph’s bundle. In the second, Joseph envisioned the sun, the moon, and eleven stars which symbolized his parents and brothers bowing to him, is it any wonder that his 11 brothers became jealous!

When Joseph was seventeen, the conflict within the family came to a head

Then One day, the 11 brothers were tending their sheep in Shechem, and Jacob told Joseph to visit them.  Jacob was totally unaware that Joseph would be on the disappeared list because this would be the last time he would see his dearest son, until their reunion some twenty-two years later.


When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers grabbing their chance threw the unsuspecting Joseph into a pit. A short while later they spotted an Arab caravan passing, so the brothers agreed to sell Joseph to the merchants. Eventually, he was taken to Egypt, where he was sold to Potiphar, one of King Pharaoh’s ministers.

LIFE GOES SOUR

For a while, things looked pretty good for young Joseph. God gave him favour which enabled him to in in the good books of his jailer, and eventually, he was appointed head of Potiphar’s estate. However, this would not last for very long.

Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and desired to be intimate with him. However, to her bewilderment, Joseph constantly refused her invitation. Then one day, when no one was home, Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph’s garment, demanding that he consent to have sex with her. Thinking quickly, Joseph slid out of his cloak and ran outside. Although Potiphar’s wife was insulted, this self-control earned him the nickname, “Joseph the righteous.”

But Potiphar’s wife in her embarrassment, took revenge upon Joseph, telling her husband that it was Joseph who had tried to entice her. Potiphar was mortified and reacted in anger by placing his once dependable assistant in prison.

BACK in PRISON

Joseph being a highly honest and competent man, his jailer soon chose him as his right-hand man. In time, his good character went in his favour once again, when Joseph effectively interpreted their dreams, accurately predicting that the cupbearer would be released and the baker, hanged.

Two years later, King Pharaoh had two dreams, and none of his priests were able to interpret them. Then the cupbearer remembered the Hebrew youth from his prison days, suggested that Joseph could give an interpretation to Pharos dreams. By this time, Joseph was now thirty and was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams as being a divine warning for seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to prepare by storing grain during the first seven years. Amazed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharaoh appointed him as his viceroy, second only to himself, and tasked him with equipping the nation for the years of famine.

Meanwhile, the effects devasted nearby Canaan where Joseph’s family lived. Joseph’s brothers heard that there was grain in Egypt, so they went there to buy needed food from the viceroy, not realizing that he was their very own brother.

Joseph upon recognizing his brothers decided to use this opportunity to observe whether they truly regretted having sold him, and used the youngest son Benjamín as the bait. On several occasions, Joseph tested his brothers’ resolve to save their youngest brother Benjamin—Joseph’s only maternal brother—from the plot he set up for him. Once he saw their devotion toward Benjamin, Joseph finally revealed his identity to his shocked siblings.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

Following a sincere reunion, Jacob and his family settled in the Goshen section of Egypt. This series of events teaches us the proper attitude toward difficulty and misfortune. Upon discovering Joseph’s identity, his brothers thought he would use his royal powers to take revenge against them for selling into slavery.

However, the sentiments expressed by Joseph were quite the opposite, he said-“But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you… You did not send me here, but God.”

Should we adopt this attitude as well?

.  Have you had a Joseph experience? If so, how did you deal with it?

Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

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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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Have you found purpose and meaning for your life?

If you have, how did it get you?

Let me know, and I would love to hear from you and your testimony, in our comments section below. 

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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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Paulax💕

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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.  

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What is Stress?

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.”

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. 

In addition, Stress 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.

Recognizing Stress

We de-frag our computers because they get clogged up with too much information so they will perform efficiently. The same happens to our minds, and we get clogged up also. You are all over the place. When we struggle to make sense of a difficult situation, it doesn’t leave much headspace to deal with everything else that needs our attention. The Stress of a shock makes us illogical and emotional. 

When you are stressed, You might feel as if your brain has turned to mush, or you have ‘brain fog ‘. Life may feel unreal, as if you are disconnected and floating slightly outside of your body, watching yourself continue doing things. It’s a horrible feeling. 

You could suffer a bit of a temporary personality change due to severe Stress. For example, you might want to be alone and hide out at home if you are usually social. Or if you often take time out by yourself, you might find yourself going out every night, drinking when you usually don’t. Usually financially savvy, you may do unusual things like compulsive shopping.

When Stress merges into burnt-out, life seems pointless. 

When something happens that leaves you deeply upset, and life can temporarily lose its meaning. You can have negative thoughts like, ‘Why keep trying when everything is just going to go wrong?” You need to be aware of this effect as you can easily slip into depression. You may relate to some or all these symptoms -or none. In whichever way it affects you, severe Stress causes suffering.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was then please like, subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions you may have!

 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

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

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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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