Ordinary People–Extraordinary Results!

Christ doesn’t need our ability. But our Availability

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew 4:12-23

Intro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o Perhaps he preferred ordinary people.

o Maybe he felt more comfortable with ordinary people.

o Or maybe he was making a point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He invited them to become his disciples. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Faith In Christ & Your Well-Being.

In this article, we are briefly discussing what it is that makes us healthy and define what health actually is. You may ask, what has this got to do with faith in Christ? Shouldn’t we develop spiritually and give the physical a miss? After all, isn’t the physical body sinful, and should we not be repressing it, not nurturing it?

Many Christians think this way because of the doctrine of original sin (which most theologians disagree with) teaches that anything to do with our body, or mind for that matter, is of the flesh, and the flesh is evil. Further, a well-known passage by the Apostle Paul gets misconstrued about the body as unimportant, and of little value, and has led many believers to neglect the care of their bodies. We will be looking at this text in future articles, so watch out for that.

I intend this year to explain the doctrine of original sin in more detail, who made it a doctrine and why. And I want to write more about healthy spirituality and faith in faith, including the health of mind, body, and soul.

I will bring in scriptures from the Bible to share how our Father God is interested in us as a whole being who is comprised of mind, body and soul.

 By understanding health, and what it means for our daily living, we can better equip ourselves to be healthy. Good health and well-being bring many benefits to all of us. Healthier people tend to be happier, play an active role, and contribute to society and the economy through their families, local communities, and workplaces. If you are happy and feeling well, you will be better able to serve the Lord in the way you have been called.

According to HM Gov Department of Health, there is a two-way relationship between well-being and health: health influences well-being, and well-being itself influences health

  • Health is one of the top things people say matter for wellbeing
  • Both physical and mental health influence well-being, however mental health and wellbeing are independent dimensions, mental health is not simply the opposite of mental illness.

What is health?

We use a broad definition of health that encompasses holistic health and well-being. This means we are not only interested in whether or not people are ill or have a health condition but also in how healthy and well they are. According to HM Gov Department of Health, there is a two-way relationship between wellbeing and health: health influences wellbeing, and wellbeing itself influences health
  • Health is one of the top things people say matters for wellbeing
  • Both physical and mental health influence wellbeing, however mental health and wellbeing are independent dimensions, mental health is not simply the opposite of mental illness.

Definition of health

The concept of health as a balance between a person and the environment, the unity of soul and body, and the natural origin of disease,

WELLNESS is a combination of the 7 Pillars of health (for more info click the ink)

All should be called to be healthy and balanced to achieve well-being or elements must be observed each element affects the other.

So, to understand what health is, we need to be understanding what it is in relation to all aspects of the 7 Pillars.

You are a Holistic Being

So many of us just concentrate on our physical health and ignore all the other elements. You can be physically healthy, mentally and emotionally unwell. But the problem is that your mental and emotional state will finally catch up with you and affect your physical health. Then your social health will suffer, and in turn, affect your mental and emotional health. Then all the aspects of your life will be affected, and that’s when life becomes difficult. So, we cannot separate any elements of our body, but we must look at Health holistically – as a total whole- because you are a total whole. The problem is that this takes a little bit of research to get our heads around. We do not automatically understand how to maintain the health of our bodies nor our minds or our emotions or even our social well-being, it is something that needs to be learned. This is why people who enjoy educating themselves are usually a lot fitter than those who don’t. Science has learned how healthy your physical brain is and that it actually affects your mental and emotional health. Both physical health and mental health can influence wellbeing. So, learning to love learning, is one of the key elements in your total health.

Ways to make physical health stronger

· daily eating nutritious meals and snacks

· physical fitness activities that challenge your muscles

· Regularly visiting Dr and dentists and other health providers for check-up’s. Avoid all harmful behaviors and habits

Ways to make Mental and Emotional Health Stronger

· Improve your physical health

· Strengthen your positive relationships

· Deal with thoughts and feelings and the choices you make sure you have a positive and balanced self-concept and self-esteem

Material Cited

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/215911/dh_122238.pdf

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. Please subscribe using the banner as you come onto the site. Also, please follow this blog, and you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! Remember to live life on purpose, in Hope. Faith and Love Paula Rose Parish💕

New Year Hope


Dear Hope. Faith.Love community,
As we all know, Advent comes before the Christmas season. The Christmas season is then followed by New Year celebrations.

In all our celebrations, as part of the festivity, we exchange messages and greetings with friends and our beloved ones. Especially, as Christians, we celebrate the New Year with great enthusiasm, excited by what the Lord may have in store for us.

Toasting glasses at midnight (if still awake) and the fireworks high in the sky depict the New Year celebrations.

These celebrations signal that it is the time to start new and fresh in all parts of life. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon the past and plan for the future. At the start of a New year, we can better ourselves by making relevant changes.

In addition, the New Year also provides a fantastic opportunity to continually meet each other in Church for worship and to encourage one another in our faith journey into the New Year.

New Year is the right time to reschedule everything thoroughly, do better, and be better, to God’s glory.

At the start of the year, it is a time to enjoy the current moment forgetting the past worries of 2022 while looking forward with hope for 2023.

The New Year brings us many opportunities and adventures. On the occasion of the New Year, we say resolutions, get new things, prepare for the year ahead, work on new goals, etc., with expectations.

In the last 12 months, you may have experienced troubles, worries or lost a loved one, as I have.

The size, intensity and nature of your problem are no barriers to God’s healing power as long as your faith in God’s love for you remains intact.

Whatever you may encounter in the next year, Father God will be with you and help you overcome all your problems. God never said that your life’s journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.

God will be with you, giving you peace of mind. So do not be afraid to face a new year.

This New Year has a lot of promises for us. So trust God, and everything will be well!

If God called you to a task in this new year, He would qualify you for the job, so keep trusting God. True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting all your trust and hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises.

True happiness is obtained through acts of kindness filled with love for loved ones, friends, neighbours, and even strangers. Consistent acts of unconditional kindness will ensure that this new year will be filled with many blessings.

With God as our leader, we may be prepared to live another year under His guidance and love.

I hope 2023 gives you immense joy and beautiful moments, creating memories to cherish in your heart.

