True fasting

Isaiah 58: 5-11 NIV

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”

True fasting that pleases God, is a whole lifestyle choice. A state of mind and heart. It is a life that is wholly set apart for God and to God. It is a daily denying of self, and a giving up to God continually. It includes everything. No part of my day is for myself. 

The Christian is switched on to the will and purposes of God. It is all about the will of God and the ministry to other people. The Word of God is clear, that if we see a need, we meet that need. We will look for people, notice people who are in need. 

We are especially to meet the needs of our own family. To serve others and not serve the family, is not true fasting, or the sacrifice of praise to God. God is not pleased if we put others before our own people. It applies to parents to children and children to parents. 

You will know you are on the right lines, because people will see your witness to God. You will see your need to draw near to God. You will want to draw nearer and nearer to Him. You will get insight, healing and righteousness and the glory of God will keep you. This is true spiritual life and the progress towards heaven and home. 

You will have a direct line to God in prayer. You will thrive on that. The certainty of the oppression of other people’s gossip and destructive talk to bring you down, will come to nothing. Do not pay any attention to this talk. 

We also must put away all gossiping, in all its excusable forms! Malicious words about other people must be reined in and put to death. Our attitude must be that of Christ, who humbled Himself, even to death on a cruel cross for our sake. 

If you put sin and blame to death in your life, you will never walk in the darkness, but in the light of wisdom. You will know what to do. When life is barren, you will be satisfied. Indeed, you will get stronger and stronger in all the blessedness of God. The things you think you are giving up will be rendered useless, and all will be for eternity.

This is fasting.. 

Ridiculous question

I read ridiculous questions regarding the suffering of Christian people…
Can Christians suffer from mind illness?
Let me ask another question…
Can Christians suffer from Cancer?

Please understand how foolish this kind of thinking is. To determine mind illness to be something different in moral value to physical illness is foolish. It prejudges mind illness as somehow “evil” and has a negative moral label assigned to the sufferer on its disclosure.

There are too many people, who think that being a person who’s mind gets sick and tired of society, is an indicator that they are bad and best kept out of that society. We do not understand mind illness, therefore we fear it, along with avoiding the sufferer. We don’t want to educate ourselves about it because we might find out something scary about our own mindset. So sufferers are made scape-goats and left to struggle and find solace in something else.

Church culture has nothing to offer, and no one will speak up or dare to point out the coldness and lack of regard for a person in trouble. No one really understands and people believe mind illness is a sign of the judgment of God.

The problem here is spiritual, not medical or mental. Christians who suffer from severe physical illnesses, are supported and regarded as some kind of heroes. If they get better, they have a heroic status that sets them apart from the ordinary. If they die, they have finished their race well.

The mind sufferer is not regarded in the same light. They are relegated to the lowest spiritual caste, and their profound wrestling’s with deep hurt, pain and loss, is not recognised. Nor do we want to recognise it. Let someone else sort it out – it’s not our problem. There are professionals to deal with this – let them speak to them…so the outworking of our thoughts is exclusion.

If the mind sufferer manages to overcome, they are a kind of Pariah. We don’t want to get too close, as they might say something to disturb us. Again, we might discover an emotional problem of our own. If they don’t survive the trauma of prolonged pain and distress, well, that proves mind sufferers are not Christians..!!

We do not notice our inconsistent and discriminatory attitudes to other people who we think are not like us. We “forget” the hero’s of faith who suffered so greatly with these kinds of mind-hurts. More to the point, it is never pointed out. There are Bible characters, who’s writing accurately describes emotional and mind pain. But we don’t assign them the indignity of “mad” people. Those who are deemed “holy” cannot possible suffer from this kind of thing..!

We don’t realise that it could easily be us that suffers and psychiatric hospital is just up the road..!

Godly Christians who suffer, also have the pressure of not being able to talk about or admit their pain, lest they be relegated to the bottom of the religious pile. They struggle alone, until it gets so bad, they suffer a crisis in their thought life. The interpretation of this is that they have not “overcome” and are therefore “dubious”

So, mind sufferers must do what others seem not to do… they must lean heavily on their Saviour, and get to know Him better. Of course, the Lord Jesus draws near to all who seek Him with true hearts. He knows His mind sufferers who suffer so much, as He did. He identifies with every pain and enlightens the mind that is in trouble, to understand His Word in a deep way. Love grows.

When all others fail, to find the love of Christ is the most wonderful thing. The sufferer realises that Jesus is so real. His Word is true. The reality of a daily close walk with Himself, is for them.

