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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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!

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 Paula Rose Parish💕

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So, -what will you do now?-Read this.

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

David Loved his Sheep

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

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

David our Example

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

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

A Lesson for Us

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

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

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

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

What Are Your Needs?

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

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

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

Make Your Choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Power of an Empty Tomb: God of surprises.

Although we are in the fall, I thought I would share an Easter story. With all the leaves falling and the days are drawing in, we need a bit of good cheer!

The God of the Bible is always active, always making new, consistently doing a new thing. It is one of the ways God is different from idols, those things we make who do not move, speak, or do anything at all. By contrast, the God whose story is told in the Bible is continuously creating and recreating. It is why God is surprising, the God of surprises.

Of course, not everyone likes surprises. However, a quiet, dependable sure and steady life is what many desire, particularly after the drama of COVID 19. In enjoying quiet, dependable sure and steady life, we feel secure; at least we know where we are. Anyway, even those who profess to like surprises must acknowledge that not all surprises in life are pleasant and welcome, and some surprises come as a shock!

So, recalling that part of John’s Gospel 20.1-18 (please read), we might imagine how it was for Mary Magdalene. She was deeply in love with Jesus. He was the one who had given her back her life, love, and dignity. Yet, she comes on the Sunday after Sabbath to his tomb in the grief that goes with profound bereavement. The one she loved is dead and buried. That is a hard enough reality to bear. But how will she live without him?

(Dear friend, if you are struggling with grief, please check out my book ‘Nothing Good About Grief’ available at Amazon).

Getting back to Mary, who finds her way to the tomb. She expects to find everything as she left it days ago; after all, there are no surprises in death. It is all so predictable and final, except that she finds the tombstone is rolled away. This must have been for her an upsetting experience, a cruel and wounding surprise. She may have been wondering- ‘Can Jesus not be left in peace after all that has been done to him?’ She feels a knife being turned in her wounded heart.

She goes to find Peter. Her first word of witness on Easter Day is of sorrow and anger, and she cries, “They have moved his body! They have taken away the Lord! “It’s scandalous. She speaks in sorrow and burning anger. Her message is bad news indeed.

On hearing this news, Peter and John race to the tomb, with thoughts confused, they may question- “Can this indignity be true? ” When they reach the tomb, they find that Mary’s testimony, unfortunately, is the truth. The grave is empty. Strangely the grave clothes are in their place. Are they not needed anymore? Someone must have moved the body. It is the obvious but bitter explanation.

The Gospel writer says that John is outrun by Peter, nevertheless, goes into the tomb first. Then, says the evangelist, he saw and believed. Believed what? We are not told. However, the evangelist does tell us that they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. This possibility is not available to them, and all they have is an empty tomb, and there may be many reasons for that; grave robbers, a meddling gardener, who knows? So, they go home.

 So far this story, is not much of a good news story- where are the angels and the great hallelujahs? It’s what we latter-day readers expect, but to this point, the text is bleak like it was for Mary and for many in the face of death. What a disappointment this story of Jesus has turned out to be! We are left with emptiness in several senses. But, like the disciples, we are left with a puzzle. 

 So, Mary is weeping and looks deeper into the tomb. John says she saw two angels in white. They ask her why she is weeping. She tells them, “they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. ” That is reason enough for tears. She turns away to hide her grief, but she is aware of another standing near in this morning of surprises. It must be the gardener. He asks, “why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

 Perhaps this man has the answer to her cruel puzzle. She replies, “Tell me where you have laid him.” And the man says, “Mary.” this is when she realises that it is the Lord! The calling of her name is the start of Mary’s resurrection because Jesus is not dead and gone. The tomb is empty, and Jesus has come to her in his risen love and grace. Now she has a different testimony. I have seen the Lord in her experience and announcement to the disciples.

This is how John tells the Easter Day story. No one expected this, despite what the ancient scriptures said of God. Easter is a surprise. It is the good news we proclaim today. Both the approaches in John’s witness are essential. Does the empty tomb story matter? Yes, because we are not talking about something in a private otherworldly sphere of inwardness.

 The empty tomb matters because it speaks of the new creation, of that work God is doing with the matter he first created, how he is doing a new thing. Christians proclaim that the tomb is empty, and the new resurrection body is recreated by God. Death is not the end, not even for this vulnerable creation that waits for renewal.

Although scientists today speak of many dimensions, life on other planets and parallel universes. We can hardly imagine what this means, and the Gospel proclaims that here is the work of God, taking our failure, taking the love of Jesus, and from it, bringing forth something new and wonderful. It is a miracle, a work of God. 

Some of our teachers speak of a miracle as an overflowing love at the heart of creation. The love that was in Jesus, even unto death, is met by the endless love of God for his creation and, in the dynamic, new, and beautiful things happen. Death is not the end.

As we have seen, however, the empty tomb is not necessarily good news. It needs setting in a context. That context is God’s work from the beginning, in the creation and the call of Israel, in the coming of Christ and his remarkable life of suffering love, breaking the cycle of sin and violence in his sacrificial death on the cross. It is over this Christ that God speaks the great “Yes” of resurrection. He is let loose again in the world, and Mary and countless others will speak of being restored, healed, renewed by his presence.

God raised Jesus from the dead. For Mary, this means her grief is turned to joy as he calls her name. For Thomas, it means his doubt is turned to faith as he meets the risen Lord in the company of the disciples. For Peter, who denied the Lord, resurrection means being welcomed again by Christ and entrusted with new and vital work. John wants us to understand that resurrection is not just something that happened to Jesus. It is God’s work for us.

It means that each act of worship, each gathering at the Lord’s Table, is an encounter with Christ Jesus. It means that far from life being full of boring predictability, there are the surprises of God who raised Jesus from the dead and is ever seeking to make all things new. It means that our death, even the decay of our planet, is not the end, and the tomb of Jesus is empty because God is at work. So, Christ comes to us with grace, forgiveness, love, and laughter. The Lord has risen! He is risen indeed!

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What is God’s Mandate for the Care of our Planet?

A lot has been said over the past 20 years or so about climate change. Initially, when the subject of climate change began to appear on our screen, few people believed it thinking it was just another way to extract money from the working person. As the years have passed, and research has progressed, the fact of climate change is slowly being accepted as a crisis of our time.