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

Christ’s Divinity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christ’s Humanity 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

Jesus wants You to be Mentally Healthy this Christmas

Unfortunately, Christians are among the suicide statistics. I recently heard about a friend who took his life just after Christmas. It didn’t make sense, but he must have been hurting desperately and wanting to escape the feeling of helplessness.  

Caring for our mind, body and soul as Christians is a serious responsibility that God gives because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 


1 Corinthians 6:19 New Living Translation
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

Mental Health Foundation reports that 54% of UK adults are worried about their mental health or someone they know this Christmas.  

As we approach Christmas, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%) and children (28%). 

AUSTRALIA

Psychological Health Care, based in Australia, reports that A third of Australians report that their relationships are negatively affected by Christmas due to work-life balance issues and financial concerns. 

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 46% of Americans celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious rather than a cultural holiday.

Christmas is often thought to be a season of peace and good cheer; however, the opposite is true for many.

 I live in the United Kingdom, where the suicide rate, domestic abuse, family estrangement and job losses peak during Christmas and New Year.  

So instead of celebrating the birth of the saviour Jesus Christ (Christ- Christ-mas celebration) with joy, thousands are facing an uncertain future. 

The expectations of celebrating Christmas, whether one wants to or not, can be enormous. As a result, researchers point out that the role of Christianity in Christmas is at an all-time low.

The ME Culture

Most have taken the ‘Christ out of Christmas and celebrate it as a regular holiday. When we are devoid of the original value of a long-held tradition of being Jesus Christ’s Birthday, we go down the rabbit hole of secularism that widely holds to the ‘me’ culture. If we are honest, we have fallen into that hole at times! 

 The ‘me’ ideal promotes one’s desires above all others. At the same time, the Christian ideal is to put others above oneself. 

 I include believing Christians in this following statement- have we lost the practical teachings of Christ to conform to the status quo? We have no wonder that even believers end their own lives, abuse or divorce those they promised to love and protect. 

However, if you celebrate the Christmas season or don’t, you must care for yourself and those you love.

So, here are a few tips for your consideration.

Have Realistic Expectations

Christmas can become highly stressful when your grand plans float adrift. When things don’t go as you intended, tension between people can ensue. Instead of promising that this year will be the biggest, brightest, and best Christmas ever, permit yourself to have a less-than-perfect Christmas. Accept that you live in the real world where things go wrong- and this is normal! 

Have a Back-Up Plan

Because things may not go as planned, having a plan B in your back pocket is wise. For example- have a pre-cooked meat joint or vegetarian option in the freezer that you can quickly defrost if needed. The same goes for desserts or other foods. 

Plan Ahead

some people hold to the that Christmas Eve is their primary celebratory day. It has been my family tradition that the primary day is Christmas day. These days, I visit my family for Christmas; however, when they visit me, I cook as much food as I can the day before. I would arrange the house to accommodate extra people and set the table a day or two before. Pre- preparation allowed me to be more restful on Christmas day and enjoy friends and family company.

Avoid Debt or Overspending. 

Pray before you buy. It is wise to Set a Budget and Stick to it!  My family and I agreed that we would not spend a certain amount of money on each other. We also exchange our wish lists 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas day, which is helpful because it allows us to stay within our budget. 

Also, the wish list helps because we buy gifts that are actually needed or wanted. Nothing is more disappointing for many people than giving a gift that will be returned or re-gifted. 

Remember Christmas is about the Giver of life- Jesus Christ- which is the greatest gift anyone can possess.

Take Some Time Out

Ensure you take time for yourself daily to get away from your busyness. For example, getting yourself outside for a walk in the fresh air, and exercising, no matter how light, is a great way to boost your hormones, such as serotonin, which positively affects your mood. Equally, spending some quiet time in prayer elevates your mind from the pressures of constantly engaging with people. 

What strategies do you employ to cope with the Christmas season? Let me know- and if this article was helpful to you, please let me know. I would love to hear from you. 

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Help the Grieving to Cope with loss at Christmas Time

Christmas is not always the season to be jolly. There is plenty of folks who are facing Christmas alone for the first time, who may have lost a loved one through divorce or death and find themselves at a loose end.

I have written two books available on Amazon that will help the grieving to make seems of things. Why don’t you purchase for someone you care about who is grieving? The cover has changed and has been revised for my ‘Nothing Good About Grief Book’. For both books to view and purchase, click link HERE

Except from My Book

There is Nothing Good about Grief, particularly at Christmas time. When grief strikes at the heart, the effects send us reeling into bereavement. We are drawn into a vortex of loss, and it can feel like that we cannot escape. This experience is familiar to us all, a vortex of loss, and we get hurt. Sometimes our grief is left unresolved. What can you do when When grief strikes the heart What happens when you find yourself in one of the darkest periods of your life which can feel like the valley of the shadow of death? During COVID-19 pandemic we have suffered loss, changing our lives forever. How can you cope when your whole life is turned upside down and all that is familiar and held dear is There is Hope-?


I have written a book for the bereaved called- Nothing Good about Grief . If you are a person of faith, or no faith, or somewhere in between, this book is a little ray of light and hope. Perhaps you are supporting someone whom you know is grieved, or just want to research the topic, then this book is for you. Like everyone else on the planet, I have experienced the dark valley of mourning.

Change is all about us these days, and our reality is vastly different from a few months ago. Suddenly we all have become very vulnerable. The world is experiencing an unprecedented catastrophe. Collectively, we weep and grieve. The worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still a reality for us all. This unforeseen disaster has swiftly taken the lives of loved ones, leaving the grieving disillusioned and struggling to make sense of it all. During the government-imposed lockdown, people lost livelihoods, assets, and social freedoms. The economy, families and marriages were all under great strain. People living together every day and night, with no respite, has caused domestic abuse to rise sharply across the world.

During COVID, families lived in fear of loved ones who were meant to care for and protect them. Basic daily needs became increasingly challenging to meet, and many others became homeless. We stayed home to stay safe, while daily routines and lifestyles were turned upside down. Restricted freedom of movement caused much psychological strain, and people felt hemmed in. Sadly, for some, suicide was the only way out.

The losses have been incalculable, unbearable, and extraordinary. Every human being on the planet shares a sense of unspeakable loss, and collective grief, and we are left bereaved. Nothing will be the same again. What will the future look like? The good news is that all is not lost.