The mind sufferer discovers that “church” actually hurts, not heals. The environment of “fellowship” is false and it troubles them. They start to doubt that they are Christians, because they don’t fit in with the system. They are troubled because they are told they have to come to church and do whatever they are told, otherwise they will fall and fail….

But the sufferer has been there already.!! There was no comfort from the pew. There was no kind council from the leaders. There is surely no acceptance in the fellowship – felt or not…

This is the crunch…

The mind sufferers in the “church” are the ones who are hurt by the double standards and false friendship. They see through the coldness and the lack of love – it hurts them, and they blame themselves.!!

The situation in the “church” culture actually exacerbates the pain they feel and the sense of isolation. The person goes down and it takes a long time for them to realise the links in the chain. “Church” hurts people. Christians are not like Christ. There must be more than is seen and displayed.

In fact, the mind sufferers are the litmus paper of the spirituality of the social situations around them. If the powers that be would educate themselves by talking to sufferers, the whole church could be helped. What if someone who knows their own mind and it’s dreadful chasms of darkness, and also knows the light of Christ, big time, we’re allowed to minister..! Resurrection might ensue… the lost might find a voice of salvation.

My personal situation as a sufferer, is that I stay away from the organised, prestigious, churchy structures. They will never accept me, and it took me a long time to accept that. Of course, I blamed myself. Then I discovered that “church” doesn’t actually want people like me. Also, I don’t need it..!! I realised more and more the power of the Spirit of God within me and as I kept close to Him, He taught me more and more. Then I realised this has been going on my whole life.!! I started to see my true love.  Then I started to realise I don’t need the acceptance- I am already accepted by my beloved – Jesus is all I need.

God took me into a variety of different situations and started to teach me to be a Christian in real life. It was real liberty. I started to find my feet like never before. I learned how to relate with all sorts of people and talk about Jesus to anyone. Courage grew and I discovered a holy boldness to reach out, branch out and trust in the living Lord Jesus,

I shed the dead feathers of religion, in a catastrophic moult. Foolish ideas that bore no fruit and were dragging me down, I left. Underneath was a suit of armour fit for my life as a Christian, to serve and fight to become more like Him. The Lord Jesus became my dearest friend and as I walked closer to Him, many earthly friends fell away. It is difficult to give your life to Him. He will take it all and give you love and courage and glory. Others might not like it.

To have a psyche that understands and can exercise wisdom, discretion and to face life with the holy boldness that comes from the Spirit of God is the Way. This is living…!! Heaven comes close and never seems far away whatever the circumstances. To survive and thrive in the fight against the oppression of the mind, is life’s great conquest. I now look back and view the pathway so differently than I once did. I hope never to get entangled with the pointless chains of religion again. When you experience the freedom of walking with Christ, it all fits into place and every part of me has joy and peace.

I still fight, but my armour is ready and I use it. I pray to go home to the Lord, full of good works and with many souls won for His glory. The pain and sickness are for His glory and my good.. I never dreamed I would ever say such a thing…

Too many Christians hover in the dark land of the mind. Turn to the Lord. He will save and keep you and show you how to fight and live. Give yourself to Him and you will not fail…

Life burn

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Lack of courage stops us doing so many things in our Christian lives. There are people we should reach out to but don’t, because we are scared. Scared of them and that they might murder us or our children.!!

We have no idea of the power of the person who dwells within us. The gracious Spirit of God. His power is beyond our ability to understand. We don’t walk with Him on a daily basis and so we don’t really know Him. We think He keeps us in our small little lives that hardly reflect anything of God or His love or power. 

We can’t see Him. We wouldn’t dream of reaching out as it would be too inconvenient and embarrassing for us. The Spirit might take over and then where would we be..? 

When God starts to awaken His people, they begin to realise some home truths about themselves and the Mighty God. Our hearts start to “burn within us” as we realise more and more who He is and what He calls us to do. 

We can shut down and fall away, or we can acquiesce and give all to God. Every part of us must be given over, and as we read the Scriptures that teach us the living way, we recognise the path of salvation and how to be close with God. Self becomes less and Christ takes over. Nothing is more important than His will and to walk closely with Him. His love will fill us. His wisdom will give insight into the situation of life. 

“I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.” Psalm 68:8-9

If Christ is consumed by God, so should we be. It is the only way for the Christian. A mediocre and politely moderate lifestyle is not the way of Christ. Lives that belong to Jesus will burn for Him, we will feel it and know it. We cannot have too much zeal. We cannot love God too much. People might say different. They will say you are obsessed. 