 As followers of Christ, we have a God-given responsibility toward our planet.

Genesis 1: 28 New International Version
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We need to be aware, therefore, of the small things we can do to help heal our planet before it is too late. In order to do this, we need to be clear of the biblical plan and mandate regarding our earthy existence.

God Created the Earth

God is not just a powerful figure in the world—he is the creator of the world. He brought it into existence with all of its interconnected processes, animate and inanimate, which means that even the smallest pebble is the work of his design:

Psalms 104: 25-30
“There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

John 1:3
“Through him, all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.”

Colossians 1:16-17
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.”

Nehemiah 9:6
“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

Every Living Thing Is Part of God’s Creation

The weather, plants, and animals are all part of the environment God created on the Earth. The Bible says that they are as much a part of God’s creation as mankind itself:

Isaiah 43:20-21
“The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

Job 37:14-18
“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised; those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge? You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies hushed under the south wind, can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?”

Matthew 6:26
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

God Uses the Earth to Teach Us

It is important, according to the Bible, to study the Earth and the environment. The Bible says that knowledge of God and his works can be found in understanding plants and animals and the delicate web of life:

Job 12:7-10
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind.”

Romans 1:19-20
“…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Isaiah 11:9
“They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

God Asks Us to Take Care of His Creation

In the Bible, God commands man to be a steward of the environment. Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesy about the dire consequences that occur when man disobeys God and fails to take care of the Earth:

Genesis 1:26
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and overall the creatures that move along the ground.'”

Leviticus 25:23-24
“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.”

Ezekiel 34:2-4
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”

Isaiah 24:4-6
“The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore, earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.”

Jeremiah 2:7
“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.”

Revelation 11:18
“The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

If you are a believer and follower of Christ, then you have a God-given mandate to care for the earth that feeds you and shelters you. The earth is your home. If you trash your home, eventually you will have nowhere to live- so, let’s look after this beautiful blue planet for now and for future generations.

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Paula Rose Parish is an author, and the founder, of Hope. Faith. Love. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, coach and taught at Christian university, led workshops and retreats, and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. Author of over 100 articles and two books, Paula Rose continues to write on the spiritual life. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren, and lives in South Wales, UK.

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

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

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

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BIBLE STUDY / The Crucifixion and Resurrection is NOT Metaphor- it actually happened!

The season of Easter is after Lent which is coming up in March this year. I thought we would get arena and chat about the truth of the resurrection. Somebody told me recently that Jesus wasn’t real so the crucifixion and resurrection could not have happened. Well, let’s see what scripture says shall we?

Isaiah 6:1-8  (NIV) Isaiah’s Commission

6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
     the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!

Luke 5:1-11  (NIV)  Jesus Calls His First Disciples

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For him and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11  (NIV) The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of the first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from

  • My story how if felt unclean for years before I met Christ

It’s a shocking fact that even some people who stand in the pulpit believe that the Stores in the OT and indeed the NT didn’t exist. They say they are only stories to show the truth, but not truth in themselves. This is called Liberalism.

We can get caught up in it if we are not careful, the truth that archelogy bears out the stories from the bible even as far back as the garden of Eden. 

 People say that These stories are a metaphor of a Universal truth and inner reality.

 However, if we believe this, we….

  • We can’t understand forgiveness
  • Reformed resurrected/ evangelical/. Charismatic
  • Coptic/ Catholic crucified
  • Crucified OR resurrected- dual thinking
  • We eliminate to negative- focus on the positive
  • Can’t separate the two one leads to the other = truth
  •  We only can appreciate Gods love/grace fully if we have experience the absence of it.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS ABOUT TRANSFORMATION!

how can we enjoy the transformed life if we don’t believe that Christ dies and is resurrected and only stands as a metaphor???

All things work TOGETHER for good Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Conclusion

Christ Died for you

Christ was raised for you

We need to recognize our spiritual poverty before God

Live a life of humble repentance and faith!

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ, therefore,

 I no longer live,

but Christ lives in me.

The life I now live in the body,

I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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

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

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

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

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Do you loose your temper – 4 different kinds of Anger.

The story is told that in the latter 1800’s, Alfred Lord Tennyson invited a Russian nobleman to his estate. And early one morning this nobleman took off with dogs & guns & servants to go hunting.

At mid-day he returned & Lord Tennyson asked him how he did. He answered, “Not very well. I shot two peasants.” Lord Tennyson thought for a moment & then said, “No, we pronounce it with a ‘ph’ here. It is ‘pheasants.’ You shot two pheasants.”

“No,” the nobleman replied, “I shot two peasants. They were insolent towards me, so I shot them.”

 Now we smile in disbelief at a story like that. But last May  a driver in Swansea abused  another driver a woman in road rage. He was charged with verbal assault. When asked why he was angry and abusive, he said it was because she was black.

That happened in Swansea, South Wales, UK. But stories like that have popped up all over the country. People becoming abusive due to their uncontrolled anger.

 Now, of course, none of us  would do anything like that. But have you ever lost your temper? Do you ever do things you wish you hadn’t done, or say things you wish you had never said?

Well, the Bible has something to say about overcoming anger. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience. It is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

Now there is the secret, isn’t it? If someone offends you, & if you are a person of wisdom (God’s wisdom) then you can overlook it, & not allow the situation to become a major event that overwhelms you. I discovered that there are 4 types of anger dealt with in the Bible.

First of all, there is sudden anger. The Bible says that sudden anger is to be controlled.

Secondly, there is sinful anger. The Bible says that sinful anger is to be condemned.

Thirdly, there is stubborn anger. Stubborn anger is to be conquered.

Finally, there is sanctified anger. And sanctified anger is to be channeled.

 So let’s look at each of those 4 types of anger.

I) SUDDEN ANGER IS TO BE CONTROLLED

First of all there is sudden anger, & the Bible says that sudden anger is to be controlled.

Proverbs 14:17 says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things.” We already knew that because we’ve experienced that in our own lives. We may blame our quick temper on our red hair. Or we may blame it on our heritage. After all, we’re Irish or something like that. We may even be proud of it.

But the bottom line is, if we have a short fuse, we’re going to do a lot of foolish things. When we lose our temper we’ll say things we know we shouldn’t have said, & do things that we’re going to be sorry for later on.

