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

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Month

September 2012

#BruceAlmighty and #WWJD

This week I was being prayed for and then someone spoke out a “word of knowledge“, now I know it was one because the person who voiced it doesn’t know me that well! They said “I feel that God is giving me the phrase “self-loathing” does that mean anything?

I stood there and thought “actually yeah it does!“, like a lot of people, I am my own worst critic! For some reason I have just taken on board things that I don’t like about myself and constantly put myself down! The odd thing is that I am like a schizophrenic, I have 3 parts to me, this is how I see myself:-

  • Phil (Body is British)- weak willed, shy, low self confidence, thinks of himself like a “peter pan” (Childlike Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Pauls letters to Timothy mean a lot to him!), gets tongue-tied easily!
  • Andile (Heart is African)-.spirit filled, reliant on god, funny, surprising, doesn’t struggle to speak!
  • PJ (Head is in space, Cyberspace ;)! )- Thinker, god-inspired, writes a lot!

As soon as I agreed that the word was relevant, another image was given of a mirror, “as you look into it, Jesus is looking back, as he is in you!”  As I have mulled over this, it has made me question, if Jesus is in me, am I behaving as such, are my attitudes Christ-like? It is not only NOT doing certain things, consciously thinking “Jesus IS in me, so what would he think about me doing… or thinking…” That is a challenging thought in itself, but it is also positively thinking “Ok Jesus is in me, he created me and “saw that it was good” so I should think of myself as such!” We are:-

  • Part of the “bride of Christ”
  • Created perfectly and designed before the world even began!
  • Loved as a child- We can call him “Daddy!” and his comfort is infinity times better than hugs we can have with our children or parents!
  • A royal priesthood!
  • Salt and Light!- He has put us here to “purify & flavour” and “shine in the darkness”, so its no good if we stay in the saltshaker or “hide under a bowl”
  • Sons and heirs- Jesus is seated at God’s right hand, althought we are to serve God, we also are called to be royalty and be robed in pure white!

There is a story of two men who wanted to follow Jesus in Luke 9:57-62, Jesus says “Alright then, come on!” so one man says “hang on! I need to bury my dad, then I will” and the other said “I need to finish off a few things and then I will!“. I cannot imagine replying to Jesus “Yes, I just need to finish this washing up and hang out the washing then I am all yours!” But we do! You may think Jesus was a bit cavalier or rude saying “leave someone else to bury him! Go and spread the good news!” However, the point Jesus was making was both of the men were procrastinating in regards to what needed to be done! The first man would have been spending time mourning his father, whilst those who are still alive and needed to hear the gospel would not have been spoken to, as he would have remained at home and not be following Jesus. The other who was looking back, which is never a good thing, needed to leave the past in the past and move on with Jesus.

This morning I suddenly thought about the movie Bruce Almighty, he was constantly looking back and going “It’s unfair!” “God, you are like a mean kid with a magnifying glass!” so God said “Ok have my powers! See if you can do better!” After a few days, Bruce is freaking out because he has not been answering anyone else’s prayers and his head is getting full of people talking to him! When told why he keeps hearing voices and asked why he wasn’t answering them, Bruce replies “I wanted to right a few wrongs in my own life first!”  Wouldn’t we do the same?  God knows what he is doing even if we don’t!

If we look back and constantly think negatively or allow ourselves to get annoyed or upset by past hurts or disappointments then thats what we will continue to feel! We “reap what we sow“, when unwanted things take root in our lives and we subconsciously let them grow within us, then at some point they will produce a “harvest of discontent“.

There is a range of Christian garments and accessories emblazoned with the letters WWJD, if you are not already aware, it stands for “What Would Jesus Do?” Jesus did deal with:-

  • Friends who acted stupidly
  • People who doubted him
  • A feeling of “Is this really what you want for me to do?”
  • Parents
  • Unjust treatment
  • People constantly demanding his time and draining his energy!
  • A real test of his knowledge of the bible, from Satan himself!

There is a song by Carman called “Slam” which has a very interesting video! The lyrics are below

You said that I would stumble
You said I wouldn’t last
But you was wrong
You said that I would crumble
From all that’s in my past
But you was wrong

You tried to break, tried to shake me
Tried to take me with your lies
You tried to drop me, tried to stop me
Tried to chop me down to size
You tried to crush me, tried to hush me
Tried to rush me and attack
But Jesus Christ is in my life
And now I’m comin’ back ’cause I can

Chorus:
Slam temptation with the Word
I can slam each lie that I have heard
I can slam the devil on his back
The rod of God will stop the attack
In my mind there is no fear
In my mind there is no doubt
Yes I am that Christian that hell warned you about
Not only can I dance, not only can I shout
But I can slam!

You told me it was useless
That I would never change
But you was wrong
You told me it was hopeless
That I never would get saved
But you was wrong

You tried to drug me, tried to slug me
Tried to plug me up with guilt
You tried to shoot me, tried to loot me
Tried to boot my mind on tilt
You tried to kill me, tried to still me
Tried to bill me for my sin
But the blood has washed me clean
Since I’ve been born again I sure can

I love this song and wonder how great it would be to be able to truly say “I am the one hell warned you about!“, as humans we are fallible and prone to doubt but if Jesus is in us surely we should be able to be that powerful?