Obsessed with Jesus and reaching out as He did- what a great place to be. Read Psalm 69 in full to understand what Jesus faced as He walked this world.

Lord, let our lives burn for you and may zeal for your person give us motivation to serve and sacrifice….

Perseverance

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“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:4 NIV

Perseverance is also translated patience. It is the ability to keep going whatever is happening. It is the ability to keep to the right path until the end of the journey. This is God’s work. We cannot save ourselves and we cannot keep ourselves. The human psyche must acquiesce to God at all times and seek to follow His perfect holy will. Perseverance will do whatever is necessary to keep in step with God.

The main purpose of the Christian’s service is to know the Lord. The Christian’s great interest is the the Word of God, to read, study, learn and obey the lessons taught there. To know the Word is to know and love the one they speak about. The Christian sees Christ in all the Scriptures, and sees His beauty. To be like Him is the Christians great aim.

So keeping to the Path of Life is paramount. As this way is walked, it has a profound effect on the Christians life. The Word of God makes us mature and to have the judgment of godly wisdom. We grow up in Christ as we become full of good works and wise words.

To walk this pathway in the presence of the Lord Jesus, makes our lives complete in Him and increasingly holy as we learn from His personal Words to us every day. Sin is cast off, as it has the dragging effect on the soul and keeps us away from close fellowship with God. Everything goes on the altar.

As the Christian sheds the trappings of sin and the world, they find out that they actually have everything in Christ and the desires for earthly things gets less and less.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a redeemed person. They have moved from slavery in this present existence, into the joy of the Lord, becoming deep and mature and realising that Christ is all in all.

The work of persevering is not passive. It is the full active, dynamic and powerful interaction of the renewed will of the Christian and the sovereign will of God the Father. There is an obstinacy in pursuing the course of salvation. The believer will not be deflected, no matter how great the difficulties get.

The Christian is resolute in their determination to please God and live for Him. The Holy Spirit gives the strength to do so and the motivation to carry on to the end of the road, which is heaven forever.

“She who endures to the end, shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

What a mighty promise and what a life of victory for those who fight their way to heaven and reign with Him in glory.

 

Building a house

Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV  “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

The home of the Christian is a precious place. It is designed, kept and furnished by the fruit of labour and love. It is a home that welcomes others, especially those who are in need and cannot repay. It is full of beautiful systems that enable the people who live there to do wonderful deeds and exercise their God-given abilities for His glory. It exhibits the love between the people who live there and the blessing of the Almighty God and Father of this family. All is kept and clean and presented as warm and comfortable to all who go there. It is a mirror of the heavenly home and points the way to peace and security. 

This home is run and maintained in wisdom, found only in God. As knowledge grows in the person of God and His ways, so the house reflects the honour and rare beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. As time goes by, the beauty of that home is seen and it becomes a blessed place.  

The home of the fellowship of the Saints in this world should also be such a place of comfort, refuge and joy. It is not a part time place of inactivity, but operates as a fully functioning oasis in a sinful world, for Christians and the unbeliever alike. The idea of a special building that is only used once a week, is not a scriptural picture. The temple of old was a full time building that met the needs of the community, physically, spiritually, emotionally, socially. God is able for all things and He calls to us to come to Him and be blessed. Some cite the “Holy of Holies” as only for the High Priest to go into. But after Christ’s once for all offering, the way to God is open and free. We have free access into His holy presence, through the spilt blood. We come in awe and reverence and holy fear, for God is a consuming fire. This awe does not depend on the place, or what we are wearing, but on our understanding of who He is and the forgiven hearts we now possess because of His salvation. 

The Christian’s home with God will be such a breathtaking place, in beauty, joy and worship. All will be there for our pleasure and peace. A home fully prepared in advance of our arrival and one we shall never leave. That home has no boundaries, no pain or sin. It is as every home should be with Christ as the centre and sun and the power of the Spirit freely given. This home is for the wise. This home is filled with all the treasure of God that the Christian has accumulated in this life. Spiritual fruit abounds and our gifts given in love come to full expression. 

Our bodies are the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit. As we progress in the Christian life, so His deep and thorough work is seen in us. The ongoing renewal of our souls and the daily repentance for sins makes us quite different to the unbeliever. The beauty of God in word and deed should be seen in us and the rare treasures of a heart and mind given over to God are apparent. The life of the Christian is so completely different to a worldly wise person. We have wisdom, understanding and knowledge, which furnish us with the rare and beautiful character of the child of God. 