There is Hope– Within the beautiful images of the 23rd Psalm, we will find the way forward and by applying its truth we have a sure and certain hope for a happy future. Through all the grief and pain, the Shepherd is walking with you, leading you on the right path to recovery. Grief is a natural reaction to loss. Bereavement is the process we go through when we grieve. Being a member of humanity means we walk through dark valleys throughout our lives. As described in Psalm 23, some of those valleys may feel like we are passing through death itself, dramatically changing our reality forever.

We try to express to others how we are feeling. Careworn, we fail to find the words that accurately describe our pain. No one can take away our grief. We feel alone. The devastation of our anguish is not apparent but is visible to the heart. Finding a pathway through can be complicated. There is certainly Nothing Good about Grief! My book will help you to understand and articulate what you are experiencing, and to come to terms with what is happening.

The thoughts and ideas I present in my books are the results of forty years of my personal and professional experience and theological understanding. When we are grieving a weighty book is challenging to cope with; therefore, I have written it as an easy read.

Part One is the preamble to later sections. Do not skip through this because this will prepare you for your journey. Part Two is devoted to defining grief and bereavement, understanding what the symptoms of the three phases of grief are, and why we feel as we do. Part Three supplies a three-phased guide to recovery and discovering pathways into the new light of day. Part Four provides simple ways to recover through reflections and guidelines. Part Five will help you make the adjustments you need and assist you on your journey, keeping you on the path to maintaining your recovery.


From a therapeutic point of view, to help with grief recovery, I offer a Phased Approach because no one grieves in the same way as you do. Your bereavement is particular to how you feel and react to your grief. I see the term Phase as a statement of hope. The symptoms of grief outlined here in this book are well documented. However, the difference is that I have developed the phased approach because it is flexible while using Psalm 23 as a guide. A phase is a period in your life, it is fleeting, and it does not last.

The symptoms of your grief I have outlined are Shock, Suffering and Anger/resentment. As you move through these into recovery, these symptoms will not last. You will eventually fully recover to enjoy life again. A phase denotes qualities that refer to time, a stage and flexibility, softness, and gracefulness. It is not fixed or rigid and can be adapted to each need. On the other hand, the process or step method is the opposite of that of the phased approach. It does not allow for individuality, fundamentally inflexible with a specified way of doing things for everyone. I see the three phases as a prescription of care, in the sense of a remedy and will bring you through to recovery.

And like any prescription, the right dose is required for recovery. If you take more than is prescribed, the effects will be damaging. If you do not take enough, the remedy will be ineffectual. If you take someone else’s dose, there will be a problem. For each person, the dosage is different depending on a whole host of factors. That is why each prescription has only your name on it. The three phases are the same, they have your name on them. Utilizing the phased approach, instead, of following steps or a process method is more realistic, so you can move at your own pace and just far more darn right kinder!

For over 40 years, and over several countries, I have worked as a church leader and professional counsellor. We will journey together while learning that you have a Shepherd who leads you on. Your Shepherd who understands, and weeps for your pain, is calling you into His love and mercy.

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

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

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

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

Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Stress and God

Being dyslexic, I find it difficult to type at any reasonable speed. Therefore, I have relied upon text-to-speech software for many years. 

These last few months, I had to purchase a new PC as my old one was over 15 years old and not working well. 

I had text-to-speech recognition installed software on the old computer, which I use for all my writing. But, unfortunately, the software had been lost and could not be reinstalled on my new computer because it was too old for windows 11.

That is when I discovered that windows 11 has software within the package. How delighted I am to write once again with dictation, and now I’ll be able to write more personal and reflective blogs.

Stress that is Destructive

I have always found typing stressful, and text-to-speech eliminates the stress altogether. It is just like sitting down and talking to you as if you were here with me in a normal conversation. The window is 11 Software package speech-to-text, which is very accurate and ended up only taking 5 minutes to adjust to my voice.

 The software only misses some words because of my Australian accent; however, overall it is very good.

Stress is a terrible thing. But, unfortunately, one of the blights of humanity is stress. We get ‘stressed out when we don’t achieve our plans for the day, or what we think we deserve, or when things go wrong. We’re a living contradiction. We are our worst enemy, working at cross purposes against our best interest. We want meaning, purpose, and peace of mind.

 Stress may affect our mind-body-soul connection, which may cause us to be socially withdrawn. When were highly stressed it is far easier not to be in the company of others, and be with oneself with one’s own thoughts. 

This is important to be solitary from time to time; however, to make a lifestyle of it will only guarantee loneliness and despair. Sometimes we live our complete life every minute of every day under great stress that we’re so used to the feeling of struggle that we accept it as normal. 

However, it is not normal, and that is why 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to cast everything upon him because JESUS cares for us. The as he and other passages in the Bible indicate to us that the lord does not want us to be stressed out simply because it is not typical for any of us, whether we are believers or not, to live a stressful life.    New International Version

  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

Pleasure Relieves Stress

 Pleasure is a good thing, and we need to have some fun; however, it’s not the be-all, end-all that we imagine it to be, and we become disappointed with our life and can’t put our finger on why. But, again, it’s about expectations; we become stressed when they are unmet.

 For example, when we are having fun, and the pleasure we feel comes to an end, we want to chase after it, trying to create familiar feelings of joy. Sometimes we try to recreate experiences at a considerable cost to ourselves; we try to convert momentary pleasure into something permanent.  

When life goes wrong, we try to fix it by increasing the feel-good factor and striving to make it stay with us, but we can’t do it. So, when we are stressed, we search for ways to make ourselves happy, often unwisely.

 No matter how hard we try, we cannot make what is temporal permanent or make what is imagined real.    

We can’t get back our loved one who is gone, the job that fell through our fingers or even the children who have become adults and their lives absent from us.   

 Also, it’s worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its devastating toll, and we will never get back what we lost.  

Faith and Mindfulness

Several hundred years ago, along with other religions, Christianity began engaging the West in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.    

Although it was not named as such, that is precisely what it is; the aim, objective, and results are the same. In mindfulness practice, if one removes the idea of God, it still works. However, I prefer to still relate to God mindfully because it helps me to focus my mind, body, and spiritual person.