Next, Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot tempered man stirs up dissension.” That simply means that if you have a short fuse, if you’re always losing your temper, if you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder, if you’re just looking for somebody to say something that will irritate you, then you’re going to leave a trail of hurt feelings & unhappiness behind you.

A movie start from the 1930’s -Will Rogers said, “Whenever you fly into a rage, you seldom make a safe landing.” And he is right.

The American preacher- Chuck Swindoll said, “I got so angry that I gave him a piece of my mind. And it was a piece that I couldn’t afford to lose.”

The writer of Proverbs said, “A hot temper stirs up dissension.”

Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening – that is his folly & his shame.” He is talking about jumping to conclusions. We hear just a little bit of what is said, & we instantly jump to a conclusion, & oftentimes it is the wrong conclusion.

Have you heard about the dog named “August” who was always trying to chase a mule named “Conclusion?” One day he jumped at Conclusion & bit him, & Conclusion kicked back at August. And that was the last day of August. Think about that for a moment.

Sometimes we jump to conclusions, & Solomon says that it is to our folly & our shame.

Proverbs 19:19 says, “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty.” We’re being told that almost every day. Doctors tell us that losing our temper consistently brings about high blood pressure, dryness of mouth, & a fast-beating heart. It could even bring pre-mature death.

A hot temper could also mean loss of family & friends. The penalties of losing our temper are many.

So the Bible says, “If you have a sudden temper, then you need to control it.” But how can we do that?

You say, “Why, I just can’t control my temper. It gets away from me.” But you can. Have you ever found yourself engaged in a heated discussion with your voice getting louder & your words becoming more rapid? Then the telephone rings & you say, “Hello.” Sure, you can control your temper.

So we need to recognize that we have a problem with temper. As long as we deny it, as long as we blame it on heritage or short-fuse or whatever we choose to blame it on, we’ll never improve.

Then we must confess our problem to God & ask for His help. “Lord, I’m beginning to lose my temper, & I’ve done it many times before. Please help me see what is causing it to happen, & then help me to overcome it.”

SUMMARY. The Bible teaches that when the Holy Spirit guides our life, that one fruit of the spirit is self-control. And if you have a sudden temper, you need to control it.

2) SINFUL ANGER IS TO BE CONDEMNED

The second type of anger discussed in scripture is sinful anger. Not all anger is sinful, & we’ll talk about that in just a minute. But some anger is. So let me give you some tests this morning to help you determine whether your anger is sinful or not.

In Matthew 5:21, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, & anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

Now that passage tells us some things about anger that should help us realize when our anger is sinful & when it is not.

Notice first of all that it says, “Anyone who is angry with his brother.” Now if you’re a brother or sister to someone it indicates that you are a member of the same family, whether a domestic family or the family of God.

If we’re brothers & sisters, we ought to be lifting each other up, supporting & helping each other. We should not spend our time being angry at one another.

The King James Version speaks about being angry at your brother “without a cause.” If we are angry & don’t have a legitimate reason for being angry, then this tells us that our anger is sinful.

Then if you’re angry at your brother, that indicates that you are focusing your anger on a person. We should never focus our anger on people, but rather on the sins they commit.

Jesus was never angry at people, but He was angry at their sins. So look beyond the person. We must love the person, but hate their sin.

So if you’re angry at your brother, if you’re focusing on a person, then that means that your anger is sinful.

Now in Romans 12:19 Paul says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: `It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

So the third test of our anger is this: Is it anger that seeks revenge? Are we always trying to get even? The Bible teaches that God is the one who has the right of vengeance. Not us. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. We don’t have the right to repay anyone. But rather, turn that over to God.

So if our anger is geared towards seeking revenge, then it is very definitely sinful anger. If it is vengeful, then most likely it is also an anger that is cherished.

Remember what Jesus said to the man who was by the pool, waiting to be healed, & he couldn’t get to the water soon enough? Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” Important question!

There are a lot of people who enjoy being sick because of the attention it gets them. And there are a lot of people who love being angry. They’ve been angry for years. Inside of them there is a boiling mass of anger.

So if anger is cherished, it most certainly is sinful anger.

If it is a cherished anger it will also be an anger with an unforgiving spirit. And the secret to getting rid of anger is to be able to forgive. But if you can’t forgive, if you can’t release it, then it is a sinful anger.

SUMMARY. So here are the 5 tests to tell whether or not our anger is sinful anger.

1. Is it anger directed towards a person?

2. Is it anger without a justifiable cause?

3. Is it anger that seeks vengeance?

4. Is it anger that is cherished?

5. Is it anger that has an unforgiving spirit?

If any of the answers to those questions is “yes,” then our anger is a sinful anger. And the Bible says that it is to be condemned.

CONCLUSION. If it is sinful, then we need to repent, to turn away from it, & allow God to forgive us of it so that we can become forgiving people, too.

3). STUBBORN ANGER IS TO BE CONQUERED

The third type of anger is stubborn anger. It is an anger that just stays there, day after day after day.

One of the classic passages that deals with anger begins in Ephesians 4:26. The KJV says, “Be ye angry, & sin not. Let not the sun go down on your wrath.” And the next verse says, “And do not give the devil a foothold.”

One day you go home & you’re angry. You’re carrying a chip on your shoulder, just waiting for someone to knock it off.

Then your partner says something you don’t particularly appreciate, & soon heated words are being exchanged. It really doesn’t amount to much, but you’re determined to get your way, & she is determined to get her way. So the argument continues.

The sun goes down & nighttime comes. Then in bed she faces that way & you face this way, & you both make very sure that you don’t touch each other.

Do you realize what has happened? The Bible says that you have opened the door, & said, “evil one come right on in. We’ll make you welcome here.”

Then in vs. 31, Paul mentions what happens when Satan begins to do his dirty work.

The first result is “bitterness.” You begin to think about all the bad things people do & say to you, all the insults, all of the inconsiderate things that go on.

Then Paul says, “After bitterness comes rage & anger.” “Rage” is bitterness boiling & bubbling inside of you. And “anger” is rage being expressed. It is no longer just inside you. Now you begin to kick the cat, & hit the wall. Now you begin to say all kinds of things, until finally it becomes “brawling,” which means “shouting loudly,” & “slander” or “insults.”

