Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…


July 2012

More Than we deserve!

I have a confession, I am not perfect! I actually make mistakes! (I know right, who knew?)  I know what my issues are, and know that I am a “work in progress“.  I also know that I have no right to judge anyone, and “he without sin casts the first stone“. So I cannot understand racism at all!  Being nasty to someone just because their skin colour is different to yours is insane! Unless you know someone intimately, you cannot know fully why someone acts like they do, and even if you have been married for years you still might not know!

There has been something recently that has made me really wound up and have a negative attitude. The thing that made me most angry was the constant thought that I had no right to feel angry! So I reverted to my fall back position of “bottling it up” and thinking “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter!” But that has only made it worse, as it did matter to me and I did care!

It took a long conversation with my mum to make me realise that I have been judging (despite my belief that I never judge!) and in my negative mood I had taken a situation that wasn’t an issue and made it one!  Added to other hurts that I had also bottled up, it all came to a head and it needed to be dealt with, I didn’t want it any more and neither did my family (cannot blame them I was being a grump!)

My mum reminded me that we all need to look at others how God sees them, none of us are perfect, all of us have flaws, it’s only when we look through God’s eyes that we see things in the right way!


My walk & talk with my mum took us halfway up a hill, when I looked back down I saw the amazing beauty of the countryside around me and realised how much God is at work around us, every field is unique, every building is unique, despite being built by man, it was the creativity given them by God to use different materials and colours to make no one house the same!

Like the farmhouses, each of us are unique, even identical twins will have different traits or aims, nature and nurture make us who we are as adults. However much I think I consider this already, I still need to remember that the reason someone is short with me, appears arrogant/rude, is grumpy or always in a negative mood, may be from issues from their childhood/home life or they have been having a really bad day at work/school!

My “schoolmates” at high school acted really badly towards me and I made a conscious decision to not let them see my annoyance, so now no one apart from my close family will ever see me being angry, and I know it is wrong as they get the brunt of it when I have had enough!

Some people think that I am calm and like a swan “paddling like crazy below but looking calm up top!” But I actually bottle it up, fortunately the capacity for my bottle of stress and anger has grown into a cask but at some point it has to come out!

I now need to make another conscious decision to actually approach people and tell them how I feel, if they do not know they have annoyed me or hurt me how will they know?

I thought I had forgiveness sorted, whenever I heard a sermon on forgiveness I thought to myself “I have no one to forgive!” but I actually haven’t, some of my hurts are still unresolved!  God has been so gracious and faithful in loving me, despite my faults, despite my attitudes, despite my self-centred thoughts, I am not on my second chance, I am probably on my thousandth! God’s patience with me is incredible, I don’t deserve anything but he has given me so much, it is easy to forget in the moment of anger and jealousy what you have already been so blessed with!

I know that God is working on me, I know I need to put a lot more effort in to doing what he has given me. I also now know that like this monument which was built at the top of a steep hill, that I managed to walk up with my 2 children, my brother and our mum. When it is finished I will look back and.say “it was worth it!”



#50ShadesofGrey and Biblical sex

This month there are four weddings that I have had/will have some involvement with! I am not a minister or a musician, and I am already married (and not into bigamy, “the worst thing about having two wives is having two sets of in-laws!” I love mine BTW ;)) I just have the role of removing chairs to create an aisle for the bride to walk down and moving the table for the “signing of the register“.  Weddings are a great occasion, especially when you get to worship God! But the other aspect is an odd one, there is always an undertone of sex, if the bride and groom are Christians and have waited, there is an expectation that they will “get it on!”  It is the only occasion when a whole room will be thinking “I know what they’ll be doing tonight“. That actually was really weird and I didn’t like that thought!

Even the passage that is read during a wedding ceremony talks about “when two are joined they become one“. A friend of mine thought they had chosen a sweet and lovely verse from Song of Solomon, but as this is one of the most erotic and sexually suggestive books of the bible, how she managed to find that I don’t know! It was however swiftly pointed out by the minister that the ideas expressed in the passage were suggestive themselves!

This world is sex mad! God knows (not being blasphemous but he does!), he created us with desires and attributes that someone out there would be attracted to! Like eBay “there is somebody out there who wants what we have“, and like eBay it is all about “when is the right time?

As humans we are an impatient bunch, which is why movies about teen angst are so popular! Films like American Pie, are all about how quickly someone could lose their virginity!  Although less teens are having sex than their friends actually think, it is a major issue!  But who can blame them, everywhere you look you will find half naked men or women, I went to the market to buy a couple of kids comics for my children to read and there was wordsearch puzzle books with women in bikinis on the front cover!   What on earth has bikini-clad women got to do with looking for words that are printed diagonally, horizontally or vertically?!

I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and nor do I think I ever will, I didn’t realise it was a erotic novel until it was mentioned in a wedding sermon!  But as Martin Saunders said in a recent article for Christianity Magazine, it is becoming more mainstream! No longer is sado-masochism a joke or something we get shocked by when it is revealed a celebrity/politician has been taking part in it.  But apparently it is now something of popularity and often part of the content of the media, mainstream movies are featuring it more and more and instead of being disgusted by it, society is enjoying the idea and promoting it!

Some people have the opinion that God is a spoilsport, and often Christians are considered “prudish“, well the Pilgrims who went to America were, the Victorians were shocked at a table leg being on show!? But now we are in a new millenium, we are almost not shocked by anything, my generation will often joke, tease and comment about sex and all besides, and that includes people who call themselves “Christians“! (I know it is shocking!!) 😉

I once talked to a group of lads in a youth group about morality, I asked “is there anything that you do or watch on your own or with your mates that you wouldn’t want your parents to see?“, unsurprisingly I got the answer “Yes!”, then I said “Ok, well when you are in that situation, try to think “what would my parents say?“” I also got a response from my adult co-leader though who joked “there are things I wouldn’t want my parents to see for a very good reason!

When I was 18, I decided to start to read the bible from “cover to cover“, I didn’t get far, I reached  the book of Numbers and then stopped! I was shocked however to see how much went on in the first couple of books of the bible, If Genesis was really made into a movie, and not Year one (although that illustrates my point to an extent, it is too comedy orientated) it would probable have to be an 18! There is murder, incest, nudity, sex crazed villagers (Sodom).  Which is why the Ten commandments were written and Jesus felt the need to say “if you even look at a woman in lust you have committed adultery!

The issue is not “Oh my word they are reading about sex!“, the issue is what consuming media like that is doing to society,

  • Teens read/watch about sex (however inaccurate) and they get expectations of how it should be, and more than likely it won’t even be close.
  • If you continue to “lust after” celebrities or believe the perfect woman/man is whatever is apparently “hot” according to the media. You will never be happy with the imperfect person who God thinks is perfect for you.
  • If you spend too much time fantasising about how you will meet someone, or about a fantasy that probably will never come true, you more than likely will miss out on the reality of a person who wants a real relationship and wants to love you!
  • the intimacy of “making love” has been replaced by the world’s obsession with “having sex“, we end up being no more than animals and just following our basic “urges”.  We miss out on love and long lasting happiness, if all we are after is “one-night stands” or “something for the weekend“.

The easier the world makes it is to have sex without true intimacy, the worse our lives will become!  What example are we giving the next generation?  Is it one we should be giving or is it something that we really need to consciously think about?

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