In its purest form, mindfulness is simply trust/faith in God’s ability to help you through whatever it is you are experiencing.   

 Faith is for the Now- Amplified Bible

 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed) and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

Mindfulness is also in the NOW.    It is about appreciating what is right in front of you- NOW.

And faith is trusting in God Now- not tomorrow that is hope- faith is NOW

The World Borrows God’s Ways.

Science is Good because God invented it. However, it’s such a shame that today the creator- God is taken out of the equation. The scientific evidence of the success of mindfulness in enhancing human life is overwhelming, and for those interested in their wellness, we cannot ignore it.    

Various professional disciplines and social movements, such as medicine and health care, psychology and brain science, and education at all levels, the law, business, leadership, and much more, enhance their practice by inserting mindfulness into their daily routine.

 Today’s mainstream medicine is developing an ever-growing interest in mindfulness-based intervention, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).    

We can practice mindfulness for peace of mind and to relieve a wide range of chronic medical conditions.   

 It is much like snowmelt flowing inevitably downhill from a high mountain source, flowing around obstacles, finding many pathways under the gentle tug of gravity, and ultimately merging into significant river systems. The gravitational pull promises liberation from suffering and the potential safe harbour. 

The Whole Person

Christians often forget that we are holistic beings of mind, body and spirit, and God ministered to the whole person. Therefore, as humans, we need to prepare for spiritual awakening to embody well-being, greater wisdom, and wise action in our individual lives.

  In other words, mindfulness can become a normal and natural way to live your life, and the feeling of well-being is inevitable. Living a mindful life as Jesus Christ did would not end our frustrations but the beginning of successfully managing them. 

Jesus gave us the answer to our stress and said don’t chase after things that are here today and gone tomorrow, but rather, strive for eternal things. Eternal things are more satisfying, like top-quality peace, joy, and love, that only God can supply. Mindfulness can help us to pursue eternal things naturally and consistently by focusing on the NOW.

Trying to hold onto relationships or things that are gone will leave you stressed and keep you grieving for as long as you hold onto them. All human relationships, albeit long-term, are temporal and subject to the joys and pains of this life; our lives are so fragile and short. 

  The only permanent relationship that is forever is a relationship with God offered to us through Jesus Christ.  

In my work, I aim to empower others with education and motivation to help them make a purposeful and happy life in Jesus’s love.    

In addition, I enjoy helping you to set holistic wellness goals and provide resources, helping you determine which changes would make the most significant impact on your life.

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

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times. 

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

PILGRIMAGE AND A PATTERN OF FAILURE

Exodus 16:2-4 New International Version

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Photo by Alex Azabache on Pexels.com

I once flew over the Sinai Desert and looking down upon it, conjured up in my mind a picture of miles of sandy desert with rolling sand dunes here and there. However, I came to learn that the reality is very different.  There are miles and miles of red-brown rock, rising into hills and mountains with unexpected plateaux and occasional caves.

The Sinai can be very cold, bleak, inhospitable, and terrifying. Yet in another way, it is beautiful and magnetic. It drew the desert fathers there too fast and pray. It houses St Katharine’s monastery with its wonderful library and its green oasis garden. It attracts coach loads of tourists, driving up the roads made during the Israeli occupation of Egypt after the Nine-Day War. It is also the scene of the wonderful story which forms the basis of the Jewish faith and creed and the rock-like foundation of the Christian salvation history.

John Rogerson, the Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, states in his book ‘The Old Testament World’ that the history of Israel begins with Israel.

That is, it begins with an association of tribes that were occupying the Samaria and Bethel Hills and possibly part of Lower Galilee around 1230 BC. The history of Israel can be reconstructed by scholars based on a variety of evidence.

The narratives about Israel’s history in the Old Testament belong to an ancient category of writing. Although they have an interest in Israel’s past, their main purpose is religious. They are concerned to tell the story of Israel as the people of God and so they show how God brought these people into being and blessed, punished, exiled, and restored them.

So, they did not just describe Israel’s actual history. They describe its full sacred and saving meaning. They choose a story about the tribes of Israel after leaving Egypt and wandering around for some years before they settled.

It is this story of escape, wandering, failures rescued, and forgiveness, set in the bleak Sinai Peninsula, which becomes the core of the salvation history of both Jews and Christians.

 It gives us a basic theme of pilgrimage and a pattern of failure, forgiveness and a new start because of the overwhelming love and forgiveness of a righteous but amazingly loving God.

EXODUS THE BOOK OF FREEDOM

In the book of Exodus, we learn how the people are freed from Egypt but then go wandering through the terrible wilderness moaning and groaning as they went. 

Moses pointed out to them that Your complaining is not against me but against the Lord, but he still intercedes to God for them.    

This is a story of God feeding his people in the wilderness and is picked up by the writer of the fourth Gospel in the reading we had from that book.   Ephesians 4.11-16.

The other three Gospels set the story of the institution of Holy Communion within their account of the last supper. This meal may or may not have been a Passover meal, but it was certainly eaten at Passover time and its significance is undergirded by the story of the escape from Egypt when the angel of death passed over the houses on which the blood was smeared, and the Hebrews were allowed to leave by the grief-stricken Pharaoh whose son had died.

As death passed over the Hebrews, so the followers of Jesus would escape from punishment and the fear of death because of his own death by which he conquered death.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

THE BREAD OF LIFE

Its deep meaning could only be understood in the light of the new covenant of his blood and his followers must share in the bread and wine, the body and blood, to gain strength and courage for their own pilgrimage through life.

 In his sequence of events, Jesus died on the cross as the Passover lamb was being slain and the emphasis is on love, service, sacrifice, death, and salvation. The gospel of John’s reading gives us the teaching about Jesus being the bread of our lives.

Jesus had fed the five thousand and then sent his small band of disciples in a boat across the lake while he prayed.

Later he terrified them by walking on the water towards them.  Once they had crossed the lake they were again met by crowds, whom Jesus fed once more with loaves.

Jesus called upon his followers to work for the food that lasted by believing that God sent him. They asked for a sign as their ancestors had received manna in the wilderness. Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He promised that Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.

This saying I am the bread of life is one of John’s presentations of the I am sayings of Jesus.   Other examples are I am the good shepherd, I am the true vine, etc.

