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

Faith, Youthwork and Family…


August 2014

Are you “Jonah-minded” #GraceNotJudgement

A lot has happened in the last week or so, the death of one of the greatest actors ever, Robin Williams, who battled with depression, drugs, alcoholism and unfortunately nothing could keep him from taking his own life.  One of the legends of music is being investigated for an offence possibly committed decades ago, but it has been done in such a way that is unjust and completely unnecessary!

I recently had to face people from my past, who did not treat me in the manner that anyone Christian or non-christian would have appreciated, part of me was dreading it, but I also had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to see them, whether it was closure on that “chapter” of my life or that I needed to hear them apologise and forgive them, I don’t know, but I did have the following thought in my head:-

“Forgive others as I forgave you!”

I am the type of person that is fully aware of my faults, but I do find myself getting angry at people in the media who fail to demonstrate the behaviour that the bible expects from us, like recently when someone “gave into a lie about themself“, the problem I have, is that it validates the behaviour as “ok by God” when it clearly isn’t!

There are certain addictions, that I have never had to face or struggle with, and I am fully aware that I cannot fully understand or have empathy for that behaviour, but I can appreciate having thoughts which are “not of God” which I have to battle with!  I have had moments in my life where I have felt low and even considered “ending it all“, I do not always have the highest opinion of myself, but I have fortunately got an awesome supportive family that are there when I need them, and not everyone has that as I found out recently.

The crazy thing about prejudice or judgement, is that we have no right whatsoever, to verbalise or express it! Looking down on someone because they are:-

  • Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Trans…
  • African/Asian/Latino/European/American/Aboriginal
  • “Disabled”/Abled
  • Theist/Atheist/Agnostic
  • Rich/Poor
  • Homeless/land-owner
  • Old/Young
  • Man/Woman
  • Different to us in any other way

It boggles my mind, no matter what they look like or believe, they are still a human being!  Everyone is the same “in christ“! All of us get sick! Every aspect of MRS NERG which determines whether something is a living organism or not, is performed by a human being (until they die obviously!).  God told Samuel:-

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

King David was a bit of a naughty lad himself! If the tabloids/gossip magazines were about then you would have had:-

  • King caught peeping at naked bathing neighbour
  • King gets neighbour drunk
  • King linked to murder plot
  • King to have son with Bathsheba, his neighbour’s wife

But in his anguish and constant sin and repentance, David produced some of the most beautiful poetry ever written and a lot of the words have been turned into hymns and worship songs! If he did what he did today how would the Christians of today have reacted? Would they still have been happy to recite/sing Psalm 23?!

I was listening to “Only By Grace” today, which says:-

“Lord, if you marked our transgressions, who could stand? Thanks to your grace we are cleansed by the blood of the lamb!”

None of us are worthy and sinless enough to stand in the presence of God, but thanks to the grace that Jesus had for us, by dying on the cross, he enabled us to  be able to repent and regain that relationship which we should have with the loving God!

I read about the prophet Jonah last night to my daughter, and I realisd that we all can be a little like him, he ran away from what God was asking him to do because he was scared but when he realised his mistake, he went and warned the residents of Nineveh to repent and when they did, God forgave them?!

How many of us do not think that God can forgive others for their mistakes, “o no they have been really bad” “God Hates you!” etc etc.  But that is the whole point of Grace! It is undeserved favour!

We sing Be my everything, but how much do we allow God to be a part of? Is it like my vision a few years ago, where I saw a house and felt God standing next to me saying “I don’t want access to just one room, I want to be with you in every room of your life! But seriously, you have allowed it to be so damaged by yourself and other people, that you need to come and live a new life, I have a mansion where I dwell with my son, move in with me!

I know that is related to Jesus comments about his Father having many rooms, but we need to make sure God is with us in every part of our lives, if he isn’t then we must ask ourselves “why?!”  

Before you judge someone else, remember Jesus never did, he condemned judgement! We have no right to judge others, as all have sinned and all sin is the same in God’s eyes!



I have an aversion to needles! It is not a “wussy” thing (well I don’t feel it is!) Apparently I occasionally suffer with a vasovagal response, I see this as the third option in the flight or flight conundrum, my body says “Stuff those two! I will play dead!”  I also am not a great lover of conflict, I will avoid it if I can! But I have realised during the last few weeks, that when I am faced with opposition on something I truly believe in, I will get fired up and really want to stand up against it!

When I was at high school before my GCSE years, I spoke to my science teacher and he said “I am not sure whether you will cope in the higher set but if you really want to do Biology, Chemistry and Physics, then we will let you!” So I was determined and got decent grades in the exams and from my coursework.  Despite my non-athletic ability, I must have had a determination to try hard in my Physical Education classes as they put me in the top set!? I hated it but appreciated the support that the more athletic classmates gave me!