“Look at this house. It’s a pig sty. I come home every day & these kids are dirty. You don’t know how to take care of them. What makes you think you’re a homemaker?” And on & on it goes, back & forth.

Paul says, is malice, and “malice” means that you really desire to harm. That’s why we’re always reading about someone shooting his wife & turning the gun on himself. Because the ultimate end of stubborn anger is malice.

SUMMARY Paul said, “Here is the way to get rid of stubborn anger. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Vs. 32 says, “Be kind & compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

So first of all, there is sudden anger. And it must be controlled.

Then there is sinful anger. And it must be condemned.

Then there is stubborn anger. And it must be conquered.

4) ANGER MUST BE CHANNELED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR GOD

Finally, there is HEALTHY anger. And that must be channelled in the right direction for God. Remember, Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be ye angry. . .” It is okay to be angry, but do not sin.

Let me read to you from Mark 3:1-5. This is a passage that deals with a situation in the life of Jesus that I think is very revealing. It says:

“Another time he went into the synagogue, & a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. And Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, `Stand up in front of everyone.’”

“Then Jesus asked them, `Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.”

“He looked around at them in anger &, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts. . .” You see, the focus of His anger is their hearts. He is angry because of their stubborn hearts & their stubborn anger. The sun has gone down. The sun has come up. And the devil has established a foothold in their lives. And Jesus is angry at their stubborn anger.

Then Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, & his hand was completely restored.”

SUMMARY. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points, even as we are tempted, but He never sinned. So this passage teaches that Jesus became angry but it wasn’t sinful anger. It was sanctified anger, channelled anger, anger that has the right focus, & the right object.

Maybe an infusion of anger is the very thing that the church needs. To become angry at the corruption of the world. To become angry at the forces of evil. To become angry at pornography that reaches into every segment of society.

To become angry at injustice. To become angry at the increase in crime & murders & rapes. To become angry at the abuse of alcohol & drugs in our society. To become angry because there are millions of people who are dying & going to God- less graves.

It is time for the church to become angry, with a sanctified anger, a holy anger, that is channeled in the right places.

SUMMARY; There are all kinds of anger. And if you are wrestling with them, God promises to give you victory, if you’ll let Him.

So be angry, but don’t sin. Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath. Don’t allow the devil to have a foothold in your life. But channel that anger so it can begin to accomplish victories for Jesus.

We offer His invitation this morning. He stands ready & willing to come into your heart & into your life. If you’ll confess your faith in Him, & repent of your sins, & be faithful to him in Christian baptism, He has promised to forgive your sins.

If you are already a Christian, an immersed believer in Jesus, then we invite you to join with us in the ministry that God has given us here. Whatever your decision, we offer the invitation of Jesus.

Please contact me an let me know what you have decide- God bless you!.

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

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

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

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

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

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

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

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

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SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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FOR All things WELLNESS  http://health-well-being.uk

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What happened at the Transfiguration of Jesus?

SCRIPTURE:   Luke 9:28-36, & 37-43

Luke begins by telling us that Jesus and his three closest disciples––Peter, James, and John––went up on the mountain to pray.

Mountains are special places in the Bible.  They are places where people encounter God.  Moses encountered God on Mount Sinai.  Elijah called down fire from heaven on Mount Carmel.  Jesus revealed his glory to his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.  It was on mountains that people experienced grand and wonderful things.

As I thought about that, I wondered what our modern-day equivalent might be.  Where would we go to experience grand and wonderful things?

I hate heights however; I have climbed many hills and mountains on my travels around the world. I took in the most amazing sights, and smells with little sound!

Some people would love to take a ride into space.  I can’t think of anything WORSE! However, some fold think it would be most wonderful. I think it would be scary as the engines start––being pressed hard into the seat as the ship accelerates. However, the wonder of weightlessness––and the view of the world as a blue and white jewel set on black velvet, might be nice!

But to be honest, I feel a sense of wonder when I see a beautiful sunset––or snow-capped mountains––or even a great building. And when I climb the Welsh mountains where I live, I come truly alive!  

JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES

But to show his disciples grand and wonderful things, Jesus took them up on a mountain.  That in itself would seem wonderful enough.  I bet the view from a mountain was glorious.

But Jesus didn’t go there to enjoy the panorama- he took his disciples up there to pray.  He wanted to give them something more than a spectacular view.  He wanted to give them a glimpse of God.  And he wanted to give them a glimpse of his glory.  He wanted to let them know that he was something more than a great leader, like King David.  He wanted to confirm to them that he––was God––is God.

So he took them up on a mountain to pray.  “As he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became white and dazzling” (v. 29).  Moses and Elijah, the great men of Israel’s past, came to visit.  A cloud descended on the disciples, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” (v. 35).

The disciples weren’t really ready for that.  They had expected Jesus to do some exciting but conventional things––like forming an army to drive the Romans out of their land.  This experience on the mountain was more like grabbing an electrical wire and getting a jolt.  But it awakened them to the fact that Jesus was more than they had expected.  They wouldn’t fully grasp the meaning of Jesus until after the cross and resurrection, but this experience on the mountain began to prepare them––planted a seed in their hearts that would grow and blossom in due time.

 HAVE YOU HAD A CONVERSION EXPERIENCE?

 I have! You can read about in if you click on the menu and go to about.

Have you ever had an experience like that?  Some people have.  I have heard people talk about conversion experiences almost as dramatic as the things that these disciples experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration––people whose lives had been headed in the wrong direction for years, but who suddenly and without warning came face to face with God and had their lives turned around.

FROM GUTTER TO GLORY

There’s a week known story of Eldridge Cleaver.  As a young man, Cleaver was involved in various kinds of crime.  At age 22, he was convicted of assault with intent to commit murder.  He admitted to raping a number of women.  He advocated violence as a way of redressing racial injustice.  In 1968 he was involved in a shootout with Oakland police.  He jumped bail and lived for a number of years in Algeria and Paris.

Then Cleaver had one of those dramatic conversion experiences that we hear about.  He saw a vision.  This is how he reported his vision in his book, Soul on Fire.  He said:

I saw all my former heroes paraded before my eyes…

Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-tung, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels,

passing in review––

each one appearing for a moment of time,

and then dropping out of sight, like fallen heroes.