These sayings may not be original, but they are the means by which the Gospel writer here draws out the deep meaning and significance for Christians of what Jesus did and spoke. In his own way, he is teaching the followers of Jesus that the source and sustenance for their whole life pilgrimage lie- in Jesus.

Christians can live their whole lives in the presence of God by believing in Jesus Christ, following his teaching, praying, reading, meditating on his words, and feeding on his body and blood in Holy Communion.

This teaching of John was not just for Christians two thousand years ago. It is for everybody now- for you and for me.

Our lives here are nothing less than a pilgrimage of growing into God’s image, modelling ourselves on Jesus in whom the fullness of God’s image dwells. We are to grow up into Christ.

Just as the Israelites wandered through the Sinai wilderness while they learnt their lessons as a community, we are called upon to do this as members of a community – the Christian community into which all are called.

DO THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY

The letters to the Ephesians are addressed to the community of Christians in Ephesus- the body of Christ in that place. It is as members of that community, sharing their gifts, learning from each other, speaking the truth to one another, assessing, commenting, and supporting each other to live out their lives and grow into the body of Christ. To do the work of the ministry, to Speak the truth in love, we must grow up in every way unto him.

This is your call and mine. As members of the body of Christ where you live and beyond. Wherever we are set, we have this wonderful call to work together and grow to be more like Christ.

But of course, we do this not for ourselves but for God and God’s world.

For the salvation of souls, we are to be a living example and be open and ready to welcome everybody and draw them into the community of God’s love.

What a calling!

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

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Christ is King!

Luke 23: 3-43

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there, hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

  1. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

IS CHRIST KING?

In preparing for this service, I thought it would be interesting to see what other preachers in other churches have to say about Christ the |King. So, I read some sermons on the internet and quickly found a general sense of awkwardness about the idea of Christ as a King, which seems to have two sources. One is political, the other anti-monarchical.   

Many Christians seem to be naturally on the left politically. As we have seen in recent months, this country has become increasingly republican and anti-monarchical. 

The past leader of the Labour Party UK, Jeremy Corbyn, refused to sing the National Anthem or to kneel before the sovereign. There are plenty of people in the Church who share these views. 

I used to work with a URC  minister who was very anti-Royalty. In a sermon, he admitted that he disliked royalty so much he would leave the country to avoid a coronation. He also thought we should celebrate ‘Christ as a democratically-elected President’ rather than ‘Christ the King’, and attested that Jesus was a pure communist.

Whatever view we hold, whatever happens on this wordy plane, monarchy or not, our Jeremiah reading looks forward to the day when Christ is King of heaven and earth, and justice will reign forever.

Jeremiah 23: 3-6

“I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for David (who was a King)  a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely, and do what is just and right in the land.


In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Saviour

JESUS’ KINGLINESS WAS ALWAYS EVIDENT

In the gospels, the life of Jesus is framed by kingship. At his Nativity, three kings are seeing the newborn King of the Jews. And at the Crucifixion, the notice hammered onto the top of his cross ironically echoes the same unfulfilled promise – ‘This is Jesus, King of the Jews.’ 

What kind of King begins his earthly life in a stable and ends it as the victim of a cruel public execution? His reaction to whether he was a king is, at least to Pilate, elusive. ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ demands Pilate in John’s Gospel. ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight so I should not be delivered to the Jews“.

Here is Jesus the friend of the poor, the non-political figure who proclaimed that every human being is equal in God’s sight. 

Jesus, the rebel who defied authority and overthrew the money changers’ tables in the temple. 

Jesus, born in a stable, entered Jerusalem on a donkey and died the death of a common criminal for our salvation.

This Jesus, who promised the thief hanging next to him that he would be in paradise with him.

But Christ has not always been thought of as a king. In the first century, you wouldn’t find any representations of Christ in physical form at all, but only in signs – groups of letters. Or the sign of the fish. Other early representations are of Christ as the lamb, the true vine, and the Good Shepherd – but not a King.

To the early Christians, the King was the Emperor of Rome, a figure of worldly power who persecuted them, martyred them, and forced them to worship false gods. So, it would have been strange for them to think of Jesus as resembling a Roman Emperor – a King. 

So instead, they imagined Jesus as more like themselves: the suffering servant who was obedient even till death and surrounded themselves with images of the lamb, the dove, the vine, the fish, and the shepherd.

WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED

It was in the 4th century when Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity and the image of Jesus as King.

The head (Pontiff) of the Church, Jesus Christ, and the Emperor shared majesty in a typical ‘maiestas‘. The figure of worldly power, the emperor, and the figure of Christ the King were merged into one.

Now, this is a very interesting moment in the history of the Christian Church. But, first, Jesus clarified that he wasn’t a king and never sought worldly authority.

 But in the 4th century, Emperor Constantine, the most potent King on earth, not only legalised Christianity but became himself a Christian. The spread of Christianity between the time of Constantine and 600 AD is astonishing and the map of the Christian world began to resemble an empire.  

Though Christ Himself refused to be a King, the earthly kings protected and spread his gospel by acting on His behalf. The religion of the powerless became the religion of the powerful.

CHRIST THE KING

The important thing to remember is that Christ the King was not introduced by the early Church to promote or support worldly authority but to challenge it, where it is unjust, divided, and discriminatory. It was hoped that the kings of the earth would live by the example of Christ.

The image of Christ in majesty is an image of authority, but the authority of the dove, shepherd, lamb, and vine denotes love and peace and justice. 

The image of Christ as King stands as universal, inclusive, merciful, reconciling, and more loving than any earthly Kingship can ever be.

COLOSSIANS 1:15-20

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

 16 For in him all things were created. Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities have been created through him and for him. 

17 He is before all things; in him, all things hold together.

 18 And he is the head of the body, the Church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead so that he might have supremacy in everything. 

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 

20 and through him, he reconciles to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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Comfort and Hope Come Through Grace.

Luke 20:27-38 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/LUK.20.27-38.KJV8

2 Thess 2:13-17 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thessalonians%202%3A13-17&version=NIV

                     “And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

That must have come as a great relief to Jesus in that he had lately been pummelled with one tricky query after the next. 

If ever there was a group of people who were invested in the so-called “Gotcha” kind of question, the religious authorities of Jesus’ day were it. 