We build our houses. Houses to God and for God. Houses that last into eternity. Houses that glorify God and reflect Him.

Open your mouth

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Psalm 81:10-11 NIV “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.”

God asserts who He is. He is the Lord our God. The Deliverer. The keeper of His promises. He never fails and His Word stands sure. He tells us to open our mouths wide and He will fill it.

This is an analogy using the picture of small birds in the nest who waits for the adult bird to come with their food. When the mother or father come near the nest, they know to open their beaks and receive the food. This is a picture of prayer. When our faith is wide and strong, we pray with large requests. We petition the Father with great asking and know He will answer. He answers more than we could think or imagine. We plead for great mercies, needs, and people who are lost and we earnestly expect the answer. We come into His presence with our sins and failures and seek cleansing and power to live truly. We have liberty and joy as we ask and prayer is real and vibrant. O to live in these days…

Faith asks and the answer brings forth praise. We praise the one who has so loved us, listened to us and answered so graciously. Our heart fills with joy and our mouths open in worship to Him who loves us and has washed us. Praise flows freely from redeemed lips and echoes the eternal praises of God’s people in the eternal home. 

But this is not always so. Too many languish in doubt and disobedience. The mouths are open in complaint and regret. The outpouring is displeasing to God and the Spirit is quenched. We can find ourselves in this pitiful state too easily. The promises are not heeded and the reality of faith is not valued. We do not rehearse the blessings of God and so we disobey and grumble. When our mouths are shut against the Lord, or open in moans and groans, we miss out. We displease Him.

God entreats us to seek His face and enjoy all the pleasures and treasures of life in the Holy Spirit, but we refuse. We prefers dust and the cold comfort of Stoicism. Perhaps the picture of the small birds is not how we see ourselves. We regard ourselves as sophisticated and complex characters. Jesus says, we must come to God as little children. There is no other way to relate to Him. We need Him and are totally dependant on His mercy and provision. 

Put aside our pride and open our mouths wide, and wait on our glorious God to fill us with all good things. 

The land

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How beautiful is the earth, made so full of life and glory, enervating desire to see it in all its magnificence, but how difficult it is for a single human to do this. The planet is huge and still has many unchartered places and devastating beauty to be uncovered.

How much more wonderful to see and walk the plains of heaven, and climb the majestic mountains of the promised land. Rivers will flow, bringing eternal life to all who inhabit this everlasting place and the mighty sea, that forever ebbs and flows on the shores of every homeland for every saint.

Trees that never fade, fall but forever flourish in spacious forests where God’s people will dwell and be at praise, as the one single day of forever invades each heart and fulfills all prophecy.

A brilliant blue sky that will never darken, through the timeless ages of heaven’s kingdom, where the Prince of Light, reigns for all his children. Beyond the dome above, lie tracts upon tracts of never-ending joyful day, where all can be whole, and fulfill their destiny as Kings and Queens of the eternal ages of eternity. There is more to know than can ever be known and feelings and passions that never stray into wrong, but always lead to delight and new thoughts and ideas leading to endless new things.

All know each other, even as each are known by the Saviour King, as friendship and conversation bloom like a huge garden of never withering flowers. No unkind deed or word raises itself against love, nor selfish intention sullies the redeemed mind. All is overflowing with gratefulness, as every loosed slave, seeks to understand why they were included in the freedom bought with such a price. No regret or sorrow is there, but the soaring mountains of the mind and heart, set free from guilt, shame and maudlin selfish desire to punish and hurt. No unclean thing will bother the mind and every thought and deed a sacrifice of praise and gladness.

None of these blessed people fully knows why they were chosen, but are comforted by the sight of the battle-wounds, etched on the hands and face of their Lord and Master. They are there still, as markers on the face of God. The scars of love remain in that heavenly city, as monuments of grace, for them. They also by their presence, stand and burn in glory as God’s redeemed people. All creatures regard them in complete wonder, at why they are so loved.

Nothing is done for work or toil or need, only pleasure, joy and fun. Imagination is limitless, wisdom made perfect and ambition fully complete in the unending, unfailing works of love.

Praise rises daily through the rivers of light that pass like quicksilver beyond the stars in the vault of golden light, to sing the name of Heaven’s King and bless the love that never yields to darkness. Trouble gone, pain banished and suffering never remembered, as the dance of joy spans heaven’s land and sky and every soul is free.

Women who glorify God