Finally, at the end of the procession,

in dazzling, shimmering light,

the image of Jesus Christ appeared.

As a result of that vision, Cleaver became a Christian––turned on to Jesus as fervently as he had been turned on earlier to violence.  His life was never the same again.  In one moment, he was a man of violence.  In the next moment, he was a man of peace.

I mention Cleaver’s story because his dramatic vision of Christ was so unexpected––so dramatic ––so life-changing––and thus so like the experience of these three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.

But not many of us have that kind of dramatic vision–– that kind of sudden conversion.  Most of us either grew up in the church, learning of Christ from the very beginning, or we came by our faith more deliberately––more slowly––over a period of time.  We are more likely to have come by our faith at our mother’s knee than on a mountaintop.  This story of the Transfiguration, then, probably seems a bit peculiar––something that has little or nothing to do with our experience of faith.

But I thought it interesting that Jesus took these disciples up on that mountain to pray.  They didn’t go up the mountain for exercise.  They didn’t go there for the view.  They didn’t go there to find a good place to build a house or restaurant.  They went there to pray.  In other words, they went there for the expressed purpose of placing themselves in the presence of God.

 PRAYER CHANGES THINGS

They went to that mountain to talk to God, but perhaps even more importantly they went there to listen to God.  Sometimes we approach prayer as if the burden of communication were ours––as if we somehow had to find the right words to persuade God to do our will.  But prayer is something far different.  Prayer is not a magical incantation to persuade God to obey us.  Prayer is a conversation with a loving God that helps to align us with God’s will.

We, after all, are not the ones with the perfect plan––God is.  God doesn’t need to learn from us––we need to learn from God.  So I am convinced that the quiet moments in prayer––the times when we invite God to guide us–– and then sit quietly communing with God––listening to God––are possibly our most important prayer times.

When these three disciples went up on that mountain to pray, they were “heavy with sleep” (v. 32).  That’s common, isn’t it!  How often we begin our prayers––and then wake up later realizing that we never finished. That’s all right!  What better place to fall asleep than in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father?

But these three disciples managed to stay awake and were rewarded with a glimpse of Christ’s glory.  They had gone up on the mountain to pray––to commune with God––and God revealed himself to them in a way that they had not expected.

There is a lesson to be learned here.  While it is possible for God to take the initiative to break into our lives, it is also possible for us to take the initiative to invite him into our lives.  That is one of the purposes of prayer––to invite God into our lives.  These disciples went up on the mountain to pray––to invite God into their lives.

I am reminded of a famous painting of Christ painted by Holman Hunt more than a century ago.  It pictures Christ knocking at a closed door.  When Hunt showed the painting to his friends, one of them saw that he had forgotten something.  He said, “You put no handle on the door.”  Hunt replied, “We must open the door to Jesus.  The handle is on the inside.” 

Whenever we think that God has somehow absented himself from our lives, we might take a moment to check the door––to see if we have opened it to invite him in. Have you invited God the father in?

What I am proposing here is that we follow the example of these disciples––that we go up on the mountain––or into the quietness of our room––or wherever we can be alone to commune with God––and that we go there to pray––that we go there to talk to God and to listen to God––that we go there expecting a blessing––and that we not be surprised when we receive on––when God reveals himself to us in ways beyond anything that we ever expected- or even imagined. 

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

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

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

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

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

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

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

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

👛SHOP WITH ME

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SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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SHATTERED DREAMS – LOST HOPES- A NEW LIFE !

If you are following me, you will know that this is not the whole story of course, but a snippet from my new book about Holistic Living, which features Mindfulness and issues around mental health. that I am in the process of writing. It will be published and made available to you later in the year – so keep a lookout for that! Please follow me here or subscribe to my newsletter to get your updates on this. Regardless of where you are on your journey, I hope you will find something useful here- if so, please let me know down in the comments.

MY STORY

After I completed my Master of Arts in counselling at university, I went on to read social science on a | Ph.D. level. I was working full time and opted to study for my Ph.D. part-time for six years. My dream was to earn the postgraduate award in my 60th year. It was an achievable goal and a great birthday present for me. I was three years into research and could no longer endure my abusive marriage after I spent time in hospital as a result of an attack. Against advice, I decided to put my studies on hold and took a long break from work so I could try to salvage what was left of my marriage. Over the next couple of years, the abuse would continue, despite a series of reconciliation meetings, counselling sessions, and eventually, a divorce ensued.

All this left me burned out, feeling hopeless, defeated, and helpless. I did not want to face the future, so I extended the deferment of my studies. Even without the relationship problems, if you forget to schedule time for activities that care for and nurture you – then you may be at risk for burnout.

Eventually, when I felt stronger, using mindfulness to recover, I attempted to enrol to continue my studies but sadly, the limit of deferment had been reached therefore I lost all my scores. Three whole years of hard study, tuition, and research came to nothing. I had to start from the beginning if I wanted to earn a Ph.D. However, the fees increased dramatically, and I could not afford 6 years of study. Through all this, I was burnt out – yet again. I felt as if I was in a desert wandering around aimlessly with nowhere to go.

BROKEN HEART

My dream of a Ph.D. had vanished. My marriage which held so much promise of happiness, love, and hope at one time, was a thing of the past.

If you are recovering from a traumatic event or if you’re a hyper-focused, motivated, achiever, then I know you can successfully apply yourself to create a better balance in your life. At times, life sucks and isn’t fair or kind. However, there is hope on the horizon. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to help you to succeed on your journey.

However, to live mindfully, you must develop what I call- Well-Habits. Unlearning bad habits and learning new ones is not so easy. We know this because most of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions. Usually, it’s because most of us start off far too big. We decide to launch into a whole new lifestyle all at once- it’s all or nothing!

We think we’re just going to get there by the sheer exercise of willpower and come up disappointed. Well-Habits are formed bit by bit, day by day through disciplining yourself to put them in place and practice them. Right now, get out your calendar and schedule a daily slot of time to spend on your health and happiness. Learn to build systems to prevent further burn-out. I have found that by scheduling my well-being as a priority in my diary, by promoting my personal well-ness activities at a regular time each week, I’m building healthy habits for wellness.