FIRSTLY, The point that is made here is with just 2 brothers marrying the same woman, but just for effect, the Sadducees crank up the scenario to seven grooms for one woman, which alludes to an OT story. 

This scenario is almost childish.  It’s the kind of thing my kids would have done when they were about 9 years old, exaggerating the point just to get your attention.  

The purpose of the Sadducee’s question was to mock Jesus.

 If you think that someone has silly ideas or a stupid stance on a given issue, then one way to reveal your opinion is to construct an absurd scenario and try to force the other person to enter it while trying to answer your question.  It’s a sinful thing to do, and it’s unfair.  

The Sadducees thought the idea of resurrection to be foolish.

Since Jesus was a prominent teacher, they thought it would be fun and instructive to publicly humiliate him and so they invented their over-the-top scenario that exploited the old Israelite practice of marriage.

Jesus, of course, wriggles out of the question by challenging its entire premise.  

The Sadducees wanted to make resurrection look senseless by showing the impracticality of what to do with people who had been married more than once in this life.  

Jesus simply challenges them that marriage as we now know it has nothing to do with life in the kingdom of God.

 Essentially Jesus said, “Whoever told you marriage would be part of life in a post-resurrection existence?”  That left the Sadducees with egg on their faces.

SECONDLY, In preaching on this text, there is a temptation to make it some kind of textbook on sexuality and marriage in the kingdom of God.  It seems likely, however, that if we make too much of Jesus’ words here on marriage in the kingdom, we will be guilty of the error of the Sadducees all over again.  

That is, we will believe things that are not explicitly taught.  We are probably better off saying no more than what Jesus teaches here, which is that we should not assume that life in the kingdom of God will be just like life here.  

Yes, there is good biblical evidence for the idea that the kingdom will include a new earth and so we should not always envision heaven (as we tend to do) as some ghostly, non-physical domain that will be devoid of mountains, rivers, clouds, and songbirds.

But even so, we need to remember that the mysteries are yet to be revealed. We need to understand exactly what our bodies and being will be like in the life to come, which is not clear.

 What we need to be content with, is the line in Luke 20:36 where Jesus reminds us that we will be “God’s children” in that life to come.  And if that is not enough for us, I don’t know what would be!

                                       “And no one dared ask him any more questions.”

It probably was a relief for Jesus to get to that point. 

Thirdly,         2 Thess 2:13-17 This is where God grounds us.

Paul reminds us that God loves us. God has given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace. Paul prays for “eternal comfort” and “good hope”. This comfort is unbreakable, and from eternity past to forever more. What will be in the future- will be and we can’t alter it.

But here and now- Our hope is in God’s promise to save and glorify us in the resurrection with Christ. God is good on his promises. This hope is certain, sure and it is true. We can rest on it. This comfort and hope come through grace.

We rest on God’s grace towards undeserving sinners. We have comfort even in the attack of chaos because God’s grace is behind our salvation.

We have a sure hope of God completing his salvation because God’s grace is behind it.

LASTLY,

If you wondered how you are going to stand firm all the way, remember that it is by God’s grace, we have no hope in ourselves….. HC…….

We will hold fast. The resurrection is by God’s grace… Paul is most concerned with our hearts. He prays for us to be divinely comforted and established in good works. We too can pray this way today, that our hearts are comforted by God, and we be used for every good work and word by God to the glory of Christ.

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕

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Sowing Seeds of Hope, Love, and Faith.

Christ calls us to take the Gospel to everyone––even to sinners such as the woman at the well––and to witness to Christ as the woman did after her encounter with Jesus. Jesus demonstrates His care for all, regardless of their social standing. We can also be inspired by the Samaritan woman’s excitement in sharing the good news of Jesus

SCRIPTURE:  John 4:5-42   

Having moved into my own home, I used my holidays to decorate and sort the small courtyard behind my house. I love trees. In the suburb where I grew up in Australia, the streets in my suburb were utterly tree-less; however, many were planted in people’s back gardens. I think there are not many trees because of the scarcity of water, and trees need lots of water. Local councils didn’t want the residents to waste their water, particularly during times of drought, for those who did, were issued heavy fines. So, when I came to Wales Uk to live, I was so pleased to see the trees everywhere!

I bought a house in Wales, where I am surrounded by beautiful Parks, a river, mountains lined with trees, and a sandy beach.

I love trees and enjoy looking at them, so I bought two big pots and a lot of potting soil, bought a cherry tree and an apple tree, and planted them. New buds form within a few days, and fruit appeared after 3 years. I am looking forward to them producing some fruit for me in years to come. I chose cherry because cherries are expensive to buy in the shops, and I really enjoy cherries, and they’ve got very high antioxidant properties being a dark fruit. Usually, apples are easy to grow, and I can do all sorts of things with apples like apple pie, sauce, and much more an added bonus, apples are very high in vitamin C. Then I got thinking about apples and cherries because they have seeds.    

SEEDS AND NEW LIFE   

A traditional gift for a teacher from the student is an apple. Think about a good teacher that you may have had. A good teacher plant seeds of ideas in our thinking and helps us explore those ideas, and they explain things to us in an exciting way. A good teacher is a teacher because they love to teach and want to help the student be all they can be and pursue a successful future.

Most teachers never know what the results of their teaching will be. It takes many years for the student to mature and become an adult. During that time, they will discover their interests and talents and decide how to use them. A good teacher plants a seed, in their student’s mind, and years later, others will see the results of that teacher’s work, and the teacher may never know the outcome of their student’s life. 

WE ALL HAVE A PURPOSE IN THIS LIFE – John 4:5-42

Jesus talks about this idea in (4:37)- He says, “One sow and another reaps” – one person plants the seed, and another person may harvest the fruit. So, when we say something helpful to another person or do something kind, it is planting a seed of God’s love. 

We may never know the result; we may never know the outcome of that planted seed. However, we can be sure that there will be a good result when we work with God’s love. This is what we are focusing on in this text today: Sowing Seeds of hope, love, and faith.

JESUS AND THE OUTSIDERS

Briefly looking at the context, we find that Jews had little to do with Samaritans. Ever felt like an outsider? I have many times. Jews considered Samaritans as outsiders who hold little worth.