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The Random mug accident

10 minutes before leaving work on Friday, I had a freak mug accident! It was quite annoying at the time, but now I am finding it funny! I had cleaned my two coffee mugs and as I started walking back to my office one of the mug handles spontaneously came off, as it did so, it cut my thumb right across the knuckle, so i spent a couple of days with my thumb bandaged up!

Whenever I have cut myself like that (there has been at least 3 times now on my thumbs alone!) It does make me think about whether it would be easier if I had them removed (I was told that when I joked about it at home, my 4 year old daughter pulled very worried expression! Oops!) How would i cope without the limb or finger? Being only a temporary “handicap” I do not have much time to work out the best way to get around not being able to use the thumb, and I am amazed how much it gets in the way!

My family got tickets to watch one of the events for the Paralympic games last week. As I am not the most patriotic and I am not the type of person to say “I have to be there, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!” My initial reaction on hearing that we were going was “I am not bothered whether I go or not, but it’s a day spent with my family, and that’s something I want to do!” It wasn’t a matter of me thinking that the Paralympics were not worth seeing, because I have great respect for any athletes who have got that far, and I do think that the Paralympians should be involved in the full opening and closing ceremonies as they deserve as much honour as the Olympians.

My attitude changed however, after watching “Best of Men” on BBC1 this was a dramatisation about Professor Ludwig Guttman and his work with wounded soldiers from World War 2 with spinal injuries, it was an eye opener for me!

  1. I didn’t ever think about how the Paralympics came to be.
  2. I was amazed at the tenacity of Dr. Guttman to persevere with his patients despite being called a “Kraut” and getting no respect from his colleagues.
  3. The impact on the men as they were changed from being bed-ridden with bed sores and having hardly any enthusiasm for getting out of bed, (most had catheters in so had no need to even sit up!) to mobile, jovial, enthusiastic men who could outplay the “able-bodied” staff members in a variety of sports!

I suddenly remembered a tweet from someone recently who said “watching the paralympics makes me think how stupid the phrase “Disabled” is!” When I went to the Paralympics last Wednesday, I saw an incredible sight, about 12 men were vying to win a medal, all they had to do was lay on a bench and lift more than their competitors, (easier said than done when the record stood at around 243 kilograms!) I sat there with my family, amazed at their feats of strength, and then was even more amazed when I worked out that the current record holder had a bodyweight of around 93 kilograms so he lifted over two and a half times his own weight!  Then the current paralympic record holder, Mohammed Eldib went for the World record, he lifted 249 kilograms, 2.67 times his own weight!

The thing about watching Paralympians is not only how inspirational they are by overcoming adversity, initial loss of mobility from accidents, war or illness, or even what they may have had to live with from birth. But how ignorant and stupid it is to call them “disabled” or look down on them in any way.  I will never forget something a colleague from a previous job once said to me, “If you know your child will be born with disabilities or down syndrome you should be able to abort them or Euthanase, it would be kinder! You do it to animals that are sick why not humans?”

I was shocked and didn’t have time to question that thought of his, but he is not the only one who has that bizarre idea and conception! There are loads of people who are so ignorant that they do not realise how able people actually are!  Anyone can be “disabled” by:-

  1. Others– if they do not allow you to fulfil your purpose!
  2. Life- if you do not get back up again if it knocks you down! (Remember if you feel like you have hit rock bottom, Jesus is the “Rock” so he’s there with you, supporting you!)
  3. Fear- if you let it prevent you from living your life and experiencing what God has to offer! (Bizarrely, I had a split-second of fear as I washed up a mug at home! The memory of what happened flashed through my mind, I quickly dismissed it as a silly thought, Imagine if I had let it control me, no more coffee!! 😦 )
  4. The Past- if you let it affect your future and prevent you from moving forward.
  5. A lack of faith- if it keeps you in your comfort zone and stops you from stepping out and having the life you are meant to have!

There a three bible verses that come to my mind when considering what the world calls “Disability

1.John 9 verses 1-3 – sin is not the sole cause of “disability” or “impairment” but God allows people to be blind, deaf, have back pain or depression, so that his glory may been seen through them, whether they are healed or not, God’s glory shines through if we are willing to be used in that way!

2.1 Corinthians 1 verse 27– The things the world considers weak or looks down upon are used to shame those considered strong and looked up to! How many “able bodied” people came away from the Paralympics thinking “I am weak!” or “I am unfit!“?

3.2 Corinthians 12 verse 1-10– In our weakness, we rely on God to give us strength, and that strength is much more than we could even imagine, not even Mohammed Eldib has the strength that God can offer us, when we realise we need his help!

We all can consider ourselves impaired/disabled unless we realise that we although there may be things we cannot do, with God’s help we can do much much more!  When we are determined to follow God and look at what he has made us to be, then we can experience the exhilaration and excitement that the olympians & paralympians would have had when they competed in the games!!

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