The more you plan, organize, creating good habits, you increase your answerability to yourself for your behaviour, it will be easier for you to improve your work-life balance and recover from trauma. It will give you a structure that will help to make you feel secure and that you are progressing forward positively. Mindfulness is about intention, to enable meaning and purpose.

PLAN FOR TODAY AND FOR TOMORROW

 Intentionally planning and organizing your daily activities will give you a reason to get up in the morning to live purposefully throughout your day. Build a growth mindset. You can grow as a person, change, and improve the way that you want to. It means that you are not born successful but become successful as you work through ‘stuff’.

As part of your Well- Habit development, ensure that you also practice self-acceptance and self-compassion – stop being so hard on yourself. Remember, no one should make you feel bad about who you are – not even you! It’s important to establish boundaries. What does this mean? It means that you decide what is acceptable to your goals, values, and lifestyle.

Once you establish what is acceptable for you, you must be assertive in upholding your own needs. Because no one else will. I hope this post was helpful. If it was, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me and share any thoughts you have. And if you enjoyed reading this blog, please support it by subscribing to my FREE newsletter.

If you feel you would like further support through prayer, counselling, or coaching, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu on my home page.

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

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

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

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

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

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

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

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

👛SHOP WITH ME

ETSY:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaulaRoseStudio?ref=shop_sugg

SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

FOOD for your Soul- www.paularoseparish.com

FOR All things WELLNESS  http://health-well-being.uk

👱‍♀️ CHAT WITH ME

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Three Steps to learn to love yourself and why you should.

Your relationship with yourself is one of the most important relationships you have. So the first thing I want you to do is to spend some time thinking about what you actually think about yourself – write it down.

Looking at your list, if you are finding that you really don’t love yourself, below is a couple of tips to help you to start that all-important relationship with yourself. This month, there will be more blogs to follow with more tips.

  1. Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness means that you accept what has happened and your behavior and be willing to move past it and move on with your life without worrying about things that cannot be changed. As a therapist, I learned this approach to self-forgiveness, which is also the Biblical way to forgiveness. The below method suggests that four key actions can help you to forgive yourself.

The 4 R’s of Self-Forgiveness

  1. Responsibility
  2. Remorse
  3. Restoration
  4. Renewal

Forgiving yourself is beneficial for any good mental, physical and relationship health. 

Letting go and offering yourself forgiveness can help boost your feelings of wellness and improve your self-confidence. The act of forgiveness can also positively impact your physical health. Have you heard the expression “he’s eaten up with hate”? Science and the Bible tell us that unforgiveness can manifest itself negatively in our physical bodies. If we can’t forgive ourselves, then it will be impossible to forgive others impacting our relationships. 

  1. Remind Yourself – No more People Pleasing. 

Have you heard the expression keep your opinions to yourself? Well. That’s the philosophy I was brought up with, as were many of my generations. As a result, I became fearful of what others thought of me. To this end, I expressed no personal opinion of my own in case someone did not agree with me, and I would upset them. To avoid upset, I learned to keep my opinions to myself. Unfortunately, this led me to the weakness of people-pleasing. The problem with this approach is that one forgets what is important in their own life and tends to live ‘through’ other people’s experiences, which I sad.

I began to observe the same behaviors in others and saw what resulted from their lives down the track. Therefore, I decided that I would no longer be a people pleaser and that my opinion does matter. After a struggle of years, much prayer, sweat, and tears, I finally rid myself of such behavior and began to value myself. In valuing myself, I was able to love myself. 

  1. Do Things That Make you Happy.

Someone once said, ‘you were not born to live to just pay the bills then die’.

No, you are more highly valued than that!

If you are happy, you will be more productive, motivated, and fulfilled. So when the alarm sounds, you will bounce out of bed in the morning, ready to begin ad brand new day with its challenges. However, if you are unhappy, you’ll be more likely to pull the covers over your head when the alarm sounds because you just can’t face your day.

If you are happy within yourself, it will become self-evident. You’ll automatically spread positivity, love, and joy, and Others will notice and want to be around you. After all, who wants to cozy up to a grump?

So, think about what makes you happy and ensure you engage with those things regularly. Don’t get so busy that that provides no time to do the things you enjoy. Maintaining happiness takes effort because it is a state of mind, and then doing those things that make you happy will reinforce that attitude.

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

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

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

 Paula Rose Parish

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

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL, it is free!

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

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You Need THIS if you’re Grieving.

Is it just me or has the first week or so of the year felt more like a month!? Between balancing work, home, and the grief that I am experiencing, there’s a lot with which to cope.

There are many types of grief that we go through throughout our lives.

We grieve because of the loss of a loved one, as I have experienced recently. We grieve over a divorce and, with it, a loss of lifestyle and perhaps family and beloved friends. We grieve when we move house away from family, friends, and all familiarity. We grieve when we lose our job or enter into retirement when we feel we have lost our sense of purpose.

I wrote the book Nothing Good about Grief in the first year of the pandemic. The losses that everyone experienced worldwide were incalculable, which prompted me to share my experience and expertise within the pages of an uncomplicated book packed with information to support you. 

I have revised Nothing Good about Grief and updated its cover. If you have been through grieve, experiencing it now, or supporting somebody who is, then Nothing Good about Grief will aid you through the lowest times in your life. 

Nothing Good about Grief gives you a small insight into my life and how I have managed my grief and found a way through. Steering your way through grief is not easy, but it is essential to living a whole and happy life. 

We can do nothing about the losses that we have experienced, but we can do something about how we will react to those losses. Nothing Good about Grief will help you turn our lemons into lemonade. Nothing Good about Grief helps you heal your devastation and provides hope for a bright future from now on.

No matter your age, Nothing Good about Grief, with its simple format and workshop towards the end of the book, will guide your way through the experience of grief and help you come through that dark valley into the bright sunshine of expectation.

Pick up your copy of Nothing Good about Grief from Amazon now!

Copy & paste this link into your browser or click on the link-    Nothing Good About Grief: from grief to recovery eBook: Rose-Parish, Paula: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store.

If you would like more personal support as well, I have a Master of Arts in counselling and coaching, so I am happy to help you through your grief- let me know! 