Samaritans were hated so much by the Jews that they tended to avoid even travelling through Samaria. But Jesus didn’t share this hatred towards Samaritans. He travelled from Judea to Galilee to go through Samaria rather than bypassing it. He was not trying to save time, but Jesus continually sought out the outcasts, the outsider of society––the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, all those who were considered to have little worth. Jesus loves all people regardless of how others may devalue a certain section of society, Jesus accepts them.

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

Travelling left Jesus exhausted, and hot and he needed a rest and a drink of water. So, when Jesus came to a little town in Samaria he stopped at the local well for a drink. As Jesus approached the well, he discovered a lone woman drawing water.

Usually, women came to the well in the mornings and evenings, but this woman came at noon. It was very hot at noon, but she was alone at the well and free to draw water without ridicule. But today, a strange man approached. It was not suitable for men to converse with women in this culture. The rule was,

 “Let no man talk with a woman in the street, no, not even with his wife.”

Jesus spoke and ministered to the woman and in doing so, he was getting rid of old Jewish prejudices and rivalries that were held against the Samaritan people.  Jesus addressed the discrimination of women, particularly toward women who were regarded as sinners. God is spirit, so our worship cannot be confined to a particular place or a particular people. God is everywhere, so He can be worshipped everywhere by all people. True worship is an affair of the heart.

WOMAN MATTER

After the conversation with Jesus, the Samaritan woman left her water jar at the well and excitedly ran into the city to tell the people there of her conversation with Jesus. “Come, see a man who told me everything I did. Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29).  Many people “believed in Jesus BECAUSE OF THE WORD OF THE WOMAN” (v. 39). How amazing! In that time and place, people didn’t take a woman’s word very seriously. 

Until Jesus came along, this woman was practically invisible; no one would have sent her into town as their spokeswoman. But her contact with Jesus transformed her life and status in the community. The people heard her and said, “You are right. This is the saviour of the world” (the meaning of v. 42).

SOULS MATTER

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said: ‘Go for souls and go for the worst’.

 That’s what Jesus did when he turned this so-called outcast into a well-received evangelist. 

Jesus planted seeds of hope, love, and faith in her heart, and she received them, and she let those seeds grow to where she acted and shared her story.

 Jesus does that. He changes people’s lives, and we do that too, we are seed planters, and if God wishes, we help to grow those seeds by protecting and nurturing them – and we may or may not see the final result.

Jesus especially loves to help outcasts because they most need help, and so should we.

 The late Billy Graham said:

“Jesus stopped dying on the cross long enough to answer the prayer of a thief. 

 He stopped in a big crowd one day because a WOMAN touched the hem of His garment,

 and He’ll stop to touch your life, change you, and forgive you – that’s Good News”!

CHURCH MATTERS

As the church, we are Christ’s hands for service in this world, and he uses you and me to do his work, to change people’s lives: How?

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we CARE;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we LISTEN;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we REACH OUT;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we TOUCH EACH OTHER IN LOVE.

A quote from John Wesley “The Church has nothing else to do but to save souls; therefore, be devoted to this work. It is your business to bring as many sinners as possible to repentance”.

This week let us resolve to allow God to plant seeds of hope, faith, and love to fill us with His Spirit so we might plant the same seeds in the life of others.

Let us pray that we will touch lives with seeds of hope, love, and faith this week and see the transforming love of Christ in action!

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

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕

🖤Want to help support me as an author?

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

The importance of Remembering in November

Welcome to November, which seems to be the month for remembering. We observe All Saints Day, Remembrance Sunday, The Sunday of Christ the King, and the First Sunday of Advent this month.

For all of us, November is a chance to remember with thankfulness those whom we have influenced our lives towards faith in Christ, in all saints. Lets us remember Christ as King of the universe, and over our lives, also the first advent when God came to live among us in Jesus Christ.

And, of course, there is also our national act of Remembrance-on-Remembrance Sunday. 

As the mother of two sons who served in the Royal Marines and two tours in the Iraqi war, I never fail to be moved as I see poppies displayed in Churches and on cenotaphs, which brings me great pride in my son’s courage and commitment to their country. However, it also brought feelings of dread in me, and an uncertain future for them.

Remembrance is more poignant in our own day as the reality of war and its human cost is again apparent. There will be services at war memorials and churches across the UK. Let’s remember those who died fighting to protect us and bring peace and justice to our world, and we pray for those serving in our Armed Forces today.

Memories and remembering are central parts of our personalities and character and, in many ways, makeup part of who we are. So being remembered is very important to us, and the thought that we might be forgotten can be heart-breaking.

 I often read these verses from Isaiah to people who are feeling lost and abandoned for any reason or who are grieving the passing of years, which means that all those whom they knew and loved and who held the memories of them as younger people have died:

God says, “‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:15-16a)

For believers and followers of Jesus Christ, the most significant act of remembering is when we come together to remember in bread and wine the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself on the cross to conquer the power of sin, which is eternal death – on our behalf. For Christian believers, the ultimate expression of self-giving love at the heart of God is when Christ’s hands were marked by the nails of the cross for our freedom.

“Do this in remembrance of me.”

Thank you for visiting me hereI hope this post was helpful. 

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕 

Combat Spiritual Dryness -How to be joy-full

When you go out for a meal, you order the main thing. Then you may order ‘something on the side’, and other extras may take your fancy. Unfortunately, restaurants offer so many optional extras that it is often hard to choose.

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

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

Not an Optional Extra

Joy is not an optional extra but is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. 

Joy is not a side order but an essential ingredient of the main Course.

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

The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1: 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.

The joy of the Lord may be peculiar to those who don’t have it. But, for the believer in Christ, the joy of the Lord comes as naturally as grapes on a vine. 

As we abide in Christ, the True Vine is full of His strength and vitality, and the fruit we produce, including joy, is His doing John 15:5.

Keep Joy Alive in You

Philippians 4:4-7

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

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

Acts 8: 34-39

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

The Joy Of Salvation: What Is It?

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

Salvation is deliverance from the grip of Satan, a restoration and a U-turn from the pit of hell. 

Salvation and the joy of salvation are closely connected though separable. Joy is the natural fruit of salvation, which you open yourself up to so you experience it.

Joy is a foretaste of heaven (1 Pet. 1:8). Unfortunately, not many people have this joy, including those who attend Church services regularly; this is because they don’t nurture and allow it to dry up.