But, I feel that in recent years I may have lost the “gumption” to argue my opinion, and I have been recalling times at school where I argued my point:-

  • arguing about soccer teams (Manchester United Vs Tottenham Hotspur mainly! I was on a losing battle, Spurs were low in the table!)
  • Explaining to the deputy head why the phrase “Help them, to help yourself!” was a apt phrase for classwork on adverts for the charity help the aged (My point being that if people set up programs and facilities to help the elderly now, when they themselves are elderly the natural thing would be for the same help to be present! Well, it made sense to me!)
  • Telling my classmate why saying “I am God!” was wrong and highly inaccurate! (I got the response from someone I thought was also a Christian of “Stop preaching!” All I said was “if you are God, you could move that tree out there by just saying “move!” But, you cannot because you are not!” Is that wrong?)
  • I had so much conviction of faith as a child that I managed to convert a friend before I had become a christian myself!

In the last few weeks however I have become fired up and really wanted to fight something that I considered “not of God“, I watched footage of things which were in my eyes “counter-biblical“, heard things which were either mind-boggling or ridiculously ungodly! The problem with getting angry and “fired up” is that you may not take time to hear the reasoning or facts!

Sometimes the facts that are put across, can be manipulated or misused to excuse that behaviour, laying on a tomb of a famous Christian to “suck up the anointing that he was given” is totally wrong in my opinion and justifying it with 2 Kings 13 verse 21 is even worse!

I am not generally one to spout off my opinion without a lot of thought and consideration, so when an alternative viewpoint to my own is expressed, I sometimes have to take a step back and think:-

  • “Am I wrong?”
  • “Am I so enraged that I have missed something?”
  • “Is what they are saying accurate? Does it sound right?”

The burning issue is when to argue and when to let it lie? A lot of people have left the forum discussion that I mentioned in last weeks blog post, one of the only ones left and possible the reason some have gone is that a self-confessed satanist joined the conversation!  He poured out insults like it was water, but when I challenged him on the reason he was being so negative about church, attributing it possibly to his admiration of the enemy of the Church, “Satan”, he said that he would wear the badge of “enemy of the church” with pride! At that point I refused to continue as it is not worth my time!

We are told to dwell on the things which are holy! When my wife and I watched footage of things apparently being done “in God’s name” by people “filled with the spirit!“, we were physically sickened, the more we read and thought about them the longer we stayed nauseated, we were disgusted that people could think that it was normal to act like animals or run around as if you were on fire, literally screaming in pain! (work of the spirit? I don’t think so!) But when we decided to leave it and think about other things the nausea subsided!

Now, what I am currently struggling to get my head around is:-

  1. If it is true that God is with us (We sing emmanuel enough times!!) Why are churches looking for his presence to be brought by people from other places?
  2. If the holy spirit is in us, why are we searching for new ways for him to show himself? Surely through our worship and giving space for the holy spirit to inspire us, we can experience him!
  3. Is speaking in tongues really a gift everyone needs? We already have a direct channel to God, in prayer, due to the curtain to the “holy of holies” tearing in two, at Jesus’ death! Paul encourages prophecy to build up the church, speaking in tongues is a gift that helps your heart communicate to God, unless there is an interpretation it is not meant to be used from the front!
  4. If even Satan can quote the bible, perform “miracles”, make people appear as “angels of light“, by what criteria do we judge someones ministry to see if it is one we should listen to or follow?
  5. Jesus is our brother, our saviour, our best friend, our role model, “god in the flesh“, are his words the only ones we should follow?

The only times when Jesus got frustrated and angered, unless i am mistaken, were when people were acting in an unjust, ungodly manner!

  • The temple sellers- imagine a church charging £20 entrance fee for anyone who was not a member before they could join the service!? That would be outrageous, and so was making money out of sin offerings, but doing so in the one place where non-jews could congregate in the temple! No wonder Jesus threw the furniture over!
  • People acting judgementally- “Who has not sinned throw a stone!“, “before pointing out your brother’s speck, sort the plank in your own eye out!
  • When demons were about to say who he was– It wasn’t the right time, if people followed Jesus just because he was a “miracle man”, then they would have missed the point of his presence on earth!
  • When his disciples kept falling asleep– He was about to be arrested, and his “best friends” couldn’t even stay awake and pray!

Jesus never judged, he never caused sadness, apart from when people refused to do the right thing, his timing and wisdom was always right!  I know that what one person may consider right, I might consider wrong, but if our “yardstick” is Jesus’ teachings, his actions, if our main aim is to love, I am sure we cannot go far wrong!  There will always be contentious issues, how we face those issues day-to-day is where our faith should shine out, it is what people look at, if we are not living and acting like Christ would, what do non-christians see? What do other people, less experienced in their “walk with Jesus” see? Are we unintentionally causing them to stumble as we are not being good examples?!

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