I’d love to hear from you – for any reason. So hit reply and let me know how are you doing after the first couple of weeks of the year? No, really… how are you doing? We put so much stress on ourselves in these first few weeks of the year with all these goals and habits… and it is ok if you haven’t sorted everything yet. So just let me know, how are you doing?

Talk soon,

Paula Rose💕

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

Please subscribe (using the pop-up banner as you come onto the site), share, and click on links on the Home Page for more inspiration!  

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu above.

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

Virtual Hugs

Paula Xx

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

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL,  its free!

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

👛SHOP WITH ME

ETSY:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaulaRoseStudio?ref=shop_sugg

BLOG articles & SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

FOOD for your Soul- www.paularoseparish.com

FOR All things WELLNESS  http://health-well-being.uk

👱‍♀️ CHAT WITH ME

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Lessons from the Book of Job 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons from Job 

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

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

You have Meaning & Purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

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

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

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

 GOD HAS NO GENDER

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

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

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

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to abide in God- part 1 – it’s not what you think!

Look for the other posts in this series which

will be published very soon. 

To start off, I thought I would share my belief that if you are Born again, you are ALWAYS in God’s presence. And being in God’s presence, we choose to abide in him or not. I don’t like the term- ‘let’s enter Gods presence’ because of God’s grace justifies you, making you righteous to be in God’s presence. By the blood of Jesus and you can enter God’s presence, and once your in- you in! You are always in God’s presence whether you realise it or not You are in God’s house. You are Gods temple, and he abides IN you- so, therefore, Gods presence is always there- he does not dip in and out!

We find the idea about abiding in …John 15:4-11 New King James Version

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples.

 So, to understand what Abiding really means, we need to take a brief look at what ‘Born Again’ means first. 

There were three main points to Jesus message while on earth –

  First, the kingdom of God and its coming.

Second, God the Father and the infinite value of the human soul. In the following posts

Third, the higher righteousness and the commandment of love. In the following posts

What have these 3 points got to do with Abiding in God?

keep reading to find out!

So, in this Post we will look at the kingdom of God and its coming.

The kingdom is not ‘out there somewhere’, it has come to you through Jesus Christ – now all you need to do is accept it and live in it. How? Jesus explains this to us in the Gospel of John, chapter 3. Please read all the chapter to get the overall idea. But here I will pick out a few passages.

John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you unless one is born (Greek: gennethe–from gennao) anew),  he can’t see the Kingdom of God.”

John 3:4 “Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

How is the new birth accomplished? We cannot inherit a new birth. The Bible says that born again means that we were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Our fathers and mothers may be the most incredible born-again Christians in the world, but that doesn’t make us born-again Christians, too. Many people believe that because they were born into a Christian home, they are automatically Christians. They’re not. This because Jesus is not about religion, or ritual, but a relationship.

 We must accept that we cannot work our way to God, either. The Bible says that salvation comes “not by virtuous acts, but according to His mercy, He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

We can say, “I am going to turn over a new leaf,” or “I am going to make New Year’s resolutions, I will be different.” This is not enough. Isaiah points out that in the sight of God “all our righteousness’s are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Some people try to imitate Christ. They think that all we have to do is try to follow Jesus and try to do the things He did, and we will get into heaven. But we can’t do it. We may know the religious songs, and may even say prayers. But if we haven’t recognised our sin, we haven’t been born again, and if we haven’t been born again, we haven’t a relationship with Father God. That is Jesus message to how to abide in him.

To conform with others’ expectations, specific social standards or behaviour; some of us have changed only on the outside. But deep down inside, we have never been changed, and if we are honest with ourselves- we know that to be true. That is what Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about. He said, “Nicodemus, you need changing inside,” and only the Holy Spirit can do that. Being born from above is a supernatural act of God. The Holy Spirit shows us our sin, then we ask forgiveness, then the Holy Spirit restores us, and we are born again. It’s all God’s work- not ours. 

To be born again means that Father God will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4); we “pass from death into life” (John 5:24). The new birth brings about a change in our values and lifestyle. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and help us in our daily lives. The Spirit of God gives us assurance, gives us joy, produces fruit in our lives and teaches us the Scriptures.

If you are born again, you are ALWAYS in God’s presence, and then you can abide in Christ. And being in God’s presence, we can choose to abide in him – or not. God calls us to abide and hopes that we choose to. If we do, we reap all the benefits that Gods will provide. I don’t like the term- ‘let’s enter Gods presence’ because of God’s grace justifying you and making you righteous you are always in God’s presence whether you realise it or not. You are already in God’s household by the blood of Jesus and have entered God’s presence by faith. Now we need jut to live like it!

You are in God’s presence now. And God is calling you to Abide in him- now. To rest in him, to learn and follow him, all the days of your life. And you will find peace for your soul.

If you feel a tug at your heart, pray this prayer…

Lord God, I come in Jesus name. Forgive me my sins and wash me clean. Come Holy Spirit, and abide in me, so I may abide in you. I thank you for answered prayer. 

Amen.

If you have prayed this prayer, let me know, and I’ll pray for you and support you the best way I can.

Until next time- Live Life on Purpose in Hope. Faith. Love,

Rev Paula 💕

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

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📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times.

Christ the king.

NTRODUCTION

 John 18:33-37

We are in the second week of Advent and Christmas is looming large. At Christmas we celebrate the Birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ but we must not forget that he was born to die. Jesus died for the sins of the world- your sins and mine. Jesus was born a King and died a King and rose from the dead so we can be raised also. Our Gospel lesson has Jesus appearing before Pilate, the Roman governor, after having been accused by his enemies of trying to set himself up as king.  In the dialog that follows, Jesus admits to being a King, but says that his kingdom is not of this world.

THE CONTEXT

We can really understand verses 33-37 only if we look at them in the context of chapters 18-19 which include the following:

  • THE BETRAYAL AND ARREST OF JESUS (18:1-11)
  • JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST (18:12-14, 19-24)
  • PETER DENIES JESUS (18:15-18, 25-27)
  • JESUS BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71)
  • JESUS BEFORE PILATE (18:28-32)
  • JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS (19:15, 19)

The emphasis on Christ the King continues in chapter 19.  Pilate has tried to get the crowd to let him release Jesus (18:38b-40) and has had Jesus flogged in the hope that the flogging will satisfy the crowd (19:1-7).  The crowd, however, frustrates Pilate at every turn, demanding Jesus’ crucifixion (19:6, 15) and disputing Pilate’s loyalty to the emperor (19:12). 