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

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. Come back here soon because, In my next post, I will share more about joy and how you can maintain it in your life.

 Please follow this blog. You’ll find a button on the bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests.

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

 Paula Rose Parish💕

How to Trust God in the Dark times and in the worst of circumstances.

Psalm 66:1-7 Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 5 Among the dead, no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?

A white dog walks into a butcher shop, and in his mouth, he is carrying a purse. He puts the purse down and sits in front of the meat counter.
“What is it, boy?” the butcher jokingly asks. “Want to buy some meat?” “Woof!” barks the dog. “Hmm,” says the butcher. “What kind? Liver, bacon, steak …” “Woof!” interrupts the dog. “And how much steak? Half a pound, one pound …” “Woof!” The amazed butcher wraps up the meat and finds the money in the dog’s purse.

As the dog leaves, the butcher decides to follow. The dog enters an apartment house, climbs to the third floor, and begins scratching at a door. The door swings open, and an angry man starts shouting at the dog. “Stop!” yells the butcher. “He’s the most intelligent animal I’ve ever seen!” “Intelligent?” says the man. “This is the third time he’s forgotten his key this week.” He was not thankful.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Contrast that to the story of Jed who worked in London. Every morning, he encountered a bedraggled, middle‑aged woman asking for spare change in front of a shop. She greeted everyone with a smile and a pleasant “Good morning.” Jed always gave her a little something.

After a while, the woman disappeared, and Jed wondered what had happened to her. Then, one rainy day, the woman was in front of the shop again, still looking the same. As Jed reached into his wallet for the regular donation, the woman refused the money and said “Thank you for helping me all those days,” she said. “You won’t see me again because I’ve got a job.” Then she slowly reached into a bag and handed Jed a wrapped package. She had been standing at her old spot waiting, not for a handout, but for all the people she recognized so that she could give each of them a wrapped brownie she had made. She was thankful.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

Jeremiah 29:1-7

Letter to those exiles (taken as slaves to a Foreign Land) in awful circumstances
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have children; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so they too may have children. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

The lesson for us here is to be thankful even in difficult circumstances. This kind of thankfulness is faith.

Luke 17:11-19

I think the story of the Ten lepers is crucial for us, and if we read the story too quickly, we miss vital truths. So slow it down, and picture it with me.

We start with ten men who have the worst disease of their day. The physical ramifications are horrendous. Leprosy attacks the body, leaving sores, missing fingers, missing toes, and damaged limbs.

In many cases, the initial pain of leprosy gives way to something more terrible than that – a loss of sensation in nerve endings, leading to more damage to more body parts. The disease can take 30 years to run its course; in that period, entire limbs can simply fall off. It is, assuredly, a most horrible disease. It is impossible to understand what it was like 2,000 years ago when medical treatment as we know it today was almost non-existent.
In her book Jesus the One and Only,

It’s hard to imagine the emotional pain of a leper. I should imagine it must have been even worse than the physical pain. As a result, the leper was removed from their family and community – everyone!

It must be heart-wrenching when there could be no contact whatsoever with any non-leperous person.

The leper is wholly removed from family and society for fear that they, too, would become afflicted.

Lepers tended to roam together, looking for food and begging for assistance with a loud voice from a great distance. It must have been horrible for them.

And yet, in this account, ten men encounter Jesus and hear him say the most unusual thing. “We want to be well!” they scream at Jesus. And the great teacher responds, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.”

The local priest had duties other than leading worship on each Sabbath. He was also a health official, and if a person was miraculously healed of leprosy, it was the priest’s job to inspect the body, test for complete removal of the disease, and announce the person healed.

If the person were pronounced clean, they were cleansed, and after, it would be fine for the leper to see his wife again, hold his daughter again, and look for work again. If the priest gave him the OK, he would be considered healed!

Jesus says to these lepers, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
They look down at their bodies. The hands of one man are still mangled. Another man looks at his leg, which ends with a filthy rag at the knee. Another looks at his skin and finds it as repulsive as ever.

In other words, all these men were no better off than they had been ten minutes earlier when they had first spotted the famous teacher.

And yet, they headed off in search of the priests. And on their way, they were healed. So we can imagine that as they were On their way to the priests, a hand emerged from a stump and tingled with life. A crutch suddenly falls to the ground, and the leg was back, healthy, whole, and complete.

The skin cleared, and the tiny hairs on their forearm turned from snow-white to brown. One looked at the other, another looked at the rest, and the screaming started. Then, the smiles broke into tears of joy – the nightmare was finally over.

But for the miracle to happen, these men had to start walking in faith before their circumstances changed one tiny bit.

Is there a more powerful lesson for us here?

  1. You cannot wait to start walking in faith until your problems are over.
  2. You cannot put conditions on the holy God. You cannot say, “Lord, as soon as there’s enough money, I follow your instructions.”
    You cannot pray, “Lord, if you’ll just solve this issue in my family, I’ll start to church.” You cannot put conditions on God!

Instead, God places a demand for faith on us before anything at all has changed.

God might say, “Love me despite the disease. Obey me despite the lack of talent or the lack of resources. Follow me now, despite the depression and pain. Say no to the temptation while it still is difficult. Instead, praise me in the darkest of nights and in the worst of circumstances.”

This is the nature of God, who loves you so much; he will want you to be thankful when nothing about your circumstances gives you that motivation.

My friends, that are the very definition of faith. If you praise God only on the good days and in the best of circumstances, it would not be faith. That would be more like a business arrangement!

Some of you are in horrible circumstances right now. Will you be thankful despite the difficult circumstances? If so, you will be living by faith.

This week, be sure to acknowledge God for his goodness.

Be sure to be thankful.

Be sure to gather everyone up for a prayer of Thanksgiving that is a real prayer of thankfulness.

Do not miss the opportunity to serve and worship God this week.

Photo by George Dolgikh on Pexels.com

Let’s Pray

Great was your sacrifice to go before us and bring forgiveness and hope.

By your stripes, we ask for healing. Standing within your reign and rule, we ask for restoration.

My life and wellness grow in fullness until it overflows.

Amen. Silence

Thank you for visiting me hereI hope this post was helpful. 

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Paula Rose Parish💕 

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

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

 📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.