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

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#Moana, #Motonui, #Metanoeo, & #Baptiso

Our youngest child loves watching Moana, we have got a few of the catchy songs in our heads, when one person says “thank you” we break into “you’re welcome!”  When preparing to write a blog on saying “sorry, I discovered something that I thought was true, actually wasn’t!  The word “repent” doesn’t come from the Latin or Greek for “turn around” which I am sure I was told was a term that officers used in drills and directing their troops! The word “repent” wasn’t even used in the bible until the King James Version came about, the word “repent” is from the Latin meaning “regret“, which doesn’t really encapsulate what “repentance” is meant to mean!

Metanoeo” is the word that was used 34 times in the New Testament to tell followers of Christ to “stop sinning and change your ways” the word itself is a compound of two Greek words which mean “after” and “thought or understanding“, so you could say it is a “changing of your mind” but the whole word suggests that you have a total rethink of your actions!

In the film, the character Maui has really good intentions, all he wants is to be loved by humans, but in order to get their affection, he defeats monsters and makes “stuff happen” but he finally does something which condemns the islands to suffering and decay!  Like him we can sin and make mistakes even when we had good intentions!

As i have said before sometimes saying sorry is just not enough! we need to turn our lives around and actually make steps to reconcile or show your remorse!  Baptism is a step towards getting yourself right with God, it is a public declaration that you wish to leave your old self behind and live your life as if you are a child of God. (which you are!)

The act of Baptism cannot wash away our sin any more than having a shower can! You have to take more steps into a relationship with God and behaving like the new creation you have become (easier said than done sometimes). In my opinion you cannot do this until you are old enough to make that decision for yourself, the Greek word “Baptiso” means “full immersion“, like fabric being dyed, you full immerse yourself in the water, and rise up and become anew.

Motonui is the island where Moana lives, she is kept safe by her parents, by not allowing her to leave the island but in doing so they are hindering her from fulfilling her destiny! Her dad wants to protect her but as my kids have discovered from “the magic School bus“, we need to make mistakes to learn and grow in life, it is when we repeat them deliberately when we know that they are wrong that we find ourselves in big trouble.

Strangely enough there was a really bizarrely coloured sky this afternoon, it reminded me of the sky in Moana as she tries to restore “the heart” to an island goddess and make the decay of the sea and islands end.  As J. John points out in this video   :-

The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart

We are flawed people, many things can distract us from living the way we have been called to live and  from loving the way we have been called to love.  All have fallen short, all of us will be called to account for our actions and inactions.  

If you need to “metanoia” then do so, if you want to take the next step into baptism then speak to a church leader, but if you need forgiveness from someone who you have offended or hurt, don’t waste time, don’t hide away but go and apologise, then ask for forgiveness!

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Be thankful you are not Job!

As I have been reading the book of Job, I cannot help but come to the thought, “however hard life gets, at least I am not Job!

I have three children that suffer with a condition called SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) one now with slight autism as well, certain aspects of life that other children would not even take any notice of, my children do!  Unfortunately over the Christmas period a few years ago, our son was affected by something which made glands in his stomach flare up and cause him intense pain!  To some this would have felt just like a stomach ache, to him it was like he had someone twisting his insides!  We only got a possible diagnosis after New Years Day over a week after it all started! When our GP suggested the diagnosis and we got antibiotics, the pain stopped within 12 hours, our son had been suffering since Christmas eve, and no one at the accident & emergency even considered that possibility!

We are currently trying to get the support and equipment in place at school for him, but we are also learning about how to help him control his feelings and how we all deal with them appropriately, so he doesn’t “meltdown”!   I joined a Facebook group for parents of children with SPD, and I asked “has any other parent had problems with their child getting over-anxious about Christmas“, it was on 34 comments and having a look around the rest of  the discussions, I thank the Lord that our son is how he is, some parents have so much more to deal with than we do!

I know that I am incredibly blessed, to have what I have:-

  • My wife is everything I need, she challenges me, supports me and always inspires me!
  • My parents couldn’t barely be more supportive, they have done so much that I will never be able to repay them for it all!
  • My children are amazing, they are funny, caring and I am proud of them!
  • My siblings are are always there when I have needed them!
  • The church where I worship, is the most encouraging, supportive group that I have met in a long time!
  • My home is perfect for my family’s needs.
  • My job is secure in comparison to a lot of jobs in the wider world!

But, when our son was waking up, writhing in pain, in the early hours of the morning, and we were praying for relief for him, I forgot all of that!  I have to admit that a large part of me wanted my son to be able to sleep and not be in so much pain that he would wake up every other hour, so we could get some decent sleep!

Job knew that he hadn’t done anything to cause this bombardment of hardship, his friends even accused him of sinning and calling God’s wrath upon himself, which as the reader of  that book knows is not the case at all! Whether  you read the book of Job as fiction or as a factual event, it does beg the question “when calamity befalls you how do you react?

  • Do you panic?
  • Do you “fall to pieces”?
  • Do you resolve to not be defeated?

I have a lot of admiration for those who have gone through cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. The strength of character, that they have is incredible! One of my twitter friends posted:-

I had 400 tumors removed, a bunch of organs too, over 50 staples and you know what is killing me: the dang feeding/g tube they put in!

I asked how on earth she was still alive having 400 tumours taken out?! She replied “by the Grace of God”!

I am sure some people look at me and think I am “blessed”, my family “has it easy” but we are no different to anyone else, we all have our struggles, some seem never ending, some almost overwhelm us but God is steadfast, he is watching over us, he will not let us drown!

The bible says in Phillippians 4:-

I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

This comes after the passage about being anxious over nothing, I have stated before i am well aware other people have had horrendous childhoods and no end of trial has come their way, but as was said yesterday at my church, if we look up and see our father, the “mountain” is nothing we must overcome alone to move on but something that we will overcome by fixing our eyes on the one who gives us strength when we don’t feel strong enough!

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