Pilate strikes back verbally, saying to the crowd, “Behold, your King!” (19:14) and asking, “Shall I crucify your king?” (19:15). Then the crowd, which demanded Jesus’ death because “he made himself the Son of God” (19:7),

The crowd responds in the most astonishing fashion.  “We have no King but Caesar,” they say (19:15).  In other words, they criticized Jesus for putting himself in God’s place but themselves now put the emperor in God’s place.  Pilate, by necessity loyal to the emperor, finally gives up and turns Jesus over to be crucified (19:16). But Pilate has the last word.  He has an inscription posted on the cross in three languages that says “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (19:19-20).  The chief priests protest, asking Pilate to change the inscription to read, “He said, I am King of the Jews.”  Pilate responds, “What I have written, I have written” (vv. 21-22).  Earlier, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (18:38). Now, with irony, Pilate posts the truth for all to see. 

Queen Elizabeth became queen in 1952.  Sometimes it seems as if she will go on forever.  Poor Prince Charles can’t have the top job until his mother dies––an unpleasant sort of dilemma. Although I’m sure her job has many stresses, she has lived a life of luxury and privilege. In 1989 I had the opportunity to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis––the King of Rock ‘n Roll.  Elvis had two private jets, and they were parked near Graceland for the sake of the tourists.  Each was decorated Elvis style––forever locked in 1970.  He too, although he seemed unhappy, Elvis lived a life of luxury and privilege. But the Kings and Queens of history enjoyed even greater power.  A King typically had the power of life and death over people within his realm.  Kings lived in grand palaces and commanded imposing armies. 

That doesn’t sound much like Jesus, does it!  As he told one would-be follower: 

 “The foxes have holes,

and the birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

 Jesus didn’t live in a palace.  He didn’t live luxury or privilege.  His “army” consisted of ordinary people who brought the family to see HIM.  It would be pretty hard to imagine those mums and dads and kids as any kind of threat to Rome.

But Pilate couldn’t take a chance.  People had reported Jesus as an enemy of Rome––as a man who would be king––as a potential challenger to the emperor.  Pilate had no choice but to get to the bottom of such a charge.  If he ignored it and trouble broke out, it would be Pilate’s head on the chopping block.

So Pilate took time to interview Jesus. Pilate has a bad reputation for his handling of Jesus’ trial, but we need to acknowledge that he handled this questioning well.  He took Jesus aside, so the crowd couldn’t interfere, and he asked three questions:

First, he asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (v. 33).  Seeing at this ordinary-looking man, he asked, “Are YOU the King of the Jews?  You gotta be kidding me!” Then Pilate noted that important people had said Jesus was a trouble maker.  Pilate asked, “What have you done?” (v. 35).

That was exactly the right question. 

 And then Pilate asked, “Are you a KING then Jesus had said that his kingdom was not from this world, so apparently he saw himself as a KING.  So Pilate asked, “Are you a KING then?”

We know the rest of the story, of course.  In frustration, Pilate eventually washed his hands of the matter and allowed Jesus to be condemned.  He didn’t make it happen, but he allowed it to happen.

But Pilate wasn’t a fool.  He knew that he was being used, and he didn’t like it.  He had his soldiers nail a plaque to the cross that said, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (19:19).  Jesus’ enemies said, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but ‘he said, I am King of the Jews'” (19:21).  But Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written” (19:22).

WAS Jesus a king?  That was the question that Pilate needed to answer.

 IS Jesus a King?  That is the question that we need to answer. 

WHAT would it mean if Jesus were king?  How would it affect our lives?

The New Testament certainly sees Jesus as king.  It calls him “King of Kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16). 

The apostle Paul talks about Jesus as coming down from heaven to be born as a baby and to die on a cross.  Then Paul says:

Therefore God also highly exalted (Jesus),

and gave to him the name which is above every name;

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth,

and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11)

 That certainly sounds King-like, doesn’t it!

The question for us today is whether Jesus is king in your life.  You don’t have to hold up your hand and give the answer in front of everyone, but I would like for you to think about the question––Is Jesus King in your life? pause

Then let me ask another question––If Jesus were King in your life, what difference would that make, for you?  Your family?  For your friends?  For your employer?  Think about that for a moment.  What difference would it make if Jesus were king in your life?….

Then let me make this observation.  ONE way to tell whether Jesus is King in your life is to ask whether you are trying to do what he wants you to do.  None of us is doing that perfectly.  None of us is perfectly obedient to Christ.  The question isn’t whether we are obeying Jesus perfectly.  It is whether we are trying––whether we are giving Jesus our best.

Some years ago, it was popular for people to wear bracelets that said WWJD?––What Would Jesus Do?  The idea behind the bracelets was to remind us, when faced with a decision––any decision––to ask “What would Jesus do?”––and to let the answer help us to make the right decision––to help us do what Jesus would have us do. What Would Jesus Do?  How would GOD have you spend your life?  GOD has something for you to do––SOMETHING for each of us to do.

What would Jesus do?  How would he have you spend your retirement years?  The late Andrew Grove, one of the founders of Intel Corporation, the company that makes most of the chips for computers, used his retirement years to try to reform health care in America––especially health care for the poor.  That really bowled me over!  Andy Grove was one of the richest men in the world.  He had plenty of accomplishments to his credit!  He could have sat back and relaxed.  He could have spent his later years playing golf.   Instead, he tried to solve the problem of uninsured people, some of whom were jamming emergency rooms and the rest of whom were getting no medical care.  I think it’s wonderful that this rich man spent his retirement years giving instead of taking. 

 What would Jesus do?  Today, after we leave this church building and scatter throughout the community, each of us will be faced with decisions that will give us a chance to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Asking that question is the first step toward making Jesus King in our lives. If you are wondering how to get your life into focus, and stay on the right track,  ask that question––”What would Jesus do?”––and let the answer set the direction for your life.

 Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, who is blessed with son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Grant that we having this hope, may live pure lives, even as he is pure,

And when Jesus Christ shall appear in power and great glory

we will be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom, where he is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit ONE God now and forever

Amen

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